Immagini della pagina

Association was formed of thirteen churches, five ministers, and four hundred and twenty-four members, there were then in the country two more churches, containing about one hundred and twenty members, and two ministers, making in the whole about fifteen churches, seven ministers, five hundred and forty members, in all this extensive territory. But now, in 1807," there are, in the Otsego Association, fifty. five churches, twenty-eight ministers, and three thousand two hundred and sixty-five members. Several churches have been dismissed to join other Associations, and a great number of ministers have gone to other places, beyond the bounds of this Association. Recently, also, sixteen churches have received a dismission to form a new Association; and yet there remain in the body thirty-seven churches. God has not only increased their number, but has multiplied their blessings. How different are the circumstances of his people, and especially of the ministers! Their condition is greatly ameliorated; yet their labors are abundant, and their calls are numerous, not only in their immediate vicinity, but to the north, south, east, and west. Settlements are made with amazing rapidity, and the poor destitute people are uttering the Macedonian

cry, “Come over, and help us !"





We come now to the history of the Baptist Missionary Convention of the State of New York. This stream, which has carried, and is still carrying, the waters of life to so many ready to perish, was formed by the union of several tributary streams, which had arisen at different times and places in various parts of the State. We begin with the Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society.

This Society was formed in the year of our Lord 1807. The population of the country had greatly increased; the settlements were very much extended at the north, and in the south and west, and the demand for ministerial labor was proportionably increased ; so that it was out of the power of the ministers that were settled to supply it. Several faithful and pious ministers were located between Cayuga lake and Genesee river ; but there was no church or settled minister west of that river, though settlements in that region were rapidly forming, and the spiritual wants of the inhabi. tants were very great. But whatever minister visited them, had to encounter all the trouble, fatigue, and privation, of a new country.

Eld. Elkanah Holmes, from the New York Missionary Society, labored several years, with success, among the Tus. carora Indians, and preached occasionally to the white inhabitants scattered about in that vicinity. A few mission. aries, also, from the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society, and Shaftsbury Association, had visited this country, and penetrated as far as Long Point, in Upper Canada, and were cheered with knowing that their labors were blessed of God to the edification of saints and conversion of sinners. Among these missionaries, Eld. Lemuel Covil was particu. larly distinguished. He was indeed a flaming herald of the cross. There are many yet living who cherish for him a most affectionate and grateful remembrance.

He now slumbers in the dust of Canada, at Clinton, where he was laboring successfully as a missionary, and whence the Master suddenly called him from his toils below to his rest above. He died universally beloved and lamented.

In view of the increased population of the country, their indigent circumstances and spiritual wants, and the multiplied calls for ministerial labor, a number of the friends of Zion met at Pompey, in the county of Onondaga, at the house of Eld. Nathan Baker, Aug. 27, 1807, to consider the propriety of forming a society for the prosecution of the missionary enterprise in the destitute regions around. After mature deliberations on the subject, a constitution was presented and unanimously adopted. The Society was called the Lake Baptist Missionary Society, as it was expected its efforts would be directed principally to what was called the lake country. The constitution made the payment of one dollar annually requisite to membership. At the formation of the Society it consisted of twenty members. Of course, it commenced its operations with only twenty dollars in the treasuryl! Thus, in weakness and with much fear and trembling, was laid the foundation of that fabric, which now, through the blessing of God, commands the admiration of all the friends of Zion. Thus were the first dawnings of that light, which, like the sun, is shedding

widely around its benign influence. October, 28, 1807. The Society met at the house of Br. Elisha Payne, in Hamilton. The following persons were chosen as its officers for the year ensuing : Eld. Ashbel Hosmer, Pres. Eld. Peter P. Roots, Vice-Pres. Elisha Payne, Sec. Dea. Jonathan Olmsted, Treas. Elds. Elisha Ransom, Salmon Morton, David Irish, John Lawton, Ora Butler, and Brn. Simeon Gillett, Benj. Pierce, Thomas Cox, Ebenezer Wakely, John Keep, Samuel Payne, and Mr. Oliver Brown, Directors. At a meeting of the Board at Hamilton, Oct. 28, 1807, it was resolved to appoint Eld. Salmon Morton a missionary for two months, the ensuing winter, and allow him $4 per week for his services.

At a subsequent meeting of the Board, at Hamilton, Eld. Morton made a report of his missionary tour of eight weeks ; in which time he traveled to the Genesee river, and the


Holland Purchase, which was then looked upon as the “far

In his report he said “ he was received with great satisfaction by the inhabitants ; and that many of the people of God were made to rejoice in the privilege of hearing the preaching of the gospel in their destitute situation, while many blessings were bestowed on the Society, and ardent prayers addressed to God for its prosperity.” He also added, “It was enough to move a heart of stone, to witness the expressions of joy made by the people on the occasion. But the parting scenes were peculiarly interesting. Nor could he witness without emotion the tears that were shed, and their earnest solicitations for a continuance of like favors, when, giving the parting hand, and exclaiming, with tears in their eyes, “Do come again. Tell the Society of our destitute situation, and request them to remember us. Upon hearing the report of the missionary, the Board were much animated—thanked God, and took courage. Relying on the kind assistance of Divine Providence, they appointed Eld. Elisha Ransom a missionary for four weeks. At the same time several brethren in Hamilton, and others, made such liberal donations to the Society, that, together with the annual subscriptions, there was found in the treasury, at the annual meeting in 1808, the sum of $171.

The annual meeting of the Lake Baptist Missionary Society was held at German, (now Pitcher,) Aug. 30, 1808. Eld. Ora Butler, moderator ; John Lawton, clerk. Proceeded to choose the officers. Eld. Ashbel Hosmer, Pres. Elisha Payne, Sec. Dea. Jonathan Olmsted, Treas. Samuel Payne, Thomas Cox, Wm. Durfee, Eld. Ora Butler, Salmon Morton, Ebenezer Wakely, John Peck, and James Purdy, Directors. Resolved to change the name of the Society, and to alter the constitution so as to read as follows :

CONSTITUTION. Art. 1. This Society shall be known by the name of the “ Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society."

ART. 2. The Society shall be composed of those who subscribe to this constitution, and pay in advance at least one dollar to its funds, and also one dollar annually.

Art. 3. The object of this Society shall be to send the gospel, and other means of promoting the knowledge of God, among such of our fellow-creatures as are destitute; and that either stationary or occasional, as prudence may dictate or funds admit.

ART. 4. The members; at their annual meetings, shall appoint, by ballot, a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and eight Directors. The President, Secretary, Treasurer, and five of the Directors, shall be members in good standing in some regular Baptist church. These eleven officers shall compose a Board, of which the President shall be the chair. man and the Secretary clerk.

Art. 5. The President, by the consent of the majority of the Directors, who constitute a quorum, shall have power to call a meeting of the Society whenever it shall appear to him necessary; also, as chairman of the Board, he shall have power, at his discretion, to call a meeting of the Board. And it shall be his duty to call a meeting of the Board whenever requested by three members.

ART. 6. The chairman, with five other members of the Board, shall form a quorum to do business : in case of the chairman's absence, any six members.

ART. 7. The Board shall have power to apply the fnnds of the Society according to their discretion, in all cases in which they shall not be restricted by the special direction of the Society.

ART. 8. They shall have power to appoint and to dismiss missionaries, and to transact all other necessary business, during the recess of the Society.

ART. 9. The Board shall annually exhibit to the Society a particular account of the missionaries employed—the places where they have been stationed, or to which they have been sent-their prospect of success_also, the state of the fundsreceipts and expenditures—and whatever else relates to the institution.

ART. 10. The Treasurer shall exhibit, both to the Society and Board, the state of the treasury, whenever called upon for that purpose.

ART. 11. The Secretary shall correctly and fairly transcribe and record the proceedings, both of the Society and Board, in a book furnished by the Society,

Art. 12. In order more effectually to aid the intentions of the Society, a subscription shall be kept open for the benefit

« IndietroContinua »