« PreviousContinue »
Buch as are willing to spend and bè spent in the service of the blessed Jesus, resolved to follow him through good and through bad report, contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,—such as are reconciled to his cross, and will not refuse to venture their persons and their hopes upon his finished work, his gracious promise, and his unutterable love,-such as are decisively attached to the Presbyterial system of church-government as his ordinance,-will be received with open arms, and cherished, I trust, with christian affection.
“The inducement which I have to offer them is not the ease or opulence of this world. It is the prospect of usefulness in the church of God, usefulness more extensive, perhaps, than can be expected in any other situation. It is the sacred heroism of denying themselves, and braving difficulty, reproach, and peril, for the name of Jesus. It is that recompense of reward which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will bestow on them who, from love to his salvation, from obedience to his will, from tender compassion to the souls of men, can forego every other consideration, and, with something of the spirit of an apostle, set themselves for the defence of the gospel. Whoever wish to preach Christ in America, mušt cast themselves upon his word and providence for their worldly weal. Yet, while I make these frank declarations, that no man may be deceived by false expectations, I feel safe in expressing a persuasion that the exchange, even in respect of temporal comfort, will, in many instances, be found advantageous, and that there is little danger of its turning out for the worse in any."
In a communication, made to the committee of the Associate Synod, dated Edinburgh, Nov. 10th, 1801, we find the wants and interests of the western states thus stated :
"Many of the congregations which are now waiting for pastors, and the greater number of vacancies not yet matured, are in those parts of the United States which have been recently settled. An inviting climate, and a fertile soil, must, in the ordinary course of things, attract thither multitudes of new inhabitants. This. circumstance, added to the facility of procuring subsista ence, which is one of the most powerful causes of increase in the human species, will shortly produce a population incredible to those who are not acquainted with existing facts. In this view, the Western countries, especially, of America, present a subject of most interesting speculation to the philosopher and the christian. The importance of instilling into the early societies which are erected there, sound religious principles, and of training them up in correct moral habits, is too evident to require proof. And although no denoinination of christians may be able to do as much as could be wished for the attainment of this end, yet the effects resulting ultimately from the exertions of any one of them may far exceed the most sanguine expectation. Every congregation under the care of an evangelical pastor, becomes a centre from which the influence of the Gospel is more or less diffused. New societies, collecting by degrees, naturally assume the form, and imbibe the principles, of those in whose vicinity they are erected. Under such circumstances, Truth has, at
least, a wider range, and a fairer prospect of success, than in places where discordant professions have descended, by inheritance, from the sire to the son, and being incorporated with their habits, both restrict their intercourse, and controul their opinions.
“Proportioned to the magnitude of the object is the necessity for workmen who need not be ashamed. The popular opinion, that any sincere and orthodox preacher is competent to plant new churches, and water such as have been lately planted, has done infinite mischief to the christian cause. As congregations first formed will probably be models for others, too much care cannot be employed in organizing them according to the scriptural pattern.
"A consideration of serious moment with regard to the Associate Reformed Church, is, that though of recent establishment, she is growing in Dumbers and repute, Societies, like individuals, being flexile in their infancy, but of difficult correction in their advanced years, it is all important to a rising church, that her ministry be intelligent as well as pure. It will not only be her strength and ornament, but will fix a proper standard of ministerial character for times to come. Men who are themselves scribes well-instructed in the kingdom of God, will have both the inclination and abil. ity to see that their successors partake of their capacities and acquisitions. And it is too obvious to admit of dispute, that, other things being equal, the ablest min. istry will do most honour to the gospel, and most benefit to the souls of men. On the other hand, the effects of an illiterate, ineflicient ministry, bave been too se
verely felt in many parts of the church, not to be deprecated by all who understand and love her peace.
"The rank which America must one day hold among the nations, renders her political and moral institutions of general concern. Of this, infidel reformers are aware; and in no quarter of the world have their emissaries been more active in disseminating their poison. They know, too, that there is little hope of overturning christianity, and of inflicting on the world those plagues which would follow her ruin, as long as her ministry re. tains its respectability and influence. This, of course, must encounter their most inveterate hostility. And hence arises an additional reason for ministerial ability. The Committee cannot fail to perceive the conclusion which I wish them to draw, that the churches I represent have a claim upon their sister-churches here, for preachers of talent, as well as piety."
One extract more, referring to the erection of a Theological Seminary.
“The procuring of funds toward the erection and support of a Theological Seminary, under the inspection of this Synod, made the principal object of my at. 'tention during the intervals of the transactions already detailed in this report. In prosecuting this part of my business, I at different times visited Glasgow, Stirling, Paisley, Greenock, and afterwards London and Manchester. . An object so essential to the welfare of this church, and so influential on the common christianity, was countenanced by the vigorous patronage of many christians among different denominations. Gentlemen of distinguished respectability, both in Scotland and
England, interested themselves in its success. They distributed
among their friends the circular letter, No. 11. Their active good-will prevented, in most instances, the necessity of my personal applications. Had it been consistent with other duties to have remained longer in London, there is every reason to believe that a sum would have been raised equal to all the original exigencies of the proposed institution. Nothwithstanding the unpropitious circumstance of an indisposition which suspended all my operations for nearly three months, and my premature departure from London, the
ollowing monies, as stated at length in No. 12, have been collected. From Edinburgh,
£ 96 19 0 Glasgow,
111 14 0 Greenock,
35 5 6 Paisley,
39 18 0 Stirling,
16 16 0 London,
633 16 8 1-2 Manchester,
10 10 0 Rotherham,
Making in the wholé, £ 970 19 2 1-2 "Of this money, the principal part has been expended in the purchase of books, most of which are to be deposited in the library of the seminary. The rest may be disposed of, by sale, as the Synod shall direct, but cannot be given away, unless their price be replaced, as the whole of the pecuniary donations were made to the seminary exclusively. The particulars are in No. 13;