« PoprzedniaDalej »
ing, to save them who believe. It is truly gratifying to behold the zeal which is manifested to distribute the written word of God. We rejoice in the existence of this zeal, and pray for its increase. But we should always recollect, that it is the appointment of God that the living teacher should accompany the written word, to expound and enforce it, and that without the living teacher, the written word will be most generally neglected by the great mass of the community. The depraved hearts of men are averse to the purity of religious truth; and where there is not a living preacher to arouse and call their attention to its reality and importance, we find it almost uniformly neglected. Those places that are destitute of the preaching of the gospel, are most generally also without religion; the word and the worship of God is neglected, and men live and die in ignorance, in carelessness, in unbelief, and in impenitence. If we have then any love to the souls of our fellow creatures, or any regard to the prosperity of the Redeemer's kingdom, we should earnestly desire and labour to secure an able, learned, and faithful ministry. The Lord Jesus Christ himself has said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”—Matt. ix. 37, 38. The millions of heathen that are perishing through lack of knowledge, and the thousands of our own countrymen who are destitute of the gospel, have demands peculiarly strong upon us. If, indeed, we desire the salvation of immortal souls, we shall both pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth more labourers into the harvest, and with cheerfulness contribute our aid to the producing of so desirable an event. S. B. H.
Dear Sir, I commit to you the following communication, hoping that its publication in the Presbyterian Magazine will be useful to, the cause of religion. And that by means of it the readers of the Magazine, generally, and ministers and candidates for the ministry, particularly, will be better informed of the real state of these Western states; that is, of their moral and religious state. I pretend not to the entire accuracy of every item in the following representation; but it is mainly made from my own personal observation.
I have been nearly five years in the western states; viz. Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio; and have, during that time, been actively engaged in the work of the ministry; and through the
goodness of God, though I have a feeble constitution, and have been much of the time in weak health, so that my labours have been often in weakness and much painfulness, I have not lost but very few weeks from public labours and public duties. I have resided in a number of different places, and travelled pretty extensively, as duty has called. I have attended four sessions of the synod of Kentucky; two of the Transylvania presbytery; five of the Louisville, two of the West Lexington, and one of the Lancaster presbytery. And from all that I have seen, and from all that I have heard, I am led to exclaim—How much is yet to be done before religion shall gain a general ascendancy and prevalency in these states' O how much is to be done before they become, in a moral view, the garden of God! Of the Baptist denomination there are many professors and many preachers; but many of their preachers have had but little ‘...." and they are obliged to pursue other occupations, besides the work of the ministry, which greatly hinders their usefulness. The Methodists are numerous; in Ohio they are more so than the Baptists. Few of their preachers have enjoyed a liberal education; but they seem to be devoted men, and are doing much good. There are also a great number, in some parts of these states, who are called new lights, but who call themselves of the Christian body. A part of these are, I think, exceedingly erroneous. In their view of doctrines, they reject total depravity and justification through the righteousness of Christ, imputed to the believing sinner. They reject also, the underived Deity, and the real atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, as their doctrine and their practice has been, no creed, no confession of faith but the Bible only; I think, numbers who do not approve their whole scheme of doctrines, have been united with them and still meet with them. Their preachers are mostly without much education, and in their meetings they manifest great apparent engagedness and heat, and not unfrequently ravings: they baptize by immersion. The Presbyterian people of these states consist of five subdivisions; viz. Presbyterians of the General Assembly; of the Associate Reformed Synod; of the Associate Synod; of the Reformed Synod; and of the Cumberland Presbytery. The Presbyterians of the General Assembly are numerous in Ohio; and they have a ministry respectable for learning, piety, and diligence. In Kentucky they are less numerous; with thirty-six ministers and four licensed preachers. In Indiana they have six ministers, and about twenty-seven infant churches, and one licensed preacher. And these Presbyterian people, in Kentucky and Indiana, are not just in a few settlements by themselves; they are scattered over almost the whole states, and intermixed
with a vast variety of other population. Neither of the other branches of Presbyterians are numerous in these states, and they have but few ministers, excepting the Cumberland Presbyterians, in the lower part of Kentucky. They are considerably mumerous and have many preachers. Their preachers have not generally had a public education, and they are said to resemble the Methodists in their manner of conducting their meetings, and in some points of doctrine. This is, as far as I know, nearly a history, in short, of the religious state of the above-named states; with an amazing extent of territory; with a fertile soil, with an extended and fast increasing population, but without anything like an adequate living ministry. And in Kentucky, I think, far less than one half of those who live where they might attend upon the public means of grace, if they had a heart to it, do habitually attend divine service in any denomination; this is true of the white population, besides a vast number of slaves, very few of whom attend public worship. In general they seem to have no idea of the first day of the week being the Lord's day; they regard and use it as their day. It is made the day of their pleasures, in their rambling visits, and assembling in companies for mirth and noise; and their day of trade, when they traffic with one another, and with such of the white population as will encourage them, and deal with them in baskets, and brooms, and fruit, &c. These things are going on continually, and few people seem to regard it, and scarcely any one speaks of it, as an evil, or mourns over it, as an abomination. Besides, in profane swearing this part of the country abounds. Oaths and cursing are so frequent, that they seem quite common, so that few startle and shudder at hearing them. And intemperance is not a rare vice; there is an amazing quantity of domestic distilled spirits made in these parts, and hard drinkers abound. These evils must be removed, and this state of things changed. And by what means? By means of the gospel; by a religious influence upon the minds of our population. But how is this to be effected? I answer, by a perseverance in using the means of grace we now have, and by an increase of these means. But how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall these people and these slaves reform unless they are better taught? There are teachers enough, truly, to be a witness against them, but not enough to overcome their evil habits, and to make them feel strongly the force of good example. It seems to me, that the Christians and the Christian ministers from the other, and the older states, must help us, and we must help ourselves, and all must look to God, who only gives
us success, and can make his word effectual. O may a day
of moral reform soon come ! May a resurrection take place, Vol. II.-Presb. Mag. 2 M
in this valley of vision, so full of dry bones. “Come, O breath of the Lord, and breathe upon these slain that they may live!” And I here, very respectfully, drop a hint to oup older presbyteries in the Atlantic states; it is a plan to provide domestic missionaries for these western states. Let each presbytery furnish one, for six months every year, from the number of their settled ministers, and let his place at home be supplied by his presbytery, in the same way as one goes a commissioner to the General Assembly, and let him receive and enjoy the contributions and personal presents, which may be freely given him, and have no other earthly reward. Were this once done, and these added to those whom the General Assembly employ as missionaries, we would soon have labourers in abundance in these western states. But, it would be only a comparative abundance, for not even then would there be any thing like an adequate supply of the real wants of the country. Perhaps it will be said, that no one will be found willing to endure all the privations necessary, and to bear all the hardships of the journey, and of the missionary labours, without a better reward: a better God will give them; but it will be in the satisfaction of doing good, of preaching the gospel to the poor, and of bearing all things for the elect's sake, that they may be saved with eternal glory. And are they ministers of Jesus, and can they not have fellowship in his sufferings enough for this 2 Are they fellow labourers with Paul, and can they not copy enough of his example, and feel enough of his self-denial for this? I wish the trial might be made, surely some would offer themselves for this work. - I. REED. JMicholasville, (Ky.) JMarch 27th, 1822. *.
rom the paeserteni AN MAGAzine.
Is SABBATH EVENING, OB SATURDAY EVENING, A PART of THE - SABBATH 2
This subject is acknowledged not to be one of the first importance, and yet it is important, and according to its importance is the necessity of examining it by the law and the testimony, and by those legitimate deductions which we are authorized to make from the scriptures. The question is of some importance; for it would be desirable that Christians, living in the neighbourhood of each other, should be agreed in their practice. And if either of them is by divine appointment, it is important that we should search into the mind and will of God in this, as well as every other matter that he has revealed, and guide our practice accordingly.
The proposition which we shall endeavour to maintain, is that which is agreeable to the practice of the great body of the Presbyterian church, viz-That the Holy Sabbath commences at 12 Saturday night, and closes at 12 of the night succeeding the Sabbath. That all the intervening hours are holy, and no other. In opposition to this some hold that it commences at sunsetting on Saturday (others at candle-lighting), and closes at the same time on the succeeding day. As we have never seen this subject investigated by any author who maintained the opinion which we have proposed to defend—all having rather taken it for granted, than thought it worth the time and pains of investigation—and as several have written on the other side, some with warmth, it is thought that it will be perfectly fair to take up the arguments of those who have given the subject most attention and examine them, beside such considerations as may be derived from scripture and reason in defence of the proposition which we maintain. The subject Presents itself under two aspects; as it depends upon plain scripture authority, and as it is to be investigated on the score of ex£ediency.... If the first is decided clearly, the question of expediency will necessarily be excluded; but if it should be left doubtful, after the fullest investigation of what the sacred scriptures say on the subject, then a discussion of the question on the score of expediency would not only be proper, but might tend materially to confirm what was doubtful from scripture. Of all the writers who have advocated keeping the evening before the Sabbath, we know of none that has treated the subject with more candour and ability than the late venerable Dr. Dwight. To repeat his arguments then, it is presumed, will be giving the strength of the arguments in defence of that practice which we oppose. The Dr. observes, “The time at which the peculiar duties of the Sabbath are to commence is, in my opinion, the time when darkness commences on the evening of Saturday. For this opinion the following reasons may be alleged: “First.—The natural day commenced with darkness. After God had created the chaos, darkness rested upon it for a certain period. This darkness, and the light which succeeded it, are declared to have constituted the first day. In the same manner are reckoned the five succeeding days of the creation. “Secondly.—The Sabbath, at its original institution, was a natural day. This is clear, because that God rested the seventhday; and from the manner in which the six preceding days were reckoned, we have the fullest proof, that He who by his own choice reckoned them in this manner, reckoned the seventh day in the same manner. - “Thirdly.—When the Sabbath was renewedly enjoined upon