Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

age cruelty, and to promise security to the oppressed. It was a tale of horror in the beginning, for it was the sound of battle and war. But we must thank God, that even by such means greater evils will be prevented, and the way be prepared for liberty and science and gospel light to bless that unhappy country.--In the world at large, probably correct principles of government and freedom have not made any great and sudden advances; but their progress is sure, and the glorious effects cannot be remote. The nations sigh for liberty inore and more, and their groanings are heard in heaven. Yet there is much to lament. In our own country, though the cause of emanci. pation is gaining ground, and Liberia is prosperous, and obtains favor with the people; still, two millions of people are held in bondage by republican freemen; and their cry during another whole year of oppression has gone up to heaven against us.

Literature and Science have made evident advances. We are not aware of any change peculiarly striking in the oid world. In this country, many things deserve to be mentioned. Inventions and inprovements in the arts are numerous, and many public works are successfully undertaken. Existiog institutions of learning have been much improved, and others have sprung up in every direction. The business of education itself is considered as a science to be acquired, and is treated more philosophically and practically than ever before. Our children have some prospect of being educated, for acting their part on the theatre of life, and in the very times in which it is their Jot to live. The press is becoming every day a more powerful engine, and operating more directly on the human mind, moving it to great results. Its periodical productions are multiplying beyond all for mer example. And while many of these are positively evil and injurious, and many others are lighter than vanity; others still, and not a few in number, sustain a character which will endure investigation, and carry forth an influence which will bear favourably on the character and the happiness of future generations. These advances we observe at home. But we must not forget that our benighted neiglibors in the south have ordered presses from New England; and that a native tribe of our forests have established one among themselves, conducted by one of their own educated sons.

Religion has prospered in a wonderful manner. The word of the Lord has run mightily. Zion las lengthened her cords, and strengthened her stakes, and broken forth on the right hand and on the left. Ilere we will advert both to the new employment of instruments and means, and to the success wiiich has attended them. Where the Lord prepares many laborers, or puts new means in operation, it is

sides,

an evidence that he is about to perform a great work; and where his people put forth unwonted efforts, that circumstance is an evidence that religion has already revived, because it is itself the fruit of that revival. In this respect there is a great increase; and bemany

thousands of souls have been reconciled to God. An uncommon spirit has been waked up in regard to the distribution of the Bible. An example set in an inland county two years previously, has been brought to remembrance; and many societies have resolved to supply all the destitute within their own bounds, cither within a limited time, or as soon as strenuous and unremitting effort can effect it. Probably one fourth part of the inhabitants of the Union, come within the resolutions already passed; and the example is imitated almost every week by societies in every direction. We have reason to believe that the whole country will be supplied at no distant period with the word of life; and that the benevolent spirit which will have done it, will then pour its blessings. in like manner on other portions of the earth.

Domestic Missions have gathered strength with the revolving year. The various separate Societies have continued their accustomed labors; and the National Society has had accessions of numerous auxiliaries, and intrenched itself strongly in the hearts of the older churches, while it has excited the strongest hopes of the destitute, and turned to itself the imploring eyes of thousands and millions at the west and south. New Jersey is just now showing, among other examples, that those who are bountiful of Bibles, cannot withhold schools and the ministry of the word.

The Tract Cause has not flagged. Compared with former years, we apprehend the past has been specially productive of those little leaves which are for the healing of the nations. New improvements have been made in the system of operations, and new preparations are making for extended efforts. This year has still more clearly shown, that the period to which we belong looks with special favor and solicitude upon

Numerous publications, both periodical and occasional, have solicited their attention to the things of their everlasting peace; and Sabbath Schools and Bible Classes have been multiplied, while the zeal, and wisdom and fidelity of their teachers and conductors have been increased. Near the close of the year a National Bible Class Society was formed, which will doubtless exhibit the fruits of the incorruptible seed in years to come.

The Education of Young Men for the sacred Ministry, after suffering many embarrassments, has assumed a new form within two years; and during the last, a system of pastoral care over all the ben

[ocr errors]

the young

eficiaries has

gone into extensive eperation. The whole business is $0 systematically conducted that former evils are in a great measure avoided; the Society obtains the confidence of the community, and of course its contributions. The year we are reviewing has given a stability to this institution, which no ordinary convulsions can shake. We are not aware that the salvation of Seamen has been peculiarly near to the hearts of Christians within the year, or that great success has been realized among them. The American Seamen's Friend Society, however, has received a new impulse; and an auxiliary to it has been formed in this city, which we hope will not be an unfruitful branch.

In our own country human suffering has excited Christian commiseration; and it has not in every instance been that which says only, Be ye warmed and filled. That wretchedness which is found in prisons, especially, has received the attention of unuiring benero·lence.

The year 1827 will be memorable, as a new era in the history of Foreign Missions. The meeting of the American Board in the autumn was such as they never held before; and it is generally believed, that at that time the standard of contributions to this sacred cause was much elevated; and that it will never descend from that elevation till all the nations are evangelized, and the earth filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Some beloved missionaries have been called to their final rest; others have left their fields of labor by reason of sickness; some have had trials of cruel mockings and persecu. tions; some have labored under great discouragements, and for the present, apparently in vain. But many missions sent from Europe have had accessions of labourers. Reinforcements have been sent by the American Board to the Western Indian stations, to Bombay, and a large one to the Sandwich Islands. The schools and other operations are generally going on with accelerated progress, and from not a few of the stations we have heard of the descent of the Spirit, . and the conversion of sinners from their dumb idols to serve the living God.

In our own country, real Christians are becoming more decided and active, and more deterinived to separate themselves from those who deny the Lord that bought them. The Conference system has extended, particularly in this Commonwealth, and in many other ways, the churches are waking from their slumbers, and preparing for combined and efficient action.

Revivals have been numerous; perhaps more so than in any former year. Satan has been permitter partially to divide the people of God

on some points; but the effect will be to render the whole subject better understood, and tuture revivals more pure. In some places, the Spirit has descended with an overwhelming energy, and revived the pentecostal seasons of the primative church.

Abroad, even in the nominally Christian world, there is too much the stillness of the valley of vision, except the light breathings of the Spirit here and there upon the dry bones. But some countries furnish gratifying exceptions. The Protestant churches of France begin to engage in the missionary cause, and the spirit of piety raises them from their formality. In Germany, Deism baptized with the Christian name is disappearing; the Bible begins to speak again in its own plain language, and its voice is heard. In Ireland the chains of superstition are burst asunder, and thousands are already brought into the liberty of Christ.

On the whole, they who love Jerusalem, may rejoice in her prosperity, and enlargement, and remember the past year, as a year of the right hand of the Most High. To Him let us give all the glory; and to Him let us commit the sacred cause in the year to come, praying that it may disclose still increasing wonders of his power, and advance the church far onward towards her millennial glory.

Boston Recorder,

SHOUTING. Let the reader, before he examines this subject, ask himself, “What is the instrument which the Holy Spirit uses to sanctify the heart of man?' Unless we can find an answer to this question, we never shall be able to investigate the subject of shouting with any degree of profit. Our Saviour prays, “Sanctify them through thy truth. Thy word is truth.” Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterianagree, that truth is the instrument. But let the reader still ask himself seriously, (tor this is an important subject to all the churches) Is there any other instrument? If there is, what is it? I know of no other. If shouting is a duty or a privilege, there must be a proper time for the performance of it. Like other duties or privileges, it ought not to be badly timed. Praying or preaching would sometimes be inexpedient, and out of order. For instance, whilst one is preaching, it would certainly not be the time for another to begin near him. So if we do not keep in view what is the Holy Spirit's instrument for converting sinners, or advancing christians in grace, we never shall be able to fix on the proper time and place to shout.

Whilst one is preaching, what should be the prayer of every christian present? Should it not be that the Holy Spirit might accomps VOL. II.

2

ny some truth delivered to the heart of some sinner present? But if I make such a noise at that time as to intercept the voice of the speaker, and prevent the truth reaching the sinner's ears, or attract his attention from the speaker, I may prevent his conversion!! For mark you, I do not know when the Spirit is going to bless the word. I may be the cause of the eternal loss of more souls than one!!! Hence during serion cannot be the proper time to shout. St. Paul, in I. Cor. xiv. seems very solicitous that not more than one exercise should be carried on at a time, and that every thing should be in order. No doubt it was because he wished that whatever truth was communicated in a psalın or a hymn, or a prayer, should reach the audience, and be heard by them; for if a public prayer, psalm or hymn, was not to be heard and understood by the audience, it might as well be in one language as another. And if hearing and understanding is no object, then no matter how many are rehearsed at the same time—so that I have no hesitation in believing if prayer and praise should be done to edification, then the shouting should be deferred until that part of the worship is over. So that every thing may come in its

proper order. But,' says an advocate for shouting, in this way you are likely to exclude it froin a New Testament church altogether, and yet the multitude spread their garments in the way, and shouted hozannah.' So they did.

But I have no doubt if that multitude had afterward been collected into a christian church, and had formed themselves into a worshipping assembly for purposes of edification, having Paul for their pastor, and had insisted on shouting, he would at least have told them, bone at a time.” *But,' says one, does not David call on the people to make a joyful noise; and in the Old Testament, are not the nations called on to shout, often?' I believe they are, and the hills to clap their hands

. But not near where any one is worshipping God, for there, edifica tion is the object, and the order of the assembly is one thing after another. But if any christian is hurt in conscience, and thinks David's call is an injunction that really ought to be observed in a New Testament church let him take the whole command, and appear there with his psaltery and his dulcimer, and his harp, and his sackbut, and his high sounding cymbaland do the thing in Jewish style

But let not the apostle of the Gentiles hear him, for he has no taste for confusion.

I was once half way inclined to think that a little shouting might be profitable.--I was walking the road with a Baptist preacher whom I loved, and who had much mind and more piety.- I asked him, il luiş feelings were never so tumultuous as to make him feel as though

at once.

« ForrigeFortsæt »