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HOW MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL ARE BROUGHT
so amply or punctually provided for as¡ fer somewhat as to the nature and amount they ought to be, through their own fault, of the required evidence of conversion, but and that of the ecclesiastical body to which all agree as to the necessity of having a they belong. Were the duty of support- truly regenerated ministry; it being obviing well the ministry, preached as often ous, that none should preach the Gospel and as plainly as it should be, they would who have not tasted its power, and subbe better provided for. As it is, they are mitted their hearts and lives to its transenabled to live, with great economy, in forming influence. How shall a man who comfort, and a faithful pastor will nowhere does not possess repentance towards be allowed to starve. It is a great matter, God and faith towards our Lord Jesus too, that in no country in the world are Christ,” explain the nature of these to his ministers of the Gospel more respected fellow-men? And how can he who has by the people. A great many of them are not been made to exclaim, “Wo unto me well-educated men, and, with few excep- if I preach not the Gospel!" discharge the tions, possess agreeable manners. Many office of a preacher with that earnest deof them belong to families of the first rank sire for the glory of God his Saviour, and in the country ; * and as they can at least for the eternal welfare of men, which alone give their children a good education, with can be approved in heaven, or be successthe advantages of which, as well as of a ful on earth? A regenerated and devoted good character, and the good name of their ministry must be the first of ali earthly fathers, they are almost invariably pros- blessings to a church, and it is the only perous, and often form alliances with the instrument that can effectually secure the wealthiest and most distinguished families morals of a community, and the stability in the country.
of a government. In these sentiments I feel assured all evangelical Christians in the United States will concur. No great
er curse could, in their opinion, befall a CHAPTER VI.
church, next to the abandonment of the true Gospel, than to have an unconverted
ministry thrust upon it; and, indeed, the FORWARD, AND HOW THEY BECOME SETTLED latter evil would soon be followed by the
former. All denominations of evangelical Chris- Pious youths are brought forward to the tians in the United States hold it to be of ministry in various ways. Such persons the highest and most solemn importance, are sometimes found in the situation of that no man should enter the holy minis- apprentices to mechanical trades, or of try without well-founded scriptural evi- clerks, or shopmen, or following the plough dence to his own mind and conscience, on their father's farm. The pasior, or that he is " called of the Holy Ghost" to some member of the church to which they take that office upon him; nor is he admit- belong, having discovered their talents, ted to it until he has satisfied the proper may think these might be employed to adauthorities of the church to which he be- vantage in the ministry, instead of being longs of the manifestation of that “call,” | buried in such engagements. But their and of his possessing, in addition to an un
own desires should first be ascertained, blemished character, the talents and ac- and should they be found longing to proquirements necessary to his being a com- claim a crucified Saviour to the world, petent expounder of God's Word. they ought to be encouraged, while cher
For a man to take upon himn this sacred ishing this feeling, to put themselves into and responsible office merely that he may a position for finding and following the obtain an honourable place in society, or will of God. gain a decent livelihood, would be held in It is probably at the prayer-meeting, the the highest degree wrong, dangerous to his Sabbath-school, or the Bible-class, of which own soul, and ruinous to the spiritual inter- I shall have occasion to speak at large hereests of all who might be committed to his after, that the character and abilities of charge. Evangelical Christians may dif- such young persons oftenest show them* I could mention, were it proper, many instances Church have come forth great numbers of
selves; and from these nurseries of the of this. One or two I may state without violating the rules of propriety. No man stood higher in Amer- men who are now engaged in the minisican society than the late General Van Rensselaer, try throughout the United States. Many of Albany. One of his sons is labouring as a faithful young men, also, who have entered our colSouthard, of New Jersey, was a man of distinguished leges with other views, become converted talents, who had raised himself to the highest offices there, and are called to preach the Gospel. in the government of his native state, as well as in When a pious youth of promising talents, that of the Union, and died Vice-President of the and with a strong bent to the ministry, is same. One of his sons is a most worthy rector of found without the requisite education, or an Episcopal church in New.Jersey. Mr. Southard, the means of obtaining it, he is recom I judge from the name, which is common in France, Was of Huguenot origin.
mended to the Education Societies, which
have proved a great blessing to our church- , satisfaction, the congregation agree to call es; and when approved of, he is carried him to be their pastor, in doing which they through the course of instruction which must proceed according to the established the church to which he belongs requires rules of the religious body to which they in all who would enter the ranks of its belong. Thus, in the Presbyterian Church, ministers.
no call to become pastor of a vacant church The process is much shorter in those can be presented to any one without the churches which, without exacting a course consent of the Presbytery within whose of classical and scientific education at col- | bounds the vacancy has taken place; nor lege, or the regular divinity course of a can it be accepted without the consent of theological school, require only a well- the Presbytery to which the minister who grounded knowledge of the Scriptures in has received it belongs. the English tongue, and of the doctrines In the Congregational churches of Newwhich they contain. After a suitable ex- England, the practice in calling a pastor amination on the part of the proper church has been for the church or body of the authorities, the candidate is permitted to communicants to make out a call, and for exercise his gifts for a season, in order to this to be followed by another from the ascertain whether he is likely to prove an whole congregation, or, rather, from the acceptable and useful preacher; and if the males who contribute towards the support result be favourable, he receives full ordi- of public worship, the amount of the profnation from the proper quarter.
fered salary being stated in the latter call. Among the Methodists, the preachers In the Presbyterian, and most other churchspring from the Classes, as they are called. es, each pewholder, or each head of a famAt the meetings of these companies of ily who subscribes towards the pastor's salprofessed believers and inquirers, the gra- ary for himself and household, and others ces and gifts of pious young men are most who subscribe only for themselves, are alcommonly discovered. In due time they lowed a voice in the call. Such is the are brought forward to the quarterly meet- more common practice, and yet there are ing of all the classes of the district. They Presbyterian churches in which none but are there recommended to the notice of members that are communicants can vote the presiding elder, and by him are au- in calling a pastor. If the people are to thorized to teach and preach for a time, be allowed a voice in calling their pasbut not to administer the ordinances of tors, it will be found difficult to withhold baptism and the Lord's Supper. After that right from those who, though not ward they receive ordination from the communicants, contribute as much, and hands of the bishop, first as deacons, and perhaps more, than those who are. Nor subsequently as presbyters or priests, and in a church and congregation in which the are employed to preach the Gospel, either people have been well instructed in the as travelling or stationed ministers. In the truth, and where religion prospers, does Congregational Churches, young men are any evil of much consequence commonly consecrated to the ministry by a council result from such an extension of the right of ministers, commonly called an asso- of voting on such occasions. For when ciation;" among the Presbyterians, by a men have been faithfully instructed in the presbytery; among the Episcopalians, by Gospel, it is found that even the uncona bishop.
verted will readily join in calling an effiIn all the churches of the United States, cient minister, even although he be not except the Methodists and Roman Catho- only orthodox, but very zealous and faithlics, the pastors are chosen by the people ful. Such men have sufficient discriminato whom they preach. Among the Metho- tion to know, and often they will say it, dists they are appointed by the Annual Con- that if ever they are to become the reliference, at which a bishop presides, regard gious men they hope one day to be, they being had to the wishes which may be ex- need a faithful pastor to secure that great pressed by the people in favour of certain blessing. Such men have sense enough ministers, as peculiarly fitted, in point of to know that a light-minded, worldly, cold character and talents, for specific localities. preacher of the Gospel is not likely to The appointment of the priests to their re- prove a blessing to them or their families. spective churches among the Roman Cath- But when church and congregation have olics rests wholly with the bishops. long been hearing “another Gospel,” have
When a church belonging to any of the become hardened in error, and strongly atother denominations loses its pastor, by tached to damnable heresies, it were abhis death or removal to some other place, surd to expect the unconverted to prefer inquiry is first made for some one not yet and seek for a faithful minister. Such a settled, or who, if settled, would not ob- state of things should not be allowed to ject to change his charge, and who, it is occur. And then, with respect to all dethought, would prove acceptable to the nominations that have a government enflock. The person fixed upon is invited to compassing and controlling the churches preach a few times, and should he give connected with them, there is, in the last
resort, a power to prevent the settlement within their own bounds with the preachof unworthy ministers in the churches un- ing of the Gospel, as well as to help in sendder their care.
ing it to other parts of the country.
Two societies were formed, likewise, for
the same object, among the Presbyterians
and Reformed Dutch in the city of New
IN York, about the year 1819, and these supHOME Missions.-AMERICAN HOME MISSION-ported a goodly number of missionaries,
chiefly in the new and feeble churches in Thus much has the voluntary principle the state of that name. In 1826 they were done for the longest-settled and most united into one body, and now form the densely-peopled parts of the country. Let American Home Missionary Society.* us now see what it does for new and thin
This society, from its very outset, has ly-peopled regions, where hundreds of new advanced with great vigour, and been dicongregations are rising annually, without rected with singular zeal and energy. At the means of maintaining the institutions its first meeting in 1827, it reported that of the Gospel by their own efforts. Such in the course of the year that had closed churches are to be found not only in the it had employed 169 ministers, who had new settlements of the Far West, but also laboured in 196 congregations and missionin the growing villages of the East. ary districts. Its receipts for the same
This inability to support the public period amounted to 20,031 dollars. This preaching of the Gospel often arises from auspicious commencement must be asthe number of sects to be found in new cribed to its having assumed all the ensettlements, and even in some districts of gagements of the Domestic Missionary Sothe older states. In this respect diversity ciety, out of which it sprang. The Society of sects sometimes causes a serious though soon drew into affiliation with it all the temporary evil, not to be compared with State Domestic Missionary Societies of the advantage resulting from it in the long New-England, some of which, such as run. It is an evil, too, which generally those of Massachusetts and Connecticut, becomes less and less every year in any were of long standing and well estabgiven place; the little churches, however lished. weak at first, gradually becoming, through It would be interesting to trace the histhe increase of population, strong and in- tory of an institution which has been so dependent, and what is now an evil disap- much blessed to a vast number of new and pearing, or, rather, as I hope to prove, be- poor churches throughout all the states ing converted into a blessing.
and territories of the American ConfederaThe most obvious way of aiding such cy. But we can only present a summary feeble churches is, to form societies for of its operations at two epochs, during the this express object among the older and sixteen years that it has been distributing more flourishing churches in the Atlantic blessings with a liberal hand. States. This has been done, and in this In the year ending May 1st, 1835, the the voluntary principle has beautifully developed itself, particularly during the last and others, which do not comprise all the religious
* The epithet American, employed by this society fifteen years. It began with some denom- denominations, has been greatly objected to as sainations not long after the Revolution; and vouring of arrogance, and as if intimating that the early in this century we find missionary whole of America belonged to them exclusively as a societies formed among the Congregation- field of labour. Such an idea probably never
enteral churches of Massachusetts and connec-ed the minds of those who use the word in the de
nomination of their societies. All that they mean in ticut, for the purpose of sending ministers employing it is, to signify that the field to which to “the West,” that is, the western part of their attention is directed is not a single state, or a the State of New-York.* The “Far West” few states, but the whole country. The American to them was the northern part of Ohio, Home Missionary Society embraces the orthodox
Congregational churches in New-England and out which was then beginning to be the resort of it, the New School Presbyterians, and, to some of emigrants. The faithful men sent by extent, the Reformed Dutch, Lutheran, and German these societies into the wilderness were Reformed Churches. greatly blessed in their labours, and to
+ These societies, in a great degree, manage their them, under God, many of the now flour- who labour within their bounds, and pay over the
own affairs, appoint and support the missionaries ishing churches of those regions owe their surplus of their collections, if they have any, to the existence. Missionary societies were sub- American Home Missionary Society. If they need sequently formed in the other New-Eng- help from that society at any time, they receive it. land States, for supplying destitute places ployed sixty-eight missionaries (four fifths of all the
In the year 1843 the Maine Missionary Society em* I have seen the maps which some of these pio- Congregational churches in that state were planted neer missionaries made of the portions of the State by this society); that of New Hampshire, forty-sevof New-York which lie west of Albany, in the years en'; that of Vermont, fisty-three; that of Massachu1796–97. What is now a densely-settled country setts, seventy-eight; that of Connecticut, thirty-nine; was then almost a terra incognita. At present, the and that of Rhode Island, three; making, in all, 289 West, or frontier country, is about a thousand miles missionaries sustained in young and feeble churcheswest of Albany, instead of lying just beyond it. in the six New-England States.
society employed 719 agents and mission up the deficiency in the missionary's salaaries. Of these, 481 were settled as pas- ry. Thus they are stimulated and encourtors, or employed as “stated supplies,” in aged to help themselves, and as soon as single congregations; 185 extended their they can walk alone, if I may use the exlabours to two or three congregations pression, the Society leaves them for otheach, and fifty were employed on larger ers which have been just organized, and districts. In all, 1050 congregations, mis- which need assistance. In this way hunsionary districts, and fields of agency, were dreds of congregations have been built up, thus supplied in whole or in part. The and hundreds are at this moment emerging persons added to the churches under the from the weakness of childhood into the care of the Society's missionaries that vigour of youth and manhood. In no case, year were estimated at 5000 ; namely, 1700 however, does the Society do anything toby letters of recommendation from other wards the erection of church edifices. The churches, and 3300 by examination on people must find these for themselves, and profession of their faith. Several of the this they willingly do. The cheapness of churches were reported to have been materials in the new settlements, and in blessed with seasons of more than ordina- the villages of the interior, renders it easy ry interest in religion ; in the Sunday- to erect such houses as will suffice until schools attached to them there were about the flock gathers strength, and can do 40,000 scholars, and about 12,000 persons something more. attended the Bible-classes. The number The Society engages, in some cases, of persons who had joined the temperance men of talent and experience to travel over associations had reached 70,000. The ex- a given district, and to ascertain at what penditure amounted to 83,394 dollars ; the points the people attached to one or other receipts to 88,863.
of the denominations which it represents Let us now turn to what was done by might, with proper efforts, be formed into the Society in the year ending 1st May, congregations. The labours of such agents 1843. During that year it had 848 mis- are of the utmost importance, and they sionaries and agents, of whom 623 had been necessarily receive their whole salaries in its service the preceding year, and 225 from the Society. were employed for the first time. These It is a beautiful feature in our institumen laboured in all the States and Terri- tions for domestic missions, that while entories of the Union ; a few, also, in Cana- couraging and stimulating new and feeble da, and one in Texas. The number of Pres- congregations to do their utmost to secure byterian and Congregational churches in for themselves the regular enjoyment of Iowa and Wisconsin* had been greatly aug- Gospel ordinances,* they cultivate the kindmented in the course of the year by the feelings of churches in the older parts Society's means. The number of congre- of the country, and more favourably situagations and missionary stations occupied ted. Many of the latter support one miswas 1047, and the Sunday-schools and Bi. sionary, and some of them several each, in ble-classes, under the direction of the mis- the new and destitute settlements, through sionaries, were attended by 68,400 persons. the agency of the American Home Mission In 308 congregations the sum of 13,000 Society. Nay, there are juvenile societies dollars had been collected for religious and in the Sunday-schools that support each benevolent societies, and many of the feeble of them one, and some even two or three churches had contributed largely for them, missionaries, if not more. Individuals are in aid of missions to the heathen. There to be found in the Atlantic States who had been revivals in 233 churches, and support a missionary each, and thus preach 6858 conversions were reported as their the Gospel, as they say, " by proxy." Still fruits. And it was estimated that there more, there are persons in New-York and were 146,000 members of temperance so- other cities, who have each paid the entire cieties in the fields of the Society's opera- salary and travelling expenses of an agent tions. The disbursements of the society labouring in a large district. One of these, were 107,823 dollars ; the receipts 100,804. with whom I have long been acquainted, a
The plan pursued by this society, and hatter, of by no means great fortune, who by all the other societies and boards es- works with his hands at the trade, gave tablished for the promotion of home mis- 600 dollars for years to support one such sions, is never to support a missionary at labourer in Ohio. Beautiful as this is, it its sole charges, if it can be avoided ; but is perhaps a finer sight still to see churches to give 100, or 150, or 200 dollars, rarely and congregations, which were aided by more than 100 or 120, to a young and fee- the Society in their day, now in their turn ble church, or two congregations near to bearing a part, if not the whole expense each other, on condition of their making of a missionary labouring in a congrega
* In the autumn of the year which is just termi- tion not yet emerged from the feeble state nated (1843), this society sent thirty-eight young and * It is believed that the churches aided by the well-educated ministers of the Gospel into the Ter- Society raise, in one way and another, nearly three ritories of Wisconsin and Iowa.
times as much as they receive!
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE GENERAL
which they once were in themselves. And fathers, and the children, and the children's there are now many such throughout the children, through many generations, and to United States.
send out their influences to the ends of the In 1805 there was scarcely a Presby- world. The organization, or resuscitation terian or Congregational church in the dis- of a church--Heaven's own institutiontrict now covered by the seventeen most that may stand through all.coming time, westerly counties of New-York. A few and bring its multitudes of redeemed ones missionaries were sent thither at different to glory, is a great event. And to plant times, but the increase was small until the such churches, wherever there are souls Agency for Home Missions, now in con- to be gathered into them, our country over, nexion with the American Home Mission and nurture them till they no longer need ary Society, was established there in 1826. our aid, but become our most efficient felNow there are on this field 380 Presbyte- low-labourers in hastening forward the unirian and Congregational churches, contain- versal reign of the Son of God, is surely a ing, it is supposed, 30,000 communicants. GREAT WORK! And yet, this is the work During the fifteen years of its operations, in which infinite condescension and mercy the American Home Missionary Society permits us, as friends of home missions, has aided 264 of those churches, and nearly to engage, and some of which it is our 100 of them are now able to sustain the privilege here to record.” Gospel without assistance. The churches have nearly doubled since 1826, and the communicants have probably trebled. Such is the wonderful work God has wrought in
CHAPTER VIII. this section of the state. Such has been the triumph of the Gospel. It is indeed PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF DOMESTIC MISSIONS, the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
Passing by other facts showing the col- PRESBYTERIANISM owes its foundation in lateral good accomplished by this effort to the United States chiefly to persons who plant the Gospel in Western New-York, had been exiled from Scotland on account we mention, that many of the foreign mis- of their religious principles, and to Presbysionaries are the sons of those churches. One terian emigrants from the north of Ireland. of them is now pastor of a church at the These were joined in many places by setSandwich Islands of 7000 members, prin- tlers from New England, who had no obcipally gathered through the blessing of jections to unite with them in forming God on his labours. Besides repaying the congregations on Presbyterian principles. parent society more than $60,000 expend- Presbyterians of Scottish and Irish origin ed on this field, those churches have given coalesced in other places with Huguenots $40,000 to send the Gospel to the more from France, and with colonists originally destitute beyond them. Nor is this all ; of the Dutch or German Reformed Churchthey have been most generous helpers of es. Thus did Presbyterian congregations every good cause. In 1839, this small part begin to be formed towards the close of the of a state, where home missions have been seventeenth century. The first preachers vigorously sustained, paid to the American were from Scotland, Ireland, and NewBoard of Foreign Missions $14,000. England. They were few in number at
We conclude our notice of this society first, and were often invited to preach in by giving the following extract from its neighbourhoods where some resident PresFourteenth Annual Report :
byterians might desire to hear the Gospel “ The results, indeed, of that mysterious preached by men of the same religious and wonder-working influence which a God principles with themselves. of grace exerts through the ministry of The first presbytery was constituted in reconciliation, and which he connects with 1705, and the first synod in 1716. After the missionary enterprise, all surpass finite that the work of home missions began to comprehension. While the missionaries acquire greater consistency. Ministers are preaching Christ and Him crucified to were sent out on preaching tours among the living, they are laying broad and deep the small Presbyterian flocks, or, rather, the foundations of many generations; they scattered groups of Presbyterian families, are setting in motion trains of moral influ- particularly in the Middle and Southern ences, which will not cease when they are provinces. In 1741, the synod was divided dead; they are kindling up lights in Zion, into two bodies, one retaining the old name which will shine brighter and brighter unto of Synod of Philadelphia, the other calling the perfect day. Churches, that were near itself the Synod of New-York. The forunto death, are quickened, and become able mer, soon after being constituted, had its atof themselves to sustain the Gospel, and to tention drawn, "not only to the wants of hand down its blessings to those who shall the people within their immediate bounds, come after them. New churches are or- but to those also of the emigrants who ganized, to throw open their portals to the were rapidly extending themselves through