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imagined character and influence. His wife was called “the message of evil,”_his daughter, who kept the infernal world, was named Hell, her abode " Grief,” her couch “ Disease,” her table “Hunger," her messengers " Lethargy and Delay.”
It was believed that the powers of darkness would prevail, finally, over those of light, and acquire supreme control throughout the universe: that they would then exterminate the iniserable race of man, annihilate the world, assail and penetrate the abodes of bliss, destroy the souls of the righteous, and overwhelm the benevolent deities themselves. From this terrible catastrophe they supposed that only two individuals should escape, and that with them the whole work of creation would be once more commenced.
The Christian heart, smitten with the horrors of this dreadful creed, bleeds for the wretchedness of its disciples. What deep and unmitigated distress must have been the lot of the poor Scandinavian, who, in this world, found himself, as he supposed, persecuted by the malice of the gods of cruelty,-harassed with disease, misfortune, and every other form of human suffering, and then looked forward, at the best, to a transient reward, in a heaven from which he was soon to be expelled, and his mournful course closed in the gulf of annihilation! Such a faith as this, only adds to the miseries of life : it is a curse instead of a blessing; and yet hundreds of thousands, of our very ancestors, perished under its dreadful prevalence.
And now, cannot we turn from these sad spectacles, “ with joy unspeakable,” to our heaven-born doctrine of the providence of God;-to the belief that our heavenly Father directs, in infinite love, the whole course of events;—that not a sparrow, nor a hair of our heads, falls to the ground unnoticed;—that what we call affliction, as well as prosperity, is intended to operate in such a manner upon our spiritual character, as to fit us for the joys to come, by a purification, as it were, of both fire and water; and thus by virtue of the grace of the Gospel, work out for us “a far more exceeding and eterpal weight of glory?'
By our faith “the victim of sorrow is assured that God exercises his parental wisdom and kindness in afflicting his children; that this necessary discipline is to refine and exalt them, by making them partakers of his holiness; that he mercifully regards their weakness and pains, and will not let them suffer beyond what they shall be able to bear; that their great Leader has suffered for them more than they can suffer: that this short life was not meant so much to give them joy, as to prepare them for it; and that patient constancy shall receive a resplendent crown."*
Had not revelation informed us that “those whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth,” we might have learned, from both experience and observation, the sweet uses of bitter afflictions, which, like unpleasant medicine, produce healing to our moral natures,
# Jobn Foster.
and purify the soul. Had we never been informed, that “it is better to go to the house of mourning, than the house of feasting, we might not have become aware, that such is human nature, the brightest excellence, and the loftiest virtue, cannot be learned or acquired, except in the school of affliction. That, even as the purple wine gushes not forth, until the grape be crushed, --so the full capacity of our fellow-men for excellence, is never developed, except by the crushing force of sorrow: that, as the richest odors exhale their fragrance, only when the vessel that contains them is broken, so the heart of man sheds not its full measure of virtue, except when broken and contrite before God. Such being the fact, we find no difficulty in considering even calamity a blessing and the scourge of sorrow a benefit, to such as know how to un derstand and improve them.
The word of God enforces the teachings of experience and observation, respecting the uses of affliction; while it informs us of a certainty, that affliction is of God, and is not merely calculated, but intended, to elevate the soul above the vanities of earth and time, and teach it to lay up for itselftreasures in heaven. Through the deepest darkness, and the blackest cloud, -nay, in them, the believer in scripture beholds the revelation of a benevolent and beneficent Being, breaking upon the eye of faith, as bursts the star-light upon the vision of the wandering mariner storm-tossed on an unknown ocean. In every sigh of distress, in every groan from the racked bosom of pain, he hears " the still small voice" of God, whispering in tones of heavenly melody, "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son that he receiveth! Thus beholding, hearing and believing, the Christian is ready to exclaim,
“ In every joy that crowns my days,
In every pain I bear,
Or seek relief in prayer!'
“ In vain we tmne our forinal songs;
lo vain we strive to rise:Hosannas languisli on our tongues,
And our devotion dies!” But it is far more easy to give a full assent to the proposition that God's afflictive providences are intended for our religious good, than to learn from each one of them, as they occur, the particular lesson which our Father would have us derive therefrorn. That it is important for us to arrive at this knowledge, will be manifest to any one who will state in plain terms the truth of our doctrine. In plain terms that doctrine is—" that God is, day by day, making to us a revelation of his holy will!”
Tremendous thought ! The dazzling vision of His glorythe shechinah—which was revealed to his ancient priesthood, is not, indeed, before our eyes: but, nevertheless, the Omnipotent Jehovalı is, daily, addressing us. From the clouds and darkness which surround his throne, comes his reverend voice; and yet how regardless are we of his messages, how deaf to his communications!
Thou, God, seest us,” is the living truth, and enters into the belief of every pious man: but vastly more solemn is the truth “ Thou, God, art, day by day, and hour by hour, revealing to us thy holy will!"
We shall leave to our readers the duty of applying to their respective cases the above truth,-hoping that to them will never be addressed the awful declaration—"I have called, and ye have resused: I have stretched out my arm, and ye have not regarded; and, behold! now will I laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh!
J. A. B.
BAPTIST PERIODICALS IN THE UNITED STATES.
New York, N. Y.
Utica, N. Y.
Newburn, N. C.
Charleston, S. C.
Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pioneer and Western Baptist, Rock Spring, Illinois. The average circulation of these journals, is about 1500 copies. The price of the American Baptist Magazine, is $1.50 per annum. The price of the weekly papers, equal in size to the most respectable political papers, is generally $2.50, or $2.00 per annum. The Treasury circulates over 3000 copies.
TO THE BAPTIST CHURCHES IN THE EASTERN STATES.
At a quarterly meeting of the Executive Committee of the Western Baptist Educational Association, held this day at the Baldwin Room.
Resolved, That the Corresponding Secretary be requested to prepare a Circular, calling the attention of young people in Baptist Churches in the Eastern States, to the inportance of furnishing the mighty West, with the means of instruction; and that it be signed officially in bchalt of this Committee.
JONA. ALDRICH, Rec. Sec. Boston, Dec. 1, 1834.
Dear Christian friends;-In conformity to the preceding resolution, permit me to address you in behalf of the Executive Committee of the Western Baptist Educational Association, on the importance of Education to the Western States,-a subject deeply interesting to us all, both as American citizens, and Christian philanthropists.
The ample valley of the Mississippi, embracing two thirds of the territory of the United States, and numbering already more than four millions of inhabitants, presents a most inviting field of intellectual and moral culture. The destitution of this fair portion of our country has often been exposed to the public view; but it is believed, that it has not yet made that deep impression on the religious community, which it should have done.
The God of nature has most liberally spread out his bounty over this section of our land; and by the salubrity of its clime, and the luxuriance of its soil, thousands from all parts of the Union, and from almost every country in Europe, are induced to settle on its fertile plains.
While these extensive States and territories are increasing in population with rapidity unparallelled in the history of a new couniry, their moral and literary improvement has by no means kept pace with their growth. The small number of schools in the West is truly lamentable; and the ignorance and vice in which the children grow up, is the necessary and sad consequence. In the populous States of Ohio, and Kentucky, it appears, from authentic accounts, that one third of the children are entirely destitute of education. In the state of Indiana, which now numbers almost half a million, not more than one third of the youth under 21 years are capable of reading; and in the State of Illinois, the very garden of the West, we are assured that “ not one female in ten in the whole State CAN READ.
Other portions of this wide-spread vale are equally and even more destitute. How affecting to think of hundreds of thousands of the dear youth, the hope of our country, growing up in ignorance and vice, with none to care for them, or to open to them the
stores of knowledge, and instruct them in the great things which relate to their future welfare!
The hundreds of rapidly rising villages in this western land, offer the most advantageous openings for the establishment of schools of every grade; where young men and women, of competent attainments and ardent piety, might obtain situations, in which they could accomplish, it is presumed, a larger amount of good than in any other capacity. They would be cordially received by many generous individuals, who are anxious to see the West eles vated to a participation in the improvements so amply enjoyed in the East.
When we consider the worthy enterprize in which multitudes are engaged, in sending the gospel to the heathen abroad; and their labor to instruct the children of the red men of the Western wilds, - we are ready to ask, Shall four millions of our own citizens in the very heart of our country, be overlooked? Shall more than a million of children, who will have a voice in the councils of the nation, and whose impress must be stamped upon future generations, be almost entirely neglected? Patriotism and religious principles both forbid it.
The efforts made by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, in behalf of the west, are praiseworthy: but the field is wide, and calls for additional laborers. In the West, there are a thousand destitute Baptist churches, and more than a thousand towns and villages, where there is no stated worship. Could schools be established in these places, and the children be instructed through the week, and collected on the Sabbath for a Sabbath school exercise, incalculable good might be expected to result. The Missionary Society can send forth only ordained ministers: but the business to which we invite you, is a service in which young men, and young women, as teachers of schools, may engage with great promise of usefulness. It is presumed there are youth in almost all our churches, who are qualified to instruct, and who feel solicitous to be useful to their fellow-creatures, by aiding in the diffusion of light and knowledge: to such the appeal is now solemnly made.
Dear brethren and sisters, we beseech you to lay this subject upon your consciences, and ask yourselves, is not this the path of duty, which Divine Providence is pointing for me to pursue? Do you wish to promote the present and future interest of your fellowbeings? Have you an ardent desire to serve your country in the best possible way? Hear, then, the cry from the Western Valley, and go over and help them.
Teachers are wanted to commence classical, as well as common and primary schools; persons who have had some experience in teaching, and who are acquainted with Sabbath schools, and Bible classes, are particularly requested to offer themselves for this important and interesting work. All communications should be addressed to the Corresponding Secretary, at Cambridgeport, (Mass.)