Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and as noxious, as the philanthropist, in his benevolent journey, will ever realize. Mr. F. when he penned these remarks, seems to have forgotten the character of Howard, which he had been just delineating.

Another illustration of the extravagant estimate of means is the expectation of far too much from mere instruction, communicated either privately or from the desk. Mr. F.'s remarks on this subject are striking, and, though perhaps not just to the extent to which he carries them, have, with some alteration, been echoed by many a faithful clergyman. Perhaps in England his remarks may be strictly just. We hear, perhaps because we are so distant, of few revivals of religion in that country. If they are just, they are enough to palsy the exertions of ordinary minds, and cramp those of the most resolute. But to this country they will not apply, without much qualification. Here it is certainly true, that an honest and faithful minister of Jesus Christ rarely toils through life to no purpose. Few dig among the stones and earth continually, without discovering here and there a gem, to set in that "crown of glory which the Lord, the right eous Judge, will give them at his coming." As a general rule it is also true, that the success of clergymen here is somewhat proportioned to the sincerity, the constancy, and the affectionate zeal of their efforts. We hold with Mr. F. the deep rooted corruption of man; we know that sin is the natural growth of the heart, and that this growth is rank and noxious; and are

therefore ready to acknowledge the wildness of those schemers, who expect with their own puny instruments to cut down, at a blow, the growth of half a century. But we still believe, that with weapons of a better temper, and hands nerved with other strength, they may lay low even the proudest trees of the forest. We are therefore unwilling to allow that means have been so unavailing, as Mr. F. would represent.

What would the vener able Vanderkemp, and the followers of the venerable Schwartz, answer, if interrogated on this subject? Or rather, to what do the hundreds of Hottentots and the ten thousands of Hindoos, on the coast of Coromandel, under God, attribute their conversion? And how does the great awakening in the time of President Edwards, and the numerous smaller ones, which have followed it to this time, harmonize with this representation?

Mr. Foster concludes his Essay with mentioning several of those to whom the epithet romantic is often unjustly applied. One of these is the man, who takes high examples for imitation; who contemplates, with emotion, the class of men, who have been illustrious for their wisdom or their excellence ; and keeps them in view as the standard of character. Another is he, who devotes the privileges of the rank to which he belongs, to a mode of excellence, of which the people who compose it never dreamed. He is a third, who makes and inculcates great sacrifices for a purely moral and ideal reward. Another, who thinks himself

bound to realize as far, and as soon as possible, what in theory he approves and applauds. A A fifth, is the man who aims at eminent personal attainments. Since the success of the plan de

pends wholly on himself, it is romantic only when there is some fatal intellectual or moral defect in the mind itself which has adopted it.

To be continued.

Religious Intelligence.

UNITED STATES.

AN ADDRESS TO THE CHURCHES AND CONGREGATIONS OF VERMONT.

THE General Convention of Congregational and Presbyterian Minis. ters in the State of Vermont, (assembled at Middlebury on the Ist day of Sept. 1807) impressed with a sense of the obligation lying on Christians to diffuse the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the glorious doctrines of his gospel; commiserating the case of the many thousands of precious souls in this State and the neighbouring territories, whose situation and circumstances prevent their enjoying those ordinances, which Christ hath appointed for the sanctification, comfort and salvation of men; and being desirous of affording them aid and assistance, formed themselves into a MISSIONARY SOCIETY, and appointed a board of Trustees to prepare the way for carrying into effect the designs of the society. This board was composed of the following persons. Rev. Asa Burton, D. D. Rev. Martin Tullar, Rev. Gershom C. Lyman, Rev. Lemuel Haynes, Rev. Jedidiah Bushnell, Rev. Thomas A. Merrill, Hon. Beriah Loomis, Hon. Elisha Allis, Samuel Miller, Esq. Col. Seth Storrs, Deac. Nathan Cooledge, and Deac. Timothy Boardman. Agreeably to the instructions of the Convention, the Trustees assembled at Cornwall, on the 8th day of October, 1807, and voted to send the following Address to the Churches and Congregations in this State, and parts adjacent.

DEAR BRETHREN AND FRIENds,

WE beg leave to call your attention to a subject, important as the glory of the Saviour; interesting as the salvation of immortal souls.

From the unerring word of prophe. cy we are assured that the glorious kingdom of grace shall, in due time, be extended over the whole earth, and that all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest. But how is this to be effected? By the preaching of the gospel to " every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." This is the great, the principal mean, which Christ bath appointed, for spreading the light of divine truth. When he gave com. mission to his ministers, for the building up of his kingdom, he com. manded them to "go and preach the gospel to every creature." This command, though directed immediate. ly to ministers, necessarily implies an obligation on Christians, to aid them in the work. For, as the state of the world has ever been, and still is, the ministers of Christ cannot execute this command, without the pecuniary assistance of others. Thus the propagation of the gospel was first begun. Those, who had embraced it, enjoyed its institutions and tasted its sweetness, contributed to the support of the apostles, while they went and preached to others.

In this way has the gospel been spread; in this way, no doubt, will it continue to be spread, till "all nations shall see the salvation of God." Within a few years God hath opened the hearts of Christians in a remarkable manner to exert themselves in his cause, and disposed them to "honour the Lord with their substance," by These their liberal contributions. have enabled the messengers of his grace to carry the glad tidings of

salvation into many parts of the world, where the people sat in the "region and shadow of death." Many thousands, who must otherwise have perished in darkness, are now rejoic ing among the ransomed of the Lord, and preparing to sing eternal praises to "Him, who hath redeemed them from the earth."

From a desire to aid on a work so glorious, this society has been formed; and we now earnestly solicit your liberal contributions and fervent prayers. We invite you to "come up to the help of the Lord;" to come forward to the relief of those, who are perishing and know not their danger, nor have any to warn them. If, at the house of the Lord, and the ordinances of the gospel, you find your selves edified, refreshed and comfort. ed, forget not the pious souls, scattered here and there, in new settlements, who are mourning after the Lord, and pass heavily along, "hardly bestead and hungry," because they cannot enjoy the provisions of God's house, those means of quickening and consolation which you enjoy. If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, are you not ready to invite, and solicitous to persuade all to come and taste and see the same goodness? Will you not cheerfully assist others to carry the invitation to those, whom your voices cannot reach ?

Have affecting views of the "glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ," and of the divine plan of salvation, sometimes filled your hearts with joy, and "put a song of praise" into your mouths? Think, what have been your feelings, at such seasons, respecting those who are yet in the "gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity?" Have not your desires and prayers, for their enlightening and conversion, been sincere and ardent? Have you not felt an anxiety, if possible, to do something for their spiritual good? Were these desires improper? Will you not then endeavour to revive them, and embrace the opportunity, now presented of gratifying them, by sending the means of instruction and sanctification to the destitute?

Should the enemy tempt you to withhold your liberality, by suggest ing that some to whom Missionaries are sent, are able to help themselves, if disposed, be pleased to consider

whether the great salvation did not come to our guilty world unsought Whether the Lord did not follow you with the calls and offers of his grace, when you were fleeing from him, and had no desire of acquaintance with him! Had he not done this, what must have been your present condition? "Let the same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Follow the perfect example of your Lord," who went about doing good," remembering that he said, "it is more blessed to give than to receive." If your prayers and alms ascend together, they shall come as a sweet memorial before the Lord, and your charity shall return into your own bosoms, for he who watereth shall be watered himself."

MARTIN TULLAR, Chairman.
THOMAS A. MERRILL, Sect

FOREIGN.

CATHOLIC MISSION IN CHINA.

Translated from the Memorial Europeen of Tuesday, June 2, 1806.

Extract from several Letters written by the Missionaries of the Foreign Missionary Seminary at Paris, dated from the Province of Sutchuen, in China.

THE Christian religion continues to make sensible progress in this province: 5181 heathens have embraced the faith in the course of the last year; 6039 children have been baptised. The infidels come of their own accord to be instructed, and to request books; which we gratuitously distribute among them, in order to acquaint them with both doctrines and morality. The mildness of the government, and the manner in which it conducts itself with respect to the Christians, make us hope to enjoy peace. We have experienced no persecutions under the government of the new emperor. The mandarins no longer receive the denunciations which the Pagans used to bring against us, on account of our religion. Religious assemblies are publicly held, without any interruption from the city governors.

In the district of Tonquin, a Christian, who had refused to give money for the support of a superstitious ceremony, was discharged by the collectors from a silk manufactory, where he gained his living. The newly baptised, vexed to see himself compelled to abandon his trade, entered an action against them. The mandarins gave the verdict in favour of the Christian; and said to his adversaries, "Since the Christians ask you for no money for the exercise of their religion, you have no right to force it from them for yours." In another district, a Christian, having refused to contribute to a comedy, wherein the Pagans made eulogia on their idols, was beaten by the collectors. The affair having been carried before the government of the place, they ordered the collectors to be arrested; and each of them to receive fitteen blows on their feet, for endeavouring, by their private authority, to force the Christians to contribate to a religious ceremony contrary to their consciences. Indeed, the converts hold their assemblies publicly, without any opposition from the government; and religion is preached in all public places and markets, without any obstacle being put in the way by the superintendents. After such a decided toleration there is the greatest reason to hope for an extensive progress to be made here in Christianity, if a sufficient number of evangelical labourers will but come to us, in order to preach in this vast province. It is 300 leagues from east to west, and 320 from north to south. It contains 12 cities of the first order, 19 of the second, and 110 of the

third; and ten others which are call: ed Ting, and are a part of the twelve first: it is divided into four parts, the east, west, north, and south. True religion is nearly equally spread through those four parts, and has made nearly equal progress. In the eastern division are reckoned 117 societies of Christians, 172 in the west, 43 in the north, and 132 in the south. The number of Christians in the whole, amounts to 48,000: whereas in 1785 there were only 24. But, in order to visit and administer to all the converts, an immense tract of country must be traversed, whilst there are, from the seminary at Paris, only four missionaries, comprehending the bishop and nineteen Chinese priests. We are now endeavouring to establish a national clergy. The schools in which the Christian religion is taught are not at all disturbed. The Pagans sometimes request us to admit their children, in order to teach them to read the school writers, and write their characters. We have, in this province, sixty four Christian schools; of which thirty five are boys, and twenty nine girls. It is melancholy to think we cannot increase these institutions; the poverty of the inhabitants generally forbid it. The emperor has sent for two new Lazarist missionaries to Pekin, who left Canton last summer, in order to go to the capital.

By these letters we find that the hordes of rebels, who troubled the empire in 1803, are entirely dispersed; and that the late report of civil war, rumoured abroad by some misinformed merchants, deserves no credit.

Literary Intelligence.

UNITED STATES.

A GENERAL DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

It is well known to the public that Mr. Webster, of New Haven, has been many years engaged in preparing materials for a new Dictionary of our language, to be executed on a plan different from that of any similar

work now extant. As many literary gentlemen, either from inattention to the subject, or from misapprehension of the compiler's views, have questioned the necessity or the utility of such a dictionary; and most unwar

rantable attempts have been made to excite prejudices against the contemplated work, we have obtained a brief statement of the plan of it, and the objects intended to be accomplished by this arduous undertaking.

I. The proposed dictionary is in tended to supply the defects of the English dictionaries. The great improvements which have been made in many branches of knowledge, within the last thirty or forty years, and particularly in the various departments of natural history, as in chemistry, botany, zoology, mineralogy, &c. have introduced into our language many new terms, and essentially varied the application of others; by which means the dictionaries now in use are rendered extremely imperfect.

II. Another object is to correct the errors of the present dictionaries. These are far more in number than men of letters suppose. In orthography, the errors are but few, but some of them too palpable to be overlooked. In definitions, the errors are numerous and important. These have proceeded, Mr. Webster supposes, from Johnson's "mistaking the sense of words used in his author ities, or from his ignorance of etymology. A want of nice discrimination between the senses of words which are apparently synonymous, or which have something common in their signification, has contributed to introduce or perpetuate a misapplication of terms, and much confusion of ideas."

In etymology, Johnson and Bailey, as well as all the other English authors of dictionaries, exhibit, in the view of Mr. Webster, little less than "a tissue of mistakes and imperfections; while the origin and history of our language lie buried in obscurity." In this unexplored field, Mr. Webster labours with great and very commendable diligence; tracing words to their radicals through five, six, and in some cases even ten and twelve different languages. By this means, he is usually enabled to arrive at the primitive idea annexed to a word, and to trace its several applications. This process we consider of great use in ascertaining both orthography and definition; and in explaining difficulties which have embarrassed former lexicographers. It unfolds also

many historical facts, equally curious and interesting. This department of the work, the author supposes, will "require as much labour, as Johnson bestowed on his whole work."

III. Another principal object with the compiler, ts, "to lessen the tax upon men of letters, imposed by the necessity of purchasing several dictiona ries, and especially of purchasing a great deal of useless matter in Johnson's large work." It is believed to be practicable to unite the advantages of all the present dictionaries, and digest the whole work into a form and size, which shall be much less expensive, than even the single dictionary of Johnson, either in quarto or octavo. The plan of the work, now executing, has been laid before the Connecticut academy, and received their approbation.

It is intended to render this work as accurate and complete as possible. For this purpose the manuscript is read to the gentlemen of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, among whom are professors, classical scholars, and professional men of distinction, whose criticisms cannot fail to be very useful, and to render the work, what every such work ought to be, minutely accurate.

This great work, which requires the incessant labour of at least ten years, we are sorry, for our country's honour, to say, is undertaken as Johnson's dictionary was written, "with little assistance of the learned, and without any patronage of the great." So incompetent are the author's resources to the expenses of the undertaking, that we understand he has not been able to procure all the books, which he wishes to consult. But his persuasion of the utility of the work, and his confidence of success, buoy him above despondence; while almost daily discoveries of something interesting in the history and progress of nations, contribute to smooth the rugged path of investigation.

CONNECTICUT ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES.

THIS institution originated at New Haven in the spring of 1799. About twenty gentlemen, among whom were the President of Yale College, and the principal literary characters in the town, associated, formed a plan

« AnteriorContinuar »