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We propose to close the subject, of the church practically, by remarks of a general character. . *.» 4
It cannot but be the conviction we think, even of a casual observer, that the general drift and scheme of our church, as originally designed is not, neither can it be enforced,—to a great extent it is inoperative—the greater part of the past century has been a continual struggle to carry out a system unsuited to the genius of this country, and the requirements of the church. Rules, regulations and discipline have been relaxed, changed or discarded, from time to time, to meet contingencies, till the church has undergone a very essential alteration. The changes too came reluctantly, and not always in time to serve the purpose for which they were intended.
These circumstances have continued to that degree that the church occupies an anomalous position. It is unlike its prototype and mother in Germany, which here cannot exist, as events have proved, and it is yet not sufficiently Americanized to be adapted to the requirements of a church in this country.
As at present constituted the church seems like a vessel which can contain but a limited quantity of water, and all beyond that overflows and is lost to it. This restricted vessel seems to be the church-property. As many as this will comfortably hold and maintain it will keep, but all over this qnantity must float away. This depletive characteristic not only deprives it of strength and increase, but necessarily has a stagnating influence upon the waters remaining in the reservoir. They lose the healthfulness and vigor derived from activity, change and circulation. The weeds of glothfulness and unfaithfulness spring up to choke and paralize their functions, and hinder them from performing their legitimate operations. It is easier to hush the waves of passion than to rouse the dead sea of indifference.
Under these circumstances a church cannot possess the stimulant of enterprise, the comfort and happiness derived from seeing the kingdom of Christ widened and extended through its influence and exertions, or the pleasure arising from the flourishing condition of all its departments, within and without, successfully engaged in combatting sin " the world, the flesh, and the devil."
A church constituted like ours originally was could succeed only under the juncture of favoring circumstances, such as occurred at the time of its renewal, guided and controlled by a mind of the highest order.
Such was Zinzendorf. He had the power of swaying men's minds, the boldness, determination and persuasiveness that captivates the will. He could inspire enthusiasm, could fan the flame and keep it brightly burning.
. Under such a leader a high state of religious zeal and fervor might be maintained. Institutions, although overstrained and, unnatural might thrive while inspired and governed by such a peculiar, | adequate and predominating influence and genius. But when the enlivening impulse of that mind failed, when the enthusiasm aroused by its stirring actions, noble deeds and self-sacrificing disposition have died out, when its kindling words have ceased to breathe, and burning eye to beam, then will the machinery which it had set in motion and imparted to it life and soul, become impaired, inanimate and lifeless.
The flame which Zinzendorf kindled has become extinguished, the zeal and passions which he raised have burned out and can never, on his system, be rekindled. The sun that warmed them into life has set, and set for ever.
Neither were it possible would it be wise to galvanize, as it were, institutions and systems whose virtues are spent and whose efficacies are burnt out.
Systems which depend for success upon high-wrought emotions, peculiarly constituted and extraordinary minds, upon the genius and commanding intellect which can control masses and sway multitudes can only flourish while under the influence af a mastermind, and it rarely happens that that mind is followed by a successor capable of keeping up the excitement, enthusiasm and prestige necessary for its existence,—that can keep the machine wound up, and yet so tempered as not to exceed the bounds of control and rationality, or run into the extremes of fanaticism.—
Such a genius was Mahomet, such was Cromwell, such Napoleon. How powerful their sway! how capable were they of executing their designs, and how signal the failure as soon as their mighty hands dropped from the helm of affairs!
Such too were John Wesley, and George Fox. Both these men were fathers of systems which have effected vast benefits in England and America, still since their directing and subjugating minds were removed, how have their systems become relaxed, rent and disorganized? While a considerable branch of the one has run into infidelity, that of the other is split up into various parties and Beets, each taking their complexions and direction from those who guide them for the time being. Doubtless those men were pure in their motives and sincere in their zeal, yet the bodies which they founded were not placed sufficiently firm on the Rock of Christ, —there was too much of man's wisdom in their works,—hence the continual dividing asunder, spasmodic efforts at times almost rising to fanaticism,, followed by a reaction of an opposite extreme, and which may end in total disorganization and ruin.
The law of Christ is plain, simple and natural,—it is admirably adapted to the spiritual necessities of man, as well as to his guidance and direction in the every day concerns of life, and if h* alone, unperverted, and allowed free course is sufficient for his salvation.
It bids us not only to " preach the gospel" and win souls, but also to gather the converted into congregations, and, as was the custom of the apostles to establish churches, with order, rules, and discipline, that souls thus won might be kept in folds, under the faithful, watchful and fostering care of appointed shepherds, that they might not stray into the world again and be lost.
The law of Christ is most effectual when carried out in the spirit of the New Testament, in a calm, firm, earnest, suasive and orderly manner, in the obvious and straight forward meaning of its teachings and instructions, without unnatural excitement or tyranizing over the minds and consciences of men, without placing upon them "burdens grevious to be borne," or restrictions debarring them from the ordinary duties and pursuits of life.
There is but one Christ, but one true church, but one law, rule and guide, and which is not confined to time or place, but is meant for all mankind, in all ages present and to come, and if we find our own, or any other denomination of Christians, adapted only to a limited sphere, or to a certain people, we may well suspect that radical errors lie at their foundation.
A. B. C.
STATISTICAL RETURNS of the Brethren!? Congregations in the United States of N. America. Com. Toted.
PROM THE UNITY'S ELDEBS' CONFERENCE.
March 25th to April 22nd, 1854.
1. Br. and sr. Oehler have been called from Nebraska, in our Indian mission, to the country congregation of Hopedale, Bear Nazareth, and br. David Zeisberger Schmidt has been called to Nebraska in their place.
2. Br. and sr. Kieldson, being obliged to return to Europe on account of the health of the former, left Jamaica, Feb. 28th.
8. Br. and sr. Voullaire, called to Tobago, and br. J. Merian, destined for the Danish islands, sailed from London, March 17th, and arrived at St. Thomas, March 31st.
4. Br. Joseph LaTrobe, in a letter of Jan. 26th, mentions the safe arrival of br. Paul Hansen at Melbourne in Australia.
5. Br. Ernest Aug. Lehbart, teacher in the school at Sarepta, has been called to succeed br. Boll as laborer of the single bra's, choir in that congregation.
6. Br. C. H. Goetz, professor in the seminar; at G-nadenfeld, has been called to the presidency of the mission in the Danish West Indies.
7. Br. Alexander von Schweinitz, teacher in the boys' school at Ebersdorf, has been called to take charge of the day school at Herrnhut, and br. Alexander Glitsch, teacher in Niesky, to a similar charge in Sarepta.
8. Sr. Henrietta L. Kjorbee, laboress of the single sisters' choir, at Niesky has been called to the same office at Christiansfeld, in place of sr. Benigna L. Hans, who has been called to be co-laboresi of the choir at Herrnhut.
9. The governess of the girls' school at Kleinwelke, sr. Agnes Wilhelmina von Gavel has Been called to Neudietendorf, as «o
Congregation* in the Southern district.
Friedberg - - - - ,
laboress of the single sisters' choir, and sr. M. Teutach, who has returned from missionary service in South Africa, to be laboress of the widows' choir at Koenigsfeld. 10. Departed this life :—
Uhristians/eld, March 19th, the widow sr. Gertrude M. Stare, formerly engaged with her late husband in the service of the society at Gothenburg, in her 59th year.
, March 24th, the single br. Chrester Lund, formerly miss-'
ionary in Greenland, in his 43d year.
, March 27th, the single sr. Johanna M. Lorenzen, formerly laboress of her choir for many years, in her 83d year.
Br. W. Dickinson having been necessitated by failing health to retire for a season from his active and zealous services at Riseley, br. and sr. Eberle removed thither, March 15th, to supply his place for the present. Br. Dickinson purposes combining a visit to Constantinople with usefulness as a Scripture-reader amongst our troops.
In the following week, br. W. Robbins, of Fulneck school, removed to Bedford, in order to complete his studies for the ministry, under br. England.
On Easter Monday, an interesting meeting of the Teachers and Tract Distributors of our Lancashire Sunday Schools was held at Salem. A numerous company listened with lively attention to the reports read, and the addresses given on that occasion.
It may not be irrelevant to notice the recent appearance in Germany of a very interesting work, entitled "Liturgic Hymns on Scripture Texts, for Private and Social Edification."* The object of this collection will be understood at a glance by the members of the Brethreu's church, and by those Christian friends who are acquainted with the mode in which she has endeavored to comply with the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. iii. 16.) In congregational services, consisting almost entirely of the singing of hymns, or rather of single verses of different hymns, forming a continuous meditation or discourse on some scriptural theme, and giving occasional utterance to the language of praise and prayer, the congregations of the Brethren have been wont, from the earliest times, to contribute to the spiritual instruction and edification of their
* "Liturgische Geeenge ueber Biblische Texte," mr gemeinsehaftlichen and zur privat Brbauung. Gnadau und Leipaic. 1853.