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have quite as much title to be called ministers, as the lower classes of dissenting teachers in England. Many of them Jabor, to be sure, through the week, and it cannot be expected that their sermons should generally evince much knowledge, or talent; but we see no reason why a husbandman, or a mechanic, in our new settlements, should not preach as well as the same classes of men on the banks of the Thames. If we have preachers, who cannot read their Bibles without difficulty, so have the English. Many of the most ignorant preachers have learned, insensibly if you please, to express themselves with some propriety, in reference to many great truths of religion; such as, the judgment to come, the sinfulness of man, the misery consequent upon sin, the need of a radical change of heart, the freeness of salvation, the power, and glory and faithfulness of Christ; and if some ignorant preachers teach crude notions, utterly subversive of the Gospel, it is not to be forgotten, that some of the most learned men have done the same. We do not mean to apologize for ignorance and presumption, when we say, that there are African slaves, who, though they cannot read English, can give a very connected and intelligible account of the Gospel, have hopefully experienced its power on their own hearts, and can exhort their fellows, in a very solemn manner, to flee from the wrath to come, Though we should not choose these persous for the spiritual guides of a country, or a neighborhood, we should prefer their ministrations to those of the Romish clergy-the clergy of Spain for instance. Scarcely one of them could be found, in whose instructions we should not have more confidence, than in those of the Primate of Spain, though he may be a very learned man, and enjoy his great income of more than five hundred thousand dollars a year. The reason is obvious; in a Protestant country, where the Bible is read in the vernacular tongue, and where seriously disposed people have heard some good preaching, much correct religious knowledge is diffused among the common people. In papal countries the darkness pervades all classes.
But to return to England: a writer of the established church undertook to prove, several years ago, by a laborious examination of facts, that in London and the vicinity, a population of more than 800,000 souls, out of the 1,100,000 who inhabit that great eity and the suburbs, cannot receive religious instruction, at any or all the churches and chapels of the establishment, for the simple reason that there is no room for them. And when it is considered how very empty the churches generally are, we shall not wonder at the opinion of travellers, that only a small part of the people of London attend public worship reguJarly. It is far from an extravagant supposition, that more than 600,000 immortal beings, within six miles of St. Paul's, never think of attending public worship of any kind. Most of them have no means of getting a seat in any church or meeting house; they have no inclination to hear any thing about religion; the Sabbath is to them a day ef amusement; and unless God interposes, in a most extraordinary manner, there is no reason to hope, that they will ever hear the Gospel. In all the great manufacturing towns of Great Britain a similar state of things exists; and in Ireland the case is incomparably worse.
Judging from such materials as we had at command, we formed the opinion sometime ago, that our countrymen are better supplied with the means of grace, (reckoning our whole black population) than the inhabitants of the British islands. After this opinion was deliberately formed, we endeavored to ascertain whether it was correct or not, by inquiring of two gentlemen, one a clergyman the other a layman, who had recently travelled in Great Britain and Ireland. They said, without hesitation and very confidently, that it was correct; and were able to state an iminense multitude of facts to prove it.
The English have many more learned men, than we have in this country; they leave us far behind in literature, and in all the sciences, except theology. They leave us far behind in the arts also. But they are not the superiors of our countrymen in activity, energy, ingenuity, or perseverance. It must be admitted, besides, that there are more readers; more persons, who take a lively interest in books, and will make sacrifices to obtain them; not only in Great Britain, but in Germany and Switzerland also, than in the United States. This is rather a bumiliating admission; and the fact is hard to be accounted for, as nearly our whole population are taught to read, and common school learning is by no means so universal in the countries just mentioned.
Our countrymen, as a body, are more able to purchase books, than any I other people in the world; yet an immense proportion of them never
read any thing but newspapers, after they leave school. Did the occasion permit, we should gladly state some facts, in regard to the great number of readers, in Great Britain, Germany, and Holland. We have made this digression merely to show, that while we would not willingly see the people of the United States degraded by a comparison not founded in truth, we are not blind to their faults and deficiencies.
The comparison to which we have alluded, as liaving been made in some publications so entirely to the disadvantage of our country, is very injurious to us abroad. It leads the English to think, that, instead of being able to send missionaries to the heathen, we almost need missionaries from other parts of Christendom; whereas the fact is, that no portion of the church is so able to spare both men and money for the conversion of the heathen world, as that portion which God has planted and sustained, in these trans-atlantic regions.
To proceed; we think the Directors place too much reliance on college catalogues, as giving an account of nearly all educated ministers. Doubtless these catalogues are valuable sources of information, and as such should be accurately consulted; but there are many clergymen in this country, some of them distinguished for learning and ability, who were never members of a college. Of these some have been self-taught, and others have enjoyed a regular and thorough education. We have been told, that the Lutheran churches, in the middle and western states, number more than a hundred clergyinen; and it is supposed, that few of their names are found on a college catalogue, though a regular thcological education is required. There are various other classes of the clergy, in this country, who educate their young men for the ministry in their own circles.
We think the following paragraplı tends to mislead all readers, who are not particularly acquainted with the state of our western country.
“The states of Indiana, Mississippi, and Louisiana, with the Territories of Alabama, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri, contain a population of about 350,000, and nearly the same number of square miles as the whole of Europe, with the exCeption of the Russian Empire. Yet in this vast region, which is becoming populous and wealthy, with unexampled rapidity, we cannot ascertain after much inquiry, that there are more than 17 competent and stated preachers of the Gospel; that is, less than one to 20.000 souls. And it is affecting to learn, that such important places as Mobile, Blakely, Fort Claiborne, Huntsville, Madison ville, Baton Rouge, and Natchitoches, which are becoming seats of enterprise and influence to this new world, have no Christian teachers of any denomination." Pp. 13, 14.
Many readers would suppose, from this representation, that a population of 350,000 souls were scattered over a territory, as large as all Europe except Russia. But more than ninety-nine hundredtiis of the Missouri territory, as it stood at the time of publishing this Report, was not settled by wliites at all. Not a tenth part of Illinois, not a fifth part of Indiana, not a twentieth part of Alabama, or Mississippi, is inhabited by whites. There is no propriety, therefore, in speaking of the square miles of these great states and territories, in reference to their present population, which is scattered along the banks of great rivers, and at the inouths of harbors, but penetrates but little into the interior. That there is a great want of able teachers in these newly settled regions cannot be doubted; and it is distressing indeed to learn, that the rising villages here mentioned have not in each a laborivus, enlightened, and faithful minister, It would be a mistake, however, to conclude, that all the religious instruction, which these settlers receivc, is derived from seventeen competent preachers.
We think the account of East Tennessee, as communicated to the Director's, must be erroneous. We were told on the spot, by a New England clergyman, who had resided there eighteen months, tiat "the means of moral and religious improvement, in the western states, were greatly under-rated by the people of the east.”. The same opinion was very strongly expressed by a respectable layman, of religious character, who had spent two summers in the western parts of Virginia. We should desire to know names and facts, and to have a copious induction of particulars, before we should fully credit the account of the western parts of Pennsylvania, as it stands in the Report. The representation with respect to the western part of New York, we think highly probable; and a most interesting representation it is. That in a single state, there should be 200 organized congregations, in each of whicli a faithful minister might be settled, if he could be obtained, is a most animating motive to exertion. Candidates for the ministry need not stand idle; invitations are pressing; fields are already white to the harvest; and the loud and cheering summons to vigorous and success. Tul labor is continually sounding in their ears. Only let them go forth with a humble, prayersul, self-denying spirit, casting themselves upon The Lord to fix the bounds of their habitation, and desiring to be useful in any place, to which I'rovidence shall direct them. If they do this, and if the Christian public here, send them forth in suflicient numbers, it requires no spirit of prophecy to foretel some of the noblest displays of the transforming energy of the Gospel, which the world has ever ՀՐՐՍ,
That the people of this country have sadly degenerated, within the century past, in regard to their exertions for the support of the Gospel, cannot be questioned. This degeneracy is owing to several obvious causes; such as the introduction of latitudinarian sentiments in religion —the demoralizing effects of the revolutionary war—the propagation of infidelity—the rapid increase of our own population—the immigration of many thousand ignorant foreigners annually—but, above all, the practice of pushing forward into the wilderness without the ministry of the Gospel. If all our new settlements had been conducted on the plan of the first settlers of this country, and had borne the character of little Christian colonies, with a minister and schoolmaster attached to every neighborhood of emigrants, many of the evils now complained of would have been avoided. That this ought to have been the case there can be no doubt; and it would have added to the wealth, consistency, and stability of the new settlements, in a surprising manner. Yet we ought to be thankful, that the degeneracy is not so great here, as in every Protestant country on the continent of Europe, in Switzerland, Holland, &c. if we compare the present state of these countries with their state two centuries ago. It is the opinion of judicious men in Connecticut, that the people, within its limits, are better supplied with the efficacions preaching of the Gospel now, than at any previous time within the last hundred years. Let such facts as this be gratefully acknowledged.
There are many encouraging symptoms with respect to the moral and religious improvement of our new settlements. In one of the regions selected in this Report as peculiarly destitute, (and which is doubtless in great need of more ministers,) there is a pretty large presbytery of active, faithful clergymen, under whose auspices six young men are now preparing to preach the Gospel. Within the limits of this presbytery there have been extensive revivals of religion the year past, and thus the way is prepared for the education of a greater number of young men. It deserves to be noticed, as a most extraordinary interposition of God, that notwithstanding the ignorance and immorality of most newly settled regions, there have been many revivals produced by comparatively small means, and by means which were apparently inadequate and unpromising. Where no general revivals have existed, a few souls, scattered here and there, have been brought to the knowledge of the truth; so that truly pious persons are to be found in almost every place. In most of the rising towns of our country, even irreligious persons are generally convinced, that the regular preaching of the Gospel is necessary to the temporal prosperity of the people. This conviction is so plainly brought home to the mind and conscience by many facts, that it will soon become universal in our country. These things furnish the highest encouragements to education societies, that their efforts will be followed by immediate and extensive blessings. Let them enlarge the sphere of their operations to the utmost; and let every suitable young man be prepared for the ministry, till the wants of a perishing world are supplied.
We have further remarks to offer; but, for want of room, must deser them till some future occasion.
(To be continued.) VOL. XV.
CXXV. Memoirs of the life of Miss Caroline Elisabeth Smelt, who died on
the 2181 September, 1817, in the city of Augusta, Georgia, in the 17th year of her age. Compiled from autheniic papers furnished by her friends, and published at their request. By Moses WADDEL, D. D. Pastor of the united churches of Willington and Hopewell in the district of Abbeville, South
Carolina. New-York: Daniel Fanshaw, 1818. pp. 175. THERE are some minds so well disposed to contemplation, and of so much originality, that with a proper knowledge of facts they are prepared for rapid improvement with very little external aid. Such persons less need the assistance of instruction, and are less dependant on living example, because from the several data afforded them they are able to advance rapidly in the road of improvement from the mere force of intellect. Example, in such instances, is of comparatively small value. It is not wanted for a stimulus nor a conductor. Minds of this order feel an agreeable emotion in the solitary exertion of their own powers, which operates both as an incentive and a reward of labor. To rouse them to action you need only place an object before them, affording a rational prospect of accomplishment by human ingenuity and industry, and no other efforts are wanting to induce an immediate embarkation in the enterprise.
But such readiness to begin, and perseverance in prosecuting, their labors, is ordinarily found only in concerns of the present life. The moment you detach mankind from the pursuits of science, of literature, or of the profession which gives them their livelihood and fame, their zeal has departed. The voluntary service of our Maker and Redeemer is foreign to the propensities of our nature, Whon from education or habit, we engage for a short bour in external worship, how soon do the thoughts wander from the great object of professed reverence and contemplation, and rove on unholy scenes at the caprice of a lawless imagination. Perhaps no person of genuine piety ever existed, who, possessing the power of observing the operations of his own mind, has not often found the imperious necessity of restraining the wanderings of the thoughts, during the seasons of his most solemn devotions. Still more in the common intercourse of life, the Alwighty, his perfections, his laws, and our accountability are forgotten: we plunge into business or dissipation with boundless avidits; we live precisely as it' we had demonstrated that there was no God, or world of retribution; or in the language of revelation, “God is not in in all our thoughts.”
It is this native aversion to all holiness which renders daily and permanent examples of piety so indispensably necessary to the Christian. The unvarying tendency of all individuals to declension in religion, and of human institutions to relax their discipline, demands incessant attention to the state of the soul; and leaves no moment of life, in which vigilant instruction may be safely suspended. Let it be. remembered, that Infinite Wisdom dictated to his chosen people, the early and unwearied instruction of their offspring. “And these words, which I commund thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shall teach them diligenlly to thy children; and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.