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No sooner was this mission announced, than it was hailed by the religious public as a most interesting effort, and one which might be the means, not only of conveying the Gospel to Jews and Mahomedans, but of awakening many among ourselves to the duties of the times. Let the hearts of Christians be intent on the contemplated mission; let their prayers ascend for a blessing upon it; and, it may be, that He, who has the hearts of all men under his control, will bestow upon it the marks of his gracious approbation, and make it the commencement of a great and glcrious display of his grace.
TWENTIETH ANNUAL NARRATIVE OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY
OF CONNECTICUT, 1818.
To the Religious Public, It must be gratifying to the friends of Zion to hear of the goings of our God and Savior in any part of the world; and particularly, to be informed that the Gospel has been instrumental of the conversion of sinners to holiness, and of comfort to any of the children of God, by means of their liberality. To administer this comfort to your hearts, and induce you not to be weary in well doing, the Trustees of the Missionary Society of Connecticut will now exhibit to your view a concise statement of missionary labors which were performed, under their direction in the course of the past, and part of the preceding year.
Since the establishment of the Missionary Society, one hundred and thirtyeight missionaries have at different times been employed. In the course of the past year, thirty-six were in the service of the Society. Many of these, however, have pastoral charges which employed their attention a part of the time, accord ing to the ability of their people to afford them support; and the remaining part they devoted to missionary labors. The missionaries employed traversed a vast tract of country, and endeavored to distribute their labors, as nearly as possible, according to the wants of the people. All their calls it was impossible to answer, nor was it possible to tarry with them so long as their urgent importunity required. The held of labor is so extensive, and the wants of the people so pressing, that, would the funds admit, the Trustees might profitably employ many hundreds instead of the small number they are now able to send.
The several parts of the Lord's vineyard to which they have given a particular attention, are Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Louisiana.
Three were employed in the destitute parts of Vermont. The Rev. Justin Parsons has a pastoral charge in Plainfield, but he spent twenty seven weeks as a missionary, and preached ninety-one sermons. He attended also to those other duties which are appropriate to the minister of the Gospel,in receiving the proper subjects into the church, and administering the holy sacraments of baptism and the Lerd's supper. In establishing Sabbath schools he was much en aged, and success has followed his undertaking. Three of these are already in operation, consisting of between two and three hundred children and youth. He also made arrangements for the establishment of five other similar schools in different towns. The effects of these schools he thinks have been happy both to parents and children. An outward reformation is already visible. They are more engaged to hear the word preached; and many who used to spend the Sabbath in idleness, and seeking amusements, are now engaged in treasuring up the word of life.
The Rev. James Parker labored principally in the county of Franklin. The term of his mission was sixteen weeks, in which time he preached ninety-seven sermons, and visited families and schools, which he judged very useful and interesting. He was instrumental of settling difficulties, in some of the churches, reviving discipline, comforting saints, confirming the wavering, reclaiming the erroneous, and of awakening and converting sinners. In several of the places. which he visited, God had granted the effusions of his blessed Spirit, and many were brought into the kingdom of grace.
By urgent importunity he passed over into Canada, where was a great revival of religion; and many children, between the ages of ten and fifteen years, were: made the happy subjects of renewing grace, and in some instances were instrumental of converting their parents.
The Rev. John Lawton, who has a pastoral charge in Wincham,'spent thirtytwo weeks on a mission, in the county of Caledonia.
He rode one hundred miles into the northern parts of the State, and preached ninety-one sermons; attended sixty-four conferences and prayer meetings; and haptised seventeen adults and sixty children. In most of the towns he visited, there had been a refreshing from the presence of the Lord. In one of these, which consisted of about one hundred families, the church had been in a low estate; its members much divided; the Lord's supper had not been administered for three years; and their state had been considered as almost hopeless. But God was pleased to pour out his Spirit, and revive his work, harmonize their minds, and add many to his church. A pleasing prospect was afforded of their soon supporting the stated administration of the word and ordinances.
In the State of New York four persons were employed as missionaries.
The field of labor assigned to the Rev. Eleazar Fairbanks was the Holland Purchase. The parts of country through which he travelled were very destitute of ministers, and so anxious were many of the people to lengthen out the time of his mission, which was sixteen weeks, that they contributed a sum sufficient to double the term.
With regard to the moral and religious state of the people among whom he labored, although several churches have been formed, and souls added which, he trusts, will be found among the redeemed in the great day of account, yet but a small number compared with the whole population, appear to feel much interest in the preaching of the Gospel. Many disbelieve our holy religion, and many adhere to sectarian heresies.-But where the regular preaching of the Gospel is enjoyed, they have but little influence, and no increase. Where Gospel churches had been established, they had preserved their purity and attention to the institutions of religion.
The Rev. John Spencer, having no pastoral charge, spent the whole of the year, in laboring in the south westerly parts of the Holland Purchase. He travelled 2,350 miles, and preached 383 sermons; formed three churches; administered the sacrament of the Lord's supper twenty-seven times, and baptised ninety-three adults and children. Some places God had graciously visited with the effusion of his Holy Spirit. Numbers were awake to inquire, with deep conceru, what they should do to be saved; and many were hopefully brought into the kingdom of grace. In towns where was no special attention, appearances were inore favorable than the year before. The people were more attentive to religious meetings and anxious to enjoy more of the labors of missionaries. They were making great exertions to support the stated preaching of the Gospel
The Rev. David M. Smith has a pastoral charge in Lewiston, on the Niagara frontier. He has preached alternately in four different neighboring towns. His circuit was about eighteen or twenty miles around the place of his settlement. The late war had produced a demoralizing effect upon the people. The Sabbath was almost universally profaned; the number who attended public worship was small at first, but gradually increased to a very general attendance. In Lewiston there have been some precious drops of divine grace, and additions made to the church. The Sabbath schools, in this and the other towns, where his labor was bestowed, have had a happy influence on the morals of those who attended them, and also on their parents. The Tract Societies, which have been instituted of late, promise much good by a general diffusion of the doctrines and duties of our holy religion. A church has of late been organized in Cambria. Here the grace of God has been gently distilling, for a considerable time, and greatly enlivening and refreshing that part of the vineyard. Upon the whole, the moral aspect, in that section of the country, has been entire changed within a short time.
The Rev. David D. Field labored principally in the counties bordering on lake Ontario. In twenty weeks, which was the term of his missionary tour, he preached 113 sermons; visited ten schools, and 178 families. At Oswego falis, a settlement of about sixty or seventy families, was a pleasing work of divine grace, which had spread over the village. The region about this place was almost wholly destitute of religious instruction. The county of this name, extending sixty miles on lake Ontario, and twenty south, including nine thousand inhabitants, has only two settled Presbyterian clergy men. The churches are
recently formed, and are small and needy. The attention of the people to hearing the word is encouraging. In this thinly settled country, he never had less than two hundred, and sometimes he had as many as three hundred hearers. He visited the Tuscarora Indians, and found they had made considerable advances in agriculture, and were generally free from vices. They have a church regularly organized, and the people generally attend worship on the Sabbath. They have also a school consisting of thirty or forty scholars who are instructed in literature and religion.
The tract of country extending from Oswego to Niagara river, and from the great western road to lake Ontario, about one hundred and fifty miles in length, and forty in breadth, is rising in importance, and is doubtless designed in Providence to sustain a vast population. Within the limits of this section, are forty Presbyterian or Congregational churches, one half of which have been formed within three years. There are fifteen settled ministers.-A few of the destitute churches are able to provide themselves, for a part of the time, with preaching; but generaily they are needy, and struggling with difficulties which are common in new countries. They have roads to open, and schools to support; and unless they are aided by missionaries, the churches will languish; but with this help, they will probably increase and new ones be formed. The churches, and also many of those, who make no profession of religion, rejoice to have missionaries sent to them; and manifest their joy by their attendance on the word preached, and their kind attention to missionaries.
The Rev. John F. Bliss labored in the Holland Purchase. He has a pastoral charge in Avon. His missionary services were bestowed on a territory of about sixty miles in length. He usually preached three times on the Sabbath, and from three to five times during the week, and visited from house to house,
The Rev. Oliver Hill is stationed in the state of Pennsylvania, and has a charge of a church and congregation in New Milford. He labored as a missionary twenty-four weeks, in the counties of Susquehannah, Bradford, and Wayne, and also in the county of Broome, in the state of New York. He travelled 127 miles, and preached 116 sermons; visited schools and families; and assisted in forming three Female Benevolent Societies. He laments the prevalence of iniquity, and the great inattention to the concerns of religion; but rejoices that there are some serious people, who appear to profit by their religious privileges. In the course of the past year, some of the settlements were visited with the inAgences of the Holy Spirit. This revived the drosping, and communicated life to many who were dead in trespasses and sins. In several towns there are many trophies of the Lord's victorious grace. But the region about is very destitute of Gospel instruction, and in great need of more lavorers.
The Rev. M. Miner York has also performed a mission of sixteen weeks in this State. He rode 762 miles; preached 106 sermons; visited 105 families; and admitted forty-nine to the communion of the churches. He witnessed many affecting scenes. In Waterford, particularly, he found the church in a sinking situation; but God was pleased to own and bless his labors. The people became eager to hear the word, urged him to tarry with them longer, and were in tears when he left them. To this place he afterwards returned, and witnessed a surprising change. Many, whom he left weeping, he now found rejoicing in the Lord. Thirty-nine were added to the church, and much more precious fruit was expected.
The Rev. Ebenezer Kingsbury has a stated charge in Harford, but labored as a missionary in the counties of Wayne, Bradford, and Susquehannah, and in several counties in New York.* The parts of the country through which he travelled, he represents as very destitute of Gospel instruction. In the eastern parts, which are best supplied, many of the churches have no pastors to break to them the bread of life; and those which have ministers settled, enjoy their labors but a third, and at most but half of the time. The Western counties are still more destitute. He labored nearly twenty seven weeks; rode 1161 miles; visited 255 families; and preached one hundred and twenty sermons. He visited but one place in which there was a special revival of religion. But it was an en couraging consideration, that meetings for public worship were full and solemn. Demands for missionary labor were more urgent, and invitations more pressing to visit the settlements and preach the Gospel, than at any former period. That
This labor was performed in 1817. Mr. Kingsbury's journal for 1'18, was not received in season for this Narrative.
part of the country, he thinks, will need missionary labor for a long time, as the people are unable to support the ministry of the Gospel.
“The little churches," he observes, “which are scattered in the wilderness, are sighing and crying for the bread of life; and were it not for missionaries, they must be wholly destitute.” While he laments that the word of God has so little effect on the hearts of many, he is encouraged that God is “erecting standards for his name; that so many are disposed to hear, and that some have been called out of darkness into marvellous light.” The people desired him to express their gratitude to the Missionary Society, for their kind attention to them; and he adds, “many prayers ascend to God for the prosperity and success of the institution."
The Rev. Amos Chase received an appointment for one year, to labor in the north-western parts of the State. He entered on his mission, 7th September, 1817. A great part of the year he was engaged at Oil Creek, at the expense of that people. From his last communication, it appears that he had then spent twenty-nine weeks as a missionary; in which time he had preached much; formed churches; visited families; and preached in some new settlements where the Gospel of Christ had never before been preached. The distance of these infant settlements from each other required much travel, and through bad roads, which was attended with great fatigue. The people gave good atiention to hearing the word, which was blessed to individuals in many places, and came with power upon some congregations. The prospect of Zion's prosperity seemed brightiing in those dark regions:
The Rev. Erastus Ripley received a commission, to perform missionary labors in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Twenty-three weeks were the term of his mission, in which time he travelled 2000 miles, and preached 166 sermons, visited 105 families, and forty-eight schools. In some parts of his tour, he had the pleasure to witness hopeful appearances, and in others revivals of religion.
The State of Ohio has shared largely in missionary labors; but considering the extent of country and its rapid settlement, the people are not as well supplied with preachers as they were when the number of missionaries was comparatively small.
The church and congregation in Euclid, are the stated charge of the Rev. Thomas Barr. His journal has not yet been received, but by letters it appears that he had labored twelve weeks since his last report. No material change has taken place the year past in that section of the country; though appearances, in favor of religion, are, on the whole, more promising. The country is rapidly populating; new churches are forming, and the demand for ministers is greatly increased.
The pastoral charge of the Rev. Joshua Beer is in Springfield. The prospect of removal, and the want of health, prevented his performing much missionary labor the past year. He spent seven weeks in Newtown, Ellsworth, Petersburgh, Canfield, Milton, and Goshen. The general growth of the church in those parts, was gradual. Infidelity and Universalism appeared to be on the decline; and truth was gaining ground.
The Rev. Alvan Coe has a pastoral charge in Greenfield, but spent some time as a missionary, in which he preached fifty-six sermons. In some of the settlements which he visited, God had appeared in his glory to build up Zion. A number of towns were able to support the preaching of the Gospel a part of the time, and earnestly desirous of obtaining Gospel ministers. Mr. Coe, by appointment of the Grand River Presbytery, visited the neighboring tribes of Indians. His account respecting them is favorable. Several of them appeared to be real Christians, and in general, they manifested a willingness to hear the Gospel preached.
Thirteen weeks of missionary service were performed by the Rev. Giles H. Cowles, who is settled, for a part of his time, over a church and congregation in Austinburgh. His labors were bestowed in adjacent destitute towns.*
The Rev. William R. Gould, spent thirty-one weeks in the missionary service. His charge is in Gallipolis, which is on the southern border of the State. He rode 1372 miles, and preached 176 sermons. In the region in which he labored, though there are many things encouraging, yet on the whole, prospects are gloomy. Erroneous preachers have intruded themselves into every part.
(To be continued.) • Mr. Cowles labored more than the time mentioned in the Narrative, but his journal de Dot come to hand in season for insertion.
Gal. iv, 19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until
Christ be formed in you.
In the first ages of Christianity, the Apostle Paul preachin the Gospel in Galatia, with no inconsiderable success. Crowds were gathered into the churchi, and very encouraging hopes were afforded, that numbers were truly converted. But the Apostle being called shortly after to another scene of Jabors, their Christian character sustained a most severe trial. False teachers, by their cunning and artifice, gained admission among them, and endeavored to draw away their minds from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ. The stratagem was but too successful. The affections of many individuals soon became alienated alike from the Apostle, and froin the fundamental trutlis of the Cbristian system.
The affectionate and pious spirit of the apostle was deeply aMicted by this instance of ingratitude and apostasy. Yet his tender concern for those whom he bad considered as his spiritual children, did not admit of his at once abandoning them to ruin. His epistle directed to the church of Galatia was written, therefore, with a view to their recovery. In this, he appeals to their former zeal and diligence in the Christian race, and especially to their warm affection to himself, under the influence of which, they had been almost ready to pluck out their eyes, and to give them to him. But now the case was altered. They had not only imbibed the most unreasonable and cruel prejudices against him, but they had defaced and dishonored the Gospel by corrupt appendages. Under these circumstances, the apostle expressed his fears to them lest he had labored in vain. He stood in doubt of them, lest he had been deceived in relation to their supposed conversion: lest inany of them, notwithstanding their high pretensions, were in the gall of bitterness, and under the bonds of iniquity.” In this view of their situation, he addresses them, most tenderly, in the language of the text. “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you.” Allusion is here made to his former anxiety
for them, before their bopeful conversion. But their sudden departure ; from the simplicity and purity of the Gospel, and the readiness with VOL. XV.