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It is now intended to be, in some measure, what the work alluded to might have been ; and, as being the appropriate organ of the Board for communicating missionary intelligence, it will have an additional and a peculiar claim. Many, we doubt not, are prepared to welcome a work which, while it has for its leading object the promotion of the cause of Christ, shall contain reviews and notices of the most interesting publications; essays on subjects that “come home to men's business and bosoms;' historical and biographical sketches, letters and miscellaneous communications; illustrations of difficult passages in the Holy Scriptures; selections from foreign Journals and other sources, of pieces peculiarly important; a copious account of the proceedings of the Board of Managers of the Baptist General Convention, and respecting the missions under their patronage; a general view of other missionary and benevolent operations; a compendium of religious, literary, and philosophical intelligence; and a list of new publications. Such a work we hope to see the Magazine, till our missions become so numerous, and the intelligence from them so abundant, as to call imperiously for the monthly publication of a separate Missionary Register. Perhaps it will then be thought expedient to have for the other articles a quarterly publication. The distinguishing opinions of the Baptist Denomination we deem to be important; and whenever occasion presents itself, we shall think it our duty to vindicate them. At the same time, we shall endeavor to do it in such a manner as shall commend itself to the consciences of our brethren, of whatever name, and to the approbation of our common Lord. On occasions like the present, high pretensions to catholicism, and splendid promises are so often and so easily made, that we
have ceased to value them much. We would rather let the rule of
our Saviour be applied: By their fruits ye shall know them.
We have indeed had encouragement of assistance from some able pens; and no small part of that portion of the work for which we shall be responsible, will be closely commected with the fields in which we are daily toiling. Well written communications, we need not say, will be gratefully received. And we trust that we shall not be found indifferent to the interests of truth and of intellectual improvement, nor to the encouragement of those who labor to promote the real dignity and happiness of man in any portion either of our country, or of the world.
Amidst the clashing of opinions, and of tastes and dispositions, we cannot expect to please all. But we shall sincerely endeavor to benefit all who will listen to us. We hold in abhorrence that haughty abuse of criticism which delights in wounding the feelings of a well-meaning writer; and we hold in equal abhorrence, we loathe that fulsome style of commendation which excites attention to a writer, rather than to what he has written. When we can approve, we shall do it with pleasure. When we must censure, we shall do it with pain. What is true and right must be maintained;
but we hope to speak the truth in love. IRAH CHASE.
H. J. RIPLEY.
The Baptist Magazine stands identified with the rise and progress of those successful missionary efforts, by which the United States and the Christian world have been prominently distinguished for the last thirty years. At an early period of these efforts, the Baptist Missionary Society of Massachusetts was organized. The heralds of the Gospel, whom this Society commissioned to explore the wilderness and the frontiers, announced intelligence both awakening and exhilarating, which imperiously called for a medium of communication, to awake the churches from slumber. Periodicals adapted to the purpose were few in number. Religious newspapers were unknown. At this interesting crisis, the Baptist Magazine was commenced; and the happy effects which it produced were far greater than its most sanguine friends anticipated. The spiritual wants of the frontiers, which were detailed in its pages, the encouragements for missionary labor which were exhibited, and the happy revivals of religion which it announced, electrified the churches, multiplied friends of Missions, and called forth funds for their support. The ancient establishments enjoyed more enlarged spiritual prosperity at home, by their awakened interest for the benefit of others, and a gratifying advance has been witnessed in the numbers and the abilities of the Baptist Churches.
In the progress and extension of missionary efforts, and the increase of religious intelligence, the mediums of communication have rapidly multiplied. Religious papers, issued weekly, now abound in the various States of the Union, and are widely diffusing the most important information. We rejoice in their circulation, and wish more extensive patronage to their laborious and persevering conductors. But although the weekly papers have become numerous, and may sometimes anticipate the intelligence of a less frequent publication, they do not supersede its utility. Both may harmoniously labor in the same field. A Magazine, besides furnishing varied original communications, will comprise condensed records of numerous events, which would otherwise be lost, or be scattered in publications not easily susceptible of preservation.
The Baptist Board of Foreign Missions require an official organ of communication to the churches, and to the public; and for this purpose the American Baptist Magazine has been placed under their direction. A portion of it, entitled the Missionary Register, comprising, generally, from eight to twelve pages, will be appropriated to this object; in which will also be comprised concise statements of the progress of missions generally, and a summary of religious intelligence. Accounts of revivals of religion, ordinations, the organization of churches, the opening of meeting-houses, and whatever relates to the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, are particularly solicited from correspondents in the different States, that the work may be rendered a welcome visitant in every domestic circle.
E. LINCOLN. Boston, Jan. 1, 1829.
A MERIC AN
Vol. IX. JANUARY, 1829.
CHARACTER AND LAST DAYS OF DEACON JONATHAN MERRIAM.
The subject of this memoir was born at Concord, Mass. July 6, 1764; and, when young, removed with his parents to Ashburnham, in the same State, where, at the age of eighteen, he indulged a hope in the Saviour, and gave evidence of having become a subject of renewing grace. Having carefully searched the Scriptures, which were his only guide, he was constrained to abandon the sentiments in which he had been educated, and was subsequently baptized, and united with a small Baptist church in that town.
Here, in 1788, he was married to Miss Sarah Conant, by whom he had nine children, seven of whom, with their mother, survive, and mourn their irreparable loss. In 1795, he removed to Brandon, Vt. and united with the Baptist church in that town. In a few years, this church unanimously elected him to the office of a Deacon. After long deliberation, and much prayer for wisdom and grace to perform the duties it involved, he accepted the appointment with diffidence, and was ordained in July, ISO6. From that period, he devoted himself to the duties of his office, and continued to discharge them with fidelity and success till the end of his life. His piety was of an even tenor, and his views of doctrine as well as of practical religion, were drawn from the Bible: hence if in the one he was firm and unyielding, in the other he was unremitting. In the church he was always at his post, and united the affection of a brother with the care and tenderness of a father. His heart was wedded to the cause of Christ, and warmly engaged in the benevolent exertions for the promotion of piety. His health was remarkably good, and almost uninterrupted; and his life, employed “in humble usefulness,” was marked by no very extraordinary incidents.
After a day of toil and fatigue, he was taken ill on the evening of March 6, 1826. In the first stages of his disease, his case was not considered desperate, but his transporting views of divine things convinced him, that his departure was at hand. Af. ter a few days he said to his wife, “We have had much sickness
JAN. 1829. 3
and several deaths in this room, and now I am here, and expect never to leave it until I am carried to my grave. I have no desire to recover, yet I feel willing God should do with me as he sees best. As for you, my dear wife, God will take care of you and of all our children. I have often given them to God, and I now do it again. We shall be separated but a short time. You will soon, soon follow me where parting scenes will never come.” He then complained of restlessness, but remarked with a countenance indicating the serenity of his soul, “Last night I was perfectly casy, and might have slept, had it not been for the transporting exercises of my mind. The discoveries I had of the blessed Saviour, of his atoning sacrifice, and the great plan of salvation, are beyond description. No mortal tongue can describe its excellency, its fulness, or its glory. The Scriptures never appeared so clear, and so beautiful before. Promises suited to my case were applied in such profusion and with such a preciousness to my soul, as filled me with raptures; and I should have burst forth in singing the numerous hymns, expressive of my feelings, which were constantly coming into my mind, had it not been for disturbing the family. It is about forty years since I have known the way of life and salvation through Jesus Christ, and I have witnessed a great many revivals, and have enjoyed much happiness in them; but never in the same measure as at the present. My tongue is too feeble to describe the comforts and blessings I experience.” The substance of these exercises he related to several individuals. After this conversation, he appeared very much exhausted, and was desired, if possible to take a little rest. He complied, and seemed to sleep quietly for some time. When he awoke, he expressed a strong desire to see some near relatives, saying, “I want to tell them what I now feel, and to see them arise, and let their light shine; it is high time they were awake.” A desire for the salvation of his neighbors made him anxious to see them once more and converse with them. When they were come, he took them affectionately by the hand, and, recommending the religion of Jesus, assured them that nothing but the blood of Christ could give them peace in a dying hour; he told them of the wonders of redeeming love, the happy experience of it in his own heart, and, in view of the eternal world and the judgment-seat, gave them his dying charge. While he had sufficient strength, he conversed in this manner with every one who came in, and generally concluded by saying, “I have done.” A few days passed thus; and, while the mortal tenement was daily sinking under the pressure of disease, he seemed to look beyond this vale of tears, and with inexpressible delight would often sing,
“How long, dear Saviour, 0 how long,
Fly swifter round, ye wheels of time,
It was his request that the family devotions should be conducted in his room; and on the morning of the Sabbath, a week before *