Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

labours of both the Societies advocated in its pages.

PROTESTANT EPISC. CHURCH IN

THE UNITED STATES. We have just received the journal of the proceedings of the bishops, clergy, and laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, at the General Convention held in Philadelphia last November. It is in various respects a highly interesting document; and we shall lay before our readers in the present and some succeeding Number, a portion of the information which it contains relative to the progress of this our sister church.

From the opening address delivered to the house of clerical and lay deputies by the president, the Rev. W. H. Wilmer, D. D.*, we copy the following passages. "Permit me to congratulate you on the favourable circumstances under which we are now assembled. The present number of our body, exceeding, perhaps, that of any preceding Convention, affords pleasing proof of the extending limits of our Zion, and of the increasing interest taken by her members in her concerns. The young scion, which was transplanted from the parent stem into this western wilderness, has taken deep root; it is extending its branches over the land, and beginning to spread its leaves for the healing of the nations. Our ecclesiastical system, in the test which it has given by experiment, has more than realized the expectation of its friends. By its nice adjustment of the balance of liberty and power, and the wise distribution of both among the respective orders, it has accommodated itself, with happy effect, to the genius of our civil institutions, and the habits of a free people; at the same time that it has preserved, in their unbroken integrity, those great principles which are unchangeable, because of Divine origin; and, in all respects, has proved its high adaptation to the pur

poses of unity and peace, and to all the ends of its institution.

"Among the many causes of congratula tion which present themselves, we may reckon not as the least, the harmony which has hitherto attended the deliberations of our general councils. Amidst great diversity of sentiment on important and delicate topics, the unity of the Church has still been preserved in the bond of peace. Whilst we felicitate ourselves on this retrospect, as the pledge and earnest of the future, let us offer our prayers and efforts, that peace may still dwell within our walls. Difference of opinion, unavoidably incident to human nature, arising from education, association, prejudice, and various uncontrolable circumstances, must be expected to keep pace with the increase of our numbers, and to bring, incorporated with them, elements fraught with danger to the best interests of the church. It is the prerogative of Christian charity, guided by the wisdom that is pure, and peaceable, and easily entreated, to leaven this lump, and to transmute these elements, which, otherwise, by coming in contact with their kindred affinities, would put on the forms of combustion, into sound and wholesome agencies for the general good."

Dr. Wilmer is known to us, as the author of a valuable work published in 1822, entitled, "The Episcopal Manual; being a summary Explanation of the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church, designed to illustrate and enforce Evangelical Piety." The author, we notice, strongly recommends to masters of families to read to their households on Sundays one of the "plain practical family sermons from the Christian Observer."

The committee on the state of the Church have drawn up a report on the subject, which enters at length into the details of the proceedings, in the several dioceses, and is too long and miscellaneous for transcription in our pages; but we copy as a specimen part of the information respecting two dioceses, on which, from various circumstances, the attention of our readers has been particularly fixed-we mean, New York and Ohio. Of New York it is stated,

"The work of the Lord continues, by his blessing, to prosper in this portion of his vineyard. The diocese consists, at present, of 114 clergymen (the bishop, 92 presbyters, and 21 deacons) and 153 congregations; being an accession, since the report to the last General Convention, of 25 clergymen, and 29 congregations." "The cause of missions, from the circumstance of there being so much new country, and so many rapidly increasing settlements within the borders of this state, it ought to be expected, should excite much interest, and call forth much active exertion, in this diocese. good degree, and we believe in an increasing degree, this is the case. Twentysix missionaries are now employed. They are appointed by, and under the di

In a

rection of, a committee for propagating the Gospel, of which the bishop is chairman er officio, appointed by the Convention. The funds are supplied by collections in the churches, by missionary so cieties, and by an annual grant from the Society for propagating Religion and Learning, Some of the largest and most flourishing parishes in the diocese owe their existence, under God, to the foster ing care of the above-mentioned committee, through the faithful labours of the missionaries, and the active superintendence of the bishop. When the settlements in which those parishes are established were just forming, the missionary began there his pious work. His little flock grew with the growth and strengthened with the strength of the town, until, nurtured by the Divine blessing, the church became competent to its own support, when the aid was withdrawn, and transferred to visit another region with a similar blessing. In this way, two or three missionary stations are dropped every year, and others established. Merely this, however, by no means keeps pace with the demand. There is a loud call for the constant increase of the means of this all-important and indispensible mode of advancing the interests of the Gospel. Every friend to those interests must hope and pray that this good work may abound more and more.

"The purposes of pious charity continue to be prosecuted by the several societies established with that view, by the bishop, clergy, and members of the church in this diocese. At the head of them is to be ranked the Society for promoting Religion and Learning, which consists of a board of trustees, originally appointed, and liberally endowed, about twenty-four years ago, by the corporation of Trinity Church in the city of New-York; and which annually expends between three and four thousand dollars in various measures promotive of the interests of the Gospel. Two large and flourishing daily charity schools in the city of New-York, and Sunday schools in almost every parish, are communicating gratuitously to many thousands the blessings of an ordinary, and especially of a religious, education. Missionary societies and associations, in all parts of the diocese, are annually supplying the ecclesiastical authority with the means of continuing and increasing missionary services. Bibles, Common Prayer Books, and Tracts, are circulated, in great numbers, by societies

[ocr errors]

formed for the purpose. Although, however, in these several lines of usefulness, the church has cause gratefully to acknowledge many noble examples of libe rality and devotedness; still much remains to be done, a wide field for exertion is still unoccupied, and immense resources are still inoperative.

"In conclusion, we would turn to that consideration from which every other derives its greatest value, and to which the devout Christian will ever delight to look as the great end and aim of every visible mean, and every external operation, the state of the diocese in reference to evangelical piety. We have reason to thank God, that through his grace, there is generally apparent, in this diocese, an increase of real religious concern, and an increased sensibility to the pure and holy obligations of the Christian profession. And although much indeed of alarming deficiency on these momentous subjects, still exists, to awaken our solicitude, engage our prayers, and enlist our most zealous efforts; still may we thank God, and take courage, in the humble confidence that his word, worship, and ordinances, are made channels of increasing spiritual blessings to his people."

Respecting Ohio we learn, that "the church in Ohio, from the period of its first organization, in 1818, to the present time, has encountered much difficulty, and suffered many trials. These have in part arisen from the scattered condition of its members, from the want of missionaries, and from the deaths of some, and the removals of others, of its clergy. Owing to the small number of the clergy, the parochial reports exhibit but an imperfect return of the church in Ohio. This return, as nearly as can be ascertained by reference to the journals of the last three years, is as follows:-Communicants 768

baptisms 506, of which 41 were of adults -confirmations 287. A Diocesan Theological Seminary, having the power of conferring degrees in the Arts and Sciences, under the name and style of

The President and Professors of Kenyon College in the State of Ohio,' has been established by the ecclesiastical authority, and recognized by the civil legislature, since the meeting of the last General Convention. It is deemed a matter of great importance, that this institution, which bids fair to be so extensively useful to the church in the western country, has been placed under the controul and supervision of the bishops and general con

vention. By its constitution, it is declared that nothing can be enacted contrary to the doctrine, discipline, constitution, and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, and to the course of study prescribed, or to be prescribed, by the bishops.' And to carry this into continued effect, the bishops have a visitorial power in their individual and collective capacity. To found this institution, most benevolent donations have been made by pious and liberal friends in England; than which few things excite a deeper sense of gratitude. The whole amount of money collected in that country is nearly 60001. sterling; which, although munificent almost beyond example, yet, considering the great end in view, namely, the foundation of a literary as well as a theological seminary, is obviously inadequate. A landed estate, giving great promise of its future enhancement in value, has been purchased in a healthy and central part of the State. The magnitude of the undertaking requires, in addition to what has been so kindly contributed from abroad, some speedy aid from the members of our own church in America, the interests of which it will so essentially subserve. The institution is already commenced at the bishop's residence in Worthington. The present number of its students is thirty; the candidates for orders three."

SOCIETY FOR BUILDING
CHURCHES.

The Ninth Report of this Society states, that his Majesty, in addition to his donation of 10007., had been graciously pleased to become its patron, in the room of the late Duke of York. During the year, 81 applications have been received, and in 54 cases grants voted to the amount of 9,9051. By the aid of that sum, 15,591 additional sittings have been procured, of which number 11,301 are to be free and unappropriated. During the nine years the Society has been in operation, it has received 835 applications, and in 507 cases, grants of various magnitude have been voted, to which additions have been made amounting in the whole to 110,2951. ; but as, from different causes, several grants have been relinquished, the sum which the Society either actually has paid, or pledged itself to pay, is 99,065l., a small expenditure when compared with the good it has accomplished. The disposable balance now remaining is only 9,767., a sum not equal to that which the committee felt it their duty to vote during the last twelve months. Numerous churches and chapels lately risen are a gratifying proof of the advantages arising from the parliamentary grants. The spiritual wants of a large body of Christians have thus been supplied; but these grants were restricted to one object,-namely, building additional churches in places CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 305.

where the population amounted at least to 4,000 persons. Therefore, to the great proportion of parishes they are inappli cable; and it is in these, that the Society has in different ways contributed to procure a larger increase of accommodation. In several cases, churches and chapels were to be enlarged, in others to be rebuilt with enlargements; in some instances, from the extent of the parish, it was necessary to build additional churches or chapels, and in many places ampler accommodation was to be procured without any enlargement of pews, and by other improvements. Thus has the Society been instrumental in providing additional church room for 139,293 persons, and in securing out of this number, 103,693 free and unappropriated sittings. The Society therefore confidently lay their case before the public, in the reasonable hope that the friends of religion, seeing what has been already accomplished, and, considering what remains to be done, will, by their own liberality, enable the Society to persevere in the work of benevolence for which it was instituted.

SUNDAY-SCHOOL SOCIETY FOR

IRELAND.

In reviewing the operations of the Society, the committee with gratitude observe, that its general course has hitherto been marked with a growing prosperity. The total receipts of the past year amounted to 2,5791.; of which sum, 302. were received for the sale of books, monthly extracts of the correspondence, &c. During the year gratuitous assistance has been afforded to 604 schools, of which 393 had received similar assistance in former years. The number of books granted gratuitously, and sold at reduced prices during the past year, has been 1,037 Bibles, 17,557 Testaments, and about 50,000 spelling books and minor publications. The total number of schools in connexion with the Society is 1945, which are reported, by the latest returns, to be attended by 14,404 gratuitous teachers, and 163,484 scholars. The increase during the past year (after deducting the schools which have been discontinued) is as follows:-141 schools, 11,093 scholars, 1,149 teachers. Of the scholars in connexion with the Society, 73,864 are reading in the Bible or Testament, and 25,133 are adults above the of 15. In the city of Dublin some successful attempts have been recently made to assemble parents and others, for the purpose of instructing them on Sundays: several persons far advanced in life have attended, and have made considerable progress in learning and in propriety of conduct.

age

The committee have endeavoured to ascertain what proportion of the scholars, receiving instruction in the Sunday schools 2 S

connected with the Society, were deriving education in daily schools also. The returns to the Society on this head are still defective. The committee are of opinion that at least one half of the scholars, in the schools connected with the Society, do not attend daily schools. An extensive field presents itself for calling forth the vigorous exertion of the friends of the Society; and when the committee take into consideration the present peculiarly important circumstances of Ireland, they feel convinced that it is the duty of the Society to employ additional means for introducing the Sundayschool system into the more neglected districts of that country. The experience of kindred institutions, and the result of their own proceedings during the past year, have impressed the committee with the conviction that an extended system of agency might be beneficially employed by the Society; and when the importance of such a measure, and the happy effects which, under the Divine blessing, might be anticipated from its adoption, are fully understood by the friends of the Society, they trust that the additional pecuniary means which it would necessarily require will not be wanting.

TRACT-AND-BOOK SOCIETY FOR

IRELAND.

The committee of this Society have issued a circular, in which they state, that, being called upon for increasing exertions in these new times of rising reformation in Ireland, they feel most heavily the burden of a debt of about 30007. incurred by purchasing the necessary stock of tracts, books, and paper. They feel it due to the cause intrusted to them, to mention the benefits which have been derived by Ireland from this institution. It has brought into sale upwards of 2150 different kinds of tracts and books. It has published 170 tracts and books; partly original matter, partly compilations, and partly extracts from old and valuable books. Before the establishment of the Society, the existence of lending libraries and depositories for the sale of religious tracts and books, was almost unknown in Ireland; but within the short space of eight years, 150 of these institutions have been established, in a great measure by the instrumentality of the Society. It has most materially and efficiently assisted institutions for the education of the poor, by affording the means of after instruction in religion; and thus substituting much that is valuable in forming the habits of the people, for the pernicious, indecent, and seditious publications, which before were generally in circulation among them, and which it has exposed in many of its publications; thus contributing to excite much of the present inquiry amongst all classes, on the subject of true religion, as taught in the Scriptures.

A new and already very extensive demand has arisen for publications on the Roman-Catholic controversy—a demand which the committee are totally unable to supply; and they therefore make an earnest appeal for help to all the friends of true religion.

CHINESE MISSION.

The following are extracts from an interesting letter from Dr. Morrison, dated Canton, 24th October 1826.

"Being spared by the Divine mercy, I am in this distant country again seated in the same room, and at the same table, from which, during a long period of years, 1 formerly addressed you. God graciously supported all the members of my beloved family and myself amidst the dangers of the sea, and the tumults of the people.

"On the 6th of September we left Singapore, and on the 19th landed at Macao. All my former native domestics, and my old Chinese teacher, were waiting to receive us. The next day the native Christian, Leangala, made his appearance. The following Sabbath I recommenced the religious services in which we were formerly used to engage. Leangala has presented me with a small Chinese volume, containing explanatory notes on the Epistle to the Hebrews, which he had composed during my absence. It is designed to communicate to Pagans those views of religion which he derived from the late lamented Dr. Milne. I have read a part of it, and, considering the few advantages he has had, the work evinces that he has made the Bible his study, although some parts of his composition receive a shade of colour, in the phraseology, from his former paganism. He has also written a small essay in favour of the Christian religion, entitled, The True Principles of the World's Salvation;' in which he asserts the character of the eternal God, the Creator of the Universe, in opposition to demons and false gods; he inculcates the necessity of a Saviour from the dominion of sin, and from the punishment of guilt; he declares that Jesus has made an atonement for the sins of men, and points his countrymen to the Bible, which European Christians have, he says, at large expense, caused to be translated into Chinese, printed, and given to the people. He has also written out a short account of some conversations he has had with certain of his countrymen, who have casually taken up the Bible. He has further written a short account of the work. ings of his own mind, when, as a printer attending in the college-hall, at Malacca, he first came under the tuition of Dr. Milne. At first he mocked the services in his heart and sought by attention to the rites of Budhism to quiet his conscience, whilst he still lived in the practice of lying, sensuality, and other vices. Portions of the Scriptures that

[ocr errors]

were read, and the exhortations of Christ's faithful messenger, gradually convinced him partially, and rendered his mind more favourable. As no work was allowed on Sundays at the Society's Chinese press, he employed that day in reading the Bible; and thus he was at last determined to give himself to the Lord, and live to his glory. His wife professes belief in the Saviour, and has abandoned the worship of idols; but clings still to the honorary homage paid to the manes of ancestors. Leangala is anxious for the welfare of his boy, who, although baptized, being continually surrounded by heathens, as a child, almost inevitably learns their ways.

"Concerning translations of the Holy Scriptures, Silvestre de Sacy has well remarked, that it is not to be expected 'that the Bible should present no obscurity to a reader who takes it up without having previously acquired a sufficient knowledge of the subject.' Is it then proper to employ translations of the Scriptures as the first means for converting barbarous (or unevangelized) nations? De Sacy declines giving an answer. I will give my opinion. It is very proper to put the books of Divine revelation into all living languages of mankind, and to employ them in first endeavours to christianize the nations; but it is not proper to neglect the use of other means. The Bible alone, to a pagan Chinese, who merely opens and looks at a few passages, may or may not appear unintelligible, according to the portion of Holy Writ that he happens to look at. But even to know simply the text of the Bible for an inquiring, a convinced, or converted heathen to peruse and study, how great an advantage! For a Christian teacher to have it to refer to, as containing the Revelation of God, how important an acquisition! The Bible Society, in uniting all the friends of Christianity to give the text alone to mankind, are doing a work of incalculable benefit to the world. Yet let not the idea go forth that Christian teachers, and notes, and comments, are utterly useless. So convinced am I to the contrary, that I purpose to spend the remnant of my days in composing Explanatory Notes on the Chinese Bible."

MISSION SCHOOLS IN MADA-
GASCAR.

The Missionaries in Madagascar have presented a written language to the people among whom they labour. They are, at present, zealously exerting themselves to introduce the knowledge of letters among its numerous population, chiefly with a view to their being rendered capable of reading the Scriptures, which have been translated into Madagasse, and will shortly be printed for their use. For this purpose they have established, in the centre of the island, with the sanction and under the patronage of the King, Radama, nearly thirty schools. The first was established

at Tananarivou, in 1820: to this were afterwards added two other schools, which, with the former, were, in 1824, united into one, under the denomination of the Royal College (or central school). The schools situated in the country are chiefly under the charge of teachers, selected from among the more intelligent native youths, who had previously been distinguished by their proficiency in the Royal College. A thirst for knowledge has been excited in a considerable portion of the rising generation. A public examination of the schools is annually held at Tananarivou, on which occasions the King usually presides, and enters with great interest into all the details of the meeting. The examination is chiefly in English, and Madagasse translations, writing, and arithmetic. The Missionaries state that the progress the children have made in the knowledge of the Christian religion, is truly gratifying. A society in aid of the schools has been established at Tananarivou by the Missionaries, with the sanction of the King, and several donations have been received from individuals resident in Tananarivou and at the Mauritius. A public library has been lately commenced at Tananarivou. The School Society and the Library will lay the foundation of true religion, of improved civilization, of science, and of literature, in one of the largest islands of the world, containing a population of about four millions, and subject to a ruler, who appears desirous of promoting the civil improvement of his people.

SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGA

TION OF THE GOSPEL. The annual meeting of this Society, announced in our last Number, took place at Freemasons' Hall, and was attended by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, accompanied by a considerable number of noblemen and prelates, and a large body of clergymen and laymen interested in the Christian designs of the Society. The meeting was addressed by both the Archbishops; by the Bishops of London, Durham, Gloucester, Chester, Llandaff, and Dr. James the new bishop of Calcutta ; by Lord Winchelsea and Lord Kenyon; by Sir Thomas Acland; Archdeacon Barnes; and by the Rev. Dr. Philpotts, Mr. Dealtry, and Mr. Le Bas. The whole of the addresses evinced an earnest zeal for the promotion of Christian missions under the auspices of this venerable institution; and several of the right reverend and other speakers took especial occasion to advert in terms of great candour and conciliation to the kindred labours of other societies, a sentiment which, we are happy to add, was warmly hailed by the whole meeting. Our limits do not allow of our attempting to give reports of the addresses delivered at the anniversary meetings of

our

numerous religious and charitable societics; but the publication of the in

« AnteriorContinuar »