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ON Thursday, the 15th of May, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States, convened in the first presbyterian church in Philadelphia. The Moderator of the meeting, last year being prevented by sickness from attending, the Assembly was opened by the Rev. James Armstrong, Moderator of the Assembly held in the year 1804. The Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller was chosen Moderator.
The Assembly continued in session till Monday evening the 26th of May, when it was dissolved, and another required to meet in the same place on the third Thursday in May next, at 11 o'clock in the fore
The deliberations of the Assembly were marked with intelligence, harmony, and christian affection. A variety of interesting subjects engaged their attention; and several important acts were passed, calculated to promote the peace and edification of the church of Christ, under the Assembly's jurisdiction.
On Monday, the 19th of May, according to a custom observed for several years past, the Assembly had a free conversation on the state of religion within their bounds. The result of this conversation appears in a summary of it, drawn up by a Committee appointed for the purpose, which will be published in our next. Suffice it at present to state, that this summary represents the church of Christ under the Assembly's care, in a flourish. ing condition; and that though general, yet will, it is hoped, refresh and gladden the hearts of all who love the Redeemer, and pray for the prosperity of his kingdom.
Assembly held a concert prayer-meeting, for the revival of religion, and the enlarge. ment of the Redeemer's kingdom. The Assembly have been for several years in this laudable practice of spending an evening in offering up supplications to God for the effusions of his Holy Spirit upon the ir churches in particular, and upon the world at large.
In the evening of the same day, the fourth Missionary sermon was preached, before the Assembly, in the second pres. byterian church, by the Rev. Dr. E. Nott, President of Union College, in the state of New-York. The collection made on this occasion for Missionary purposes, including a note afterwards sent, amounted to more than 400 dollars. The sermon was extremely impressive, highly elegant, and well adapted to the occasion. It has been printed, and is for sale, at several of the bookstores in this city. The profits are devoted to the Missionary fund. This consideration, as well as the excellence of the sermon, it is hoped, will induce many to purchase it. On Wednesday evening, May 21st, the VOL. II.
The report of the Committee of Missions to the General Assembly was long and interesting. Parts of it, and likewise parts of the journals of Missionaries, will appear in future numbers of this Magazine.
Moreover, the Assembly desirous to do all in their power to support the Magazine, and to give to it that interest and character which it ought to possess,
"Resolved, further, that a Committee be appointed to furnish original materials for the Magazine, and forward them, from Hh
time to time, to the editor, Mr. William P. Farrand.
"Resolved, that the Committe for the ensuing year consist of the following per
The Rev. Dr. Macwhorter; Dr. Samuel S Smith, President of the College of New-Jersey; Dr Davidson, President of Car is.e College: Dr E Nott, President of U non College; Mr. Kollock, Professor of Divinity in the College of NewJersey: Mr. Alexander, President of Prince Edward College; Dr Blair; Dr. Mair; Dr. M Kught; Dr. King, of Carliste Presbytery; Dr. Miller; Dr. Miledoler; the Rev. Edward D. Griffin; Mr. Richards; Mr. Samuel Porter, of Redstone Presbytery; Mr. Authur; Mr Clark; Mr. Ingles; Mr. Coe; Mr. Isaac Lewis, Hudson Presbytery; Mr. Baxter, of Lexington; Mr Freeman; Mr. M'Mil. lin, Ohio Presbytery; Mr Findley; Mr. John E. Latta; Mr. Blatchford; Mr. Lisle, Winchester; Mr. James Hughes; Mr. David Bogart
"Ordered, that their names be published on the cover of every number of the Magazine.
"Ordered also, that the names of the Committee who, in conjunction with the Editor, collect, revise, and arrange the materials, be likewise published with their respective numbers."
It is of infinite importance, however, that those who superintend or direct a measure, so intimately connected with the future interests of christianity in the empire, should proceed in its execution on such principles as, with the blessing of God, may be likely to convey the pure oracles of truth, unalloyed with error or mistake. In order to which, it appears requisite in the first place, that the individuals who are to be employed should be themselves well grounded in those views of the christian doctrine, which by evan gelical believers are generally considered as derived from the word of God. It is also of high importance that they should previously possess a knowledge of the language adequate to the undertaking. Without the combination of these qualifications no translation of the scriptures can prove satisfactory to the religious public. With these principles in view, the Direc tors wish to proceed in the selection of suitable instruments to be employed, and in the situation best adapted for the acquirement of the language. On this latter point, they are so much under the control of circumstances, as to render it inexpedient to fix on any specific plan, so as absolutely to exclude the exercise of discretion on the part of the missionaries: they have, however, considerable reason to believe that at the Prince of Wales's Island, they will find the most eligible station for every purpose of a preparatory nature, and it may be proper to mention some of those considerations on which this opinion is founded.
The liberal principles on which its government is conducted is of prime importance. It is a free port, open to all nations, (unless with the exception of the French) and prudent, well disposed missionaries would here pursue their peaceful labours without interruption, as no place admits of more freedom either of a civil or religious nature than this. It is also a circumstance of equal moment, that nearly one half of the population consists of an industrious colony of Chinese, to whose activity much of the prosperity of the island may be ascribed; it is therefore highly probable not only that the language may be acquired, but that a mission to China may actually commence here, and instruments be raised up not only to suggest the best plan of action, but also to assist in its introduction into various parts of that great empire; for its intercourse therewith is easy and frequent, it being not more than ten days sail; it is also the great depot for the produce of
form the most favourable judgment. The Directors regret much that so few persons have hitherto offered themselves as candidates for missionary services, especially when the great advantages which this seminary offers, as preparatory to the work, are so easy of access. From the small number of young men, in this school of the prophets, it pleased the Lord to deprive us of one, a few months since. Mr. Owen, a promising and devoted missionary, was suddenly removed by death, at the close of a day, which, as usual, had been employed in useful studies and exertions. The Directors lament their loss, and entreat the Lord to repair it by the introduction of others equally pious and devoted. There are now at Gosport only six students: these, however, are diligently engaged in appropriate studies, and some of them will soon be at liberty to enter upon the great work, particularly, Mr. Frey, one of the children of Abraham, and now, by grace, walking in the steps of that great father of the faithful. When Mr. Frey was first taken under the patronage of the society, it was expected that his services would be devoted to the heathen in Africa. But it is with peculiar satisfaction that the Directors concur in the desire expressed by Mr Frey to communicate to his brethren, the knowledge of Christ, and to be the means of removing from their hearts that veil of ignorance and unbelief, which for so many ages has hidden from them the glories of the gospel dispensation; they are thankful to the providence of God, who has furnished them with an instrument so much adapted to this important occasion. None can so well enter into the feelings, the principles, and the strong prejudices of a Jew, as one who has himself been educated in that religion, and has also been converted to the faith of the gospel: None can be expected to commiserate with such strong sympathy their moral state, or devote himself to their relief with more sincere and ardent solicitude, than one of their own nation, who has himself been melted into contrition by looking unto him whom their fathers pierced. It will also be a source of satisfaction to the society, that a ministry is thus to be opened, which is immediately and specifically addressed to the ancient people of God, and thus a commencement made towards the discharge of that immense debt of obligation and gratitude, which christians are under to the Jews, as the medium through which they have received the inestimable gift of the sacred oracles. The degree of success which may ultimately arise ou
the Eastern Islands, and the Company's regular ships bound to China endeavour to call there in their way; it is likewise the resort of the country ships from Bengal, Siam, Pegu, Madras, and Batavia. In relation then to this great object, the pid translation of the scriptures into the Chinese language, with a view towards a Amission to China, the Directors conclude, for the above reasons, that the Prince of Wales's Island presents a desirable station. There are also some collateral objects, highly interesting to the cause of Christ, which seem to be connected with this situation, and capable of being pursued at the same time, and by the same instruments; particularly the Malay nations, containing an immense population numerous islands from the Bay of Bengal, to the coast of New Guinea. The Malay language, which is considered as the Italian of the East, may be easily acquired in a short time, and become the medium of great and extensive usefulness. These people are acquainted with letters, and thus, by means of a small printing press, the views of the missionaries may be explained, religious tracts circulated, the holy scriptures translated, and future missions prepared: so extensive and encouraging are the openings of providence, connected with this station. May they be improved with wisdom and zeal on our part, and attended with the Divine benediction in an abundant degree. The society will perceive that on account of the importance of the measure, the length of time requisite to obtain a perfect knowledge of the Chinese language, and the uncertainty of human life, this great work should not be confided to less than three or four able missionaries; as yet, one only is appointed to this service. The Directors earnestly pray that the great Head of the church would incline the heart of others to come forward; they also look to christian societies, and on this occasion, especially, to evangelical seminaries, for persons, who to the radical qualifications of a missionary, unite a facility in the acquisition of languages, and who may thus be peculiarly fitted for a service so distinguished and useful in the christian church.
The society, desirous of furnishing future missions with tried and able instruments, have, for some years past, support ed a number of young men at the seminary at Gosport, under the tuition of our highly valued brother, Mr. Bogue. To this establishment we owe some of those missionaries which are already gone forth to the heathen, and of whose talents and piety we
gree of fitness for the work, an apprehension of the want of which, at present, operates as a discouragement, and keeps them back.
this endeavour to promote their conversion, we cheerfully refer to Him whose wise and sovereign purpose has comected the salvation of Israel, with the fulness of the gentiles; and thus held out the encouraging intimation that the extensive communication of the gospel to the heathen, is the signal which invites the exertions of christians in favour of the Jews also. If this humble attempt should be cone the occasion of impressing more generally upon the hearts of christians, their duty with respect to this people; if it should excite more solemn and stated prayers for their conversion; if it should lead to more general and enlarged measures to promote this end, we shall unite in thankfulness to Him, who despises not the day of small things. The mode of proceeding and the station where Mr. Frey is to commence his ministry, are subjects which will shortly occupy our particular attention; and we trust that our christian friends will bear this object on their minds in their most sacred moments.
It would afford the most cordial satisfaction to the Directors, to see a larger number of godly young men offering themselves to the service of our adorable Saviour, in the extension of his kingdom among the heathen. From the number, the piety, and the zeal of our congrega. tions, it might have been expected that many, very many, would have become candidates for this honourable work, yea many more than the society could possibly employ; but they still find the labourers few, though the harvest be plenteous: they not only join with all their fellow christians, in imploring the Lord of the harvest, more copiously to pour out his Holy Spirit on the churches, powerfully constraining a host of willing labourers to "Here are we, send us;" but they say, also earnestly recommend it to their reverend brethren to encourage and stimulate, by their animated exhortations and missionary fervor, persons in their connexions, of piety and talents, to come forward to the help of the Lord against the mighty, for they are assured that it is not so much a want of zeal as a want of information on this head that keeps them back; and that a proper representation of the great variety of countries in which the gospel is needed, to which easy access may be obtained, where protection may be expected, and where the prospect of success is flattering, would incline many to press to the work, especially when they are informed that in the missionary seminary, they may probably acquire that de
The Directors having thus stated the principal occurrences and engagements of the past year, with the prospects that are opening on the Society, conclude their report with thankfulness to their God and your God, for the help hitherto afforded, and the encouragement with which he has favoured them. They trust, the Society will be enabled to press forward with increasing ardour in the glorious cause. What God hath wrought, connected with the consideration of the greater things he has promised, and in the fulfilment of which he will make use of the instrumentality of men, are sufficient to engage our hearts, our hands, our substance, our influence, our example, our all for the glory of Christ, and the salvation of men.
The Rev. Messrs. John Paterson, and
Ebenezer Henderson, were last year appointed Missionaries from Scotland to India. On their way to India they were providentially stopped at Copenhagen, for the winter, not being able to get a passage. While there, the following letters were received from them by their friends. The first exhibits to the christian reader a most lamentable account of the state of religion in Denmark; but the last is calculated to inspire the hope, that the darkness which has heretofore overspread that portion of Europe will soon be dissipated, and succeeded by the light of the sun of righteousness.
Copenhagen, Sept. 17, 1805.
THROUGH the loving kindness of the Lord, who hath watched over us to do us good, we can say, that since the time we left you we have lacked nothing, except it be the society of our christian brethren: and even this hath been amply supplied by our kind and Almighty Friend, "who sticketh closer than a brother." Here we are surrounded with thousands; but where to find a friend of Jesus we know not. Satan has his seat here. The Lord's day is profaned in the most open manner; the greater part of the people attend to their work; the shops in general are open, and traffic is carried on, even in the streets. What of their religion we saw, seemed to us to be altogether foreign to the simpli city which is in Christ Jesus. These things
taken together, made us deeply concerned for the lamentable state of the people in this place; nevertheless, we hope the Lord has a remnant here, according to the election of grace. We earnestly wish to have an opportunity of being useful du ring the short time we are to be here; but what means to use, in order to attain this, we are quite uncertain. We understand there is no English preacher here, though there are a considerable number who understand nothing but the English language. We are not without hope that this circumstance may be the means of opening a door of usefulness for us, at least among our countrymen. We have already given away a few tracts, and have the prospect of distributing a number more. We have been making inquiry about the probable expense of having a tract published in the Danish language; and we hope this will be obtained at a moderate expense, which we have no doubt our friends at home will cheerfully defray. Thus, though our hearts be as much as ever fixed on preaching the gospel to the poor Hindoos in India, we conceive it our duty to be missionaries wherever the Lord is pleased to cast our lot, however short our stay in that particular place may be. In this way it was that the gospel was introduced at Ephesus by Paul, while he tarried there a few days in his way from Corinth to Jerusalem, (Acts xviii. 1823). In like manner it was introduced at Athens, while Paul tarried there a few days for his brethren, (chap. xvii. 16— 34). May the Lord make our stay here productive of like good to the souls of men! His hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it can. not hear. Let us give him no rest till he make Jerusalem a praise in the whole
Copenhagen, Dec. 6, 1805.
You will, no doubt, have heard from our friends in Scotland, that we are detained in this country during the winter: all the places in the packet being bespoke before we got forward.
The man of the world would impute this to bad fortune; but the christian knows that it is of the Lord: as he is convinced, that not so much as a hair of his head can fall to the ground without his Father's knowledge. The hand of the Lord appears evidently in our detention
here. There are many English both in this city and at Elsineur (about twentyeight miles distant) who were entirely destitute of the means of salvation. The Lord, in a most remarkable way, has opened a door for us to preach the gospel in both places.
Here we have a considerable congregation, composed wholly of the genteel class of people, who hear with great attention; and we expect to have a good meeting at Elsineur also. At both places, some of the natives, who understand the English language, attend. How wonderful are the ways of God! It would seem that he had intentions of mercy towards these people; probably, some of his ransomed people to bring in; and however urgent we were to get to India, we must stop and do something for the glory of his great name in this country. Surely, it becomes us to say, "Thy will be done!"
What a blessing it is, that since, in his providence, we are detained, we are not to be idle! nothing could have been a greater hardship to us than this. We hope, our preaching in this place will be the means of opening a door for some to succeed us; and may ultimately lead to the formation of a church of Christ here and at Elsineur, which would be an unspeakable blessing to this country at large, as it might lead to the diffusion of the gospel among the natives, who are awfully indifferent about religion!
We have got two tracts translated into the Danish language. We have printed 2000 copies of "The One Thing needful," a small tract of eight pages; and 1000 of" Fuller's Great Question answered." The people receive them readily; and so far as we can learn, read them with attention. May the Lord attend the dispersion of these tracts with a blessing to the souls of many!