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We think it of moment to preserve in our magazine an account of all important exertions to propagate the gospel. And as none can be more important than those which relate to the furnishing of the church with able pastors, we propose to pay a particular attention hereafter to this object; and regret that we have not done it more systematically heretofore. In the magazine for June last, we noticed the proceedings of the General Synod of the Associated Reformed Church in North America, relative to the establishment of a theological seminary; and we propose to insert such accounts of farther measures relating to that institution as may be made public. So long ago as January last, we also gave a place, in the magazine, to an Address of the Presbytery of New-York to } the congregations under their care, on the subject of educating pious youth for the gospel ministry. But though that address was made in consequence of an overture sent down to the presbyteries by the General Assembly in May 1805, the overture itself has never yet appeared in this work. We now give it a place, and intend to connect with it a statement of all the proceedings of the judicatories of our church, grounded upon it, which may come to our knowledge. And we shall take it as a favour, if the members of presbyteries will forward, for insertion in the magazine, an account of what may be done by their presbyteries severally in this interesting business.
The following overture was brought in by the committee of bills and overtures,
"It is a melancholy fact, which requires no confirmation with those who are acquainted with the state of our church, that not only her welfare in particular, but the general and substantial interests of vital godliness, and of the Redeemer's kingdom, are suffering for the want of a greater number of able and faithful ministers of the gospel, of our denomination. "Give us ministers," is the cry of the missionary regions: "Give us ministers," is the importunate entreaty of our numerous and encreasing vacancies: "Give us ministers," is the demand of many large and important congregations, in Our most populous cities and towns. It has been suggested by some, and perhaps not without reason, that if the number of Our clergy were doubled, it would not VOL. II. 3 U
exceed the demand which exists for their labours, provided they should be well furnished for their work. But to be well furnished is absolutely essential, to their affording any material relief to the exi gencies which are felt and the complaints which are uttered. Numbers of weak or illiterate ministers, however pious, would bring little aid to a church, now found in circumstances in which the possession of vigorous and improved intellect is, in most cases, indispensable to the acceptance, the influence, and the success, of her public teachers. On the other hand, numbers of powerful and learned min isters, without a correspondent portion of genuine and fervent piety, would only serve to banish true godliness from our church, and render her very existence an offence both to God and his people. Talents and piety must be united in the pastoral office, at least in a considerable number of individuals, or the multiplica tion of those who hold that office, will be rather an incumbrance than an aid; will rather hinder than help the progress of true religion.
If, then, it be asked-What can be done more than we are now doing? It is answered, that there are two points to which it is believed that sufficient attention has not hitherto been given. The first is, to endeavour to remove those discouragements of a temporal kind, which exist in our church, and which are one cause why the ministerial office is not oftener sought by some of those who would be best qualified to fill it. In common with other denominations in this country, our people have too often manifested a degree of backwardness to provide an adequate support for the ministers of religion. This has lately been greatly increased in various parts of our country, by certain persons appearing as preachers of the gospel, and declaiming vehemently against a learned ministry and the support of the clergy;-declamations evidently proceeding from a desire in their authors, to render all the ministers of religion as ignorant and poor as themselves, that thus they may be delivered from their present painful sense of inferiority. Yet these clamours have had great effect in various portions of our country, espe cially in some places to the west and south; so that those who there look forward to the pastoral office, have need of an uncommon measure of self denial, as
they have nothing to expect but extreme and perpetual poverty, unless they provide for themselves. It is respectfully suggested, that perhaps these misrepresentations and errors might be counter acted and removed, by the General Assembly addressing a pastoral letter to their eople, drawn up in that prudent and guarded manner which the delicacy of the subject demands:-Representing, that the Assembly have no desire to see the clergy become a wealthy body-that they would deprecate such an event, as much as the people themselves-that it is, however, a gospel ordinance and the appointment of GOD, that "they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel" that many of our clergy cannot possibly live on what is now allowed them that it is not less the interest of the people than of the ministers themselves, that they should be able to devote themselves wholly to their work-that it is highly disagreeable to the Assembly, so much as to touch this subject, in which it may be supposed, suspected, and insinuated by some, that the members have a personal concern-that the Assembly, however, are constrained to this address by an overruling sense of duty; because their people are now suffering, and must shortly suffer in a much greater degree, under the operation of this evil, if its progress be not arrested-that when GoD has work for his ministers to do, among those who, by their utter ignorance of the gospel, may subject his ambassadors to peculiar hardships, and even to martyrdom itself, he will not fail, in all such cases, to raise up men to whom he will grant the necessary qualifications, but that he does not bestow extraordinary endowments for ordinary occasions; and therefore where a people are acquainted with the gospel, and know it to be their duty to support it's ministers, he is likely to leave them to want the gospel, if they do not use their endeavours to maintain the ministry in circumstances of comfort - and respect.
The second point to which it is supposed that the Assembly might with advantage turn their attention is, to recommend it earnestly to the presbyteries perhaps to enjoin it on them—to look out among themselves, pious youth of promising talents, and endeavour to educate and bring them forward into the ministry. The idea here is, that what is recommended or enjoined should be made a presbyterial business; so that each presbytery shall select the youth, which, by its own separate exertions, it shall patronize
and educate. Such exertions, it is he lieved, are likely to be made with fr greater ease, cheerfulness and spirit, by each presbytery within its own bounds, and in behalf of youth selected by its on acts, than if the proposition, were that each presbytery should contribute some thing to a general fund, and for the gene ral purpose of educating men for the pel ministry. The youths selected, ling commonly within the bounds of each presbytery concerned, will be well know to a number of the members: will have their characters favourably represented even to many of the individuals of the several congregations; and will usualy have some particular friends who will afford them special aid in defraying the expense which will be incurred in the prosecution of their studies. In a wordi it is probable they will be regarded with much interest, both by the presbytery and by many other pious and public spirited members of our church.
It is also believed that the plan here proposed, is calculated to have a very happy influence, both on the presbyteries and the youth, who may be concerned it. The presbyteries may be expected to be careful in the choice of those whom they determine to patronize; because their own prudence and reputation will, in some measuse, be staked on the good conduct and character of those who shall appear as ministers of the gospel, by their voluntary election and designation, from the very commencement of their prepar atory studies. This, perhaps, will afford the best security that the nature of the case admits, that none but youth of capa city, as well as piety, shall be brought forward. And on the youth thearselves, the influence of the circumstances in which they will be placed by this plan promises to be extremely beneficial These youth will constantly realize, that the eye of the presbytery is on them: that the public expectation is to be gratified or disappointed by them: and they can scarcely fail to exert all their powers to arrive at distinction in every laudable at tainment.-Some presbyteries may be able to keep two or three such youths constantly in training. Other presbyte ries may not be able to support more one. Some of the youth may partly, and almost wholly maintain themselves o their own funds, or by the aid of their particular friends and relations, while they are prosecuting their studies; and may only need to be applied to and urged to come forward, under the countenance of the presbytery. In other cases, the
presbyteries will have to bear the greater part, or the whole of the expense: This they may do by the contributions of the members; by the liberality of wealthy and charitably disposed individuals within their bounds and elsewhere; and by contributions occasionally obtained from their congregations; which will be made with the greater freedom when the purpose to which they are to be applied is distinctly known; and the parties to be benefited by them are among themselves, and a part of themselves. It is understood that the youth contemplated, are to be conducted by the presbyteries through the whole of their academical course and theological studies, and at such schools, and under such teachers, as each presbytery may choose to employ or recommend.
There are, at present, nearly forty presbyteries under the care of the General Assembly. If the plan here offered could be carried into complete effect, it would, in a few years, bring into the service of the church, annually, about as many well qualified ministers as there are now presbyteries; and these, added to the number that could be introduced in the ordinary way, would probably afford a full supply. It is, therefore, very respectfully submitted to the committee of overtures, whether it would not be adviseable to propose to the Assembly to write such a pastoral letter, and to issue such a recommendation or injunction to the presbyteries, as has here been suggested."
The presbytery of New-York, it appears, did not wait to see what might be the genera sentiment on the subject of this overture, but resolved, at any rate, to act upon it for themselves: and with a laudable zeal, at their first stated meeting after the publication of the overture, organized a system of measures to carry into effect the plan proposed; and published the pious and eloquent address, already mentioned as inserted in the magazine for January last. We have also been informed by a member of the presbytery of Philadelphia, that, before the meeting of the last General Assembly, that presbytery entered upon very spirited measures for carrying the same plan into effect; that they appointed a committee similar to that appointed by the presbytery of New-York, addressed a circular letter to all their congregetions, and actually obtained a considerable fund for the purpose of educating pious youth for the ministry. Possibly there may have been other presbyteries who did the
same, but of this we have no authentic information.
In May last (1806) the General Assembly made the following act relative to this subject.
"The last Assembly, having required the presbyteries under their care, to instruct their commissioners to this Assembly, on the subject of an overture, respecting the education of pious youth for the gospel ministry, &c. the Assembly called on their members to report the measures taken by the presbyteries which they represented, on this subject.
The Assembly, finding that there was a general coincidence of sentiment on this subject,
Resolved, that the Moderator, Dr. Green, Dr. Nott, Mr. Arthur, and Mr. Carrick, be a committee, to take this subject into consideration, to draught and lay before the house, a minute proper to be adopted and published by the Assembly, and calculated to carry the design into compleat effect.
The minute reported by this committee, after amendment, was adopted by the Assembly, and is as follows:
The commissioners from all the presbyteries represented in this Assembly, having been called to state the opinion entertained by their respective presbyteries, on this subject, it appeared, that the overture had been seriously considered and highly approved, by the most of them: that some presbyteries had long been in the habit of using the measures contemplated in the overture, for bringing forward youth of piety and talents, as candidates for the gospel ministry; and that others had adopted and organized such measures within the last year, and in consequence of the overture under consideration.
After maturely deliberating, the Assembly determined, that the part of the overture which relates to the selection and education of young men of piety and talents for the gospel ministry, presents a plan, which they consider as well deserving their countenance and support. It is indeed, an obvious and melancholy fact, that the candidates for the gospel ministry, within the bounds of the presbyterian church, at present, is greatly disproportionate to the demand which is made for their services; and that the rapid increase of vacant congregations, taken in connexion with the youth who are studying for the ministry, presents a most gloomy prospect of what is likely to be the state of our church in a few years, if prompt and effectual measures be not taken to furnish a supply of
discharged, or neglected their duty, this important business."
Laster, much greater than the exist. ing state of things is likely to produce. The Assembly were, indeed, deeply affected by the view which they had taken of this subject, and were extremely solicitous to adopt the most efficient measures which circumstances permit, to remedy the evil which exists, and to prevent its augmentation. But, as the presbyteries of which the Assembly have the oversight, are scattered over a wide extent of country, and their circumstances are known to be extremely various, it occurred, that an absolute injunction on all the presbyteries immediately to enter on the execution of the plan proposed, might bear hard on some, if not be entirely in capable of execution. On the other hand, merely to recommend an attention to the plan, without attaching any responsibility to the neglect of the recommendation, appeared to the Assembly incompatible with the high importance of the subject, and with their own duty as the guardians of the church, bound especially to provide for their people a supply of the word of life. It was therefore determined to take a middle course between these extremes, so as, if possible, to avoid the inconveniences of both. With this in view, it was resolved to recommend, and the Assembly do hereby most earnestly recommend, to every presbytery under their care, to use their utmost endeavours to increase, by all suitable means in their power, the number of promising candidates for the holy ministry; to press it upon the parents of pious youth, to educate them for the church, and on the youth themselves, to devote their talents and their lives to this sacred calling; to make vigorous exertions to raise funds to assist all the youth who may need assistance; to be careful that the youth whom they take on their funds, give such evidence as the nature of the case admits, that they possess both talents and piety; to inspect the education of these youth during the course both of their academical and theological studies, choosing for them such schools, seminaries, and teachers, as each presbytery may judge most proper and advantageous, so as eventually to bring them into the ministry, well furnished for their work; and the Assembly do hereby order, that every presbytery under their care, make annually, a report to the Assembly, stating particularly, what they have done in this concern, or why (if the case so shall be) they have done nothing in it; and the Assembly will, when these reports are received, consider each distinctly, and decide by vote, whether the presbyteries severally shall be considered as having
The Moravians, or Unitas Fratrum, Este a missionary establishment at Barianskloof in South Africa, not a great distance from the Cape of Good Hope. The ob ject of this establishment is the conversion of the Hottentots, in which there has been considerable success. We give the journal of this missionary establishment for the year 1804; not only because we think it interesting and instructive in itself, but because we wish to exhibit to our readers a specimen of the conduct of the Moravian missionaries; whose prudence and simple christian piety render them the object of friendly regard to almost every description of people among whom they live. The Cape of Good Hope has past from the English to the Dutch, and from the Dutch to the English again, but whoever governs, they all esteem and love the Moravians.
Our church was so much crowded on New Year's Day, that as there were not benches sufficient to bold the congregation, many were obliged to sit on the floor. After the service was over, several strangers called upon us in our dwelling, to bid us farewell, and declared how glad they were to have been present on this occasion, commending themselves, with tears, to our prayers. Some, who were truly desirous to be converted to the Lord, afforded us an opportunity of speaking to them of the love of Jesus to all repenting sinners. Many christian visitors were here for the first time, some of them from a distance of three or four days' ride. They said, they came to see and hear with their own eyes and ears, and to take a view of our establishment, having heard so much, both good and evil report, cancerning this place and our peculiar regu lations. Among the strangers were also many black slaves, who, when here, never fail to come and express their gratitude for having heard the word of God. We have great reason to be thankful, that, among such a crowd of people, of such various description and rank, the most perfect order and silence prevailed; nor did the least interruption occur. Many christian people get lodgings with the Hottentots, and are glad to put up with any accommodation. Some sleep in their waggons, which fill the space before our dwelling; others in tents; so that now we are no more subject to any inconvenience in providing lodgings for those who come to spend the festivals here, as we were formerly.
On the 6th, we celebrated Epiphany with our Hottentots. It was a day of joy and thanksgiving. Many tears were shed during the contemplation of the great love of our Saviour to the lost human race, in calling, not a small tribe or nation only, but the heathen also, and sinners of every description, to repentance and life. The Lord was truly present with us, and the eager attention and devotion of our people proved, that He revealed Himself to them also on this day, as the light and consolation of the Gentiles. On such occasions, we feel gr at comfort in knowing, that we, with this dear flock, gathered from among the heathen, are the particular objects of the remembrance and best wishes of our congregations in Europe; and we called to mind, with gratitude, that many fervent prayers would ascend up to the throne of grace in our behalf on this day. Upon us also, the spirit of prayer and supplication was poured out in a remarkable manner, and we commended, with great fervency and joyful confidence, all the missionary establishments of our church everywhere, and the whole Unity of the Brethren, together with all those, who with us are engaged in making known the gospel of our crucified Saviour, to His support and blessing.
After the 11th of January, the meetings and schools were again regulated in their usual order, the harvest being over.
On the 19th, a Hottentot woman, lately baptized, departed this life. She was one of the first who moved hither, on the arrival of the Missionaries, to hear the word of God. But she soon went away again, before the precious seed had taken root in her heart. It was, however, evident, that Jesus, as the good Shepherd, followed her in the wilderness, and His spirit did not suffer her to rest in unbelief. She returned at times to Bavianskloof, and at length was here seized with a paralytic affection, which lamed her in every limb, and prevented her quitting the settlement. We visited her, and found her in great dread of death, but encouraged her now to turn, with her whole heart, to the Lord for help and salvation. It was some time, however, before she gave ear to the voice of His spirit, and was made savingly acquainted with the word of life. At length, being truly convinced of sin, and of her lost and undone state, she began to cry for mercy unto Him, who died to save her. He heard her prayers, and she now testified with joy of the confidence she felt, that He had forgiven her all her sins. Of her own accord, she made a full confession of her past sinful life, and earn
estly begged to have a seal of the cleansing of her soul from sin, by the washing of regeneration, in holy baptism. Having obtained this favour, she expressed, in very moving terms, the happiness of her soul, and described the difference between the state of her mind before and after conversion, in the most lively colours. "When," said she, 66 my heart condemned me, and my sins, like the waves of the sea, went over my head, I forgot all pain of my body for very distress of soul. I was filled with such anguish, that I wrung my hands, and had no rest on my bed, day nor night. But when I was made able to believe, that the blood of Jesus my Redeemer cried for mercy, even for me, all my fear of death and damnation fled. I now know, that the death of my body will be great gain unto me, and I rejoice that I have hopes to see my Saviour face to face." In this disposition of mind she spent the remaining days of her life, edifying all who visited her by her conversation.
Among other friends, who visited us about this time, we were particularly glad to see Mr. Desch, from Stellenbosch, one of the directors of the South-African Society, who likewise showed great kindness to our Brethren during the first troublesome times of this Mission. To promote the cause of God in this country is the principal wish of his heart. A neighbouring farmer, who was at our church for the first time on New-Year's Eve, has since frequently attended our public service, and seems under conviction.
Many of our Hottentots were engaged, during this month, in hunting jackalls. These creatures have lately appeared in great numbers hereabouts, and devoured one of our sheep. Though many were killed (one of them in our garden), we were yet obliged to keep constant watch at night, on account of the damage they do to our vineyard.
We felt great sorrow at the sudden loss of one of our baptized, who, by his quiet and christian conduct, had gained the favour of both Hottentots and white people. He was bitten by a very venomous serpent, and died in a few hours after.
February 18th, we received a letter from. Brother Satterup at Copenhagen, together with a parcel of letters from Germany, and the text-books for 1804. We were thankful to receive the latter, by which we may again have our daily meditations upon the same portion of the word of God, with the rest of our Brethren, in other parts of the world; a favour which, to our sorrow, we had missed for some