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It will be admitted, that a candidate for the sacred office, who has at his command the means of his own support, ought not to be assisted ; because the indigent have a stronger claim, and because his piety might very justly be questioned, if, in the existing state of the church and of the world, he be unwilling to saerifice a part or the whole of his patrimony, in order to qualify himself for the service of the Master to whom he has devoted himself and all that he possesses. Labour is the origin of wealth. And why should not those, who have nothing to give except the labour of their own hands, be willing to throw their mite into the sacred treasury? We verily believe, that if a young man could not earn more than ten dollars a year, it would be worth more than an hundred contributed by those who have abundance. It would show that he was really in earnest in seeking the sacred office; that it was not from an aversion to labour that he devoted himself to study. And the Christian community, convinced that he was making every practicable exertion to maintain himself, would contribute freely and liberally to his support. We do believe, that if candidates for the sacred ministry would employ themselves in useful labour, whenever it could be obtained, there would be no want of funds to sustain all who are now in a course of preparation. Farmers, and mechanics, and others who labour for their maintenance, would contribute cheerfully to the good cause. The most common objection in the mouths of the industrious part of the community to aid indigent students, is, that they are lazy, and too proud to soil their hands or clothes with work which others have to do from morning to night, and from year to year. To be convinced that this motive operates, point out to these persons, who refuse to give on ordinary occasions, an individual who employs his vacations and his leisure hours in some useful employment, and they will give with a cheerful and liberal hand.
It has been feared, not without sufficient reason, that an entire exemption from the labour to which a young man has been accustomed, and from the care imposed by the necessity of providing for his own support, will have an injurious effect on his moral and religious character, when he is furnished, independent of his own exertions, with necessary subsistence. The necessity of providing, at least in part, for his own support, we conceive, is the only effectual means of preventing this injurious tendency. No promise of service to be rendered some years hence, no legal obligation to refund, with interest, at
some future day, moneys advanced for his education, will operate so powerfully in checking the pride and extravagance of youth, as the immediate exaction of a few hours of daily labour. The sacrifice of present ease, and the endurance of immediate toil, is a much safer evidence of sincerity and devotedness to the cause of Christ, than a promise to make tenfold greater sacrifices at some distant period.
We should be among the last to require of a candidate for the gospel ministry, any thing mean and degrading; and we conceive there is nothing in the course which we recommend of this nature. Personal labour, when it does not interfere with more important duties, is honourable, and Christians, especially those who are looking forward to the service of that Master who washed his disciples feet, should beware of cherishing by their example those false notions of honour too prevalent in our country.
In institutions where some daily labour is required of all the pupils, the odium attached to manual industry is entirely removed. No one can despise his fellow for performing a service in which all are alike occupied. In other situations, where a majority of the pupils spend their hours of relaxation in lounging, in conversation, or in active sports, there will be prejudice and ridicule to be encountered by those who depart from prevailing habits. But ought young men, who are expected in future life to direct and control the moral and religious sentiments of the community, to yield to these prejudices? If they have not moral courage sufficient to sustain them in performing their duty in opposition to the false notions of a few individuals, will they hereafter be competent to resist the prejudices, to oppose the corruptions of multitudes, and to defend the cause of truth and holiness amidst a gainsaying world? Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis tempus eget. The present state of our country, the perfect freedom with which men express and publish their sentiments on all subjects, and especially the opposition likely to be made to evangelical doctrinces and Christian practice, will demand men of more stable purpose and firmer nerve, than to be deterred in the discharge of duty, by the remarks and sneers of a few inconsiderate youth. The apprehension of reproach arising from this cause is, we are persuaded, far greater than will be realized when the experiment is made. Let three or four young men in our most distinguished literary institutions, commence some manual operation, and we venture to predict that, in six
months, their invigorated health, their progress in study, their exemplary conduct, will silence every reproachful tongue.
We by no means think it necessary that labour should be confined exclusively to institutions in which all are required to work. Every Academy and College and Theological Seminary in the United States, might make such arrangements as would give employment to a few frugal and industrious young men. In these cases, let the period of daily labour never exceed the hours of relaxation given to the other students, and we are confident that the literary and scientific progress of the youth thus employed, will not be retarded.
If those who have the distribution of funds collected to aid indigent young men in their education, should make it an indispensable condition, that those assisted labour whenever employment can be found, we see nothing hard or unreasonable in the terms. We know respectable mechanics and farmers, able and willing to give their sons a liberal education, who require them in vacations, and in hours of relaxation from study, to assist in their shops and on their farms. This plan is adopted rather from a regard to the health and future benefit of their sons than for the sake of immediate profit.
Perhaps it may be thought, that young men of promising talents and feeble or impaired health, ought to be an exception to the general rule. So far from forming an exception, these are the persons who ought to spend a large portion of their time in such invigorating occupations as are suited to their strength. It is the most likely means of restoring them to health, and of giving them a constitution able to endure the studies and labours of the profession in prospect. Or if their constitution be so broken that they are unable to bear a few hours of moderate daily labour, they ought not to be aided by funds consecrated to a sacred object. They would probably sink under the pressure of preparatory studies; or, if they entered the ministry, they would perform a short and inefficient service.
We cannot forbear to remark, that the state of our country is peculiarly favourable to the success of this mode of educating young men. Labour of all kinds is high, compared with the expense of living. In the crowded population of Europe, where the greatest labour which the human frame can bear, is hardly sufficient to furnish the necessaries of life, this method is impracticable. In this new and growing country, the value
VOL. III. No. 1.-E
of labour bears a larger proportion to the means of subsistence than in any other part of the world. And this fact seems to be a plain indication of Divine Providence, that the method which we have contemplated ought to be employed in preparing for the ministry men qualified to extend the influence and blessings of the gospel in the large regions rapidly increasing in population in our own country, as well as in furnishing missionaries for foreign lands.
The question now arises, can young men of piety and talent, in sufficient number, be found, willing to undergo this toil, and to prepare themselves by a long course of discipline and study, for the sacred ministry? We answer, unhesitatingly, such young men can be found. All that is necessary is, to afford them the requisite facilities, and to show them the importance and necessity of this course, and men such as the cause of Christ needs, will be found. The fact, that hundreds of young men, under circumstances more discouraging than we have recommended, are already thus labouring in different parts of our country, is proof that others will appear
when the necessary facilities are provided. On what grounds can a young man of right spirit, refuse to submit to the discipline proposed? The labour recommended is necessary for the preservation of health ; the discipline is necessary for future comfort and usefulness; the attempt of each one to aid himself as much as practicable, will excite the sympathies of the Christian community, and open ten thousand purses now sealed against all calls of this nature. And is the youth who is now so delicate that he cannot endure a few hours labour, the man who is hereafter amidst rain and snow, or under a burning sun, to traverse the wilderness, to sleep in an open cabin, and to preach under the canopy of the heavens? Is the youth who will not exert a muscle or move a limb to aid in his education, the man who is hereafter to preach self-denial and liberality, and to rouse the slumbering churches to assist in evangelizing the world? Is he who is now ashamed to touch an instrument of husbandry, the man who is hereafter to teach humility, to inculcate on his hearers to labour with their own hands, so that they may have something to give in aid of every Christian enterprise? To these and similar considerations, we are very confident that no young man, worthy to be entrusted with the sacred ministry, can feel indifferent.
In conclusion, we do not hesitate to say, that no person constitutionally or habitually indolent, ought to be aided with a
view to the gospel ministry. Much less should those who are too proud to submit to such labour as would diminish the necessary demands on the Lord's treasury.
ART. III.-HINTS CONCERNING PRAYER MEETINGS.
It will here be taken for granted, that social meetings for prayer and praise, usually called Prayer Meetings, are founded in reason and scripture, and that all experience is strongly in their favour. Many centuries ago, when danger arose to the Jews in Persia, from the conspiracy of Haman, we find Esther and her maidens betaking themselves to social devotion in the palace, while Mordecai and his companions were engaged in the same manner without. So it has been with the pious in every age. All the sincere disciples of Christ not only love their Master, but also love their fellow disciples, delight in their company, love to mingle sentiments, desires and affection in pious conversation, and before the throne of grace; and whenever religion is in a flourishing state in their hearts, will spontaneously come together, as often as their other duties will conveniently allow, mutually to receive and impart benefit, to warm the love, and stimulate the activity of each other, in the best of all causes. It may be confidently asserted, that true religion was never in a lively state, since the days of Paul to the present hour, without prompting its genuine possessors to seek the company of each other, for mutual comfort and growth
grace. Accordingly, it is impossible, as it appears to the writer of these pages, to peruse the New Testament Scriptures, without finding ample confirmation of this statement. No sooner had the effusion of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, taken place, than a general spirit of prayer seemed to rest on the people. They seem to have assembled for prayer “ daily,” and “from house to house.' When Peter was imprisoned, special prayer was made by the members of the church of God for him. And when he was delivered out of prison, by miraculous interposition, in answer to prayers, he went immediately to the house of a Christian friend, and there he found a little warm-hearted circle of believers assembled, and actually engaged in prayer when he knocked at the door, perhaps praying for that very deliverance of the servant of God which had been, but a few minutes before effected, and