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The Chapel-building Society in the metropolis, and similar efforts in populous provincial cities and towns, by every respectable building they rear in crowded districts, create a demand for an additional able minister, and can, through no other agency, attain the object they propose. Your Home Missionary Society can move with power, neither in towns nor country; can neither meet the expectations excited by its recent movements, nor respond to the appeals pressed upon its directors from all quarters, unless many deroted ministers, of high mental, moral, and spiritual qualifications, shall be speedily obtained.
“In Ireland, the experience of many years has proved that nothing will move the people but a powerful ministry of the word. Feebleness, with whatever excellence it may be associated, will be found unavailing. Mental power, ardent devotedness must be brought to bear on a people of shrewd intellect and lively feelings, deeply imbued with superstition, and sunk low in wretchedness.
“For the Colonies able ministers are wanted in great numbers. To send other than able men will be fruitless - will be injurious. This is the dictate of reason and experience, confirmed by the testimony of all the correspondents of the Colonial Society, who, while pleading for ministers, plead with equal earnesiness that those sent may be men qualified for an arduous work for vigorous efforts. How great is the value of such brethren-how true wisdom it is to seek and employ such-has been happily proved by the results that have followed the efforts of some already sent to the principal stations in the British Colonies. How great is the want of such brethren, is no less proved by the experience of the same Society, the Committee of which, after engaging to send forth this summer four such brethren to the Canadas, has spent the entire period in which they ought to have been obtained, equipped, and sent out, in unsuccessful inquiries where they might be found.
“ It is believed, that to supply adequately the succession of pastors required by the churches of our order in England and Wales, and to sustain with rigour all the efforts of the Congregational body for its own increase in this country, for properly home missionary operations, and for missions in Ireland, and in the Colonies- not less than two thousand educated ministers would be needed. The Independent churches are, probably, as yet, far from possessing that number of educated ministers. But even were that number now actually in the field of labour, it could not be permanently maintained, to say nothing of increase, the necessity of which ought to be continually kept in view, unless our academical institutions had constantly four hundred students in training. For the average term of service of all the brethren educated, cannot be taken at more than twenty-five years, and no shorter term than five years of study, preparatory to the ministry, ought, in these times, to be contemplated. But it is doubted whether the entire number of candidates for the ministry receiving education in all our colleges, reaches two hundred and fifty at the present time; when we have yet far from attained a number of ministers, the succession of which it would require not less than four hundred students to sustain-so far, so very far, are the Independent churches, at this moment, from having made provision for obtaining educated ministers in adequate numbers.
“ The Committee of the Union place this interesting, momentous subject, before the meeting. Their earnest hope is, that it will be fully discussedthat many brethren will offer their sentiments. That serious efforts will be made to produce on the meeting, and through the proceedings of the meeting, on the churches and pastors of our body generally, all the deep and serious impres. sions relative to it, demanded by its intrinsic importance, and present urgency.
" To draw forth and direct the desired discussion, and to embody for public impression and usefulness, what might be supposed to be the sentiments of the meeting, the following Resolutions have been prepared, and are respectfully submitted :
“1.-That this Meeting is deeply impressed with the sentiment, that success in efforts to promote the spread of the gospel, depends more on the ministerial agency employed in them, than on any other circumstance subordinate to divine influence, and, therefore, recommends earnestly to the Committees of the Missionary Societies, connected with the Independent Churches, vigilant care to secure for their various operations the highest attainable order of ministerial excellence and qualification.
“ 2.- That in the view of this Meeting the greatest present want of the Congregational body, for its own advancement and prosperity, and for success in its missionary projects, is a greatly increased number of able ministers-on every hand the demand for such brethren is made, openings for their labours are presented-therefore, this Meeting earnestly recommends the vigorous use of all means adapted to raise up, and call forth, devoted ministers, and earnest prayer that the Lord of the harvest would send forth such labourers in great numbers into his harvest.
« 3. That in relation to this subject, the present Meeting cannot but record its high satisfaction in recent increased efforts in the Congregational body, for the education of a rising ministry. It rejoices in the formation of new establishments for this object, and in observing that both in the newly-formed Colleges, and in those of earlier date, the standard has been much raised in respect of the qualifications for admittance, and of the course of study to be pursued. This Meeting earnestly recommends these Schools of the Prophets to the interest, the liberality, and the prayers of the brethren and the churches.
“ 4.-That this Meeting cannot forbear affectionately reminding pastors of the solemn responsibility resting on them, in regard to the succession and efficiency of the sacred ministry--that it is equally their duty, on the one hand, to seek out and encourage pious youth, in whom evident ministerial gifts and graces are discerned, and on the other, to discourage, with holy fidelity, all who desire to be employed in the ministry, while they seem inadequately furnished with mental powers, appropriate gifts, or gracious devotedness--nor less to obtain entire satisfaction as to the characters and qualifications for the ministry, of all in whose ordination they may consent to bear part-'laying hands suddenly on no man.'
" 5.—That while this Meeting thus expresses deep solicitude for a high standard of character, abilities, and education in all who enter the sacred ministry in connexion with our body—the meeting would, with peculiar solemnity, record its conviction of the paramount importance of eminent piety, in order to success in the work of the ministry, and of the powerful call addressed by the present state of the church, and by the present claims of the world, to every minister, for elevated personal godliness and devotion."
The Rev. R. SLATE, of Preston, Lancashire, rose and said—“I trust that we are all convinced of the necessity and importance of employing lay agency as much as possible in the present day, and that we all can breathe the desire of Moses, who said, “Would to God that all the Lord's people were prophets." But we must all acknowledge that, in proportion as lay agency increases, there was an increased necessity that the pastors of churches should be well educated, in order to conduct its movements. The importance of this subject is, I think, increasingly felt by our churches.” The Reverend Gentleman then went into some interesting statements respecting the Lancashire Independent College now in the course of erection at Manchester, in that county, and expressed his satisfaction that a similar effort was making in Birmingham also, and his hope that in all the populous districts in the country colleges would be erected for the education of Congregational ministers. " But, Sir, permit me to say, that, amidst all the efforts which are being made for facilitating the instruction of our rising ministry, and notwithstanding all the improvements which have taken place in the mode of conducting these establishments, we should never forget that it is only the influence of the Spirit of God that can make us true Christians, and that it is only the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit that can qualify any individual Chris. tian for the office of the ministry. I cordially approve of that part of the document now before us which shows the necessity of great caution respecting the persons we introduce to the ministry, or in whose ordinations we may consent to take N. S. VOL. IV.
a part. The old nonconformist custom of previous examination has been forgotten, but I do trust that it will be revived; I feel convinced that if it were, very important and beneficial results would follow.” Mr. S. concluded by moving,
“That the Paper on the Ministry, now read, be received by the Meeting for discussion, during which the free expression of the sentiments of brethren is invited; but, for dispatch of business, it is requested that verbal criticism be confined to the mention of such improvements as may seem to any gentleman desirable, without prolonged attempts to settle forms of expression by consent and vote of the Meeting."
The Rev. J. Wild, of Nottingham, briefly seconded the Resolution, merely observing, that he hoped that whilst that discussion would have an important effect upon those who might hereafter sustain the office of the ministry, it would Jead all those who now sustained that responsible office to deep searching of heart.
A desultory conversation here took place as to the qualifications required for the ministry and the great scarcity of efficient pastors, and the best means of supplying that lamented deficiency. This gave rise to many remarks as to the examination of persons proposed as candidates for the ministry; and the meeting were of opinion, that no person should be presented for admission into any of the colleges who had not undergone a rigid previous examination by a committee of ministers, appointed for the purpose, in that part of the country whence he came.
The several clauses of the Memorial having been gone through, the Rev. C.N. DAVIES, of Brecon College, moved its adoption, in the following Resolution:
“ That the Document on the necessity of an increased number of able Ministers be adopted by the Meeting, and included in its printed minutes, subject to such revision as the discussions of the Meeting have pointed out as requiredthis Meeting ccnfiding the revision of the Document, in accordance with its wishes, expressed in the discussion now closed, to the care of the Committee."
The Reverend Gentleman then entered upon some interestin. 'tements Fith reference to the spiritual condition of Wales and its border counties. He stated that in many towns in Wales, in consequence of the establishment of manufactories, there was a great influx of Englishmen, who were thrown into a most awful state of spiritual destitution; and many persons who were members of Independent churches were constrained to attend the Established Church or the Wesleyan Methodists, through not having any place of worship in their own denomination where English preaching was held. He also referred at some length to the state of Herefordshire, which he described as the most destitute that could possibly be imagined. Nothing, in fact, had been done for the spiritual wants of Herefordshire since the time that the Colonels of Cromwell's army built the Independent places of worship there. The understandings and the morals of the people were degraded beyond any thing that an Englishman could well conceive. Mr. Davies supported his statement by relating one or two striking anecdotes, to prove that the people were buried in the grossest ignorance, and called upon the meeting to exert its energies in behalf of that county.
The Rev. J. E. Riccards, of Wandsworth, briefly seconded the Resolution. The document was then adopted.
The Chairman then called upon the Rev. Dr. MATHESON, one of the Secretaries of the Home Missionary Society, who read the following “ PLAN FOR THE EDUCATION OF HOME MISSIONARIES.
“ Introductory Observations. “ The Directors of the Home Missionary Society rejoice to co-operate most cordially with their brethren of the Congregational Union, in the proceedings of the present meeting, from which they anticipate great assistance in their arduous work. They now publicly, and with great pleasure, testify, that they perceire in the brethren of the Union with whom they are now happily and harmoniously associated, a great anxiety to render their connexion with the Home Missionary Society more than nominal; even a powerful means of promoting the great common cause. On their own part, they, with the same frankness, declare themselves anxious to unite affectionately and energetically, with these beloved brethren, in every improved plan and vigorous movement for advancing a cause, now, if possible, more dear than ever to their hearts.
“ The Directors conceive that no subject more important than the education of Home Missionaries can come under the consideration of this meeting. It has engaged their own patient and prayerful counsels. They now submit the results to the consideration of this meeting. It occurs to the Directors that they cannot do this in a more complete and compendious form, than by laying before the meeting a letter, embodying their views and plans on the subject, which was addressed to a respected minister, whom they requested to undertake the training of a class of candidates for this arduous service.
“ The views with which the Directors invite the attention of the meeting to this document, are the following:
“1.-They hope to obtain the sanction of the meeting for at least the substance and leading features of their plan; and the approval of such a meeting of their brethren as the present, will very greatly sustain and encourage them in proceeding with this necessary, but difficult, work.
"2.- The Directors hope to obtain suggestions from the wisdom and experience of brethren present, by which to supply the defects, and still further to improve the excellencies of a plan which, although matured by them to the best of their ability, may yet admit of improvements from other minds.
“3.—They think it will be advantageous to give publicity to this plan for securing to Home Missionaries the advantages of a suitable and adequate education ; and that such publicity cannot be better attained than by obtaining for it a place among the approved documents of this meeting. Such publicity may intimate to candidates for Home Missionary work what qualifications it is expected they should possess and acquire. It may help to produce a standard in the public mind of more correct thinking in relation to this department of Christian labour, and to the attainments requisite in those who would honourably and successfully pursue it.
" One further observation the Directors desire with great brevity to add. It is not enough that they provide for Home Missionaries, plans of education never so wise and well ac!", ted, and tutors never so eminently qualified to carry out those plans in efficient tuition; they must also, in order to success, bare the right men to educate. There must be native talent, strength of purpose, eminent grace in the pupils, otherwise no tuition (will make them able, devoted missionaries. This, after all, the Directors find their most responsible duty, their greatest diffi. culty. In relation to this they earnestly ask the prayers, the assistance, the candour of their brethren—their prayers, that God, in his Providence, would bring before them many candidates prepared and moved by his own Spirit for the work; and give them, when engaged in the solemn duty of deciding whether they shall encourage and accept their beloved young brethren, the spirit of discernment, fidelity, and affection-iheir assistance, that they would carefully seek out in their several churches for suitable youth, and as watchfully guard against recommending any not really qualified-their candour, because if the Directors sometimes accept unsuitable candidates, they do not pretend to exemption from error; if they sometimes decline to receive those whom their brethren have recommended, let them be assured the Directors would never adopt such a course, but under a strong and pressing sense of duty.
“ PLAN AS SET OUT IN THE LETTER OF THE DIRECTORS. " To The Rev.
« 11, Chatham Place, July, 1840. « Reverend and Dear Sir,-You are, doubtless, aware that it is a duty not merely confided to the Directors of the Home Missionary Society, by their con
stituents, but strongly pressed upon them by the public voice, and not less by their own convictions and anxieties on the subject that they should take immediate measures to secure for those devoted to Home Missionary labours, an appropriate education. The Directors have accordingly given their best attention to two points, preparatory to the attainment of this object- the first, What is the kind of educational training best adapted to prepare Home Missionaries for tbeir work? The second, By what arrangements will this education be most effectually secured for them?
“The conclusions at which the Directors have arrived on the second of these points, will be first communicated, because in this way the reason of the present application to you, Dear Sir, will be at once, and appropriately explained. Many reasons precluded the Directors from entertaining any project for the immediate establishment of a Home Missionary Academy, and considerations equally conclusive presented themselves against any extensive use of existing colleges for this purpose, even were the conductors of those institutions to be found, on application, favourable to the reception of candidates for this department of ministerial labour. Apart from the objections felt by the Directors, to the adoption of either of the measures thus alluded to, and which it is pot necessary to detail, it was thought, that to place a few approved candidates for the Home Missionary work with some christian ministers, well qualified to direct their reading, superintend their studies, and form their characters, having also in their neighbourhoods opportunities for employing them during their term of study in that department of labour for which their education is designed to prepare them, would be a better plan for educating Home Missionaries. It can hardly be necessary, Dear Sir, to say that you are now applied to because the Directors judge you qualified for this important charge, and would be most happy to obtain your valued services as their coadjutor in this department of their great undertaking. To assist you in giving your reply to a proposal which you will no doubt deem of great importance, it will be proper now to lay before you, as briefly as may be sufficient for that purpose, the conclusions of the Directors as to the kind of education they have deemed most appropriate for Home Mis sionaries.
“1.- In the first place, the Directors judge that a sufficient and appropriate education for Home Missionaries may be obtained through the medium of their own language. They therefore propose no classical studies, nor the acquisition of the original languages of the sacred Scriptures.
“2.-Íhe Directors wish the students under their patronage to obtain all the knowledge of Biblical Literature and Interpretation, that can be acquired from works on those subjects in the English language-e. g. such as Horne's Introduction, and the best English Commentaries on separate books of the Sacred Scriptures, or on the entire Bible.
«3.-They further 'wish them to be adequately acquainted with the best Works on the Evidences of the Divine Origin and Sacred Authority of Holy Scripture.
«*4.-They desire that they should be conducted through a well-arranged course of Theological reading-embracing selections from the most approved Authors, thoroughly Evangelical, of all Denominations, from the Reformation from Popery down to our own times-as also from the best Defences of the Truth against Papal and Socinian Errors. The addition likewise of a limited course of Logic, and some attention to Mental and Moral Philosophy, will also be required.
«5.-A correct acquaintance with their own language, both as written and spoken, will be indispensable. In order to this, not only will a course of grimmatical study be necessary, but regular exercises in composition, and in reading aloud or in recitation. The exercises in composition will be naturally obtained in weekly or more frequent preparation of plans of Sermons, and of Essays on the subjects of the works read, or of abstracts of their contents.
« 6.-The Directors think it will be most appropriate and useful that there