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the service of the church there; but the limited means of the congregation seeming to promise too partial and inefficient a co-operation with the society in the support of it, to justify confidence in our resources, and the necessities of our own diocess claiming the preference when the state of the funds permitted but little to be done any where; it was resolved that a correspondence be opened with the General Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church, requesting their assistance in the support of a missionary at St. Augustine. No answer has yet been received. The terms in which the missionary writes of the general spirit and attention of the people under his charge, though we regret to add, his own health will not allow him to continue among them, and he may be momently expected in Charleston, add earnestness to the hope, we were already disposed to indulge, that our proposition may be acceded to by the General Missionary Society. Notwithstanding sickness, the disappointments of mercantile enterprise, the transient nature of the residence which the dwellers are obliged to make, and other obstacles which might be expected to operate with more decided hostility to the advancement of a Protestant Church, he describes his room as crowded every sabbath day; has baptized within the year, five adults and thirteen infants; and has, more than once, written for and received Bibles and Prayer Books for the use of his congregation. The Church has likewise been in a considerable degree organized, having elected wardens and vestrymen, and entered on a course of serious and regular attention to the offices of devotion contained in our liturgy. The good wishes of their brethren in this state attend their efforts, and the prayers of all Christendon include a petition for their success in its constant supplication. It becomes us in particular, to see that their endeavours prove not abortive. We who are so near, and have once put forth an arm to help, must not rest satisfied with idle wishes for their future subsistence and advancement. Let not the infant church of Florida have reason to complain that we have given it life, merely to let it perish with bun
ger; that we gave it a taste of the bless ings attendant on the public and stated worship of God, merely to torture it with the vain and despairing recollection of what they have lost; that we have indulged it with a glimpse of the holy and happy privileges belonging to a religious community, and then mocked their hopes of enjoying them permanently.
Measures have been adopted for establishing in the inteior of the state, a mission embracing the districts of Edgefield, Newberry, and Abbeville, and it is hoped, and reasonably expected, that they will soon be brought to maturity, and these places once more blessed with the preaching of the word. This will be doing something; but, when we consider the immense range of wilderness in our country, that is a wilderness in every sense; where there is no possible means of learning the truths of revelation according to any modification of Christianity; where children are born and die, and the mother's eyes are not blessed with seeing the waters of baptism poured over their heads; where the symbols of Christian redemption are in every way a mystery, and life is without law, and death without consolation; where the name of God is forgotten, or only remembered to be blasphemed; and prayer, if any, but an emotion of the mind, without encouragement or means to draw the attention of the thoughtless by public expression; when we think of these things, we may almost tremble for Christianity in general. But when we look at our own church in particular, "how is the gold become dim and the most fine gold changed," which once shone with resplendant lustre, conferred by and reflected on public patronage and private zeal, even among the forests and swamps of Carolina. "The stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street;" our country churches are, some of them, falling into ruins, swallowed up by the triumphant wilderness, and affording shelter to the beasts of the forest. It was not in this way that "the wilderness and solitary place were to be glad and the desert rejoice and blossom as a rose." Even in several, where service is performed, we see all around the building, the ruinous walls of a for
mer temple, reproaching, by the comparison they suggest, the diminished zeal of the present age. Is this to continue so? Is our country to become a spiritual wilderness? If the answer be no, we must "up and be doing." The Missionary Society, we must believe, in the present state of the world, opens the door to usefulness, as religion is concerned. The command is "go and preach," the corresponding obligation on us, is, enable them to go. So long as this command and its reciprocal obligation stands unrepealed, we must be strenuous in that path which our society marks out before us: the coldness of the worldly man must be overcome; the sneers of the scoffer, despised; the hope of the sanguine, embodied in active exertion; the zeal of the believer, burn brighter and brighter into the perfect day of moral illumination, when the Gospel shall boast the spiritual conquest and renovation of the world. Signed in behalf of the committee, NATHANIEL BOWEN, President ex officio.
The Fourth Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Charleston Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society, presented at the AnSchool Society, presented at the Anniversary of the Society, on Whitsun-Tuesday, May 20th, 1823.
THE board of managers of the Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society present their fourth annual report with feelings of gratitude to God for the success of the past, and of sanguine anticipation for the results of our future exertions. Our hopes have not been disappointed, although we have to lament the confined limits of the field on which they were exercised. The foundation on which we began was small, but it was enough to exemplify the justness of the principles on which the institution of Sunday schools was advocated, and to exhibit their happy effects on all concerned, superintendents, teachers, pupils, and patrons. The public attention has been awakened to the subject, and it is hoped that, by the grace of God, the time is not far distant, when the efficacy of this instrument to disseminate a religi
ous spirit will be so decidedly acknowledged, that it will receive patronage worthy of its merits, and exhibit effects proportioned to its promise, and sufficient to convince the most sceptical gainsayer. An institution which has for its object the promotion of religion, conducted on principles suggested by the judgment of the wise, and the experience of the observing, cannot be despaired of, even though its past history did not confirm the conviction of its utility. The Saviour was displeased that little children should not be suffered to come unto him; and what shall we think of those who are systematically opposed to a mode of instruction which appears eminently calculated to lead their infant mind to a knowledge and love of him who first loved them, and who alone can make them virtuous and happy? Nay, what shall we think of the patriotism of those who refuse to imbue the hearts of their children with such sentiments of duty in all the do mestic, civil, and political relations of life as they are likely to imbibe from the religious instruction of our Sunday schools? When we think what the heart of childhood is, and what the world of manhood is, we, surely, must approve of the purifying and braceing influence of a discipline which promises to prepare the one for the trials of the other.
The work which we carry on is of a steady quiet nature, which affords little to report upon. The schools are in a sufficiently flourishing state to satisfy, not the bold wishes we could form, but the reasonable expectations which their conditions at the last anniversary justified our entertaining. Considerable additions to the number of scholars have resulted from a resolution passed at a meeting of the society in August last, for the more effectual discovery and encouragement of the children of the poor who attend no Sunday schools. The proposal made and acceded to was, that the rectors of the episcopal churches in this city, together with such persons as they can interest in the undertaking, be requested to exert themselves to obtain poor children for the schools, and that the better to effect this, wards, No. 1 and 2, be allotted to
St. Michael's; ward, No. 3, to St. Philip's; No. 4, to the missionary of the "Domestic Missionary Society," and the Neck, to St. Paul's.
The exertions of these active benefactors will, in future, be animated by the removal of an inconvenience that has hitherto much impeded the progress and usefulness of our schools. This was the want of seats for the children of persons who do not own pews. For these, we are happy to state, accommodations are now provided in all the churches. The annexed extracts from the reports of the superintendents, furnish a very satisfactory account of the several schools, in which there are 435 children, and 56 teachers.
"Among the expedients recommended by the rector of St. Philip's, and adopted the last summer, for the increase of the Sunday school attached to it, were the division of the wards in which the church is situated into six sections, and the allotment of each to two visitors. It was the duty of these to pay particular attention to, and procure the attendance of the children of our communion, as well as of the poor, and others, residing within their respective sections, who did not belong to any denomination." It has, by some of the visitors, been faithfully attended to, for which they merit the thanks of the church. The adoption of such a measure has resulted most beneficially in more than doubling the number of scholars, and inducing many, who had heretofore been neglectful of the Lord's Day, to be regular attendants at the school.
"Among the children are two of Jewish parents, who have been baptized. Their eldest sister is a teacher in the school.
"The Sunday school for children of colour is held at a different hour; religious instruction exclusively is regarded, and as few of the children can read, they are taught the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed, by repeating. It is to be regretted that they attend very irregularly, and the more, as the benefit of those whose parents and masters belong to the congregation is particularly designed."
"Ardently desirous of extending the dominion of truth,and promoting the spiritual welfare of the young, so far as their abilities and opportunities will allow, the teachers and superintendents of St. Paul's earnestly request all those whose situation in life, and ample possession of time give the power, to co-operate with them in this work of faith, and labour of love. Many members of the church there are, who, by a slight intimation, or the mere expression of a wish, could influence many, viewing them with emotions of esteem and regard, to avail themselves of the benefits of an institution, having for its object the promotion of God's glory, and the salvation of immortal souls. The opinion is erroneous in its nature, and injurious in its operation, that none can promote the well-being of Sunday schools but those who are actively engaged in teaching the young and tender mind the road to heaven's high portals. This cannot be expected of persons who superintend the economy of large households, and who acknowledge the obligations of a religion, that does not sanction the neglect of domestic duties. But they are affectionately requested to consider whether there is not some small portion of their time, which would admit of being devoted to furthering the prosperity of the Sunday school institution-influencing their dependants, enlisting, by prudent and judicious conversation, others in its favour, and animating and encouraging those engaged in bestowing and receiving instruction, by an occasional short visit to the scene of their labours.That they may be induced to give the subject the serious attention which it deserves, they are kindly desired to weigh maturely the sacred injunction, Feed my lambs, which, though primarily addressed by the blessed Saviour of mankind to one of the most eminent of the apostles, was intended for all bearing his holy name."
Some Bibles have been received from generous, but unknown donors, who look for their reward only in the approbation of their own consciences, and the favour of him who " sees their alms in secret, but himself shall reward them openly." In addition to these
Bibles we have to acknowledge the receipt of a few numbers of the "Guardian, or Youth's Religious Instructor." May he, who declared his kingdom was composed of such as little children, welcome into it with joy those who make it their effort to prepare its earthly emblems for the perfect purity of the state, which even they represent inadequately! It will be gratifying to the members to know that an active friend has been raised up to our humble and noiseless institution, at the distance of many miles. We feel grateful to the Rev. Mason L. Weems, for the good wishes he has expressed for our success, and for the disinterested donation of seven dollars to our funds.
Whether there be a misunderstanding abroad respecting the mode in which the Sunday schools are supported, and their necessary expenses defrayed, or whether the whole system is disapproved by the community, which we cannot suppose to be the case, the number of names on the list of the society is not so great as every good feeling, spiritual and secular, should induce us to hope and expect. Since the last anniversary there has been an accession of one life member and six annual members, and five have withdrawn their names. One excellent and zeal ous patron, (Mrs. Mary C. Gregorie) too, has departed for the world where she is to receive the reward of all her ❝labours of love." The memory of her example remains to sooth our regret at her loss; and the abiding effects of her charities will, we trust, be felt and blessed by many immortal souls, assisted by her on their way to Zion; even when her name shall have been forgotten on earth, and only heard among the spirits of the just made perfect.
The society at present, therefore, contains 117 members. We cannot omit this opportunity of urging upon them the propriety of doing all in their power to dissipate prejudices, which, perhaps, still exist in the public mind, relating to the ultimate effects of our exertions, by unreserved exposition of their nature, and limitations particularly as directed to the children of coloured persons. The instruction imVOL. VII.
parted is wholly spiritual, and the arrangement of their classes seems to encourage a sense of subordination, independently of the humble and submissive feelings which are here shown to be inculcated by Christianity.
The library which has been established for the use of the children proves to be an effectual, though unfortunately still a very limited instru ment of promoting a disposition for reading, and engendering the pious feelings, which the character of the books we have selected tends to excite. Without a doubt of its propriety, and with a sanguine confidence of success, we make an appeal in its favour to the generosity of the members, and even of the public in general, as far as our request may be heard. The facility with which donations may be made to an institution of this nature, encourages us in our suit. How many books are lying idle upon your shelves, which would be received with gratitude, and thus perform a part, and an important part, in the great moral machine that is to result in the enlightening the understanding, and purifying the heart, and blessing with immortal glory the souls of those who otherwise cannot, or will not accomplish this one supremely important object of their existence. But it is not intended to confine the liberality of the generous to books alone. The means of purchasing books will be received of course with equal gratitude. It should be mentioned also, that a laudable sense of decency, and of the decorum that is due to the sanctuaries where the business of the schools is conducted, prevents many a poor parent from sending her children, because not suitably clad. For such, clothing would be a very acceptable and useful present; for though the board have been at considerable expense in procuring such necessaries, their funds will not permit them to supply every deserving applicant.
The board conclude with congratulations to the members for what has been done, and with the most earnest expression of their hope that they will not forget how much more may be done. Their work is a good one, and must prosper, for the Omnipotent, we trust,
is on their side. Let them always remember they are striving to fill the hearts of children with his Spirit. They are invoking purity to the fountain head, from whence must hereafter flow the streams that give to the world its character, and make it the empire of the evil one, or the happy encampment of immortal hosts, who are marching onward to God's throne in heaven. Signed in behalf of the Board of
Managers, EBENEZER THAYER, jun. Sec'ry. Charleston, Whitsun-Tuesday, 1823.
Mr. Rutledge's Address. [At the celebration of the above anniversary, an appropriate address was delivered by the Rev. Edward Rutledge, rector of St. Thomas and St. Dennis: it is printed with the report, but its great length prevents its insertion on our pages; we however extract the following passages.]
"THE age in which we live is distinguished above all that have preceded it, by the rapid march of benevolence. Called into active existence by the Son of God, and cherished by his immediate disciples, it seems, after their departure from the earth, to have soon sunk into slumber and insensibility. In the calm of indifference, and in the storms of religious controversy, there were no opportunities presented for it to resume its progress; and for ages the absolute necessity of its presence and operation, wherever Christianity is professed, appears to have been forgotten.
"Within a few years a regenerating spirit has gone forth; a fresh beam has come down from the throne of the Eternal to revive the holy principle of good will to men; the second commandment has been placed in as clear a light as ever; Christians are again distinguished by the peculiar badge, left them by their divine Master; and again must their noble exertions in each other's behalf, excite in the minds of their enemies, the feelings that formerly caused one hostile to their interests to exclaim, see how these Christians love one another," while all the triumphs of infidelity, once too well founded on their dissentions, are hushed in silence."
"The formation of Sunday school societies, when viewed in all its bear
ings, cannot but be considered as a most important event, for these institutions crown the various charities which have lately sprung up around us: they render all other means of instruction, whether from secular teachers or the pulpit, more highly useful; they carry children to the very fountain head, and initiate them through the only proper way into wisdom, by teaching them the fear of the Lord.
"It is, perhaps, not saying. too much in their behalf to assert, that if there is a society on earth upon which the Great Head of the Church looks with peculiar pleasure, it is that which brings young children to him; that if there is an institution on which the Seraphim may look down with more than common delight, it is that composed entirely of those whose angels are continually beholding the face of their Father who is in heaven; that if there is one thing in which we excell our predecessors, and by which we render posterity our debtors, it is the care we are taking that the generation which is to act when we are gathered to our fathers, shall be holy and enlightened.
"Permit me then, while I congratulate you on this renewed opportunity of meeting for the purpose of taking sweet counsel together, to encourage those who have already embarked in this labour of love, to diligent perseverance, and to entreat patronage from those who have not yet made it their object to facilitate your valuable design."
"When children are deprived of their parents, or when they have those who feel no interest in their welfare, particularly if they are in humble life; the very circumstances in which they are placed forbid us to suppose that they will receive any religious instruc tion at home, or be brought much into the temples of the living God. In their case the utility of such establishments, as the present is too clear to require any argument. But supposing the youth to be under parental care, and that those who exercise this authority over them are well informed, and kind; supposing that they are placed above the reach of penury, and that much of their time is at their own disposal;