by this system of reading I had almost said they put it out of the power of God Almighty to help them. I have been to Guilford and Stonington, to Bambury and Danbury--every where they read their sermons and sing Praise by proxy. It was harvest, and very warm. Saturday was fine for getting in the grain. It was at full moon. Many of the farmers kept their men servants and maid servants, their oxen and their jack asses, at work till one o'clock on Sunday morning. At half past ten they got all to church. The minister began to read off his task, but scarcely had he got to thirdby, when I looked around, and found they were all asleep, except a few old women, and about two dozen of Sunday scholars in the gallery, who were cutting sticks to make wind mills-observed the teachers, male and female, were asleep, as if the minister was reading the dead languages. To keep myself awake, my thoughts ran ahead in the following strain :-Before this I never could comprehend what was the employment of them chaps in Yale college, who are called professors of the dead languages. I now felt satisfied that it must be them who learn the young Yankees to read sermons; but what a pity the old farmers, their fathers, should squeeze and starve all the rest of the family to raise forty dollars per month to pay board, and fees, and fire, and candles, and pens, and paper, to learn a boy to read sermons in New-Heaven. Only send them to New-York, and Picket will learn them for ten shillings per month to read nearer to the points than many whom I heard; and Carville, corner of Pine-street and Broadway, for one hundred, will give them as many sermons as they can read in fifty years. This too would save a great deal of paper, for a sermon reads just well when printed as wrote. We have heard much of the march of intellect since the days of the pilgrims; but with regard to pulpit life, oratory, and eloquence, it has been in an awful retrograde line. Cotton Mather and his cotemporary champions of truth would preach hours on a stretch without a paper within à mile of them, except their Bible. The Edwards and Witherspoons, the Rogers and Linns, the Livingstons and Masons of our day made the souls of their hearers as well as the walls of their churches tremble with their extempore pulpit eloquence. Now we have boys fresh from the college-their beards as soft as the down on a mushroom top-green spectacles to hide their conscious shame, reading from a dead paper to a company of dead souls, and with a manner, too, as dead as the devil (who always attends church) could wish it. Why, if these men were to go into congress, the bench, or even the theatre, so, they would be kicked from the hall, or hissed from the stage. Is it not a shame, to say the least of it, that a man in congress, or in a court of justice, will speak hours to the purpose, and often in support of a doubtful point, without paper; and yet a minister of the gospel, who has the range of the three worlds, heaven, earth, and hell, with all the sublime doctrines of the Bible at his finger ends, can't speak forty minutes without a quire of paper held up as an extinguisher of truth between his eyes and the eyes of his hearers. If you want to convince


[ocr errors]

men in argument, they must see the fire of truth flash from your eyes.—When Paul stood before Felix, and reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and a future judgment, his eyes kindled with the mighty theme, darting conviction through the eyes of the tyrant into the dark corners of his guilty, black, iron-bound soul case, which made him tremble on his throne. Yes, on his throne. Truth, when spoken, (not read,) will make any tyrant tremble. There is no excuse for this banisher of pulpit eloquence. Laziness is the cause. Forty years ago you would rarely have seen a paper in any pit in New-York. The abilities of our young men are as good now as they were then. Memory, like all faculties of the mind, will improve by using. Ministers only, of the public speakers, take neither pride nor pains to excel. Were I a minister, I would throw my paper into the fire, and say I will be second to none, were it only for the honour of the profession. The ministers in the devil's church deal out their fictions and lies in such a solemn strain of eloquent pathos, that they can chain the attention of their audience, and bathe them in tears for hours; but many of the ministers of the Most High deal out their solemn realities as if they were mere fictions, and they can barely keep the people from going to sleep. One sabbath evening, about seventeen years ago, I went into the brick meeting to hear Dr. from Connecticut preach. There he stood with all the insignia of office, white bands, silk cloak, and tassels enough to bedeck a modern hearse, a tall, fine looking man, I thought he was Boanerges personified. Out came his paper. He read along pretty well for about fifteen minutes. The thunder began to roll over Snake Hill in the Jerseys-the heavens were clothed in darkness-his spectacles failed-and he was obliged to sit down, till the sexton procured lighted candles. I thought this spoke more than volumes against the pernicious practice of reading. However, next day I learned that he had been a professor of theology for seven years previous, and being a man of a very charitable turn of mind, I thought it was probable he might have given away whatever little stock of divinity he once possessed, for the benefit of those young students whose heads he had been polishing, and thereby left nothing to himself."

Extract from a letter to the Editor. The writer is one of our zealous and useful Ministers, within the Jurisdiction of the E. Pennsylvania Synod.

"Though there is much desolation in Zion here to weep over; yet there are also some good features in the sad picture which afford some relief to the eyes of the spectator. The tone of Evangelical feelings and sentiments, is, I think, improving. I hope some good has been done in the name of the "Holy Child Jesus," and I flatter myself that much will yet be done in this part of zion. Amidst much opposition and in the face of the most bitter and unrelenting

Vol. V. No. 7.


sectarianism, and zeal without knowledge, ay, and love too, we
commenced the building of a church, about 5 miles, N. E. from
this place, in a little village, called Mountjoy. This
was an extreme part of the Maytown congregation; but as those
members lived remote from this place, could not well attend service
here; hence we determined to build a house for worship. It was
commenced last summer and finished this spring. The house is
built of brick, one story of 18 feet, and its dimensions 40 by 46.
The inside is handsomely furnished, with convenient pews and a
pulpit of modern form. The congregation consists of about 90 or
100 members, of whom about 60 are regular communicants. There
is a visible change for the better in our church here-a goodly num-
ber are anxiously seeking the pearl of great price and a good many
are truly devoted to the Saviour of sinners, whom they have found
to be precious to their souls. These are also very desirous of
seeing Jerusalem made a praise in the Earth and souls brought un-
We have our hin-
der the saving influence of the blessed Spirit.
drances too; for our spiritual children are sought after, by the va-
rious sectaries, who would persuade them that "ichabod," has been
inscribed upon the walls of our Temple. But the God of our fore-
fathers, I hope will never suffer the hands of those new sects, to
It is true,
desolate, what has thus far engaged his fostering care.
dear brother in the patience of Christ, we have cause to weep over
the slain daughters of our people-over the desolation of sin in our
church, over the listless indifference of many who bear the name
of the great Saxon Reformer; and though we are reproached with
the fact, that many among us have only the form, but lack the
power of godliness, yet those are not Lutherans-they are spurious
ones, they scandalize by their walk, the worthy name they bear.
Still the Lord has his people amongst us, though they have no
religion to boast of or talk about, yet are they renewed in the spirit of
their minds and evince it in a more substantial way than boastful
profession, viz. by fruits, worthy of repentance, and faith which wor-
keth by love. But I am digressing; to return, the church, at Mount-
joy was dedicated to the service of the God of salvation, on the
16th of May last, and was called "Trinity Church." On that oc-
Father and Brother B- assisted me in the service of de-
casion, my
dication. There was present an immense concourse of people. The
attention that was given to the discourses, proved that they were
highly spiritual and edifying to the people.

Here I would merely add, that since the dedication, our new church has been well visited when open for service, and though there have frequently been meetings held quite near to us by various sects at the same hour, yet we always have a large number of bearers. I hope to see our church increasing in this place more and more.

Prince LEOPOLD has concluded, very wisely, we think, not to accept the Throne of Greece. May Providence yet cause Greece to establish and maintain a Rrepresentative Government!

[ocr errors]


Our brethren of the Lutheran church, and the pious of all Protestant denominations, will rejoice to learn, that this institution continues to receive evidences of God's favor and blessing. The number of students increases rapidly, and there is every prospect, that the Directors will soon obtain the sum requisite for a permanent fund, from which the second Professor is to be supported.

The Rev. Dr. Schmucker, well known as one of the most ardent friends of the Seminary being Agent of the Directors, obtained considerable subscriptions in Baltimore and Washington county Md. He spent a few days lately in Frederick, and among a few of the members of the Lutheran church, obtained a handsome subscription, something more than One Thousand Dollars. At the next meeting of the Directors, which will take place on the last Wednesday of this month, (September) the second Professor Rev. Dr. Hazelius will be installed. The Rev. Dr. F. D. Schaeffer of Philadelphia, Senior Rev. Minis. has been appointed, to perform the solemn exercises of installation. We have not yet understood, whether he can accept of the appointment, but the Directors do anticipate, much pleasure, in seeing and hearing this venerable Father in Christ, upon the occasion.-Editor.


No. 1.

The judicious exercise of scriptural discipline in a christian congregation, is of the utmost moment. As the observance of prudent and wholesome domestic regulations, is necessary to the peace and happiness of a family; or, as the administration of wise and salutary laws is important to the continuance and prosperity of a state; so, the faithful execution of church-laws in relation to offending members, is indispensable to the maintainance of purity and the promotion of piety in a congregation. It appears to us to be absolutely impossible for a religious association to flourish any length of time in an eminent degree, without the enforcement of a discipline, at once mild and decisive, and based upon the principles and precepts of the Gospel. Our forefathers in the Lutheran ministry, seem to have been deeply impressed with the truth of this remark, and hence, upon their arrival in this country, they invariably introduced into their churches, what, in their own nervous


language was termed eine Kirchenzucht, and if we will give ourselves the trouble of resorting to the ecclesiastical archives of those days, we shall frequently find upon record instances of Kirchenbusze and, Vorstellungen fehlender Glieder vor der ganzen Gemeine : by which is implied: "Confession and repentance of guilt and restoration to church-communion," and "a public admonition of a brother who had erred, in the presence of the officers of the churchcouncil or members of the congregation," agreeably to the direction of Paul to Timothy, 1 Tim. v. 20, Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. The beneficial effects resulting from this species of their ministerial fidelity, were prominently visible in the success of their labors and the prosperity of their churches.

But of late years many of our clergy and church officers have in a great measure, neglected this important part of their official duty, and the consequences are such, that we have abundant cause to mourn over the inefficiency of our well-intended exertions, and to weep on account of the numerous evils that are desolating our Zion.

Anxious to bring this interesting subject fully and fairly before our readers, with a view to attract their attention to it, and prepare the way to a more rigid observance of it in our church, we propose in this article to show

1st. The importance of congregational discipline.

2d. What offences require its exercise.

3d. Who the persons are by whom it should be administered.

4th. In what manner it should be carried into effect.

1st. The importance of congregational discipline.

Congregational discipline consists in the right execution of churchlaws, and the infliction of the penalties enjoined; or, it means the proper treatment of offending members.

The importance of this duty may be argued;

a From the distinctness and frequency with which it is inculcated in the sacred writings.

If the opinion advanced by some writers be correct, that the degree of importance that should be attached to any christian obligation may be determined by the comparative clearness and repetition with which that obligation is laid down in God's word, then we must at once concede that the conscientious administration of discipline in a congregation is of high moment. Whether we refer to the Gospels or to the Epistles, we find the duty under consideration, insisted upon with a plainness and frequency that cannot fail to strike the attentive reader. It would be tedious to refer to all the various portions of Holy Writ in which we are commanded to admonish and endeavor to reclaim those whose walk is disorderly, and ultimately, if the employment of proper means for their recovery proves unsuccessful, to exclude them from our communion. Let a few therefore suffice: Moreover, (says our Lord) if thy brother shall tresspass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast

« VorigeDoorgaan »