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former exposures of the irreligious state of our country. The documents now furnished proceed from those who can have no just motive for exaggeration. Let us benefit by this removal of prejudice from the minds of those, who raised an outcry against us, when we more charitably declared our country's danger, and become more zealous and decided for the reaping of the fields white to the harvest. We see no real good likely to result at present, from the building of a hundred or a thousand churches, if placed under the patronage of bishops or of ungodly men. The exercise of the voluntary principle is indeed likely to be useful to the Episcopal communion, and may assist in convincing them, that they can if they will build and endow churches for themselves. In addition to this benefit, there will be another, if decidedly evangelical men occupy the pulpits of these projected buildings; but in the present temper of those in authority, there is little prospect of such a result.
Besides the official admissions of the anti-evangelical party, we have similar concessions from the evangelical party in the church. The Pastoral Aid Society is an institution which designs good to the cause of religion, though there is much of sectarianism necessarily connected with its operations. The difficulties which it will have to encounter are far greater than any Society of a similar kind which we might form. Nothing can be done in a parish without leave from the incumbent, and unhappily in those very places where irreligious ministers labour, and where assistance is most required, the agents of the Pastoral Aid Society will not be admitted. Neither does this new institution aim at the introduction of the gospel into the rural districts, but rather seeks to benefit the dense population of large and increasing parishes. This is of great importance, and we should learn from the zeal of the above Society to redouble our efforts in the same cause. The correspondence of this institution, which is published from time to time, describes, in affecting colours, the ignorance and vice of our countrymen. What a change in twenty years. Who will now accuse us of folly when we advocate the cause of Home Missions ?
Have we then, as a denomination, taken advantage of this alteration in the public mind? Have we increased our efforts and united our energies and resources, and sent out a greater number of messengers of Christ among our benighted countrymen? What has London done for the country as it regards home missions ? What have the numerous and wealthy congregations of some of our large cities and towns done for the poor and weak churches of other counties, and for the destitute portion of other districts not locally connected with them? Another fact presses itself on my attention. I see with joy a great zeal displayed in support of foreign missions. I find also, on referring to the reports of Societies and Associations, that congregations which contribute annually to the cause of foreign missions £50 or a £100, do not contribute more than a tenth of that sum for Home missions. There are a few exceptions and I am sorry to say only a few. Their own country presents many destitute spots calling for missionary labour. The people are perishing under the sound of another gospel within ten, or twenty, or fifty miles of their locality, and a few hundred pounds are with difficulty obtained to support the efforts of their own County Associations in introducing the gospel into the dark districts around them, while for India or Africa ten times the amount can be raised without much difficulty !
Let not your readers misunderstand me. I do not think such congregations do too much for the cause of the heathen. No, we have not yet begun to do enough. But I do say, that similar energy and exertion ought to have been made to remove the ignorance of home. It is not a healthy or christian state of things that leads many wealthy professors and active churches of our denominations, to give liberally to foreign objects, while they do comparatively so little for home missions. I should not think home really benefited if such parties were to divide their subscriptions. No, let them give what they now. bestow for heathen lands, but let them, at the same time, enlarge their hearts and offerings for home.
This will be laying a good foundation for continuing and increasing the funds of foreign missionary societies; for just in proportion as the number of christian people is increased, shall we find supporters of the missionary cause. Every convert will help on the great work of evangelizing the world. My conviction is, that had our zeal been more directed to the dark towns and villages, by detaining for a time at home devoted men to preach the gospel, the Missionary Society would, at this moment, have had a larger income; the public mind would have been more influenced by the missionary spirit, and our churches would have been revived and multiplied.
Most cheerfully and fully do I admit that our churches do much for home in supporting the ministry of the gospel among themselves. They have the high and delightful satisfaction of knowing that they willingly defray the expenses of their own religious worship, and require not by compulsion one farthing to sustain the pastors.
If I am pointed to the Regium Donum as a proof to the contrary, I reply, that we cannot prevent individuals from acting inconsistently with their principles, nor have those who do not act thus, as yet, the power to prevent the Government from voting this sum of money. As a denomination, we do repudiate that form of assistance. I believe there is an extended and still more widely extending feeling of regret and shame, that any reputable ministers of our denomination should venture to defend this mode of sustaining the gospel at home. We may pity the poor ministers who need and who receive the miserable pittance of a few pounds from the Government grant; but we feel disposed to blame the good men who act as the almoners of money, which they know comes from the general taxes of the country, and is furnished by Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Socinians, and infidels. It would be cruel to demand the names of the recipients of this bounty, but we ought to know the amount which is sent to each county, that we may also know if the churches in those counties are unable to aid their poorer brethren. If it should be so, let the whole denomination furnish what is necessary; but let us wipe away for ever that apparent stain upon our principles and our consistency. My hope is, that a more
public and general protest against this grant will be made at some one of the meetings connected with our denomination, which may be held in the month of May.
While I most freely admit that by the support our churches give to the ministry among them, to Sunday-schools, Christian In. struction Societies, &c. great good is done; yet all this is for themselves, and their neighbours, in the same street or town. What I refer to is the neglect of the small market-towns, the villages, the hamlets, and the isolated dwellings of the farmer or cottager. All these are included in the word home; and it is chiefly this part of home that has been so commonly overlooked.
Lastly, I cannot hide or disguise from myself the fact, that the Home Missionary Society does not obtain the general support of our denomination. It is not for me to say why this is the case. But it is evident, in looking at their last Report, that hundreds of our churches do not contribute any thing to sustain it. And though the Society is professedly formed on liberal principles, yet I do not find that either Episcopalians, Methodists, or Baptists, patronize it. It is plain, then, that if it is to go on with any degree of energy or probability of success, it must be more closely connected with our denomination. At present it is not so; and besides this, notwithstanding its liberal basis, it is viewed with disfavour, if not with jealousy, by other denominations. Of necessity, therefore, the operations of the Society must be greatly contracted, and be likely to continue so, unless a change takes place either in public opinion, or in the principles of the Society. I confess that I much regret this contracted influence of the Home Missionary Society. If, indeed, I saw that those associations and churches of our order, which are able to assist the cause of home missions beyond their own counties, did so; I should care less if they should withhold their money from a common fund in London. But when I discover no effort made by some of our most influential churches beyond their own counties, and nothing done by them for the Home Missionary Society, I cannot but feel for my country, as if its best interests were neglected by those who ought to assist zealously in promoting its universal evangelization. There must be something unhealthy in this state of things—something wanting of the real missionary spirit, to permit this neglect of our own countrymen. It must, indeed, be admitted, that as far as this indifference goes, it is totally at variance with our sentiments and professions as the disciples of Christ. 1 I wonld close these remarks by respectfully submitting to your correspondents a few queries, which I shall be glad to see answered.
I. Which portions of the population of our country may be considered as in the greatest need of a combined missionary movement being made upon them by our denomination?
2. Why is it that with many the claims of distant lands excito greater interest than the claims of home?
3 In what way can we be best prepared for sending out to the bighways and hedges of our country, a far greater number of holy and devout men than we have ever yet attempted to do? and,
N.S. VOL. I.
Lastly. Can any plan be pointed out, by which the Home Missionary Society can be more identified with our denomination, and secure a much larger degree of support from our churches than it has ever yet obtained--or, failing that, can any other plan be proposed for uniting the energies of our body in support of the home missionary work, in some measure proportioned to our ability and to the wants of our country.
These queries are sufficient to point out the line of discussion that I should like to be taken by your correspondents. I confess that I feel deeply on this subject. The honour of our denomination, and above all, the honour of our avowed principles, seem connected with attention to the duty of evangelizing home. We have much land to be possessed, and we have many facilities for entering on it in the · name of our common Lord. He recognizes no geographical boundaries. He never formed any parochial arrangements. He sanctions no worldly or ecclesiastical policy, that would limit the efforts of his people in declaring the gospel to all who need it, or that would leave thousands to perish, under the instructions of legally appointed teachers destitute of personal religion. We have His warrant to encourage us in doing good, and no human power to prevent us filling the land with christian teachers. Are we prepared to do this?
I remain, Dear Sir,
UNION OF FAITH AND PRAYER. 1.–Our Lord said to his apostles, “ And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." About this and similar passages we have thought there are, in the present day, some serious mistakes, which may eventually become injurious to christian experience, by producing discouraging feelings, without any just cause. Some appear to think that, as faith and prayer should be alwaye connected, all Christians in modern times have an equal warrant to confide in Almighty power and goodness to answer any petition they may think proper to offer, as our Lord's disciples had to expect miracles whenever they wanted and asked for them, to confirm their divine mission;- that there are no bounds on this subject;—that if we have not every good thing we wish for, it is owing only to our unbelief. Thus, if a minister's labours are notoriously barren, the blame is supposed to rest wholly with himself, whatever obstacles he may have had to encounter ;-he has either no faith at all, or is greatly wanting in it:- that if he could only believe with a sufficient strength of faith, all his family and congregation would be savingly converted to God, and every sermon would be the means of turning sinners to righteousness. Figuratively speaking, by the exercise of such a faith, “ every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill laid low." The following remarks may possibly remove some misapprehensions on this subject, counteract desponding feelings in ministers, and others, and correct a tendency to unwarrantable censoriousness, fanaticism, confidence, and presumption.
1. It is undeniable that many have had very remarkable and im
mediate answers to prayer for specific, and extraordinary objects, as appears from the histories of Hannah, Elijah, Elisha, David, Jonah, and Peter's signal deliverance from prison; to which might be added many instances in modern times. These should give encouragement in all cases of distress and danger. But it appears dangerous presumption to expect, in the same degree, the same promises to faith, and answers to prayer, as our Lord's disciples had who were authorized to expect, if necessary, the removal of “ a mountain or sycamine-tree into the midst of the sea." Their's was the age of miracles, for which they were allowed to ask in prayer, and to expect as answer, to establish their doctrines and mission. To make their peculiar case a full and constant precedent to the church in later ages, seems unwarrantable and absurd.
2. Faith and prayer should be always connected. Thus our Lord asked the blind men praying to be healed," Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, yea, Lord.” And the apostle Paul perceived that the cripple at Lystra “ had faith to be healed." James also says, " If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing from the Lord.” All prayer presupposes the Omnipotence as well as the goodness of Jehovah; and there can be no question that he is able to bestow, if it may promote his glory, any blessings we may ask. For this reason he claims implicit confidence, and we « come boldly to the throne of grace.” What SeNECA, the tragedian, says on a very different subject, may not seem inapplicable to Christian believers :
“ Intrepida constent verba,-qui timidè rogat,
Docet negare." 3. All acceptable prayer stands connected with the divine promises, which form its encouraging basis, and a petition not authorized by them is sure of rejection. In Matth. xxi., 21, 22, our Lord's disciples were encouraged to ask for miracles, because they were promised; such promises have now ceased, because the occasion for them no longer exists. We have suspected that some good, experimental Christians, overlook this, and from a too general application of our Lord's words, though they do not expect miracles, fill themselves with unnecessary fears and anxiety, because they have not yet received some extraordinary mercies for which they have long prayed, “ wrestling with God."' No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly;" therefore, if he withhold any petition we may present, it follows that, if granted, it would not be good for us. Of the antient Israelites it is recorded, God“ gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."
4. Both our prayers and wishes should be always in perfect submission to the divine will and sovereign pleasure. Our Saviour prayed thus :-“ () my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." In no other way are we warranted to expect answers to prayer. The apostle John says,“And this is the confidence that we have in hinn, that, if we ask any