Imágenes de páginas

children. A woman, says Mr. R., gave me 3}d. one day, saying, “This is for Jane, a child about two years old; I give with the other people for Kitty and Yaha, when we gave the money to Jacob ; but I had nothin to give for Jane; and, Massa, take this for her.” This idea, suggested by poor negroes, of giving a sum for every child of the family, deserves the consideration and imitation of thousands of those who are better instructed, and who move in a far higher grade than the despised sons of Africa. The name of Thomas Wilson, Esq., which stands in the front of most of our religious and philanthropic institutions, will recall to the mind of every one acquainted with that respected gentleman, the many hundreds and even thousands of pounds he has generously devoted to the rearing of chapels, to missionary and other benevolent purposes, the effects of which will be felt and appreciated in future generations, and “many will rise up to call him blessed.” For, to those whom God has enlightened in the knowledge of the true use of wealth, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” In addition to his many other munificent donations, he has lately given £100 to the New Chapel, Albany street, London. G. F. Agnes, Esq., well known for his benevolent plans and exertions to promote the best interests of British Seamen both at home and abroad, has likewise distinguished himself by his liberal contributions to various religious and philanthropic objects. In addition to his labors and donations in behalf of the “British and Foreign Sailor's Society,” and as a member of the committee of the New Australian Colonization Association,” he has lately subscribed £50, in behalf of the mission to the colony to be planted in the south western quarter of New Holland.* Various similar instances of British generosity might be stated were it expedient, although it is much to be regretted that their number is so small. It is one of the hopeful signs of our times, and a prelude that “God is about to appear in his glory to men” —that Christian churches and congregations are now beginning to come forward with far more liberality, than formerly, in the cause of missions, and of the extension of religion both at home and abroad. The churches under the inspection of the Rev. Dr. Brown and Mr. Gilchrist, in Edinburgh, and of Drs. Mitchell, Hough, and others in Glasgow, have lately distinguished themselves by raising from five to eight, or ten hundred pounds annually, for domestic and foreign missions, besides affording a handsome support to their respective pastors. The church under the pastoral care of the Rev. Dr. Wardlaw, Glasgow, is said to have raised for such purposes, during last year, no less than £1700, besides supporting their pastor. Mr. Williams, missionary from the South Sea Islands, in one of his interesting addresses to the public, on a late occasion, stated, that a certain congregation in England, mentioned to him with a certain degree of satisfaction, as if it had been a great and unlooked for effort, that they had raised £50, during the preceding year for missionary and other purposes, besides maintaining the gospel among themselves. He told them, they ought to do much more; for such an exertion did not amount to a half penny a week, to every individual. They began to bethink themselves on the subject, and next year raised, without much difficulty, above four hundred pounds. Mr. Williams also stated, that, at a late public breakfast, in a certain town in England, a sum of nearly £200 was collected in a few minutes, from a very limited number of individuals— one subscribing £20, another £10, another £5, &c. with the utmost frankness and animation. The following experiment in behalf of missions, deserves attention, and might be tried, in reference to any philanthropic object. Mr. Clayton, of Walworth, proposed to his congregation, that a thousand of them should take up the subject, and each of the thousand subscribe one farthing a day to the missionary cause. This was recommended to be done immediately after morning, prayer, that as soon as they rose from their knees, they might make an offering to the Lord of one farthing. This will raise more than a guinea a day, and consequently, more than three hundred and sixtyfive guineas a year, (or £370 4s.2d.) which sum would support six missionaries in the South Seas. Having such noble examples as above stated, set before us, Christians of every name should now begin to arouse themselves from their apathy and inordinate attachment to the world, and to consider that they cannot bestow their wealth on a more honorable and important object, than in promoting the glory of God, and the best interests of the human family, wherever they are dispersed over the surface of the globe. Were such liberal offerings becoming general throughout the universal church, (and why should they not?) we might, ere long, have the near prospect of beholding the light of Divine truth irradiating every land, the moral wilderness turned into a fruitful field, and righteousness and praise springing forth before all the nations. It may not, perhaps, be improper to remark, that the contributions of Christians should not be chiefly confined to missionary purposes, or to the support of the stated ordinances of the gospel. These objects, indeed, ought to be supported, with far more liberality, and carried forward with more vigor than they have hitherto been. But, while we look abroad to distant tribes, and provide missionaries for their instruction, we are sometimes apt to forget the duty we owe to our countrymen at home; and, while we pay some attention to the religious improvement of the adult population, we too frequently overlook the rational and religious instruction of the young. On the proper moral and intellectual tuition of every class of the young, from two years old till twenty, the whole frame of civil and Christian society almost entirely depends. This grand object has been too much overlooked in all our Christian and philanthropic arrangements; and while it is so, all our other schemes of improvement will be partially frustrated. They will have a tendency only to lop off the twigs and branches of immorality and crime, while the roots of evil are left to break forth in fresh luxuriance. Christian society, therefore, should

* Evan. Mag. for Dec. 1835.

not rest satisfied, till every human being, from two years old till manhood, be brought under the influence of an efficient system of intellectual, moral, and Christian tuition, both in our own country, and, so far as our influence extends, in other lands; and a very considerable, if not the greatest portion of our Christian contributions ought, in the mean time, to be devoted to this object, which lies at the foundation of all those arrangements which are calculated to introduce the expected millennium. But, as I have already adverted to this subject, it is unnecessary to enlarge.

4. Associations might be formed, particularly among Christians, for the purpose of encouraging liberality and counteracting avarice.

As the spirit of covetousness is so extensively prevalent, and as it stands as a barrier to every noble and Christian enterprise, no means should be left unemployed to counteract its tendencies and effects. And, as Societies have been formed for less important purposes, there appears no reason why an Association should not be entered into for promoting the cause of Christian liberality and beneficence. Such a society might be composed of persons, who are willing to devote the one tenth, or any other proportion of their incomes to philanthropic objects. Such a society, if it could be formed, would set an example of liberality to the church, and the world around them, and might prove a stimulus to many, who might not otherwise have thought of it, to devote a portion of their superfluous wealth, to rational and religious purposes. It might establish, in particular districts, systems of education on new and improved plans, as specimens of what ought to be set on foot for the improvement of society in every place. It might purchase barren tracts of land, and make arrangements for their cultivation and embellishment. It might rear small towns and villages, on spacious and improved plans, with every requisite accommodation and embellishment, and calculated for the promotion of health, convenience, and comfort. It might provide employment for the industrious poor, and commence new enterprises for civilizing and christianizing rude and uncultivated tribes, whether in our own country, or in other lands, and accomplish many other objects which an enlightened benevolence would readily dictate. The frequent publication of the operations of such a society, might be the means of exciting the attention of mankind in general to such beneficent pursuits, and leading to the promotion of simil associations. However romantic such a project may appear to some, I have no doubt that there are hundreds of benevolent individuals in various districts of our own country, who would rejoice to have it in their power to co-operate with other congenial minds in promoting the best interests of their fellow creatures in the above, or in any other modes that a rational or religious mind might devise—and that they are only waiting for such o in order to give vent to their Christian liberality. it is an evil, or at least, a defect, in many of our Christian arrangements, that, in the first instance, we aim too high, beginning at the top of the scale, when we should commence at the bottom. This is the case, when our attention is almost solely devoted to the improvement of the adult population, while the young are, in a great measure, neglected;—and when our efforts are entirely directed to the promotion of the spiritual interests of mankind, while their temporal comfort is overlooked or disregarded. We have hitherto, laid too much stress on merely preaching the gospel to adults, while we should have been equally active in {{..."; the minds of the young for the reception of ivine truth, by all the rational and religious arrangements which Christian wisdom can devise. We likewise profess great zeal for the spiritual and eternal interests of the poor; while we, not unfrequently, leave them to pass their existence in the most abject hovels, and to pine away in the midst of filth, penury, and wretchedness. If we wish that they may appreciate the truths of

« AnteriorContinuar »