Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

trat his time is so much occupied with sentiments of the Methodists, and their his school, that he has no leisure to general character are much the same devote to this object. It might greatly there as in other parts of our country. promote religion, if some missionary The Baptists in the western states and body would employ this man in their territories are in their sentiments exservice permitting him, at the same tremely various. The better informed time, to supply his own societies. are said to he Calvinistic; but a very In this state at large, the prevailing considerable portion are either Antivices are the same as in the State of nomian or Arminian, and not a few Kentucky; nor is the general state of are Arian or Socinian. Some of them society very different.

have a religious regard to the SabIn the Mississippi Territory, contain- bath; but by the greater part the sac ing about 58,000 inhabitants, there are credness of that holy day is openļy six Presbyterian churches, four minis- denied. Their preachers are not only ters, nine itinerant Methodist preach- unlearned, but they hold learning in ers, twenty-seven Baptist churches, disesteem and contempt. While they and thirteen preachers. “ The state of decry hunan knowledge, they pretend society in this territory is deplorable. to divine inspiratịon. They pay great You scarcely see a man ride without attention to dreams and visions, mys. his pistol, or walk without a dagger interious impulses and impressions; and his bosom. It is believed that more of these the relations and experiences, innocent blood is shed in this territo- upon which members are admitted to ry and in Louisiana, in one year, than their communion, in no small part in all the Middle and Eastern states, consist, The New Lights, of whom in ten years.” At Natches, in this ter- mention has been made, are a sect ritory, Messrs Schermerhorn and Mills which sprung up in Kentucky in 1803. procured a bible society to be estab- Believing that the extraordinary work lished under favorable auspices. then prevailing was the commence

The INDIANA TERRITORY,with about ment of the millennium, and that all 25,000 inhabitants, has one Presbyte-mystery and obscurity in religion was rian church and minister; five itiner- then to be done away; they gave license ant Methodist preachers; twenty-nine to their heated imaginations, and proBaptist churches, and fourteen prea-liceeded to explain the Scriptures, acchers; six New Light preachers, and a cording to what they called reason; few Shakers.

and it is a remarkable fact, that a wild In the ILLINOIS TERRITORY, con- li fanaticism in those western regions taining about 13,000 inhabitants, there conducted its votaries to the denial of are five or six Methodist preachers in the same doctrines, and to the adopseveral circuits, and about six hundredtion of nearly the same opinions, as members of the Methodist connexion, the vaunted criticism and liberality of and five Baptist churches, containing other parts of Christendom have done. about 120 members.

This sect, which for a while was nuIn the whole great extent of coun-merous, is now decreasing. The Haltry, thus surveyed, there are not two|eyons of the West are a sort of mystthirds as many ministers, Presbyterian ics, who set out with the avowed deor Congregational, as there are in Mas-sign of abolishing all distinction of resachusetts Proper; but those ministers | ligious denominations, and uniting all are generally of respectable attain-professed Christians in one Commun ments in knowledge, of strictly evan-ion, and under one name. They regelical sentiments, and of good repu-nounce all creeds, confessions, and tation for piety, and regular devoted-catechisms; and profess to receive ness to their work. In most of those the Holy Scriptures, as a divine help, parts, the Methodists and Baptists are handed down from heaven, to aid the prevailing denominations. The their reason în forming just ideas of

the divine character and of divineployed; and 130 members of Baptist things. But say they, “We receive churches, with no settled preachers. not the Holy Scriptures as the founda-It is estimated that about two fifths of tion of our faith in religion; for we the inhabitants are Americans, and the conceive that other foundation can rest French; and both the one and the never be laid, equal to that founda- other are in a state of extreme igno. tion stone, which was laid before Josh-||rance, and the greater part as visibly ua, (of which the Scriptures clearly without God in the world as heathens. speak,) whereon were seven eyes, A Mr. Stephen Hampstead of St. Louwhich we conceive to be the seven is, the principal place in this Territocommunicable attributes of God."* ry, who was formerly of Connecticut, They hold that“ the office of Christ in a letter to our missionaries, says, on earth was to explain the eternal“I believe the formation of a Bible laws of religion to man;", they prac- and Tract Society, would be very tise baptism indifferently by sprinkling useful here. I have distributed a few or immersion; and decline matrimo-tracts that I brought with me; and ny, under pretence of choosing spir-they were received with thankfulness, itual mates. This sect is also on the and I trust have done good. If any decrease.

of the Societies in New-England will On the whole, throughout the States send on some Bibles or Tracts to my and territories reviewed, there is a de- charge, I will distribute them among plorable want of the preached Gospel the poor and needy, who are famishand of the stated and regular adminis-ing for the word of life. In my intertration of divine ordinances; a deplo-views with the heads of families and table want, indeed, of all the means of officers of government, they have ex. good religious instruction; (for but a pressed a strong desire to have a minsmall part of the people possess the Bi-ister of education, piety, morals, and ble:) and therefore a loud and effect- talents settled at St. Louis, and that ing call for the benevolent aid of mis- they would contribute liberally and sionary and Bible Societies. The Gen- continually to his support." eral Assembly of the Presbyterian The state of LOUISIANĄ has a popuChurch has sent a few missionaries, lation of about 77,000 free people, and from time to time, into these destitute about 35,000 slaves. Of the free peoregions, and the attention of the Phila-ple it is estimated that about one fifth delphia, New-York, and Connecticutare Americans. “The settlements east Bible Societies has been turned tow- of lakes Mauripas and Bouchantrain to ards them; but unless much greater Pearl river, are few and scattering, but exertions shall be made, than have yet chiefly American.' The settlements been made, by the pious and the liber- on the Mississippi are very flourishing al, it will be long before any adequate from Point Coupee to some distance supply, either of ministers or of Bibles below New Orleans; and on both sides will be furnished to them.

of the river they present almost a conBut regions of still deeper and moretinued village. The inhabitants of the deplorable darkness and corruption upper part of the settlements are from are now to come under review; re- Canada; of the middle, Germans; and gions but lately annexed to the Unit- of the lower part, French and Spanish ed States.

from Europe. All speak the same lanIn the district of country, west of the guage, and are similar in habits, manMississippi, called the Missouri Terri-ners and religion. In the settlements tory containing a scattered population on the Gulph, west of the Mississippi, of about 21,000, there are 445 mem- the people are Spanish, French, and bers of Methodist Societies, among American. On Red River they are whom six itinerant preachers are em- principally French, and in the Washita

*N. Epist. No, 44 and 45, Lex. 1803. American. The state of society in this

country is very deplorable. The peo-j established at New Orleans by the exple are entirely ignorant of divineertions of our missionaries, while they things, and have been taught only to were there. The Legislature was then attend mass and count their beads. in session, and gentlemen of influence; They are without schools, and of the not in the city only, but in the state at French inhabitants not one in ten can large, became members Very consis read. Their whole business seems to derable attention was excited to the be to make the most they can of their subject, and many people began earplantations, and to get gain. They are nestly to enquire for the bible. On the not intemperate in drinking, but con- day the Bible Society was formed, tinence is with them no virtue. The Mr. Mills writes, “I was at the store of Sabbath to them is a high holiday, and Mr. Stackhouse this morning, and on it is committed perhaps more actu-during a short stay there, five or six al sin, than during the whole week be- French people called on him inquiring side. Dancing, gambling, parties of|| for bibles in their language. Some of pleasure, theatrical amusements, din-| them belonged to the city, and some ing parties, &c. are the common bu-to the country.” Two days afterwards siness of the day, after mass in the he writes. "Mr. Stackhouse informmorning. In the whole state there is ed me this evening that a number of not one Protestant church, unless it be people called on him for Bibles, mosta small one of Baptists, about to be ly French Catholics. This is certainly organized at Appelousas. The Meth- a wonderful day for New-Orleans. odists have had itinerants up Red Riv- Mr. Stackhouse told me that if he had er and Washita, but are exceedingly fifty bibles, they would all be disposed unpopular. The religion professed is of at once.”-A Mr. Dow has receiv. entirely Roman Catholic. The clergy ed, through a friend, twenty or thirty of this order, however, are not numer- English bibles, from the British and ous; perhaps fifteen. The Bishop and Foreign Bible Society. These were four or five priests réside in New-Or-| all distributed. leans. Bishop de Bury I believe to be During their stay of about three a man of piety; and I know that he weeks in New Orleans, our missionalaments the degraded state of their ries preached as often as they had opchurch in Louisiana, and mourns over|portunity. Of the last Sabbath Mr. the depravity and wickedness of the Mills says; “In the evening the con. place in which he resides. The bishop| gregation was numerous for the place; and father Antonio favored the estab-perhaps 200 attended. Brother Scherlishment of the Louisiana Bible Soci-merhorn preached. It was said by ety, which I trust will prove a great and those who had lived in the city a conlasting blessing to the state."

siderable time, they never saw so full The Bishop,” says Mr. Mills, “is a meeting before.

After sermon, a considered as a man of character and collection of 84 dollars was made for of extensive information; he came the missionaries." Mr. Schermerhorn from Baltimore and has been in New- had an invitation, a pretty pressing Orleans but a few months. He gave one, it would seem, to remain at Newit as his opinion, that there were not Orleans, and settle in the ministry at this time twelve bibles in the vicin-there. In relation to this he says, “1 ity of New Orleans. He spoke of this regretted it could not be so; for I becity as being the most desperately lieve the Lord has much people in that wicked place he had ever been in;" city; that it is an ample field for usethough "he bad been in France, and fulness, and the most important situahad opportunity of ascertaining the tion in the western country.” morals and religion in the cities of that “ In West Florida,” says Mr. Mills, kingdom."

“the people are extremely ignorant. The Louisiana Bible Society was The attention of some of them has

[ocr errors]

been lately called to religious subjects. the Scriptures to a degree beyond all Numbers of them lose no time in so-former example. To this, and other liciting for a bible, whenever a pros- causes of similar operation, may be pect, that they may be supplied is pre- ascribed the superior estimation into sented, which is very rare. There are which the Scriptures have risen of late some families in this part of our coun- years, and the strong disposition which try, who never saw a bible, ror heard has been manifested to promote their of Jesus Christ; and some there are, diffusion and reception among all orhopefully pious, who cannot obtain a ders of society. At length, an expebible or even a testament. The peo- dient was devised, of equal simplicity, ple to whom I now refer speak the liberality, and wisdom, for accomplishEnglish language."

ing this purpose, on a scale which The view now given of these exten- promises eventually to comprehend, sive, dark, and famishing regions of not merely the inhabitants of the our country, can hardly fail deeply to British Empire, nor the population of affect the hearts of the friends of the Christendom, but the whole family of Redeemer, and of those for whom he man. This expedient was to circulate died; and if it have the effect to wake the sacred text, upon which Christians up the members of this society and in general are agreed, and to which others to more earnest prayer and ex- they appeal as their common standertion for the imparting of the bles-ard, without human interpretation, sings of the gospel to such as are per- criticism, or commeht. The propoishing for want of them, the design of sition was acceded to, and practically presenting it will be answered. From adpoted, by a respectable body, conthis distant excursion we return tosisting of members from various comthings nearer home...(To be continued.) munions of professing Christians; and

it was recommended to public patron

age and support, in the year 1804, unSUMMARY ACCOUNT OF THE BRITIŞA der the designation of “THE BRITISR ANE FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.

AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY."
Continued from p. 31.

The Institution was regarded with In the present age, no circumstan- considerable interest. To some inces claim more strongly the notice | deed it appeared so doubtful ap exand approbation, of every friend to periment, that they could not be preChristianity, than the increased atten- vailed upon to join immediately in tión manifested to the circulation of giving it the trial; while others, and the Holy Scriptures, and the facilities those not a few, of almost every perprovided for the accomplishment of suasion, saw in it the germ of Christhis object. Our forefathers have long tian concord and social happiness; and been honored with the gratitude they rallied round it, as a standard of deserved, for having, at the period of piety, and peace and pure religion. the Reformation, laid open those Lord Teignmouth accepted the apheavenly treasures to the eyes of the pointment of President; as did the people. Societies were subsequently Bishops of London, Durham, Salisformed, schools were founded, and bury, and St. David's, together with other regulations adopted, for promot- certain lay-lords and gentlemen of the ing this desirable work. Little how- highest character, that of Vice-Presidover comparatively, was done towards ents. Thus constituted and patronigeneralizing the knowledge of the Bi-| zed,from the popularity of its plan and Ble, till within the last fifty years; the exertions of its conductors, it obwhen an increased attention to educa- tained a rapid establishment in the tion brought the minds of the com-world; and may be considered as almon people more extensively into cul- ready possessing a larger and more tivation, and multiplied the readers of etficient operation than was ever aco

quired in so' short a time by any char- throughout the United Kingdom; and itable Institution.

in conspicuous and convenient stations Upon its first appearance before the throughout the other portions of the public, Wales and Scotland rivalled world already enumerated. Its Auxeach other and their fellow-christians iliaries within the United kingdom alin ENGLAND, by the promptitude and ready amount to above 200. On the liberality of their support. Ireland continent of Europe, it has produced did not remain uninterested in this kindred Institutions of great activity, strife of love; but manifested as strong and operating under the most respecta disposition as its local impediments able patronage, in Stockholm, Berlin, would allow, to aid in promoting 80 Basle, Abo, St. Petersburg, Moscow, glorious a work. The continent of EU-&c. These stations are peculiarly faROPE felt the impulse which London vorable to the object of supplying the had excited; and evinced the effeets inhabitants of that continent with the of it, in local associations for prosecu- Scriptures in their several languages: ting the same common purpose, under 19 Asia it possesses powerful Auxilarthe auspices and by the aid of the Pa-ies, at Calcutta end Colombo. The rent Institution. Asta displayed a Societies established in those places similar spirit, and Calcutta (where cer- consist of individuals of different Christain individuals from the Baptist Soci- tian denominations, eminent alike for. ety had made a most auspicious be. piety, learning, and station; and are ginning in the work of translations) | honored with the countenance and became the seat of a Corresponding support of the respective governments. Committee; professing, in the name, Through these Associations, and the and chiefly by the funds, of the Soci-instruments employed under their diety in London, to aid and encourage rection and encouragement, the Socitranslations of the scriptures into all ety at home will contribute considerathe vernacular dialects of the East.-bly towards furnishing the native ChrisThis initiatory measure has led to the tians in India (amounting to nearly a establishment of“ the Calcutta Auxili- MILLION,) with Bibles; to produce corary Bible Society.” AMERICA caught|rect versions of the Scriptures in the the same holy ardoar; and a similar various languages of the East; and to union of Christians, upon kindred prin- open channels for their circulation aciples, and with the same object in mong millions of people, who might view, was speedily witnessed in vari- otherwise have remained utter stranous great towns throughout the Unit-gers to the words of eternal life. In ed States. Several of these Associa- AFRICA it is chiefly employed in distions have been assisted by the Brit-tributing Copies of the Scriptures, furnish and Foreign Bible Society. ished from its Domestic Depository:

In order to form a just conception but the recent establishment of an Auxof this important Institution, and to ilary Society for the Mauritius, Isle of prognosticate its effects on the civiliz- Bourbon, and Dependencies, under ed world, it will be necessary to view the immediate patronage of the Gov. it a little more nearly, and to enterernor; encourages a hope that somemore particularly into the details of thing more extensive and effectual will its present vast and increasing magni- be done for enlightening and christiantude.

izing that dark and degraded portion The center of this Institution is in of the Globe. In AMERICA the object LONDON. Its larger component parts of the Society is prosecuted by tho are to be traced in Auxiliary Societies, Bible Societies of Philadelphia, Newor other associations, formed under its York, Albany, Connecticut, Massaencouragement, and contributory to its chusetts, Main, New Jersey, South object, in several of the most consid- Carolina, Georgia, Baltimore, &c, a. erable, and in some of

the minor towns il mounting to 24 in number, all produc

« AnteriorContinuar »