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been in the islands of the South Sea. There he has lived and taught, I believe, about fourteen years, in connection with the London Society. His errand to this country is, to excite interest enough for obtaining a missionary ship to communicate with the people of the different islands, as circumstances may require.
His first communication I did not hear, but have understood it to be descriptive of the arts and efforts of the Romish priests, and their friends, the French Government, who have taken military possession of the islands. The priests were forced upon the people by authority, under threatening of punishmeut, and everything was to yield to their pleasure.
The bishop, he said, spread catechisms among the natives, who inquired of Mr. Cressy (the missionary) what they should do with them. “Bring them to me," he replied, “ and I will read them to you.” They did so, and he shewed them what Popery is from the books of Papists themselves. The effect was, that the natives were disgusted with them, and declared that they wished to trust alone in Jesus Christ for salvation.
He mentioned that a priest went to the house of a chief, and ordered him to cut his hair and powder his head. The chief requested him to leave his house, as he would do no such service for him. The priest brought a constable to enforce obedience, when the chief's son, with a bow and arrow, killed the constable. This gave rise to a violent persecution of all who would not receive the Popish priests and ceremonies.
Mr. Cressy stated that on his way he stopped at the Sandwich Islands, was at a general missionary meeting, and was much gratified with what he heard from the missions there. And, with reference
to the prayer-meeting he was now attending, he remarked, “I am delighted to hear that Christians of different denominations meet together to pray. We missionaries forget all about our denominations. We are Christians. I suppose I was a Lutheran once ; but I forgot all about it. I wish to preach Christ and Him crucified—and nothing else."
We have had frequent reports of the state of religious feeling in Old Plymouth, where a work of grace has been experienced for several months past. Two Christian brethren, of the name of Robbins, have spoken on the subject. One of these, who had been a sea-captain, enlarged recently on the cause of seamen, and urged to more prayer on their behalf, knowing well, as he did, their character, dangers, and temptations.
The meeting of the American Board of Missions has given much occasion for frequent prayer of late with us, as it has, doubtless, with you, as well as at the several missionary stations. And it is deeply interesting to notice that, in the recent account of the meeting, several of the ministers expressed their deep-felt conviction that the greatest want, at present, was the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church of Christ, in order that His cause might go forward with power and great effect, and that His salvation might speedily reach the nations of the earth. Such has been remarkably the feeling of our meeting, and it has often been made the subject of fervent prayer. I hope we shall hear the same concerning yours. Yours, in Christian bonds (On behalf of the meeting),
COPY OF A LETTER SENT TO RICHMOND, VA.
Boston, July 2, 1856. For the Reverend Pastors of Churches in Rich
mond, Virginia, directed to the Rev. George
Woodbridge, for communication. BRETHREN, BELOVED AND RESPECTED IN THE LORD:
The subscriber having read with deep interest your “ Address," adopted on the 19th ult., and republished in a secular paper of this city on the 27th, took liberty to read it at a prayer-meeting on the morning of Monday last. Circumstances prevented its being read before the Sabbath ; but it was heard with serious attention, and on the next morning he was requested, by several of those who frequent the meeting, to prepare and communicate some suitable response.
The task is undertaken with sincere pleasure, as well as with no little diffidence. For the document itself, though by no means long, is in its details so comprehensive and appropriate, that a repetition of it would seem the very best reply, and its echo the almost invariable impression on the heart of each American Christian. God grant, indeed, that its spirit may pervade at length the whole clerical body among us, and the members of all the Churches of Christ !
The appeal is not made at a date too early. The various meetings to which you allude, and which have been holden in so many localities, in order to excite indignation, and administer fuel to the flame that threatens to consume our dear and boasted privileges, were commenced almost immediately on the outbreak of those passions which all good men must lament. They called for not only a counter
balance, but a preponderating influence; and might well have been imagined to require, if they did not invoke, the sweet and healing spirit of our common Christianity.
You state, virtually, that, while these "indignation meetings were frequent, you had not known of meetings calculated to allay the rising tumult of angry feelings.” It will, therefore, give you pleasure to be informed that in the prayer-meeting whose Secretary now addresses you, the distressing subject was early taken up and carried to God. Prayer for our “ rulers,” and legislators, and magistrates, has been urged, and often presented. For them the blessing has been besought of that “wisdom” which is so appropriately characterised by the apostle James as “ first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” And could there have been a happier selection of words for the purpose, or a more just or happier collocation of them ?
In fact, how can Christians expect good rulers without taking the trouble to ask of God the precious bestowment ? Their duty is obvious, though so often and grossly neglected. And God, long since, declared to His chosen people, to whom He promised His special blessing, that He would " be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them " (Ezek. xxxvi. 37).
The prayer-meeting to which I have alluded, has now been holden every morning of the week for between five and six years. Like your own body, it embraces the union of Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. Members of more than thirty distinct churches have occasionally been noticed among those who attend on it; and it
is truly a union meeting. Denominational differences are set aside, that prayer may be offered in the spirit of Christian harmony and mutual love, for the Lord's sake.
Oh, that the spirit of grace and supplication may be, at this critical period in our history, poured out on the Church of Christ in all its branches among us ! This is what we need, by the confession of all serious Christians, to enable us to secure for ourselves, and to transmit to our posterity, those inestimable civil and religious blessings, of which you have made so judicious and affecting mention. Many of our ministers have expressed feelings of this kind since the lamented and disgraceful outbreak of lawless human passions has called for redress. And may not the emergency be used, in the wise and holy providence of Almighty God, to endear to Christians the cause and kingdom of their common Lord, for the prosperity of which they habitually pray? May it not be overruled to teach Christians their mutual duties toward each other, and to shew them wherein their great strength lieth ? God grant that it may; and that your own effort to recommend and inculcate the development and cherishing of every disposition that may “make for peace” shall secure the approbation of the God of peace,” and avail to establish it among us in righteousness !
In these sentiments, and on behalf of the members of the prayer-meeting to which I have alluded so often, I subscribe myself, most cordially, Yours in the bonds of the Gospel,