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who are willing to exchange a mistaken opinion for the truth.*
Reviewing the four OBJECtions which have been stated, with the ANSWERS returned, it is with christian candour we draw the following conclusions. We look alone to the Lord to continue a succession of faithful men, as ministers of his gospel.—That whatever effects learning may have upon some men, whether to make them upprofitable or despised, we believe that whenever it is sanctified to men of grace, it will invariably produce the most amiable temper, and the greatest usefulness to the public. And, although many who have not had the desirable advantages of education, and yet have been blessed of the Lord in their respective stations, they demand our most affectionate esteem. As God has blessed, and continues to bless, the means of education for greater usefulness, we most cordially and thankfully embrace the opportunity which his providence now affords us to assist our pious young men with those means of instruction which may render them more useful in such stations to which hereafter they may be appointed.f
* Let the objector bring to recollection, Whitefield, Gill, Hervey, Romaine, Carey, Stillman, Manning, Tennant, Edwards, with many others, recorded on the page of history; men of classical knowledge, eminent in preaching the gospel for the conversion of sinners, as well as their writings. This simple method, it is presumed, will create a blush, and induce him never again to reflect upon the will and providence of God, for affording classical knowledge to many ministers of his gospel. For, if he had pleased to have done without them, he would not have produced them.
+ In addition to the utility of education to a Minister, as stated in this discourse, we observe, that providence frequently places a minister over a
The only remaining duty for me now to discharge is, to conclude with two short addresses.
THE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THIS CORRESPONDING SOCIETY
You are closely connected, my brethren, with an Institution which promises utility to the cause of religion, and which we hope will be continued when our heads may be laid upon the lap of earth. Be not, therefore, weary in well doing. We cherish a lively hope that the young persons who have been, or may yet have the privilege of education by this Society, may be so blessed of the Lord, in the pursuit of their studies, as may render them more useful in the great work of the Redeemer, and in which we are all so deeply interested.
TO THE CONGREGATION. As you have already heard the first annual report of this Society, you, of course, will consider it in its infancy. Considerable exertions have already been made by its friends in this city ; but still, increasing funds are greatly required. The collection to be received this evening will be appropriated to that ob. ject, and it is hoped, a persuasion of the promising utility of the Institution will prompt you to a generous liberality. Still, your pecuniary aid is not all we solicit. We ask your devout prayers, not only that God would smile upon our endeavours, and bless our young brethren in the pur
congregation which, however disposed, is incompetent to give him an adequate support. But, the course of education bestowed by this Society upon young men, may assist them to become competent teachers of youth, whether in a public or private seminary, as well as to instruct their own children, which will certainly aid in the comforts of his support, relieve the anxiety of his church, make him more independent, and render him doubly useful to the community.
suit of their respective studies; but, that many other young persons may be so called of the Lord as to receive from his hand the banner of the gospel, that it may be more abundantly displayed in the world. Can pious parents have no solicitude that their gracious sons should engage in this most honourable service ? Can ministers and churches forbear to pray for, and encourage young persons of spirituality to go forth in the name of the Lord ? How many, in preference, choose the judicial and medical departments; and how few indeed is the number of those who possess a heart glowing with love to the Redeemer, and are proportionably impressed with the value of immortal souls, as to constrain them to preach the gospel of Christ ! Do we sufficiently look after, and encourage such pious, gifted members ? Perhaps not. Bring to recollection the lamentation concerning the church, and let us apply it in good part to ourselves. There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth : neither is there any that taketh her by the hand, of all the sons she hath bronght up. Isa. li. 18. I speak to you the more freely, not only from the solemnity and importance of the subject, but, from my advanced years, and an ardent solicitude to see many young men of grace and talents take Zion by the hand in a pure ministry before my eyes are closed in death. Let me then conclude by enjoining you to pray for the peace of our spiritual Jerusalem; from a persuasion of this promise, they shall prosper that love her.
Of the New York Board of Correspondence with the
Baptist Society in Philadelphia, for educating young men, called by the Churches, to the ministry of the gospel.
BELOVED BRETHREN, THAT the cultivation of the minds of young men endowed by the grace of God for the work of the ministry, and whose moral deportment, with the concurrence of the churches to which they respectively belong, is of the highest utility to the church of God, on mature reflection, will not be denied. While we believe that the Lord can, and often has, performed the good pleasure of his will in the conversion of sinners by means of the most uncultivated in science; it is an equal fact, that in bis Providence he has afforded means of instruction to men for investigating the sacred text, defending his own truth, exposing error, and establishing the faith of his church. To this it is we are indebted for the translation of the holy scriptures into our own language; as well as the defence of divine truth against erroneous assailants, and the vindication of the doctrines of christianity. And, indeed, if the churches of Christ in the present day, are so energetic in diffusing the knowledge of the gospel in various climes; how is it possible that this can be effected unless missionaries for the purpose are possessed with adequate knowledge? The great Head of the Church has declared that the gospel shall be preached as a witness to all nations. And shall not the same Lord ordain means for the in
struction of his servants to answer the important design? If the fact be admitted that this gospel must be preached as a witness to all nations; then, of course, it follows, the word of life must be translated, preached, and received in the very languages of the respective countries who understand no language but their own. We state these plain observations to you, from a conviction of our meeting the opening intellect of our pious young men with such assistances as may facilitate their future usefulness in such departments as the Lord may determine.
However necessary this statement, it is confessed that the object of the Institution of which you are both patrons and guardians, is not immediately to prepare our young men for foreign missions, though thereby a groundwork may be laid; bat, to afford them instruction in the knowledge of their native tongue, so as to write, read, and speak with acceptance: and equally so, as their time and talent may admit, to derive a competent acquaintance with those languages, in which the holy scriptures were originally written; that thus they may be more prepared to understand the mind of the Spirit, and become more able ministers of the everlasting gospel.
In this our first annual Report, we inform you that under your patronage, we have sent to the seat of the Education Society in Philadelphia, under the tutorship of Doctor William Staughton, Charles Sommers, Greenleaf Webb, and Thomas Roberts. Sommers and Roberts are still residents. Webb retired at the expiration of three months. Besides which, there is in the institution, one young person from Baltimore, and one other, a resident in Philadelphia.
To the last annual meeting of the Society in Philadelphia, as a general board, we deputed brethren A. Maclay, J. Withington, and E. Probyn, as your representatives. On their return they made their necessary communication on the 7th of October, 1813, to the board; the extract from which is as follows: “ That