« AnteriorContinuar »
Jesus our Lord, their hearts shall know,
The Board of Trustees of the New-York Baptist Theological Seminary hail, with pleasure, the return of another annual meeting of the Society, which furnishes an opportunity of detailing briefly the transactions of the past year, and of acknowledging publicly, the uninterrupted and boundless goodness of the Lord Jehovah ! Upon former occasions, we have been called to deplore, in rapid succession, the removal of Tallmadge and Withington, of Cauldwell and Hewitt; and it is therefore not only worthy of special remark, but should also elicit the most devout and heartfelt gratitude to the God of mercy, that since the last anniversary he hath not permitted death to make any inroad upon our number. May our lives, which he hath thus manifestly made his care, be habitually and ardently devoted to his service!
To be instrumental in advancing the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and thereby promoting the present and eternal welfare of our fellow-creatures, is an imperious duty which the Scriptures have plainly enjoined upon us; and a sacred privilege, which in the gracious dealings of Divine Providence hath to us been vouchsafed. If in the enjoyment of privilege, or the discharge of duty, these objects have been in any proper degree attained, the glory and praise are due to Him from whom descendeth every good and every perfect gift. • The word of inspiration assures us, that life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel, and that it hath pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. It must therefore be evident to every reflecting Christian, that a pious, intelligent, and faithful ministry ; by whom the glorious doctrines of the gospel ; its precepts and examples, its ordinances and promises may be uniformly exhibited with perspicuity and force; must be one of the greatest blessings conferred upon any people. We most unhesitatingly confess that it is not in the power of any Church ;-or of any association of brethren, to create a new heart; or where the heart is renewed, to furnish it with suitable gifts for the work of the ministry; nor does this Institution make any such unholy and unscriptural pretensions. Our single aim is, by the blessing of the Great Head of the Church upon our efforts, to cultivate the talents, improve the gifts, and increase the usefulness of those young men in the bosom of our churches, who have been set apart by the Holy Spirit to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ; and we rejoice to know that, in this enterprise, our labour has not been in vain in the Lord.
The inadequacy of our funds to establish a Theological Seminary in the city, and other reasons which need not now be adverted to, induced the Board on the 24th of March 1823, to pass the following resolution, viz. “ Resolved, that it is expedient to send to the seminary at Hamilton, such an annual sum as may conveniently be spared, and such students as may by this Board be received ;"_and from that period to the present, our proceedings have been in strict accordance with the spirit of that resolution. The Hamilton institution combines utility and economy. The course of instruction there pursued, meets our entire approbation, and in the integrity, intelligence, and evangelical zeal of its Professors, we repose the most unlimited confidence. The Institution, although but in its infancy, now contains forty-three Theological students, of whom thirty-eight are beneficiaries, and for whose support, fresh and vigorous efforts must be made.
In January last we were favoured with a visit from Elder Joel W. Clark, agent of the Baptist Education Society of the state of New-York, at whose suggestion three scholarships, amounting to $70 a year each, were subscribed by this Board. To the two first of these scholarships we have affixed the names Withington and Hunter, as a small testimonial of our regard for the memories of those distinguished individuals who, by their generous donations and bequests, contributed so largely to our funds. To the third scholarship we have given the name of our worthy President, whose age, experience, and services, have secured to him a high place in the affections of his brethren. The first annual instalment demanded by these scholarships, amounting altogether to $210, has been paid; and the second instalment, which will shortly become due, renders
an appeal to a generous Christian public, indispensably necessary; and we feel confident that this appeal will not be made in vain! The Board has observed with peculiar gratification, that the earnest recommendation to form auxiliary societies, contained in their last year's Report, has not been suffered to pass by unnoticed. A number of ladies, under the name of the “ Female Baptist Association for Education purposes,” have since assumed the annual support of at least one student at Hamilton; and their bright and salutary example, we hope, will be by others speedily imitated.
We feel it incumbent on us again to lay before the society a Resolution of the Board, passed December 5th, 1822, viz : * Resolved that the ministers in connexion with this society be requested to preach an annual sermon, and take up a collection in aid of the same.” This resolution, we are persuaded, is both reasonable and necessary, and yet has been almost entirely disregarded. Ought not the attention of our churches to be frequently and pointedly directed to this subject? Is it not right and proper, that indigent young men called of God to preach, should be supported, while ardently engaged in acquiring that information which is so essential to the intelligent and acceptable discharge of their ministerial functions? And if these things be true, where can we, where ought we to look for their support, if not to the churches of the Saints ?
Private donations are unequal and uncertain ; individuals give grudgingly sometimes, if they give at all; and changing times and circumstances frequently cut off altogether their subscriptions :-To the churches then, those standing and responsible bodies, must this subject be held up clearly, constantly, prayerfully; and if the comfort and edification of believers; if the order and increase of particular churches; if the extension of Messiah's kingdom in the world, be indeed connected with the ordinances of his house and the preaching of his Gospel, then surely, those who pray," thy kingdom come;" those who expect to be ministered unto in spiritual things, by a succession of evangelical preachers,—will not forget to minister unto them also of their temporal things.
We have now at Hamilton three young brethren, William G. Miller, Richard Schemeal, and Henry Davis, and recent accounts from the Seminary speak of their walk and conversa
. tion, as well as of their close and uniform attention to their studies, in the most encouraging terms; and we have good reason to conclude that when their characters shall be completely deyeloped, they will prove ornaments to their profession, and worthy the expenditure and exertion which their education has called forth.
It is fondly hoped that no individual will, from the general tenor of this Report, draw the improper conclusion, that we think a man cannot be a useful and faithful preacher of the word, who has not enjoyed the advantage of a liberal education. Every idea of that kind, the Board most distinctly disavows. We know that there are many, very many, who have not even a competent knowledge of the language through the medium of which their religious instructions are given, whose labours of love are nevertheless abundantly owned and blessed by the only wise God, who worketh every thing after the counsel of his own will. But this being granted, it will not be denied, that the literary acquirements of the rising generation; the increasing information disseminated among the different classes of society in our country; and the learning and skill of those who, in our day, oppose the doctrines of salvation, are all circumstances which conspire to render an extensive acquaintance with the leading truths of the Bible, and with the best theological writers, as well as a critical knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages, in which the Holy scriptures were originally written, objects of great importance. To attain these objects, in as many instances, and to as wide an extent as possible, is the ultimate and legitimate design of all our efforts.
In closing this Report, the Board desire to offer unfeigned thanks to Zion's King, for the harmony and brotherly kindness which have prevailed in all their meetings; and for those tokens of divine approbation, with which their feeble and imperfect services have been honoured !
Permit us, dear brethren, to conclude, by earnestly commending to your liberality and to your prayers ;-and above all, to the God of grace, the New-York Baptist Theological Seminary!
JOHN STANFORD, President. THOMAS STOKES, Secretary.