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XTBLISHED MONTHLY UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE EXECUTIVE COXMITTEE.
FİLTTED AT GEE OFFICE OF TRE CHRISTIAN ERALD:
WESTERN FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
Half a century ago, a considerable portion of the territory which is now included in Western Pennsylvania and the States which lie N. W. of the Ohio river, was a howling wilderness, the abode of savage men and ferocious beasts of prey. The early settlers were subject to numerous perils and privations. But after the hostile lodian tribes had 'been subdued, and treaties betweeh them and the U. States concluded, the population of this region rapidly increased by emigration from the Atlantic States. The new settlements were, in some degree, favored with the Gospel, dispensed by faithful ministers of Christ, and blessed with the reviving influences of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of piety and benevolence is the spirit of missions. The territory, which is now in the bounds of the Synod of Pittsburgh was then within the limits of the Synod of Virginia, and by a commission of that body missions in this region were conducted. The Synod of Pitts burgh was constituted by the Gen. Assembly in May, 1802; and, at its first meeting, held in Pittsburgh, in September of that year, formed itself into a Society, denominated the Western Missionary Society; the principal object of which was the evangelization of the Western Indians. Accordingly, in succeeding years, efforts were used to establish missions and schools among the Wyandots at Sandusky, Cornplanter's tribe on the Allegheny, and especially the Ottawas on the Maumee. Some of the brethren, who were active in these enterprises, are yet living; others have gone, we trust, to receive their gracious reward; of whom we may mention Rev. Messrs. Wm. Wick, John M Pher. rin, Geo. Hill, James Hughes, Thomas Marquis, Michael Law, &c.—The Society, sustained by the churches, conducted their mission to the Oitawas with laudable zeal and energy, and had evidence of its good effects. But in the antumn of 1825, this Station was transferred, by the Synod, to the United For. Miss. Society; and, in May, 1826, by the Gen. Assembly, to the American Board. During three succeeding years, the Society conducted only domestic missions, employing and sustaining a number of mig. sionaries in destitute parts of our country. In October, 1828, the Synod resigned the management of domestic missions to the Gen. Assembly's Board, which had been recently re-organized and revived, and had become more expansive in its operations. These changes were doubtless made under a conviction of duty, and with the hope of sevancing the cause of missions: and this end may have been partially attained. Bui, Dahappily, the spirit of zeal and liberality, in relation to foreign missions, appeared to have rapidly declined in many churches previously to the meeting of the Synod in Octo. ber, 1831; when the Western Foreign Missionary Society was organized, with the hope of calling into action the slumbering energies of the Presbyterian Church in the great work of sending the Gospel of salvation to the perishing heathen. And it is with gratitude to God, that we notice the revival and increase of a missionary spirit in rari. sus districts of our church both in the east and west. And we pray the Lord to encourage our hearts and strengthen our hands more abundantly for the accomplishment of the work to which we are called!
All persons, who desire to be acquainted with the principles on which this Society is organized, are referred to the "Introductory Remarks,” and the “Circular Address of be Executive Committee,” in the Foreign Missionary Chronicle for April, 1833; and more especially, to the Constitution of the Society, in the Chronicle for April, 1834. It will be seen, that it is a responsible body--that its organization is ecclesiastical; and, on its plaz, Church Sessions, Presbyteries, and Synods, may, in their constituted capacities, with great convenience and efficiency, promote the interesting cause of foreign missions. Though it originated in the Synod of Pittsburgh, it is "composed of the ministers, ses. sions and churches," not only of that body, but of “any other Synod or Synods, Pree. bytery or Presbyteries, that formally unite with them." Its members pray for, and re.
joice in tlie success of evangelical missionary societies which are established on different principles-especially that of the London Missionary Society in Great Britain, and the American Board in the United States, whose zealous operations are worthy of high commendation. Yet they are fully convinced, ihat it properly belongs to the church, in her organized capacity, to conduct the business of missions; and that an ecclesiasti. cal organization is attended with peculiar advantages and facilities of operation. In this connexion, we simply mention the remarkable success of several missionary Societies which are organized on a similar plan; particularly those of the Church Mission. ary Society, Baptist Missionary Society, Wesleyan Missionary Society, and the United Brethren's Missionary Society, in Europe; and those of these denominations in the U. States,
The operations of the W. F. M. Society, its difficulties and trials in the death of its missionaries, and the circumstances which encourage persevering efforts, may be learn. ed from the First and Second Annual Reports, published in the Chronicle for June, July and August, 1833 and 1834; and from the communications of the missionaries which have appeared in its columns.--- We mourn the decease of our dear brethren and sisters, Messrs. Barr, Laird and Cloud; Mrs. Laird, and Mrs. Lowrie; but we bow in submission to the will of Heaven, and rejoice ihat,“the Lord reigneth," and is able to raise up many faithful laborers in the place of those whom he has been pleased to remove by death in the commencement of their labors--to increase and multiply the number of our missionaries, and, by the effusions of his Spirit, bless their efforts for the salvation of perishing sinners, and the establishment and extension of his spiriiual kingdom, in Pa. gan lands. For the accomplishment of these ends, let all our churches offer continual pravers at the throne of grace.