Page images

nary; also Messrs. Irving and Ives, in consequence of their expectations shortly to take orders, and Mr. Nash, in consequence of the illness of his father. Messrs. Marks and Yvonnet are absent.

All which is respectfully submitted. Signed by order of the faculty of the theological school, J. H. HOBART, President.


Though we do not think it necessary to make copious extracts from a work so generally circulated as the Missionary Herald, we think our readers will be gratified with the perusal of the following extracts from a letter of Rev. Pliny Fisk, dated "Alexandria, Feb. 4, 1822. "In respect to brother Parsons's health, I can say but little in addition to what you will find in the letters we forwarded to Smyrna about ten days ago. His symptoms are in many respects more favourable; but he continues extremely weak, and his constitution is evidently very much impaired, if not completely broken down. We have a skilful physician, who says, without hesitation, that he will, in some good degree at least, recover; at the same time, he gives the opinion, that he will not be likely ever to enjoy good health again, certainly not in this climate, referring to Egypt and Judea. There will always be a tendency to a disordered state of the bowels and of the liver. He says that, for the winter, the climate of this place is favourable; for the summer, no place would be so favourable as mount Lebanon. Were we both in health, we should wish to spend the summer on that mountain. We shall probably remain in Egypt until spring, and then, if Providence permit, go to mount Lebanon. We have entertained the hope, that one or both of us might be at Jerusalem at Easter, but we begin to fear that we shall not be able to accomplish this part of our plan. We regret this, though we regret it less than we should do, if the state of the country were such as to allow pilgrims to go, as usual, to the holy city. We apprehend very few, if any pilgrims will go this year.

"It has grieved us, and I am sure it has grieved you, and many others, to find the funds of the board in such an embarrassed state. That they who profess to be the friends of foreign missions, could, with perfect ease, enable the board to enlarge all their missions, and establish many new ones without delay, is a point which, I presume, no one will deny. But how far it may be the will of God that pecuniary contributions shall aid in the diffusion of the gospel, is a question not so easily answered. That it is the duty of the churches to send forth and


support missionaries among the heathen, will not, I trust, be questioned by true Christians. It is certain, however, that a missionary, who possesses the spirit of his work, will be the last man to complain for want of tempo ral comforts. If he reads the history of Christ, of the primitive disciples, and of the martyrs, he will think all his sacrifices and sufferings are nothing. If missionaries possess any other spirit than this, there will be, I fear, but little reason to hope, that success will attend their labours. The head of the church knows how far pecuniary aid would render them more extensively useful; and so far, I trust, he will cause it to be afforded. For missionaries themselves to speak on the subject of contributions for their own sup port, is a delicate thing. I have, more than once, resolved never to mention the subject in my communications to you or others. If I know myself, I would never do it for my own support or comfort. I would sooner, in case the provision now made for my sup port should fail, devote one half my time to labour, and thus support myself. But when I read the journals of our brethren in other missions; and when I look at Smyrna, and Armenia, and then see how difficult, how next to impossible it is, for the board to send additional labourers into any of these fields, though there are young men ready to go, who ask for nothing but their food and clothing, I cannot but wish that I were able to say something, which would rouse Christians to greater liberality. When a taber nacle was to be built, the people of Israel, of every condition, age, and sex, came forward, voluntarily, with their offerings, till the priests were obliged to say, Stop. There is enough and too much." When a temple was to be built, David offered, willingly, gold to the value of 18 or 20 millions sterling, beside a large amount of silver and other things, and his chief men then offered a much larger amount; and David's prayer shows that, instead of feeling any reluctance, he offered all this from choice, and felt unworthy of the privilege of doing it. Thanks be to God for the grace bestowed on his people, there are, in the present day, many bright examples of cheerful liberality. But alas! how often is the opposite true! What reluctance! What frivolous excuses! What absurd and ridiculous objections! I have been an agent for the missionary cause, and shall never cease to remember, with gratitude, the kind encouragement, the cordial approbation, and the cheerful contributions, of a few, in many places which I had occasion to visit. But the coldness, the shyness, the studied neglect, the suspicion, the prejudice, which the simple name of missionary agent produced in the minds of many, who profess

to be Christians, to have their treasure in heaven, to prize the gospel above all other things, and to pity the perishing heathen, cannot easily be forgotten. How far it may generally be the fault of the agent, or some defect in the method adopted for raising mo ney, I pretend not to say; but, unhappily, it is too often the fact, that the visit of an agent is considered rather an object of hatred or contempt, than of approbation and desire. In England, two clergymen of years and of high standing, go out together as agents; and, in one instance at least, a rich layman accompanied them, and voluntarily defrayed all the expenses of the journey. Whether such a plan might not be attended with good effects in the United States, perhaps deserves consideration.

A missionary ought, unquestionably, to labour contentedly, and be grateful for whatever support the churches may afford him; and, I am sure, if the donors could know with what emotions missionaries sometimes read over the monthly lists of contributions, they would not think them altogether ungrateful. But is it a duty, is it right, while so many are living at home in ease and affluence, that missionaries should bring themselves to an early grave, by cares and labours, which might be relieved by a little pecuniary assistance? I know not how it may seem to others; but, knowing as I now do the various expenses to which a missionary is constantly subjected, it seems to me hardly possible, that the sum you allow should appear too great. The sum which we receive, is a mere pittance, compared with what other travellers, who come into this part of the world, expend. It is, in fact, small when compared with what the Episcopal missionaries in these parts receive. The late Mr. Williamson was appointed travelling agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society, and was to receive a salary of £250 sterling, besides his travelling expenses. Still the English societies have, in general, more money than men. You merely defray the expenses of your missionaries, and those kept down by the most rigid economy; and yet there are generally several waiting, who cannot be sent abroad, for want of money. An individual in England sometimes sends forth a missionary, and provides liberally for his support. The lamented Burkhardt was thus employed. Mr. Wolf is now supported by one or two individuals. Among all the men of affluence in

America, are there none who will go and do likewise?

"There is, however, one incorrect opinion often expressed on this subject; it is, that missionaries cannot go to the heathen unless money is contributed for their support. This is not universally true. They can go, in some cases, and to some people, and labour for their own support. It is true that, in this way, they cannot maintain schools, perform journeys, print books, and give their whole time and strength to missionary labour. But they may, in many places, support themselves, and still have a part of their time for their appropriate work. If the labour and anxiety, attending this course, are necessary to prepare us for success, I hope the Lord will give us grace to do his will with all cheerfulness and diligence. The baptist missionaries in India supported themselves, for a time, by superintending an indigo factory. The Moravians, in a great measure, support themselves by their own labours. In this part of the world, one or two single men might live by devoting three or four hours a day to teaching the children of Europeans who have settled here. In other parts of the world, they might probably find other means of support. If the means are not provided for outfit and passage, employment for a certain period in America, would procure what might suffice. There are missionaries who are willing to go, if the churches will support them. Let the question now be are there missionaries who will go and support themselves? Let the question be distinctly considered. Can a young man of true missionary spirit, hesitate on this question? Dear sir, I beg you will put the question to those who talk of going to the heathen, and see whether there are any who will go. Let them sit down first, and count the cost, and then, if, with all their hearts, they can say yes, let them thus show that they really feel the command of Christ to be urgent, and the condition of the heathen deplorable.

"O that God may bestow on us all more of his grace, and make us more diligent and faithful in his work."


William Jarvis, and John M. Garfield, A. B. have been admited to the holy order of deacons, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Brownell; the first, at Norwalk, on Wednesday, the 7th, and the latter at Hamden, on Sunday, August 18.


The queries of Amicus Homini are received; but we doubt the utility of engaging at the present time in the controversy to which his questions might lead.



"Knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel." Phil. i. 17.

No. 22.]

OCTOBER, 1822.

[No. 10. Vol. II.

[ocr errors]


To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate. COMMENT ON 2 PETER iii. 15, 16.

AND account that the long suffering

of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable, wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

The original of that part of the passage quoted above, which is printed in italicks, is, in the common Greek text, (textus receptus,) ἐν αἷς εσι δυσνόητά τινα, and to this our translation corresponds. But from the critical labours of Griesbach, it appears that the greatest weight of manuscript authority is in favour of reading ois, instead of iv ais, in the Greek clause just transcribed. Schleusner and Rosenmueller adopt this reading. The common reading, ais, refers to sis, in the preceding part of the verse, and makes St. Peter say, that in the epistles of St. Paul, generally, there are some things hard to be understood, while the reading adopted by Griesbach makes him mean, that on the subject of which he was speaking, St. Paul's epistles contained some things difficult to be understood. St. Peter is in this passage speaking of the coming of Christ, and of those things which will precede or take place at that event. And it is on the subject



of the 'coming of Christ, and the time of it, that he intends to say, there are some things difficult to be understood in the writings of St. Paul. M.


HEBREWS xii. 1, 2.—Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,

In reading the history of the Jews, we are apt to feel no more interested in the affairs of their nation, than we do in reading the histories of the Greeks and Romans. But, upon looking closely into the subject, we shall find the Jewish history much more interesting, not only as it exhibits the extraordinary interposition of the Deity, but as it is a type and emblem of the Christian life, and sets before us many characters intended for our instruction and improvement. The Jewish nation, like the Christian in this life, passed through many trials and vicissitudes; and all the ancient saints, from the beginning to the end of the old testament history, were called to a life of suffering, and by that means

became qualified for their reward. Thus also "must we undergo much tribulation in our way to the heavenly kingdom;" we must pass through the furnace of affliction, before we enter into glory. The apostle, having in the 11th chapter given us a long catalogue of ancient worthies, who had "obtained a good report through faith," exhorts us in this 12th chapter, to follow their example, but more especially the example of our blessed Lord. "Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience, the race that is set before us; looking" especially "unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

In this passage are contained, first, an exhortation to run our race; secondlý, directions how to insure success. I. First, we are exhorted to run our race; (and to run with patience.) Though the original way of happiness was closed up by the fall of man, and a flaming sword guarded all access to the tree of life; yet the Lord cast up a new and living way, and marked out a course, where we might run with success, and obtain the prize. He has opened a way through the waters of regeneration, through a wilderness of trials in the Christian life, and through the Jordan of death, to the bright Canaan of eternal rest. And this way is so plain, that the way-faring man shall not err therein, if he but duly attends to the directions given him. It is through Jesus Christ, through repentance, and faith, and persevering holiness, that we are to enter into the kingdom. In this course we must run, or never obtain the crown. We are not left at liberty to prescribe a path for ourselves, nor take any other road

for the kingdom, bút that which is marked out by the great King. The race is "set before us," prescribed, and designated, and appointed by divine authority; and to that path we must strictly adhere, if we would run with success and end with glory. But though the course is plain before us, we cannot continue perseveringly in it without constant diligence and exertion. Many difficulties and obstacles lie in the way, that are apt to turn us aside, or obstruct our progress. The heart of Israel in the wilderness was sometimes much grieved because of the way. Sometimes our path is steep and slippery, so that we need constant struggling to get forward, and earnest watchfulness, lest we fall backward. Sometimes the way is rough and thorny, painful to the flesh, and exposing us to fall from our own steadfastness. Such also is the languor and sluggishness of our dispositions, and so opposed is our corrupt nature to the Christian life, that we are apt to become weary and faint in our minds, relax our exertions, and give up the pursuit. There are also at all times many around us, who say, "It is vain to serve God," and who use all their influence to turn us away from the faith. At times, even our familiar friends, the members of our own households, who ought most to aid and en. courage us, exert themselves to impede our progress. They perhaps tell us, that religion is vain, and the gospel is vain, that such a way of salvation, through regeneration and conversion, is enthusiastick in its nature, and will lead to no good in the end. But, my friends, whatever difficulties or discouragements we meet with, we must

[ocr errors]

run the race with patience." With a calm and patient endurance of all our trials, we must still press forward. In spite of all external obstacles and inward weaknesses, we must hold out till we reach the goal at the end of our race; "by, patient continuance in

well doing, we must seek for glory, honour, and immortality." To run well for a season, and then fall back, will avail us nothing; our last state will be worse than the first; none but "those who endure unto the end, shall finally be saved.”

We ought, my friends, to be stimuJated to this diligent perseverance, by the consideration of the many witnesses that surround us. The saints, who have lived and died in faith, and thus gone before us to glory, are represented in our text as witnesses. They are spectators of our trials and conflicts, and evidences to us that our persevering efforts shall be crowned with success. They have showed us what it is to conquer; and now, if they are permitted to behold us, they doubtless observe with anxiety, whether we make any progress in the Christian path. Having run their race, and arrived at the goal, and received their reward, they may be considered as looking back upon us. pointing us to the path which they have trodden, warn ing us against dangers, which they have passed, holding up their crowns to our view, and encouraging us to go on and conquer. In this view, the consideration of them is calculated to revive our spirits, and quicken our languid exertions. Conceive, my hearers, "a cloud of witnesses," a multitude of departed saints; all the faithful of ancient days, and many of our acquaintance, who were engaged in the race when we entered upon it; imagine them looking back upon us with eager solicitude, desiring to encourage us in our Christian course. Imagine them rejoicing, when they be hold us faithful, and advancing rapidly in our way; consider them ready to weep over us, if we relax our diligence, or in any measure give up the pursuit. Conceive of them as crying out to us in the most animating language, Press forward with faithfulness, in the Christian path. Think of us, who have gone before you. We once

endured the same trials'; we, like you, were sometimes discouraged with the difficulties of the way, and ready to faint under our trials; but, through grace, we held out and conquered, and at last obtained the prize. Hold ye on a little longer, and the crown of righteousness is yours. "Be not weary in well doing; for in due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not."

If we, my brethren, will dwell seriously upon this thought, we shall be encouraged; if ever men engaged in a race were animated by the acclamations of surrounding friends, much more shall we be animated by a view of that cloud of witnesses, who have finished their course in faith, and are now gone to glory.

II. We proceed now, secondly, to consider the directions which the apostle gives for running, successfully, the Christian race.

1. And first, we must put away every thing that is calculated to obstruct our progress. Those who are undertaking to run a race, have no need to be informed of the importance of casting off every unnecessary incumbrance. But in running the spiritual race, we are apt to be forgetful of this necessary caution. There are many worldly things about us, and many dispositions within us, which we cherish, and are fond of, but which are apt to weigh down our spirits, and exhaust our strength. How often do the cares; and pleasures of the world divide our attention, relax our diligence, and prevent our advancement in the divine life! In every individual, there is some sin, which most easily besets him, and which, like a long flowing robe, entangles his feet, and lessens his activity in the service of God. What sin this is, we should be careful to inquire; what is the entangling sin, as the word signifies, or the sin which most easily besets us. It is, in general, some sin, to which our constitution is more particularly inclined, Or it is some habit, which

« PreviousContinue »