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UNITED STATES. 3.-PROGRESS OF RELIGIOUS IMPROVEMENT IN THE UNION. The following intelligence from the United States, contained in letters which we have lately received from persons of various denominations in that interesting country, will be doubtless perused with pleasure by every reader.
“ On the first Monday of January last, the churches (or a large portion of them) in this country observed a season of fasting, humiliation, and special prayer, in reference to the conversion of the world. It was a solemn and interesting observance, and has unquestionably been productive of great good. On the second Monday of January was the Sunday School monthly concert of prayer, and it was suggested to the teachers assembled on that occasion in this city, that they had a deep interest in the subject which had engaged the devotions of the churches on the preceding week; that it was a question of solemn importance to us, what part the Sunday School is designed to act in this grand enterprise, and what dependence is placed on those who have the earliest, and may have the most effective train. ing of a whole generation, to furnish the men and women who are to publish the glad tidings of salvation to all the dwellers upon earth. To determine this point, it was resolved that the second Monday of February should be observed as a day of humiliation and prayer by the Sunday-School teachers in our land, with special reference to the moral exigencies of the world and the agency which Sunday-School teachers may employ, and which the church expects them to employ to meet these exigencies.
The day came, and we have never seen such a day here before. The room assigned for the meeting, and which would probably seat 700 or 800 persons, was full all day, so that there was scarcely room to drop a glove between any two persons, and in the evening another large room was filled with the surplus from the room appointed for the meeting, and very many went away after all. At these meetings a coarse outline transparency was exhibited, shewing the state of the world, as it respects the prevalence of Christianity and heathenism, by light and shade. The effect was very great ; many had never felt before what a picture of wretchedness and guilt this earth presents, nor how much faith and love and labour and suffering are necessary before it is reversed.
The map was afterwards exhibited, with appropriate statistics of the moral condition of man, and the efforts made for his conversion, in New York, Boston, Baltimore and Washington. At the latter place, several of the most distinguished members of our national legislation were present, and in all the places a very large number of teachers and others attended the exercise. So powerful was the effect produced by these statements, &c. that our Board have in preparation a small engraved map, (say two feet by one,) representing the same subject, and so coloured as that each teacher can present to his class a complete view of the moral character of the world. This map is to be accompanied by a small manual, containing the necessary statistics to enable any teacher to instruct his pupils intelligently and im. pressively on the whole subject. It will probably be published before autumn. And we hope within a twelvemonth to have several thousand children in our land pondering in their wakeful moments by night, and in their intervals of study and recreation by day, on the desolations which sin has made in our world, and on their personal obligations to consecrate their earliest strength and affections to the service of the Redeemer in his purposes of mercy towards us. We do not desire, if we could, to make all our children foreign missionaries; but we want them to feel that they are brought into the world for a great purpose; that they have the power to exert a happy influence on the destinies of a world; that their example and efforts, and contributions and prayers, may be instrumental in
accomplishing the most glorious results; and that they overlook the grand end and object of their being, if they overlook their obligations to glorify God in doing all they can to advance the salvation of the world. In one word, we want to overcome the reigning principle of the natural heart, which is selfishness, and we want to have the principle of grace, which is love to God and man, implanted in the land in its stead. We are persuaded, and I trust we are disposed to act as if we were per. suaded, that every thing must be made subservient to the glory of the Redeemer; that this shall fill all our thoughts, prompt all our plans, and be the end of all our purposes..
I think whatever brings the heathen world directly before the eye of our Christian communities is very useful. Hence objects of idolatrous worship, specimens of rare natural curiosities which associate the place with the people, articles of dress, husbandry, manufactures, &c. not in use in Christian lands, and indicating the state of the useful arts, are of great service. Whenever a perfectly convenient opportunity offers and every thing favours it, a box of such 'articles would be gratefully received, and the expence of it and its contents cheerfully paid. Among other things, I might have mentioned copies of books in the native languages of the east.
I did not expect to write so long a letter when I began, especially as my time is much occupied in preparing for our approaching anniversary. The state of public affairs in this country is quite deplorable, and affects very injuriously all our interests. We hope, however, to have an interesting aniversary; we shall make the subject of training up this genera tion of children for the utmost activity in the conversion of the world, a prominent subject, and we hope to arouse the churches to see the importance of so doing.
I have had two or three very agreeable interviews with Rev. Dr. Bolles of the American Baptist Missionary Society, and our mutual friend Mr. Lincoln, and I find them fully coinciding with the views above expressed. The former seemed to feel the subject very deeply.
I beg you will let me hear from you soon, and command my services in every thing in which they can be useful to you. It is gratifying to me to think that I can in any manner advance the usefulness of a Christian brother in a distant land, whose face I have never seen and never expect to see in the flesh. That I may be so happy as to meet you with joy in the presence of our common Lord and Master, may God of his infinite grace grant, through Jesus Christ.
There is great progress here in regard to Missions, very great ; the American Bible Society are anxious to find ways and means for profitable operation abroad. The Tract Society in the same way are preparing largely for foreign distribution. The Sunday-School Union wishes to engage in a similar effort to extend their publications to heathen countries. The Misa sionary Societies are looking out for new fields, and are anxious to keep occupied all now taken. It is said there is now no want of money, but of men. Yet many young men are coming forward. In a college at the South, one-third of the students have resolved to become foreign missionaries. Revivals of religion are bringing forward many young men for the work: there have been revivals in nine colleges within a few weeks; there are several instances now of remarkable and extensive attention to religion in various places :—the kingdom of Christ is advancing. May it come quickly,
There perhaps never has been a more marked improvement in the state of feeling among Christians in this country than occurred about the first of this year. It was agreed upon by the principal denominations to unite
with the Baptists, who have for some years observed the practice, in ob. serving the first day of the year, or in some cases the first Monday, as a special day of fasting and prayer, for the outpouring of the Spirit.
It was observed very extensively, and almost universally with a depth of feeling rarely known. Already is the complexion of things far better than for two years past. Scarcely ever has the love of piety, both in acting, giving, and devotion, been so gratifying.
From every quarter this is the statement. In some places conversions have been numerous, almost without precedent,in proportion to the population. O that it may continue the same throughout the year.
4.-Baptist Mission, JAMAICA. The following very interesting notices of Missionary operations in this Island, are taken from the Missionary Herald for June last.
A variety of intelligence from Jamaica has lately arrived, the general aspect of which is highly encouraging; and in no respect more so, than in the striking change which has taken place in the feelings and conduct of some who, a few months ago, were most violently opposed to our Missionaries.
In the Eastern part of the island, Mr. Kingdon, in the month of December, was taken ill of the fever, and for some days his life was despaired of. At the critical period when every moment was expected to be the last, Mrs. Kingdon, being alone, sent for aid to the house of a neighbouring proprietor, who had, some time before, so violently threatened Mr. K., that he felt it needful to retire to Kingston for safety. Now, that very gentleman responded to the call of distress, took with him some hock wine, which he administered with his own hands, and was thus instru. mental in preserving the life of our Missionary. Observing that the house in which Mr. K. resided was so damnp, owing to the want of repair, as to be quite unfit for his habitation, he invited the Missionary and his wife to his own mansion for a while. Since then, he has intimated his wish that Mr. Kingdon should undertake the tuition of his sons, and has desired all his slaves to attend on his ministry! When a mun's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace uith him. Equally encouraging are the accounts from the other parts of the island.
As one specimen, we subjoin a letter received by one of our brethren from a neighbour, who had, during the insurrection, shown the most awful malignity. We forbear, for ob. vious reasons, giving any clue to the locality; the letter is published, to encourage faith and confidence in God, and to promote the pious wish of the esteemed brother who sends it-" that it may excite to prayer on behalf of the writer."
“I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of some religious pamphlets from you, through the medium of. I can not sufficiently express to you my feelings on the occasion, particularly coming as they do from a gentleman whom I have done all I could to injure, as also every one of his followers, without ever having received injury at their hands. I hope I shall read them with profit, both for my temporal and eternal welfare. Situated as I am, absorbed in sin, and having every allurement which either gratifies the eye, or satisfies the taste, and knowing, as Í well do, the sinfulness of such a continuance, I cannot dwell upon these circumstances without regretting that the many virtuons precepts which a dear religious mother attempted to instil into my mind, have been thrown upon hitherto barren ground. Except at certain periods feeling a poignancy of regret that my mind cannot dilate upon, I have brought forth no fruit, not even that of repentance ; and when I review my past life, I cannot but think that one of the greatest mercies of the Almighty is, that of allowing a man to live who was capable of organizing a band of sinners to destroy a temple devoted to his worship. Live I do, a monument of my owu shame. I thank you for the present: I am more than obliged."
On the much-regretted departure of Earl Mulgrave from Jamaica, the Baptist Missionaries, in connexion with the Evangelical Clergy of the island, and the Mora. yian and Scottish Missionaries, presented a joint Address to his Excellency, expressing their grateful sense of the benefits resulting to the colony from his mild and equitable administration, and their earnest and respectful desires for his future Welfare. His Lordship’s reply to this address is couched in terms so lionourable to both parties, that we cannot reirain from inserting it for the gratification of our readers.
“In returning you my best thanks for this Address, I must commence by assuring you of the peculiar gratification I derive from seeing such an union on such aa oeca. sion. The value of this testimonial is much enhanced, when it is the coinbined expression of approbation, on the part of good men engaged in a common cause, and in the service of Him, who we are taught to believe knows no distinction amongst those who are faithful and diligent husbandmen of His word,
“ It will, indeed, always be a pleasing reflection to me, that under the Divine blessing, my conduct has been thought to have mainly contributed to produce the present favourable state of public feeling, as to the religious instruction of the lower orders.
“ Having, through all my early political life, strenuously advocated, upon erery occasion, the removal of the last remnants of intolerance from the British Statute Book, I was not likely, when here exercising the authority of my sovereign, to sulait to any illegal attempts at a revival of religious persecution. But, to all of those who have concurred in this Address, towards whom the protection of the law was previ. ously doubtful, as well as to that body of Dissenters who have before addressed me, I must here return my thanks for their discreet and praise-worthy conduct duriag the period of my government.
" The confidence they have uniformly shown in my good intentions on their be. half, which has frequently induced them to practise a patient forbearance under temporary difficulties and unmerited evils, has, I am convinced, by an avoidance of unnecessary collision, tended to secure the successful prosecution of your several duties in that path which is most acceptable to the Divine Founder of our religion-that of peace and good will towards men.''
After having had to encounter a variety of annoyances and interruptions in his work, both at Vere and Old Harbour, Mr. Taylor is permitted to rejoice, not only that the word again has “ free course" among his congregations, but “ is glorifed" also in the conversion of sinners to God. At Old Harbour, ninety-five were baptized in the sea on the first of December last, in the presence of a great concourse of peo. ple, including some individuals of high respectability, when all was conducted in the most peaceable and orderly manner.
In a subsequent letter Mr. Taylor expresses his thankfulness and joy that the Christmas holidays had passed over without the slightest disturbance ; and speaks with lively satisfaction of the continued and increased prospects of usefulness which were opening around him. He was commencing (4th of March) a new station in the adjoining parish of Clarendon, where many were very anxious to hear the Gospel, but could not attend at Vere on account of the distance. This bids fair, Mr. Taylor thinks, to be of more importance than either of his former stations, as a great pum. ber of free people have settled there, many of whom are married, and live respecta. bly in neat little cottages which they have built for themselves. " In short," be concludes, “it is the most civilized country place which I have seen in Jamaica. I do assure you I consider myself to be one of the happiest men in all the world. I thank God that he has spared me so long, and may he bless all our endeavours to further his cause."
At Manchineal and Morant Bay, the regular course of Mr. Kingdon's labours has been transiently interrupted by the necessity, already mentioned, of repairing the Missionary premises; but every thing conspires to strengthen the hope that, when tbe worship of God shall have been statedly resumed, a blessing will follow. Well may our brother feel encouraged in the Lord his God, when he is permitted to say, concerning persons of influence, lately furiously hostile, “ they appear to be truly concerned to know the way of salvation, and join in pious conversation very earnesto ly. At night, the New Testament was put before me, and I was asked to pray. I could scarcely believe the testimony of my senses when glancing at the past."
Nor have these tokens for good been confined to the south part of the island. From Port Maria on the north, Mr. Bavlis, in a communication of rather earlier date than those we have now been quoting, gratefully owns “ the Lord has been pleased to give me great encouragement in my work. The congregations here and at Oracabessa have very much increased ; and on Sunday, the 4th of August, I had the pleasure of baptizing forty-three persons at Port Maria, and receiving them into the church. It was a very pleasant, and I hope profitable, day ; the ordinance of bap. tism was administered in the open sea ; great numbers of people were present--some on the shore and some in canoes on the water; all behaved orderly, and many appeared to feel much interest in the services. The congregations at the chapel that day were so large that great numbers could not get inside, but stood at the doors and windows to listen. We have several candidates, whom we expect to baptize in a short time."
Mr. Abbott, who has been occupying, pro tempore, the station at Montego Bay, narrates the progress made in re-organizing the church there, and unites with the affectionate people who were so long under the care of Mr. Burchell, in desiring that he may speedily return among them. He is anxious also to re-commence the station at Lucea, and we trust that the arrival of our friends Hutchins and Dexter may have enabled him, before now, to take some steps towards that desirable object. Mr. Dendy informs us that at Falmouth the temporary place of worship is crowded to excess, and that he has succeeded in re-organizing the Sunday-school, which already exhibits a total of 209 scholars on the list. Both of these esteemed brethren have visited the neighbouring stations of Rio Bueno and Stewart's Town, and were ex. ceedingly gratified with what they saw and heard. It is indeed matter for joyful sur. prise, that the long suspension of religious ordinances among these poor people has not abated the desire for them, but that they appear to consider " the feet of the messengers," who bring them the tidings of the Gospel, as “ beautiful" as ever! " At Savanna-la-Mar also,” says Mr. Abbott," so lately the Aceldama of Jamaica, every facility would now be afforded, and much respect shown to our Missionaries by those very men who, in 1832, under the maddening influence of party feeling, sought their blood.”
Such is the brief and necessarily rapid summary of the principal features of the many letters we have lately received from this interesting portion of the Missionary field. What impression the recital may make on the minds of our readers we know not ; but must venture to say, that our own feeling is, that we are laid under deeper obligations than ever to adore the Divine goodness, and to address ourselves with new energy to the work entrusted, by His providence, to our hands.
At length, an official communication has been received from the Colonial Office, stat. ing that, although His Majesty's Government, after giving the most anxious consideration to the subject, could not feel themselves justified in granting the claim of the Society for the reimbursement of the loss sustained by the destruction of our chapels, out of the public funds; yet, that in order to facilitate the return of “the able and zealous Missionaries" who had been compelled to quit the island, they had resolved to apply to Parliament for the sum of £5510, being the amount of outstand. ing liabilities on account of the chapels aforesaid.
We confess that this decision is not what we had expected, but must forbear to make any further remarks for the present. It is evident that a call is now made in Providence on those friends of the Society who are able to contribute liberally to. wards an object of such interest and necessit, as this.
5.—South AFRICAN Mission. The subjoined extracts from the journal of Mr. Palmer, at Morley, in Mamboo-Land, suggest various considerations, both painful and pleasing. Our friends will peruse with painful feeling the illustrations here presented of the ignorance, the moral and civil degradation, and the manifold wretch. edness, which in that country, as in every other, mark the condition of men on whom the light and grace of the gospel have not exertell their benign and regenerating influence. But they will read with emotions of grateful satisfaction the indications which continue to be afforded, among the tribes of Southern Africa, of an eager desire to obtain Christian instruction for themselves and their children: and of the “great and effectual door” which is opening before us for their temporal and spiritual improvement.
“June 10th.--I left home this morning, and called at several kraals to know the rea. son of their absence from chapel on the Lord's day. Some pretended they could not tell when it was Sunday ; others said, that we did not pay them, &c. I arrived at Depa's kraal. He seemed much pleased at my coming ; and when I began to talk about God, he said, “ I would come, I would coine to the great place to hear about it, but I cannot because of my legs' (referring to his rheumatic complaint). • It was pleasant when I was there one day, and I would always come on Sunday, but I cannot walk.' Thus, though he is altogether in the dark on religious subjects, yet he seems very anxious to hear. I spoke to him about his soul, God, eternity, &c., and was much pleased with the manner in which he joined me in repeating the Lord's Prayer in the Caffre language. After leaving him we proceeded to Cetanie's cattle-place.