תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

by te recte of hav AC R А

a

last year. The synod of Virginia, in like manner reported, that they sent out two missionaries, in the course of last year ; but have not received their journals; and can give no account of their progress or success: that a missionary of the former year, had been employed for twelve months in miffionary labours, and made a very satisfactory report to the fynod in Sept. last.

The fynod of the Carolinas, in like manner, failed to make a written report ; but the members present informed the Assembly, that the said fynod, at their sessions in October last, appointed seven miffionaries to itinerate within their bounds, and parts adjacent, the present year; one of whom was to spend some time in missionary labours among the Catawby Indians.

The Assembly called on the Presbyteries to make the annual reports, required to be made by them, on the missionary business.

On inquiry, it appeared, that the Presbyteries, in general, conceiving that the whole missionary business, had been devolved on the standing committee of missions, had given to that body such information on the subject, as would otherwise have been transmitted to this Assembly. The Assembly accepted the apology of the Presbyteries, and approved their conduct in making their communications in manner aforesaid; and the Assembly directed the Presbyteries, in future, to report on this subject to the committee of miffions only; and to make their reports so early, as to enable the said committee to avail themselves of the information, and present the same to the Gen. Assembly, from year to year.

The standing committee of missions appeared before the Assembly, and made a report, in part, stating ; that the committee have sent a circular letter to each Presbytery belonging to the General Assembly; excepting those of the fynods, who conduct the misfonary business in their separate capacity; in which letter they solicit information, respecting persons proper to be employed as missionaries; the most promising places for their employment, and other fubjects connected with the business.—That they have opened a correspondence with sundry missionary societies, both in Europe and in America, for the purpose of receiving and communicating useful information, on the missionary business.* - That in pursuance of authority given them

In their circular letter, addressed to certain missionary societies in Europe, the committee give an historical account of all, or most of the niissionary societies, in this country; their origin, locai situation, progress and success. They dwell with particular pleasure and copiousness, on the missionary efforts of the General Assembly; their feeble beginnings, and present strength: and they cautiously point to their glorious effects, which eternity only can fully unfold. Those who would have their pious curiosity further gratified, are referred to the missionary sermon, preached before tlie Assembly, and a vast concourse of citizens, by the Rev. Henry Kollock; pursuant to the request and appointment of the committee of missions. The appendix to this sermon, will be particularly interesting to the friends of religion and of humanity. It may be had of the booksellers in Philadelphia ; and will be sent, for sale, to the several Presby-> teries; and the profits applied toward increasing the triumphs of the cross.

by the last Àfsembly, they have liquidated certain accounts, atid die rected the trustees to grant warrants for the payment of certain fums* of money, amounting in the whole to 98 Dols. 70 Cts.- That they have read the report of certain miffionaries, employed by the lalt Afsembly, viz. those of Messrs. Jedediah Chapman, Lindfley, Richards, M'Graw and Chavis: and the committee presented to the Assembly, an abstract of said reports.--that they have adjusted the accounts of the millionaries whose reports have been received; and a detailed account of the fum due to each, was read. The committee close the present report, by submitting to the confideration of the house, fome principles respecting the missionaries, who may hereafter be sent out by the Assembly.

On a review of the above, the Assembly Resolved.

ist. That written instructions shall be given to the missionaries, who shall be sent out from time to time: that the said instructions be given in the name of the committee of missions; stating, however, that they have been approved by the General Assembly.

2d. That the committee shall have power, on any emergency, to illue new instructions to the missionaries, suited to the occasion.

3d. That the Assembly approve of the orders given by the committee of missions, for the payment of 98 dollars 70 cents to sundry perfons, for services rendered to the Gen. Assembly; and that they be authorized to liquidate the accounts of the missionaries of last year; and give to them, or their representatives respectively, draughts on the corporation, for the sums that shall appear to be due.

Agreeably to an appointment made by the standing committee of misfions, the Rev. Henry Kollock, of the Presbytery of New York, delivered last evening, in the second Presbyterian church in this city, a misionary sermon, from Jahn iii. 30. He must increase.

Resolved, That the said committee be directed to present the thanks of this Assembly to Mr. Kollock for his sermon ; and to request a copy thereof for publication.

Resolved, That the committee fuperintend the printing of a sufficient number of copies of the said sermon, together with such an appendix as they shall judge proper; to the intent that they may be circulated and sold, and the profits applied to miffionary purposes.

Agreeably to the order of the day, the Assembly proceeded to a free conversation on the general state of religion within their bounds. In order that the general result may be collected, and laid before the Assembly.

Resolved, That Mr. Miller, Mr. Alexander and Mr. Welch, be a committee, to take notes of the information as it fhall be given to the Assembly; to collect the same into a general and connected report, and lay it before the Assembly, as soon as may be convenient.

The members of the Assembly being called upon in the order of the roll, communicatedsłuch information, on the general state of religion, as their local circumstances enabled them to give : and some

B

interesting details were given by the delegates from the General Af sociation of Connecticut, respecting the state of religion in that state, and the vicinity thereof.

The committee appointed to collect and present to the Assembly, the substance and general result of the information obtained by the Assembly, respecting the general state of religion within their limits, reported.

The report being read and considered, was adopted, and is as follows:

The committee appointed to draw up a statement, as the result of the free conversation on the state of religion, beg leave to present the following

The Assembly heart, at more than usual length, and with more than common satisfaction, the accounts received from their members, of the state of religion, within the bounds of the Presbyterian church. Since an inquiry of this nature has become a part of the annual business of the Assembly, it may be confidently asserted that no result was ever prefented to our body; fo favourable, and so gratifying to the friends of truth and piety.

There is scarcely a Presbytery under the care of the Assembly, from which fome pleasing intelligence has not been announced; and from some of them communications have been made; which so illustriously display the triumphs of evangelic truth, and the power of lovereign grace, as cannot but fill with joy the hearts of all who love to hear of the prosperity of the Redeemer's kingdom.

In most of the northern and eastern Presbyteries, revivals of religion, of a more or less general nature have taken place. In these revivals, the work of divine grace has proceeded, with a few exceptions, in the usual way. Sinners have been convinced and converted by the fill small voice of the Holy Spirit, and have been brought out of darkness into marvellous light, and from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God, without any remarkable bodily agitations, or extraordinary affe&tions. In this calm, and ordinary manner many hundreds have been added to the church, in the course of the last year ; and multitudes of those who had before joined themselves to the Lord, have experienced times of refreshing and confolation from his presence.

In many of the southern and western Presbyteries, revivals more extensive, and of a more extraordinary nature have taken place.While many, within the bounds of those Presbyteries, have been, as is hoped, effectually called, without any exercises other than those which have generally attended the progress of vital piety; there have becn multitudes of instances, in which great bodily agitations, and other circumstances, out of the usual course of religious exercise, have attended the work. As these extraordinary appearances have been before announced by the Assembly, and as the knowledge of them is generally diffused throughout the American churches, it is not judg

ed necessary to enter into minute details on the subject. The Afsembly would only observe, that although they forbear to express any opinion, as to the origin and uature of some of those circumstances, which have attended the southern and western revivals; and which have attracted so much of the attention of the religious world; yet * they are constrained to acknowledge with thankfulness, that the last year, while it presented a continuance, and great extention of this extraordinary work, furnished also increasing evidence, that it is indeed the work of God, for which the friends of piety are bound to praise his holy name.

The Assembly cannot believe that a dispensation, by means of which, the ignorant are enlightened, the vicious reclaimed, the erroneous made to acknowledge and obey the truth as it is in Jesus, the haughty infidel humbled and brought to bow penitent and believing before the cross of Christ, and the general aspect of society, changed from diffoluteness and profanity, to fobriety, order, and comparative purity, can be any other, than a dispensation of the grace of God. And as there appears to be growing evidence that these are the happy fruits of the above mentioned remarkable work, the Assembly cannot hesitate to recognize in it the same divine power, which has, in every age, appeared in a greater or smaller degree, to build up Zion, to confound the wisdom of this world, and to show, that when the great Head of the church will work, uone can hinder him. It would be easy for the Assembly to select some

very remarkable instances of the triumphs of divine grace, which were exhibited before them in the course of the very interesting narratives presented in the free conversation :- Instaaces of the most malignant opposers of vital piety being convinced and reconciled ;-of some learned, active, and conspicuous infidels becoming the signal monuments of that grace which once they despised;-and various circumstances which display the holy efficacy of the gospel. But forbearing to enter into minute details on this subject, they would only in general declare, that in the course of the last year, there is reason to believe, that several thousands, within the bounds of the Presbyterian church, have been brought to embrace the gospel of Christ; and large accellions of zeal and of strength, as well as of members, given to his people.

The Affembly were gratified to be informed, that even in those parts of our church where no remarkable revivals have occurred, the word and ordinances of the gospel, have been, in many places, more generally, and more seriously attended upon in the course of the last year, than for some time before; that infidelity is lefs bold and active than formerly; and that, on the whole, appearances have become more encouraging since the last conversation in the Assembly on this subject.

The Assembly consider it as worthy of particular attention, that most of the accounts of revivals cummunicated to them, stated, that

the institution of praying societies, or seasons of special prayer to God for the out-pouring of the spirit, generally preceeded the remarkable displays of divine grace, with which our land has been recently favoured. In most cases, preparatory to fignal effusions of the Holy Ghost, the pious have been stirred up, to cry fervently and importunately, that God would appear to vindicate his own cause.--The Alsembly see in this a confirmation of the word of God, and an ample encouragement of the prayers and hopes of the pious, for future and more extensive manifestations of divine power. And they trust that the churches under their care, while they fee cause of abundant thankfulness for this dispensation, will also perceive, that it presents new motives to zeal and fervour, in applications to that throne of grace, from which every good and perfe& gift cometh.

The Assembly also observed with great pleasure, that the desire for fpreading the gospel, among the destitute inhabitants on our frontiers; among the blacks; and among the savage tribes, on our borders; has been rapidly increasing, during the last year, in various parts of our church. The Assembly take notice of this circumstance with the more satisfaction, as it not only affords a pleasing presage of the spread of the gospel, but also furnishes agreeable evidence of the genuineness, and the benign tendency of that spirit, which God has been pleased to pour out upon his people,

The Affembly consider the prospects of our church in the frontier settlements, as more favourable than they have been, at the date of any former report. They are gratified to hear, from various quarters, that new churches are rapidly forming; increasing in the number of their members, and in their punctual attendance on the means of grace: that many of these churches have been, within a short period, supplied with stated pastors; and that more missionary labours are called for in the above mentioned settlements, than any arrangements heretofore made can posibly supply.

Information of a very pleasing nature, was also communicated to the Assembly, by the delegates from the General Association of Connecticut, of a work of divine grace in various parts of that state--espec'ally in Yale college; in which important institution, many of the youth, have hopefully become pious. The probable infuence of such an event, in so respectable a seminary of learning, on the church of Christ generally, and particularly in the state of Connecticut, cannot but make a very pleasing impresson on the friends

On the whole, the Assembly cannot but declare with joy, and with the most cordial congratulations to the churches under their care, that the state and prospect of vital religion in our country, are more favourable and encouraging, than at any period within the last forty years. They fee indeed much to lament, in the infidelity, the vice, the profaneness, the lukewarmness and formality, which Still in many places abound: bạt they believe it would be ingratitude

of piety.

« הקודםהמשך »