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Man of no usual or ordinary character. The present therefore is no doubt a favourable time, not only for extending the influence, but for advancing the purity of the church; for the extirpation of any errors, and the abolition of any antichristian practices which may have found entrance among us during the long period of comparative darkness and desertion through which we have passed. And although we do not believe that any thing immoral or vicious is more prevalent now than at some former periods, or even as much so, yet the existence of such things at the present time strikes the minds of serious christians with an appearance of greater deformity, and fills them with more pungent regret, as it is exhibited in such dark contrast with that promising and wonderful aspect of things so extensively displayed by the christian world. The free conversation on the state of religion has brought some such things to our view, against which we feel constrained to bear our decided testimony; and we would enter upon this duty with the tenderness and meekness, but at the same time with the firmness and authority which becomes a Judicatory of the Church of Christ.
The first thing we shall notice is the crime of Drunkenness. This crime has at all times been a curse to our country, and has often made lamentable inrodes upon our Church. We are convinced that it may be opposed more successfully by prevention than in any other way. When the character of drunkenness is fully formed, the unbappy victim is lost to those motives which ordinarily influence all other classes of men. In this state of things nothing but a miracle of divine grace can effect his reformation. The certain and acknowledged prospect of the wreck of his family, his fortune, and his character; and even of the ruin of his immortal soul, is not sufficient to arrest his course : and yet, perhaps, the same man may formerly have been in such a state of equilibrium or indecision upon this subject, that the smallest motives might have prevented the formation of a habit, which in its maturity has become so irresistible. This consideration is certainly sufficient to justify an effort for saving our fellow-men from the domination of so destructive a vice. For this purpose we earnestly recommend to the officers and members of our church to abstain even from the common use of ardent spirits. Such a voluntary privation as this, with its motives publickly avowed, will not be without its effect in cautioning our fellow-christians and fellow-citizens, against the encroachment of intoxication; and we have the more confidence in recommending this course, as it has already been tried with success in several sections of our Church.
The vice of Gambling has also been forced upon our attention. We indeed hope that few, or perhaps none, of our actual professors, have indulged themselves in the practice of what they consider as coining under the denomination of Gambling. But perhaps there are some addicted to this practice who have evinced a predeliction for our Church, and forms of worship, and who are not unwilling to receive the word of admonition from us. Such we
would earnestly exhort to consider, in the most serious manner, the consequences of the course they are pursuing, and the awful lessons which the experience of the world is every day exhibiting on this subject. But it is further our duty to testify, that all encouragement of lotteries, and purchasing of lottery tickets; all attendance on horse-racing, and betting on such, or on any other occasions; and all attempts of whatever kind to acquire gain without giving an equivalent, involve the gambling principle, and participate in the guilt which attaches to that vice.
On the fashionable, though we believe dangerous amusement, of Theatrical Exhibitions and Dancing, we deem it necessary to make a few observations. The Theatre we have always considered as a school of immorality. If any person wishes for honest conviction on this subject, let him attend to the character of that mass of matter which is generally exhibited on the stage. We believe all will agree, that comedies at least, with a few exceptions, are of such a description, that a virtuous and modest person cannot attend the representation of them without the most painful and embarrassing sensations. If, indeed, custom has familiarized the scene, and these painful sensations are no longer felt, it only proves that the person in question has lost some of the best sensibilities of our nature; that the strongest safeguard of virtue has been taken down, and that the moral character has undergone a serious depreciation.
With respect to dancing, we think it necessary to observe, that however plausible it may appear to some, it is perhaps not the less dangerous on account of that plausibility. It is not from those things which the world acknowledges to be most wrong, that the greatest danger is to be apprehended to religion, especially as it relates to the young. When the practice is carried to its highest extremes, all admit the consequences to be fatal; and why not then apprehend danger, even from its incipient stages. It is certainly, in all its stages, a fascinating practice. Let it once be introduced, and it is difficult to give it limits. It steals away our precious time, dissipates religious impressions, and hardens the heart. To guard you, beloved brethren, against its wiles and its fascinations, we earnestly recommend that you will consult that sobriety which the sacred pages require. We also trust that you will attend, with the meekness and docility becoming the christian character, to the admonitions, on this subject, of those whom you have chosen to watch for your souls. And now, beloved brethren, that you may be guarded from the dangers we have pointed out, and from all other dangers which beset the path of life and obstruct our common salvation, and the Head of the Church may have you in his holy keeping, is our sincere and affectionate prayer. Amen.
J. J. JANEWAY, Moderator. June, 1818.
Resolved, That the General Assembly recommend, and they do hereby recommend to the Pastors and Sessions of the different churches under their care, to assemble as often as they may deem necessary during the year their baptised children, with their parents, to recommend said children to God in prayer, explain to them the nature of their Baptism; the relation which they sustain to the Church; and the obligations which their Baptism has imposed on them.
FASHIONABLE AMUSEMENTS. The following resolution of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia, lately assembled at Winchester, is furnished for publication by the secretary of the convention, for the purpose of giving the earliest information upon the subject, which is considered interesting and important.
In Convention, May 22, 1818. Whereas differences of opinion prevail as to certain fashionable amusements; and it appears desirable to many, that the sense of the Convention should be expressed concerning them; the Convention does hereby declare its opinion that Gaming, attending on Theatres; Public Balls, and Horseracing, should be relinquished by all communicants of this church, as having the bad effects of staining the purity of the Christian character-ofgiving offence to their pious brethrenand of endangering their own salvation by their rushing, voluntarily, into those temptations against which they implore the protection of their heavenly Father: and this convention cherishes the bope that this expression of its opinion will be sufficient to produce conformity of conduct and unanimity of opinion among all the members of our communion. The above is a true extract from the proceedings.
Secretary to the Convention. Alexandria, May 26, 1818.
STRICT OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD'S DAY. The natives of Otaheite have paid their debt of gratitude to the
Christian world, by teaching them how to keep the Sabbath. Mr. RowLAND HASSAL, of Paramatta, New South Wales, ex-, pressing, in a letter to the Rev. Mr. Bin London, his delight in the success of the Missionaries, and his conviction that the work is of God, mentions, as one proof of it, the remarkable attention which the inhabitants of Otaheite, as a body, pay to the Christian Sabbath.
“When my friend Mr. Crook, with his family, arrived on the coast of "Otaheite, in the brig Active, they were much surprised that not a single native could be seen all along the shore as the vessel sailed; nor_could they perceive any smoke arising from their dwellings. This excited in the mind of Mr. Crook and others a painful suspicion that the island had been subdued, and all the inhabitants cut off in the wars.
“ In the midst of this agitation of mind, one of the sailors, an Otaheitan, who left port Jackson in the Active, observed that the natives were keeping the Sabbath day—that of late they did no kind of work-nor cooked any victuals-nor went out of their houses, except to worship God and that the whole of the day was employed either in religious worship, or in teaching one another to read.
“ At length the vessel came to anchor in Matavai Bay; but not a native made his appearance until Monday morning; when great numbers repaired to the brig, bringing with them their usual testimonies of hospitality, of food and fruit of all kinds, with other presents of cloth, &c. &c., being highly pleased and thankful to God, that he had sent another teacher among them; and thus fully satisfying all on board that they had been observing the Sabbath, as before expressed. “ Thus you see, that it is not a few individuals who are turned to
a the Lord, but, comparatively speaking, the whole nation. When you reflect on this anecdote, and compare the conduct of these Otaheitans with that of numbers even in the churches and congregations in and about London, you will be ready to say, that the poor heathen are taken into fellowship with Christ, whilst the children of the kingdom are cast out.”
DEATH OF SABAT.
In our Magazine for September last we inserted a letter from the Rev. Mr. Milne, giving a large account of Sabat, who then professed to repent of his apostacy from the truth ; and Mr. Milne relates that soon after he had fallen into the hands of an enemy, and was made a prisoner: we have now to communicate an account of the death of this unhappy man, which we copy from the Asiatic Register for February, 1818, said in that publication to have been derived from a respectable mercbant.
*A short time ago, the son of Synd Hossyn, a merchant, proceeded from Penang to Acheen, and suceeeded in wresting from a Rajah the possession of his provinces; and the dethroned Rajah was obliged to seek shelter at Penang; but no person feeling interested in his fate, he continued on board the vessel which had conveyed him from his native country. Sabat and Hamanibni-Salem, another Arab, having opened a communication with the exiled Rajah, engaged to
return with him to Acheen, but the followers of the Rajah for some unspecified reason turned the two Arabs on shore on a neighbouring island. When the son of Synd Hossyn beard that the Rajah was returning, and bad landed two Arabs, he despatched his people to apprehend them, and, probably conceiving them to be associated with his enemy to expel him from the throne, placed them in close confinement. This is the substance of the news that had reached Penang when the merchant who communicates these particulars was there ; but on his voyage back to this port, he was informed that
; the usurper above noticed, after having kept the wretched sufferers in prison six months, had ordered them to be tied up in a sack filled with beavy stones, and thrown into the sea!!
Other accounts, which concur generally with the foregoing, state that Sabat joined the usurper, and having been discovered in carrying on a scheme to overthrow the new authority in favour of himself, he was punished with the horrible death already described. The story of the revolution in Acheen may be erroneously stated, but all the reports agree respecting the fate of the unhappy apostate.
INDIA. Account of a remarkable Assembly of Hindoos, near Delhi, who met to Read the
Scriptures. Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Mr. F., dated May 6, 1817, to Rer. Mr. T., Calcutta,
I am more and more convinced that the inhabitants of India are nearly inaccessible to us in their present state, (I mean, with a view to their conversion,) from the gross ignorance and want of common rudimental instruction which prevails among them; and the great means which India appears to be in want of at present, is a systematic plan of education, universally, patiently, and industriously to be acted upon throughout the whole of our territories. Only let the population have the power to read our Scriptures, and we have done them a kindness, the benefit of which nothing can deprive them of. The Bible may do its own work: that it can do so, has been repeatedly proved, in spite of the melancholy forebodings and sensitive jealousies of the adversaries to its distribution.
Take an instance, my dear brother, which I think so well calculated to cheer our spirits. You know that Anund Messee is now baptized. I shall send you his history in the next packet. We have every reason to believe in the sincerity of his Christian profession, and we hope for many beneficial results from his real ability and consistent life. The other day he asked my permission to leave his little school at M
to go over, for a few days, to Delhi; which was the more readily granted as he still entertains hopes of bringing his wife over to the acceptance of the salvation of the Gospel, as well as his brother and sisters.
During his stay at Delhi a report was in circulation, that a number of strangers had assembled together (and nobody knew why) in a grove near the Imperial city, and were busily employed, apparently in friendly conversation, and in reading some book in their possession, which induced them to renounce their caste, to bind themselves to love and associate with one another, to intermarry only among their own sect, and to lead a strict and holy life.
This account filled Arund with great anxiety to ascertain who and what they were ; and he instantly set off for the grove which had been pointed out