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real and permanent and universal; to grapple with difficulties; to separate false associations and accidental adjuncts from the truth. Study human nature and the divine. Study human life, that you may penetrate through its mysteries and endless mutations to its one all-comprehending design. Study God's works, that amidst their infinite agencies you may discern the one power and spirit from which they all spring. Study especially the Holy Scriptures, the records of God's successive revelations to the human race. Strive to gain profound, generous, and fruitful conceptions of Christianity: to penetrate into the import of its records; to seize its distinctive character, and to rise above what was local, temporary, partial in Christ's teaching, to his universal, all-comprehending truth. To gain this knowledge of Christianity, your first and chief resort will be, of conrse, to the New Testament; but remember, that there are difficulties in the way of a just interpretation of this venerable record. Other books are left to act on our minds freely and without control, to exert on us their native, genuine influence; but such a host of interpreters thrust themselves between the sacred volume and the reader, so many false associations of ideas with its phraseology are formed from the cradle, and long familiarity has so hardened us to its most quickening passages, that it is more difficult to bring ourselves into near communication with a sacred writer, than with any other. The student in theology must labor earnestly to escape the power of habit, and to receive immediate impressions from the scriptures; and when by his efforts he is able to catch the spirit which had before lain hid beneath the letter; to feel a new power in words which had often fallen lifelessly on his ear; to place himself in the midst of the past, and thus to pierce into the heart of passages, which he had been accustomed to interpret according to modern modes of thought; he ought to rejoice as in the acquisition of untold treasure, and to feel that he is arming himself with the most effectual weapons for his spiritual war
"You will, of course, read other books beside the Bible; but beware lest these diminish your power. Perhaps in no department of literature are works of vigorous and original thought rarer than in theology. No profession is so overwhelmed with common-place, weak, worthless books, as ours. No text has been so obscured and oppressed by undiscerning commentators, as the Bible. In theology, as in all branches of knowledge, confine yourself very much to the works of men, who have written not from tradition or imitation, but from consciousness, experience, reflection and research; and
study these, that your own faculties may be roused to a kindred energy. Especially beware of giving yourself up to the popular literature of the day; which, however innocent or useful as an amusement, is the last nutriment to form a powerful mind, and which I fear is more pernicious to men of our profession than of any other."
"Regard your office as meant, not to perpetuate what exists, but to introduce a higher condition of the church and the world. Christ was eminently the Reformer; and Reform is the spirit of the ministry. Without this spirit, our churches are painted sepulchres, and the preaching in them but sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Comprehend the greatness of your spiritual function. You are entrusted with a truth, that is to create a new heaven and a new earth, to prostrate the abuses and corruptions of ages, to unite men by new ties to God and to one another, to revive the Divine Image in the human soul. Keep your mind in harmony with this great end. Let not pleasures, cares, honors, common example, or opinion, or any wordly interest, sever you from it. Cherish a living faith in a higher operation of Christianity, than is yet seen in any community or any Church. This faith is far from being universal, and for want of it the ministry is weak. But is there no ground for it? Is it an illusion? I know not a weightier question for a minister to answer. Other points of controversy will solicit your attention. But the greatest question which you have to determine is, Whether Christianity has done its work and spent its force, or whether a more regenerating manifestation of truth is not to be hoped? Whether a new application of the Christian law to private and public life is not to be longed for, and prayed for, and confidently expected? Whether Christendom is not to wear another aspect! whether the idea of perfection, of disinterested virtue, which shone forth in the character of Jesus, is not to possess more livingly the human soul, and to be more and more realized in human life? Your answer to this question will decide very much, whether your ministry shall be a mechanical round, a name, a sleep, or be fraught with life and power. In answering it, do not consult with flesh and blood; but listen to the prophetic words of Jesus Christ; listen to the aspirations of your own soul; listen to that deep discontent with the present forms of Christianity, which is spreading in the community, which breaks out in murmurs now of scorn, now of grief, and which hungers and thirsts for a new coming of the kingdom of God."
The other services by Mr. OsGOOD and Mr. HALL, are in a like spirit; but we have not room to speak of them.
FOR SEPTEMBER, 1840.
During the present month our Methodist friends have held a large Camp Meeting about five miles from town.Several of their most noted preachers, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Maffit, Mr. Bascom and others, were present, and were listened to by immense multitudes day after day. The excitement produced was very great, the conversions numerous, and much good we may hope and trust was done. But was not much evil done also? This is a grave question, and which for ourselves we feel unable to answer. But we would, with proper diffidence, ask of those who lead at such gatherings, why such are needed in a neighborhood where Churches are as common as in this vicinity? In a new country Camp Meetings are needful; the true result of the state of society: but are they among us? Are they not unnatural? forced? mere contrivances for causing great excitement? an engine mighty, but unmanageable?
Do not thousands go to them as they go to horse-races, for amusement, mischief, and even debauchery?
We are among those who, not belonging to the Methodist body, and even somewhat fearful that worldly ambition and love of spiritual power, may by degrees develope themselves in that body, (as in any other so large, so connected, so energetic,) still deem the spirit of Methodism the nearest approach to a proper Christian spirit which is now to be found in any Church or sect. The spirit of Methodism, as seen in Mr. Durbin, Mr. Tomlinson, of Augusta, Mr. Hamline, of this city, and other preachers and crowds of laymen, mechanics, laborers and merchants, is a spirit of earnestness without extravagance, a spirit of philanthropy without excess, a spirit of true learning without a devotion to mere learning. Among the Methodists we find rarer unions of piety, brotherly love, entire temperance, untiring industry, and in short more of spiritual life, than among any
other body of Christians. Such They feel (and such a feeling is our faith. It is also our is destructive of true faith) that faith that the extravagances they can at any time, by a which followed Wesley's re- new excitement, be drawn form, are passing by; dimin- from the mire again: resting ishing, not increasing. upon that hope, they live along, religious when trouble comes, irreligious and immoral when out of trouble.
Having so much of confidence in the Methodist spirit, we never witness the whirlwind of that spirit without deep pain. The revivals ef fected by Mr. Maffit, in this city last winter, were of a character to make us doubt their permanence and use; but they were harmless, it seems to us, compared with such meetings as that just through. If it were possible, we wish there might be presented, on the one hand, the conversions, not to professions of Methodism, but to pure, upright, Christian lives, the only true evidences of true spiritual conversions; and on the other the number of young men and women, whose morals have been undermined-whose religious feelings have been roused to a high pitch only to sink lower than ever, or whose tastes have been so shocked as to make religion disgusting to them. We fear, were a balance struck, the result of such a Camp Meeting would startle the Methodists themselves.
One thing we know from experience, that no persons are so hopeless in a religious point of view, as those who have been led to profess religion while under excitement, and then have backsliden.
We e hope and pray that the leaders of the Methodist body may labor only for the spiritual good of all whom they affect, and never, under selfdeception, for the growth of Methodism.
We present below the synopsis, promised long since, of these institutions in our city. It is taken from the annual report of the Trustees.
The number of children entered at the
several schools during the past year, has 5,057
The number of Teachers employed, 64
The interest on building
$3,307 91 The other expenses, 1,192 86 The average cost of each pupil, $7 50
Number retired, from removals
and various other causes
The number in daily attend
In the Appendix to the Annual Report, is a paper upon the subject of German Schools. The Legislature of the last winter passed a law, which, literally construed, would enable every boy and girl in town to demand instruction in German. Such a construction the Trustees deem in opposition to
the intention of the Legislature; and therefore so construe the law as to assume to themselves the power of establishing schools for the children of German parents, where the German and English languages may be taught in such a manner as will enable the German children to attain, in the soonest possible time, an English Common School Education. To this, it is understood the Germans object: they wish their children to study German thoroughly, to retain it as a language of the country, and not to be made Anglo-Americans in their speech.
We trust the Board will retain their stand on this subject. To introduce German,
a common and lasting tongue among us, would be, as we believe, to introduce a source of division, disunion, and constant trouble, where union is now most needed.
“Chicago, (Ill.) August 10th. "MY DEAR BROTHER
"I write a few lines for the Monthly Record, to communicate a little information which I have picked up in my travels during the last two months. I left Louisville June 16th, on the New-York. At a church meeting on the Saturday night previous, the Louisville church adopted a Constitution, by which it obtained for the first time, a regular organization. I consider something of this sort
very essential to the religious prosperity of a society. After leaving you at Cincinnati, we got slowly on, the river being low and the weather hot. You saw in the newspapers an account of the boat's company being poisoned. We had great reason for gratitude at our escape from this diabolical attempt. On the passage I studied again the Epistle to the Romans, and was particularly struck with the Demosthenic compactness of its style. This Epistle is the foundation of the theology of the Western Church, as the Gospel of John is of the Eastern. At Wheeling I saw some Unitarian friends, who are anxious for preaching-but I could not stop with them, but took the stage to Pittsburgh, through Washington county, one of the richest and most beautiful districts of Pennsylvania.From Pittsburgh I went to Meadville, where I found that the society, under the pastoral care of Brother Emmons, was in a flourishing condition.There seemed to be an inquiring spirit prevailing in the community, and a desire to listen to our doctrines. I thought it would do no harm to gratify it, and accordingly preached a number of discourses, stating and defending the views of Unitarians, which were attended by good sized audiences. In this way I preached fourteen sermons during the twenty-six days which