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Title: The Christian Recorder Vol. 1, Issue 9 (1819-November)

Date of first publication: 1819

Author: Various

Date first posted: February 17 2013

Date last updated: February 17 2013

Faded Page eBook #20130209

This eBook was produced by: L. Harrison, Marcia Brooks & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at






Vol. I.           NOVEMBER, 1819.          No. 9.



About the middle of the year 1701, a charter was obtained from his Majesty King William 3d, by which many of the then subscribing members of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, with several other persons of distinction in Church and State, were incorporated by the name of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts. This Incorporation being limited in its operation to one particular object, did not interfere with the important designs of the original institution. But being established as well for the purpose of converting and inducting the Heathen, as for the maintenance and advancement of pure Christianity among the British settled abroad, it has been from its first organization, and still continues to be by far the most efficient Protestant Missionary Society in the world. Its views have hitherto been principally directed to the continent and islands in North America; for, at the period of its original establishment, and for a long time afterwards, those Colonies were much more considerable, both in extent and importance, than they are at present. They contained, besides emigrants from Europe, a very large population of unenlightened savages, to whom it was desirable to impart the glad tidings of the Gospel; and the settlers themselves had little less need of religious instruction, for they were in danger of sinking into the vices and ignorance of Heathenism.

[Pg 324]To the successful labours of this Society, the conversion of the Indian Tribes that profess Christianity, and the number of Episcopal Churches still subsisting in the United States, must, in a great measure, be attributed. The Clergymen and School-masters or Catechists employed are upwards of one hundred, the greater part of which, reside in the British Colonies of North America. In a very modest appeal lately made to the public by this Society, it is said that the revenues at the present moment are almost wholly expended in contributing to the erection of Churches and Schools, and providing a regular supply of Ministers, Catechists, and School-masters, with competent stipends, who are subjected to the controul and authority of their respective Bishops; nor is it too much to assert, that without such assistance from the Society, many large and populous Districts of these extensive countries, would be deprived of the light of religion, or at least of the benefits of a ministry, in the administration of the sacraments and regular public worship. "The extension of the British dominions in the East, has since opened to Christian zeal a new scene of exertion, to which the attention of the country has been for some time anxiously turned. A variety of circumstances, however, continued to suggest to the Society, the necessity of caution, and the expediency of waiting for some favourable conjunction, which might enable them to concert their resources with effect, and begin their operations with reasonable assurance of success. The time they trust is arrived.

"The appointment of a Bishop at Calcutta has supplied an adviser of no less discretion than zeal, to direct the Society's proceedings at the outset, to point out safe and unexceptionable modes of acting, to suggest proper rules and directions, and, finally, to assist by his authority in the controul and regulation of their Missions. Their first measure has accordingly been to offer their co-operation to the Bishop in the execution of such plans, as, in concurrence with the governing authorities in India, his Lordship may be inclined to recommend; and to place at his disposal a sum of money, in order to enable him to avail himself of any opportunities of furthering the objects of the Society, without the loss of time which must necessarily be incurred by previous communication with Europe. Some time, it is obvious, will elapse before an answer can be received to this application. It may be sufficient, in the mean while, to[Pg 325] observe, that the island of Ceylon in particular, which has lately been placed under the Bishop's jurisdiction, would alone supply ample employment for the immediate exertions of the Society.

"In this island one-third of the population is said to be nominally Christian, though their faith is imperfect, and debased by gross superstitions; and the Pagan inhabitants are happily exempt from those artificial prejudices which still continue to retard the progress of Christianity in Hindostan.

"For the means of accomplishing these important designs, the Society must have recourse to the liberality of such pious and well disposed persons as are zealous for the propagation of the Christian Faith in its purest form. To divert its present revenues from the purposes to which they have been so long and so usefully appropriated, and are in a manner pledged, would be not only inexpedient, but unjustifiable. But with such objects in view, an appeal is made without hesitation to the public, in the fullest assurance that the spirit of piety, which in the beginning created, and has hitherto sustained the Society, will be exerted with equal effect in promoting the enlargement and extension of its plans."

Notwithstanding the great and persevering exertions of these two Societies, which have not only sent, for more than a century, the Bible to instruct the ignorant, but teachers also, to publish its sacred contents, the Church of England has been accused of coldness and indifference to Missionary exertions. And, with an affected friendship, her enemies have pretended to lament that such a stigma could with justice be affixed to her, which sullies that reputation which she has acquired in the Christian world.—It is an extraordinary fact, that while the journals of all denominations blazon forth other religious Societies, and give long details of their meetings and exertions, they are studiously silent respecting the anniversaries of the Societies for promoting Christian knowledge and propagating the Gospel. Thousands of well-meaning persons, ignorant of their existence, join in accusing the Church of England of criminal apathy in regard to propagating the Faith; and while they are forced to allow, that in all other Charities she mightily abounds, yet, in this department, they believe that she has been unaccountably deficient. How different would their opinions and sentiments be were they informed[Pg 326] that, for a hundred and twenty years, the voice of this Church has been heard exhorting her members to Missionary labours, a voice that spoke not in vain, but placed her foremost in the ranks of the Evangelical host; that for more than eighty years before the establishment of any other Missionary Society, she has, by means of these Associations extended her labours to the East and to the West. Freely she had received, and freely has she given. It must be acknowledged, that a great and visible impulse has been given to the Christian public, within these few years; even at a time when blood and carnage, treachery and pride seemed to possess universal dominion. Amidst desolation and dismay, the sun of righteousness arose, with healing on his wings, and a greater solicitude than usual began to be felt by Christians, to dispense the same blessings to the benighted Heathen. As we are refreshed, said they, at the fountains of living water, and have bread enough, and to spare, ought we not to feel compassion for those who are perishing for hunger? The Church of England instead of standing aloof, partook largely of this Divine impulse, and increases her efforts every day to diffuse the light of the holy Scriptures, and the knowledge of salvation, to the remotest parts of the earth, to the darkest regions of the habitable world. And it is with reason that a Church renowned for the purity of her doctrine and the charity of her labours, should take the lead in every good work, and be the first to engage in the best of all works, the spreading the light of the Gospel. In the East and in the West, the Missionary labours of the Church of England are directed by two Prelates of distinguished ability, who proceed regularly in the work, and endeavour to maintain the primitive discipline of the Christian Church, in all its purity. Like a company of well disciplined troops, the Missionaries proceed under their direction, with caution and prayer, to the establishment of pure doctrine and primitive discipline, which are alike necessary to the rapid propagation and permanent ascendancy of the Christian Faith.—Among them there is no variety of opinions; they leave contradictions of doctrine to those various teachers who come from different Societies, and whose changeableness and inconsistencies become great obstacles to the propagation of Christianity. In members of the Church of England there is unity of action, and that consistency of substance in their labours which is essential to the present support[Pg 327] and farther extension of the Gospel. They resort to the mild patriarchal and primitive discipline, of which the Apostles were the first founders, and their Churches the brightest examples, being well convinced that in the same manner as the Gospel was propagated in the first days of its glory, must it be propagated now. Church government, Church order, and Church discipline are among the constant objects of the Apostles' exhortations, and were the objects of their continual practice. By following a uniform system of doctrine and discipline, there are no discordances or varieties of Faith, and the conduct of the Missionaries, placed under immediate inspection, is checked if wild and extravagant, so that no aversions may, by their misconduct, be raised against Christianity. It is easy to foresee how much more efficacious half the number of Missionaries, under such regular order and discipline, will prove in disseminating the light of the Gospel, than those who are under no controul, and are too frequently deficient in knowledge and understanding. Let not then the friends of the English Church be any longer deluded by those who wantonly accuse her of being lukewarm in the cause of Missions, since she has done infinitely more than all the other denominations put together. We have a fruitful scion of this Apostolic Church extending over all North America, rapidly increasing, not only in numbers, but in that which is far more desirable, inward piety and zeal for God; and we have reason to entertain the most sanguine hope, that under the blessings of Providence, the same Church shall spread her branches through the vast regions of the East, and the glories of the Redeemer's kingdom shall in a short time supersede the superstitions of Brahmah.

It is, therefore, a subject of praise and thanksgiving, that the Church of England rises in her strength, arrayed in her beautiful garments, and leads the way to the conversion of the Heathen; and though the various religious publications under the inspection of other Missionary Societies, professing to acquaint the public with the progress of Christianity, preserve the most guarded silence upon the operations of our great Missionary Prelates in the East and West, yet, they cannot always be concealed, and will reflect new credit on that happy establishment which has been long the admiration of the whole earth.

The next Society in point of interest and importance, is that of the Moravian, which states in its last report the[Pg 328] number of its Missions to be about thirty, and persons employed 155. The perseverance, humility, cheerfulness, and hope, which characterise the singular labours of this remarkable people, are truly astonishing, and offer a lesson which other institutions for converting the Heathen may find it profitable to learn. Errors may indeed be pointed out in their doctrine, and perhaps superstition in some of their proceedings, but where shall we find equal self-denial, patience, even contentment, resting in full confidence on God, accompanied with a sweetness and affectionate concern for the salvation of the Heathen, in those who profess a purer creed? They have caught the true spirit of the Gospel, and they work continually by love. The sect of the Moravians, formerly called Hernhutters, was first formed into a religious community by Count Zen-zendorff, early in the 18th century, and afterwards grew so numerous as to be found in all the countries of Europe. They likewise style themselves Unitas Fratrum, or united Brethren. At first, they laboured under great difficulties, from the supposed licentiousness of their tenets, and the corresponding dissoluteness of their lives, but they are now better known and these calumnies begin to be forgotten. They have devoted much of their attention to the conversion of the Heathen, for they were grieved to hear of so many millions of their brethren sitting in darkness and groaning beneath the yoke of sin, and the tyranny of Satan. And believing the glorious promises in the word of God, that the Heathen should become the reward of the sufferings and death of Jesus, they considered his commandment, to "go unto all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," as given to all his followers, and were filled with confident hopes, that if they also went forth in obedience to his word, their labour would not be in vain in the Lord. Accordingly they have established Missions in the West Indies, in North America, in Greenland, in Africa, and in the Russian part of Asia. They had several flourishing Missions in North America, before the revolutionary war, but they were chiefly destroyed, and the inhabitants partly murdered, and partly dispersed. On the coast of Africa, a Mission was established in 1736, by George Schimdt, a man of zeal and courage, which after a long intermission is again flourishing under the direction of five married Missionaries. Most of their Missions are in a flourishing condition, and especially that on the coast of Labrador. The[Pg 329] Esquimaux begin to read a part of the New Testament, translated into their language, and to give evidence that the preaching of the Missionaries has not been in vain.

All Missionaries keep up a constant correspondence with the Secretary of the Moravian Missions in London, and also transmit copies of their diaries and journals. From these extracts are made, and manuscript copies sent and read in all the Congregations and Missions. By this, a spirit of brotherly love and sympathy, and a warm interest in the concerns of every Mission, is preserved throughout the whole Church, and constant prayers and supplications are offered up unto the Lord for the prosperity of his kingdom and the spreading of the Gospel.

The internal regulations of the Mission Settlements are the same in every country. The Gospel is preached to all the Heathen to whom the Missionaries can gain access, and every soul invited to be reconciled to God, through the atonement made by Jesus Christ. Besides the public testimony of the Gospel, the Missionaries are diligently employed in visiting and conversing with the Heathen in their dwellings. If any are awakened to a sense of their undone state by nature, and of their want of a Saviour, and come to the Missionaries for further instruction, giving in their names, they are called New People, and special attention is paid to them. If they continue in their earnest desire to be saved from the power of sin, and to be admitted into the Christian Church by holy baptism, they are considered as candidates for baptism, and after previous instruction and a convenient time of probation, baptised. If they then prove, by their walk and conversation, that they have not received the grace of God in vain, and desire to be admitted to the holy Communion, they are first permitted to be once present as spectators, and then considered as candidates for the Communion, and after some time become communicants.

Each of their divisions have separate meetings, in which they are exhorted to make their calling and election sure, and instructed in all things respecting a godly life and walk. Separate meetings are likewise held with other divisions of the Congregation, with the children, the single men, the single women, the married people, the widowers and widows, in which the admonitions and precepts given in the holy Scriptures for each state of life, are inculcated. Each of the baptised and communicants come at stated[Pg 330] seasons to converse privately with the Missionaries, the men with the Missionary himself, and the women with his wife, by which they gain a more perfect knowledge of their Congregation than could otherwise be obtained, and an opportunity is given to the individuals to receive special advice.

As the brethren lay a great stress upon knowing the state of every individual belonging to their Congregations, it would be impossible for the Missionaries to do their duty in any way satisfactory to themselves, unless in large Missionary Settlements assistants were found among the converts, whose exemplary walk and good understanding have made them respected.

These are chosen from among both sexes, and have particular districts assigned to them, in which they visit the people from house to house, attend to the sick and infirm, &c. watch over order, and endeavour to remove dissentions and promote harmony among the flock. Other persons of good character and exemplary conversation, are used as servants in the Chapels, and meet also in conference to settle every thing belonging to outward order in the meetings of the Congregation. At stated times, a council is held with a number of the most respectable inhabitants, chosen by the Congregations, in which all things relating to the outward welfare of the Settlement come under consideration.

The Missions are supported by voluntary contributions of the members of the brethren's Congregations in Europe, and of the several friends who have become acquainted with them. The expence of these Missions has increased from £2500 to £5000. The number of Missionaries is 155, and of the widows and children and old resting Missionaries, 80. When the expences attending journies and voyages, building and repairs of Chapels and Mission-houses, unforeseen accidents, &c. are taken into consideration, the sums will be admitted to be comparatively small, though large when compared with the numbers and abilities of the contributors.

As to the manner of preaching the Gospel to the Heathen, the brethren have by long experience found that "the word of the cross is the power of God unto salvation, unto all them that believe." They, therefore, immediately preach Christ crucified, sowing the word in tears, with patience and courage, knowing that they shall hereafter reap with joy.

[Pg 331]There is no part of the doctrine of our Saviour and his Apostles, which the Missionaries do not endeavour gradually to inculcate into the minds and hearts of their people, both before and after baptism, and through the mercy and power of God, the most blessed effects have attended their labours and been made conspicuous in the lives and conversation of most of their converts.

For the Christian Recorder.

"When thou art confirmed, strengthen thy brethren."—St. Luke c. 22, v. 32.


He who addresses you is a layman—not accustomed to authorship—to speak and to write for the benefit of others, devoted like yourself, (for you perceive Mr. Recorder, you are not unknown.) to the ministry of the Gospel.

Early education, followed by a long habit of embodying thought in phrase and sentence, and arranging these in that lucid order which conducts the attention smoothly forward to the end of a well combined discourse, has most likely rendered the process so easy to you, that you will not readily understand the difficulty I am under in offering you some trifling aid to the excellent work you have in hand.

It is true, indeed, my education was of that sort which is called liberal. I wrote themes in the learned languages, was tolerably conversant with Pagan authors of antiquity, and but little with those Sacred Writings, which ought to be the guide of our lives. Yet, alas, Sir, had you seen the correspondence that occasionally took place between me and my quondam fellow-students, all with Cicero, Horace, Virgil, Homer, Sophocles, Xenephon, Euripides, &c. at our finger ends, you would have been tempted to remind us, that our own language possessed its primers, spelling-books, and grammars.

That I have been occasionally guilty of the unfashionable vice of study, since those days, and held serious converse with the best English authors, I will not deny; but this was rather for the purpose of self-instruction, than with a[Pg 332] view to the art of gracefully communicating information to others. You know, Sir, that the mind in its fits of ardor after knowledge, will fasten, if I may so express it, on the heart of a book, without at all heeding the fashion of the literary structure in which it is enshrined. I have not been altogether blind, however, to those beauties of style which give zest to the writings of Steel, Addison, Swift, and other of our British Classics. To admire is spontaneous; to acquire to ourselves the power of imitating the models for excellence at pleasure, demands, in most cases, a long series of study, not without the assistance of enlightened and persevering instruction.

We all know with what special embarrassment, even persons fluent upon other topics, will ordinarily enter upon the subject of religion; and where there is no such restraint, how usual it is to hear a style of expression rather injurious to the cause it would promote. It appears to me worthy of our serious consideration, whether by instructing the youth committed to our care, in a graceful and familiar, yet decorous manner of writing and conversing upon a subject of such vital interest, we might not succeed to overcome that embarrassment, and supplant, at the same, that repulsive peculiarity of style, both of which are powerful obstacles in the way of obedience to our blessed Lord's command, and that we should "strengthen our brethren." Those who are acquainted with the history of the early Christians, will have observed the benefits, the consolations, which they derived from mutual exhortation, and how much it seems to have fallen in with the ordinary tenor of their intercourse with each other.

It is of little comparative importance, whether or not the more classical scholar, or the disciple of philosophy, shall be put in possession of an avenue to the human heart. But it will not be esteemed by any believer in our holy Religion, a thing of small importance that a person, for example, like Henry Kirk White, should have been enabled to communicate to the less instructed members of a family such judicious and affectionate advice as we meet with in his familiar correspondence.

I shall make it my object at present to bring your readers to an acquaintance with the writings of this extraordinary young man, the splendid rising of whose genius, and its brief career, can hardly fail to suggest a comparison with the unhappy Chatterton. The admirers, however, of the[Pg 333] boy who could place his fictitious Rowley on an eminence with the most venerable of our bards, would not wish to prosecute the comparison further.

But another circumstance entirely accidental, has placed the names of these extraordinary young men by the side of each other. It is related in the following paragraph with which M. Southey commences his life of Henry Kirk White:

"It fell to my lot to publish, with the assistance of my friend Mr. Cottle, the first collected edition of the works of Chatterton, in whose history I felt a more than ordinary interest, as being a native of the same city, familiar from my childhood with those great objects of art and nature, by which he had been so deeply impressed, and devoted from my childhood with the same ardour to the same pursuits. It is now my fortune to lay before the world some account of one, whose early death is not less to be lamented as a loss to English literature, and whose virtues were as admirable as his genius. In the present instance there is nothing to be recorded, but what is honorable to himself, and to the age in which he lived; little to be regretted, but that one so ripe for heaven, should so soon have been removed from the world."

In a subsequent part of Mr. Southey's account of his life, is the following passage, which, as it relates to the letters I have alluded to, and may serve as an introduction of high authority, to such extracts from them as you may admit into your Recorder, I have not thought it out of place to transcribe.

"It is not possible to conceive a human being more amiable in all the relations of life. He was the confidential friend and adviser of every member of his family; this he instinctively became; and the thorough good sense of his advice is not less remarkable than the affection with which it is always communicated. To his mother, he is as earnest in beseeching her to be careful of her health, as he is in labouring to convince her that his own complaints were abating; his letters to her are always of hopes, of consolation, and of love; to Neville, he writes with the most brotherly intimacy, still, however, in that occasional tone of advice, which it was his nature to assume, not from any arrogance of superiority, but from earnestness of pure affection; to his younger brother, he addresses himself like the tenderest and wisest parent; and to two sisters, then[Pg 334] too young for any other communication, he writes to direct their studies, to inquire into their progress, and to encourage and to improve them. Such letters as these are not for the public; but they, to whom they were addressed, will lay them to their hearts like relics, and will find in them a saving virtue, more than even relics possessed."


"St. Johns, 11th March, 1806.
"Dear Neville,

"I hope you read Mason on Self-knowledge, now and then; it is a useful book, and it will help you greatly in framing your spirit to the ways of humility, piety, and peace. Reading, occasional meditation, and constant prayer, will infallibly guide you to happiness, as far as we can be happy here, and will help you on your way to that blessed abode, where I hope, ardently hope, we shall all meet hereafter in the assembly of the saints. Go cooly and deliberately, but determinately, to the work of your salvation. Do nothing here in a hurry; deliberate upon every thing; take your steps cautiously, yet with a simple reliance on the mercy of your God and Saviour; and wherever you see your duty lie, lose no time in acting up to it. This is the only way to arrive at comfort in your Christian career, and the constant observance of this measure, will, with the assistance of God, smooth your way with quietness and repose, even to the brink of eternity, and beyond the gulph that bounds it.

"I had almost dropped the idea of seeing Nottingham this next long vacation, as my stay in Cambridge may be importantly useful; but I think now I shall go down for my health's, and more particularly for my mother's sake, whom my presence will comfort, and perhaps help. I should be glad to moor all my family in the harbour of religious trust, and in the calm seas of religious peace. These concerns are apt at times to escape me; but they now press much upon my heart; and, I think it is my first duty to see that my family are safe in the most important of all affairs."


"St. Johns, Cambridge, April, 1806.
"Dear Mother,

"I am quite unhappy to see you so anxious on my account, and also, that you should think me neglectful of[Pg 335] you. Believe me, my dear mother, my thoughts are often with you; never do I lay myself on my bed, before you have all passed before me in my prayers; and one of my first earthly wishes is to make you comfortable, and provide that rest and quiet for your mind which you so much need, and never fear but I shall have it in my power some time or other. My prospects wear a flattering appearance. I shall be sure of a fellowship somewhere or other, and then if I get a curacy in Cambridge, I shall have a clear income of £170 per annum, besides my board and lodging, perhaps more. If I do not reside in Cambridge, I shall have some quiet parsonage, where you can come and spend the summer months; Maria and Lucy will then be older, and you will be less missed. On all accounts you have much reason to indulge happier dreams; my health is considerably better; only do you take as much care of yours as I do of mine, and all will be well. I exhort, and entreat, and beseech you, as you love me and all your children, that you will take your bitters without ceasing; as you wish me to pay regard to your exhortations, attend to this."


April 6th, 1805.
My Dear Kirk,

"Your complaint of the lukewarmness of your affections towards spiritual things is a very common one with Christians. We all feel it; and if it be attended with an earnest desire to acquit ourselves in this respect, and to recover our wonted fervour, it is a complaint indicative of our faithfulness.

"In cases of Christian experience, I submit my own opinion to any body's, and have too serious distrust of it myself, to offer it as a rule or maxim of unquestionable authority; but I have found, and think that the best remedy against lukewarmness is, an obstinate persisting in prayer, until our affections be removed, and a regular habit of going to religious duties, with a prepared and meek heart, thinking more of obtaining communion with God, than of spending so many minutes in seeking it.

"Thus when we pray we must kneel down with the idea that we are to spend so many minutes in supplications, and after the usual time has elapsed, go about our regular business; we must remind ourselves that we have an object in prayer, and that until that object be attained, that is, until[Pg 336] we are satisfied that our Father hears us, we are not to conceive that our duty is performed, although we may be in the posture of prayer for an hour."



O! lost too soon! accept the tear,
A stranger to thy memory pays,
Dear to the Muse, to Science dear!
In the young morning of thy days.
All the wild notes that Pity lov'd,
Awoke responsive still to thee,
While o'er the lyre thy fingers rov'd,
In softest, sweetest harmony.
The chords that in the human heart,
Compassion touches as her own,
Bore in thy symphonies a part,
With them in perfect unison.
Amidst accumulated woes,
That premature afflictions bring,
Submission's sacred hymn arose,
Warbl'd from every mournful string.
When o'er thy dawn the darkness spread
And deeper every moment grew,
When rudely round thy youthful head
The chilling blasts of sickness blew:
Religion heard no plainings loud,
The sigh in secret stole from thee,
And pity from the dropping cloud
Shed tears of holy sympathy.
Cold is that heart, in which were met
More virtues than could ever die,
The morning star of hope is set,
The sun adorns another sky.
O partial grief! to mourn the day
So suddenly o'erclouded here,
To rise with unextinguished ray
To shine in a superior sphere.
[Pg 337]Of Genius early quits this sod
Impatient of a robe of clay,
Spreads the light pinion spurns the clod,
And smiles, and soars, and steals away.
But more than Genius urg'd thy flight,
And mark'd the way, dear youth, for thee,
Henry sprang up to worlds of light,
On wings of immortality!


York, 30th November, 1819.
At a General Meeting of the BIBLE SOCIETY of Upper Canada, held here this day,




Proposed and seconded by different Gentlemen, were unanimously passed:


1st.—That the Report be now read.

2d.—That the Report be received and adopted.

3d.—That it appears from the Report that the state of religious knowledge in this Province is improving.

4th.—That this Society views, with cordial approbation, the great exertions now making in different parts of the Province in building Churches.

5th.—That the Society congratulates the Province on the increasing number of Associations for distributing the Scriptures.

6th.—That this Society will ever be ready to cherish and assist similar Institutions within the Province.

7th.—That this Society highly approves of Sunday Schools, and recommends their establishment in every Township or place where children can be collected.

8th.—That a donation of 12 Bibles and 12 New Testaments be given to the Essex or Western District Auxiliary Bible and Common Prayer Book Society.

[Pg 338]9th.—That a donation of 12 Bibles and 12 New Testaments be given to the Rev. Richard Pollard, for the use of the Society which he is forming.

10th.—That a donation of 12 Bibles and 12 New Testaments be given to the Bellville Bible Society.

11th.—That the thanks of this Meeting be given to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, President of this Society, for His Excellency's unremitted and important exertions to promote the interests and extend the usefulness of this Institution.

12th.—That the thanks of the Committee be given to the Committee of Directors.

13th.—That the thanks of the Meeting be given to the Treasurer and Secretary for their services, and that they be requested to continue in their respective offices.


The Committee of the Upper Canada Bible Society, in reporting their proceedings, begin by stating, that the total number of Bibles and New Testaments issued by the Society during the last twelve months, amount to 307—194 Bibles, and 113 New Testaments.

A large proportion of these, have been given to emigrants when going upon their lands, as may be seen by the detailed accounts of the distribution. It appeared a seasonable time to confer this treasure of wisdom and Divine illumination, upon those who were taking up their abode in the wilderness, and who must, from the nature of the Settlement, remain for a long time, at a great distance from one another. Their seclusion from all society would naturally lead them to serious reflection, and what could direct this reflection better than the word of God?

Many more might have been distributed in this manner, but it was suggested, that bestowing the Bibles and New Testaments gratis to all who chose to apply, was to exhaust the charity, or to make it too burdensome to its contributors, and it was therefore advised, that something should be paid for each book, however small, as a mark of gratitude and sincerity, affording at the same time, a kind of pledge that it would lead to a serious perusal.

In consequence of this suggestion, different prices were demanded for Bibles and New Testaments, from prime cost down to one quarter of a dollar, according to the supposed means of the applicant, the Committee still continuing to[Pg 339] give to all who were unable to purchase Bibles and New Testaments gratis, as before. It is for the Society to determine whether the Committee should persevere in demanding some such token of sincerity, except from the poor, or distribute the Scriptures in donations promiscuously to all who request them. Much may be said in favour of gratuitous distribution; for, many who are able and will not purchase, would read the Bible if given to them, and might, from the perusal of it, be turned from darkness to light, and restore fourfold the favour that had been conferred upon them. But the Committee, on the whole, lean to the opinion, that some discrimination should be used, as more copies of the Scriptures may be distributed in the Province for many years to come, to persons unable to purchase, than their funds will enable them to supply. The Committee are confirmed in this opinion by the fact that many persons who had sufficient means refused to give any part of the price, however trifling, and consequently the demand was for a time greatly diminished.

There is another reason which renders it prudent to use discrimination in the distribution, namely, that the emigrants considered themselves as having a right to receive Bibles from your Society, and affected to think it was a privilege annexed to their receiving a grant of Land from the Crown. This opinion, however preposterous, was more generally entertained than can well be credited, and requires some discretionary power in the distribution to remove it. For if the Scriptures be demanded as a right, those feelings of gratitude, which it is the desire of your Society to excite, can have no place, nor is it probable that there will be much desire to purchase them. Your Committee are compelled, though with deep concern, to remark, that great numbers of those persons who have lately come into the Province are destitute of Bibles, a circumstance greatly to be lamented; but it is to be hoped, that the exertions of this and similar institutions, now rising up in different parts of the Province, will, in a short time, remove this evil, and be able, at the same time, to supply the wants of the native or old population. Your Committee have the satisfaction to state, that the Bibles and New Testaments, which they have distributed, have, in almost every instance, been received with gratitude. Some expressed great thankfulness to the Society, and we have[Pg 340] every reason to believe, that it is read in many families where it was formerly in a manner unknown, with much attention. Several examples might be related of deep acknowledgement; among others, two families, one consisting of sixteen, including the parents, and another of fifteen, who were filled with joy, and said, that with the Bibles and New Testaments in their hands, they would penetrate into the woods without regret, and be able among themselves to sanctify the Sabbath unto the Lord. Indeed the gift was truly appreciated by most of those who received it, and this eager reception of the Scriptures is one of the best rewards of your exertions and a powerful motive to perseverance.

Numbers of families, consisting of eight or ten, had no religious book of any description, and others had Bibles, many of them so lacerated, or of so small print, that the parents could not read them.

The Committee remark, that very liberal donations have been made to several new settlements, especially to that under the charge of Messrs Carter and Beattie, for which they are extremely grateful. The great exertions made by Mr. Carter to establish a school, and to assemble his people together every Sunday, appeared to merit particular encouragement, and your Committee had great pleasure in affording it.

The Scriptures have been supplied to the prisoners with the most happy effects. One unhappy person who remained many months under sentence of death, meditated much upon the Scriptures, particularly on the New Testament, to which his attention was more particularly directed, and there is every reason to believe, that when the Lieutenant Governor was most graciously pleased to commute his punishment to banishment, that he was a sincere penitent, and would never again infringe the laws of society. Of the prisoners now in confinement, two deserve particular notice; one a black man lying under sentence of death, who had little or no knowledge of religion when he was committed to prison, is now become serious, and so eager to be able to peruse the Scriptures, that he is learning from his fellow prisoners to read, of which he was entirely ignorant a few weeks ago. He begins to master lessons of two or three syllables, and in a short time he will be able to accomplish the great object of his wishes. The person who takes so much pains in instructing him, has likewise[Pg 341] found much consolation from the perusal of the Scriptures, and seems very penitent, and not likely to renew, on his enlargement, those depredations on society which brought him to his present unhappy situation.

Many of the soldiers which were quartered here last winter were supplied with copies of the Scriptures, for which they were truly grateful, and some copies were deposited in the Hospital, and of the troops at present here several have applied for Bibles and have been gratified.

Your Committee have much pleasure in announcing the establishment of many similar institutions throughout the Province, and surely if Societies for the advancement of science, agriculture, and commerce have always been considered among civilized nations, as the most effectual means of exalting the condition and welfare of the people, Societies for spreading among mankind the Christian religion, ought to be considered as one of the first and most important objects by every reflecting mind, who is desirous of beholding the happiness of his species placed on its proper basis. And the motives which press on such minds to pursue this labour are useful and interesting. It is not a common calamity that we are called upon to relieve, for to this the common sympathies of our nature may prompt us, but we are invited to come to the relief of all moral wretchedness; to apply the remedy which infinite wisdom has devised for a sinful world; to be the humble instruments of imparting life, everlasting joy, unspeakable and full of glory, to millions of our living fellow-men, and to unborn generations. It is no wonder that such motives occurring to well disposed persons throughout the Province, should stir up their minds to the formation of Societies for disseminating the Bible. At Sandwich, Mr. Pollard, is exerting himself to establish a Society at that place, and another upon the Thames, with the happiest prospects of success, and although, from the situation of the country, their numbers may be small, and their means narrow, the Lord considers not the largeness of the gift, but the principle on which it is given.

At Kent and Essex, Bible Societies have been formed, which have already been of great use in awakening the people from the slumber of death, and producing inquiries concerning that precious book, which they had long neglected.

The Bible Society at Niagara, the first that was established[Pg 342] in this Province, is said to proceed with increasing interest. At Bellville, a Bible Society, auxiliary to this, has been established, and a subscription has been opened and is now collecting for the purpose of transmitting the same to the Upper Canada Bible Society, to which it requests to be received, as a branch, and to receive our countenance and support.

The Bible Society of Prince Edward has published a very excellent report, in which among other interesting matters, they consider an objection against the formation of Bible Societies, in this country, namely, that "although they may be useful in some Foreign parts, where the sole object is to supply the Heathen with Bibles, yet, in a country like this, where every one has the means of purchasing a Bible for himself, they are not only unnecessary, but worse than useless; because they tend to encourage indolence rather than economy, by holding out to a certain class of people the prospect of being supplied without their own exertions."

For a refutation of this objection, your Committee need only appeal to facts. Within the circle of their own personal acquaintance, there are several numerous families destitute of the word of life, who by the best economy would find it extremely difficult, if not altogether impracticable, to procure this precious treasure. There are others, the heads of which, want the disposition rather than the means, but their children are attaining, one after another, the years of understanding and accountability. Some are perhaps serious; one of the number may be perhaps pious; and all may be tender, and susceptible of those religious impressions, which are peculiar to early life. Let every serious reflecting mind contemplate such a scene as this, and inquire whether, in their circumstances, a Bible would not be a most welcome gift, and whether it would not in all probability be productive of the most salutary and happy effects.

In Ernest-town, there is a Bible Society which has been for some time established, and from its being in the heart of a very populous District, it may be productive of great benefit.

In Kingston, the Bible and Prayer Book Society proceed with renewed energy, and under the most favourable anticipations. The Gananoque Auxiliary Bible Society, established by the inhabitants of that Village, in a great degree[Pg 343] through the influence and exertions of Col. Stone, has published a very good constitution of 16 articles and a list of the subscribers.

It is evident, from the most cursory view of the Province, in which we see Churches building, and Sunday Schools establishing, in almost every direction, and comparing it with what it was in point of religious instruction a few years ago, that the progress of religious knowledge and feelings has been very great, and this, under God, may be attributed, in a great measure, to the various Bible and Common Prayer Book Societies, which have been established. They embrace the moral and religious welfare of the great mass of the people; they cherish a spirit of piety and charity; and, by giving them what they have long wanted, a pure incentive to action, and a taste for a species of reading which is not only innocent but profitable, they attract them from sensual and degrading pleasures, promote habits of sobriety and industry, and inspire them with kind and benevolent affections.

To use the words of the noble President of the British and Foreign Bible Society, "The peace, order, and happiness of society will ever be in proportion to the influence of that holy book, which we circulate and recommend on the hearts and lives of mankind, and this is the basis of all reform national as well as individual."

The Committee acknowledge, with great pleasure, the receipt of fifty copies of the New Testament from Mr. James Strachan, on his late visit to this Province, as a testimony of his Christian regard and of his high veneration for the principles upon which the Society is founded.

Your Committee cannot think it necessary to use any arguments to convince you of the propriety of continuing your exertions for the diffusion of Christianity. You know that the Gospel is the instrument appointed by God for restoring the world to purity and peace; that to impart this invaluable blessing, the Son of God died; and, that holy men in all ages have toiled and suffered to spread it through the world, and shall we do nothing in aid of this design?

While we are labouring to send Bibles into every cottage, might not something be done to rescue the Massasaguas from Heathen darkness? This neglected people form a tribe of the Chippawas, the most numerous aboriginal nation of North America. Were a translation of the Gospel[Pg 344] made into their language, it would be understood as far almost as the pole. In the plains of the North this people are numerous, and on receiving printed books, a desire to read would soon be excited among old and young. Schools might be established among them by Missionaries, and as they learned to read, the Lord would no doubt open their understandings, and they would attain more and more light in holy things. When it is considered that a great part of the New Testament has been translated into the language of the Esquimaux, who are now generally learning to read, and begin to understand the Scriptures, and if that part of the Scriptures has been translated into the language of the Mohawks, we have no reason to despair accomplishing our object, should it be adopted. This is certainly a matter deserving of serious consideration, for it neither appears beyond our means or ability. To pour the light of the Gospel into the minds of the Chippawas, and its spirit into their hearts, would indeed be a glorious undertaking, and by whom can this be better attempted than by their neighbours?

Having thus finished the detail of our domestic transactions, we shall, with the Society's permission, briefly advert to some of the many interesting facts that are recorded in the last or fifteenth report of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

In their narrative of facts, the Committee commence as usual, with the Continent of Europe, and advert with heart-felt satisfaction to the establishment and definitive organization of a Bible Society at Paris, with the authority of Government, for the Protestant part of the population in France, under the Presidency of the Marquis De Joucourt, peer of France, and minister of state. This event took place on the 30th of last November, and since that period its active Committee have been diligently occupied in concerting and executing the proper measures for making known its object and promoting subscriptions in its behalf, not only in the capital, but likewise throughout the departments.

The example of Paris has been followed by Bourdeaux, Montaubin, and Nismes, where provincial Committees are engaged in forming Auxiliary Societies, and a similar feeling has been manifested in other great Protestant stations. In the United Netherlands, Bible Societies have multiplied, and at the anniversary celebrated in Amsterdam, composed[Pg 345] of deputies for each, the report presented on that occasion a very encouraging picture of the state of the General Association, and of its beneficial influence on the character and habits of the people.

In Switzerland, the Bible Societies have, in the course of the past year, acquired a fresh stimulus, and their operations, already augmented, hold forth the promise of still greater extension and efficiency.

The Bible Societies of Germany and Prussia, are now become exceedingly numerous, and their operations are performed on a scale of great magnitude and activity. "I rejoice exceedingly," says the venerable Muller, the chief promoter of one of these Societies, "that the Lord has deemed me worthy and given me strength in my eighty-first year, to be the founder of this Society, by which, if not during my life, yet certainly after my death, much good will be produced. While the day of my life lasts, and ere the night cometh, I will do all in my power for the furtherance of the glorious undertaking; and, using the feeble means with which he has favoured me, confidently rely upon his most merciful protection."

The Danish Bible Society held its third anniversary in May, 1816, which, in point of attendance and interest, far exceeded any of the former, and the speeches delivered evinced a degree of zeal, which demonstrates that the object of the institution has made its way to the hearts of the Danish people. "I have never witnessed," says one of the speakers, "such a general and active zeal in promoting any useful cause; men, women, male and female, servants, boys and girls, eagerly subscribe their contributions, according to their abilities."

"Much," says a member of the Icelandic Bible Society, "have we, though at a remote distance, been benefitted and advanced by the pious exertions of Great Britain; not only from the circumstance of our having been supplied through the liberality of the Bible Society in that country, with an abundance of Bibles, but also, that we have been enabled, through its aid and countenance, to establish a Bible Society among ourselves, which all who venerate and love the sacred volume must desire may prosper."

The Swedish National Society, with its numerous auxiliaries, in the different provinces of the kingdom, displays a bright example of concord, stability, and perseverance, in[Pg 346] disseminating the word of the living God among an attentive and grateful population.

Russia opens a vast field for the dissemination of the holy Scriptures. Societies are established in all the principal cities from Siberia to Teftis, in communication with the parent Society at Petersburgh. "The dissemination of the book of God's word among all the nations of the earth," says the Emperor Alexander, in his address to the Frankfort Bible Society, "is a new and extraordinary blessing from God our Saviour, to the children of men; and it is calculated to promote the work of their salvation; blessed are they who take a part in it, for such gather fruit unto eternal life, when those who sow and those who reap shall rejoice together. I find this undertaking not merely worthy of my attention, no, I am penetrated by it to the inmost recesses of my soul, and I reckon the promotion of it my sacred duty, because on it depends the temporal and eternal happiness of those whom Providence has committed to my care."

In giving a short abstract of the luminous report of the Bible Society, we are forcibly struck with the character, rank, and influence of those who take the lead in its operations. Princes, noblemen, ministers of state, and the principal magistrates of every place, are found, not merely giving their subscription, far less giving it and taking no share in the proceedings, but most actively employed and exerting themselves by their speeches and motions at their public meetings, to stir up the zeal of those who still remain indifferent. At Malta, a Bible Society was established in May, 1817, which will become the centre of operations carried on in that extensive quarter, comprehending Greece, Syria, Egypt, and the Ionian Islands.

In the East, Societies have been established at Bombay, Madrass, Calcutta, and Columbo, which are most actively employed in disseminating the sacred volume. At Calcutta, several editions of the Scriptures are completing in different languages, to be distributed among nations which have never heard of a crucified Saviour.

A Bible Society has been formed in Sumatra, and one in New South Wales, the latter of which, will be of great immediate use, as more than three fifths of the inhabitants that can read, are without a Bible.

In noticing the wide field of America, the report says, that the greatest vigour and harmony prevails in promoting[Pg 347] the simple object of the institution, and notice is taken of the Societies established in these and the other British Provinces.

At home the Society still possesses the public confidence, and continues to extend its influence and benevolence through the three kingdoms. Auxiliary Societies continue to increase, and a great number of associations have been formed by the ladies in aid of the parent institution.

The Committee conclude their eloquent and interesting report with observing, that 260,031 copies of the Bible and New Testament have been issued from their depository during the last year, making a total since its establishment of two millions three hundred thousand Bibles and Testaments. Stimulated by the impulse which this institution has given, the nations of Europe are now rapidly retracing the steps by which they had departed from the standard of truth, and doing public homage to that holy word, the neglect or contempt of which, formed the principal source of their delusion, and the worst feature in their guilt. Both rulers and people have found in the Bible a guidance and consolation which a spurious philosophy had veiled from their views, and they agree to regard and to value it as their best instructor, and their dearest possession.

The spirit of the Bible is gone forth among the nations of Christendom, and they seem to be preparing, with one consent, to revive the light wherever it had become obscured among themselves, and to impart it in all its purity and strength to those that are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, that it may guide their feet into the way of peace. In the prospect of exertions so congenial with the precepts and predictions of that book, to whose circulation, they are directed, we feel emboldened to depend on the highest aid, and to expect the grandest events; and in this confidence we would adopt as expressive of our prayers and our hopes, the lofty strains of divine inspiration.

God be merciful to us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God, let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

[Pg 348]


To the Editor of the Christian Recorder.


The information respecting Sunday Schools, lately communicated through the Christian Recorder, has given to some, and we hope to all your readers the highest satisfaction; especially that part of the communication which states, that our excellent Governor and his worthy Lady were pleased, in such a distinguished manner, to encourage and patronise the Sunday Schools in York, by attending at the public examination, and distributing to the children presents with their own hands. It is most devoutly to be wished, that all ladies and gentlemen in Canada, and throughout the world, would go and do likewise.

Liberal extracts from the Reports of the Sunday Schools in Great Britain, would undoubtedly be highly gratifying and extensively useful to your readers in general.

And some things may be stated from Lower Canada on this subject, which are deserving of public notice. In Quebec, Montreal, and several other parts of the Province, Sunday Schools have been introduced, and some of them have been carried on successfully for more than two years. In the newly settled Township of Stanstead, 250 children and young people have given in their names as learners in the different schools which have been formed in that Township, and in the course of two years have recited from the holy Scriptures, and other religious books, upwards of one hundred and thirty thousand verses; and in Hatley the adjoining Township, of late a good degree of attention has been excited among the youth, and a number of schools formed under that truly noble and distinguished character the Hon. and Rev. Dr. Stewart. He not only furnishes the necessary rewards of merit, to encourage the children to commit to memory portions of the holy Scriptures, but he attends personally to hear them recite, and address them on the nature and design of the institution, and carry those lambs of his flock to the throne of heavenly grace. If all clergymen and ministers of the Gospel would imitate his[Pg 349] example, we should soon behold Sunday Schools in every part of our extensive country, and Churches crowded with faithful worshippers. Should the clergy adopt this plan of filling up all their leisure moments in visiting schools and private families, with a view to enforce the practical duties of religion, they would feel no desire to engage in any of the amusements recommended by Mr. Toplady, in the fifth Number of the Christian Recorder.

Mr. Editor, it has given much pain to some of the readers of the Recorder, that such amusements should be recommended to any class of citizens, and especially to that class, whose conduct in all things ought to be an example to others. If ministers of the Gospel allow themselves to attend theatres, balls, and card-parties, can it be expected that their public discourses will have any good effect upon the minds of their hearers? We do not find that Christ and his Apostles had access to any trifling amusements in order to fit themselves for the discharge of the duties of their public station; and when we reflect upon the different kinds of employments, in which the Christian minister is called to take a part, no one can suppose there is any necessity of wasting any part of his time. And with what propriety can parents and sponsors at the baptism of a child be called to renounce the pomps and vanities of the world, should the ministers of religion, by their own example, lead their flocks to engage in those vanities? Such methods of spending time appear but poorly to accord with the apostolic injunction, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God."

It is essentially requisite, that all ministers of the Gospel should live in such a manner as to be an example to every one beholding their life and deportment; and if any of the reformers or good men in past ages have been left to transgress this rule, we ought not like Ham to expose the nakedness of our fathers, but rather like the dutiful sons of Noah, cast the mantle of charity over their failings and infirmities. If all the actions of great and good men are to be held up as worthy of imitation, then the drunkard, the libertine, and profane swearer must be commended, for they can plead the example of Noah, Lot, David, Peter, and a long catalogue of worthies.


[Pg 350]


Had it been anticipated, that any such inferences as those mentioned by our valuable correspondent could have been drawn from Mr. Toplady's letter, it would have been denied a place in the Christian Recorder; but this Friend to pure Religion cannot have given it his best consideration, or he would have found that no part of it warrants the last sentence of his communication.

It was far from the Editor's wish to give pain to any of his readers; but as this appears to have been the case, he deems it requisite to state briefly his own views on this important subject, and in doing so, adopts with much satisfaction the sentiments of a respectable religious Journal.

"We may venture to rest the whole question upon our Saviour's example. What answer can be given to the argument commonly deduced from the very first of his miracles? It stands an unequivocal record in favour of that which in these days might draw down upon him who ventured to do likewise, the accusation of conforming sinfully to the world. Let those who are of a different opinion, refer to the many other instances in which our Saviour either partook of, or attended to pure festive meetings, unconnected with religious observances, without any remark upon their impropriety or sinfulness. When was he accused of eating and drinking with publicans and sinners? It was when Levi, a newly elected follower, had made him a great feast, when there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. Had that feast been the occasion of an impressive sermon, or a series of instructive doctrines, doubtless St. Matthew, who then for the first time in all probability, beheld the blessed Jesus beneath his roof, would have inserted them in his Gospel; yet, the few remarks recorded originated in the comments of the Pharisees upon his conduct. In his parables, we have allusions in abundance to social meetings, without a word respecting their impropriety. When the elder son returns from the field, he hears music and dancing; what is the occasion? His dissipated brother had returned repenting. Knowing the young man's character, we might have argued, that a feast with music and dancing was the last mode of reception our Saviour would have alluded to, had he deemed such recreations improper; but, neither on this, nor on the wedding feasts and great suppers, does he ever bestow a[Pg 351] word of censure. With such authority before us, are we justified in anathematising, as utterly inconsistent with a Christian profession, persons and things upon which our Saviour passed no condemnation? The indiscriminate and incessant pursuit of diversions, whatever may be their nature, we disapprove of as strongly as the strictest Christians, but we cannot accompany them to the extent of their reprobation. Our interpretation of the reprehensible conformity with the world, consists in the abuse and not the use of it; in following the multitude to do evil; in partaking of its pleasures, where conscience tells us that by those pleasures our religious principles will be contaminated, the purity of intentions sullied, and the brightness of our faith darkened."

The Editor cannot conclude these remarks, without expressing a wish that he may be favoured with frequent communications from this Friend to pure Religion, for he likes the spirit of his Letter, and has long been of opinion, that it is the duty of every clergyman to give up innocent amusements, when disagreeable to his parishioners, or when they tend, in any way, to lessen his usefulness.



That God, who raises up pastors according to his own heart, and qualifies them for the important stations they are designed to fill, having employed them for the accomplishment of his good design, in the advancement of the empire of Jesus Christ, has a right, at what season he sees best, to dismiss them from their service on earth, and introduce them to their everlasting rest in Heaven. Sometimes he does this, while his people are looking up to them with high expectations, concluding that a very large sphere of usefulness is yet before them. "God," says one, "gives men of the most eminent abilities their dismission, at a time when the Church can least spare them, that the dependence and trust of the Churches may be wholly in himself." While, therefore, we remember those who once preached[Pg 352] to us the word of life, and while we call to mind their holy conversation and exemplary conduct, may we never forget that it was with Christ's gifts they were enriched, with his grace they were adorned, and that it was in the brightness of his truth they shone! When these stars are removed, we should be concerned to dwell under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, who is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever."

The Rev. Joseph Milner, the subject of these memoirs, was born at Leeds, in the West Riding of the county of York. His parents, though neither great nor noble in this world, were ornaments in that station in which an all-wise Providence had placed them. Under the ministry of the Rev. John Edwards of that town, his mother frequently attended, and it was her endeavour to inculcate upon the mind of her son those important truths, which even then, impressed his memory, and were afterwards the delight and glory of his soul.[1]

His early discovery of a taste for literature, induced his friends to send him to the free grammar school, and afterwards to Cambridge, where he made such proficiency as to obtain an honorary prize, the reward of his classical attainments. Upon his entrance into the ministry, there appeared in him great integrity and earnestness. At this season his religious sentiments were orthodox rather than evangelical. Convinced, however, that religion was more than a form, the ministry more than an office of honour and emolument, and that "without holiness no man can see the Lord," he laboured with much assiduity, if possible, to establish his own righteousness; and, as he sometimes remarked, few persons could possibly conceive what a difficulty it had been to him to unlearn what before it had cost him such pains to acquire. His prevailing desire was to be right; and, therefore, in him was verified the truth of our Lord's remark, that "if a man will do his will, he shall know of his doctrine whether it be of God." Comparing his religious sentiments with the word of truth, he began to suspect that all was not right; the deeper he searched, the more his suspicions were increased and confirmed. This gradually[Pg 353] brought him, with the simplicity of a little child, to sit at the feet of Christ, that he might learn the truth from his mouth. The light he had now received tended to discover the former darkness of his mind.

About this time Luther's comment upon the Epistle to the Galatians fell in his way; a work which was not only then tendered peculiarly useful to him, but for which he retained the greatest respect to the day of his death. He now saw himself to be in that very state, in which the word of God represents all the unregenerate; and with him it was not a speculative nicety, but a subject of infinite importance, how a guilty sinner could be justified before a holy God. The truth as it is in Jesus, accompanied with its divine evidence and energy, gradually prevailed against those strong holds of prejudice with which his mind had been hitherto fortified. He received it as "a faithful saying, and worthy of all his acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief of sinners." This important change of sentiment and of heart took place some years after he had been settled in Hull, as Lecturer and Master of the Free Grammar School. Indeed, the wisdom of God was manifested in this, especially toward the people to whom he ministered; for, had he at first been introduced to them, with all that splendour of divine truth in which he afterwards shone; it might have overpowered their minds, or have excited prejudices against his doctrine, not easy to be surmounted. Instead of them, discovering error by a gradual display of truth. It might be said of him, both as a Christian and as a minister of the Gospel, that "his path was as the shining light, which shineth more and more to the perfect day." So forcibly and so effectually did he commend himself to every man's conscience, as, in the sight of God, that his greatest opponents could not but revere his honest sincerity. To all it was evident, that whether they supposed him right or wrong, he was in earnest; and, that because he believed, therefore had he spoken. His whole heart was in his work. In the cause of Christ he feared no man, but was bold as a lion; in the service of the Gospel he was assiduous and gentle, as a faithful shepherd seeking the good of all. While in the graces of the Christian he flourished as the palm-tree; he was deep-rooted in knowledge and experience as the cedar of Lebanon. To know Christ and him crucified, was his daily study; and to make him known, was the grand[Pg 354] subject of his public ministry. He preached Christ Jesus the Lord, and held himself the servant of the people, for Christ's sake.

The doctrine of human depravity, of atonement for sin by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, of justification freely by grace, of imputed righteousness, and of the Spirit's work in regeneration, sanctification, and comfort, were subjects upon which he insisted frequently with great clearness and energy; and his labours, so far from being vain, were crowned with abundant success. Sinners were converted, the fearful encouraged, and believers were built up in their most holy faith.[2]

For many years he rode every Sunday afternoon to Welton, where in the evening he prayed, and expounded the Scriptures, and the people flocked to the house where he lodged, to hear him. On the Lord's day morning, he preached at North Ferriby, of which he was Vicar,[3] and afterwards returned to Hull, where, in the afternoon, he published the Gospel to a very crowded and attentive audience. Every other Wednesday forenoon he delivered a lecture in the Church; and on a Thursday he read prayers and expounded the Scriptures in Lister's Hospital. Not only the poor upon the charity, but persons of great respectability attended. His labours in this place were, perhaps, as much owned of God for general and abiding usefulness as any in which he engaged. Here he delivered himself with the greatest freedom, faithfulness, and affection; and a peculiar favour and blessing attended the word. He was amongst his people as a father with his children, and such was his love to them, that, with holy Paul, he was "ready not only to impart to them the Gospel of Christ, but his own soul also."

In whatever he engaged, he made it evident that conscience was concerned. As a preceptor, his aim was at[Pg 355] once to furnish the minds of his pupils with useful knowledge, and to cultivate their hearts. Every possible opportunity was seized to enforce good morals, and to illustrate truth, by leading their minds to God as the source of all science, and to Jesus Christ as the fulness of all truth. Several eminent characters were formed under his tuition, who now shine both in the Senate and in the Church.

In conversation he was so affable and instructive, that probably he never left any company, but they were constrained to admire either his learning as a man, his piety as a Christian, or his fidelity as a minister. In every place, and upon all occasions, his concern was to diffuse the fervor of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, his master.

But with all his excellencies, like others, he had his imperfections. Perhaps some of his greatest conflicts were with himself. For he not only preached, but felt the deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart; and his natural temper being rather irritable, though this might be seldom visible to any but himself, yet he found by experience, that it required all the influence of Divine grace to soften and meliorate his spirit.

As an author, his works being now before the Public, a list of them may suffice. In 1781 he published "Gibbon's Account of Christianity considered, with some Strictures on Hume's Dialogues on Natural Religion." About 1785 appeared, "Some remarkable passages in the life of William Howard;" and, in 1789, "Essays on Religious Subjects, particularly on the Influences of the Holy Spirit." The first volume of his "History of the Church," was published in 1794; the year following appeared the second volume; a third is said to be nearly ready for the public; and, as we are informed, he has brought that work down to about the time of the Reformation, we hope it may appear hereafter.

Upon the death of the Rev. Thomas Clarke, D. D. Mr. Milner was inducted to the Vicarage of the Parish of the Holy Trinity, Hull. This he enjoyed but a very short season; for, scarcely had he entered upon his new residence before he was called up to his heavenly mansion. The catarrh under which he had frequently laboured, greatly increased; and, attended with other complaints, threatened a speedy dissolution. However, some time after he revived a little; and during this interval, in the week before his[Pg 356] death, a minister who had been many years acquainted with him, being introduced into his chamber, and expressing the joy he felt upon finding him apparently so much better, and a hope that his mind had been happily supported during his illness, Mr. M. replied, "I have reason to be thankful in that respect; but those doctrines we have preached so many years, particularly that of the atonement, can alone support a soul in such a season as I have experienced." Upon its being further remarked, that many were pleading with God for him, not only in the established Church, but out of it, that he might be spared for greater usefulness, he rejoined, "God's people may differ in lesser things, but there is one spirit in which they are all united;—however, as to usefulness, at our time of life, we are not to expect great things, but must be thankful for what God has wrought, and it will be well to see that work stand."

During his illness he was much in prayer for the flock committed to his charge; and though for a season he had great soul conflicts, to an intimate friend he afterwards said, "Satan cannot bring one charge against me now, but I am able to answer it." Toward the close of life he slumbered much; and, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1797, in the 53d year of his age, he finally closed his labours, and entered into the joy of his Lord.

Thus died the Rev. Joseph Milner, in whose life and conversation, the truth and influence of Christianity appeared; in whose doctrine, the mind, the fidelity, and the gentleness of Jesus Christ were manifested: his walk was exemplary, and his end was peace.

Truly the memory of the just is precious. May the great Head of the Church raise up many such faithful labourers; and may the people who have been deprived of this burning and shining light, retain not only the form, but the favour of his doctrine, following him, as he followed Christ, till they shall finally join with him in Heaven, in ascribing "glory to Him that sitteth upon the Throne, and the Lamb for ever and ever."

[Pg 357]


Delivered at Cheltenham, on the 7th Oct. last, at the 4th Anniversary of the Gloucestershire Missionary Society.

Mr. Phillips came forward and thus addressed the chairman:—"Sir, after the eloquence with which so many gentlemen have gratified and delighted this most respectable assembly, and after the almost inspired address of one of them, I feel almost ashamed of having acceded to the wishes of the committee by proposing the resolution which I have the honor to submit. I should apologize, Sir, for even the few moments intrusion which I mean to make upon this meeting, did I not feel that I had no right to consider myself as quite a stranger; did I not feel that the subject unites us all into one great social family, and gives to the meanest sojourner the claim of a brother and a friend.—(Applause.)—At a time like this, perhaps, when the Infidel is abroad, and the Atheist and the disbeliever triumph in their blasphemy, it behoves the humblest Christian to range himself beneath the banners of his faith, and attest, even by his martyrdom, the sincerity of his allegiance.—(Great Applause.)—When I consider the source whence Christianity has sprung—the humility of its origin—the poverty of its disciples—the miracles of its creation—the mighty sway it has acquired—not only over the civilized world, but which your missions are hourly extending over lawless, mindless, and imbruted regions—I own the awful presence of the Godhead—nothing less than a Divinity could have done it!—The powers, the prejudices, the superstitions of the earth, were all in arms against it; it had nor sword nor sceptre—its founder was in rags—its apostles were lowly fishermen—its inspired prophets, lowly and uneducated—its cradle was a manger—its home a dungeon—its earthly diadem a crown of thorns! And yet, forth it went—that lowly, humble, persecuted spirit—and the idols of the Heathen fell; and the thrones of the mighty trembled; and Paganism saw her peasants and her prince kneel down and worship the unarmed Conqueror!—(This admirable portrait of the divine spirit and attributes of Christianity, was hailed with the most enthusiastic peals of approbation.)—If this be not the work of the Divinity, then I yield to the reptile ambition of the Atheist. I see no God above.—I see no government below; and I yield my consciousness of an immortal soul to his boasted fraternity with the worm that perishes!—But, Sir, even when I thus concede to him the divine origin of our Christian faith, I arrest him upon worldly principles.—I desire him to produce, from all the wisdom of the earth, so pure a system of practical morality—a code of ethics more sublime in its conception—more simple in its means—more happy and more powerful in its operation; and if he cannot do so, I then say to him, Oh! in the name of your own darling policy, filch not its guide from youth, its shield from manhood, and its crutch from age!—(Great Applause.)—Though the light I follow may lead me astray, still I think it is light from Heaven! The good, and great, and wise, are my companions—-my delightful hope is harmless, if not holy; and wake me not to a disappointment, which in your tomb of annihilation, I shall not taste hereafter! To propagate the sacred creed—to teach the ignorant—to enrich the poor—to illumine this world with the splendours of the next—to make men happy,[Pg 358] you have never seen—and to redeem millions you can never know—you have sent your hallowed Missionaries forward; and never did an holier vision rise, than that of this celestial, glorious embassy.—(Applause.)—Methinks I see the band of willing exiles bidding farewell, perhaps for ever, to their native country;—foregoing home, and friends, and luxury—to tempt the savage sea, or men more savage than the raging element—to dare the polar tempest, and the tropic fire; and, often doomed, by the forfeit of their lives, to give their precepts a proof and an expiation—(Applause.) It is quite delightful to read over their reports, and see the blessed product of their labours. They leave no clime unvisited, no peril unencountered. In the South Sea Islands they found the population almost eradicated by the murders of idolatry. 'It was God Almighty,' says the Royal Convert of Otaheite, 'who sent your mission to the remainder of my people!' I do not wish to shock your Christian ears with the cruelties from which you have redeemed these islands. Will you believe it, that they had been educated in such cannibal ferocity, as to excavate the earth, and form an oven of burning stones, into which they literally threw their infants, and gorged their infernal appetites with their flesh!—Will you believe it, that they thought murder grateful to the God of Mercy!—and the blood of his creatures as their best libation! In nine of these islands, those abominations are extinct—infanticide is abolished—their prisoners are exchanged—society is now cemented by the bond of brotherhood, and the accursed shrines that streamed with human gore, and blazed with human unction, now echo the songs of peace, and the sweet strains of piety. In India, too, where Providence, for some special purpose, permits these little insular specks to hold above one hundred millions in subjection—a phenomenon scarcely to be paralleled in history—the spell of Brahma is dissolving, the chains of Caste are falling off—the wheels of Jughernaut are scarce ensanguined—the horrid custom of self-immolation is daily disappearing—and the sacred stream of Jordan mingles with the Ganges.—(Great Applause.) Even the rude soldier, 'mid the din of arms, and the licence of the camp, 'makes (says our Missionary) the Bible the inmate of his knapsack, and the companion of his pillow.' Such has been the success of your Missions in that country, that one who left India some years ago, can form no just estimate of what now exists there.—Turn from these lands to that of Africa, a name I now can mention without horror. In sixteen of their towns, and many of their islands, we see the sun of Christianity arising, and as it rises, the whole spectral train of Superstition vanishing in air. Agriculture and civilization are busy in the Desert, and the poor Hottentot, kneeling at the Altar, implores his God to remember not the Slave trade.—(Applause.) If any thing, Sir, could add to the satisfaction that I feel, it is the consciousness that knowledge and Christianity are advancing hand in hand, and that wherever I see your Missionaries journeying, I see schools rising up, as it were, the landmark of their progress. And who can tell what the consequences may be in after ages? Who can tell whether those remote regions may not, hereafter, become the rivals of European improvement? Who shall place a ban upon the intellect derived from the Almighty? Who shall say that the future poet shall not fascinate the wilds, and that the philosopher and statesman shall not repose together beneath the shadow of their palm-trees? This may be visionary, but surely, in a moral point of view, the advantages of education are not visionary. [A long and continued burst of applause followed this passage, and in its ardor impeded the connexion and progress of our Report, and prevented us from detailing some most excellent remarks on[Pg 359] the advantages of the cultivation of the human mind.] These, Sir, the Propagation of the Gospel—the advancement of science and industry—the perfections of the artist—the diffusion of knowledge—the happiness of mankind here and hereafter—these are the blessed objects of your Missionaries, and, compared with these, all human ambition sinks into the dust; the ensanguined chariot of the conqueror pauses—the sceptre falls from the imperial grasp—the blossom withers even in the patriot's garland. But deeds like these require no panegyric—in the words of that dear friend, whose name can never die—-[In this allusion to his friend, Curran, Mr. Phillips' feelings were evidently much affected.] 'They are recorded in the heart from whence they sprung, and, in the hour of adverse vicissitudes, if ever it should arrive, sweet will be the odour of their memory, and precious the balm of their consolation.'

"Before I sit down, Sir, I must take the liberty of saying, that the principal objection which I have heard against your institution is with me the principal motive of my admiration.—I allude, Sir, to the diffusive Principles on which it is founded.—I have seen too much, Sir, of sectarian bigotry.—as a man I abhor it—as a Christian I blush at it—it is not only grading to the religion that employs even the shadow of intolerance, but it is an impious despotism in the government that countenances it. These are my opinions and I will not suppress them. Our religion has its various denominations, but they are struggling to the same mansion, though by different avenues, and when I meet them on their way, I care not whether they be Protestant or Presbyterian, Dissenter or Catholic, I know them as Christians, and I will embrace them as my brethren.—[This noble and liberal sentiment was received with the warmest burst of heart-felt sympathy and delight.]—I hail, then, the foundation of such a Society as this.—I hail it, in many respects, as an happy omen—-I hail it, as an augury of that coming day when the bright bow of Christianity, commencing in the heavens and encompassing the earth, shall include the children of every clime and colour beneath the arch of its promise and the glory of its protection.—Sir, I thank this meeting for the more than courtesy with which it has received me, and I feel great pleasure in proposing this Resolution for their adoption."

To the Editor of the Christian Recorder.


I have with some difficulty procured the following, which is the substance of Mr. Fenton's speech at our Bible Society Meeting. I hope you will have it printed in the books for this year.

Your's, &c.    
York, 9th Nov. 1819.

Most worthy Chairman,

I had no idea of either proposing or seconding any of the Resolutions of this day, when I entered this room; and I regret having no opportunity of declining so distinguished an honor, seeing I am surrounded by so much piety, rank and talent. The Resolution I have the honor of submitting to this Meeting, for its approval, is of a congratulatory nature; the feeling it excites in my mind, is indeed delightful, when I consider the circumstances out of which it arises. I never was more sincere than at this moment, when I am congratulating the Province, through the medium of this Meeting, on the increasing number of Associates for the distribution of the Scriptures.

The panoramic view exhibited to my mind by this congratulation, embraces the past, the present and the future. When I take a retrospective[Pg 360] view of the state of mankind before the promulgation of the revealed will of God, I behold a scene of darkness and uncertainty; there were a few who, by the faint glimmerings of unguided reason, could infer the immateriality and immortality of the human mind, grounding their axioms on its amazing capabilities and unbounded desires; but the evidence though strong was not by the many considered as demonstrated; though "Plato reasoned well" he convinced but few; even the Jews themselves, who were favored above "all the families of the earth," (vide Amos, iii, 2.) were not agreed about this most momentous and essential truth.—Though the dispensation with which they were favored, was the most perfect in its day, it was only "the shadow of things to come." (Heb. x, 1.) the substance of which is the Gospel by which "life and immortality are brought to light." Even after the institution of the Christian religion, the promulgation of the Gospel, and the acute and demonstrative reasonings of the Apostles, what gross darkness rested on the minds of the people, occasioned principally by the Scriptures being withheld from them. Wickliffe was the first in our Mother Country who translated the sacred Volume into the vernacular tongue, (in 1380,) but printing not being then found out, but little publicity could be given to so rich a treasure. Tindal I believe was the first who printed the Scriptures, and he durst not do it at home, but went over to the continent, and was hunted by his enemies and brought home and burnt in Smithfield; and after this blessed Book had struggled through the opposition of bigotry, it fell into the hands of infidelity and envious speculation: one condemned it as absurd, without proving it so, from a spirit of retaliation; its interdicts were too strict, and its mandates too imperative, for the ungodly licentious infidel: the curious speculator tried it by the test of chronology, chemistry and Philosophy, and the more it was analyzed the more precious it appeared. Having silenced many and baffled all its enemies, it came forward to the people under the august sanction of King James; but still it was but seldom seen; it came into various parishes, and was chained to the reading desk, and the people had reference to the divine prisoner only at stated times.

The value set on the Scriptures, has been so great, that some have been known to give a load of hay for a single page: and considering its intrinsic worth, as being truth without obscurity or error, and truth of the most important kind, 'tis not to be wondered at. But, Sir, how are we favored in the present day: we live in days of candour, when party distinction is lost, when sectarian opposition is absorbed by Christian charity, when all are uniting and assimilating into one spirit and making a simultaneous effort for the distribution of the Bible, and that without comment. Who could have anticipated at the accession of the present King of France, that a Bible Society would have been instituted in Paris? but this is the case. Long did the Bible act on the defensive, but now, behold it is assuming a formidable appearance, it is invading the enemy in his own country, and even in his Asiatic concealment. The cloud of Gospel promises is now hovering over Canada, and ready to discharge its glorious contents on these Provinces.

Acting in my official capacity, (which I would mention with all becoming humility and without that spirit that tickles the Pharisee's heart,) as a British Missionary, I have to penetrate these woods, and disseminate those religious truths elicited by the Gospel, in my excursions I oft find the people assembled in groups discoursing on the heterogeneous doctrines promulgated amongst them by the various sectarians that occasionally preach to them, uniformly appealing to the Scriptures, like the noble Bereans of old, to see whether those things are so.

[Pg 361]In such circumstances, the Bible is to them a light and a sure guide.—Should not this stimulate us to facilitate its spread, and rejoice in every assistance afforded us in the benevolent work.

On the whole, Sir, what happy effects may we not reasonably anticipate from the universal distribution of the Scriptures, May we not confidently affirm, with holy rapture in our hearts, that we see the dawning of those days when we shall not have to say to our neighbour, know ye the Lord? but when all shall know him, from the least unto the greatest, when the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep? With these views and these feelings, I beg leave to submit as one of the Resolutions of this Meeting

That this Society congratulates the Province on the increasing number of Associates for the distribution of the Scriptures.

A Sketch of the Church of England



The libraries formed by Dr. Bray, were for the most part parochial; those which the Associates have established are of two kinds, partly parochial and partly lending libraries; and slender as their resources have been, up to the present time, their Register contains ninety of the former description, and fifty-four of the latter. So that two hundred libraries distributed throughout all the Dioceses in the kingdom, are the present result of their own and their founder's labours. The present Associates do not much exceed eighty. Half of the English Bench, and of the inferior Clergy, thirty-five being included in that number; but an object so obviously calculated to encourage Clerical industry, and to raise the standard of Christian knowledge in general, by the improvement which will grow out of it in the instruction of the Clergy; in an age and country like ours, can only want to be known, in order to be more liberally supported.

The Reformation, amongst its other blessings, restored the Clergy of the Church of England "to the charities of domestic life," but it did not restore to them "that portion of their revenues, which in the darkness of a more corrupt age, had been alienated to Monastic & Conventual uses," whilst these were rendered more than ever necessary, in consequence of the families springing up around them, and looking up to them for support.

This insufficiency was, even at that time, felt and lamented; and the provision in Edward's VIth's Charter, for the founding of Christ's Hospital, which made the children of the Clergy equally eligible into that institution, with those of the freemen of London, manifests a strong disposition to mitigate an evil, which the peculating spirit of those times would not allow the government effectually to redress.

Feast of the Sons of the Clergy.

Other remedies in time succeeded, and the first that claims our attention is, the Association known by the name of The Stewards of the Feast of the Sons of the Clergy, now nearly two centuries old. The object of which continues to this day the same that it was at its original formation, viz. to raise a sum of money by annual collection, to meet the painful exigence to which the poorer Clergymen are reduced, when the education of their children is completed, and fee is required, in order to their being apprenticed to some trade or handicraft, in which they may earn an honest livelihood, and become useful members of society.

Such has been the general appropriation of this fund ever since its creation; but being the product of[Pg 362] casual benevolence, and comparatively very limited in its amount, its total inadequacy to meet the calls made upon it, was soon perceived, and a more efficient establishment speedily followed, known by the name of

The Corporation for the Relief of Poor Widows and Children of Clergymen.

A Royal Charter was granted by Charles the Second for this institution, soon after the Restoration, under which it has flourished up to the present time; having acquired large funds of its own from the pious munificence of numerous benefactors, and being moreover the trustee and administrator of several private charities for the relief of necessitous clergymen and their families. Its objects are declared in its designation; and the course of its benevolence is the supplying the insufficiency of the former institution in providing apprentice fees, and allowing small portions towards the support of the widows and unmarried daughters of clergymen, above forty-five years of age; near five hundred of the former, and upwards of one hundred and eighty of the latter, being annually pensioned from its funds.

But the whole exigency of the bereaved families of the poorer clergy was not met by either of the above specified establishments, their younger children yet remained very precariously and insufficiently provided with the means of education; and another institution was still found wanting, to render those already in existence complete. Under this conviction some charitable individuals, in the year 1749, associated themselves together, under the designation of

The Society for cloathing, maintaining, and educating poor Orphans of Clergymen of the Established Church, in that part of the United Kingdom called England, until of age to be put Apprentice.

(To be continued.)


It is our painful duty to communicate to our readers the death of Mrs. M'Gill, wife of the Hon. John M'Gill, Receiver General of the Province. This melancholy event, which happened on the morning of the 21st, has thrown a deep gloom over the face of the whole Society, and left a sad blank which will not soon be filled up. She had experienced the most acute and racking pain during a very long illness, which she bore with uncommon meekness and resignation.—In her departure, York has lost one of its most useful members and distinguished ornaments; her intimate acquaintances, a kind hearted friend; her husband, an affectionate and invaluable wife. Few persons ever possessed the benevolent and amiable qualities of her sex in a more eminent degree. The kindness and attractive simplicity of her manners, endeared her to all who knew her. The sons and daughters of distress and want claimed her regard, and shared it bountifully.—Her life might be considered a stream of benevolence, and it was Christian benevolence, which disregarded labour, fatigue, or trouble, in doing good.

In the hour of death, Mrs. M'Gill enjoyed the consolations of our holy religion, for she was a sincere Christian, and of the most pious habits; and, from the whole tenor of her life, we have the best grounds for believing, that she will be welcomed at the day of judgment, and admitted to the joy of her Lord.

May we not hope, that an example so pious, benevolent, and resigned, will not pass away without producing some blessed effects upon her sorrowing friends and neighbours?


[1] His mother, after he settled at Hull, lived with him, and had the happiness to see, not only her prayers answered, but her labours crowned with success, in the holy walk and abundant usefulness of her son. He survived her only about two years.

[2] The Spirit of God had led Mr. M. into very deep and extensive discoveries of the depravity of the human heart. He possessed a happy talent, almost peculiar to himself, in describing and detecting the pharisaic professor in all his subterfuges. In this subject he seemed only to have to review what he had formerly found in himself.

[3] It was through the interest and patronage of Mr. Alderman Wilberforce, grandfather to the present member for the county of York, most of his preferments in the church, in the earlier part of his life, were received.

Transcriber's Note

[The end of The Christian Recorder Vol. 1, Issue 9 (1819-November) by Various]