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of Mr. W— religion was not so happily exemplified. Evening devotions were indeed performed, but often in a hurried and unimpressive
The children, instead of being interested and benefitted, were rather disgusted, and contracted a disrelish for all religious exercises. Scarcely any restraints were laid upon them. Instead of spending the Sabbath at home in studying their Bible themselves, or l'eceiving instruction from it through their parents, they were in the company of Sabbath breakers, or reading some novel, or otherwise desecrating holy time. Seldom were they seen at the conference room. In short, little effort was made by the parents for the spiritual good of their offspring: And such was their conduct, at times, towards their children, and such their want of a Christian temper, that 1he children would often, in the most emphatic and passionate language, express their doubt of the Christian character of their parents. Now what has been the influence of these parents upon
their children? Let facts give the reply. The children of Mr. R
six in number, have all become hopefully pious, except the youngest, who is only about twelve years of age ; and even his mind has been occa. sionally under serious impressions. Two have entered on the stage of active life, and are now occupying stations of usefulness and great importance to the church. One son has lately been licensed to preach, and another has just entered on a course of preparation for the ministry. Of the children of Mr. W-_-, not one has yet given any evidence of piety. They are indeed what the world calls respectable; but having been suffered to be much in the company of the gay, thoughtless and profane, they have adopted many of their habits, and cherish many of their feelings in reference to religion. To what else, but to the influence of the parents, can we ascribe the difference in these children ? Let every parent, who may read these saets ponder them well ; and let them remember, that their influence will materially affect the eternal interests of their beloved offspring.
I am grieved to hear any remark made by old Christians that should lead the feeble, the lambs of Christ, to think that persecution should be made the test of their acceptance with God. I am led to say this from having heard several times of late remarks made in the pulpit calculated, as they were unexplained, to induce the young Christian to conclude within himself that he is deceived in relation to the hope that is within him, because he has never met with any persecution.
Is persecution any sure test at all ? Does not the gospel contemplate the time when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ? when all shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest ? Who will then be left to persecute ? And may
there not be hundreds, nay, thousands of sanctified Chris
tians among us at the present time, when the religious rights of all are so well protected, who do not and who shall not know what persecution is from their own experience, especially if they are surrounded by godly friends ?
N. January 3, 1831.
No doubt but this subject is misunderstood. That there are, at the present time, hearty Christians, who suffer no persecution from external violence, cannot be doubted. The reason is obvious. Not only does the constitution of the state in which we live, protect us in all our religious rights and privileges, but public sentiment is decidedly in favour of at least a profession of Christianity. These shield the Christian from any open and avowed persecution.
But although the favourable circumstances in which we are placed thus protect us against the arm of violence, still the carnal mind is enmity against God ; and therefore all those who are under its influence will hate those who are spiritually minded ; and notwithstanding this hatred is restrained by the causes we have mentioned, it will nevertheless show itself in some way. The holy Christian, who wishes to devote himself entirely to the service of his God, but who is surrounded by the carnally minded, will find himself opposed either by a cold indifference to the things of religion, by sarcastic sneers and remarks respecting his supposed sanctity, if not by arguments calculated to dampen his zeal,
and to restrain the ardour of his soul in the cause of his Master. The regularity of his devotion will be construed into a needless precision, the fervour of his spirit will be nicknamed enthusiasm, and his acts of humility and benevolence will be called hypocrisy, or a desire to be thought more merciful and holy than he is. Thus while Christianity itself may be lauded as an excellent system of religion, worthy of all belief and veneration, he who strives to conform himself to its precepts, and to have his heart imbued with its transforming and enlivening spirit, will be condemned by the lukewarm, as well as by the profane, as manifesting too much solicitude on this subject. This sort of opposition may very properly be considered as a species of persecution; and until that time does come, of which our correspondent speaks, when all shall know the Lord, “those who will live godly in Christ Jesus will have to suffer” this sort of persecution.” But more than this we hope may not again be the lot of the true followers of Jesus Christ.
There is another kind of opposition with which the persevering Christian will have to contend. It is as true now as it was when it dropped from the lips of the infallible Teacher, that whosoever will be his disciple, must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow him. This cross is both outward and inward. The outward cross arises from the causes and circumstances already mentioned. The inward consists in “mortifying our members which are upon the earth,” restraining our desires and enjoyments by the rules of strict temperance, bearing and forgiving injuries, loving and blessing our enemies.The moment a man resolves by the grace of God in Christ Jesus thus to become a cross bearing follower of the Lord Jesus, he will find the “flesh warring against the Spirit ;” and with this strong tide of corrupt nature setting in against him, he will uniting the impetuous torrent Nowing from the world and the devil, threatening to drown him in the abyss of perdition. Against this flood he must row his little bark with all his might, nor will he succeed in overcoming the opposing torrent, unless assisted by Him who calmed the tempests with his word. Though this may not be termed persecution proper, it is unquestionably a species of opposition equally dangerous to his peace and his spiritual progress, as would be open and violent persecution. To overcome it, as before said, he needs the strength of Omnipotence. This strength the faithful soul has.
Nor is our adversary, the devil, less vigilant now, less like the “roaring lion” seeking for his prey, than he was in the days of St. Peter. He only changes his mode of attack. By striving to make the road to heaven less “strait,” or a little wider, and more agreeable to “flesh and blood,” he may succeed in lulling souls asleep in the cradle of false security, and causing them to dream of heaven only to deceive them the more effectually with delusive hopes.
And here we cannot but notice a remark which we have often heard with no little pain. It has often been said that it is much easier“getting religion"--as the cant term is--that is, a man may become a true Christian at much less expense now than formerly. Of the truth of this we have our doubts. "It is true, we may have clearer light on religious subjects than some of our ancestors had ; and on this account we may not find it quite so difficult to perceive and apprehend the truth as it is in Jesus—the true way of life and salvation; but yet, so long as human nature remains unchanged—so long as the religion of Jesus Christ is the same, and the terms on which it is to be obtained and retained remain immutable—the man who is struggling to make the passage “from death unto life,” will meet with the same opposition from himself, as well as from the devil and the world—though perhaps from the latter in a different shape-that he ever did. He will have to take up the same cross, mortify the same evil passions, feel the same pain while “the old man, with all his evil deeds, is crucified,” enter into the same “strait gate,” exercise the same faith and prayer, that penitenț sinners did eighteen hundred
And though the earth hath so far "helped the woman” that the serpent is no longer permitted to “pour forth a flood” of open persecution, still, if we would escape for our lives, we must be as vigilant in watching and praying, in wrestling not (only) against principalities and powers, but against spiritual wickedness in high places, as Christians ever were.
The world, the flesh, and the devil, are no more in league with the Christian, nor any greater friends to Christ and his religion, than they were when St. Paul wrote his epistle to the Corinthians. Let no man, therefore, deceive himself. The way to heaven is still a narrow way, and they who would walk in it must deny themselves and take up their cross daily; and they who would get into this way must remember that even now “the kingdom of
heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Those therefore who expect to enter into it, must press through the crowd of oppositions which may arise either from their own selfish hearts, or from any other source, and never' rest, however easy the way may be represented by injudicious comforters, until they are conscious that this kingdom is set up within them.-Christian Advocate.
A VOICE FROM THE WEST.
The following communication under the above title came to our hands, after the first sixteen pages of this number were printed, and several extracts for the second form had already been in type. The very important facts that are stated, and the pleasure of receiving a communication, much increased in its value, as it comes from a spiritual son, (who whilst we reared him, determined to go and labor in distant fields) induce us to give it a place now. We regret, that it cannot appear among our original pieces in the first form. We hope our brethren and sisters in the faith, and especially our Theological students will read it attentively, and contribute all within their power and control to relieve our destitute brethren in the West-Editor.
Rev. Editor.-As, a Lutheran, and one too, who received his first impressions; and drank the milk of the word of God, under your ministry, I feel willing to cast my humble moiety to the pages of the Intelligencer; and through it, make known to the church, the real condition, and present wants, of our Zion, in the vast valley of Mississippi, within whose bounds, as a solitary witness, I have dared to promulgate our wholesome doctrines; and, blessed be God, have passed many scenes of pleasure, and witnessed in several instances, the triumphs of grace, over the ruins of Sin.
In the year 1825, it pleased God, in his infinite wisdom to direct me to the west, where, ever since, I have carefully observed His workings relative to our Zion. At first, the clouds were thick, and black, threatening even the extermination, of the little few* who had dared even to hope, for better times. Some who were called Ministers of Jesus, proclaimed far and wide, the doctrines of Lutherans, to be death ; and all the members to be infected with dreadful heresy. Thus endeavouring to bring into disrepute that church which hås stood unaltered in her faith for more than three centuries, and, to cause the fall of any one who might venture forth as a minister of that church. But thanks be to God, the emetic given, has cast off the bile long ago, and now, the sky wears a delightful countenance, whilst the sun, in his journey proclaims, that Israel's God shall reign. A few Missionaries travelled through this section, and the multitude, viewing their chaste conduct, and heavenly deportment, began to conclude, that, those men, had been with Jesus: and consequently they regarded them as servants of God,-made ready to bear their words, became friends and advocates, and at lcpgth petitioners for a stationed Minister.
Since then, the Church has gained strength considerably, insomuch that a Missionary Society has been organized, to convey to others the blessed Gospel, as taught by the acknowledged Lutheran Ministers. Since the organization of this society, information has reached us, of several destitute and needy settlements, some of which would immediately support a minister, and others partially : 1 on Collins River in White County ; 2d. in Montgomery County ; 3d. in Jackson on the forked Deer; 4th. in the more southern part of the western district in Tennessee ; 5th. in Indiana there are three places ; 6th. in Ilinois at Jonesborongh, and Hillsborough ; 7th. in Missouri, near Jonesborough Illinois ; and another about 40 miles north, besides many other places, in which there are some Lutherans. In the Kentucky purchase there are families of Lutherans daily arriving, from different states. All of the foregoing are entirely destitute, together with many who are settled in Alabama.
With this information before us, the solemn appeal is made. Must those settlements, be neglected and forsaken? Must they be gathered in by others, and thus weaken our bands? Forbid it! To whom does the people look? To the little few, who belong to the Synod of North Carolina. A solemn effort has been made to supply, but whilst one place is supplied, another is deprived. Hence with united voice, the appeal is made to the brethren in the East and North.You dear Brethren, are blessed with a preached gospel, and the means to do good. Will you with means at hand, let us languish and die, for that, which you can easily spare ? Will you, 0, can you, be unconcerned, when your brethren are in such need ? One “Widows Mite”--may seriously affect our present standing. One united effort, on your part, may relieve (under God) our present distressing sufferings. Once most of our brethren were like you in the enjoyment of all the means, but alas ! how sad the difference now. Now they are scattered, their children are growing up without the usual instruction, common in our church—now growing up neglected, and it is feared that many rejoice in the sufferings of our people.How Long, O Lord, before deliverance is to be sent. Our brethren across the ocean, would help, if they knew our wants : but we hope the world will see, that our own brethren in the United States, will stretch forth their helping hand. O let charity record upon the page of benevolence, the good deed. and let the Sun proclaim in his travels :
“Sons of sorrow weep no longer,
Your redemption's drawing nigh.” Then in eternity you will be hailed by many who will own you as their benefactors. Then will “your bread cast upon the waters” return again. Then will you find, the meaning of the passage “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”—Then hundreds of the children of the west, will hail you blessed. Then will Jesus own you