« PreviousContinue »
means of instruction, much less are they to be neglected in the present times, when no such communications are expected. To this we must add, that perverted literature is one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of the enemies of divine truth, who leave no effort untried to recommend their cause by the lustre of superior acquisitions, and to form in the public mind the dangerous association between irreligion and talents, weakness and piety.
In insisting so strongly on the advantages of a regular education, we mean no disrespect to those excellent persons who have exercised their ministry, much to the benefit of the church, without those advantages; many of whom are men of vigorous minds, who have surmounted great obstacles in the pursuit of knowledge; and others, by their piety and good sense, well fitted for the stations which they occupy. We trust that such ministers will always be highly esteemed in churches there are situations, it is probable, which they are better qualified to fill than persons of a higher education. To the improvement of the higher classes, however, it will scarcely be denied, men of the latter character are best suited; and, as their salvation is not in itself less important than that of the lower orders, so their superior weight in society attaches to their character and conduct peculiar consideration. It is also manifest, from the examples of a Brainerd, an Elliot, and a Schwartz, that where piety in a candidate for
the ministry is once secured, a course of academical studies is no impediment to the growth and developement of qualities the most conducive to success, deep humility, eminent spirituality, unshaken perseverance, and patient self-denial.
With respect to the principles we wish to see prevail in our future seminary, it may be sufficient to observe, they are in general the principles of the reformation; and, were we to descend to a more minute specification, we should add, they are the principles which distinguish the body of christians denominated Particular or Calvinistic Baptists. While we feel a cordial esteem for all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity; disclaiming all pretensions to that vaunted liberality which masks an indifference to revealed truth, we feel no hesitation in declaring, that nothing would give us more concern than to see the seminary we have in contemplation become the organ of infidel or heretical pravity.
We conceive some advantages may accrue from fixing the proposed seminary in the vicinity of the metropolis. It may be hoped that its pecuniary resources will be benefited by being placed in the centre of commercial opulence; that a residence of a few years near the capital of a great empire may give an expansion to the youthful mind; and that the means which it affords of obtaining the assistance of teachers in various departments of science, no where else to be found, may improve the taste, and direct the exertions of the students.
We conclude, with recommending our undertaking to the patronage of the public, and to the blessing of God, and with expressing our hope, that, through the influence of the Divine Spirit, in a copious effusion on the future patrons, tutors, and students of this seminary, however small in its beginning, it will become respectable for learning and piety, be a nursery of faithful and able ministers, and a blessing to the church of Christ.
TO THE COMMITTEE OF
THE BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
To the Committee of the Baptist Missionary
Bristol, March 12, 1827.
It is with much diffidence that I presume to address you on the present occasion, nor am I certain whether I am perfectly in order in so doing; but, conceiving this to be a crisis in the mission, and not being able to be present at the meeting, I could not satisfy myself without communicating the result of my reflections on the important business which has called you together.
Dr. Marshman, it seems, as the representative of the brethren at Serampore, has instituted a demand of one-sixth of all the money collected or subscribed towards the society, to be paid annually in aid of the missionary operations going on there. It must strike every one as strange, that this demand should almost immediately follow a preceding one which was acceded to, which he
then professed to consider as perfectly satisfactory, and as putting a final termination to all dispute or discussion on the subject of pecuniary claims-that, notwithstanding this, he should now bring forward a fresh requisition of one-sixth of the same amount, accompanied, as I am informed, by an intimation, that it is possible this may not be his ultimatum. This proceeding has all the appearance of a tentative process, designed to ascertain how far our' anxiety to avoid a breach will prompt us to submit to his encroachments. What security have we against future requisitions if we yield to the present? What reason to suppose our ready compliance in this instance will not encourage him to embrace an early opportunity of making further demands? It has all the appearance of the commencement of a series of unfounded pretensions and endless exactions.
That a set of men, in the character of missionaries, after disclaiming the authority of the society which sent them out, and asserting an entire independence-after claiming an absolute control (whether rightfully or not) over a large property which that society had always considered as its own, should demand an annual payment from those from whom they had severed them-1 selves, and thus attempt to make their constituents. their tributaries, is a proceeding scarcely paralleled in the history of human affairs. :
I am utterly at a loss to understand on what principles the Serampore brethren, in the position