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the influence of our Synod of North Carolina, Missionaries came and visited us. The effects were glorious in our eyes, and pleasant in our view—since then the God of Missions, (who first countenanced it himself) gave us a refreshing time and our children have been inducted into the church, and have been made acquainted with Him, “whom to know aright is life eternal.” Let us be encouraged, in this business by the example of our friends in the North, South, and East, who seem to have caught the Spirit of Franke, and who by actions, show, that they have learnt to forsake all for Christ. Let us be encouraged by the unanimous exertions of our Brothers and Sisters of the North, to "cast our bread upon the waters” and exert every nerve to supply our brethren in this vast valley of the Mississippi, who are crying out for help. Let us do our part that “the man of sin” gain not this vast population, to bow down to idols,&c.
Resolutions passed unanimously.
Resolved, that each officer use exertions during this year to increase the members and friends of this society.
Resolved, that we solemnly and sacredly observe the 1st Thursday of next August, as a day of humiliation, thanksgiving, fasting and prayer; for the success of Zion in general and in particular for the success of Missionary Societies Sabbath Schools and Tract Societies among us, with any other institutions existing among us, for the difffusion of biblical knowledge and virtue.
Resolved, that during the month of August next, a sermon be delivered in each of our churches, explanatory of Missionary Societies, showing their nature, design; &c.
Resolved, that these proceedings be forwarded to the Editor of the Evangelical Lutheran Intelligencer, and he be requested to publish the same.
JOHN SHOFNER, President. The officers are
Mr. JOHN SHOFNER, President.
THE INSTABILITY OF EARTHLY THINGS.
Even when no suffering, no sickness, no particularly striking event recalls our unthinking minds to our mortality, it is however our bounden duty to think often and seriously on the uncertainty of our earthly pilgrimage, on the unavoidable end where its progress will lead.
There is a beautiful passage in pious David, which he wrote in one of the most glorious moments of his life, after he had collected a variety of materials for the erection of Jehovah's temple which his son Solomon was to build after his death. Then David felt it deeply that we have here no permanent home.
“We are,” said he “strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers; our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no abiding."-I Chronicles xxix.
Let this Text lead us : To think seriously of our own dissolution. To employ faithfully the time which may yet be allowed us. To wisely prepare in such a manner, that we may be able to expect with composure the end of our journey.
We are strangers and travellers on the earth like all our forefathers have been. Let us habitually consider our life as the pilgrim does his pilgrimage, as the traveller does his journey. They both know that they are not at home where they are. The pilgrim delights to think of his distant country, and the more the trouble and fatigue of his journey harrass him, the more anxious he gets to arrive at his father's house, where he will be at rest from all the dangers, distresses and tribulations of his pilgrimage.
Where are our fathers ? vanished are they from before our eyes ! Gathered all in the land beyond the grave, for here they could find no permanent home, and we who percbance never knew them on this earth or who have closed their eyes and recceived their blessing, we shall likewise pass away.
The certainty of our own dissolution, is as undeniable as the uncertainty of the time and place where it is to bappen. And can we then live in a foolish unthinkingness, and forget that death which will most assuredly not forget us !
How many follies would we not commit if the certainty that we must die was ever present to our thoughts ! how would we feel excited to righteousness and to every good and noble action if the uncertainty of life operated on our minds as it ought!!
Yes our stability shall be our rejoicing! For as death has lost its sting, because we are Christians, followers of Him who has destroyed its terrors and brought to light life and immortality. Therefore let us even rejoice in death, for blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, yea says the spirit, they rest from their labours, but their works follow them.
2d. Their works follow them : This ought therefore to be our care that our works may follow us : Our life is as a shadow, and we are ignorant when the sun of our days will set. Let us often consider with composed seriousness that only the present moment can be called our own, for we know not whether we shall live to see the next. Let us then employ it with that Christian activity which will produce works that will follow us.
Let us work like our Saviour whilst it is day, before the night comes when nobody can work.
The very uncertainty in which eternal wisdom has veiled the time when we shall die, while there can be no manner of doubt as to the certainty of death itself, should be a spur to us to improve the moments in our power. Should we now be presumptuous enough to believe, that we have not lost an hour, that we have been active and industrious in sowing our grains of seed to grow and ripen for the
day of the glorious harvest, O Lord! when the evening draws near, when the night comes, it will rightly seem as if we had done nothing and thousands of unprofitable hours will crowd on our memories and render our departure less serene. O let us work faithfully, honestly, conscientiously whaterer we can in the situation in which God has been pleased to place us. But O let us look likewise with becoming humility on our best doings. For when we consider well all we have performed, how imperfect does it appear! and if we have been able to accomplish some good, to whom is the Glory, but to Thee! who makest us the weak instruments of thine own blessed purposes al. though Thou wilt mercifully reward us when our stubborn foliy does not resist the inspiration of Thy Grace !!
3d. Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding:
This ought to teach and to encourage us to preserve habitually such a frame of mind, as may make us willing to obey the call of our father in Heaven, whenever he may please to address it to us. What is sometimes, very wrongly called a christian life, morality and the forms of religion, without its power, is however not sufficient to produce this willingness to depart. It is only to be acquired by the peace of God in the heart, and the certainty of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
By a faithful discharge of the duties of our station, always attending first to the most important and pressing concerns, so that confusion may be avoided, and all things be done in order according to the advice of the Apostle.
By providing, as far as is in our power, for our household, our family and children, so that unnecessary trouble may not be left to those who are to succeed us, and our own last moments be perplexed by earthly cares, while more important cares ought to engross our souls.
O that we may learn so to employ each day, that, let God's call on us be ever so sudden and unexpected, our soul may be found full of his peace, and ready to take its flight. That we may feel the sweet consciousness, we have done what we could—if some things remain unfinished, we leave them to him who knoweth that it was not in our power to accomplish more.
It is a comfortable reflection on a death bed to have no improvidence, and no carelessness to reproach ourselves with. All that did not depend on our own exertions we may safely trust to our providing and merciful father in Heaven. For although an active christion has, and always would find something to do-yet when he improved every opportunity, God will not ask of him any more.
But where is the man--the conscientious one-who has done so, and has not neglected many things! O because the truth of this question is so striking, let us be the more watchful in our walk and daily conduct.
«s There is here no resting, nor abiding.” May this important thought, which the experience of ages has rendered undeniable, be deeply impressed on our minds! Teach us O Lord to redeem our precious time, not to put off to another day, what should be executed now,
neither to overhurry or to slight our lawful avocations. Teach Thou us, O Lord, to wait and to press forward. To wait patiently for the day of our recall, for the giving up of our stewardship, and receiving our crown of glory, and to employ thankfully and faithfully the moments Thou art still pleased to bestow, but likewise so to hurry onward, so to enjoy the present as one who is ready to appear perhaps the very next minute before Thee. O teach us to be so wisely prepared, that we may dwell with delight on the certainty that there is no resting nor abiding for us here.
PLAN OF A NEW CATECHISM.
Mr. Editor.--I was glad to see the subject of a change in our Catechism, brought forward in your April number. The defects of our smaller catechism must be evident to all those who have attempted to lecture from it. The plan is not sufficiently extensive to exhibit a full and comprehensive view of christian doctrine. Some of the most important doctrines in reference both to faith and practice are entirely omitted, whilst those which are touched upon, are so superficially passed over, as to leave no clear or permanent impression on the mind. That we may not speak without a reason, we will present a few cases in point. Of the first, viz. doctrines wholly omitted. Under the attributes of God we no where discover his immutability, of all others perhaps the most terrible to the sinner and comforting to the saint, being an assurance to the former of eternal wrath, and to the latter of life and peace. Moreover the various names of God as contained and illustrated in the old Testament which would be a great assistance to the reader, are entirely, omitted. The peculiar offices of Christ, as Prophet, Priest and King, in the form of question and answer, are no where to be found. These constitute, when clearly developed, one of the most fruitful sources of pure instruction, exalted and lively pleasure that belongs to the state of christian pilgrimage here on earth. Numbers more might be pointed out; as our object however is not to enter at any length in detailing the faults of our Catechism, we will let those suffice. Of the second, viz. doctrines superficially passed over. We would say all have this fault without a single exception. The character of God, his works, will, attributes, the Holy Ghost, his peculiar offices, sanctifier, teacher, comforter, Christ and his offices, and
des there is no proof of all-important doctrine of the Trinity, The text which is quoted to prove that point, in answer to questions is disputed and some of the best German authorities condemn it as an interpolation. Griesbach if we are correct in our memory, omits it entirely and Knapp declares it to be without doubt spurious. If then it be true, that our precious little Catechism is susceptible of improvement, and if there be men in the Lutheran connexion en
dowed with sufficient talents and learning to perform the work, why not send forth a production which will be more beneficial to the church and the world? Surely Luther never intended that the peculiar doctrines which he held, in their peculiar modifications, should bind the consciences of all Lutherans, neither did he intend that the form and the matter of divine truth contained in his Catechism, should be the only form and matter to govern the Lutheran clergy in their Catechetical instructions. However much we may reverence that man of God, who shook the Papal power to its centre, and however much we may admire his indefatigable labours and excellent productions, yet surely we cannot wish, (even if it were true,) that the march of improvement should terminate at him, or that Luther had said and done every thing in the best manner, and at the most suitable time. Our church is growing in intelligence as well as numbers, if the form of instruction therefore, should always be adapted to the condition of the people, then we stand in great need of an improved Catechism. We can see nó rational objection, to improvement in any thing more especially to improving the world in christian knowledge and piety. No objection can be derived from the fact, that no other catechism in existence can supply the place of our small one,-to Lutherans, because the one in contemplation is yet to be formed. Neither is it enough to say, that the Catechumens in general are not prepared to receive it. For according to our ideas of a Catechism adapted to the wants of the Lutheran church, it should present divine truth in as intelligible a form as Luther's, and surely no one who desires the welfare of the church could object to an increase of matter. We would not presume to lay down a plan to be pursued in the formation of the work. The one presented by Clericus is not materially objectionable. We would rather refer that part of the business, to the individual or individuals who would un dertake the work. We would like to see a full exhibition of bible truth, drawn from the pure fountain of life and light and happiness, irrespective of any of the peculiar systems of this systematising age. We would farther wish to see each doctrine or modification of doctrine, supported by one or more apposite texts of scripture, not such proofs as you may find in all the Catechisms of the day, and even in our precious little guide, and if scripture can not be found, let an argument drawn from reason be produced. Thirdly we wish to see all the doctrines of the bible presented in bold relief, so that he who runs may read, giving as a matter of course the greatest prominency to those which are most important.
The following extraordinary and alarming circumstances occurred, near New Market, Va. On the 8th day of March last, as a Mr. Overhalt and Mrs. Allen, were endeavouring to cross the North Fork of the Shennandoah River, the latter became alarmed and pre