« PreviousContinue »
NOV 2 4 1931
Ar no period since the reformation, have christians appeared so fully to understand the obligation that rests upon them-resulting from that command of the Saviour, “Preach the Gospel to every creature,” as within the last twenty years. During this period great efforts have been made to establish the gospel at home and abroad. The Missionary has been sent forth, not only to Heathen lands, but to the destitute regions of our own country.
The Christian world were not aware of the alarming destitution of the means of grace that prevailed even in many of our older settlements, and in not a few of the country towns along the Atlantic border, until they began to address themselves to the business of exploring the land.
As these facts became more obvious, christians of every denomination felt that they had a duty to perform in relation to this matter.
It would have been wonderful if the ministers and members of the Episcopal Church had not sympathised in these efforts to evangelize the world--and supply the destitute regions of our own country with the means of grace,
and the institutions of the gospel! They have not been altogether insensible to their duty in this matter. They have felt their hearts drawn in yearning tenderness not only towards the dying Pagan, but also towards the christless sinner in our own land. They have accordingly attempted to pitch the Tabernacle of the Lord in many destitute towns
and sabbathless villages. But in many instances they found their efforts retarded and their operations embarrassed, by the towering prejudices that existed against the Episcopal Church.
The author at the time this volume was written, was connected with a missionary association, which was sustaining a number of heralds of the cross who were endeavoring to diffuse the blessings of the gospel through a very destitute region of country. The labors of our missionaries were signally owned and blessed of God. This awakened a desire in those communities where they labored for farther information in relation to the Episcopal Church.
Many who were prepossessed in favor of the church were nevertheless led to hesitate in reference to actually connecting themselves with it from the fact that they heard so many floating rumors derogatory to its character. The enquiry was therefore frequently made for a small work which would present a correct view of the leading doctrines of the church, and meet the popular objections urged against it. Both the author and his brethren looked around in vain for a work of this description, in which they had entire confidence—a work which should exhibit the peculiarities of the Episcopal Church, in connection with its evangelical and spiritual character, and at the same time, meet the objections raised aginst it, in a spirit of christian kindness and love.
The author was solicited to undertake to produce a work of this sort. After having consented to make the effort, and written to his Diocesan for counsel and assistance, he received the following response: 66 Rev. and Dear Sir:
Yours of the 14th is just received, and it gives me pleasure to learn that you have consented to prepare, what cer
tainly we very much need, such a work for the press, as that which you mention. I should long since have attempted it myself, but for my being so much occupied with other duties. I shall gladly aid you in the work, should it be expedient. At the present time I am too much engaged, to prepare the essays you mention, but am willing that you ,
my sermons for the purpose on John, iii. 5, is at your disposal &c.
With affection and esteem,
ALEX. V. GRISWOLD.
should use any
The plan contemplated by the author, was to prepare the materials for this volume as opportunity presented, and then to mould them at leisure. But, very few of the materials were as yet collected for this projected work, when the author was unexpectedly made to see that it was his imperious duty to enter a new field of labour where it was certain he would find himself overwhelmed with increased and multiplied engagements. The plan of writing this volume therefore was at once abandoned. But as his transfer to that new field of labor was not as early by a few weeks as was at first anticipated, his friends again urged him to consecrate those few weeks to this work. He yielded to their importunity, and the following pages were the result of the undertaking. A large edition having rapidly passed from the publisher's hands, the author has been more confirmed in the opinion that a work of this sort was greatly needed. He has endeavored carefully to revise the present edition, although he is sensible that this volume will still be found in many respects far below the measure of excellence which it is desirable such a work should possess. The author's reliance for its success in doing good is entirely upon the blessing of God. To His grace the work is com
mended. If it be calculated to promote His glory, may His
eye follow it for good, and cause it to hang as a lamp on the walls of Zion, lighting the path of the heaven-bound pilgrim on his way to the celestial city.
It may not be improper here to remark, that an entire new chapter, on the subject of Christian Union, has been added to this work in the present edition. It is hoped that what has been offered on that subject, will be found to be in keeping with the other parts of this volume, and will tend to strengthen the bonds of affection between christians of different denominations, and draw more closely the ties of brotherly love.
A panoramic view of Zion :-Elijah’s interview with God-Peculiar-
ities of the age-The consecration of a Church-Bishop of the East-