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children of parents, who came alike to this country from common , objects, bore common burdens, shared common labors, in common fought their battles and established their liberties, have no cause for envying one another's ancestral birthright.
III. Has the plain and righteous policy of doing justice to all, in the respect spoken of, been carried out through the various important relations of society, government and education in our country? Let facts witness. In order to be brief and direct to our purpose, we shall only refer to the Germans, who have made this country their home since its original settlement. Their descendants now number millions.
So large and respectable a portion of our population, one would reasonably expect, occupied a corresponding position in the literature of the nation. If the Germano-Americans themselves be not ambitious to trumpet abroad their own praise and standing, it might be presumed their Anglo-American brethren would not have failed duly to notice them in their hay-stacks of orations, references and labored works, nominally descriptive or in eulogy of the whole or sections of our country. Those who are acquainted with the facts will, upon a moment's reflection, perceive how the matter stands.
Amusing, indeed, is the pretended nationality of the majority of our school-books. A thoroughly mixed nation like ourselves, demands proper regard to this fact in its educational works. Do these, however, meet this demand?
Take almost any of our “Histories of the United States” intended for youths, and see how justice is meted out there. They claim to be national, they ask to be introduced into our schools all over the land, and in many States have been legislated into the hands of our children; yet we protest that, as regards important points, they are sectional, and by no means entitled to such universal acceptation. Who that is not of English origin has justice done to his ancestry, to his religious opinions, to his habits of life and modes of thought, as contra-distinguished from his English brethren? With how much fairness is the internal history of Pennsylvania, for example, generally represented as compared with that of Massachusetts ? So, to the end of the chapter.
Over and over again have we seen children recite that which boldly suppressed facts of dearest interest to them, while in place thereof some empty husks were substituted. Spend pages in talking of mineral and agricultural wealth, and then thrust into the background the living souls who own and turn it to account. Our “Readers” are loaded with extracts, orations, etc., eulogizing the “pilgrim fathers,” to the exclusion of much, comparatively equally important, and more sensible matter. Was this great nation descended from a ship-load of settlers, landed in 1620 on Plymouth Rock?
The child that has been faithfully trained in the family, heard its simple recollections, learned the general traditions of the country with which its own ancestors had some worthy connection, will find, on growing up, that the most popular system of education ignores such feelings and associations in two-thirds of the population. Here lies the radical evil. There may be palliating reasons for its happening to be so, but it is an evil still. So long as it remains, a canker-worm gnaws at the heart of our educational system; a withering influence weakens our national energies.
One word more for the present. We have given some reasons impliedly why so many of us stand in danger of sacrificing our birthright, and with it a rich inheritance of associations and principles for which nothing else can make us amends. Many more instances might be referred to, but let these suffice. Our complaint is not particular, but general. The evil calls not for a change to this or that: it demands a re-construction of a misformed public sentiment and educational apparatus.
We have plead for justice. Let it be administered to all. Many of us have had German forefathers. Many, I say-yea, many. Let the child and the youth learn the truth in the case-learn not to be ashamed of his ancestry but highly to esteem it. It is time to bestir ourselves, to vindicate our rights and establish our honor in the literature and education of our country. No folding of hands, no sitting at ease will accomplish the desirable end. Better service none can render to his country and to the memory of those who gave him birth, than to cherish and perpetuate, with living freshness, the best lessons, connections, associations and traditions amid which we have been reared.
THIS WORLD IS ALL A FLEETING SHOW.
BY THOMAS MOORE.
This world is all a fleeting show,
For man's illusion given:
There's nothing true but Heaven!
And false the light on glory's plume,
As fading hues of even;
There's nothing bright but Heaven!
Poor wanderers of a stormy day,
From wave to wave were driven,
There's nothing calm but Heaven!
PRAYER-MEETING UNDER THE HAY-STACK.
THE PRAYER-MEETING UNDER THE HAY-STACK.
In the year 1802, a father overheard his son say, "There is no business I should like better, than to pass my life in preaching the gospel to the heathen." The father thanked God if this were indeed the spirit of his boy, for he took it as an indication that he had found that gospel precious to his own soul. And this proved to be the case. His name was Samuel J. Mills, and he lived in Torringford, Connecticut, where his father was minister. .
A few years after, Samuel entered Williams College, and was diligently studying in order to prepare for the ministry. There he found a few pious students, and they formed a little prayer-meeting. Williams College is situated among the green hills of western Massachusetts, and surrounded by very picturesque and beautiful scenery. During the hot weather, this little prayer-meeting was often held in a neighboring grove between the College and the Hoosac river, and the old forest trees echoed the words of prayer and praise.
One very hot afternoon they went to the grove, expecting to hold their meeting there; but a dark cloud was rising in the west: it soon began to thunder and lighten, and they went under a haystack for refuge from the coming storm. The subject of conversation under the stack, before and during the shower, was the heathen darknees of Asia. Mills said the gospel should be sent there, and, “ We can do it, if we will,'' he cried, with a large heart full of faith. The idea was new and grand.
“But missionaries sent to Asia would be murdered,” answered one. “Christian armies must conquer the country before the gospel can be carried to Turks and Arabs.”
“God would have his gospel spread throughout the world, and if Christians will be up and doing, the work will be done,'' cried those upon whom the glorious work began to flash with the clearness and warmth of sunlight. “Come," said Mills, “let us pray over it under this hay-stack, while the dark clouds are going and the clear sky is coming.” Fervent prayers were offered, and foreign missions was the subject.
These little meetings were continued, and the duty of preaching the gospel to the heathen, was the constant subject of prayer, conversation, and discussion among the members. Their souls were stirred in thinking how large a portion of the world was destitute of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of lost men; and his last command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” came with a divine power to their conscience, quickening them to action.
But what could a few college students hope to do? The subject was new to ministers and new to the churches. “Carrying the
among their number tookence was entre
gospel to Asia !” “Foreign missions!" Would it not be looked upon by sober people as a very rash and foolish enterprise-foolish, because impossible? Let us see what brave spirits firmly persuaded of their duty can do. This little praying band next formed themselves into a society, whose object was, themselves to effect a mission or missions to the heathen: personal consecration to the work was the pledge. The pledge was made Sept. 7, 1808.
“What ministers can we hope to interest in this great work?" was the next question. Dr. Worcester, of Salem, Dr. Spring, of Newburyport, Dr. Morse, of Charlestown, Dr. Griffin, of Newark, were among those to whom they more particularly looked for sympathy and countenance. Attempts were made to awaken interest among the pious students of other colleges, and for this purpose one of their number took a dismission to Middlebury; Mills visited Yale, and a correspondence was entered into with members of Dartmouth and Union colleges. Two sermons were also published and circulated, at the expense of the society to arouse and move the Christian mind.
Samuel J. Mills, James Richards, and Luther Rice, having finished their college course, entered upon their studies for the ministry at Andover, Massachusetts. Here they were joined by Adoniram Judson, Gordon Hall, Samuel Newell, and Samuel Nott. Mr. Judson had already caught the missionary spirit by reading the book of an English missionary, called “The Star in the East," and he was prepared not only to enter fully into their plans, but with his ardent spirit to urge them on. Judson said he was ready to seek help from English Christians, if his countrymen held back, and Gordon Hall declared he would work his passage to India, and rely upon God to take care of him. Of course such spirits could not be held back.
In June, 1810, the general association of ministers met at Bradford, and four of these young men, Mills, Judson, Newell and Nott, presented to them a written statement of their views and wishes, and besought the advice of their fathers in the ministry. These good men cordially approved of their object; the duty of immediately sending the gospel to the heathen was clearly recognized, and the formation of a society for this purpose was recommended.
On September 5, 1810, at Farmington, Connecticut, the committee to whom the matter was referred, organized a foreign missionary society, by the name of “The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions," the first foreign missionary board in the United States; and this board has now 663 laborers connected with its missions. The first missionaries which it sent out
—the self-denying and heroic pioneers in this great work—went to Asia. Their names were Adoniram Judson, Samuel Nott, Samuel Newell and Gordon Hall.
CHRISTIAN UNION: TO A FRIEND AT PARTING. 343
Samuel J. Mills, whose youthful mind was first impressed with the wretched state of the poor heathen, did not live to go to tell them of a Saviour's love. Though modest and retiring, his activity in doing good was remarkable. Besides foreign missions, the Bible and the African-school societies were set on foot through his efforts. He died at the early age of 34, on board a ship, of an African fever caught on the coast of Africa, where he had been to seek out a suitable spot for a Christian colony for the colored man on his native soil.
At a meeting of some gentlemen last August, at Williams Col. lege, it was "Resolved, That the grounds north of the west college, where Mr. Mills and his associates used to meet for prayer, and where the first American missions were projected, be purchased by the Alumni of the college, and be called the Mission Park and Grounds."
If battle-grounds, and the generals who fought on them, have monuments to hand down their memory to future generations, how fitting is it that Christian heroes, and the spots marked by the triumphs of their faith, should have some suitable memorials to designate their worth. To the pious heart, the gro:e on the banks of the Hoosac, and the site of the old hay-stack, is consecrated ground, for there was poured forth that fervent effectual prayer from believing men, which hath availed so much in extending the Redeemer's kingdom.
CHRISTIAN UNION: TO A FRIEND AT PARTING.
THERE is a strange and mystic bond
That holds the human heart,
On earth awhile to part:
Where'er we be
On land or sea,
And on our way
To endless day
While on Life's stormy sea,
Dear friend, remember me !