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efforts, and to the spread and firm establishment of the Christian religion ; that it tolerates constant neglect, and often induces an utter profanation of the Sabbath ; that it engenders looseness of principle, licentiousness of manners and brutality of conduct, thus destroying moral and religious sentiment, degrading the character, and debasing the soul;—therefore, Resolved, That this Convention recommend to their brethren and friends throughout the State, to promote by all proper means the cause of peace.”
Congregationalists have been equally explicit and strong in their recommendations of the cause. The General Conference of Maine, "commend this cause to the Christian community as worthy of a place among the benevoleut enterprises of the age,”—think it “ the duty of ministers to preach in favor of the cause of peace as a prominent part of the gospel,” and deem “ the cause entitled to our contributions and our prayers.” The General Association of Massachusetts, “ Resolved, That the American Peace Society, having for its object the abolition of war by the diffusion of light concerning its physical and moral evils, is eminently entitled to the cordial coöperation and support of all the churches of Christ.” The General Association of N. H., “ Resolved, That this General Association regard, with deep and increasing interest, the object and efforts of the American Peace Society, and would very cheerfully cooperate with the Society in every wise and practicable measure to hasten the universal peace of the nations."
We might quote similar resolves of ecclesiastical bodies representing no less than eight denominations ; but these brief specimens will suffice to show how the cause of peace, as understood and prosecuted by the American Peace Society, has been regarded by the Christian community. The cause is common to Christians of every name; our Society is as truly a child of the church, the property of the Christian community, as any organization in the land for benevolent purposes ; and we therefore deem it an imperative duty to spread before the public a full exposition of our aims, our principles and our measures.
Geo. C. Beckwith,
Corresponding Sec. of Am. Peace Sociely. Boston, Oct. 22, 1838.
All religious papers are requested to insert the above and one article more; and they would confer a special favor by doing so.
ANNUAL CONCERT OF EFFORTS IN THE CAUSE OF PEACE.
Most of our readers are aware, that it has been usual for the friends of peace to make their annual efforts in behalf of our cause near the close of this month; and we would now call their attention to the subject, and press upon them the obligation and importance of prompt, general and vigorous cooperation.
1. CONCERT IN PREACHING. More than one thousand ministers in our country have pledged themselves to plead this cause before their people once a year; to most of these we send our periodical without charge; and we would remind them, that the time selected for this service by the recommendation of our Society, and many ecclesiastical bodies, is the Sabbath immediately preceding or following the 25th of December. We hope they will bear it in mind, and be in readiness for the occasion with such discourses as will greatly extend and deepen the interest of their respective congregations in this cause.
We do not deem it essential that all ministers should take the same Sabbath; but we do think they should not, unless prevented by very special circumstances, let this month pass without redeeming their pledge for the current year. We have fulfilled our part of the contract by sending them the Advocate; and we trust they will neither omit nor delay the fulfilment of theirs. What is not done at the appointed time, is seldom done at all; and the minister who lets the cause of peace slide unheeded into the next year, will be very likely to neglect it entirely, or to satisfy his conscience, after the lapse of months, by drawing a few peace inferences from a common discourse.
Of this practice we think very well as an incidental service to the cause of peace; but we protest against its being considered as a fulfilment of the pledge given to preach on the subject once a year. We certainly were led to expect something special, a whole discourse on peace ; and we ask, if it is an honest redemption of such a pledge to turn off our cause with a few inferences from a sermon on a different subject? One inference a year! Is this all that a preacher of the gospel of peace can afford ?
To ministers pledged to preach, we look as our chief coadjutors, and have reason to expect, that they will not only preach on the subject, but make additional efforts in our behalf. They can, if they will, easily render us, in the aggregate, very important aid. It may cost them a little care and effort; but are they unwilling for such a cause to perform so slight a service? Why can they not exert themselves for peace as they do for Temperance, for Home or Foreign Missions? If they would, our treasury would soon be full; and we earnestly desire them all to take effective measures in season for this purpose.
2. NEED OF FUNDS. Money is indispensable to our cause. It is the greatest reform
ever attempted in Christendom, and cannot be carried forward without a system of agencies and publications like those in the temperance cause ; but these cannot be sustained without a very large increase of contributions from our friends. They have never given us so much as four thousand dollars in any one year; and, during the first five years of our Society, they contributed an average of less than $100 a year! while Howard spent from his own purse more than twenty tinies as much for his favorite object of far less importance, and the temperance cause has received an amount more than a hundred-fold greater, and the anti-slavery movement costs two or three hundred times as much!
Look at the case. We must first rouse public attention by the living voice; and there ought to be forth with employed for this purpose an average of one lecturing agent to every State in the Union, certainly one half of that number. As fast as the public mind should thus be prepared, we would set the press at work as our main instrument, and scatter our periodical, and tracts, and popular books, through the length and breadth of the land. We wish very much to furnish every minister of the gospel with a copy of our periodical, to increase the number of our tracts, and to issue a great variety of small books for Sabbath school and other popular libraries.
Such objects must require large sums. Our periodical could not be sent to one half the ministers in the land for less than $5,000; nor could a single tract, at only one cent a piece, be put in half the families of the nation without an expense of $15,000; nor could we support one agent to every two States in the Union with less than $10,000; and, if we add $10,000 for small popular books which are greatly needed, and for the other general expenses of our Society, the sun total would be $40,000. This sum may seem very large in contrast with what has been given; but it is in truth quite small in comparison with the magnitude of our object; and it will be utterly impossible to carry forward our cause, with any considerable degree of vigor and success, without a yearly income of at least ten or fifteen thousand dollars.
How much of this sum our friends will raise for us this year, we cannot anticipate ; but, if they would all do something of their own accord, we should confidently expect a very large increase of our receipts above those of any former period. The Advocate goes to nearly a thousand ministers, into more than a thousand congregations; and, if they would all take up for us a collection averaging only five dollars each, the aggregate would be $5,000,—more than we have yet received in any one year.
And will they not do as much as this for the cause? It can be done with very little effort; but whether it shall be, or not, will depend very much on ministers. If they will prepare each a discourse of the right sort, notify their people in due season, and take up a collection on the Sabbath immediately after the sermon, the thing will be done. In return for their contributions, we would send, if the people choose, some of our publications,—our periodical for a year to every contributor of one dollar or more, and tracts or books to those who may give smaller sums. We like to make such returns, if we can, because we regard them as so much seed-wbeat.
A good example. The Lowell Tract Society, accustomed to distribute a tract once a month in every family of that city, procured some months ago one of our tracts for the purpose, and thus put in circulation at once 2,500. Could not the same thing be done immediately after the annual concert of preaching and prayer in hundreds of towns or congregations? It would cost only a dollar or two for some congregations, and not many dollars for the largest of our country towns. The tracts could be carried to the place of worship, left in the pews to be taken home by the occupants, and thus distributed with little or no trouble.
3. ANNUAL CONCERT OF PRAYER FOR PEACE. This concert comes only once a year; and we see not how any friend of peace can refuse to spend, during so long a period, an hour or two in praying for an object so immensely important. Ministers can easily render it an occasion of special interest to Christians, if not to others; and, for this purpose, we hope every one will, if possible, preach on the subject of peace before the concert, urge a gen. eral attendance, and prepare himself for the occasion with remarks of his own, and with extracts from the publications we have sent him. He will find enough of them by glancing over the numbers of our work for the last year, or the last few months.
NEW YORK PEACE SOCIETY.
“In the latter part of May, 1837,” says its recent report, “a society was organized, denominated the New York Peace Society. For the space of four or five months from its commencement, public meetings were holden at least as often as once a week, and sometimes more frequently. These meetings were held in the churches of various denoininations. An agent was employed by the Society for upwards of two months, and would have been continued, but for want of funds. Two special meetings were holden;
the one in September, in Spring street Presbyterian church, on which occasion Mr. Wolff, the distinguished missionary, delivered an address to a large audience, and excited no little public interest; the other in November, in Chatham street chapel, when the Hon. J. S. Buckingham, late member of the British Parliament, delivered an address. On the latter occasion there was an overflowing house, and great interest was excited in the public mind.
“ The result of these efforts and movements have been, that public attention has been awakened to the cause; about five hundred male and female signatures bave been annexed to the Constitution of the Society (some dozen or fifteen of whom are clergymen); and a still larger number of signatures have been attached to a petition of the Society to Congress, which has been sent to Ex-President Adams in the House, and Mr. Clay in the Senate, praying that body to accede to the proposal of Mexico, to refer the difficulties between the two countries to the arbitration of a friendly power; to adopt the principle of the reference of disputes to arbitration in all cases; and to propose to the various governments of the world, to coöperate in the establishment of an International Board of Arbitrators, or a Congress of Nations, to which to refer international disputes, and also for the purpose of preparing a code of international law, obligatory on such nations as may adopt it. Copies of this petition have been forwarded to nearly forty peace societies, and distinguished friends of the peace cause, for the purpose of obtaining signatures in different parts of the country. As far as has been ascertained, the petition has been most favorably received, and quite a number of signatures have been obtained, and forwarded to Congress. The presentation of these names to Congress is a mere beginning. Perhaps nine tenths to whom application has been made have given their signatures; showing to a demonstration, that almost the entire community are in favor of the substitution of arbitration for war; and that it is only requisite for the proper means to be used, in order to make the tables of Congress groan beneath the weight of hundreds of thousands and even millions of signatures.”
RICHLAND PEACE SOCIETY.
This Society was formed, without any agency of ours, some two years ago at Richland, in Oswego Co., N. Y. From its Secretary, R. FRENCH, we have received a brief report of its proceedings the last year. Its members have been increased, by the addition of 19, to 81. “The Presbyterian clergyman, Rev. Ralph Robinson, has preached several times strongly in favor of the principles of peace.” They wish for the labors of an agent from our Society; and there ought to be several at work without delay through the length and breadth of that great State. But we kpow not how soon our funds will enable us to send a single one; and we hope that our friends there will meanwhile supply our “lack of service” by a large increase of their own zeal in the cause.