« PreviousContinue »
As amended and passed, New York, May 8th, 1826.
We the delegates from Missionary Societies and other religious bodies of the Baptist Denomination, in various parts of the United States, met in Convention, in the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of carrying into effect, the benevolent intentions of our constituents, by organizing a plan for eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the whole denomination, in one sacred effort, for sending the glad tidings of salvation to the heathen, and to nations destitute of pure gospel light, agree to the following rules or fundamental principles, viz.
Article I. This body shall be styled, “ The General Convention of the Baptist denomination in the United States for Foreign Missions, and other important objects relating to the Redeemer's Kingdom.
II. A Triennial Convention shall be held consisting of delegates from the Missionary Societies, Associations, Churches, and other religious bodies of the Baptist Denomination, which shall annually contribute to the funds under the direction of this body, a sum amounting to at least one huudred dollars, each being entitled to one representative and vote, and for every additional sum, of one hundred dollars, one additional representative and vote shall be allowed. But no individual shall be entitled to more than one vote.
III. At each triennial meeting, the Convention shall elect a President and Recording Secretary, who shall continue in office till successors be chosen.
IV. At each triennial meeting, the Convention shall elect a Board of Managers, consisting of a President, four Vice-Presidents, who shall take precedence of each other in the order of their election, a Corresponding and Recording Secretary, a Treasurer, and thirty Managers, out of the Societies, Associations, Churches, or religious bodies beforementioned, who shall continue in office till successors be elected ; the President and Recording Secretary of the Convention shall be also members of the Board.
V. The Board of Managers shall hold an annual meeting, at which eleven shall be a quorum to transact business ; but at other meetings, five shall be the quorum.
VI. Such persons, only, as are in full communion with some church of our denomination, and furnish satisfactory evidence of genuine piety, good talents, and fervent zeal for the Redeemer's cause, are to be employed as Missionaries.
VII. In regard to funds, contributed for Missionary purposes, but without appropriating directions, the Board shall exercise discretion in appropriating the same to Foreign and Indian Missions ; but no application of monies, given for a specific object, shall be made by them to any other use.
VIII. The Treasurer shall faithfully account for all monies received by him ; keep a regular entry of all receipts and disbursenients, and make report of the same to the Convention, whenever it shall be in session, and to the Board annually, and as often as by them required. He shall
, also, before entering on the duties of his office, give competent security, to be approved by the Board, for all the stock and funds that may be committed to his care : his books shall be open, at all times, to the inspection of any member of the Board or Convention.
IX. The Corresponding Secretary shall maintain intercourse, by letter, with such individuals, Societies, or publick bodies, as the interests of the Institution may require. Copies of all communications, made by the particular direction of the Convention, or Board, shall be handed by him to the Recording Secretary, for record and safe keeping
X. It shall be the duty of the Recording Secretary of the Board, to keep a fair record of all its proceedings, and of such other documents as may be committed to his care for this
purpose. XI. Each officer of the Convention, and Board of Managers, shall be a member of some Baptist church.
XII. In case of the death, inability, or resignation of any of the officers, (appointed by the Convention or any of their members, the Board shall have power to fill the vacancy. They shall also have power to reject from their body, any member whose conduct, in the opinion of two-thirds of the members present, shall merit expulsion, and fill his place, by the appointment of another.
XIII. The Board of Managers shall have power to make such compensation to their Corresponding Secretary, as shall, in their judgment, be adequate to his diversified services; and for this purpose they shall have power to accept of any funds, contributed with the special design of forming a distinct fund, the interest only of which shall be applicable to the support of the said Secretary.
XIV. No monies shall at any time be paid out of the treasury, but by order of the Board, signed by the President, or one of the VicePresidents, designating the fund from which it is to be paid.
XV. It shall be the duty of the President, to call a special meeting of the Convention, on application from the Board.
XVI. Any alterations, which experience may dictate from time to time, may be made in these articles, at regular meetings of the Convention, by two-thirds of the members present.
In laying before the public, the proceedings of the last general Convention, it is proper to explain distinctly and briefly the changes, which have been of late affected in its system of benevolent exertions.
The most important act of the late Convention, was the revision of its constitution, by which its exertions were limited, exclusively, to missionary operations. It is now a simple body, with one undivided object, and that object, is the promulgation of the gospel amongst the heathen. The reasons for the adoption of this amendment, it is unnecessary here to offer. They were such as to satisfy almost every member of the Convention, and the resolutions were passed by an unanimous vote.
Besides this alteration, the seat of the Board was removed to Boston, The inconvenience of conducting missionary operations at Washington, had long been felt, and by appointing a standing committee in Boston and its vicinity about two years ago, a partial remedy had been effected. It only remained to complete the arrangement, which had been thus commenced, and this was done with great unanimity.
The former Corresponding Secretary, Rev. Dr. Staughton, President of the Columbian College, having been elected President of the Board, in the place of the late Rev. Dr. Baldwin, the Rev. Lucius Bolles, D. D. of Salem, Massachusetts, was elected Corresponding Secretary.
At the first meeting of the Board in Boston, the Corresponding Secretary was requested to devote the whole of his time to the business of his office, and a communication was addressed to the church in Salem, respectfully soliciting them to relinquish the services of their pastor for the benefit of the Missionary cause. We are happy to state, that this arrangement has since been effected. Dr. Bolles will retain his present pastoral relation ; but an associate pastor will perform the duties of the office, so that the Corresponding Secretary inay devote his whole time to the business of the Mission.
It will be needless here to enter into a review of the condition of our Missionary Stations, as the latest information concerning them will be found in the reports of committees, and other documents in the following pages.
pages. In will be immediately seen, that vigorous exertions must be made, even to continue our missions, in their present condition. But surely, while the world lieth in wickedness, we cannot be satisfied, nay, we cannot be guiltless, if we continue stationary. There remaineth
very much land yet to be possessed. The command is still in its spirit binding upon each of us, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. This command summons every one of us to active and unremitted exertion. Let each one of us, brethren, be forward to obey it, and in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
of the Board of Managers to the Baptist General Convention.
The proceedings of the Board from April 23, 1823, to April, 1825, are already before the publick, and will be found in the annual Reports. To these the Convention is therefore respectfully referred.
During the whole of the last year, the Foreign Missions in Asia and Africa have been intrusted to the care of the Committee in Boston and vicinity. The information relating to their operations is found in the following Report, which they have laid before the Board, and which is therefore here inserted.
REPORT. The Committee to whom was intrusted, since October, 1824, the care of the Foreign Missions, entered upon their duties without delay, and they trust, with a measure of prayerful dependence upon divine aid. They found, as they expected, from the state of your treasury, the spirit of Missions in the churches, very low. They forbear to go into a detail of the circumstances which have contributed to this result, and will rather dwell on the measures adopted to remedy the evil. These have been limited in their application, not of choice, but of necessity. But few of the means of which they wished to avail themselves, were in their power. They could secure but little of the aid which is derivable from discreet and active Agents. They could not at once address themselves to all those whose co-operation was desired, by means of periodical publications, for by many of them these were neither taken nor read. They were not sure of the concurrence of even all their ministering brethren, for some of them yet remain to be satisfied of their duty to be workers together with Christ, in sending the gospel to the heathen. But by these considerations your Committee were not discouraged. If they could not accomplish all that was desirable, they were willing to attempt what was practicable. They were also willing to exercise patience and charity towards their brethren, who took no part in the benevolent operations of the day, believing that when more information of the actual state of things was diffused among them, they would come up to the help of the Lord. As then they could make but limited efforts, they deemed it a duty to direct these first, to places nearest to them, and as effectually as possible, to secure the grounds passed over.
They digested and caused to be printed, a plan for the formation of Societies, such as they thought would prove convenient in all parts of our country. Upon this plan they have acted in their own churches, and have been seconded with the best effect by many ministers and churches in Massachusetts. The same has been done and with similar success in the State of Maine, and they indulge the hope that the system may prevail through the country. By these measures, together with the sums which have come into the treasury from older establishments, they have been able to meet the wants of the Missions abroad, and have ascertained to their satisfaction, that provided the monies be discreet
ly and faithfully applied, the churches will be disposed to furnish all that will be necessary to a vigorous prosecution of the objects in hand.
Having made these observations in relation to measures they have taken at home, your Committee would now direct your attention to the state of Missions abroad. The perils and sufferings of the brethren in Burmah are well known. All the members of the Mission families that were at Rangoon, having been by the special interposition of Providence delivered from the hands of their enemies, abandoned the place and removed to Calcutta, about eighteen nonths ago. In this situation, they have not been inactive. Mr. Hough took up his residence at Serampore, and possessing a part of the copy of the New Testament, translated and revised by Dr. Judson, he is. sued from the press five hundred copies of the gospel of Matthew, subject to the use of the Board, without expense, other than his own support. Mr. Wade has been allowed by our English brethren to occupy the premises that were given up by Mr. Eustace Carey when he left India, about 5 miles from Calcutta. In this quiet retreat, aided by Burinese whom he brought with him, Mr. and Mrs. Wade have been acquiring the language essential to their future usefulness. Besides, he has been concerned in the publication, at the expense of the British Government, of the Burman Dictionary, prepared by Dr. Judson. By this measure, he will secure to the Mission, without cost, one hundred copies of this valuable work. Its utility to future Missionaries will be great, and will save the labour 'of several months, which have usually been consumed by each of them, in transcribing it. From all which it appears, that alihough our brethren have been compelled to leave their stations, and relinquish personal intercourse with those who are the objects of their trials, yet ih«y have been usefully employed, and we may hope will be prepared to resume their labours with increased advantaze. Froin the station at Ava, no direct intelligence has been received, but from various reports which have reached this country, your Committee indulge sanguine hopes, that your valuable Missionaries at that place will be preserved for great future usefulness. They are satisfied that their sutterinys must have been agonizing, but trust that their spiritual consolations have not less abuunded. Their release, should it take place, will be like life from the dead. It may be soine satisfaction to all interested in their comfort to know, that is the Burinese did not wrest it from them, they were at the time of their seizure, in possession of considerable means for providiny subsistence for themselves. But what has been their actual condition, their letters and journals must disclose.
As to the final result of the conflict which has been so disastrous to our brethren and sisters, interrupted the progress of their beneficent labours, and scattered the church which they had gathered, your Coinmittee are of opinion, it will tend in a high degree to the furtherance of the gospel in Burinah. Should the British retain but a part of the Empire, that will undoubtedly be a commercial section, which, while it affords a home and protection to your Missionaries and their conserts, will hold out the strongest inducements to the natives to resort to it. They will by this means be brought within the reach of instruction, and may becoine a channel of communication between the breth, ren and all the surrounding country. By then, portions of the Scriptures and religious tracts may be widely disiributed. But should the English subvert the whole Burman Government, as it is not im