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effect of the official responsibilities, and a chief qualification for discharging them.
A servant of Christ, whose office is so evident and solemn an appointment of God, has complete assurance of all desirable success.
The greatest benefit, both to himself and his people, may be expected from the most faithful and wise exercise of his ministry. The diligent and prudent pastor may trust, without presumption, in the promise of the Lord. The almighty Redeemer will accomplish his promised redemption; and among the instruments of forwarding his work, the pastoral office has ever been his favourite. By this means, more than by all others, he provides for the work of the ministry, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of his body. It is indeed an earthen vessel in which the treasure of the gospel ministry is placed; while the work to be done requires the excellency of power. But the application of that power is pledged. God worketh together with his faithful servants, and his work shall never be in vain. The pastor is one of the most important servants of the Lord. He is, under God, the abiding dependance of the church. The apostleship has done its work, and was long since withdrawn. The prophets, where are they? The evangelist is little else than the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the pastor. By the pastor, Zion has risen and shall rise. Until God forsake his glorious work, he will not forsake those servants who have such a share in that work. Until he erase the image of his church from his hand where he hath graven it, he will not abandon the office on which so much of her beauty and glory depends. Till he break down the bulwarks he has built around his Zion, and quench the glory in the midst of her, and give her up to desolation and reproach, he will uphold and honour those to whom he has so largely entrusted her fame. While her walls stand, these, her watchmen and defenders, shall stand upon them, seeing eye to eye, augmenting and enjoying her glory, the achievers of her victories, and the sentinels of her security.
A just view of the divine authority of the pastoral office will prepare the people of God to hold that office in due esteem. The chief dangers are, that in one case the infirmities of the man will lessen the people's reverence for the office; and in another, a blind and fanciful favouritism will idolize the man for some peculiar personal accomplishments, and minor qualifications for the Christian ministry. If, in
the view of the people, the pastor becomes only an instrument for maintaining the order of Christian worship, or providing a stated entertainment for the understanding and taste, or promoting general intelligence, refinement, and morality, he loses the divine glory of his character, and the right arm of his influence. Such objects are not the pastor's chief end. His aim is to instruct the people in the gospel, to convert them to the faith, and to confirm them in Christian holiness and comfort. To employ him for other purposes is a perversion of the gracious provisions of God for our benefit, and renders a most precious institution of divine mercy a savour of death unto death.
But with due regards for the divine authority and the merciful design of the pastoral office, a people may account it the greatest of all the blessings of their earthly life. If they make it their first concern to obtain salvation, and consider what are the means which the Lord distinguishes by the excellency of his power in saving sinners, they will never fail to regard the faithful pastor as an invaluable treasure to them and their children. They will esteem it but a small part of their privilege to have the word and the sacraments of the gospel dispensed to them with due regularity and by proper authority. The office and the ministrations of the preacher must be joined with those lovely and pure affections, which are at once an evidence of divine grace in the heart, a source of true religious comfort, and a part of the means of religious influence. They want the pastor, through whose genial and plastic instrumentality they are taught to hope for the spiritual heritage of the people of God in this world, and for glory, honour and immortality, in the life to come.
ART. III.-1. The Nestorians, or the Lost Tribes, contain
ing Evidence of their Identity,an Account of their Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, with Sketches of Travel in ancient Assyria, Armenia, Media and Mesopotamia, and Illustrations of Scriptural Prophecy. By Ashbel Grant, M.D. New York: Harper and Brothers.
1841. • 2. The Remnant Found, or the Place of Israel's Hiding
Discovered. By the Rev. Jacob Samuel, Senior Missionary to the Jews, for India, Persia, and Arabia; Author
of a Hebrew Sermon on the “ Evidences of Christianity," and a Journal of five Months' Residence in Cochin. London. 1841.
The work of Dr. Grant is an uncommonly interesting volume ; at least it has proved such to us; and we cannot but recommend it to the careful perusal of all who pursue biblical studies, or take a lively interest in missionary operations. In the year 1831, the American Board of Foreign Missions sent out Messrs. Smith and Dwight to explore the state of the Oriental church ; especially as it is found among the Armenians and Nestorians. From the report of these missionaries, the Prudential Committee were induced to resolve on establishing a mission, if practicable, among the Nestorians, who inhabit the country on the lake Ooroomiah; a remarkable body of extremely salt water on the borders of Persia, and at this time under the jurisdiction of the king of Persia. The person selected to occupy this new and important station was the Rev. Justin Perkins, who with Mrs. Perkins, proceeded according to the direction of the exploring missionaries who had preceded them, and arrived at Tabreez, a commercial town on the north-west of Persia, in the year 1834; and in October 1835, were joined by Dr. Grant and Mrs. Grant, who, from purely evangelical motives, had made a sacrifice of all their earthly prospects of affluence and social comfort, and offered their services to engage in the arduous duties of this untried field of labour. Dr. Grant was in full and increasing practice as a physician in Utica, when the American Board met there in 1834 ; and upon finding that all their efforts to procure a suitable physician for the station had proved ineffectual, he was led, we doubt not, by the Spirit of God, to devote himself for life to this self-denying work. The wisdom of sending out a skilful and experienced physician was soon manifest; for no sooner had he arrived at Tabreez, than the sick, the lame, and the blind, surrounded him by hundreds, and his fame was spread abroad through all ihe surrounding country. The missionaries, instead of being looked upon as unwelcome intruders, were considered in the light of public benefactors. The Nestorians, in particular, welcomed them with great kindness and cordiality, and their bishops and priests affectionately invited them to aid them in the instruction of their people. This people appear, indeed, to have been remarkably fitted and prepared to receive instruction with doci
lity. They cherish a great reverence for the holy scriptures, and are very desirous to have them diffused among the people. Their feelings towards other denominations are liberal; and in their religious rites and worship, they are much more simple than the other Orientals. They abhor image-worship, auricular confession, and the doctrine of purgatory; so that they have, not unappropriately, been called the Protestants of Asia.” But notwithstanding, as a people they are sunk into the darkness of ignorance and superstition: none but the clergy, when the missionaries arrived, could either read or write; the education of their females has been entirely neglected ; and they are accustomed to lay greater stress on feasts and fasts, and other external ceremonies, than upon purity of heart and life. Still there were found among them persons whose cxemplary lives furnish ground of hope that vital piety is not entirely extinct. The most surprising circumstance is, that they should be so entirely willing that strangers coming from a country of which they had scarcely heard, should be permitted without a breath of opposition from their ecclesiastics, to open schools among them, and to preach the gospel in its purity; and to make use of every means of instruction which they could wish, not only with out obstruction, but with the most cordial approbation of their bishops and priests. Even their highest ecclesiastics have been willing, and indeed esteemed it an honour, to be assistants to the missionaries in their evangelical labours.
The accounts received from this mission were so encouraging, that in 1837, the Board sent out a reinforcement, consisting of the Rev. A. L. Holladay and Mr. William R. Stocking, and their wives, who arrived at the station in June, 1837. And in 1839, the Rev. Willard Jones and wife, and in 1840, Mr. Edward Breath, a printer, were sent out to join this mission : and also Rev. A. H. Wright, M. D. With this company, a printing press was sent to the mission, so contrived, that it could be taken to pieces, and be carried on the back of beasts of burden.
Dr. Grant had the misfortune to lose his wife early in the year 1839; soon after which event he received instructions from the Board of Missions to proceed into Mesopotamia, and form a station among the Nestorians dwelling, as was supposed, on the west of the central mountains of Koordistan. The object was to gain access to the main body of this interesting people, who were understood to have their habitations in the mountains which are situated in the centre of
ancient Assyria. These tribes were difficult of access, on account of the sanguinary Koords by whom they are surrounded, and who had recently treacherously murdered the traveller Schultz, the only person who had attempted to visit the country of the independent Nestorians.
Dr. Grant, however, had been assured by a brother of the Nestorian patriarch, who had visited the missionaries in Ooroomiah, and by a Koordish chief, that his profession, as a physician, would be a safeguard to him through all that region. His own plan was, to proceed directiy from Persia, through the Koordish mountains; but by the opinion of others, and by his instructions from the Board, he was induced to attempt the journey through Mesopotamia. And after encountering many difficulties, and being exposed to many dangers, in a visit to Constantinople, he directed his course to Mesopotamia, where he found the country in a miserable state of dissension and disturbance, until he arrived at Môsul, on the 20th September, 1839. Here, he found the country in a more quiet state, under the vigorous rule of their pasha. This city contains about 30,000 inhabitants. On the 7th of October, he left Môsul, and crossed the Tigris, where he stood upon the ruins of Nineveh, and was reminded of the prophecy of Nahum,“ Nineveh is laid waste! who will bemoan her? She is empty, and void, and waste: her nobles dwell in the dust, her people are scattered on the mountains, and no man gathereth them.”
The author fell in now with some villages of a strange people, called Yezidees, who are reputed to be worshippers of the devil. He was received into the house of one of their chief men, who finding that he was a Christian and not a Mohammedan, as he at first supposed, was disposed to treat him with much kindness; for the Yesidees cherish an inveterate hatred against Mohammedans. The truth is, the religion of these people is misapprehended by those around them. They actually believe in one supreme God, and have a great respect for Christ. They scem, however, to retain something of the religion of the ancient fire-worshippers; for they adore the rising sun, and kiss his first rays when they strike on any object accessible to them. They have, also, something common with the Jews, in their religion, for they use circumcision, and attend on a feast which resembles the passover. They also practice the rite of baptism, and make the sign of the cross, and speak of wine as the emblem of the blood of Christ. From a resem