DELIVERED BEFORE THE
NEW-YORK PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL
YOUNG MEN AND OTHERS
In Trinity Church, on Wednesday Evening, 5th March 1817.
BY JOHN HENRY HOBART, D. D.
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York
TO WHICH IS ANNEXED
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SOCIETY
At a meeting of the New-York Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society of Young Men and others, in Trinity Church, on Wednesday Evening, the 5th of March, 1817, at which several Persons friendly to the Institution attended, the Right Rev. Bishop HOBART delivered the following
IT is my intention to lay before the present meeting, the design of the Institution for which their patronage is solicited, and to call their attention to some brief remarks on the necessity and importance, particularly at the present period, of Missionary exertions, and of efforts to increase the Missionary Fund.
The appointment and direction of Missionaries are vested, by a Canon of the Church in this Diocess, in the Bishop, and a Committee appointed by the Convention. The fund, from which the Missionaries are supported, with the exception of about 700 dollars annual revenue, arising from an appropriation for Missionary purposes, made some years since by the Corporation of Trinity Church, is constituted by the yearly contributions of the congregations in the state. The number of Missionaries employed must, of course, depend upon the amount of the fund.
It is with a view to increase this fund, and thus to aid in the support of Missionaries, that the New-York Protestant Episcopal Young Men’s Missionary Society was instituted.
It is organized on the principle of avoiding all interference with the Canon of the Church in this state, on the [3/4] subject of Missionaries. By this Canon, the Bishop, and the Committee for propagating the Gospel, &c. appointed by the Convention, are vested with the direction and regulation of all Missionary concerns throughout the Diocess. All collisions in the allotment of Missionaries which might take place, if the appointment of them were not intrusted to one body, are thus avoided; unity of operation, so essential in all concerns of this nature, is secured; all interference with the ecclesiastical authority prevented; the necessary responsibility of Missionaries to that authority preserved; and that judicious distribution and direction of Missionaries attained, which would not be equally practicable upon any other plan. And thus also the Convention of the Church receives annually from the Bishop, as the organ of the Committee, a comprehensive and complete view of the Missionary affairs of the Diocess.
Proceeding simply upon the principle of aiding the ecclesiastical authority in the support of Missionaries, the second article of the Constitution of the Society provides as follows:--"The object of this Society is to assist, but not in any degree to interfere with the established authority of the Church in the support of Missionaries. It is therefore declared, that in whatever shall be done, that authority shall be recognised and conformed to. Accordingly, the monies raised by this Society shall be paid to such body as, by the Constitution anti Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this state, may have the appointment and direction of Missionaries; provided that the Missionaries who may derive their salaries from the funds of this Institution, shall be designated as Missionaries aided by the 'New-York Protestant Episcopal Society of Young Men and others:' and the President of this Society, ex officio, shall be requested to lay before the Society, from time to time, the names of the Missionaries who may be aided by its funds, [4/5] and such information with regard to them as he may deem proper, together with the Reports of their Missionaries, as presented by him to the Convention of the Church!"
By this article it appears, that while the monies collected are paid to the Treasurer of the Missionary Committee constituted by the Convention, the Missionaries who may be aided by the funds of this Society are particularly designated; and thus a just tribute of gratitude and respect, in proportion to its exertions, is rendered to this Society.
The persons who first engaged in the meritorious design of aiding the ecclesiastical authority in the support of Missionaries being principally young men, the Society took the denomination of the Young Men's Missionary Society. But as the counsel and aid of those more advanced in years are useful in the management of their affairs, as some of this description were associated with them, as the association of others is still desired, and as the liberal contributions of all the friends of our Church are expected and will be necessary, it is deemed proper to propose a change in the title of the Society, and to style it, The New-York Protestant Episcopal Society of Young Men and others.--Youngmen being thus brought forward in the title of the Institution, the expectation is excited, that the enterprise, zeal and industry by which they have so frequently and honourably distinguished themselves, will be applied in an increased degree, to this most important object of extending the blessings of salvation to their fellow-men. The title of the Society indicating also that it embraces persons of all ages, the hope is cherished, that the co-operation and bounty of all the friends of our Church will be afforded to this most necessary, benevolent, and pious Institution.
In order to excite their lively interest in behalf of this Society, it will be sufficient, I trust, to detail a few facts illustrating the extensive and important benefits that have resulted from Missionary labours.
 About the years 1797 and 1798, the Rev. Mr. Wetmore, since deceased, and the Rev. Mr. Chase, at present of Hartford (Connecticut) were employed as Missionaries, and extended their visits to the new counties in the western part of the state, as far as Canandaigua in Ontario County. In visiting many of these places, where flourishing congregations are now organized, I have heard lively expressions of gratitude for the labours of those Missionaries, who rejoiced the hearts of the few Episcopalians that were scattered through those wilds, with the welcome voice of the apostolic ministry of their Church; affording them an opportunity of again uniting in those prayers that bear the soul in the purest devotion to heaven, and of receiving those ordinances that constitute and preserve the union of Christians with that mystical body, which derives spiritual life and holiness from the divine Redeemer, who shed his blood for it, and now rules it as its all-merciful and almighty Lord. It is easy to conceive the great utility of those Missionary visits to Episcopalians in these desolate places, in reviving among them fond recollections of their Church; in rekindling that attachment to it, which no difficulties nor trials could afterwards extinguish; and in sowing that good seed, which, diligently watered and cultivated by succeeding labourers in the same field of apostolic labour, has produced rich and plentiful fruit.
About the same period, the Rev. Daniel Nash commenced his ministerial services in Otsego County, then but recently settled. Though not employed as a Missionary, he received aid, from time to time, during that period, from the Corporation of Trinity Church. His indefatigable labours throughout the county, and occasionally elsewhere, in visiting the Episcopalians, in cherishing their pious attachment to their Church, in forming them into congregations, in applying catechetical instruction to the young, and in faithfully preaching [6/7] the word and administering the ordinances, were remarkably attended with the divine blessing. Several flourishing congregations in that county look up to him as, under God, their spiritual founder. Within these few years it has been deemed expedient to place him on the Missionary list, with the view of extending his counsels and care to other congregations; which services he discharges with zeal and fidelity.
In December, 101, the Rev. Davenport Phelps, whose name ought never to be mentioned but with gratitude and veneration, received Orders at a period of life somewhat advanced, and was appointed a Missionary; and engaged in a course of arduous duty in the western district of the state. He laboured until his decease, which took place in the year 1813, in the counties of Onondago, Cayuga, Seneca, Broome, Ontario, and Genessee; travelling, thou often in an infirm state of health, through this extensive circuit; and by his piety, his sound Church principles, his prudence and his zeal, most essentially advancing the interests of our Zion.
In the year 1804, the Rev. Gamaliel Thatcher was appointed a Missionary, and officiated in that capacity until his decease in 1805, in some of the towns of Montgomery, Saratoga, Washington, and Oneida counties.
The Rev. Jonathan Judd, who at present resides in Connecticut, in the same year was ordained Deacon and engaged as a Missionary, officiating principally in some of the frontier counties of the Western District for a short period, with fidelity and zeal.
In 1804, the Rev. John C. Rudd, the present Rector of the Church at Elizabeth-Town, then in Deacon's orders, officiated for one year at the congregations of Setauket, Huntington, and Islip, which had been almost destitute of ministerial services since the Revolution; and he succeeded, by the blessing of God, in reviving their almost expiring [7/8] zeal, and in exciting them to exert themselves for the reestablishment of the Church among them.
The Rev. Amos G. Baldwin, at present Rector of Trinity Church, Utica, was engaged as a Missionary in 1806, and directed his labours principally to the counties of Oneida and Herkimer. The Church and Academy at Fairfield, in this latter county, are much indebted to the exertions of
The Rev. Joseph Prentis, Rector of the Churches at Athens and Cattskill, performed occasionally, during the years immediately succeeding his ordination in 1808, Missionary duties in the counties of Greene and Delaware.
The Rev. Parker Adams, in 1809, went on a Missionary tour to the Western District; and the Rev. Reuben Hubbard, at present of the Diocess of Connecticut, in 1811 and 1812 performed Missionary duties in this state.
Some Missionary services were also performed about the same period, by the Rev. George Strebeck, and the Rev. Isaac Jones, of Connecticut.
In 1810, the Rev. Samuel Fuller was appointed a Missionary in the counties of Albany and Greene; and he has been successful in raising, through the divine blessing, a respectable congregation of our Church in the town of Rensselaerville, who have lately erected a handsome edifice for worship. Until Mr. Fuller, who was the former Congregational Minister of this town, received Episcopal ordination, and officiated there as an Episcopal Clergyman, the services of our Church were not known in that place.
Since 1811, additional Missionaries have been annually employed. The spread of population through the uncultivated parts of the state, the organization of new Churches, and the revival of some old congregations that were nearly extinct, increased the demand for Missionary labours in a much greater degree than, from the want of clergymen and of funds, could be supplied.
 It should be mentioned, however, to the credit of some of the young Clergy, that they have performed the important and difficult duties of Missionaries with all the ardour of youth, and with the sober piety, judgment, and perseverance of maturer years.
The Rev. William A. Clark, the Rev. Orin Clark, in 1811, the Rev. Alanson W. Welton, in 1814, and the Rev. Ezekiel G. Gear, in 1815, immediately on their receiving Deacons' orders, engaged as Missionaries in the western counties of the state, where they have had the happiness to see their labours remarkably blessed in the establishment of new congregations, and in the advancement of the members of their flocks in spiritual knowledge and holiness.
The Rev. Daniel M’Donald has for some time very faithfully officiated as a Missionary at Auburn and the parts adjacent; and more recently, the Rev. Henry U. Onderdonk, at Canandaigua, has had the gratification of seeing a flourishing congregation grow up under his ministrations, who have evidenced unusual liberality and taste in the erection of a place of worship.
During the last summer, the Rev. Samuel Johnson received Deacon's orders, and went as a Missionary to the frontier counties of Genessee and Niagara; where, particularly at Batavia, Sheldon, and Buffalo, his assiduous labours, exerted with much personal fatigue, are exceedingly useful. A church is building at Batavia, and a new congregation organized at Buffalo.
In this enumerating the younger Missionaries in the more western counties of the state, I have been led to depart from chronological order.
The Rev. James Thompson, and the Rev. William B. Lacey, who received Orders in 1813, at a more advanced age than the Missionaries last enumerated, entered immediately on Missionary duties, the former in the counties of [9/10] Greene and Delaware, and the latter in Chenango county; and their labours, exerted with great zeal and diligence, have been eminently blessed.
The Rev. Russel Wheeler, also, in the south-west part of Otsego county and the parts adjacent, is indefatigable in the discharge of Missionary duties; as also are the Rev. Stephen Jewett, and the Rev. Charles W. Hamilton, in Washington and Essex counties, where some new congregations
are collecting; and the Rev. George Weller in the northern part of Westchester county.
The Rev. Professor Brownell, of Union College, Schenectady, performs service occasionally in that Institution, and sometimes extends his services as a Missionary to the destitute congregations in that vicinity.
The Rev. Charles Seabury is usefully employed as a Missionary in the congregations of Setauket, Huntington, and Islip.
The Rev. Joshua M. Rogers, recently ordained Deacon, engages with much zeal as a Missionary in Lewis county and the parts adjacent; and Mr. Eleazar Williams acts as a Catechist, Schoolmaster, and Lay-Reader among the Oneida Indians. Being of Indian extraction he possesses considerable influence among his countrymen. and there is a prospect that his labours will be attended with more success than those of other Missionaries among them.
I have called your attention to this succinct Missionary detail, in order to afford you an opportunity of judging of the extent and importance of Missionary labours. The recital, I trust, will speak powerfully both to your understandings and your hearts. But for the blessing of God on Missionary services, there would scarcely have been a congregation of our Church in the new settlements of the state, where now thirty or forty congregations, some of them in commodious and even elegant buildings, offer their confessions, [10/11] supplications, and praises in the affecting Liturgy of our Church, and partake of the blessing of the word and ordinances from her apostolic ministry. And but for that warmth enkindled by the timely aid of Missionary services, some old and once respectable congregations that were gradually diminishing in numbers and zeal, would have become entirely extinct.
It is sometimes objected to Missionary contributions, that they relax the zeal of the people who are benefitted by these contributions, in the support of the Clergy who officiate among them. But I aver as a fact, for I speak from personal observation made in my visitations through the Diocess, that there are no members of our Church, I will not say more zealous, but I will say, so zealous in their pecuniary exertions for the support of religion, as those particularly in the new settlements, where our Missionaries principally officiate. I could recite instances of pious liberality in the highest degree honourable to them. Let it be remembered, Episcopalians throughout the country, when compared with some other denominations of Christians, are few in number, and not generally of proportionable wealth.
I can now bring my observations to a point. The Missionaries are at present eighteen in number, and all of them usefully employed. Each one receives, with one or two exceptions, 250 dollars, deriving the rest of his support from the contributions of the people. Some years back, there was a surplus in the Missionary Fund, owing to the want of Clergymen for Missionaries. This surplus enabled the Missionary Committee to increase recently the number of Missionaries; but that surplus is now exhausted. The collections in the congregations, for the present year, will not equal those of the last; and the whole of the Missionary Fund will fall short of 2500 dollars, while the salaries of the Missionaries will be at about 4600.--Even admitting the salaries [11/12] of some few could be discontinued or diminished without serious injury, still there would be a great deficiency; and the prospect of increasing the number, and of sending them to parts of the state where new congregations could be raised with great facility, is entirely hopeless.
In this painful crisis, to whom shall the Church look but to those on whom Providence in his benignity pours temporal abundance, and to whom he opens the full treasures of grace. The hearts of the young turn from those pursuits and pleasures to which youthful feeling impel them, and glow with pious ardour to aid in the apostolic work of extending with the cross of Christ, the great salvation which it purchased. To this holy work, worthy of apostolic times, their elder brethren, who should be examples to them of pious zeal, will not surely advance with hesitating step and reluctant hand. Would that I commanded the heart and the hands of every Episcopalian! Could I open them to a more exalted object of benevolence, than the extension of that kingdom of the Redeemer, which bestows peace on the guilty, and salvation on the lost children of men?
Let me then, with unfeigned deference, but with the deepest solicitude, call on them to consider whether, when the Church to which they belong, pure in her doctrine, apostolic in her ministry, most affecting and edifying in her worship, needs all the bounty that they can appropriate for the purposes of religion, that bounty should be diverted into other channels? This Church is worthy of the undivided support, beneficence, and zeal of those whom she nurtures in her fold. By promoting her prosperity, they advance, in its apostolic and primitive purity, the Church of the Redeemer, and contribute to hasten the time when that Church shall appear as when first she rose under the hand of her divine Founder, "all glorious within--her clothing of wrought gold--God in her palaces for a refuge."
 Those whom I address will not, I trust, refuse to come forward and take their parts in the exalted office of diffusing the blessings of grace and salvation among their fellow men.--An impetus is given to the Christian world, that is urging it forward to great results. We should go, not reluctant, not backward, but foremost in the march, with the ark intrusted to us, the symbol and the pledge of the Divine presence, until it rests encircled with its primitive glory, and extending its lustre throughout the earth. Be foremost in this holy career; excite your absent brethren to equal zeal in a cause for which the Son of God died, for which he still intercedes in heaven, and rules on earth.
A number of members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the city of New-York, desirous of co-operating with the ecclesiastical authority of this Diocess in the support of Missionaries, and of enabling their dispersed brethren to participate in the inestimable blessings conveyed by the ordinances and worship of a pure branch of the primitive and apostolic Church--have, at a general meeting convened in Trinity Church, on the 20th January, 1817, formed themselves into a Society for that purpose, under the name of "The New-York Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society of Young Men and others" and adopted the following
Article 1. THIS Society shall be known by the name of "The New-York Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society of Young Men and others."
Art. 2. The object of this Society is to assist, but not in any degree to interfere with the established authority of the Church in the support of Missionaries: it is therefore declared, that in whatever shall be done, that authority shall be recognized and conformed to. Accordingly, the monies raised by this Society shall be paid to such body as, by the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this State, may have the appointment and direction of Missionaries; provided that the Missionaries who may derive their salaries from the funds of this Institution, shall be designated as "Missionaries aided by the New-York Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society of Young Men and others:" and the President, ex officio, shall be requested to lay before the Board of Managers of this Society, from time to time, the names of the Missionaries aided by its funds, and such information with regard to them as he may deem proper, together [14/15] with the Reports of these Missionaries, as presented by him to the Convention of the Church.
Art. 3. Every person who shall pay into the treasury a sum of not less than two dollars annually shall be a member of this Society. The Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the city of New-York shall be considered as honorary members of this Society.
Art. 4. Ladies disposed to aid the funds of this Society, shall be constituted subscribers by an annual payment into the treasury of a sum of not less than one dollar.
Art. 5. The Bishop of the Diocese shall be, ex officio, president of this Society; there shall also be elected by ballot, at each anniversary meeting, three Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, a Corresponding Secretary, a recording Secretary, a Recording Secretary, and thirteen Directors, who shall form a Board of Managers; and a majority of the votes of the members present shall constitute a choice.
Art. 6. It shall be the duty of the Managers to fill their own vacancies, to form their By-laws, and take such measures conformably with the principles of the second article of this Constitution, as they may judge best calculated to promote the objects of this Society.
Art. 7. There shall be a stated meeting on the first Tuesday in December of every year, when an annual Report of the Managers shall be laid before the Society, at which time the subscriptions shall fall due. The first Tuesday of December, 1817, shall be considered the first anniversary. Special meetings shall be called as the Board of managers may direct, of which they shall give public notice.
Art. 8. Five Managers shall constitute a quorum of the Board and ten members a quorum of the Society, for the transaction of business: provided that any less number may adjourn from time to time until a quorum be present.
Art. 9. No alteration shall be made in this Constitution, unless it be proposed at a meeting of the Society regularly convened, and be acceded to by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.
 MANAGERS OF THE SOCIETY.
Right Rev. John H. Hobart, (ex officio) President, 22 Vesey Street.
John Watts, junior, 1st Vice President, 76 Chamber-street.
Floyd Smith, 2d Vice-President, 183 Broadway
Gerardus A. Cooper, 3d Vice-President, 502 Broadway.
D. A. Cushman, Treasurer, 183 Broadway.
Ferris Pell, Corresponding Secretary, 20 Cedar-street.
J. Smyth Rogers, Recording Secretary, 42 Courtlandt-street.
Luther Bradish, 9 Pearl-street.
George R. A. Ricketts, 4 Gouverneur's-lane.
David R. Lambert, 3 Pearl-street
William Onderdonk, jun. 117 Fulton-street.
Thomas N. Stanford, 160 Pearl-street.
Cornelius R. Duffie, 86 Wall-street.
Lewis Loutrel, 279 Broadway.
Warmoldus Cooper, 41 Partition-street.
Francis B. Winthrop, jun. 34 Vesey-street.
Alexis P. Proal, 51 Maiden-lane.
Edward Hitchcock, 338 Pearl-street.
William Baker, 269 Pearl-street.
Subscriptions and Donations for the benefit of the Society, will be thankfully received by any of the Managers.