The present population of the state of Ohio may at this time be estimated at about 650,000 souls, and it is believed, that of this immense multitude, nearly or quite one half, are destitute of the regular means of grace; among these, there are doubtless many, who have seldom, if ever, heard the gospel message delivered by the heralds of the Cross. On them the Sabbath dawns indeed, but the privileges of the sanctuary are unknown and unenjoyed. A midnight of moral darkness broods over their minds. Near their lonely and solitary dwellings, no temple has yet been reared, to which they can joyfully repair with their families, on the Sabbath, to hear the tidings of salvation; and within their habitations they have seldom, if ever, been permitted to greet the messengers of peace: to them is denied the blessed privilege of exclaiming in the language of the prophet, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth!"
Dear Brethren! It is in our power to send them the glad tidings of salvation; the means are in our hands, they are confided to us by the great head of the Church, and we shall assuredly, as individuals, and as Churches, be called to give an account of the manner in which we have improved them. We acknowledge there are difficulties to encounter, but we are well able, in the strength of the Lord, by a zealous and combined effort, to surmount them all.
The number of communicants in our denomination, scattered over the state, may be estimated at about 7,000: such a number, united in such a cause, will inevitably accomplish great things: let then the experiment be made — let us as a denomination arise from our lethargy and become workers together with God in this noble undertaking. While we are privileged with the stated ministry of the word, and while, in some of our churches and congregations, the influences of the blessed Spirit are descending, and constraining us to say, "surely the Lord is with us" — can we feel indifferent in an undertaking like this?
But although missionary operations throughout our state are considered of primary importance, yet we have not been unmindful in our deliberations on this subject of the moral condition of thousands in other parts of our country, and among the savage tribes, who are sitting in darkness — nor have we forgotten the wretched condition of the millions of Asia, and Africa, and of the Islands of the sea, who have never heard of the name of Jesus. The charity of the gospel encircles the habitable globe, and it will ultimately penetrate into every dwelling place of humanity. That river, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God, shall urge its cleansing and purifying waters through all "the dark places of the earth which are full of the habitations of cruelty" — through every abode of ignorance, wretchedness and sorrow, until "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea," "for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
Deeply impressed with these considerations, the members of our denomination in this place, and its vicinity, met in the Baptist Meeting House in this city, on Thursday evening, the 19th inst. to the number of about one hundred, and resolved themselves into a society to be denominated the "Cincinnati Baptist Missionary Society."
At a meeting of the friends of the Baptist denomination, held at the Enon Baptist Meeting House, on Thursday evening, August 19th, 1824, for the purpose of forming a Missionary Society, upwards of 100 individuals being present, after prayer by brother Challen, of Lexington, on motion, John Boyd was chosen moderator, and Daniel Gano, clerk. The meeting was then addressed by our brother, James A. Ranaldson, of Louisiana, now on a visit in this city, in a very feeling and appropriate manner, on the interesting objects contemplated by the proposed society.
The constitution prepared by a committee was then submitted, and its various provisions were discussed, and unanimously adopted. The meeting then proceeded to the election of officers of the society, when the following persons were unanimously chosen, viz.
President, Isaac G. Burnet.
1st Vice President, John Boyd.
2nd V. P., Danl. Gano.
Solicitor, Henry Miller. Corresponding Secretary, Ephraim Robins.
Recording Secretary, Thirstin Crane.
Treasurer, Nathaniel Ripley.
Directors, Thatcher Lewis, Noble S. Johnson, John Smith, Dr. John Woolley, James Taylor, Isaac Poineir, Aaron G. Gano, Henry Miller, jun. John T. Jones.
[From The American Baptist Magazine, Volume 5, 1825, pp. 59-60. – Formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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