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to Cape Horn in the south, was once more than equalled by the ancient inhabitants of Peru alone. The causes of this mournful decrease will claim attention when the colonial system shall come under our notice. It is true, that the fact of these countries ever having been populous has been a debated question. The most respectable of those who deny it is Baron Humboldt. He states that in 1575 there were no more than one million and a half in Peru. But it now appears that the records on which he based his statement contemplated merely the taxable males from eighteen to fifty years of age; and that from an actual census taken near that period, not less than eight millions two hundred and eighty thousand then existed within the ancient Peruvian empire. Now if to these we add the vast numbers that perished at the conquest, and in the desolating wars that wasted them by hundreds of thousands during the first half century subsequent to the Spanish invasion, the Peruvians under their last inca must have amounted to at least ten millions. That they were very numerous appears also from the ancient and extensive ruins found scattered over their country. Among these are found the remains of some large cities capable of a hundred thousand inhabitants, located where rain never falls, and more than twenty miles from a single drop of water. These could have ob. tained water only by driving shafts horizontally into the mountain, at an immense expense of labor. Indeed, by this means they fertilized some of the most sterile regions which glow beneath a tropical sun. As a striking instance of this, many refer to the valley of Nasca, which depends exclusively on water thus obtained. This ever verdant plain, hemmed in by a wilderness of fifty miles' extent, must have frowned in the gloom of everlasting sterility but for these subterraneous passages, through which streams have gushed for many past ages. That labor by which this soil could be so enriched for centuries as to produce vines of a diameter equal to the trunk of a tree with the growth of thirty years would never have been bestowed by a sparse population. Now as such instances were numerous, they not merely proved the nation possessing incredible enterprise, but consisting of vast numbers. The fact that during the latter ages of their national existence they never located a city, built a hamlet, or erected a dwelling on an arable spot, also indicates the density of their population. Indeed, it is not credible that an inconsiderable population, scattered over an immense territory, would build those extensive cities, and at so vast an expense fertilize those sterile plains, when the extensive regions of productive land were more than sufficient to sustain such a population. In what is called the kingdom of the Zac, now embraced in the republic of Colombia, several monumental evidences still remain of the populousness of these ancient seats of American empire. The early records of Mexico authorize a similar conclusion with regard to the natives of that ancient empire. Cortez, who subverted for ever the throne of Montezuma, states in his letter to Charles V. that the natives who assisted him in the siege of Mexico amounted to more than two hundred thousand; and that the number of the besieged who perished during their resistance exceeded one hundred and fifty thousand. The facts recorded by an eye witness of the scene when the city was captured are strongly corroborative of other historical accounts of the populousness of Mexico. He states that
Vol. IX.—Oct., 1838. 47
all the inhabitants of the city at its surrender, being commanded to leave it, filled the streets and roads at their egress three days and nights, so great was the multitude notwithstanding all that bad previously perished. And several of the most accurate historiars of the sixteenth century describe above sorty large cities, exclusive of numerous villages and hamlets, which were scattered over Mexico when the Spaniards invaded it. Entirely accordant with these bistorical notices are the ecclesiastical records of the same age. According to these, not less than six millions of the natives were baptized during the sixteen years immediately succeeding 1524, by the Franciscans alone, exclusive of all those baptized by the Dominicans and Augustinians, and also exclusive of vast multitudes who refused to receive that ordinance. During the same century more than two millions perished by the small pox and two other epidemics which were dreadfully mortal. There exists the most abundant evidence that when the Europeans entered the new world, its numerous nations were engaged in the most bloody and exterminating conflicts. Several tribes had recently become extinct, and others were rapidly disappearing How long these mutual slaughters had continued, there remain no data by which to determine; but it is highly probable that hundreds of thousands in the fifteenth century sank in the field of blood along the extended range of mutual conflict. But after all this fearful havoc of the aborigines, they remained exceedingly numerous at the time of the conquest In the Brazilian empire alone there were found not less than four hun. dred native tribes; and if the entire agreement of several historians makes the highest claims on our confidence, there can be no doubt but they amounted to at least two millions. Though the ancient kingdom of the Zac, the rich valley of Mexico, and the extensive empire of Peru, were far the most densely populated portions of the new world, they did not contain all its inhabitants. There were even millions sparsely scattered over the wintry regions of Patagomia, along the verdant banks of the Amazon, and over the woodless plains of the La Plata. By these and many kindred historical facts the conclusion is fully authorized that in the fifteenth century there could not have been less than twenty millions of Indians south of the northern temperate zone.
N. B. The remaining part of this No. will be communicated in my next.
JOHN DEMPSTER. Buenos Ayres, January 20, 1838.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
Art. II.—ON PASTORAL VISITING. THE following remarks are more particularly applicable to junior preachers, and as such respectfully addressed to them. The agency which stands forth as at once the most important and responsible in the world is beyond all question the gospel ministry. If there be any thing calculated to lead to fidelity in motives of the highest character and the widest range, then may we expect it in those to whom is committed the ministry of reconciliation, and who stand in the high character of ambassadors for God. Their work is the
most sacred, their vows are the most. solemn, their success is the most glorious, and their failures the most awful; and as for themselves, as individuals, “their stake is for a higher heaven or a deeper hell.” Well may we exclaim, in reserence to such a work, “ Who is sufficient for these things?” and well may we expect God's chosen instruments will be “cautious, diffident, and slow," in entering upon it. This work, at once so glorious and so awful, divides itself into two distinct branches, public preaching and pastoral labor; and the apostle has given an excellent summary of ministerial duty in affirming what he himself had done: “I have taught you publicly and from house to house.” To the latter of these divisions of the work I desire to invite the attention of the junior members of the ministry in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The necessity of keeping alive so important a subject is my only apology, and I proceed,
I. To notice the necessity and advantages of faithful pastoral labor, particularly visiting from house to house.
1. The first reason I shall offer for the necessity of prompt and faithful pastoral labor is one growing out of the fact that our ministry is itinerant. The connection between pastor and people, at the best, must be sufficiently slight where a regular change takes place once in two years. If, therefore, a minister who goes to serve a particular congregation, which he must leave in two years, and may leave in one, delay the commencement of his pastoral work, or if, indeed, he does not begin at once, and prosecute it with diligence, he will be called away before a proper pastoral connection is even formed at all. From the people of his charge he will go as he came, a stranger, or at best be known to them but as a preacher; and he will leave a flock over whom "the Iloly Ghost had made him overseer,” and to whom this most weighty charge had been given, “Take heed therefore unto [thyself] and to all the flock," with the sin of guilty omission upon his head.
2. Pastoral visiting is essential to a minister's influence. "There may be a few, very few exceptions to this remark. There may be persons who, by a combination of rare pulpit abilities, gain and maintain considerable ministerial influence without performing much pastoral labor. But such instances will be rare. And even such preachers (ininisters they should not be called) are far less influential and useful than they.might be did they follow the example of the very first of ministers, the Apostle Paul, and teach not only “publicly, but from house to house.” The influence of ministers is generally in proportion to the interest which they show for the souls committed to their care. It is an influence which is gained by watching with interest over the spiritual condition of each member of the flock-an influence acquired by the fireside, in the parlor, and at the bed of sickness. An affectionate solicitude for souls manifested by looking after the aged and infirm, by counseling the tempted, solving the difficulties of the perplexed, instructing the inquiring, encouraging the desponding, and exercising a parental care and kind regard for the young and inexperienced this is what makes the sight of a faithful pastor welcome as the visits of an angel of mercy, and gives him a sway over his people which adds double weight to every word dropping from his lips in his pulpit exercises.
3. Pastoral visiting is a most efficient agency in keeping up and increasing an attendance on public and social religious exercises.
A visit from a pastor is generally considered as expressive of his solicitude for the welfare of those he visits. It is taken as a token of his interest in the people of his charge. Now it is a law of human nature that interest should be reciprocal. We are interested for those who are interested for us. Love is the loan for love. True, sin may often be found to contravene every law of nature; and such is the opposition of the human heart to religion that men sornetimes affect to consider those their enemies who tell them the truth, and endeavor to do them good. Yet it is equally true that even such persons will reproach the man who neglects them, and will be much more likely to be found in the house of God on the Sabbath, if they have received an affectionate pastoral visit during the week. The very sight of a pastor coming to inquire after the condition of his people awakens in their minds a sense of obligation to attend on his ministry, the fruits of which you will often discover in the excuses which seem spontaneously to be called up if they have been absent for any length of time from the house of God. But if a pastor neglect his people, a sort of estrangement grows up between them. They feel the neglect as a kind of indignity, and are disposed to repay him in his own coin. There is a feeling which, if clothed in language, would say, “It is well enough for you to preach to empty walls who neglect to look after your people.”
4. In pastoral visiting the best materials are gained for the pulpit. Without freely mingling with the people of his charge, it is difficult, if not impossible, for a minister to adapt his preaching to the state of his hearers. One great reason why sermons are often heard without interest is because of their deficiency in practical adaptation to the wants of the hearers. The matter, however excellent in itself, is out of place. It does not touch the point. Let a minister closet himself up in his library from month to month, or keep aloof from his people from one end of the year to the other, and there is no community of feeling between them. He dwells in another region; his thoughts flow in another channel; and when he enters the pulpit perchance he succeeds in interesting himself, while those who should be his hearers go to sleep. On the contrary, the man who freely associates with his people becomes acquainted with their wants, their prepossessions, and their modes of thinking. He learns the obstacles which stand opposed to his success; discovers the favorable omens that appear; sees the image of his own labors reflected back upon himself, so that he may remedy defects or pursue his successes. In short, he becomes more and more a practical man, while at the same time he has far more variety than he could possibly gather from any other field than the interesting field of human nature, which his pastoral visits have led him daily to explore. “ You must recommend this (pastoral visiting] to Henry, [his son,]" said the incomparable Legh Richmond, “as the very best preparation for the ministry. Try, my dear F., to keep him up to it. Tell him his poor father learned his most valuable lessons for the ministry, and his most useful experience in religion, in the poor man's cot
5. Pastoral visiting may be considered the practical application of pulpit discourses. In thousands of instances we cannot bring important truths to an individual bearing, and a practical result, by any other means than following our hearers home. An impression
may have been made, but it may be still faint. Conviction may in part be produced, but some difficulty may be still in the way which can only be learned and removed by a personal interview ; or if the seed be fairly sown, there may be many fowls of the air ready to devour it. It may even have already sprung up, but the thorns may have arisen also to choke and render it unfruitful, unless the skilful husbandman arrive in season to root them out. Let any faithful minister set down the number of cases that occur in even two or three years where pastoral efforts have been the means of removing formidable difficulties—where persons had, to all appearance, come to a crisis, and were trembling in the balances between life and death, and the scale has been turned; or when they have been brought under some powerful temptation which has been removed, or when they had backslidden and have been reclaimed, or where convictions have been brought to result in conversion-where, in one word, a principal instrumentality in saving a soul was pastoral visiting, and it is apprehended he will be astonished at the result.
6. Pastoral visiting is indispensable to gathering the fruits of a revival, and discharging the duties due to young Christians. When God has made a minister instrumental in the conversion of a soul, it is, without doubt, the duty of that minister to watch over that soul as one that must give account. That soul is eminently one over whom the Holy Ghost has made him overseer. It is no work of proselytism for a minister to look after that soul, and gather the fruits of his own labors. There is an obligation resting upon him to do so—an obligation from which he can be free only when that person voluntarily leaves his pastoral care, or when he himself removes to another field of labor, or an unavoidable separation takes place. For want of proper effort in taking care of those God has given us, we have been ofttimes bereaved of our children, and many, very many, awakened and converted to God in Methodist churches, and who are to this day Methodists in sentiment, are gathered into other churches, while scarce a person of another faith is to be found in our churches. If persons who are converted among us change their sentiments uninfluenced, and leave us for conscience' sake, we have no reason to complain; but where they still continue one with us in sentiment, and yet are taken from us, verily there is a great fault somewhere. Now is it not a fact that our ministry is much more successful in the awakening and conversion of souls than in nurturing them after they are converted? Is it not a fact that, through culpable negligence, we have allowed many to be alienated from us, while we have also, from the same cause, allowed many to backslide from God, who, with faithful watch-care, might have now been useful members of the church? The apostle has appropriately likened the young Christian to a little child; and how much care and effort is required for raising a little child to maturity, yea, and how many would perish without that care, and how culpable would those be deemed who were guilty of the neglect through which they perished? And can Christian ministers, to whom God has given the especial charge of those converted under their ministry, be otherwise than highly culpable if they refuse to exercise that care which is requisite in the infancy of their spiritual life?
7. Pastoral yisiting is essential to secure a pastoral connection