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it is for the support of this work, in particular, that we would solicit your liberality on this day. It is for the translation of the Bible into a new language, which is not only vernacular to Hindoos and Mahomedans, but is the language of a nation of Christians, who never save the Bible; and whose minds are already disposed to read the book which gives an account of their own religion.
Thus much of the Darkness which pervades Heathen Lands. We shall now advert to the MEANS of imparting light to them.
The time seems to have arrived, when more effectual measures ought to be adopted for the promulgation of Christianity, than have hitherto been employed. It is now expedient to open a more direct and regular communication with our Missionaries in foreign countries. It is not enough that there be ample contributions at home, and that we meet in large assemblies to hear and to approve; but there must be greater personal activity, and a more frequent intercourse with the scene abroad.
LET SHIPS BE PREPARED TO CARRY THE GLAD TIDINGS OF THE GOSPEL TO REMOTE NATIONS.
The auspicious circumstances of the present time, and the blessing that hath hitherto evidently attended the labors of the general body of Missionaries, seem to justify the adoption of these means. There is nothing new in the proposal, if it be not, that it is new to us. You have seen with what facility the Romish Church can open a communication with distant nations, by ships of war and commerce. You see with what facility commercial men at home can open a communication with remote regions, at a very small expense, sometimes merely on speculation; and, if they do not succeed in one country, they go to another. «The children of this world are wiser in their genera
tion than the children of light." Let us follow their example in conducting the commerce of knowledge. Let societies, let individuals, according to their ability, charter ships for this very purpose. Much of the expense may be defrayed by judicious plans of commerce. But let the chief and avowed object be, “THE MERCHANDIZE OF THE GOSPEL.”
In support of the perfect expedience of this measure, we shall submit to you the following considerations:
1. A chief obstacle to persons proceeding as Missionaries to remote regions, is the want of conveyance. Were a facility afforded in this respect, many individuals and families would offer themselves for the work, who would not otherwise ever think seriously on the subject. Experience has shewn how difficult it is to procure a passage, in a commercial ship, for a religious family of humble condition. Nor is it proper that a family of pure manners, who never heard the holy name of God profaned in their own houses, should be exposed, during some months, to the contaminating influence of that offensive Language, which is too often permitted on board ships of war and commerce belonging to the English Nation.
2. The success of a Mission abroad depends much on frequent CORRESPONDENCE with the patrons at home. By this communication the interest and reputation of the Missionaries are better supported, at their respective places of residence. And they always need this support; for, in every place, they are exposed to some degree of persecution.
3. The Missionaries need regular SUPPLIES, for their comfortable subsistence, and for the prosecution of their work. The want of subsistence is more frequent in certain climates, than is generally supposed. And the regular transmission of such supplies as are con
nected with the prosecution of their proper work is indispensable. The object of the Missionaries, in the East in particular, is to PRINT and PUBLISH the Holy Scriptures, and a fresh supply of the several materials, essential to the further prosecution of this purpose, is required every year.
In the first promulgation of the Gospel, the preachers were endowed with “the Gift of Tongues;” and thus they may be said to have carried about with them the instruments of conversion. In its present promulgation, the Providence of God hath ordained the Gift of the SCRIPTURES: and the materials for printing these Scriptures must be sent out to the preachers. There is likewise this further preparation by the same Providence; that most of the languages of the East have become, in the course of ages, written languages. As the art of printing extended the knowledge of the Gospel to our own country, at the Reformation; so the art of printing must now convey it to the other nations of the world.
It may be also observed, that, if the means of conveyance were at our command, many works in the Eastern Languages, might be printed with more expedition, and at less expense, at home, than abroad.
4. A further and a very important consideration is this. It is proper that a Missionary should have an opportunity of RETURNING to his native country, when ill health or the affairs of his family may require it. When he goes out as a Missionary, we are not to understand that he goes necessarily into a state of banishment. It is proper indeed that he should go forth with the spirit of one, who “ hath left father and mother for the Gospel's sake;" but men in general have duties to discharge to their parents, to their children, and to their relations of consanguinity; duties
sometimes of a spiritual nature. We do not read that St. Paul went forth to his work as an exile. On the contrary, we know that he returned home, at least for a time, and kept up a personal correspondence with Jerusalem. In like manner, many of the preachers who are now abroad, suffering in health, and sinking under the pressure of an enervating climate, if they had the means of conveyance, would be glad to revisit their Jerusalem; that they might return again to their labors with renewed strength and spirits.
It may be further observed, that the communications of such persons would be very valuable to the Church at home. This may be exemplified in the instance of the worthy clergyman of New South Wales; who lately visited England:* and whose communications were not only serviceable to the general interests of religion; but were, in many respects, very acceptable to the British government.
5. The last advantage which we shall mention, is that of VISITATION, by men of learning, prudence, and piety: who would make a voyage with no intention of remaining; but, induced partly by considerations of health, and partly by motives of public service to the Church, would visit their brethren in distant lands, to inform themselves fully of their state and progress, to animate and exhort them, and to report to their respective societies concerning new plans of usefulness. As there ought to be no jealousy among men promoting the same object, the same ship might, in her voyage, visit all the stations in her way, render every grateful service, communicate with all, afford supplies to all. There are, at this time, upwards of thirty different places where Missionaries are preaching in foreign ;
The Rev. Mr. Marsden.
lands. If but a single ship were employed for the general use of all the societies, it might be an auspicious beginning.
In adopting means for regular communication with our Missionaries, we have the example of two of the oldest societies: the “Society for promoting Christian Knowledge," and the Society of the “United Brethren.” The former sends out an investment to their Missionaries in India, regularly every year; and has so done for a century past. These supplies consist not only of books, stationary, and materials for printing; but they include articles of household economy, and for female use, which are forwarded, under the name of presents, to the families of the Missionaries.
The Reverend Mr. Kolhoff, the worthy successor of Swartz, assured me, that he considered the well-being of that Mission, during so long a period, to have been much promoted by this parental and affectionate intercourse. The “Society for promoting Christian Knowledge” have no ship of their own; but they are favored with the necessary freight every year in the ships of the East-India Company. Let us then imitate the example of this Venerable Society, which, in regard to the support of Missions, and the translation of the Scriptures, is “the mother of us all."
But the strongest recommendation of the measure which I propose to you, is the successful example of the “United Brethren.” That Episcopal Body has had a ship during a period of more than fifty years, chartered for the sole purpose of carrying the Gospel to Labrador, and other foreign lands. The ships Harmony and Resolution have been employed in this important service; a service far more honorable than any that has ever been atchieved by any ship of war, commerce, or discovery.