Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

labour ever performed by any man. The whole was written with one pen. He also composed and translated a primer, grammar, singing psalms, the practice of piety, and Baxter's call to the unconverted. He might well remark," prayers and pains will do any thing."

This wonderful man, whose firmness, zeal, benevolence and perseverance were almost unparalleled, lived to see six respectable churches, and 24 lodian preachers la bouring successfully as missionaries of the cross. He rested from his labours May 20, 1690, aged 86. He has well been called THE APOSTLE OF THE INDIANS.

The Mayhews also deserve to be had in everlasting remembrance, for their long continued and successful labors on Martha's Vineyard. For a century and a half this family devoted themselves to the conversion of the heathen. In 1652, 282 gave evidence of conversion, and were received into the Chris- | tian Church. Eight of them were powaws. At a subsequent period, of 180 families, only two remained heathen. By Experience Mayhew, the Psalms and Jobo were translated into

1 their language.

Others among the first settlers of New England, entered into tbe same field of labours with much success. The character of their converts is very interesting and dear to all the lovers of experimental religion, and shews that man in his most savage state, can be brought to the knowledge of God, and may taste the joys of salvation. The wars with the colonists soon interrupted all efforts to evangelize the Indians, and drove them from New England.

1 David Brainard distinguished himself in the middle of the last century, by his zeal for the conversion of the American Indians. At Crosweeksung, N. J. he witnessed a signal outpouring of the Spirit upon the nations of the forest. Multiludes seemed to be convinced of sin and to submit themselves to God. Thirty be saw seated at the table of Christ. Mr. Brainard early fell a prey to a feeble constitution and severe hardships. He died at Northampton, Oct. 9, 1747, aged 29, He is considered as one of the most pious of later missionaries, and as having given the great spring to modern missionary enterprise.

Laudable efforts were also made to enlighten and convert the Stockbridge Indians, by Mr. Sergeant and President Edwards; and also afterwards to convey the gospel to the Oneidas and Senecas, by Mr. S. Kirkland.

The tirst of the modern European nations, that seriously en.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CHAP. 24.

SWARTZ. MORAVIANS.

407

gaged in converting the heathen, were the Danes. Messrs. Zeingenbalg and Plutsche were sent by Frederic IV. to the Malabar coast in India, in 1705. They early translated the four gospels into the Malabar tongue, and subsequently the whole Bible. At the end of 24 years the number of the baptized amounted to 8000, and but ten nissionaries were in the field.

In 1750, Swartz engaged in this mission, and remained in it forty-eight years. He was a rare missionary of the cross. His influence over the heathen, especially over those in exalted stations, was probably unparalleled. The Rajab of Tanjore, made him his counsellor, and when he died, committed to him the care of his son. When Swartz died, the reigoing Rajah made great lamentation over him, covered his body with a gold cloth, and erected a monument to his memory. More than 2000 were converted by him to the faith of Christ. Other valuable men have entered into his labours, and not less than 80,000 of all casts have here received Christianity.

1708, the attention of the Danes was turned toward Greenland. That country was settled in the middle of the ninth century. about the eleventh, it was enlightened by the gospel, but for 300 years it had been entirely secluded from the continent. Hans Egede, a clergyman of Norway, fancying that his countrymen were still there, resolved to visit them; and, under the patronage of the King of Denmark, sailed with his family, in 1721, for that inhospitable region. The old colony was extinct. The country barren; the inhabitants barbarous. А set of jugglers called Angehoks controled their spirits. But amid unparrelleled distress from polar winters, pestilence, famines and a barbarous people, the mission has continued, and by the assistance of the Moravians, paganism is nearly abolished in the country.

The efforts of the Danes arrested the attention of the Moravians, and in 1732, they entered into the same labours. And though only about 600 in number; poor exiles; without literature, wealth or patronage, they have made themselves known in every clime. Every Moravian is a missionary in his feelings and stands ready to go to the ends of the earth, when directed by the elder's conference. Their first station was among the blacks in the West Indies. Their next on the icy shores of Greenland. They have planted themselves among the Indians of America, the Hottentots of Africa, and the hordes of Tartary, and supported themselves by the hardest toil. They have now about 30 stations, and employ 170 labourers including fe

males, and number 30,000 converts. They are a wonderful people. The history of their missions is full of interest.

The Methodists have from the very first considered themselves as engaged in a kind of mission throughout Christendom; and, until of late, have turned their attention but little to heathen lands.

In 1786, Dr. Coke, a Wesleyan Methodists, engaged on his own responsibility, and without patronage, in a mission, chiefly among the blacks in the West Indies. He was followed in his labors, by a number of active Missionaries, who collected societies, and who now number about 25,000 in their connexion. They have had to contend with violent opposition from the slave holders, and from the regular established clergy. Both of these have had the government on their side, and very severe laws have been passed from time to time, against all, who, in this manner, accounted irregular, preached the gospel, and collected assemblies of the blacks. Both the preachers and their converts, bave been imprisoned and severely chastised, and some most disgraceful and cruel scenes have been acted.

lo 1814, that enterprising man Dr. Coke, sailed from Eng. land with seven other missionaries for the island of Ceylon. Dr. Coke died on his passage. His surviving brethren established themselves at Colombo, where they have since laboured with 6delity and success. Their number has been since congiderably reinforced. Their church members exceed 300.

The Methodists have since planted stations at Australia Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Bombay.

A Wesleyan missionary society was formed at London, Dec. 1, 1814, which raised in 1821, 137,444 dollars. It supports 148 missionaries.

The Wesleyans in N. America. bave stations among the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, Mohawks, and Wyandots.

The attention of the Baptists was first directed to the subject of missions about the year 1784. But no system of operation was set in motion until 1792, when the Rev.,Mr. Carey of Leicester, in England, who had borne the wants of the heathen much on his heart, having preached a sermon before his association, in which he exhorted them to Expect great things, and Attempt great things, a Society was formed, and 131. 2s. 5d. was subscribed to send the gospel to the heatben. Which way to direct their attention they knew not. Providentially their views were turned to India, by Mr. Thomas, a surgeon, who had resided there, and had his compassion excited for the myr

CHAP. 24.

METHODISTS. BAPTISTS.

409

iads there in pagan darkness; and he, with Mr. Carey, were designated, and solemnly set apart for that field of labour. They arrived in Calcutta with their families, Nov. 1793.

They took their station amid hundreds of millions, who have for centuries been subject to the grossest idolatry, and most debasing superstitions. The mythology of the Hindoos has taught them the existence of a Supreme Being, but has shut him out from all concern with the world; excepting as he has created three principal deities, called Brahma, Vishnou, and Seva, to whom he has committed its creation, government and preservation. These are worshipped, especially the second, who is supposed to have had nine incarnations, all of which are represented by various images. Besides these, the Hindoos have inferior gods and goddesses, amounting to 230,000,000. Every family has its household god, which is placed at the en trance of their dwelling. Their images are made of brass, wood and stone, and though said to be mere images, are worshipped by the mass of the people as gods. They worship also the heavenly bodies; their spiritual guides; the cow; the Ganges, which has on its banks three millions of sacred places, annually visited by millions of people. The country is filled with temples. The most sacred of their religious establishments is the temple or car of Juggernaut, an horrid idol, which has been visited annually by millions for worship, and to which vast multitudes have sacriticed their lives.

Their whole system of worship is most cruel, debasing and polluting. Horrid self-tortures are daily practised and applauded. Innumerable infants are destroyed. Widows are compelled to be burned on the funeral piles of their husbands. No morality is taught or known among these vast myriads of the human family. They are perfect fatalists, and have no belief in man's accountableness. After death the soul is supposed to pass into some other body, or to a bird or beast.

Their divisions into casts renders them almost impenetrable by the preachers of the gospel. These casts are different degrees or orders in society. Of these there are two, the Brahmines or priests, and the Soodra or common people, but each of these, has many divisions and subdivisions. Every man is obliged to follow exactly the business of his father. Each line of business is a cast. All social intercourse between these casts is forbidden. If a person eats or marries with one of another cast, or interferes with his employment, he loses cast, which is a calamity worse than death. He is deprived of his property;

forsaken of his friends; treated every where as a vile outcast, and left to drag out a most miserable existence in famine and disgrace. But cast he must lose, who eats with a missionary or listens to the gospel.

Throughout India the education of all but the Brahmins, is very limited. The myriads of females are never taught by them to read, and are considered as a grade below the cow.

Among such a people did these two Baptists brethren throw themselves, a drop in the ocean, but a drop with which the ocean would not assimilate, and loosing their friends, they came near perishing for want of sustenance. They hired themselves to an indigo factory and there began their labour. In 1796, they were joined by Mr. Fountain, and in 1799, by Messrs. Marshman, Grant and Brunsdon, with their wives, and Mr. Ward and Miss Tidd. The whole fixed the seat of their labours at Serampore. They threw all their property and the fruits of their labour into a common stock. Some of them have fallen asleep. But some have lived to see the Bible translated either in whole, or in part, into forty-three different languages, each spoken by millions of people, and issued from their press and circulated among the people, and to behold numerous missionary stations established by their European brethren in various parts of lodia; above 1000 natives converted to Christianity, who have renounced cast and been baptized, and several preaching with much success to their countrymen the everlasting gospel. With every missionary station, is connected large schools, in which vast numbers of children are educated, in the principles of christianity. Such operations, persevered in, must and will undermine and overthrow even the gigantic system of Hindoo superstition. The Baptists in America were first excited

this all important subject, by two missionaries in India, of the American Board, Judson and Rice, who left the service in which they were engaged, in consequence of a change of sentiments on the subject of baptism. The Baptists at Serampore had made an unsuccessful attempt to establish a mission at Burmah. Mr. Judson directed his attention to that country, and Mr. Rice returned to America to seek patronage. Through his influence, an American Baptist MissioNARY BOARD was formed at Philadelphia, in 1814, by delegates from eleven states, and handsome collections have annually been made in most of the Baptist churches. Mr. Judson, accompanied by Dr. Price, a physician, remained for sometime at Rangoon, a solitary labourer.

1

« PreviousContinue »