« AnteriorContinuar »
SUBSTANCE OF THE REV. MR. HUNTINGTON'S ADDRESS AT CON
CERT HALL, ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOSTON FOREIGN MISSION SOCIETY.
I RISE, not with the view of adding to the arguments already adduced, in support of the object for which we are assembled this afternoon. To my mind, Sir, those arguments are decisive. And if we may judge from the close attention, and apparent interest, with which they have been received by this respectable assembly, others are of the same opinion in regard to them with myself. I rise, Sir, to express the satisfaction, with which I have listened to the gentlemen, who have preceded me; and the conviction which I feel, that the result of this day's meeting will be such, as to inspire with new confidence and hope, the hearts of our Brethren in the East. They are looking to the American churches, with a solicitude, which only they, and others circumstanced like them, can feel. They are looking for the evidences of that spirit of missions
that spirit of enlightened zeal, and expansive benevolence, which alone can authorize the hope, that the conversion of the Pagan world is near. They know, indeed, that the promises of God in relation to this great event are sure. But they know also, that the kingdom of God cometh not by observation ;-that, as the Gospel was propagated at first, so it must continue to be propagated; and that unless instruments are raised up, and sent, to announce the tidings of a Savior to the Heathen, He cannot be believed on by them. Surrounded perpetually by objects, at which delicacy revolts, humanity, shudders, and piety weeps;—the wiinesses of ignorance, superstition, and guilt, for which nothing but the Gospel can afford an effec, tual remedy; they call upon us to aid them in the help of the Lord against the mighty. They call upon us to furnish them with the means of carrying their benevolent wishes into effect.
And what, Mr. President, can be more reasonable than this? That when they have abandoned country, kindred, home; when they have taken their lives in their hands, and at the risk, I might almost say loss, of all things, unfurled the banner of the cross in the region of heathen idolatry, we, and all who are privileged as we are, should not suffer their enterprise to fail, for want of pecuniary aid;—that when they have done the greater, we should do the less?
It cannot be debied, indeed, that no small amount of property is requisite, to give impulse and effect to the great plars of Christian benevolence, which are now in contemplation;-chat more, vastly more, must be done by the religious community than has yet been done, before six hundred millions of Pagans can be furnished with a preached Gospel. But were Christians universally, or even generally, awake to their obligations, this demand, vast as it is, might be met with the most perfect ease. Yes, Sir, with the most perfect ease, had ihe children of light but haif the wisdom and zeal, in the cause of their Master, which the children of this world have, in the service of theirs. Notwithstanding the complaint of scarcity of money, enough might be raised, were the disposition equal to the power, to send the light of truth, and the heralds of the cross, over every part of the unchristianized world. Money enough might be devoted to this noble, gode like purpose, without subjecting the givers to any serious inconvenience; without obliging them to relinquish, or even abridge, any rational enjoyment. Whenever any favorable scheme of speculation presents, thousands are eager to engage in it. Whenever any fascinating amusement is announced, thousands are anxious to partake of it. Whenever fashion speaks, thousands flock to her standard, ready to hear and obey her mandate. In these cases, there is no want of money. The inost exorbitant demands are met;-met promptly and cheerfully. VOL. XV.
Do any still think there is a deficiency of means;-that the resources of Chris tendom are incompetent to the work of evangelizing the Heathen; let me recommend to their attention a little Tract, composed by the joint labors of two of our missionaries at Bombay; and not long
since published in this country, entitled, The Conversion of the World, or the Clainis of Six Hundred Millions. No honest mans I am satisfied, can rise from the perusal of this pamphlet, without the conviction, that the Most High, in issuing the command, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," has required no more than a reasonable, and practicable service. And I am happy, Mr. President, to avail myself of the opportunity to speak a word in commendation of this valuable work. Those who are friendly to the cause of missions, may derive from it much to encourage and stimulate them. And those who are not, can hardly fail to be convinced by it, that the ground which they have taken is unscriptural and indefensible.
Indeed, Mr. President, I apprehend, that with respect to many Christians, information is the grand desideratum-that, would they suffer themselves to become acquainted with the actual state of the Heathen; and with the requisite and feasible means of their christianization, what they have already done, would be but as the dust of the balance, compared with what they would speedily do, and do with the utmost freedom, and promptness. Nay more, Sir, I am persuaded, that could the scenes which are daily witnessed by our missionary brethren in the East, be but witnessed by the mass of the community here, who make no pretensions to the Christian character; they would be compelled,—the mere syinpathy apd benevolence of our nature would compel them, to cast their gifts into the treusury of the Lord. I will not injure my countrymen by the belief, the thought, that the cruel rites;--the absurd, impure, and bloody worship of the Pagan world, were they permitted to behold these abominations, would excite in their breasts no emotions of pity; no feelings of disgust and horror; no desires that the dayspring from on high might visit these abodes of ignorance and superstition; to give light to them that sit in durkness; and to guide their feet in the way of peace.
I will not believe, that those, who are erecting hospitals for the sick and the insane; who are supporting by their annual contribution, alms-houses for the poor, and asylums for the orphan, would have no bowels of compassion for the helpless infant sacrificed by its parents to Gunga; or suspended in a basket from the limb of a tree, to perish with hunger, and be devoured by birds of prey;-or for the aged decrepid father, abandoned by his children to perish miserably by famine;-or for the widowed mother, hurried by the violence of her own son into the funeral pile of her deceased husband;-or for the deluded victims, who are annually crushed to death, under the wheels of the modern Moloch.
Much less can I suppose, that those, who prize their Bibles, their Sabbaths, their hopes of immortality, could see (without emotion, and without at least the attempt to save them.) these thousands hurrying their passage to the bar of God, unwashed, unjustified, unsanctified;-to the bar of Hiin, who hath said, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to devils and not to God;" and who hath solemnly pronounced idulaters, of every description, without excuse.
Let me not be misunderstood. I do not say, that the guilt of those who die in heathen lands, is commensurate with that of those who perish from under the Gospel. Guilt, other things being equal, is in proportion to light resisted, and means abused. I do not say, that the heathen are answerable for unbelief,-the rejection of a Savior of whom they never heard. "God is not an hard master." But I do say; and I say it on the authority of eternal truth, and of unquestionable facts, that they are destitute, the great body of them at least, of that Holiness, without which no man can see the Lord, -that they are enslaved to passions, and polluted with sins, which utterly disqualify them for that world, into which there shall in no wise enter any thing that defileth;—that they have no meetness for the society, the employments, or the pleasures of heaven; and that, therefore, they are excluded, not less by necessity, the very nature of things, than by the decision of Jehovah himself, from that holy place.
Thus situated, they call upon us;-'tis the language not of their lips; for alas! they know not what they do, or whither they are going; 'tis the language of their miseries and sufferings,-lo cume over and help them;—to impart to them
the blessings of that Gospel, which is "glad tidings of great joy unto all people.”
Now the question is, shall we heed the cry, or shall we set ourselves to invent excuses in justification of our sloth, our avarice, our indifference to the cause of Christ, and the eternal welfare of souls as precious, as dear-bought as our own?
At the introduction of these remarks, I expressed a conviction that the reverse of this was our purpose, and would be the result of our present meeting. I have the happiness to think so still; and will relieve the patience of the assembly, on which I have already trespassed too long, after suggesting an idea which has just occurred to my mind; and which I apprehend is not sufficiently considered; that the burden, if so it may be called, which the Christian community are necessitated to bear, in accomplishing the great work of evangelizing the world, though formidable at first, will gradually diminish, as the work proceeds; until the labor, or frivilege shall I call it, will be entirely taken from our hands. It has been asserted by those, who have the best means of knowledge on the subject, that it anually costs the heathen more to support idolatry, than it would to support the Gospel. And there cannot be a doubt of it. With the blessing of God then, (a blessing which we have a right to expect, because it is promised, ) were a general united effort made by the Christian world, to evangelize the heathen, we might, at no distant time, see throughout all the East, what is already witnessed among the Bap ist missionaries in Hindostan; and the Danish on the Coromandel Coast; nelive preachers of Christ; and might witness the enormous sums, which are now devoted to the vilest lusts and the most abominable superstitions, employed in the erection of churches to the God of Israel; in the establishment of schools; and the support of ministers; and the various other charitable, humane, and religious institutions, which are the blessing and glory of our land, In prospect of such a consummation, which the sure word of Prophecy authorizes us to anticipate, who of us would not be willing, if need be, even to deny himself?
[We regret, that we have not been able to obtain an authentic sketch of the Rev. Mr. Dwight's address on the same occasion. He began by describing the nature of the missionary cause, expatiated on some of the grand motives to exertion, and concluded by adverting to various encouraging events, which have recently taken place in Persia, Arabia, and other parts of western Asia. His address was heard with profound attention, and the meeting gave great satisfaction to those who were present.]
EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER FROM THE REV. Messrs. MEIGS AND
POOR TO THE REV. DR. WORCESTER AS CORRESPONDING SECRETARY,
Jaffna, Ceylon, May 24, 1818. Rey, and Dear Sir, It is with sincere pleasure that we acknowledge the receipt of yours of June and, 1817, by the Naiad, Capt. Preston, and also one by the Saco, dated September 25th of the same year. The former was received the 3d, and the latter the 15th of April last. The first was sent to us from Calcutta, and the last was forwarded by our brethren at Bombay, together with a large number of letters from our relatives and friends in our native land. All your letters to us have been received, we believe, except one, the failure of which we have before mentioned. The perusal of your interesting and affectionate letters afforded us all much gratification and encouragement. We were enabled to forward them to Columbn, for the perusal of our sick brethren, before their departure for the Cape of Good Hope.
We were happy to learn that our letters and journals, which we forwarded to Fou soon after our arrival in Jaffnapatam, had been received. We had for some time feared that they were lost. As we have adopted the plan of sending duplicates of most of our communications to you, we have good reason to expect, that one copy at least, of every communication will reach you in safety. This will supersede the necessity of giving in each letter a summary of the contents of former ones.
By a letter lately received from our beloved brother, Capt. P. Titcomb, we learn that he is in Calcutta, and hope that he will once more be the bearer of despatches from us to our friends in America.
We were, as you will readily believe, greatly rejoiced to hear of the arrival of the brethren Graves and Nichols in India, particularly as we were informed, that it was the intention of the Prudential Committee, that brother Graves should join us in Jaffna. We were therefore considerably disappointed, when we were informed, that they were both to remain in Bombay. Our brethren at that place have given us the reasons for their determination, and we are not disposed to find fault with their decision, having full confidence in the purity of their intentions; and knowing also that their need of assistance was very great. But if it was the expectation of the Prudential Committee that one of them should join us, even when they supposed, (as we learn from your letter that they did,) that there were four missionaries here in health, how forcible will they perceive our need of more missionaries to strengthen our hands, when they learn, that we are left alone by the removal of two of our brethren by sickness. We feel that this single fact will plead more strongly in our favor thar. all the arguments we might use in other circumstances. We need not therefore spend time in endeavoring to convince you of our urgent necessity for more missionaries to assist in this extensive and promising field of missionary labor.
We have already informed you, that we have permission from government to occupy the public buildings in six of the best parishes in the district, and that we have established schools in two others; so that in fact we have possession of eight adjoining parishes; in each of which there might bevery advantageously stationed a missionary fainily. You will learn, from our former letters, what were our plans respecting schools for all these parishes. In some of them there ought to be three or four schools; for the children will not come from a great distance to attend them. When these plans were formed, our number was four; now it is but two: and however great may be our desire to accomplish our original purpose without delay, we find it impossible to do it without neglecting the great business of a missionary for some of the first years after his arrival among the heathen, viz. the acquisition of the native language; and to establish schools with, out superintending them, is doing nothing as it ought to be done.
We are happy to inform you, that the boxes of Spanish dollars, the books, and the types, sent out for us in tie Saco, have already arrived in safety at Columbo from Bombay, directed to the care of brother Chater. But on account of the south-west monsoon, which has now set in, we shall not be able to get them till August. We are highiy gratified with your liberality, and that of the Christian public in regard to schools. The expense of native schools is a mere trifle. For the erection of a suitable building in the first instance, we must pay about sixteen dollars; this will answer very well to preach in to the people, when there is no better building. Such teachers as the country affords, who teach only Tamul, may be obtained for $1,50 per month. To those who have sufficient education to teach English, as well as Tamul, we must give from 4 to 8 dollars a month. The expense of supporting boys in our families is also very small. We think we may safely say, that with proper economy, a boy from six to twelve or fourteen years of age, may be fed and clothed in the native style, for one Spanish dollar a month, or twelve a year. Older boys will require a little more, principally because their dress must be a little more expensive. The dress of the native children, and even of most of the men, is of the most simple kind. It consists inerely of a piece of plain India cotton, of one yard in width, and two, or two and a half in length, wound around the person. From the statement which we have made, respecting the education and support of children, you see that we have here an opportunity of doing great good, at a comparatively small expense. We have no doubt that many benevolent individuals of both sexes will be found in our native land who will rejoice in the opportunity of contributing the small sum of $12 annually, if by that means they may rescue a heathen youth of promising talents from the miserable condition of idolaters, and place him in a missionary family; where he will possess many of the advantages of being educated in a Christian land. In what manner can they dispose of this sum to better advan, tage? In what fund can they vest it, where it will yield them greater profit? What pure and exalted pleasure will it afford them, in the day of judgment, to
meet some of these heathen children, emancipated from their miserable condition, and made happy for ever, through their liberality. Surely the object is great enough to warrant the sacrifice necessary to obtain it. Any individual, or society contributing this sum for the support of a boy, may select a name for him. We regret exceedingly, that we cannot educate female children, as well as male. If we inquire of the natives, why they do not teach their girls to read, their only reply is, “We have no such custom in our country.”
The prejudices of many of the heathen parents are still very strong against permitting their children to live entirely with us; and we expect to meet will considerable difficulty on the subject. But judging from the trial that has aiready been made at Tillipally, and from what Christian David has done is Jaffnapatam, we have reason to believe, that we shall eventually succeed in removing to a great degree the prejudices of the parents, and in convincing them of the great advantage which will accrue to their children from being educated under our care. Our progress in obtaining boys will probably be slow at first; yet, with the blessing of God upon persevering efforts, we trust, that ere long we shall be able to obtain a large number, of promising talents, selected from various schools, to be educated entirely with us.
We find, from experience, that very few of the people are able, at first, to read the printed character with facility. It is very necessary, therefore, that the youth should be taught to read and understand printed books and tracts before many can be circulated among them to much advantage. We think, therefore, that by establishing and superintending schools we are preparing the way, so that a printing establishment may be made an instrument of great good to this people. Our minds have been so strongly impressed with the importance of having a printer by trade, that we think it our duty to request the Board, if possible, to send us such an one. If an intelligent, pious, and active young man, who is thoroughly acquainted with the business of printing, could be found, who will be willing to be employed as a printer in this place, we think he would possess many advantages over a missionary, who has attended to the business only a short time.
We have already informed you that a fount of Tamul types has arrived for us at Columbo, from Calcutta. We have paid for them 1292) rix dollars, about 323 Spanish. His Excellency, Gov. Brownrigg, was so kind as to give orders to bave them pass the custom house free of duty. He will probably do the same with regard to the English types, and the books, which have recently arrived.
For the establishment of a printing office it will be necessary either to builů a new, or inake pretty expensive repairs of one of the stations which we have now permission to occupy. We have not yet decided at what place to establish it; but wherever it may be placed, we shall need considerable money to defray the expense of the necessary repairs.
In connexion with repairing our houses, it is proper to mention the title liy which we hold the places which we occupy. His Excellency, Governor Brown rigg, has not yet felt himself at liberty, either to sell us the places, or to secure then to the missions in perpetuity, or for a length of time. He informed us, when we left Columbo for Jaffna, that he wrote to England respecting us soon after we arrived in the Island; and that in the course of a few months he expected directions from home on the subject of his communications. He has for many months been so much occupied with the unhappy Candian war, which still rages with violence, that we have not judged it prudent to trouble him with a petition on the subject. When a convenient time arrives, we shall probably do it, and then inform you of the result. We have not the least doubt of his Excellency's friendly regard to our mission, and of his disposition to protect us, while we cou duct ourselves agreeably to our profession. In the Hon. and Rev. T. J. Twistleton, now "The venerable Archdeacon of Columbo,” we possess a tried friend, and judging from past experience, we know that he will do everything he consistently can for the prosperity of our mission.
In seven of the eight parishes which we now occupy, the churches are in so good a state of preservation, that they may be easily rendered suitable places for the public worship of God. We mention these things to show the importarce in point of econoniy of sending a number mere missionaries to occupy tliese important stations. The longer they are lcít unoccupica, ihe less valuable are they