Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

p. 273.

we saw water. It sometimes appears like a lake, and sometimes like a river. As you approach, it recedes or vanishes. Thus are the hopes of this world, and the objects which men ardently pursue, false and delusive as the streams of the desert.” p. 266.

“ 14. The thermometer in our tent stood at 99 degrees. The country we passed was full of sand hills. The wind sometimes blew the sand over the hills like snow in a storm. This has been a dreadful day.

“ 17. We are still in the desert, and have to travel one day more before reaching the cultivated country. I can form a better idea now, than I ever could before, of the strength of those temptations which led the Israelites to murmur in the desert. Alas! I fear many who call themselves Christians, murmur in circumstances a thousand fold less trying than theirs."

On the 19th they reached Gaza, in the land of the Philistines, “ one of the oldest cities in the world.” Thence their journey conducted them through Esdood, the ancient Ashdod ; Jaffa, the ancient Joppa ; Ramla, the Arimathea of the Scriptures. On the 25th their road was exceedingly rough, and their progress slow and troublesome, tili they were within half an hour of Jerusalem, when suddenly Mount Olivet and the Holy City opened to their view.

“With feelings not easily described, about four o'clock, we entered JERUSALEM. The scenes and events of four thousand years rushed upon our minds; events, in which heaven, and earth, and hell, have felt the deepest interest. This was the place selected by the Almighty for his dwelling, and here his glory was rendered visible. This was the 'perfection of beauty,' and the glory of all lands.' Here David sat and tuned his harp, and sang the praises of Jehovah. Hither the tribes came up to worship. Here enraptured prophets saw bright visions of the world above, and received messages from on high for guilty man. Here our Lord and Saviour came in the form of a servant, and groaned, and wept, and poured out his soul unto death, to redeem us from sin, and save us from hell. Here, too, the wrath of an incensed God has been poured out upon his chosen people, and has laid waste his heritage.” pp. 280, 281.

(To be continued.)

Memoir of Mrs Ann H. Judson, late Missionary to Burmah; in

cluding a History of the American Baptist Mission in the Burman Empire. By JAMES D. Knowles, Pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Boston. 12mo. pp. 324. Lincoln & Edmands, 1829.

In calling the attention of our readers to this account of Mrs Judson and the Burman Mission, we perform a task 'pleasing and mournful to the soul.' Most of the facts, indeed, were already familiar to us. But they are here brought together and exhibited in their due connexion; and, instead of having lost, along with the attraction of their novelty, the power of interesting us, they have, in the perusal of this volume, impressed our minds more deeply tban

at any former period. Such a character and such events as are here exhibited, must be permanently interesting, like those sublime sentiments and those great and eternal truths which have been contemplated, from age to age, with udiminished admiration; or like those elevating and beautiful objects in the natural world, that never cease to be beautiful and elevating.

The mission in Burmah is emphatically what the Russian counsellor Papoff pronounced it, the labor of love, and the triumph of faith. But associated, as it is in the book before us, with the biography of Mrs Judson, it possesses the spirit-stirring qualities of romance and of tragedy, with all the advantage, and a mighty one it is, of being a simple narration, of what has really occurred. It has occurred in our own day; and it is likely to be followed by the most important consequences to millions of the human family, not only in this life, but also in that which is to come.

The religious influence of the book cannot fail of being salutary in a high degree. Whoever wishes to promote the spiritual welfare of his family and friends, or to feel anew, in his own bosom, his first love for the Saviour, will do well to read and encourage others to read this Memoir of Mrs Judson. But aside from its religious interest and tendency, it is well worth the attention of the reading community. We are confident that few will rise from the perusal of it, without an impression that, after all the ingenious speculations to the contrary, real biography and history are better than fictitious; that they may be quite as interesting, and ten thousand times more instructive, and more worthy, in every respect, of being read and remembered.

We had expected a volume of no ordinary valuc; and our expectations have been fully answered. The work ought to be in every family, and in the hand of every lover of piety and benevolence. No adequate idea of its contents, nor of the life of Mrs Jud. son, can be given by any extracts that our limits permit us to make. We must refer our readers to the book to the whole book itself for their own satisfaction.

We present our sincere thanks to Mr Knowles, for the manner in which he has accomplished the task assigned him. May God give him an abundant reward in the consciousness of having performed an important duty, and in the pleasure of knowing that this Memoir has been the instrument of great and lasting benefit to the churches, and, at least indirectly, to many an immortal sout that is now far from the holiness and the hope of heaven.

The concluding remarks are so appropriate, that we will make no apology for inserting them in this place. The reading of them here will render them none the less useful in their original connexion.

• Having finished our narrative, it is proper, before we close the book, to make a few observations respecting the mission. It has been a favorite hope, which has cheered the labor of the Compiler, that this work would assist to invite the attention of our churches to the Burman mission, and to arouse the slumbering energies of the

means.

denomination to a degree of zeal and effort, commensurate with their numbers and their increasing power.

The Mission has been very successful. It is true, that it has been impeded by intolerance; interrupted by sickness and by war; and weakened by the death of five Missionaries. But these events show, the more plainly, how great has been the success of the mission, notwithstanding the untoward incidents, which have checked and annoyed it.

If we take the number of converts only, as the measure of its success, we may safely affirm, that few missions in modern times have accomplished more in the same period, and with the same

Twenty-six persons have been baptized, and with one or two exceptions, have proved, by the uprightness and purity of their conduct, the sincerity of their profession; and this, too, notwithstanding their frequent separations froin their teachers, and their consequent dispersion among idolaters. The mission has been established about sixteen years, during two of which its operations were wholly suspended by the war. Have not some ministers preached the Gospel, in this country, for an equal length of time, with all the advantages of a common language, of Sabbaths, Bibles, tracts, and the numberless other auxiliaries to the ministry in a Christian land, without the conversion of a greater number of individuals than Mr Judson has baptized in Burmah? Several of the converts have died in faith and hope. If one soul be more valuable than worlds, would not the conversion of Mah Men-la alone, have been worth all the expense, toil, and suffering, which have hitherto attended the Burman mission ?

But the number of conversions is not the proper guage. In the establishment of a mission, there is much to be done, in laying its foundations. The language is to be acquired, the habits and feelings of the natives are to be learneil; the Scriptures are to be translated; tracts are to be written and printed; and the other weapons of the Christian warfare are to be collected and prepared, before a Missionary can make a successful onset upon the strong holds of Satan, in a heathen land. The first Missionaries, therefore, must necessarily be pioneers, to remove the obstructions, and make strait in the desert a highway for their successors.

• Mr Judson has performed this service for the Burman mission. He has thoroughly acquired the language, and has prepared a Grammar and Dictionary, by the aid of which future Missionaries will be enabled in a brief period to qualify themselves to preach the Gospel. The New Testament is translated, and portions of it have been printed and circulated. The Old Testament is now in the hands of Mr Judson, and will be completed as soon as possible. Thousands of tracts have been distributed. Four Missionaries, besides Mr Judson, have obtained a sufficient knowledge of the language, to hold intercourse with the natives, and are now actively engaged in their schools and zayats. One of the native converts has been licensed as a preacher, and two or three others exhibit encouraging evidence of good gifts for the ministry. Above all, a Christian church has been gathered, composed of converted Burmans, and built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Has not God, then, given great success to the Buripan mission ?

There is an inviting field for Missions in Burmah.— The experiment has been tried, and it has been proved, that the truths of the Gospel can triumph over the errors and subtleties of Burman minds, and the levity, deceitfulness, and sensuality of their hearts. It is no longer a question, whether the Burmans can become sincere disciples of Christ.

The learned and acute Moung Shwa-gnong, and the ignorant and simple hearted Moung Shwa-ba, have bowed at the foot of the cross. The principles of Boodhism have been arrayed against the doctrines of the Gospel, with all the force of ardent zeal, and subtle argument; but the truth as it is in Jesus, has pierced like a two-edged sword through the joints and marrow of the system, and its discomfited advocates have retired abashed, if not persuaded. We may be assured, then, that if the Gospel be preached in Burmah, with the usual blessing of the Holy Spirit, it will become the power of God, to the salvation of the natives.

• Another encouraging circumstance is, that there is not, in Burmah, a very strong attachment to the prevailing religion. A system, like that of Boodh, which differs little in effect from absolute atheism, cannot obtain a firm hold either of the mind or heart. Its doctrines are at war with the suggestions of reason, and the testimony of the material creation. The first principles of Boodhism rest on so frail a basis, that the simple announcement of the doctrine of an eternal God is sufficient to subvert it. Moung Shwa-gnong declared, that the instant he heard this doctrine he believed it. Mr Judson ascertained, that a wide-spread scepticism, in reference to Boodhism, exists among the educated classes in Burmah. The system is destitute of objects to fill and dazzle the imagination; and of motives to touch the heart. The sacred books are sealed from the eyes of all but the learned and the priesthood, by the secrecy of a learned language; and little is known, by the people, of the established religion, except its popular fables, and its external rites. Gaudama is indeed worshipped, and his images are found in the pagodas and in private dwellings. But there is not that variety of deities which gave to the idolatry of Greece and Rome, as it now does to that of China and Hindostan, its poetic attraction cultivated minds; nor that connexion with all the objects of nature, with the heavens, the mountains, the rivers and the groves, which brought it home to the daily business and the bosoms of the common people. The cast that exists in Hindostan, and which constitutes one of the firmest bulwarks with which Satan has fortified the strong holds of idolatry, is not found in Burmah. The Gospel, therefore, has nothing to resist it, in the heart of a Burman, beyond the ordinary depravity of man, except the shadowy abstractions of Boodhism, which has no great, intelligible doctrines to expand and satisfy his mind; no consoling truths and definite hopes to cheer his heart. It is, for these reasons, confidently asserted by travellers, that the king might, by a simple decree, sweep away at once the whole system of Boodhism.

“There is, then, ample encouragement to preach the Gospel in Burmah; and there is now an opportunity for the introduction of any number of Missionaries who may be sent thither. There is, at present, no station within the territories actually under the sway of the Burman monarch; but there are millions of persons in the provinces ceded to the English, to whom access may be obtained, without difficulty or danger. The station at Maulaming is a central point, where Missionaries may study the language, under the immediate tuition of Mr Judson, and may prepare themselves for their duties ; and from which the Scriptures and tracts may be circulated in Burmah Proper. And there is reason to hope, that missionary stations may be soon formed, and the Gospel safely and successfully preached, within the Burman territories.

*This field belongs appropriately to the American Baptist churches.Those who have traced the history of the mission, must have seen

many wonderful tokens of the divine will, that the American Baptist churches should be intrusted with the service of converting the Burman Empire to the Christian faith. The voice of Providence on this point cannot be mistaken. These churches are responsible to God for the support, enlargement, and vigorous prosecution of this mission. They are responsible to the Christian world. Other denominations of Christians have chosen their posts of labor. They have left the Burman Empire to us, and they require us to do our duty, or yield our place to others, who will serve our common Master more faithfully. Will our churches shrink from this responsibility? Will they be false to their trust? They have abundant means at their command. There are more than four thousand Baptist churches in the United States. Can there not, then, be adequate funds furnished ? Are there not among the ministers of our denomination, and the young men at our Academies and Colleges, some who will devote themselves to the service of their Redeemer in Burmah? Are there no more Colmans and Wheelocks, whose hearts burn within them, to proclaim to the dying idolaters of Burmah, the unsearchable riches of Christ? Are there, among our sisters, none who will follow Mrs Judson to the heathen world, and there offer their lives as a willing sacrifice, that they may teach the Burmans the way of cternal life?

The mission ought to be reinforced without delay. Nearly a year has elapsed, since the Board of Missions resolved to send three Missionaries and a printer to Burmah. A printer, Mr Cephas Bennett, of Utica, N. Y. has been appointed; but no Missionaries have yet presented themselves. Meanwhile, tidings of the death of one of the little band in Burmah have reached us. A new station has been established, and other stations might be occupied, were there laborers to enter the whitening fields. Thousands of Burmans are dying every year, without hope. The Gospel of Christ can save them. Shail they not have it ? Baptists of America! to you it belongs to answer this question.

We forbear to inquire, whether it may not have been the design of God, in committing the Burman mission to us, to establish in that Empire churches, resembling in their construction, their doctrines and their rites, those which the Apostles founded; and like them, to be models for the churches which may hereafter be formed in that Empire, and in the neighboring nations. And whether there may not have been a similar end in view—the spread of the pure truth of Godin confiding to our brethren, Dr Carey and Mr Judson, the high duty of eparing the Scriptures for so large a portion of the eastern world.

•We have stated the necessity for an additional number of Missionaries. Money, also, is wanted, to print the Scriptures. A printer and a press will be sent to Burmah without delay; and the printing of the Scriptures will be immediately commenced. Tracts, too, may be printed, and circulated, without any limit, except that of the funds which may be furnished. This is one of the easiest and most successful methods of spreading the truths of the Gospel in Burmah. The history of the mission shows the beneficial influence of tracts. The first inquirer was drawn to the zayat by a tract; and Mah Menla, the most valuable female convert, received her first impressions from a tract. The ability to read is very common; and tracts, if circulated, will be read. Several societies, auxiliary to the Baptist General Tract Society, have been formed, in this country, for the purpose of aiding the printing of Burman tracts; and it is hoped, that ample funds may be furnished for this purpose.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »