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CONTAINING DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE CONVENTION.
The Committee to whom was referred the consideration of State Conventions, beg leave to
REPORT: That after a deliberate investigation of this most important subject, they have experienced great pleasure in contemplatiog the existence of ten efficient and prosperous State Conventions, embracing the growing interest of the Baptist denomination in as many of the United States. Some of these have contributed to missionary and other objects contemplated in the formation, and under the supervision of this Convention. A statement of what has been accomplished by the different State Conventions to promote the empire of Immanuel would have been made; but the Committee found it impracticable, owing to the absence of their several Annual Reports.
Your Committee respectfully suggest the importance of recommending not only the formation of Conventions in all the remaining States of the Union where such Institutions do not already exist; but, that each State Convention be affectionately solicited to transmit to this body at its triennial sessions, an account of the number of Baptist churches and members within its bounds, together with the amount of moneys expended for Foreign and Domestic Missions, Education, Tract, Bible, and other important objects connected with the interests of our denomination; and also a statistical account of Sabbath Schools, Bible Classes, and revivals of religion within their respective bounds; so that an accurate view of our denomination in this country, at least so far as information can be obtained, may be spread upon the pages of our Report.
Your Committee beg leave further to report, that in their opinion this Con. vention does in the most perfect manne:, embrace within the bounds of its purview, all that appears to be contemplated in the recommendation of the Hudson River Baptist Association, as expressed in the 38th Article of the Minutes of that body, for 1828. All which is respectfully submitted,
ALFRED BENNETT, Chairman.
BURMAN MISSION. The Committee to whom was referred the consideration of the Burman Migsion, beg leave to
REPORT : We regard the subject of the Burman Mission as one of the very first magnitude, and preferring claims to your regard, which should be carefully pondered and duly appreciated. Your Committee are of opinion that a period so rich in success, so bright with expectation, and so inviting to benevolent and renewed effort, has seldom distinguished the history of any Christian enterprise; and it is certain that the Burman Mission never before assumed an aspect so much adapted to the excitement of intense solicitude.
The tide of intelligence which has lately rolled in upon us froin that remole and gloomy region, sweeps off from our minds those misgivings which previously paralyzed our endeavors, and once more rouses to action our dormant affections. Indications which cannot be mistaken, are marking out the Burman Empire as the future scene of Gospel churches, and many redeemed souls, as we ardently trust, have already followed the Saviour's footsteps amid the baptismal waters, and are now enjoying the peace of God, which passeth understanding.
Upon a careful examination we most cordially approve the plan of operations which your Missionaries in that quarter have pursued, and upon which your Board have bestowed their sanction. The changes which have taken place,
and the locations which have been sought, in consequence of the fluctuating residence of the natives, have all been the obvious result of prudence, and an untiring devotion to the missionary cause. The brethren have evinced in all their transactions the frankoess, humility, and self-denying spirit of faithful ministers. All their plans have been submitted to your Board, and no important step taken without its advice and approbation. Whilst this disposition on the part of the Missionaries to conform to the intentions and directions of your institution remains as it now is, a harmonious and successful prosecution of the work may be confidently anticipated.
Were it possible, we would rouse the slumbering energies of every Baptist in the Union, in reference to the mission now under consideration. This globe hardly presents a more ample field for exertion in the cause of Christ. The climate of the country is, on the whole, not adverse to human life. The numerous rivers with their branches which water it, afford an abundance of fer. tile land, capable of supporting a dense population; and hence, contiguous towns and villages, containing from 200 to 1000 inhabitants, may be found to an almost indefinite extent. Rice and poultry, with a great variety of fruits and vegetables, are the principal articles of food. The state of those useful and domestic arts by which the accommodations indispensable to comfort may be obtained, is sufficiently advanced for all the coinmon purposes of life. In addition to the facilities already stated, we must not omit the fact that most of the male Burmans are able to read. By this circumstance they will be rendered accessible by means of the press, and tracts and copies of the Scriptures may be diffused among them to any extent.
We feel a peculiar interest in presenting to the notice of the Convention the custom of the Missionaries in bringing into the field of active labor the services of native Christians. Whilst such assistants may be employed at an expense seven eighths less than what is necessary for American or European teachers, they exert a more direct and powerful influence. The continuation of this practice is therefore strongly recommended. A brother in New-York, with his wonted liberality, engages to furnish annually, should no intervention of Provi. dence hinder, the sum requisite to support one native preacher. This will be about $100 per annum, and we do confidently hope that many others will be found both able and willing to imitate this noble example.
The plan submitted by Mr Boardman, for the establishment of native schools is wise and judicious. It requires no arguinents to prove that the most likely way to the demolition of the abominable idolatries which enfetter the souls of the heathen is the introduction of rational and Christian education among the rising generation. We therefore earnestly recommend the adoption of the plan as far as may be compatible with the means at comunand.
We find that the accounts of your Missionaries have been faithfully and regularly transmitted to your Board, and that the utmost economy and frugality have prevailed in their expenditures.
In conclusion, the Committee would express their unfeigned and heartfelt thankfulness to the God of all grace for the signal manifestations of his favor vouchsafed to the Burman Mission, and pray that he may continue to smile upon your Missionaries and native teachers and Board of Managers in all their future efforts to spread abroad the savor of the Redeemer's name. Respectfully submitted,
S. H. CONE, Chairman.
ON ENLARGING OPERATIONS. The Committee appointed to inquire respecting the expediency and the means of enlarging the Missionary operations of the Convention,
REPORT: That they have considered the subject referred to them, with a strong conviction of its importance; and their reflections and consultations have led them to a decided opinion, that the Convention owes it to the Head of the church, to the denomination which it represents, and to a world lying and perishing in wickedness, to multiply its efforts to diffuse the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. They feel, that our churches possess ample ability to prosecute missionary endeavors, of a far more enlarged range than those in which the
Convention is now engaged; and that the time is fully come, when the state of feeling in our churches justifies a determination, on the part of the Convention, to commence immediately additional operations.
The Committee are aware, that the selection of new fields of labor, and the arrangement of measures for increasing the resources and the efforts of the Convention, must be referred to the deliberate judgment of the Board of Managers; but they will, in fulfilment of their duty, suggest a few considerations.
On the subject of Missions at home, the Committee think, that the welfare of our churches, and the general state of religion in our own country, demand the attention of the denomination. An increased measure of prayerfulness and effort, for the spread of pure and undefiled religion over our own land, is demanded of our churches. But it is the opinion of the Committee, that the Convention can best serve the cause of the Redeemer, by limiting its Missionary operations to the Aborigines and to Foreign Missions, and leaving Domestic Missions to the State Conventions, and to Domestic Missionary Societies, which are best acquainted with the wants of particular districts, and can most wisely and efficiently apply their means for the relief of those wants.
The Committee feel, that measures ought to be devised, to bring into closer concert the whole denomination; and especially those portions of it which are spread over the states west of the Alleghany mountains. From that vast region, which contains one third, at least, of the population the United States, no Delegate is present at this Convention; and our brethren there have very little share in the labors and pleasures of the missionary enterprise. Your Committee think, that the Board ought to take this subject into deliberate consideration, and devise measures, if possible, to draw our western brethren into union and co-operation with us, in spreading the gospel of our common Lord. Committees of Correspondence, at different points, might, perhaps, be beneficial.
In regard to the missions already established, the Committees appointed to take them into consideration will doubtless propose such measures for their enlargement, as they may judge to be expedient. Your Committee will merely say, that, in their judgment, two Missionaries ought to be sent to Burmah as soon as it may be expedient, with a view to the stations at Rangoon and Ava; that another should be sent, of competent talents and education, to labour among the Karens, to construct for them a written language, and translate the scriptures; that a proper person should be stationed as an assistant to Mr Judson, in translating the Scriptures, preparing tracts, &c. in order that if one of the translators should die, this important work might not be suspended; that, for the same reason, another printer ought to be sent without delay; and that school teachers, both male and female, of suitable character, might be sent to Burmah with great advantage to the cause of truth. They think, too, that the Mission at Liberia ought to be sustained, and that a successor to the excellent and lamented Lott Cary should be immediately provided.
The Mission Stations among the Aborigines of this country ought, in the judgment of this Committee, to be supported with a liberality and zeal, commensurate with the claims of those unhappy tribes, on the benevolence of the Christian world, and with our special duty, as Americans, to the miserable remnant of those powerful nations, which once possessed the country that we inhabit. Their temporal and their spiritual condition is deplorable indeed ; and they call on us, with the voice of perishing men, to help them. It seems to be nearly certain, however, that they must be removed from their present situation, to some permanent home, before attempts to teach them the religion of Christ can be made, with a very cheering prospect of success.
The Committee, therefore, think that our present stations cannot, with advantage, be much enlarged, if at all ; but they anticipate, with strong hope, the accomplishment of measures, under the direction of the government of the United States, for the permanent settlement of the Indians in some part of the country west of the Missouri. If such a measure should be carried into successful operation, the Committee think that the Convention ought to make all the exertion in its power, to raise these degraded and benighted men to the enjoyment of the blessings of civilization, and of the hopes of Christianity.
China is fast bound in the fetters of superstition and despotism. Direct missionary efforts in China Proper are supposed to be at present impracticable. But God has placed within our reach, in the neighborhood of our stations at Maulamying and Tavoy, a considerable number of Chinese; and from these provinces,
there is frequent intercourse with China. The providence of God seems thus to have made it our duty to send one Missionary, at least, to be stationed at Tavoy perhaps, or in its neighborhood, who shall study the Chinese language, and direct his efforts to the instruction of the Chinese. One of the persons baptized at Tavoy is of this nation, and may become a valuable missionary among his countrymen.
Greece, too, is an inviting field. Her political situation, it is hoped, is assuming a permanent character, favorable to the introduction of the Gospel
. Her moral condition gives her a claim on the efforts and the prayers of the friends of missions. Her political sympathies are in favor of American Missionaries; and her religious feelings, so far as they operate, would doubtless give a special advantage to our own denomination.
The Committee think, therefore, that one competent Missionary, at least, ought to be sent to Greece, who may learn the language, survey the country, ascertain the best modes of benevolent action, and thus prepare the way for a regular and permanent system of operations.
South-America has repeatedly been presented to the Convention, as claim. ing its attention. The great extent of country, and the numerous and diver. sified population, embraced in this general name, make it difficult to determine on any specific plans. The political state of many of the countries in South-America is yet unsettled; and the prejudices of their inhabitants are as yet unpropitious to the successful introduction of Protestant Missione. ries. But light is penetrating and dispersing the darkness. Schools, Bibles, the press, intercourse with foreign nations, and other means, are operating to prepare South-America for the unobstructed entrance and spread of the pure Gospel of Christ. The Committee think that the Convention ought to keep in view its duties to these countries, and to seek for a suitable person, who may visit them, and examine their condition. As a denomination, we know little concerning them, and it is believed that official intelligence respecting their situation, their wants, and the best methods of operation among them, would be a suitable preparation for the ultimate establishment of missions there.
The Committee will not detain the Convention, by other suggestions on this head. They are desirous that the Convention, and the denomination which it represents, should feel that we have merely entered on the service to which our Redeemer calls us ; that wider efforts, more liberal contributions, and more importunate and humble prayer, are required of us; and that our numerous churches ought to engage in the missionary enterprise with more concert, zeal, and efficiency, than we have yet witnessed. " According to the lowest computation of the numbers of the human family, upwards of four hun. dred millions of our fellow men are idolaters or Mahometans. The largest and fairest regions of the earth are yet under the dominion of superstition, and its manifold miseries. By whom is the gospel to be preached to these millions of human beings; and these dark places of the earth to be recovered to the dominion of the King of Zion ? Plainly, it must be done by the Chris. tian church. And will so large a part of that church as the American Baptists, be contented with supporting nine or ten ordained Missionaries, and expending from twelve to twenty thousand dollars per annum, to spread the knowledge of the Saviour? Why should we, who' number so great a portion of the Christian host, come up to the help of the Lord, with a force and zeal, so inadequate to the wants of a world" lying in wickedness—so disproportionate to the strength of the denomination ?
“Brethren, let us resolve, that we will neglect our duty no longer. Churches of Christ, remember that you are not your own. He who purchased you'with his blood, calls on you to engage in this glorious enterprise, with the full measure of your ability; and to advance, with united hearts, and concentrated energies, like an army with banners, to fight the battles of Lord, until the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdom of Immanuel.” On behalf of the Committee,
JAMES D. KNOWLES, Chairman. JUNE, 1829.
INDIAN MISSIONS. The Committee appointed on the Indian Missions, have had that subject under consideration, and ask leave to
REPORT: That in reviewing the history of our Missions among the Indian tribes, for the last three years, we are unable to perceive any great advance in the important work. On the contrary, the conviction forces itself upon our minds, ibat after all the toils and anxieties that have been endured on account of this wretched people, they must perish, unless some more effectual measures can be adopted for their preservation. A few, it is true, have been rescued from their moral death; and the use of the same means, by which they have been saved, will continue, by the divine blessing, to impart spiritual good to a small number of individuals; but that it will effect a complete elevation of the Indian character, and a general diffusion of gospel blessings among them, we dare not hope. It is the full conviction of your Committee, that no measure, wbich has yet been proposed, is so likely to accomplish these objects as the settling of the Indians in a permanent home upon our western lands, connected with a prosecution of missionary labors among them. Under this convic. tion, we contemplate with pleasure the movement which the Government of our country appears to be making towards this object, and we earnestly recommend that the Convention use all proper measures to keep this object steadily before the eye of Government, as well as of the Christian communi. ty, and to exhibit it in a clear light.
The Committee view with deep concern, the necessity which seems to ex. ist of relinquishing the Withington Station. Should the measure be finally resolved upon, we hope that the Board will find other ways opening before them for extending the influence of missions, among these degraded tribes.
The Committee do not deem it necessary to lay before you a statement of the condition and progress of each Station, such an account having been already presented in the Report of the Board of Managers. But we suppose it may not be improper to express, in general terms, our confidence in the management of the Board and devotedness of the Missionaries,
Just at this time, when the Burman Mission is assuming so interesting an aspect, the Committee apprehend there may be danger, lest our feelings be drawn forth somewhat exclusively towards that Mission; and lest by allowing it to absorb our thoughts, we forget in our prayers, and neglect in our efforts, these our dying neighbors, than whom no heathen tribes on earth have a more obvious claim upon us. We hope every prudent measure will be taken by the Board to keep alive in the public mind a sense of the obligations which we are under to this injured people, whose home and country we possess; and especially to interesi the feelings of Christians on this subject, since to them we must chiefly look for the adoption and prosecution of such measures as will tend to redress the wrongs we have committed. As but little seems to have been done of late in the mission cause, by our brethren in the Western Slates, we indulge the hopo, that if the claims of these unhappy beings, who rove about the borders of these States, were properly and fully represented, a right feeling might be elicited in their behalf.
In conducting missions among a people who need to be taught the arts of civilized life, as well as the truths of the gospel, the operations must necessarily assume, in some degree, a secular character. We are glad, however, to have it in our power to state that funds bave been furnished by government, and placed under the control of your Board of Managers, for this very de. partment of Missionary labors. A knowledge of this fact, we conceive, will satisfy the minds of any, who from a desire to see the funds of the Convention appropriated to objects exclusively religious, may have been disposed to complain that so much has been expended for the accomplishment of so little spiritual good to the Indians. Our Government are disposed to teach them the arts of civilized life, but for the instruction of them in gospel truth, reliance must be had upon the contributions of Christian benevolence. These contributions, your Committee think, ought to be solicited, especially as they bave been obtained as yet, in a degree not at all commensurate with the