Billeder på siden

kind feelings must generally be communicated by proxy, through Directors and official Secretaries of Societies. And a good Director or Secretary, who has the "true spirit of Missions," will, from the impulse of his own love and zeal, even outdo the requirements of the pious contributors to the cause. The Churches and pious Friends of Missions, could never mean that Directors or Managing Committees should be Masters over the Foreign Evangelists, but Fellow-helpers to the Truth; a representative medium between the Christian Public and the Foreign Agents; an important and indispensable link in the chain of operations.

4. A man who does not view the welfare of the Universal Church, or the conversion of heathen nations to the faith of Christ, a greater object than the local welfare of his own branch or section of the church, is not well fitted for a Missionary Director. He who is more anxious to retain talent for the sake of Independency or Episcopacy in Scotland, or Presbyterianism in England, than to employ it for the sake of the heathen world-or who thinks it wrong to request an eminent Minister of a particular congregation, to remove and serve the cause of the Universal Church-does not appear to possess the true spirit of Missions. He has far too low an idea of the service which he is called upon to superintend, to provide for it well-qualified Agents, which, after all, constitute its real and its only "dignity." For a Society, however rich, or a National Establishment, however affluent, are, in reference to Christianity, but like the scaffolding employed to rear a magnificent temple. They have neither dignity nor worth in themselves. They are only useful so far as they subserve the end. If the time, and attention, and property, given to rear the temple, be spent on ornamenting the scaffolding, instead of employing good materials, with able and efficient labourers to raise the building, it is very apparent that the time, and attention, and property have all been mis-spent. The Home Management of foreign Missions, is but as the external scaffolding. Christian Labourers, in distant lands, are those alone who can there rear the temple of truth to

Jehovah. Therefore, whilst a good Missionary will be thankful for all the help afforded him, a good Director will rejoice, for the Temple's sake, to afford every possible facility to him who actually labours at it; and all ought to remember, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it."

5. He who would wish to be a good Director, should not undertake too many offices in benevolent Societies. In London benevolent men are generally called upon for more sacrifice of time than their private affairs will admit of; and when they consent to hold many offices, they are liable to do justice to none. Let there be a division of labour. I have known a party of persons enter a committee room an hour and a half after the appointed time of meeting, and interrupt the business by an excessive haste to conclude it, because they had to attend three public meetings on the same evening. In that case they could not do justice to any, and had better have staid away with their half hour of time from that meeting which required four hours to perform the duty of it. A good Director of Missions should be "warmly affected," enthusiastic in their behalf; so as cheerfully to devote to them the time requisite.

6. A good Director will inform himself as fully as possible of the circumstances of each Mission; the character of the people among whom it labours, the persons who constitute it, their wants, their difficulties, their sufferings, their sorrows, and their joys. He is not a man who merely desires the end, whilst he neglects the ordinary and requisite means.

7. He who directs well, is worthy of great honour, both from his fellow Christians, and from the Missionaries; and he will, no doubt, receive eventually the approbation of his Saviour. The most sincere and purest motives must have influenced the leading men, in the late revival of Missions, to bear them onward, in attending to the duties of their office. Their reward has been in their work; the Saviour's glory, and the eternal happiness of kindred spirits, have, we believe, been ever pre

sent to their minds. Such men boast not of their services to the public, nor regret the discomfort to which those services must often have subjected them. them. Nor have their families any real cause to regret the time taken from their society, and devoted to the general interests of the Redeemer's kingdom; for, "If any man serve me, (said the blessed Jesus,) him will my Father honour."




My fellow servants-In the preceding pages I have advocated, not your individual cause, or my own, but have stated opinions which I think of importance to the propagation of the Gospel. These opinions are the result of my experience, and I offer them only as views of the Missionary cause, which appear to me correct. It is notorious that some of our number, during the last thirty years, have deserted, and others have done injury to the sacred cause; and that in former times Missionaries from the Latin Church, under the famous congregation for the propagation of the faith, the Priests of Foreign Missions, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, appear in Asia to have laboured almost in vain.

The Congregation, or Society, founded by Gregory XV. 1622, was enriched with ample revenues; a vast number of Missionaries; books of foreign and domestic languages; seminaries for Christian and Pagan youths, charitable establishments for the relief of the persecuted, &c. But after the labours of two centuries, beyond the limits of Europe, a large portion of the world still remains Pagan or Mohammedan; and in Europe, the ancient and the reformed churches are, according to credible witnesses, greatly degenerated. "The religious orders that made the greatest figure in these Missions, were the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Franciscans and the Capuchins, who, though concerned in one common cause, agreed nevertheless very ill among themselves; accusing each other of the

want of zeal in the service of Christ, and of corrupting the purity of the Christian doctrine to promote their ambitious purposes."

It is said of these Missionaries, that they perpetually employed the arts of adulation, and the seductions of bribery, to insinuate themselves into the friendship and protection of men in power, that they were deeply involved in the cabals of courts, and the intrigues of politicians, &c. In what relates to the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, much more confidence was placed in the austere sobriety, poverty, industry, and patience of the Capuchins and Carmelites, than in the opulence, artifice, genius, and fortitude of the disciples of Loyola. It is asserted that the Jesuits persuaded the Indians and Chinese, that there was a great conformity between their ancient theology and the new religion they were exhorted to embrace. "The protection of men in power was the great object they principally aimed at, as the surest method of establishing their authority, and extending their influence. And hence they studied all the arts that could render them agreeable or useful to great men; hence their application to mathematics, physic, poetry; to the theory of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the other elegant arts; and hence their perseverance in studying men and manners, the interests of princes, and the affairs of the world, in order to prepare them for giving counsel in critical situations, and suggesting expedients in perlexing and complicated cases. It would be endless to enumerate all the circumstances that have been complained of in the proceeding of the Jesuits." Such is the report of ecclesiastical historians, but I am of opinion that the Catholic Missionaries, with all their faults, have been greatly calumniated.

One class of the Catholic Missionaries in Asia, adopted (it is said) the system of a "wilfull povertie," &c. the other class appeared as "men of the world," but both failed. There are modern patrons of Missions, who possess authority in foreign colonies, who write home for "gentlemanly Missionaries," who shall attend to the "higher classes" of natives, instead of preaching the Gospel to the poor. Now

« ForrigeFortsæt »