Billeder på siden

abilities, to fan the missionary flame around them. Christians of learning and ability should take every proper occasion to bring the question before their friends and fellow christians.

In furtherance of this idea, some might turn their minds to a comprehensive and thorough investigation of the nature, obligation, motives, means, and certain results of the evangelization of the world. Here is a list of a few grand desiderata on this most interesting subject.

(1.) A missionary survey of the world.

(2.) A missionary estimate of the resources, moral,, literary, and physical, of the christian world, for attempting the conversion of all


N. B. This estimate should be formed not on the idea of such a gradual increase and multiplication of means as may possibly, in the course of four or five centuries, amount to something adequate to the extent of the work; but on the supposition that it is our work-our duty to attempt the whole. I do not entertain the enthusiastic idea, that all the heathen will at once become docile, reasonable, ingenuous, believing, as soon as they behold a host of missionaries come to convert them; or that the effect of one unprecedented effort shall operate with the effect of magic on the world. But on the other hand, I think exertion to such an extent would warrant high hopes that God was about to pour out an

extraordinary blessing, since he had caused his own people to make a devoted and simultaneous movement in obedience to his command, to make known his salvation to every tribe, and kindred, and people, and nation.

(3.) An inquiry into the most proper and effectual means of providing a supply of suitable men for the missionary office, and preparing them for its duties. And in connexion with this, the best means of assisting native converts of promising abilities in every part of the world, to give themselves to the work of instructing their countrymen. There is reason to conclude, that in many cases, from not following up partial success at missionary stations, by employing hopeful converts, the work has, humanly speaking, been much retarded.

(4.) A series of popular tracts on missionary subjects, embracing descriptions of the state of heathen nations, the character of their superstitions, the effect of attempts to convert them, the causes of the failure of such attempts, where they have been unsuccessful-the extent of the field of missions-want of labourers to cultivate it, &c.

This object is in part met by the monthly papers of some of the societies; but they are chiefly confined to those who are already subscribing to the cause-such tracts should be universally circulated.

(5.) A periodical publication, in which might be

inserted all such information of a literary, scientific, and general nature, as may be transmitted by missionaries from their several stations, and which it does not consist with the plan of any of the existing Missionary Chronicles, Reports, &c. to insert.

I have long thought something of this kind very desirable. It has been said, and truly, that it would tend much to interest the friends of literature in general in the labours of missionaries, if their communications embraced matters of general interest respecting the countries in which they sojourn, as well as intelligence more specifically of a missionary character.

Missionaries have have been loudly complained against, that they have paid so little attention to this subject; but the best apology for them is, that there has been no proper channel through which these communications could be brought before the eye of the public. The missionary periodical papers find their limits small enough for containing information strictly relating to their missionary work, and as this deservedly holds the first place, articles of a more general nature cannot be admitted. And missionaries knowing this, think it needless to furnish them. But I am persuaded, that were some publication devoted to this branch of missionary intelligence, it might both be rendered subservient to the interests of the cause, by securing more universal attention and respect,

while it contributed important additions to the stock of human knowledge; and might also, under judicious and spirited management, be made a source of considerable annual revenue to the missionary societies.

The details of the plan it does not belong to me. to enter into; but if the hint be attended to, it may become a means of no small efficacy in promoting this best of causes.

It would not be difficult to increase the list of desiderata; but if these few be supplied, they will operate in their own way, and may lead to the suggestion of other things conducive to the same glorious end.

[blocks in formation]

P. S. Since the above was written, I have observed that in the Evangelical Magazine for 1810 and 1811, is inserted a series of papers on the state of evangelical religion throughout the world, which in some degree meets my idea of a missionary survey of the world, as stated in the foregoing list of desiderata. Perhaps there may be other publications extant, of which I am not aware, in which these subjects are treated of. If so, means should be taken to give them the widest circulation. Many excellent papers, which have appeared in Magazines and Reviews, or extracts from them, might with great advantage be reprinted.




My dear Friend,

HAVING given you my thoughts upon a variety of subjects connected with the missionary work, it may not be improper to say something on the spirit in which the whole ought to be conducted. It ought not to be a self-sufficient, worldly-wise, or enthusiastically daring spirit—but a spirit of humble, yet resolute faith-meek devotion-enlightened zeal, animated and directed by love to God and man.

This may seem so obvious as not to require distinct notice; but it may not be wholly unnecessary to state it. To pass it in silence, when so many other topics may have been insisted on, might be construed into inattention to a point of the most essential importance.

The whole undertaking is unspeakably solemn. It is a matter of life and death. It involves the salvation or destruction of all who are engaged in it, whether as preachers or hearers-dispensers or receivers of the word of God. They that preach


« ForrigeFortsæt »