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successful labourer. And no one surely will question the wisdom of acting upon this principle, and giving to each missionary, as far as circumstances will admit, that work to do, which he will perform with the greatest comfort to himself and advantage to the cause.
But, to gather up the substance of this rambling letter. The missionary has to contend with certain difficulties, not felt at all, or, but in an inferior degree, by the minister at home. The destitution of moral principle—the inveteracy of vicious habits, sanctioned and strengthened by the reigning superstition-the aversion to Christianity as a new religion and a foreign religion, independently of its own internal character, as so opposed to all the corrupt propensities of man-the missionary's dependance on the will of heathen princes and rulers for liberty of access to the people—the opposition made by an interested and wicked heathen priesthood-the missionary's difficulties as a foreigneras a Christian among a heathen people—as a man accustomed to retirement, and requiring it for the performance of some of the most important branches of his work, but placed in a sphere of active exertion, the management of secular concerns demanding a great share of his attention, and consuming much of his time. These and other things more or less felt by all missionaries, shew, that although there is an analogy between the office of a minister at home and the charge of a missionary
abroad, there are also considerable points of difference-that while they have some duties and trials in common, there are other arduous duties, and not a few hardships and perils, which are in a great measure peculiar to the missionary.
My design in stating these things so circumstantially is to give you a more distinct view of the missionary work. The best way to judge of two objects supposed to be nearly of the same colour, is to place them side by side, and then, although both may be green or yellow, their juxta-position will discover to you a much greater difference of shade than was before suspected.
ON LOW VIEWS OF THE MISSIONARY OFFICE.
My dear Friend,
IN giving you my thoughts on the character and qualifications of missionaries, I have been diffuse in speaking of talents and requirements, while I have more briefly touched upon piety-the posses sion and exercise of the gifts and graces of the christian. You will not attribute this to my considering the latter inferior in importance to the former; but they are less disputed, or rather not disputed at all, while the question of the intellectual and literary character of missionaries has been much agitated; some contending that missionaries should be able men; others that weak men are strong enough. It seems to me strange, that the importance of good intellectual endowments should be decried by those who consider piety to be indispensable. Their argument is, that it is not the great learning or shining abilities of men that will convert the heathen. But what does this argument prove? It proves, among other things, that neither is piety requisite in a missionary; for it is not the piety of the preacher that is to con
vert the heathen, any more than his learning. The truth is, that in every case it is God that giveth the increase. It was so when Paul preached and Apollos watered. But was the learning of the one acquired in the school of Gamaliel, or the eloquence of the other of no value? Did not they consecrate all their talents to God; and did not He make use of these as means adapted to the end of pulling down the fabric of idolatry and building up the church? Did not they and others, as wise master-builders, lay the foundation, and exhibit to all ages a pattern of what they were to build, and how? and what sort of workmen ought to be chosen to carry on the sacred edifice, till it should reach its destined dimensions-its breadth and length filling the earth, and its top reaching to heaven? According to the theory of some, God should have refused to give the increase when Paul and Apollos laboured, lest the talent they brought to the performance of their work should obscure the lustre of his own power and grace in the effects that followed.
I am well aware, at the same time, that many individuals of small pretensions to literature, and not greatly distinguished by talent, have been exceedingly useful in the Lord's vineyard both at home and abroad. They loved and served their Master faithfully, and he honoured them with success, not because they were men of more limited abilities; but although they were so. I am per
suaded, that when any such instance of a man of inferior talents, in the general sense of the expression, being rendered highly useful in his sphere, is narrowly examined, it will be found that he actually did possess some specific qualification for that very work assigned him, to which, under the blessing of God, his success may be traced.
The case of the Moravians furnishes an apt illustration of my meaning; and perhaps a short consideration of their proceedings may serve both to obviate objections to the view I have attempted to give of the requisites of the missionary character, and illustrate the doctrine of the necessity of adapting means to the end.
I have represented piety as the foundation of the missionary character. This we may, without any great stretch of charity, concede to the Moravian missionaries. I have insisted upon a predilection for the work as another requisite, and the mode of the admission and appointment of missionaries among the United brethren is a practical acknowledgment of this principlc. Good natural parts, good temper, great practical wisdom, prudence, self-denial, ardent devotion to the work, have also been enumerated among the desirable qualifications, and I think the numerous biographies of deceased Moravian missionaries, as well as the
* Since writing this page I have turned to the Periodical Accounts of the brethren's missions, to refresh my memory by glancing at the brief memoirs they contain of departed