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that something of a very mysterious nature belongs to the designs of God respecting it.
So far from being under the necessity of looking at the subject in this light, we have been furnished with evidence of the most satisfactory kind, that the experiment has succeeded to the full extent, if not of the wishes, at least of the expectations of those who have tried it; that in every instance where the attempt has been judiciously made by proper instruments, and sufficiently persevered in, success to a greater or less extent has taken place; and that on the whole, the results have been so satisfactory, as to present a complete answer to every objection, and the fullest encouragement to proceed.
I am aware that the opinion now expressed is not in entire accordance with the views of all who think and write on missionary subjects. I have just cast my eye on the following paragraph:
"It cannot but be a question to every mind-why is it that with such large and varied means our success is so trifling? Why is it that while so many societies are at work, and so much money expended, the results bear no adequate proportion to the cost and labour? The fact is notorious, both at home and abroad. We labour in vain, and spend our
strength almost for nought; at least, all are ready to acknowledge that our success is not commensurate to our means, and that a vast machinery is employed to produce an insignificant result. It would be wrong to be satisfied with such a state of things. The error doubtless attaches to us. We are not straitened in God but in ourselves. In such circumstances, we are bound to suspect our motives and principles. Were we co-workers with Godwere we labouring in the spirit of our Master, it would be a mockery to suppose our present success the adequate result of our labours."*
I entirely dissent from the writer of this paragraph, in the view which he takes of the result of missionary labours. The statement, I conceive, to be unfounded in fact, to arise from an inadequate view of the operations which are at present going on, and to be as injurious and discouraging in its tendency, as it is incorrect in its assumption. I am unconscious of having any disposition to exaggerate the success which has attended the labours of christian missionaries, or to form an extravagant idea of that success; but when it is spoken of as nothing, and as bearing no proportion to the cost and labour bestowed; and is maintained that all this is notorious, both at home and abroad ;
* New Baptist Miscellany for October, 1829, p. 422.
it is proper to refuse assent to such sweeping
There is such a thing as being impatient of labour, or of waiting for its results; of entertaining too magnificent ideas of the amount of our own doings; and of assuming the attitude of menace and reproach, because every thing is not according to our mind. It is possible too to forget, that when a gigantic superstructure is to be raised, a platform or foundation of proportionate extent must be laid. It seems to be expected by many, that the cupola should be rising into view, before there has been time to accomplish the work underground. It is overlooked, that a very large portion of the work which has been done by missionary societies and missionaries, during the last thirty or forty years, has been chiefly preparatory in its nature. Much labour has been employed to overcome difficulties and obstacles which stood in the way of the work at home, or of its introduction into various countries abroad. The efforts required to subdue positive hostility to missionary undertakings have been great, and required much wisdom and perseverance. To have succeeded thus far in commanding public confidence and approbation, is alone of vast moment to the future interests of the work. It is but within a
few years that the cause has acquired the appearance of magnitude, or that the operations have been conducted on a scale at all worthy of it, or of the persons who espouse it. Yet we are already told that our success is nothing, compared with our means.
Many of our most valuable and efficient missionaries have been employed rather as pioneers, than as regular soldiers; their time and talents have been chiefly devoted to the compilation of grammars and dictionaries of new and difficult languages; to the translation of the Scriptures, and of other valuable works, into those languages; to the forming of systems, and conducting seminaries and schools for education; in short, to the construction of a vast apparatus of means for attack and defence, which may be more extensively and effectually employed by others than by themselves. What has absorbed the chief part of the time, strength, and talents of the Baptist Mission- . aries at Serampore ?-translations, dictionaries, schools, and school books. The same remark will apply to many of the Missionaries belonging to the London Missionary Society, in India, China, and the Chinese Archipelago. In Madagascar, in the Mediterranean, and in Siberia, a great part of their employment has been of
this description. The same observation will apply to the missionaries of other societies. If I am asked what has the Siberian mission accomplished, to which the writer of the following Letters is attached, I am not at liberty to say all in answer to this question that I could say; but I can confidently answer, that the missionaries have been busily and successfully employed; their translation of the entire Scriptures into the Mongolian, beside other works, will, I doubt not, cause the generations to come to bless their name.
To have overcome the difficulties which were in the way of these preliminary objects, ought not to be regarded as a small matter. I am aware I shall be told that these are, after all, but means, however important they may be in themselves. I answer they are ends as well as means. They are legitimate objects of christian labour; many of them will not require to be done again; and the man who has accomplished them ought not to be considered by his brethren as having lived in vain.
Is it nothing, considering the vast fabric of superstition, idolatry, and oppression, which we have begun to assail, that a slight vibration only begins to be perceptible? Our success ought not to be estimated merely by the cost and