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If you look around, you may observe that few of the rich or learned of any society of Christians, however small, and however zealous to diffuse christianity, are disposed to go forth as missionaries. And it is true, that, if the rich and learned did go, they could not assimulate with the poor and ignorant among the heathen, so easily as their brethren of inferior station. They could not so easily associate with their poverty, or tolerate their ignorance.
If, then, you cannot find rich men of your own body to go forth to enlighten the world, you must send men of humble condition; and if you cannot engage learned men, you must send men of inferior attainments: for the gospel must be "preached to all nations:" some men must go forth to be “the light of the world.” Only let it be your care that the men whom you do send, possess the dispositions which our Lord hath enjoined. Let them be “Men of the Beatitudes.” In regard to learning, they will acquire some portion of it in a foreign land. It is proper to observe that a missionary is not made a missionary wholly in his own country; but in the country of his labors, Learning is eventually necessary for him: it is indispensable to great success: but it is not so requisite at his first entrance on his employment. The primary qualifications are evangelic fortitude, zeal, humility, self-denial, prudence, temperance: to which must be added, assiduity in learning a new language with the docility of a child. And, in the period of eight or ten years, whilst that, language is acquiring, some other branches of useful learning may be successfully cultivated.
This opinion on the means of forming a missionary, I deliver in perfect confidence: not only as the result of my own observation and inquiry; but as being sanctioned by the most eminent and useful preachers in the east, during the last century.*
* Ziegenbalg, Shulte, Swartz, and Gericke.
This translation is in the Malayalim tongue, some times called the Malabar: which is spoken not only by the Hindoos of Malabar, Travancore and Co. chin; but by upwards of three hundred thousand Christians in these provinces, some of them belonging to the ancient Syrian church, and some of them to the Romish church; and who will all, as we have been informed, gladly receive the word of God, both priests and people.
Another remarkable event hath concurred to favor the design. The Italian bishop of chief emi. nence in those parts, who presides over the college of Verapoli, which has been established for the students of the Romish church, has denied the authority of the inquisition, and has acceded to the design of giving the holy scriptures to the people. I my. self received from him the assurance of his deter. mination to this effect, in the presence of the British president in Trevancore. So that the version executed by the Syrian bishop, whom Rome has ever accounted her enemy in the east, will be given to the Romish church. Thus, after a strise of three hundred years, doth “the wolf lie down with the lamb;" and the lion, changing his nature, begins to “ eat straw like an ox,” Isaiah xi, 7. And it is for the support of this work, in particular, that we would solicit your liberality on this day. It is for the translation of the Bible into a new language, which is not only vernacular to Hindoos and Mahometans, but is the language of a nation of Christians who never saw the Bible; and whose minds are already disposed to read the book which gives an account of their own religion.
Thus much of the darkness which pervades hea. then lands. We shall now advert to the means of imparting light to them.
The time seems to have arrived, when more effectual measures ought to be adopted for the pronulgation of christianity, than have hitherto been
employed. It is now expedient to open a more di-
there must be greater personal activity, and a more i frequent intercourse with the scene abroad.
' Let ships be prepared to carry the glad tidings of.
the gospel to-remote nations. d. The auspicious circumstances of the present time,
and the blessing that hath hitherto evidently attended the labors of the general body of missionaries, seem to justify the adoption of these means. There is nothing new in the proposal, if it be not, that it is new to us. You have seen with what facility the Romish church can open a communication with distant nations, by ships of war and commerce. You see with what facility commercial men at home can open a communication with remote regions, at a very small expense, sometimes merely on speculation; and if they do not succeed in one country they go to another. “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." Let us follow their example in conducting the commerce of knowledge. Let societies, let individuals, according to their ability, charter ships for this very purpose. Much of the expense may be defrayed by judicious' plans of commerce. But let the chief and avowed object be, “the merchandize of the gospel.”
In support of the perfect expedience of this mea. sure, we shall submit to you the following considerations: * 1. A chief obstacle to persons proceeding as missionaries to remote regions, is the want of conveyance. Were a facility afforded in this respect, many. individuals and families would offer themselves for the work, who would not otherwise ever think séri. ously on the subject. Experience has shewn how difficult it is ure a passage, in a commercial
ship, for a religious family of humble conditions Nor is it proper that a family of pure manners, who never heard the holy name of God profaned in their own houses, should be exposed, during some months, to the contaminating influence of that offensive language, which is too often permitted on board ships of war and commerce belonging to the English nation.
2. The success of a mission abroad depends much on frequent correspondence with the patrons at home. By this communication the interest and reputation of the missionaries are better supported, at their respective places of residence. And they always need this support; for, in every place, they are exposed to some degree of persecution.
3. The missionaries need regular supplies, for their comfortable subsistence, and for the prosecu. tion of their work. The want of subsistence is more fréquent in certain climates than is generally supposed. And the regular transmission of such supplies as are connected with the prosecution of their proper work is indispensible. The object of the missionaries, in the east in particular, is to print and publish the holy scriptures; and a fresh supply of the several materials, essential to the further prosecution of this purpose, is required every year.
In the first promulgation of the gospel, the preachers were endowed with "the gift of tongue;" and thus they may be said to have carried about with them instruments of conversion. In its present promulgation, the providence of God hath ordained the gift of the scriptures: and the materials for printing these scriptures must be sent out to the preachers. There is likewise this further preparation by the same Providence; that most of the languages of the east have become, in the course of ages, written languages. As the art of printing extended the know. ledge of the gospel to our own country, at the reformation; so the art of printing must now convey it to the other nations of the world.
• It may be also observed, that, if the means of conveyance were at our command, many works in the eastern languages, might be printed with more expedition, and at less expense, at home, than abroad.
4. A further and a very important consideration is this. It is proper that a missionary should have an opportunity of returning to his native country, when ill health or the affairs of his family may re. quire it. When he goes out as a missionary, we are not to understand that he goes necessarily into a state of banishment. It is proper, indeed, that he should go forth with the spirit of one, who hath left father and mother for the gospel's sake;" but men in general have duties to discharge to their parents, to their children, and to their relations of consanguinity; duties sometimes of a spiritual nature. We do not read that St. Paul went forth to his work as an exile. On the contrary, we know that he returned home, at least for a time, and kept up a personal correspondence with Jerusalem. In like manner, many of the preachers who are now abroad, suffering in health, and sinking under the pressure of an enervating climate, if they had the means of conveyance, would be glad to revisit their Jerusalem; that they might return again to their labors with renewed strength and spirits. ,;, · It may be further observed, that the communications of such persons would be very valuable to the church at home. This may be exemplified in the instance of the worthy clergyman of New South - Wales; who lately visited England:* and whosecommunications were not only serviceable to the general interests of religion; but were, in many res.. pects, very acceptable to the British government.
5. The last advantage which we shall mention, is that of visitation, by men of learning, prudence and piety: who would make a voyage with no intention
* The rev. Mr. Marsden