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Church Missionary Society













THE rapid sale of the following small work made it impossible for the Author to revise sooner what he had written. It was indeed originally composed in the midst of numerous engagements, and under the pressure of family affliction; and though he was able to avail himself of the assistance of two or three judicious friends, yet he is well aware that many things were omitted which would have found a place in a more deliberate composition. His absence from London during the greater part of the week which has elapsed since the first appearance of the work, has prevented an earlier attempt to supply in some small measure its defects. He is still sensible how entirely it fails of doing justice to the immense importance of the general cause of Missions, the interest of which he deems to be intimately involved in the local occasion which gave rise to the publication.

It is proper to add, that the whole argument, with all that is material in the detail, remains unchanged in the present edition.

Chapel Street, Bedford Row,
Monday, Jan. 12, 1818.



&c. &c.

THE Reverend the Archdeacon of Bath having published an Address, which he delivered at a meeting held in that city on Monday, the 1st of December, 1817, it may seem requisite, in order that the statements of that publication may be properly considered, to take a brief view of the general cause of Missions, and of the circumstances which led to the formation of the various Associations in connection with the Church Missionary Society.

It had long been the reproach of the christian church, that so little had been done for propagating the faith among heathen nations. The zeal which animated her members in her earlier days, seemed almost extinguished; and, after the lapse of nearly eighteen centuries, the last command of her Redeemer, to preach the Gospel to every creature, was yet unaccomplished.

It might have been expected, indeed, that, with the progress of superstition in the dark ages, the pure flame of christian charity should decline; and that the church, either inculcating a corrupted doctrine, or employing unhallowed means, should fail more and more in her efforts to disseminate the christian faith.

But why have not the reformed churches rekindled the sacred fire? Why have they allowed three centuries to pass away, before they have attempted any thing considerable for the salvation of the world? Why has not the holy zeal of their Missionaries marked the revival of that pure doctrine of Christ, which they received in order that they might disseminate it to the ends of the earth?

The painful truth is, that the Reformation has never transfused into its communities the spirit of Missions. The Roman Catholics, with all the defects which we charge upon them, have outstripped us in this race. At the very time when Protestant Germany and England were utterly indolent, Rome was pushing her Missionaries into the most remote and apparently impenetrable regions of the earth. It is with a sort of triumph that Muratori observes, "That, amongst all the marks that serve to distinguish the Catholic Church from sects delivered over to error, the ardent zeal she has ever shewn for the propagation of the Gospel, is one that strikes us most." Undoubtedly the wealth and power of that church, together with its absolute dominion over its priesthood, facilitated its missionary designs; whilst the uncertain condition of the early protestant communities, and the domestic habits of their clergy, proportionably impeded them in such exertions. It is to be considered also that much is to be deducted from the apparent effects of the Romish Missions, on the score of the superstition, duplicity, and force, which too much disgraced their later measures: but still the humiliating acknowledgment must be made, the reformed churches have been lamentably defective in these high and ennobling duties. Surely, as they acquired stability and influence, they should have laboured to equal the efforts of the catholic missionaries in extent of labour, whilst they surpassed them in purity of doctrine and simplicity of proceeding.

We must not, indeed, undervalue the actual attempts of the different protestant communities in their various missions. The patience and faith of Ziegenbalg, Grundler, Swartz, and Gerické, of Eliot, Brainerd, and others, will never be forgotten. But what proportion do the labours of these, and a few other holy men, bear to the immense extent of the heathen world? The population of the globe is estimated, at the lowest, at 800 millions, of whom not more than 175 millions are professedly christian—that is, in the nineteenth century from the birth of the Saviour of the world, three-fourths of that world never heard, to any effect, of his name; never heard of the God who made nor of the Saviour who redeemed them; were never told of their immortal destiny, of their duty and their danger, of the way of repentance or the foundation of hope. Surely this single fact is sufficient to afflict every considerate, every humane mind. And yet, Time stops not in its course -thousands of our fellow-creatures are hastening into eternity every year, every month, every day, who might have been enlightened and blessed with the truths of revelation, if we had possessed more zeal and charity in consulting their everlasting welfare.

Muratori's Relation of Missions to Paraguay. Lond. 1759,

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