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understand what the nature of this learning is. It is not an acquaintance with mathematical or classical literature that is chiefly required. The chief use of natural science to a preacher, is, to illustrate moral and spiritual subjects: but if other men be not acquainted with the scientific facts which he adduces, these facts no longer serve as illustrations to them. Neither is a knowledge of the classics requisite. For those missionaries, indeed, who are to translate the scriptures, a knowledge of the original languages is indispensable; but for missionaries in general, who preach to uncivilized nations, classical erruditioh is not necessary.
The proper learning of the Christian preacher who
goes forth to the Gentiles, is an accurate knowledge of the Bible and a general knowledge of the history of the world. It was reported to me, as a saying of the venerable Swartz, that the foundation of extensive usefulness among the heathen is a knowledge of the scriptures in the vernacular language, and an acquaintance with the history of nations in any language.” This seems to be the testimony of truth. The history of the world illustrates the Word of God; and the book of Providence, when devoutly studied, becomes a commentary on the book of revelation. But if the preacher be ignorant of the great events of the world, “the word of prophecy” is in a manner lost in his ministry: particularly in relation to the revolutions in eastern nations: for, in this respect, the east has an importance greater than that of the west ; for the east is the country of the first generations of men.
To conclude this part of our subject. The missionaries of this day find by experience the importance of human learning in the present circumstances of the world; and some of them by painful study in their old age, have acquired a competent degree of knowledge while resident in a foreign land.
2. We now come to the second point of inquiry; Whether the Christian missionary ought to be invested with the sacred character, before he leaves our own shores.
To preach the glad tidings of salvation to a lost world, is the most honorable office that can be as: signed to man. The office of kings and legislators is not so exalted. Angels alone, we should naturally think, are qualified to do justice to the heavenly theme; and to appear before men as "the ambassadors of Christ." Let those, therefore, who undertake this embassy, be satisfied that they are called to it of God.
We have already seen the importance of human learning for the preacher of the gospel. It is no less necessary
hat he should appear before the nations of the east in a character of sanctity: for they expect that the man who ministers among them in holy things, should be recognized by his own countrymen as bearing a holy character.
It is proper, then, that every preacher who obtains from our own church official sanction to go and baptize the nations,” should be set apart to the holy office, and ordained according to the order of the church. You may observe that almost all societies of Christians have some form of ordination; and so far, they recognize the office of the ministry as sacred. Nay more, they confine their missionaries to their own ritual or creed; and will patronize them no longer than they conform to it. This is not, indeed, the Catholic charity of the gospel. This is not the character of the true light which shineth on all. But this partiality appears to be inseperable from the very constitution of religious bodies, differ. ing in form from one another. It may be called the infirmity of the visible church of Christ; which is imperfect and militant here on earth. This advantage, however, results from such partiality, that more interest is created and more energy excited, when
the attention is confined to the operation of a single body of men. At this very time, some societies are so intent on their own work, that they do not well know what the rest are doing.
But the church of England ought to shine upon all. Like a venerable Nursing-Mother of the church of Christ, she ought to contemplate with candor and benignity the useful exertions of the several societies not subject to her jurisdiction, notwithstanding their differing from her, and from one another, in matters not essential to salvation.
But, in the great work of converting the Heathen world, men of different stations and offices are required. At the first promulgation of the gospel, there were, saith the Apostle, "some, Evangelists; and some, pastors and tea ers.” There were also what he denominates "Helps for the work of the ministry." In like manner, we may now employ, "some," Evangelists and Pastors invested with the sacred character; and some teachers and catechists, with such "helps” of a secular kind as may be useful. Such subordinate instructors may be sent forth to commence the work; and, in process of time, those of them may return as candidates for ordination, who shall have acquired a knowledge of the foreign language, and a competent degree of learning for the sacred office; and who shall have obtained a good report for piety, zeal, diligence, and fidelity
To this object we would now particularly direct your attention. I can report to you from my own observation, that the most useful and necessary la bors among the heathen, during the first years of Christian instruction are those of the humble teacher and catechist. Whenever, then, you find a man well qualified by knowledge and piety for this subordinate office, you may send him forth with confidence, in his secular character, as a fit instrumena of light in a dark region.
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 casily 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.*
* Ziegeabalg, Shult Swartz, und Gericke
II. We now proceed to consider our second proposition: that if you be instruments of the true Light, you will be zealous in adopting the most effectual meuns of difusing it.
But, perhaps, it may be expected, that, to stimulate your exertions, I should give some account of the darkness which exists in the heathen world.
I have, indeed, seen that darkness; but it is not easy to describe it. No man can know what it is, who has not seen it. It is no less dreadful, than when the Israelites beheld, at a distance, the thick darkness of Egypt from their dwellings "in Goshen, where there was light.” I have been in what the scripture calls "the chambers of Imagery," (Ezekiel viii. 12.) and have witnessed the enormity of the Pagan idolatry in all its turpitude and blood. I can now better understand those words of the scriptures, “the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty;" (Psalm 1xxiv. 20.) I have seen the libations of human blood, offered to the Moloch of the eastern world; and an assembly, not of two thousand only, which may constitute your number, but of two hundred thousand, falling prostrate at the sight before the idol, and raising acclamations to his name.
But the particulars of these scenes cannot be rehearsed before a Christian assembly; as indeed the scriptures themselves intimate: Eph. v, 12. It may suffice to observe, that the two prominent characters of idolatry are those which the scriptures describe; cruelty and lasciviousness; blood and impurity. It is already known to you that the fountain head of this superstition in India, is the temple of Juggernaut. and it will give you satisfaction to hear that the
gospels have been recently translated into the languages of Juggernaut. The christian world is indebted to the labors of the missionaries of the baptist society in India, for this to important service.
But there is a moral darkness in the east, of a dif