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of remaining; but, induced partly by considerations of health, and partly by motives of public service to the church, would visit their brethren in distant lands, to inform themselves fully of their state and progress, to animate and exhort them, and to report to their respective societies concerning new plans of usefulness. As there ought to be no jealousy among men promoting the same object, the same ship might, in her voyage, visit all the stations in her way, render every grateful service, communicate with all, afford supplies to all. There are, at this time, upwards of thirty different places where missionaries are preaching in foreign lands. . If but a single ship were employed for the general use of all the socie-ties, it might be an auspicious beginning.
In adopting means for regular communication with our missionaries, we have the example of the oldest societies: the “society for promoting Christian knowledge," and the society of the "united brethren." The former sends out an investment to their missionaries in India, regularly every year; and has so done for a century past. These supplies consist not only of books, stationary and materials for printing; but they include articles of household economy, and for female use, which are forwarded, under the name of presents, to the families of the missionaries.
The rev. Mr. Kohloff, the worthy successor of Swartz, assured me, that he considered the well-being of that mission, during so long a period, to have been much promoted by this parental and affectionate intercourse. The “society for promoting Chris. tian knowledge” have no ship of their own; but they are favored with the necessary freight every year in the ships of the East India company. Let us then imitate the example of this venerable society; which, in regard to the support of missions, and the translation of the scriptures, is the mother of us all.”
But the strongest recommendation of the measure
which I propose to you, is the successful example of the “united brethren.” That episcopal body has had a ship during a period of more than fiftears, chartered for the sole purpose of carrying the gospel to Labrador, and other foreign lands. The ships Harmony and Resolution have been employed in this important service; a service far more honourable than any that has ever been achieved by any ship of war, commerce, or discovery.
Nor ought we to omit, on this occasion, to make honorable mention of the liberal plans of the "London missionary society." The first operation of that body, in sending forth, at once, a "great compa. ny of preachers," displayed a noble spirit of zeal and unanimity; and manifested a laudable and wellgrounded confidence in the ultimate success of the great design. The merits of that Christian expedition have not, perhaps, been sufficiently acknowledge at home. But the sending forth a ship to the Pacific Ocean at that day, was a great event in the history of the gospel; and will no doubt be recorded in the books of the heathen world in ages to come.*
That I may lead your thoughts to the serious contemplation of the measure which I have proposed, I shall now recite to you a prediction of the prophet Isaiah, and the interpretation of it by the Jews of the east.
The prophecy to which I allude is in the xviiith chapter of Isaiah. It begins in our translation with these words: “Woe to the land;" but it ought to be translated “O land!” being an address of affection and respect. “O land! shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia; that sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes
• Our approbation here refers not to the place selected for the first mission, but to the spirit which sent it forth Those, who now blame the choice of the place, did not themselves, perhaps, anticipate the disculties. A country which is protected by a regular government is indeed the mos: suitable. But a reg. ular government will not always receive a mission, of which we have several examples. Besides the gospel is to be preached to barbarians as well as to Greeks; and savages bave becorre obedient to the gospel in every age.
upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto:" and concludes with these words: "In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of Hosts of a people scattered and peeled, to the place of the name of the Lord of Hosts, the Mount Zion."
This prophecy, which had been considered by some of the learned in this country, and first, I believe, by the late bishop Horsley, as referring to these times, I proposed to the Jews in the east; who after some deliberation, gave me the following explaaation:
“The prophecy in this chapter ́relates to the restoration of the Jews to their own country, tion here addressed, by a kind compellation, 'O thou land,' was to send a message to the Jewish people; and this was to be a message of kindness."
I then desired they would describe the character of the nation which was to send a message of kindness to the Jewish people, according to the prophe. cy. They stated these four particulars concerning it.
1. That the place of the nation was beyond the rivers of Cush, that is, to the west of the Nile; for the prophet was on the east of the Nile when he delivered his prophecy.
2. That it was a land "shadowing with wings;" which signifies that it should be of great extent and power, and capable of giving protection.
3. That it was a maratime nation "sending ambassadors by sea in vessels of bulrushes:" a figure for light ships, not burthened with commerce, but light for dispatch; carrying merely the TIDINGS OF GLADNESS: and that the ambassadors sent in them were messengers of peace. When I expressed some doubt as to the character of these ambassadors, we referred to the old Arabic translation of Isaiah, which happened to be at hand; where the word for ambassadors is rendered prophets or preachers.
4. That the issue of this embassy would be the restoration of "the people scattered and peeled to the Lord of Hosts in Zion:” and that, at the period when this should take place, there would be a shaking of the nations; for it is said, in the third verse, that God "would lift up his ensign on the mountains, that all might see: and blow his trumpet, that all the inhabitants of the earth might hear.”
When I endeavoured to shew that all these characters centered in Great Britain, and that she was actually sending forth messengers at this time to all nations, the Jews were alarmed at their own interpretration, and began to qualify some parts of it. I then demanded what they really believed to be intended by the mission of these "ambassadors."They answered, that they understood the embassy in a political sense only; and that the nation spoken of was merely to afford its aid to restore them to their temporal kingdom.
But, whether the prophecy have a temporal or a spiritual sense, I submit to your judgment, and not to that of the Jews in the east.
Let us then, my brethren, obey the prophetic mandate, and "send forth ambassadors in light ships; saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and pleeled," dispersed in all lands: “to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto.” For from the time since they came forth from Egypt, accompanied by signs and wonders, they have been a terror and a wonder to all. Send ye ambassadors “to a nation expecting and looking out” for the Messiah, who is also the desire of other nations; and announce ye to all, That the "desire of all nations is come." Hag. ii, 7. “Lift ye up the ensign upon the mountains, that all the inhabitants of the world may see; and blow ye the trumpet,” the great trumpet of the world's jubilee, “that allthe dwellers on the earth
Let not your
"Ye are the light of the world.” light be confined to this spot, in a northern region.Put away the reproach, that ye are known out of your country, merely as a commercial people. Even as a commercial people, you are, at this moment, shut out of the countries of Europe. Obey then the present providence, and resort to the ports of distant lands; carrying the message of kindness to a people who stretch forth their hands, and will receive your commerce, and the gospel together.
It is not your duty to wait till the nation sends forth messengers at the public expense. Perhaps that period may never come.
It may be, that our church knoweth, not how to promote such an object but by the instrumentality of subordinate societies: even as the state sometimes administers the government of a remote branch of the empire by the same means. Two societies were instituted about a hun. dred years ago;
but the period for great and successful exertion was evidently not then come.
You are a third society, established in more auspicious times; and others
follow. It is not your duty, I say, to wait till the nation, in its public capacity, begins to send forth preachers to the Gentiles. If that event should ever arrive, you prepare the way. If individuals did not begin, the universal church would not follow. What measure of great public utility was ever executed by church or state; which was not first proposed by individuals? which was not firt resisted by the greater body; and, perhaps, defeated for a time?
Consider, finally, the example of the great author of our religion. Draw your light from Christ. At the first promulgation of his gospel to the heathen world, he gave his commission to individuals. During three hundred years, the minister of the gospel was committed to individuals: I mean they were not associated by any authority of temporal empire: and by them the conversion of the nations was effected,