« הקודםהמשך »
king. We have not by any means taken pains to keep our object secret; on the contrary, we have improved every opportunity to communicate religious truth to those Burmans who have visited at the mission-house. This we have considered as the path of present duty. Since Mr. Hough's arrival, he has printed a tract of considerable length, being a view of the Christian Religion, which Mr. Judson had previously composed ; and also, a small Catechism for children, and Matthew's Gospel.—These are in circulation, and are well understood by those who read them. Many have called at the missionhouse to inquire more particularly into the new religion. But we have frequently observed in these inquirers a fear lest others should discover their inclination to inquire. Sometimes, when two or three intimate friends have been seriously engaged in conversing on religious subjects, if others, with whom they were not acquainted, called at the same time, they would be silent and take their leave. This makes us feel the importance of trying to obtain the patronage of government. In a few months Mr. Judson will complete a Dictionary of the Burman language; after which, he will perhaps go up to Ava, the residence of the king. O my dear Mary, if we were convinced of the importance of missions before we left our native country, we now see and feel their importance, as well as their practicability! We could then picture to ourselves the miserable situation of heathen nations; but we now see a whole populous empire, rational and immortal like ourselves, sunk in the grossest idolatry, given up to follow the wicked inclinations of their depraved hearts, entirely destitute of any moral principle, or the least spark of true benevolence. Let the pleaders of the native innocence and purity of heathen nations visit Burmah. Their system of religion has no power over the heart, or restraint on the passions. Though it forbids, on pain of many years' suffering in hell, theft and falsehood, yet I presume to say, there is not a single Burman in the country, who, if he had a good opportunity, without danger of detection, would hesitate to do either. Though their religion inculcates benevolence, tenderness, forgiveness of injuries, and love of enemies—though it forbids sensuality, love of pleasure, and attachment to worldly objects, yet it is destitute of power to produce the former, or subdue the latter in its votaries. In short, the Burman system of religion is like an alabaster image, perfect and beautiful in all its parts, but destitute of life. Besides being destitute of life, it provides no atonement for sin. Here also, the gospel triumphs over this and every other religion in the world. This is the grand difference--this makes the gospel good news indeed to the heavy laden, sin-sick soul. O my dear Mary, how precious does Christ appear when conversing with these Burmans, and how one longs to open their blind eyes, that they may behold bis preciousness ! But this is the prerogative of God alone; and if he has any dear children here, any chosen ones, whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world, he will open their eyes, he will show them his glory, he will compel them to rome in. How interested would you be, could you meet with my
little society of females on the Sabbath. Interested I say-yes, you would be interested, if it was only from this circumstance, that these poor idolaters enjoy the means of grace, and sit under the sound of the gospel. I have generally fifteen or twenty. They are attentive while I read the Scriptures and endeavour to teach them about God. One of them told me the other day, that she would not think of giving up a religion which her parents, her grand-parents, &c. &c. had embraced, and accepting a new one of which they had never heard. I asked her if she wished to go to hell because her progenitors had gone there? She replied, if, with all her offerings and good works on her head, (speaking in her idiom,) she must go to hell, then let her go. I told her if she went to hell, after having heard of the Saviour, her very relations would contribute to torment and upbraid her for her rejection of that Saviour of whom they had never heard, and that even she herself would regret her folly when it was too late. If I do, said she, I will then cry out to you to be my intercessor with your God, who will certainly not refuse you. "Another told me, that she did believe in Christ, and prayed to him every day. I asked her if she also believed in Gaudma, and prayed to him. She replied, she worshipped them both. I have several times had my hopes and expectations raised by the apparent seriousness of several females, as Mr. Judson has in regard to several men. But their goodness was like the morning cloud and early dew, which soon passeth away. Four or five children have committed the catechism to memory, and often repeat it to each other.
Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States. Thy kingdom come ! has been the devout and benevolent aspiration of every true disciple of the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, from those who caught the prayer from his gracious lips, to those who now utter the fervent ejaculation, with hearts animated by the delightful prospect of its extensive accomplishment, and souls illuminated and fired by the blaze of the divine glory, as the millenial Sabbath dawns. In the execution of the vast and important, yet truly grateful task of directing the liberality of thousands of their brethren to the objects by them designed, and in their endeavours faithfully, in every point, to attend to the duties delegated to them by the General Convention, the efficacy of the supplication has been made evident to the Board ; and they now acknowledge it, with sentiments of heart felt gratulation to their brethren in Christ, and of devout thankfulness and praise to the Lord God Omnipotent, who, riding forth in the chariot of salvation, deigns to make them fellow-workers with himself, in the magnificent design of redeeming from the dominion of darkness and the bondage of sin, out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation, the sanctified, the sacramental host, who shall ultimately join the universal choir, in ascribing blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, unto Him that sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.”
Conceiving that nothing could contribute more to the generous ardour of enlightened benevolence, and to the excitement of extended Christian sympathy, than the diffusion of missionary intelligence, the Board have commenced a periodical publication, entitled, the Latter Day Luminary; from this, and the documents annexed to the present address, may be collected every information respecting the number of missionaries under the patronage of the Board, their destination, their operations, and their prospects of usefulness. It may not, however, be improper here to present a concise statement of the transactions of the preceeding year.
Our agent, Mr. Rice, has continued persevering in those active exertions for the advancement of the missionary cause which so essentially contributed to its rise : and, whilst prosecuting this course, "in labours more abundant,” “in journeyings often,” “ in weariness and painfulness,” “ in watchings often,” he has our warmest sympathies, and we recommend him to the patronage of every friend of Zion.
Brethren Peck and Welch, whose designation to the Western mission was announced in the last Report, have arrived at St. Louis ; constituted a church of believers, whom the providence of God had conducted thither before them; opened a school; and made excursions among the Indians in the surrounding country; and found them generally willing, even solicitous, that their children should be instructed.
Brother Ronaldson has been actively employed in the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, in preaching the gospel to bond and free, with a success that has rejoiced our hearts; and has established a church in the former state. Though unable, from the sickness of his family, to visit the Creek Indians, pursuant to the instructions of the Board, bis representation to the Mississippi Association produced a mission from that body, which eventuated in the formation of a Creek African Church.
Among the Cherokees inhabiting the wild mountainous country which lies on the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Rev. Humphrey Posey has communicated evangelic instruction with acceptance, and has established several schools for the education of their children. Having similar objects in view with respect to the Indians inhabiting the state of Indiana, and territory of Illinois, the Board appointed the Rev. Isaac M'Coy, near Vincennes, to missionary service in that quarter.
Two young missionaries, Messrs. Wheelock and Colman, whose hearts are devoted to the cause in wbich they are engaged, whose desires are to live for the conversion of the Burmans to God, and to die among them, have sailed to join their brethren, Judson and Hough, in Rangoon.
In this limited view of the proceedings of the Board, it may be observed, that the destitute places of the earth have been sought out, and cultivated by the faithful servants of Christ : the wretched, igno. rant, wandering race, whose inveterate habits of savage life have often palsied the efforts of those who were warmest in their cause, are now induced to submit to the fostering hand of civilization, and listen to that gospel which has brought life and immortality to light: The poor African, once as “ dark in things divine,” as the complexion which Providence has stamped upon him, now beholds the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” In personal bondage, he is Christ's freeman; and, witho out a country in all the world he can call his own, his
expectations are raised to one that is heavenly. And the devoted missionaries in Rangoon, who have planted the standard of Christ in the empire of darkness, and invaded “the habitants of cruelty," will soon, it is hoped, receive an accession to their number.
Such extended operations, it may well be conceived, could not be carried on without great expense; and the Board, ever regarding economy in the use of the funds by the liberality of the public entrusted to them, have nevertheless been compelled, by; a sense of duty, to make large appropriations for these several objects. The calls of Providence were too plain to be misunderstood. They would not resist; they could not but promote the ardent wishes of those into whose hearts God had infused the holy desire of sacri. ficing almost every earthly consideration to his sacred cause. They confided in His faithfulness who has promised to accomplish what they are labouring by his blessing to achieve. They trusted, too, that there existed in those who have hitberto favoured them with their patronage, a spirit that would not suffer them to grow weary in well doing; but which, regarding the success that has crowned their efforts, would only find in each renewed demand upon their benevolence, a fresh inducement for contributing to such heavenly purposes.
Much has been done, but more, much more remains to be accomplished. We have only planted our standard on the field; the battle is yet to be fought. The various stations which have been chosen are only strong positions, from which must be carried on a more extended warfare. If we faint here, our strength is small indeed! If we sit down satisfied with such partial achievements, the laurels already gathered will wither on our brows. If steady, ardent, persevering etforts do not succeed these measures, we have but laboured in vain. What are four missionaries in Rangoon, against a bost of seventeen millions ? and the too, under the strong influence of the god of this world, and shielded by the grossest darkness! Take up the map of North America. Írace the range of the everlasting bills' which divide the waters that roll to the Atlantic from those that discharge themselves into the gulf of Mexico. One missionary is stationed there, more solitary than the eagle that builds upon their rocks. From tbence look southward upon the vast extent of country inhabited by the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, and Chocktaws-and one or two may be discovered shining like stars amid the general gloom. Then extend your view across the Mississippi, to the town of St. Louis; two missionaries have fixed themselves there. But follow this river in its course for thousands of miles ; trace its mighty tributary streams, and you will find their banks lined with tribes of Indians, almost as ignorant of the God who made them, as the animals on which they subsist. When shall these “floods clap their hands ?" when shall these valleys sing, and the mountains repeat the joyful sound of salvation ? Can such mighty effects be produced by the efforts of two men, however pure their aims, however unwearied their exertions?
We repeat it, the work is but in its commencement. Those self-denying men, who, considing in the promises of God, and the fidelity of his friends, have gone forth to their glorious task, must be ably supported. For success in their endeavours they look to Him whose privilege alone it is to make darkness light, and raise the dead to eternal life; but for the means which sball enable them unceasingly to persevere in their labours, they look to us. And who will refuse " a cup of cold water” to the disciple of his Lord, when fainting with the extremity of toil ? Let us rather say, who will not count it a happiness, for which he is bound to give thanks to the Father of mercies, that an opportunity is afforded of participating in that noble design which invites the contemplation, and engages the attention of the happy spirits, who “are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation ?”
There is one circumstance which the Board are particularly desirous of impressing upon the mind of every friend of humanity. Our British brethren in India have found, by the experience of more than twenty years, that “civilization and salvation go hand in hand.” And if this be true respecting a people in some degree enlightened, it obtains with a ten-fold consideration, when applied to the aborigines of our country, destitute of a written language, and every art of cultivated life. It follows, that schools must be established, if we would do them any real and permanent service; and an additional expense proportionate to these objects must ensue. But let not any one be discouraged on this account. By teaching them to read, and placing in their hands the word of God, which by the power of his Spirit is able to make them wise unto salvation, we shall greatly prepare the way of the Lord, and facilitate the progress of his missionary servants. It is but following the bright path that marks the progress of redeeming love on the fields of Europe, and the extensive plains of Asia. By this method, such as were ready to perish, even in lands where the
gospel had long been known, have been nourished with the bread of life. By this method, the heavenly manna distils upon the wilds of Tartary. And it is by disseminating religious tracts, and such portions of the Scriptures as they have, in the short period of their residence in Rangoon, been able to translate into the Burman language, and publish, that our beloved brethren there are diffusing the knowledge of God with success; and their hearts are gladdened with inquiries for “more of this sort of writing.”
Brethren of our own denomination brethren in Christ, and