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There are now nineteen students in the seminary, several of whom will probably soon depart to their various scenes of labour.
It should here be noticed, and with great thankfulness, that sonje of the students now at the seminary, as well as some who bave lately finished their studies there, had accepted the benefit of classical instruction at other academies, before their admission at Gosport; and the Society has lately enjoyed the services of some others, who have already completed their education. They receive it with gratitude, as "a token for good,” that the Lord has inclined the hearts of pious young men, whose talents have already been tried and approved, to devote themselves to Missionary labours, and to consecrate to Christ their literary attainments, in order to promote his kingdom among the heathen. And they indulge the hope, that many more, in the various colleges and seminaries of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, will be actuated by the same noble and disinterested motives.
During the past year, the Directors have sent forth into the field of labour ten Missionaries;-Mr. Stallybrass and Mr. Rahmn to Irkoutsk; Mr. Mercer to Trinidad ; Messrs. Milton, Fleming, Beighton, and Ince, to Malacca; and Messrs. Bevan and Jones to Madagascar; and Mr. Gyles, as a cultivator, to Otaheite. Eiglit of these brethren went out married.
FUNDS. The funds of the Missionary Society form a subject which its Directors must ever regard with peculiar earnestness; and its intelligent friends will fully share in their feelings.
In referencc to this important topic, the Directors are sensible that they have reason, and they are conscious that they have the best inclination, to express their obligations to the friends of the Society throughout the kingdom, for the liberality which they have always manifested towards it. The propriety of their making this acknowledgment will not be considered, however, as lessening the expediency of their offering some observations on the present state of their funds, and on the relative proportion which they bear to the present and future operations of the Society. The importance of such considerations will indeed be obvious after the Directors have stated, that there is a diminution in the income of the Society, so far as it arises from Annual Subscriptions and other Voluntary Contributions for the year just expired, when compared with that of the preceding year; and a still greater defalcation in the same source of supply, when compared with the proceeds of the year, ending April 1, 1816. That such would be one of the results of the serious distresses which have prevailed during the last two years, through the country at large, it was natural to expect; and it leads the Directors as confidently to look for the return of former abounding liberality, in proportion as the pressure
which has restrained it is removed ; and that the realization of this hope is not of less moment to the progress of the Society's operations, than it is desirable to the feelings of its friends, the following observations will, it is presumed, sufficiently evince.
It was an expectation formed by the founders of the Society, and long cherished by its Directors, and also one which appeared so reasonable that nothing but contradictory experience could have weakened it—that the expenses of our Missionary settlements, and especially of those formed in countries where a considerable population is found, would be merely temporary; and that a few years would, at least, render the several stations self-supported, if not contributory to the expenses of spreading the Gospel embraced, by themselves, among their kindred heathen. Thus, it was presumed, that the Funds, disengaged from the earlier stations, would be applicable to the formation of new ones; and an unlimited progress in the Society's operations be provided for, without any considerable progressive augmentation of income. But this hope has not been realized in the case of any mission yet undertaken by the Society. On the contrary it is found, not only that the Missionaries derive little or no support from the places in which they reside, but that their claims on the Society augment in proportion as their families enlarge. It may also be observed (as it stands in near relation to the subject) that the families of the Missionaries are occasioning further and very serious demands on the funds of the Society, which are urged upon the Directors with considerable importunity, not merely by various Missionaries abroad, but by their friends at home; and which, if met, even to a limited extent, will, from the large and increasing number of those to whom they refer, become a heavy and growing charge upon them. These circumstances afford weighty points of consideration to the members of the Society at large; and they impose upon the Directors the necessity of distinguishing, in tbeir estimates of the expenses and income of the Institution, between those charges which, arising from the missions already established, must be considered as permanent, and those which, depending on the undertaking of new missions, may be regarded as conditional, or contingent. The charges of the first class, while they are peremptory, as having the force of positive engagements, to which all the resources of the Society are pledged, are already of a very great amount; and they will be augmented every year by each new mission, in which expenses of the latter class are incurred. Indeed, it may be stated, as a point not to be viewed with indifference, that, added to the cost of the education of the Students already engaged, and the charges of management, (which must also be considered of the same class,) the actual amount of this division in the expenditure of the Society, during the last year, amounts to three-fourths of its revenues from ordinary sour
It follows, therefore, that limitations are approaching, and that not slowly, to the extension of the Society's operations, which will ill comport with the enlarged and benevolent hopes and expec
tations of its members; or that the reserved funds, which afford solidity to the system, must be progressively absorbed, unless the growing disproportion be checked by a decrease in the expenditure of the existing missions, or by a renewed and progressive advance in the income of the Society. It will be the duty of the Directors to do every thing in their power consistently to economize, as well as enlarge the funds; but in the latter of these labours, especially, they must chiefly rely, in due dependance on Divine Providence, on the zeal and energy of their Christian brethren through the United Kingdom by whom the Institution has been founded and is supported. And it is in order to show to their constituents in every part of the country, more clearly than they would most probably otherwise apprehend it, the need which really exists, not merely for the continuance, but the augmentation of liberality, that this view of the financial prospects of the Society bas been given by the Directors; judging that, as their close inspection of its affairs causes them to foresee the advancing evil, it is their duty to give timely notice of it to the members at large, in order that, by their zealous efforts in supporting the funds, they may counteract its silent though certain operation.
It is besides proper, on the part of the Directors, not longer to defer placing before the Society at large a view of its financial prospects, inasmuch as mistaken opinions of an existing superfluity have been formed, and objections founded on them have been avowedly urged for the purpose of restricting the liberality of the religious public.
As to the means of effecting the desired end, the Directors cannot but look with earnestness to the increase of Voluntary Associations throughout the country. Experience has proved such Associations to be among the most effective means of replenishing the funds of all institutions of magnitude which have been called into action. Nor is the value of the principle on which they are founded to be estimated by its influence in merely a pecuniary respect, important as that is; it is of still higher utility, as a source of those feelings of interest in the object itself, which are best maintained by a visible relation to the instruments and measures by which that object is promoted. It enlarges the sphere of the privileges of the great Christian community; it makes a personal cooperation in the measures by which the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be pomoted, the happiness and the honour of the many, which, till of late years, were regarded as the exclusive property of the few; and as it precludes no rank, so it debars no age from that distinction. There is also another ground on which a zealous activity in the formation of Auxiliary Institutions may be pressed on the friends of the Missionary Society ;-that it is necessary, in order to preserve the just proportion between the progress of our Society and that of others following in the same career of Christian pbilanthropy, whose energy and activity in applying the principle to their respective Institutions, ought not only to be admired, but also imitated.
Leaving with their zealous friends these observations, the Directors beg to assure them, that no inference resulting from them shall induce them to relax in their best endeavours to fulfil, to their greatest extent, the hopes and expectations of the Society, in carrying into effect the plans already formed for new and interesting missions, and in embracing those farther opportunities which the Great Head of the Church may open to them, relying on his continued favour, and the affectionate support of British Christians.
Having recited the proceedings of this Society in the great work of evangelizing the heathen, we cannot refrain from expressing our unseigned pleasure in witnessing the progress and success of other Societies in our own country, and abroad. We perceive with delight the zeal with which they are animated, the liberality with which they are supported, and the blessed effects which have already attended their labours. The great object which for many ages and generations seemed to be unnoticed, or was thought anattainable, has now taken full possession of the minds of our fellow Christians, of almost all denominations, and we hope will become a kind of national-of universal concern. We cannot, therefore, but indulge the hope, that the glorious season, long predicted, is at hand, when the name of Jesus shall be exalted in every land, and by every tongue.
Whilst the Directors reflect with pleasure on the extent to which the efforts of the Society have been carried, and on the continuance of that efficient support which has been derived from the annual subscribers, from numerous congregations; and the auxiliary societies in town and country, to whom we most thankfully make our acknowledgments, we beg leave to remind our friends, that what has already been achieved bears no proportion, or at most a very small proportion, to the crying necessities of a perishing world, “ lying in wickedness."
The countries in which our Missionaries are now placed, require many additional labourers. India Proper, and India beyond the Ganges, as well as Africa and the West Indies, demand many, many more Missionaries, there being almost every where a disposition to hear the Gospel; while islands and countries yet unattempted by us, Sumatra, Borneo, and Penang ; Persia, Tartary, Abyssinia, Egypt, Greece, South America-regions containing hundreds of millions of souls, excite the commisseration and claim the help of British Christians. Let us, therefore, beloved brethren, steadily persist in the course we have commenced ; and instead of relaxing our efforts, let us redouble our zeal ; let us abound yet more and more in the work of the Lord, for as our labour has not been, so are we confident it will not be, in vain in the Lord.
METHODIST MISSION IN HAYTI.
From the London Methodist Magazine. Extract of a Letter from Mr. John Brown, dated Port-au-Prince,
Murch 11, 1818. The clear and scriptural manner in which the members of our society speak their experience, would not disgrace persons of their rank in England. Last Monday evening, to a young man who told us he experienced much happiness, I said, suppose I were to ask you this question, you tell me you experience much happiness, but what is the cause thereof, and whence does it proceed, what answer would you give me? He simply replied, “ I believe that God has pardoned my sins, for the sake of Jesus Christ.” To an elderly woman who prosessed to be happy, I proposed in substance the same question. She answered, "God has given me to see the greatness of my sins, but he has had mercy on me, and pardoned them, and I believe he will keep me to my life's end." This woman was a slave before the revolution, and has advanced to syllables of three letters in our Sunday School.—Another young man, who for several weeks has spoken satisfactorily of his acceptance with God, told us, that he saw the vanity of worldly things, and was bappily delivered from his former entanglements; that he was determined to trample the world under bis feet, and to cleave to the service of God unto his latest moment. I said, you certainly have undertaken a very great and important work, what hope have you that you shall be able to accomplish it, and from whence do you expect assistance ? he replied, " From God.” I select these instances, not as rare, but recent : thank God, we witness such every time we meet. Pierre Bremond, the chanter, whom we have mentioned in former letters, reads his Bible diligently. 'I cannot help admiring the heavenly wisdom he derives from it. He manifests great zeal in conversing with people on religion, and boldly attacks the two reigning sins of the country, Sabbath-breaking and concubinage. Nor does he fail to bring against them not only the authority of God's word and our sermons, but of the Roman Catholic Churcb also. Jean Baptiste, a young black man of about twentyone, also studies his Bible. He bas been exposed to persecution, but has bitherto remained unmoved. His occupation, that of a land-measurer, causes him to be much in the country, and in different places; he pleads the cause of religion where he goes, and recently has begun to give a word of exhortation on the estates where he could collect the cultivators.-We have some hopes that in the issue he may prove the forerunner of the Messiah in the desert of the Republic of Hayti. Our prayer books are very much admired : our Hymn books also. Unhappily, four copies of the Holy Bible, printed for the use of the French prisoners in England, are all our store. А
young woman begged the loan of one ; in five weeks she returned it, having transcribed every verse it contains. I have seen her copy.
On Saturdays and Sundays, t'e market days,companies of country people, both from the mountain and plaio, five or six, or more, in a