« הקודםהמשך »
Extract of a letter from Mr. Dawson, July 7, 1817. It is truly painful to witness their superstitions and abominable practices, and not be able to point out to them a more excellen mode of worship, and a better system. How you would be astonished to see their zeal, ardour, constancy, and regularity, in observing their stated seasons for devotion in honour of their vile deities! I can assure you, that the good people in England do not exceed the natives of India in zeal and punctuality in observing anniversaries.
My teacher is a Brahmin of high caste, and has a good knowledge of the language : we converse daily on the Hindoo religion and customs; by which I acquire the language, and much information respecting their religion. I have lately adopted a plan which I find of great advantage; that is, asking questions, and writing them, with his answers, which I afterwards correct, and hope these will be of great use to me when I arn able to talk with the people. The subjects are—the Gentoo Books, their authors and subjects—the Hindoo Idols, Temples, and Feasts-the Gentoo account of the creation of the World, its preservation- and final destruction--the Origin of Castes, numbers, and distinction—the life of a Brahmin from bis birth to his death; all the ceremonies performed by relations and others, and all that he observes himselfthe period wben all the natives of this country will become one caste. A Saviour, they say, is to come into the world, wbo is to write a true book, and teach all the people, and go about to cure the diseased, and pray to God in the behalf of sinners. He . is to remain on earth several thousand years. The Brahmins' deseription of heaven and hell bas afforded many inquiries.
Oct. 2. The returns from our English and native schools were 370 in attendance; this, with our Sabbath school, makes about 400 poor children under our care every week, who are taught the glorious news of salvation as revealed in the Bible. The last lesson the native children learned to repeat without book was John ïï. from 16 to 26 ver.-the very marrow of the Gospel.
DEMERARA. Mr. Elliot says, 'I am engaged on the west coast of Demerary River, in general, three Sundays out of four. The Lord has blessed my labours with great success in this part of the colony. Many, I trust, bave been called out of heathen darkness into his marvellous light.
I go to the Arabian coast frequently.—This is an important station for a unissionary. The estates are large, and the population great. I am told that I may have access to 16,000 negroes. There are also six or seven Indian settlements in the neighbourhood. I once hoped that the Essequibo River might have been crossed with almost as much ease as the Demerary River; in that case I could have divided my labours, and bave preached on them alternately, but this appears to be impracticable.
In another letter, he says, “ On the west coast of the Demerary River there are nearly 9,000 negroes, and I think more than half of them have, at different times, attended the preaching of the gospel. The greater part of them have an opportunity of hearing the Scriptures read, of being catechised, and attending the prayermeetings three or four times a week. I have appointed among the negroes 15 catechists, by whose means some hundreds of the children, and some thousands of the adults, hear the Scripture read, and learn the catechism. You might travel among the estates forsereral miles, and instead of bearing the song of the drunkard, you might hear the voice of praise and thanksgiving; and which is still better, a great and happy change has taken place in the morals of many of the negroes.” This, however, is deplored in the public newspaper. “ Formerly," says the editor, “when the negroes returned from their work, they could sing their country song, dance their country dance, and take their rum with cheerfulness; but now they are poor, dull, miserable psalm-singers."
It appears that the public newspaper has lately abounded with the most abominable calumnies against the missionaries, so as to oblige thein to enter an action against the printer for defamation, " It is asserted,” say two of the missionaries, “that we are spies, traducers, troublesome and ungrateful sojourners, whose doctrines and conduct tend to excite insubordination and rebellion among the slaves."
EDUCATION OF HEATHEN YOUTH.
The Juvenile Hindoo Society of the city of New-York have contributed thirty dollars, to be sent to the Rev. Mr. May, at Chinsurab, for the purpose of educating a Heathen youth in Hindostan in the principles of the Christian Religion.
AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY.
The printing-office, bindery, and depository of the American Bible Society are now concentrated in one building, situated in Sloat-Lane, facing Hanover-Square.
Applications for Bibles may be made at the office of the Agent in said place.
Saturday, June 20, 1818.
THE FIRST ANNUAL REPORT
· UNITED FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETY, Presented at the Annual Meeting, held in the City of New-York.
on Wednesday, May 15, 1818. The United Foreign Missionary Society originated in an overture made by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, to the General Synod of the Reformed Dutch Church, and to the Synod of the Associate Reformed Church, in the year 1816, on the subject of Missions to the Heathen.
In consequence of that overture, a Committee was appointed by the General Synod of the Reformed Dutch Church, at their annual meeting in June, to confer with a like committee which had. been previously appointed by the General Assembly; and their first meeting was held in the city of New York, in the month of October.* At that interview, the outlines of a Constitution for a Society, to embrace the Presbyterian, the Reformed Dutch, and the Associate Reformed Churches, was proposed and considered. Committees, composed of members of the Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed Churches, were appointed to confer with a similar committee, if such an one should be appointed on the part of the Associate Reformed Synod at their annual sessions in the month of May fol. lowing. That Synod having accordingly appointed a corresponding committee, a fraternal meeting of the three committees was held in the city of Philadelphia in the month of May, 1817.
In that Convention, the Constitution was again considered, and, having been approved, was ordered to be transmitted to the highest Judicatories of the three denominations, for their sanction and patronage. . These Judicatories, having severally approved the Constitution, appointed a committee from each, to meet in the city of NewYork on the 28th of July, 1817, for the purpose of organizing the proposed Institution.
In a large and respectable meeting of the friends of missions; convened by public notice, in the city of New York, at the time, aforesaid, the United Foreign Missionary Society was regularly organized, and went into immediate operation. ;
One of the first acts of the Board of Managers was, to direct their Secretary to open a correspondence with the London Missionary Society, the Baptist Missionary Society, the Methodist Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, and the Edin-, burgh Missionary Society, in Great Britain ; the Netberlands Missionary Society, in Holland; the Board of Missions of the General
* The Associate Reformerl Synod covid not act in that year on the overture of the General Assem., bly, because the weetings of the two budies were vearly simultaneous.
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church; the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; the Committee of Missions of the General Synod of the Reformed Dutch Church; and the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in the United States; the Society of United Brethren in Europe and America ; and such others as he might deem proper. This order has been complied with, and extended also to the Connecticut Missionary Society, and to the Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians in North America, instituted at Boston in the year 1787.
Two thousand copies of the Constitution, connected with an address to the Public, have been circulated as extensively as possible among the Ministers of the three denominations.
This Address, after congratulating the Church on the formation of such an Institution, proceeds to point out its unutterable importance. Its arguments are drawn from the state of the heathen and antichristian parts of our world - from the commandment of Christ, and from the pleadings of Christian compassion.
It appeals to the understandings and hearts of those to whom it is addressed, and attempts to awaken the public mind out of that deep sleep, that torpor of feeling that unaccountable-not to say criminal--apathy on this subject, which has hitherto so generally prevailed.
A priated circular, soliciting pecuniary aid, has also been forwarded to many Presbyteries and Classes connected with the Institution, and will as speedily as possible be transmitted to them all.
The Board of Managers, through their Standing Committee of Missions, have appointed agents to itinerate in various parts of the United States. These agents are authorized to solicit donations, and to form Auxiliary Societies. They have appointed the Rev. Dr. Alexander Proudfit, of Salem, Washington County, in the State of New-York, to itinerate in the northern and western parts of that State ; the Rev. John H. Rice, of Richmond, Virginia, to intinerate in the south and west of Virginia ; the Rev. Stephen N. Rowan, to visit the States of North and South Carolina, and Georgia; and the Rev. Elisha P. Swift, to itinerate in any part of the Unit ed States.
These gentlemen bave 'accepted their appointments, and are either preparing for, or have already entered upon their respective agencies.
A communication, under date of the 20th of February last, has been received from the Board of Directors of the New-York Missionary Society, stating that a Committee had been appointed by them to confer with a like Committee of the Board of Managers of the United Foreign Missionary Society, on the subject of transferring to this Board all the concerns of that Society, on certain conditions, and proposing, if these terms should be accepted, to recommend this measure to the New-York Missionary Society, at their next Annual Meeting.
A Committee on the part of the Board having been appointed, and having conferred with the Committee of the Board of Directors aforesaid, brought in the following report : namely, “That the Board of Directors
of the New-York Missionary Society, on the ground of the similarity of objects of the two Institutions, and for
other reasons, are willing to transfer to the United Foreign Missionary Society their books and papers, their missionary stations, their Missionary and Teacher, and all their funds, on the following conditions: namely
I. That this Society, in the event of said transfer, shall keep the covenant existing between the New-York Missionary Society and the Tuscarora nation of Indians.
II. That they pay the salaries of their present Missionary and Teacher, conformably to existing stipulations, as long as they shall continue at their present stations."
These conditions, in behalf of the United Foreign Missionary Society, were accepted by the Board, provided the New-York Missionary Society should agree to the transfer proposed by their Directors.
A letter, dated April 25, has since been received from the Secretary of the Board of Directors aforesaid, stating that their proposals had been laid before their Society, on the 7tb instant, and that in consequence of some difficulties in relation to their covenant with the Tuscaroras, the subject was postponed until a future meeting, to be called at the discretion of the Directors.
As the power of this Society to act upon a large scale in the missionary cause, will very much depend on the number and efficiency of auxiliary Institutions, The Board of Managers have caused to be drafted the Plan of an Auxiliary Society, which will be published with this Report, and which they earnestly recommend to be · adopted by all those who may hereafter co-operate with us in missionary labour.
The following alterations in the Constitution have been proposed by the Board of Managers, which, if approved by the Society, will be laid before the highest Judicatories of our Churches, and if acceded to by them,* will be adopted : namely
I. That the third article be so altered as to make the whole number of Managers eighteen, instead of twelve, exclusive of the officers.
II. That to the fifth article be added the following clause, viz. “ And any person presenting to the Society a donation of not less than $100, shall be a Director for life, and entitled to a seat and vote in the Board of Managers.”
JII. That an article be added after the fifth of the original instrument, to read thus : The President, Treasurer, and Secretary of Societies auxiliary to this, shall be ex-officio members of the Board of Managers.
A letter has been addressed by the Committee of Missions to Governor Edwards, of the Illinois Territory, to obtain information
The first and third alterations have been acceded 10 by the highest Judicatories of the three cleros minations. The second was disapproved of by two of ticm.