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That, in fulfilment of the divine promises, God has shown himself willing to accompany the labors of his servants with the renewing and sanctifying influences of his Spirit; and,
That there is ample encouragement to niultiply faithful teachers, and send them to every land, in expectation of a glorious advance of truth and holiness, which shall reach the nations and bring men universally to rejoice in the salvation of Christ.
Though these positions are fully admitted to be true, a very small number are found, who are willing to carry them out into all their practical consequences. Nothing can be clearer, than that men are bound to make exertions for the benefit of their fellow men, in proportion to their own ability, and the magnitude of the blessings which they endeavor to communicate. And when these blessings are inconceivably great, and the probability that they may be communicated is strong, we are bound by the general law of benevolence, if there were no express command on the subject, to make vigorous, cheerful, and long continued exertions, that there may be no failure on our part, in the great and holy work of bringing penitent sinners home to God. It is too plain for argument, that every professed follower of Christ is bound by his profession, taken in any intelligible sense, to do something for the common cause of religion; and every well instructed Christian, who thinks he knows experimentally the value of the Gospel, cannot consistently do less than devote a worthy portion of his time and property to promoting the spiritual good of mankind. And this portion should be appropriated as a matter of system and of fixed principle. What portion of our time and property should be deemed worthy, must be settled by a reference to the most obvious motives of Christianity, and especially to those feelings of love, gratitude, and generous sympathy, to which the appeal is so often made by our Saviour and his Apostles. No conclusions short of these can be entertained for a moment, unless we go the full length of releasing ourselves from all obligation to labor for the good of others; and thus declare concerning ourselves, that we are not partakers of the divine nature, that we have not the spirit of Christ, and that we do not lay up treasure in heaven. This would be no less, than to disinherit ourselves from our Heavenly Father's bounty, to rely for happiness upon our own resources, and to proclaim ourselves independent of God. To such frightful extremities must we be led, unless we are willing to acknowledge, that we are not our own, but are bought with a price, and that no true Christian liveth to himself; no man who is duly mindfui of his spiritual nature and bis immortal destiny, can withhold from the service of the church, and of the great human family, those faculties, which he received by the grace of his Redeemer.
What shall be attempted, then, to induce Christians generally to embark in this cause, in such a sense as to make it their own? This will be a great change from the present state of things, and when it shall arrive, every professor of religion, who aims to be consistent, will as diligently search for the proper channels of beneficence, as for the best mode of educating his children, or of preserving or restoring his health, or of discharging any one of the duties, which he owes to the community. In order that all this may be accomplished, it would seem necessary that the following points should be gained: viz.
1. Christians should be taught clearly to understand, and fully to admit, that it is the duty of the church at large, and of every member as a constituent part of the church, to institute and sustain all proper measures for the conversion of the world; and, with reliance on diviño aid, to push forward these measures, till the work shall be done.
Though there may be extensively a vague acknowledgment of this duty, yet it is far from being well apprehended or deeply felt. We often hear it said, indeed, that nothing but a knowledge of facts is necessary to induce Christians to do their duty. Without denying that a knowledge of facts is indispensable to a full performance of duty, it may be asserted with great confidence, that if Christians were deeply convinced what their duty is, in regard to the heathen, they would not willingly remain ignorant of those facts, relative to the moral condition of the world, and the progress of the missionary cause, which serve to explain and enforce their duty; and encourage to the performance of it. They must be shown the indispensable obligations under which their Creator and Redeemer has placed them.
2. When the minds of Christians are thoroughly instructed, as to the duty of sending the Gospel to the pagan nations, the next step is, to show in how deplorable a condition these nations are without the Gospel;—how ignorant of the character of God,-how destitute of moral culture and moral restraint, how abandoned to gross wickedness,-how entirely without hope in the world to come.
3. When these preparations shall have been made, it will be easier than at present to form a standard of benevolence, by which Christians shall generally feel it a privilege to regulate their charitable efforts. When the greatest revolution ever experienced on earth is to be urged forward, controlled, and guided to a happy issue, all men will see, that the means employed must be numerous, various, and of such a nature as to call forth the active energies of multitudes.
4. All who profess to be followers of Christ must feel their joint and their individual responsibility. Here, a great and threatening deficiency must be acknowledged to exist at present. It seems to be taken for granted, by many well-wishers to evangelical effort, that the business of enlightening the nations will proceed well enough of itself; that there is no need of much anxiety on the subject; and that it is quite immaterial, whether a particular individual, or a particular part of the church, engage in the work now, or leave it to the contingences of future times. No mistake can be more ruinous than this. If one individual, or one church can be released from a feeling of responsibility, why may not all? It should be far otherwise. Every man should feel any delay in the work to be a personal calamity, which he should endeavor to avert by all the means in his power. Especially should ministers of the Gospel, elders in the churches, and all lay-professors, who are distinguished among their brethren for wealth, talents, or influence, consider themselves bound to act constantly under a sense of responsibility. If the work of converting the nations proceeds slowly and heavily, it must be because they do not put their hands to it, with all that earnestness which it demands. The responsibility here intended is far different from that which merely prompts a few good wishes, and then leaves the mind in a state of quiescence. It should resemble the lively interest, which true patriots feel when their country is in danger, or when they see great public benefits about to be lost by inattention and delay. The Christian, who is able to render eminent service to the church, either by his counsels, or his pecuniary aid, should no more think of remitting his care, than a ship-master should abandon his charge, while his vessel is buffeting the waves, or approaching a difficult entrance to a safe harbor. We do not plead for an inconsiderate and profuse devotion of money to religious objects; but for a wise and liberal application of all the means, which God has committed to the discretion of his people. We plead for common sacrifices to be made with enlightened zeal for a common object, and that object the worthiest and the noblest, which ever claimed the agency of men.
5. Christians must cultivate a higher degree of moral courage than is now common. They must be able to look difficulties and discouragements in the face without dismay. They must expect many occurrences, which will appear for a time to be of an adverse character, and which will in fact retard the progress of divine truth. With many cheering proofs that the day of the
world's deliverance cannot be distant, there may still be seasons of disappointment. Impenetrable ignorance, and besotted idolatry may for a time shut out Christianity from some of the rnost populous regions of the earth. Persecution may consign to a violent death the pioneers of the Gospel, and their first converts. Wars may drown the voice of the preacher in the din of arms. There may be defections
among the chosen messengers of the churches to the heathen, and apostates among the fruits of their ministry. The directors of missions may be permitted to pursue ill-advised measures, and there may be instances of unsuccessful missionary enterprise. But none of these evils, nor all of them combined, should be suffered to dishearten any man; nor will they dishearten any man, whose courage is raised to the proper tone. Indeed, no disappointment, which is within the compass of probability, is half so much to be dreaded as the apathy of the churches.
Shall we of the nineteenth century be timid and irresolute, slow to action, and easily disconcerted and deterred? Shall we, who have seen what God has wrought, and who behold what he is now doing, distrust his
power ises? Primitive Christians sustained most furious and bloody persecutions and triumphed over them, thus transmitting to posterity the Sacred Word and the ordinances of the Gospel. The reformers of the 16th century, confiding in God and the efficacy of his truth, stood unterrified with all Europe leagued against them: and shall Christians of the present day, after the power of the Gospel has been so variously and so signally proved, hesitate, and falter, and support with a divided heart the cause in which they are engaged? If we are content to act in this manner, it is plain that we are not now prepared to be worthy instruments of conveying the divine beneficence to our fellow men. May it not rather be assumed, that relying on the promised aids of the Holy Spirit, the ministers and churches of our land will show, that a united people, putting forth their energies for the honor of God and the salvation of men, can accomplish such thing's as have never yet been witnessed on earth? With such anticipations, let us gird ourselves for more vigorous action, trusting that every successive
will furnish new evidence that our work is blessed by the Head of the church, and that his reign upon earth is soon to become universal.
and his prom
BRIEF VIEW OF THE AMERICAN BOARD OF FOREIGN
MISSIONS AND ITS OPERATIONS.
JEREMIAH EVARTS, Esq. Correspond. Sec’y;
Rev. RUFUS ANDERSON, The American Board of Commissioners for
Mr. David GREENE,
: Foreign Missions was incorporated in the year 1812. It now consists of 68 Elected Members,
HENRY HILL, Esq. Treasurer;
WILLIAM ROPES, Esq. Auditor. residing in different parts of the Union: of whom 29 are laymen. Of the clergymen, 13 are The executive business of the Board is perpresidents of Colleges, and six are professors in formed by the Prudential Committee, the CorTheological Seminaries. There are, also, 21 responding Secretary, and Assistant SecretaCorresponding Members—nine in this country || ries, and the Treasurer. and twelve in foreign countries;—and 446 Hon
Prudential Committee. orary Members, constituted by the payment of 50 dollars, if clergymen, and 100 dollars if lay; l meetings, as circumstances require, give
The Prudential Committee hold frequent men. These are entitled to sit with the Board at its meetings, take part in the debates, and
tions respecting the more important correspondact on Committees.
ence; appoint missionaries, assistant missionaries and agents; assign them their fields of la
bor; direct as to the investment of funds; auJonn Cotton Smith, LL. D., President;
thorize expenditures; examine the Treasurer's STEPHEN VAN RENSSALAER, LL. D., V. Pres.
accounts; receive reports from the Secretaries, Rev. Calvin CHAPIN, D. D., Recording Sec.
Treasurer, agents, and missionaries; and once Hon. WILLIAM REED,
a year make a report to the Board of their own Rev. LEONARD Woods, D. D.
proceedings, and of the general state and prosJEREMIAH EVARTS, Esq. Prudential
pects of the missions. SAMUEL HUBBARD, LL. D. Committee;
Secretaries. Rev. WARREN FAY, D. D.
On the Secretaries devolves the correspondRev. Bey), B. WISNER, D. D.
ence, foreign and domestic, (except what re
OFFICERS OF THE BOARD.
lates to the pecuniary concerns of the Board,) penditures of the Board during the same period -the editing of the Missionary Herald-the amounted to $107,676 25.— The expenses of preparation of the Annual Report, Missionary || the printing establishment at Malta, amounting Papers, Instructions to Missionaries, and other the last year to $2,616 49, are paid from a fund public documents--the general superintendence specially devoted to that object by the donors. of missions,--the obtaining and directing of mis- Besides these expenditures, several public-spirsionaries and agents—the collecting of informa- ited individuals make annual payments to furtion which shall lead to the enlargement of ex- nish the means of supporting the officers of the isting missions, and the establishment of new Board; which payments are not publicly acmissions—the preparation of business for the knowledged, either in the Missionary Herald, or Prudential Committee the arranging of meet- in any other' manner. Numerous and valuable ings of Auxiliaries, the procuring of Deputations donations in articles of clothing &c. are made to attend these meetings, and occasional attend- every year, by friends of missions in different ance themselves, and the constant, necessary, parts of the country, which are published in the and desirable personal intercourse with the monthly lists. The value of these donations friends of missions from all parts of the country. cannot be ascertained exactly; but the amount It is, besides, very important that those who are the last year is estimated to exceed $5,000. engaged in corresponding with the missionaries, To the various permanent funds of the Board should occasionally have personal interviews there has been added $11,417 93. The whole with them, counsel them, and learn, from actual permanent fund, the annual income of which only inspection, what the state of the missions is. can be appropriated to the general purposes of This has been found to encourage the mission- the Board, now amounts to $44,926 75. The aries, greatly aid the Committee in giving direc- annual income from this fund is, of course, but a tions, and render the correspondence much mere trifle towards meeting the expenses of th more definite, pertinent, and profitable. On this Board. account the missions among the aborigines of this country have been visited, and Mr. Ander- OPERATIONS OF THE son by the direction of the Committee, has re
BOARD. cently embarked for the Mediterranean, to confer with the missionaries, and collect informa
HOME DEPARTMENT. tion, respecting future extended operations in that quarter. See vol. xxiv. p. 394.-The Sec- The ultimate object of all the operations of the retaries are, also, often called from the Mission- Board in this country is to raise funds for the ary Rooms to confer with the friends of missions
support of missions abroad. In order to accomand transact business of the Board in different plish this end most effectually, Associations and parts of this country: so that, after all which Auxiliaries are formed, Agents are employed, their time and strength enable them to accom- and various publications are circulated. plish, they see much more, in the way of correspondence, preparation of documents, and dis
Associations and Auxiliaries. semination of intelligence, which it is highly important should be done. See vol. xxiv. p. 363. The plan of organizing the friends of missions
into Associations and Auxiliaries, recommended Treasurer.
and explained in the Missionary Herald for Nov.
1823, has been considerably advanced during the On the Treasurer is devolved the correspond- last year. At the beginning of the year 1828, ence relating to the pecuniary concerns of the the number of Associations organized on this Board—the keeping the accounts—the purchas- plan, was 1,317; and the number of Auxiliaries ing, and forwarding all supplies for the several 58. Since that time 154 Associations and 11
stations—the directions for sending the Mission- Auxiliaries have been formed. The following is ::ary Herald and Reports of the Board to socie- a tabular view of the Associations and Auxil'ties and donors—ihe sending publications to iaries in the different States.
missionaries and foreign correspondents--the ...preparation and correction in the press of the
Associations. Total (Auxilia
ries. monthly lists of donations, with various other
Asso. duties of a similar nature. This renders it very
Gent. | La. desirable that the collections of the Associations
41 44 85 and at the Monthly Concert, and the donations New Hampshire,
147 of individuals should, as far as practicable, be Vermont,
76 156 remitted through the larger channels opened by Massachusetts, 202 194 396 15 the Auxiliary Societies; as in this way the
15 Treasurer might save much time from the de
New York, tails of business, and deyote it to more impor- New Jersey, tant concerns of the Board
District of Columbia,
32 113 The receipts of the Board during the year
North Carolina, ending 1st September, 1828, were, from dona
South Carolina, tions, $95,784; from interest on funded property
Georgia. and other sources, 2,503 76; from legacies, $3,721 88; making the total of receipts $102,009
69 64. Of the donations, $48,879 87 were received from Auxiliaries organized on the plan Those Associations which have collectors from recommended by the Board; and the remainder the gentlemen and ladies, but the other officers from contributions at the monthly .concert, and of which are gentlemen, are included among the from various societies and individuals.--The ex- Gentlemen's Associations. The whole number
80 31 68 3 5 10 81
1 1 3