Apr 3, 1804 Sermon Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection
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The PROTESTANTS have not been altogether unmindful of this important duty. In the year 1556 fourteen Protestant missionaries are said to have been sent from Geneva to propagate the Christian religion among the Americans; but it was not known who was the immediate promoter of this pious design, or with what success it was carried into execution. The English and Dutch, towards the conclusion of the same century, and the beginning of the next, sent colonies into the northern parts of America, and with them transplanted the Reformed Religion which they professed. About the same time the Swedes were zealously employed in converting to Christianity many of the inhabitants of Finland and Lapland.

In the seventeeth century some Protestant missions were instituted. The propagation of the gospel in foreign parts was, by an act of the English Parliament, in 1647, committed to the care and inspection of a society composed of persons of distinguished rank. In the year 1701 this society received singular marks of protection and favor from King William III who enriched it with new donations and privileges: But it has not proved so eminently useful in facilitating the means of instruction to the heathen, or sending the Gospel where before it was not preached, as, from its ample means and munificent patronage, might have been expected.

During the eighteenth century nothing singular or distinguishing occurred until its closing period. The Danish missions, planned by Frederick IV. for the conversion of the Indians on the coast of Malabar, was pious and prudent, and has been attended with some success.

The Dutch propagated the Reformed Religion, and planted churches, in their new settlements, in the East Indies, and at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1621 a church was formed at Batavia, from whence ministers visited Ceylon, Amboyna, Malabar, Macaslar, Mallucca, Banda, and Ternate, and organized several congregations; as also in the islands of Sumatra and Java. The celebrated Professor Walleus, at Leyden, educated a number of ministers and subordinate teachers for the missionary service in the East; and from that time the Dutch Churches there appear, from their annual reports to the Church in Holland, to have had considerable success. New congregations have been constituted, and a great number of schools erected among the natives of Forinosa, Columba, Timor, and upon the Coromandel coast. In 1771 a translation of the Bible was begun in what was called the Singaleese tongue, and sanguine hopes were entertained of a more extensive propagation of the Gospel among the numerous nations who understand that language. But after all, these exertions for converting the heathen have not been supported with the zeal and


perseverance due to so great an object. The pious members of the Dutch Churches in Europe have long lamented, that while their nation imported the fragrant spices of the Indies, and enriched themselves with the treasures of the East, they neglected to spread the sweet odor of the Saviour's name, and send to the pagan nations the richer treasures of the everlasting Gospel.

The United Brethren, commonly called Moravians, who have revived the name and character of the ancient Unitas Fratrum, appear, in their distinguished exertions for promulgating the religion of Jesus, to be the only denomination of Christians who are actuated by the primitive spirit of the Gospel. Eminent in meekness and industry, and void of ostentation, they have been but little known, and much misrepresented. - In proportion to their numbers and abilities, they have, from their first formation as a society, which is about eighty years ago, exceeded all others in their arduous, extensive, and useful labors. In 1732 they began the establishment of a mission in the Danish West India islands. In 1733 they sent missionaries to Greenland. The situation of their community obliging them to attempt frequent emigrations, they were inclined to make settlements, where favorable opportunities occurred, to communicate the knowledge of the Gospel to the heathen. In 1735 a number of families from Hernhut, a place belonging to Count Zinzendorf, in Upper Lusatia, emigrated to Georgia, in America. Being averse to war, and ordered to bear arms against the neighboring Spaniards, they removed from Savannah, where they had settled, to Pennsylvania, in 1740, and formed the establishments they now possess at Bethleham and Nazareth. These settlers soon perceived the distressed situation of the Indian natives, and represented their deplorable case to the brethren at Hernhut. Twelve missionaries immediately came over from Germany, and labored with various success among the heathen. They had formed three flourishing settlements on the river Muskingum before the late revolutionary war, during which those places were destroyed, and the inhabitants partly murdered and partly dispersed. A number of Christian Indians, who had fled to Upper Canada, returned in 1798, to take possession of their former settlements on the Muskingum, which have been since secured to them by the U. States; and they have built a new town, called Goshen. In 1736 a missionary establishment was begun at Bavian's Kloof, near the Cape of Good Hope, in Africa; - 1738, in South America; - 1754, in Jamaica; - 1756, in Antigua; - 1760, in the East Indies, near Tranquebar; - 1764, on the coast of Labrador, in America; - 1765, in Barbadoes; - and the same year, in the Russian part of Asia, Sarepta was built, chiefly with a view to bring the Gospel to the Calmuck Tartars; - 1775, in St. Kitts; - 1789, in Tobago


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