Apr 3, 1804 Sermon Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection
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How just the sentiments expressed in an address "upon the probable success of a proper mission to the South Sea islands," published in London in 1795! "When I see our Moravian brethren hazarding their lives, and blessed in their labors among the frozen mountains of Greenland, and feeding on whale's flesh, to carry the Gospel into the hut of the savage Eskimaux; when I follow them in their travels to Mount Caucasus, on the one hand, or mark them pursuing the wandering tribes of American Indians in their various migrations, and even reconciling themselves to the cabin of a filthy Hottentot, in order to make them know the power of Jesus's blood; I bow before such ardent zeal, and feel the sharp rebuke of my own lukewarmness. I reverence their missionaries, and love the people that thus love the souls of men, for the sake of him who loved us unto death, even the death of the cross." {Evangel. Mag. July, 1795.}

From this short sketch of former missionary exertions, it appears that something has been undertaken by the Roman pontiffs, and also by the Protestant churches. But their efforts have been so partial and feeble, that they seem to be the design of party, or the mere palliation of an accusing conscience, rather than an earnest and vigorous intention of prosecuting the benevolent work, or obtained the professed end. - They justify the declaration, that an extensive promulgation of the Gospel had not been seriously attempted! nothing since the primitive days of Christianity, deserving the name, had appeared. The Moravian brethren alone are an exception. - They have, in this instance, evidenced much of the genuine spirit of the Gospel, and were probably raised up for the express purpose of preparing the way for what has at length commenced.


Present Missions.

By the present period is intended the last eight or ten years, comprising the close of the eighteenth and opening of the nineteenth century. To exhibit an abridged detail of what has been performed within that time would require a volume. Nothing more than a mere enumeration of the several establishments of Missionary Societies can be here expected.

The Moravian brethren, who heretofore excelled in their exertions to propagate the Gospel among the heathen, have, of late, exceeded their former labors; and other churches, at length, have attained the station they ought to occupy in this benevolent work.


The Moravians have now, in St. Thomas, two establishments; in St. Croix, two; in St. John's, two; in Greenland, three; in North America, four; in South America, three; at the Cape of Good Hope, one; in Jamaica, two; in Antigua, three; on the coast of Labrador, three; in Barbadoes, one; in Russian Asia, one; in St. Kitt's, one; in Tobago, one. - The Rev. G.H. Loskiel (author of the History of the Missions of the United Brethren, &c. translated from the German by C.J. La Trobe) from whom the principal information respecting these millions has been obtained, observes, in the close of his letter, "from very small beginnings the missions of the brethren have increased to about thirty settlements in different parts of the earth, in which nearly 150 missionaries are employed; a number hardly sufficient for the care of above 24,000 converts from among the heathen."

Several animated publications upon the subject of missions engaged the attention of Christians at this period. Among these, the Rev. Mr. Carey's "Inquiry into the Obligations of Christians to send Missions to the Heathen;" the earnest and spirited Letters of Melville Horne, late Chaplain of Sierra Leone; and a judicious and pathetic Address by the Rev. David Bogue, seem to have made the deepest impression. A train of extraordinary and affecting events in Divine Providence, which, at the time, convulsed many kingdoms in Europe, appear to have been sanctified to the churches. Pious and excellent men of different denominations, and in different nations, were at once aroused to serious thoughtfulness, to much conversation, and, finally, the forming of Associations, for the express purpose of glorifying the Divine Redeemer, by extending the knowledge of his salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth. The set time to build up Zion was come, and the spirit of the Lord inclined his people to favor her ruins.

Mr. Carey evinced his sincerity by becoming himself a missionary, and went, with others, into India. Besides preaching the Gospel to the Indoos and neighboring natives, he has been indefatigably employed in translating the Bible into the Bengalese language, and has nearly completed the version. What blessings have attended these labors may be estimated from an extract of one of his letters to the Rev. Dr. Miller, of this city. "I have written an account of the great work of God on the coast near Cape Comorin, to several persons in America. I think when the last accounts came away there had been near 4000 persons baptized there in the space of a few months. About 1000, more or less, by Mr. Gericke, and 2700 by the native ministers. These have all rejected heathenism, demolished their idols, and fitted up the temples for Christian worship."


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