Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

your all but

little has been done by many

of
you,

in omnipotent department of influence ? Gentlemen! be assured that it is of the first importance to the interests of our race, that the helm of literary power should be placed in the hands of those men, and of those alone, whose hearts beat high in unison with the advocates and conductors of Christian missions. In this great battle of benevolence, it becomes you to fight, side by side, with the ministers of religion, against the indifference, selfishness, and cupidity of British Christians. What auxiliaries, in this momentous work, might your presses prove to the pulpits and the platforms of the Christian churches! You who conduct the periodical press ought no longer to cater, as you too frequently do, to the corrupt passions of a profligate and semi-barbarous populace. It behoves you, in the pursuit of your high vocation, to labour, by all proper methods, to improve the understanding, and to purify the heart of the nations which compose this great empire.

Gentlemen! your position is awful ; it is full of responsibility. You hold in your hands a key to the minds of millions, in England, whom the voice of the preacher cannot reach. To those millions themselves it is in your power to perform a service which language cannot estimate, and which neither gold nor gratitude could ever repay, by enlisting them on the side of missions. There is no limit, in this direction, to the field of your usefulness. It is a work which yet remains to prove the full power of the British periodical press. Splendid are the laurels which are yet to be reaped by it; and happy those editors who shall be the first to put in the sickle! It is not proposed that you should forthwith become expositors of theological truth ; this is not your

province: but the subject of morals is confessedly within your empire; you claim politics as your own; and it is your pride and honour occasionally to plead with power in behalf of distressed humanity. The question of Christian missions, therefore, both home and foreign, comes legitimately within the sphere of your labours. It forms a chief branch, equally of morals, of politics, and of humanity. Its relations are manifold and multifarious; its bearings on legislation and commerce are innumerable.

In able hands, no subject admits of a more fascinating exhibition to the public mind and heart. You need not fear, therefore, the corrupt part of the public; they are neither your sole readers, nor your most influential supporters. But the topic of Christian missions may be rendered not merely palatable, but enchanting even to them. Still, however, if it were offensive to some, there is another class of readers to whom consideration is due-Christians of all sects. Their hearts are deeply set upon the work of missions, and in that work you can render them essential service. Their claims on you are strong; you are deeply in their debt; you have done little for religion and for them, as compared with what they have done for letters, and consequently for you. You often try at once their patience and their principles; you frequently offend their taste and wound their piety. Your columns are ever open to the world, while closed to the churches

s; and your services are both frequently and effectively volunteered on the side of ungodliness. The tendency of much that you publish is, rather to encourage evil than to repress it.

Gentlemen, be wise at length; be just to the cause of humanity and its advocates. But what, it may be

said, can you do? You can do much. You can give full reports of Missionary meetings and services; you can give occasional articles on the sphere and labours of particular missions, in addition to advocating the general question ; you can plead the cause of missionaries, when oppressed; you can give reviews of the published annual reports of the several Societies, and bring their claims before multitudes, who otherwise would never hear of them; you can give notices and extracts of missionary works, and of missionary biography; you can call the attention of the rich and great, the high and mighty, to this work, and urge its claims upon their substance and patronage. These are some of the deeds which you may do; and by doing which you will render homage to Heaven, oblige the best portion of British citizens, and promote for both worlds the highest interests of all nations.

LETTER III.

TO THE SUPERINTENDENTS OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS.

FURTHER ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE SUCCESS OF EFFORTS TO SUBVERT IDOLATRY, AND TO INTRODUCE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD.

BRETHREN, beloved of the Lord! you occupy a position of high honour and awful responsibility. Next to the ministers of the glorious gospel, there is no class of men to whose labours a more solemn importance attaches; indeed, the superintendents of large schools exert, whether for evil or for good, a far greater influence than the pastors of small congregations. The true interests of all nations demand the creation of a thoroughly missionary church in England, for the generation to come.

In this most momentous work, a very important place is assigned to you. At this moment, a very large portion of the church of the next age is in your hands; and to what extent it shall be missionary, depends very much upon your spirit and procedure. By the good hand of your God upon you, every school in Great Britain may become a nursery for missions. In order to the efficient prosecution of

this object, it is necessary that your own hearts, to the greatest possible extent, should be imbued with the spirit of missionary enterprise. O brethren! drink deep into the well-spring of life. Be clad with zeal, as with a cloak! Study every means to promote the enterprise of the world's salvation in the hearts of your teachers. Let your school libraries be stored with all the varied existing missionary literature in our language. Endeavour to promote, to the uttermost, the study of it

among the teachers and senior scholars. Devise suitable methods of bringing the main facts to bear upon the whole school. I shall endeavour, in a subsequent letter, to suggest the best plans for effecting this; and, in the mean time, I invite your attention to the following facts, illustrative of the beneficial tendency of the gospel of Christ.

Of all the South Sea characters sketched by Mr. Williams, few are more interesting than that of the spiritual beggar, Buteve. One hardly knows whether more to admire this man's temporal or his spiritual industry. Both his hands and feet were eaten off by a disease which the natives call kokovi. Notwithstanding this calamity, he contrived to raise food sufficient for the support of himself, his wife, and three children. He walked on his knees, and he tilled his ground with an instrument called the ko, which he pressed firmly to his side, and resting the weight of his body upon it, pierced the ground, and then, scraping out the earth with the stumps of his arms, he clasped the plant, placed it in the hole, and filled in the earth. The weeds he pulled up in the same way.

With this afflicted creature, Mr. Williams, one evening, fell in, and held the following dialogue. While the missionary

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »