« НазадПродовжити »
Enterprise, and the matchless excellence of the Missionary character,-an enterprise which comprehends all lands, all times, and all men, with all their interests for both worlds ; and a character which forms the highest and noblest manifestation of philanthropy, patriotism, piety, and moral greatness.
The work of Missions is incomparably the best medium through which to contemplate the cross of Christ and the mercy of God. The true history of that work supplies a body of the most convincing evidence in support of Christianity that can be produced. Williams's "
Missionary Enterprises,” alone, is of more real value than all the writings of a Clarke, a Butler, a Paley, a Chalmers, a Leland, and a Lardner, united. There Christianity appears arrayed in her Missionary costume. She presents her majestic form, and shows her beauteous face, on the battlements of a citadel reared by her own hands, with materials furnished by her own conquests.
The fruit of Missions is her best defence ; she asks, she needs, no other. Obedience to the Son of God wants no permission ; deeds of the highest benevolence to a suffering world call for no apology. He who opposes the work of Missions forfeits all claim to the character of a friend, either of God or of man. The adversary of Missions is a foe to the Saviour of the world ; for by means of them alone can his kingdom be extended, and his throne established. The man who scorns Missions must renounce the Christian religion, without which, the nations of Europe and all other lands had still been dwelling amid the darkness of idolatry. On departing from our world,
the Messiah commanded his disciples to go and teach all nations ; they obeyed, and continued in their work till crowned with martyrdom. Their successors for a time walked in their steps : all churches were Missionary Societies; all Christians, in some shape, Missionary agents. In this way, from one generation to another, the enterprise ought to have proceeded till all flesh had seen the salvation of God. But the church slept, and her work ceased.; and even now she is only awaking. Missions, therefore, are no new thing. They are the mere resumption of an ancient undertaking. Their seeming novelty is the severest reproach that can be cast upon the church. Missions the disgrace of the church? They are her first duty, her true glory! Missions the dishonour of those who support and conduct them? Their chief promoters are the principal ornaments of their country, and the best benefactors of their species !
The object of this volume is, to present the subject of Missions a new form, and to exhibit its facts and principles in new combinations. It is an attempt at the Philosophy of Missions,-an exposition of their great principles,-a display of their beneficent results. It comprises a series of arguments on the facts of Missions generally, and on those of the South-Sea Mission in particular. It is an endeavour, on the one hand, to combine such facts with the principles and doctrines which explain them ; and, on the other, by the same facts, to prove and illustrate such doctrines and principles. This the writer believes to be the most successful method of dealing with those important classes of
persons whom he is most anxious to reach, and excite to the consideration of this paramount subject. The classes more particularly referred to, are educated, inquisitive youth,-men of more advanced years, addicted to books and study, -collegians of every order, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, in all parts of the kingdom,the conductors of the periodical press,—magistrates and legislators,—and the upper ranks of society, generally. He deems it, on a variety of grounds, a matter of the utmost moment to obtain the favourable regards of all these classes towards the cause of Missions.
The Author's chief hope, however, is in the Sabbathschool Teachers of the British empire, and of America. This class of persons are, at the present moment, exerting an influence on the destinies of the millions of England and of the New World, and, through them, of the whole human race, which the wisest of living men can neither estimate nor comprehend. It is cheering to think that these philanthropic agents are already counted by hundreds of thousands, and that their numbers are continually increasing. They comprise the largest portion of the best friends of the cause of Missions ; and from their ranks have been supplied nearly the whole host of labourers now in the foreign field. But this is the lowest view of the matter. Of these religious instructors it is the peculiar province, and it will be the special glory, to cast the mind of the juvenile millions of our race in the mould of Missions. To them it belongs to create and foster the spirit of this great enterprise in the breasts of those who are to constitute the pastors, the churches, and the heads of
families, in the coming age. He who remembers these momentous facts, will see nothing incongruous in assigning to Sabbath-school Teachers a section of a volume addressed to the Philanthropists, Philosophers, and Nobles of the land,
The subjects of Intellectual and Moral Greatness have been laboured with urgent, but, the Author thinks, with necessary, iteration,-subjects which, notwithstanding their transcendent importance, have not hitherto, so far as he is aware, been fully and practically discussed. The questions of War and Peace, too, as contrasted with that of Missions, and the subject of the Military, as compared with the Missionary Character, have received a due share of attention. Philosophy, not biography, being the Author's object, he has studiously avoided intruding into that province, which has been assigned to other and highly competent hands.
In addition to the primary design of advancing the glory of Christ and the good of mankind, a minor object was, to rear a slender monument to the memory of a much-loved friend, as an humble contribution towards the celebration of his name and the extension of his usefulness. With this view, he has delineated, at some length, the portrait of a man who has achieved for himself a deathless fame, and concerning whom generations to come will doubtless feel a laudable and reverential curiosity, which that sketch may help to gratify.
With respect to the execution of the Work, the writer has, to the extent of his ability, with much patient toil, endeavoured to illustrate the principles of
the Gospel in their relation to War and to Peace. He is satisfied that his discussions are in perfect harmony with that system which the angels of God celebrated as fraught with “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” He also hopes, that, by adopting the method of Letters, and by selecting individuals between whose characters and the subjects on which they are addressed, there is an intimate connexion or obvious congruity, he has augmented the interest of discussion, avoiding at once the coldness of abstraction and the languor of dissertation ; while it has been his studied endeavour, throughout, to give every subject the highest legitimate practical bearing.
The Author trusts that this Work will prove an appropriate Sequel to the “Enterprises” of Mr. Williams, and aid in further developing the worth, beauty, and glory of that wonderful volume ; and it is his fervent desire that the result of the whole may be to sustain the memorable words of William Orme, late Foreign Secretary of the London Missionary Society,——“In THE WHOLE COMPASS OF HUMAN BENEVOLENCE, THERE IS NOTHING SO GRAND, SO NOBLE, SO CHRISTIAN, SO TRULY GODLIKE-AS THE WORK OF EVANGELIZING THE HEATHEN."
London, Dec. 23, 1841.