Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[ocr errors]

all be acquired in order to introduce the Gospel among all classes. Nor do they, among whom this mission is to be undertaken, contemplate the character of Protestant nations with that respect, which is felt for civilized men among more untutored tribes. The savages of the wilderness, and in the islands of the Pacific, have, by intercourse with the civilized world, received the impression, that Christian nations are, in many things at least, their superiors, and qualified to teach" them. Not so, probably, in Western Asia. Contempt, perhaps, rather than respect, and a haughty sense of superiority are to be anticipated.

V. Many indications of providence are favorable.

Firmly as Mahommedans are shielded against Christianity, there are some favorable appearances, even among them. The Persian monarch has expressed his approbation, in high terms, of the New Testament, as translated by Mr. Martyn; and has caused punishment to be inflicted on those who spoke reproachfully of Christ and his religion. Under royal authority, it has been determined by a large council in Persia, that the religion of Christ shall be tolerated, and shall not be reproached. There are in Persia about 80,000 persons, who, ten or twelve years ago, openly renounced Mahommedanism. They are said to speak highly of Christ, and to revere the Scriptures.—Many things indicate the speedy conversion of Jews to Christianity. In.order to effect this, societies have been formed, the New Testament translated into Hebrew and circulated, Christian schools established for Jewish children, agents sent abroad to collect information concer ning them, and in Europe, especially in Poland, a general spirit of inquiry is excited among them. This has

been effected, in a great measure, by the travels of Mr. Pinkerton and Mr. Way, and the converted Rabbi Solomon. Within a few years, several Jews around the Mediterranean have embraced Christianity. A Jew at Smyrna received a copy of the New Testament last

year, and was zealously engaged in studying it. His object was, that he might prove it false; but the fact that a Jew will receive and study the Gospel is encouraging

A general spirit of reform and improvement is evidently prevailing in the Greek church, with which the Greeks in Judea are connected. Knowledge, literary and religious, is increasing, and the glory, which so long ago departed, is, we trust, about to return.

Great exertions are making to circulate the Scriptures in that land. There is already a Bible Society at Malta, and another at Smyrna, which have effected considerable, and are likely to effect much more. The British and Foreign Bible Society, have sent many Bibles into that region, in the different languages, which prevail there. Several years ago, an English chaplain from Constantinople visited Smyrna, Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea, and Philadelphia

, and left a copy of the Scriptures at each place. Eight or ten years ago, Dr. Naudi, a converted Roman Catholic at Malta, sent a box of Bibles to the Archbishop Paleologus on Mount Lebanon, who distributed them among the priests in his diocese, and wrote a very grateful letter of thanks for them, stating, that the priests were reading them in their congregations with much interest. Last year the Rev. Mr. Burckhardt left Malta with several large boxes of Bibles, travelled through Judea, visited

Jerusalem, distributed the Scriptures, and often conversed freely respecting them. He had nearly completed his tour, when he was attacked with a fever, and died near Aleppo in Syria. Two large editions of the Armenian Bible are printing in Russia and in India. The Protestant Bible Society at Paris, with the assistance and patronage of the British and Foreign Bible Society, have lately printed a large edition of the Turkish Testament, under the superintendence of the learned Baron De Sacy and Professor Keiffer, interpreting Secretary to the king; and some thousands of this edition have already been forwarded for circulation. The whole Bible is soon to be printed, at the same place, and sent to Turkey. How interesting, my brethren, to see France and Britain, which have been for many centuries almost incessantly at war, now at peace; and cordially co-operating in Bible Societies to spread the word of Life; and how interesting to see France, which has done so much to spread infidelity, now awaking her energies to distribute the Bible.

Sometime last year, the Syrian Archbishop of Jerusalem, left his dwelling on Mount Lebanon, to obtain from some source the means for printing and diffusing the Scriptures. He first visited Rome, in hope of obtaining aid from the college for propagating the faith. Here he was disappointed. He next applied to the Catholics at Paris. Here he was disappointed again. He then visited England. Here he found the aid he sought. Several hundred pounds were collected for him, and an American gentleman who was there, presented him with a printing press. After leaving England he visited Paris again. During his

ronage and their

absence, an interest had been excited in his behalf, and he received 400l. from private subscription, and nearly as much from the king. In May, he was about leaving Paris for his own country, to prosecute his work. Such are some of the favorable indications of Providence, which lead us to believe, that although no mission has yet been established there, yet the work


be commenced with fair prospects of success.

VI. The proposal is now distinctly made to the American churches for their approbation, their pat


The proposal is made by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Though they have now many stations, many missionaries, and many schools under their care, yet the liberality of the public, and the smiles of Providence, encourage them to extend their views, to select new fields, and to employ more men.

The proposal is, that two embark in the first instance, reside a little while at Smyrna, and then explore the country as Providence may open


way, with the hope that others will before long come to strengthen their hands. The ground, if Providence permit, is to be surveyed, and then the distribution of the Bible, the preaching of the Gospel, and the establishment of Christian schools are to succeed. This undertaking is submitted to the churches for their approbation. Let the timid say, “A lion is in the way." Let the infidel demand, “Where is the promise of his coming?" Let avarice muster all its objections. But the friends of Jesus have learned how to measure their benevolence by contemplating his cross, and how to regulate their anticipations of 'the future, by

[ocr errors]

recollecting what God has formerly wrought. We rejoice that we are not called to this work, while our fathers and brethren disapprove of our purpose. It gives us heart-felt satisfaction to lay the object before the friends of the Redeemer and


you continue here to cultivate the vineyard of the Lord, we will go to plant, if possible, a branch of his vine in the land where it first grew. While we rejoice in your labors, and sympathize in your trials, we are happy to believe, that you will approve our determination and rejoice and weep with us.”

The subject is also proposed for patronage;—for such pecuniary aid, as may furnish means for circulating the Scriptures-establishing schools—and increasing the number of missionaries.

Again, the object is presented for their prayers. Who is sufficient for this undertaking? While we recollect our youth, our inexperience, our remaining sins and imperfections, and our inadequateness to meet the temptations and the labors before us, we desire that Christians will pray for us, in the closet, when they find ready access to the throne of their Father; in the family, when all the fervor of social affection is consecrated to devotion; in the praying circle, when kindred minds mingle in holy communion and earnest intercession; in the general concert, when a cloud of incense ascends to heaven; and in the great congregation when the prayers of the Sabbath are offered. And the thing for which we especially request their prayers is, that we may be filled with a faithful spirit.

Nor is this object presented to the churches in vain. Already lave ministers and Christians given most substantial proofs of their approbation; proofs which have

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »