페이지 이미지


any income on which our Society can, as yet, reasonably calculate, but by a resolute and united determination to increase our income, so as to meet the proper expenditure. Instead of reducing the expenditure, by ruinous retrenchments, and obstinate refusals to listen to the cries of perishing men, to the level of the income already realized, it were surely more Christian and more humane to put forth every lawful and practicable effort for raising the income to the level of that increased and growing expenditure, which can be so usefully and beneficially employed, to the utmost extent of our utmost ability. None but an infidel at heart, or a downright worldling, can fail to perceive that we live in an age, when the great Master and Lord requires that those whom he has intrusted with his goods,' and constituted his stewards for the rest of the family of man, should be more than ever "faithful' in the use of worldly property, so that, with humble joy, and not with shame and grief, they may render to him their final account.” A subsequent Report (1844) deals in still stronger language :

In the present state of the world, we may as well speak out at once, like bold and honest, though guilty, rebels against Christ, and proclaim our resolution not to execute at all the Saviour's commission and command, 'Go and preach the gospel to every creature,' if we are not prepared to encounter large and even growing expenses. The tendency to increased expenditure is continually operative, from the multiplication of missionary families—the manifold contingencies to which such a work, if extensive, must ever be liable—and, even from the very success with which it pleases God to crown our incipient efforts ; for here, as in the matter of personal religion, one advance is sure to make an opening for another, and to entail upon us the moral obligation of following it up by further progress."

The result showed that the confidence of the committee was not misplaced. Efforts were redoubled in every circuit, and almost all largely increased their contributions. Foreign stations also responded heartily to the call for help; and the missionaries themselves, in several instances, requested a reduction in their salaries.* With joy and thankfulness, the Report for the year ending April, 1816, acknowledges a large increase in the sums contributed for the

The committee advert, with feelings of much more than ordinary satisfaction, to the noble manner in which the missionaries in Kaffraria lave practically manisested their sympathy with the Society in its financial difficulties. Besides reducing their hitherto customary charges for extraordinaries, by a sum of .£266, they themselves subscribe a further sum of £290, by a voluntary relinquishment of ten per cent. of their regular and ordinary income, as missio aries, and present the amount as an offering to the Sociely.Report, 1841.

The missionaries in the Bechuana district have presented to the Society a donation of ten pounds each toward the payment of its debt; a contribution which they were not able to offer without an effort of self-denial.--- Report, 1843.

current expenses; and announces to the world, in well-applied capitals, “the Society is out of DEBT.”

In adverting to the labors of the Society, we give the first place, as is done in the Annual Reports, to Ireland, one of the most difficult and least promising fields which they have undertaken. Poor, ignorant, and superstitious, perhaps beyond any people on the face of the earth, and, at the same time, watched over by the sleepless vigilance of the Romish priests, it is not wonderful that the Irish people, in those sections where the Papacy holds its iron sway, are averse to the teachings of what they have been taught to consider the Protestant heresy. Gratifying success has, however, crowned the labors of the missionaries in many instances; and it is stated, in the Report for 1831, that nearly all the stations first occupied are now circuits, sustaining themselves without foreign aid. The gospel continues to be preached there in the Irish language, as it was by the indefatigable Graham and the zealous Walsh, in the days of Mr. Wesley. The most successful laborer in that field, however, seems to have been the untiring Gideon Ouseley. Familiar with the character and prejudices of the people, thoroughly acquainted with their language, and wonderfully acute in detecting and exposing the subtilties of Popery, hundreds, if not thousands, of souls were the fruit of his ministry. Until within a few days of his death, on the 14th of May, 1839, he continued to travel and preach, generally, to three or four congregations every day.

One of the most interesting features of this part of the work is the system of missionary day schools, of which there are upward of sixty, containing more than four thousand six hundred children; many, if not the most, of whom are of Romish parentage. The six schools founded by Dr. Adam Clarke are still sustained by the Society, and are in active operation. The number of missionaries and assistants is twenty-five; of salaried day-school teachers, sixtyfive; of chapels and other preaching places, two hundred and eightyfour, and of accredited church members, ihree thousand one hundred. About one-fifth of the entire expenses of the missions in Ireland was met, in 1845, by collections in the mission stations, and the balance more than made up by contributions received through the Hibernian Missionary Society; so that, in this respect, England has nothing to boast of on the score of liberality toward her down-trodden neighbors and fellow-subjects.

In Germany the Society has one missionary agent. He is stationed at Winnenden, in the kingdom of Wirtemberg, and had under his charge, in 1846, seven hundred and nineteen full and accredited church members. The first notice we find of this mis

sion is in the Report for 1831, when a gracious work commenced, and more than one hundred persons were awakened, and formed into a society, under the care of a zealous leader and exhorter. The succeeding Reports speak, for the most part, encouragingly of the labors of the missionary, and of his prospects; and it appears to us somewhat strange that he has been left so long to labor alone in that promising field. He has, indeed, the assistance of several local preachers and exhorters, who have been raised up among them; but the entire annual expense of the mission is only about seventy pounds.

In France and Switzerland are ten principal stations, one hundred and twenty-four chapels and preaching places, with a membership of one thousand and seventy-one, being about three hundred more than in Germany, and two hundred and eighteen less than were reported in 1844. They are under the care of thirty-six missionaries and other paid agents. William Toase is the wellknown superintendent of these missions; or, as he is styled, the chairman of the district. We find his name in connection with this field of labor so long since as 1818, although he does not appear to have been attached to it during the whole of this period. The annual expenses of this district vary. In 1843 they amounted to £5114; but in this sum is included an item, "rent of chapels,” the precise amount of which is not stated.

From Cadiz, in benighted Spain, the Society's missionaries, who had commenced their labors under what were deemed favorable auspices, and who, for a season, breasted nobly the storm, were finally driven, by the violence of Popish persecution, and the Society seems to have abandoned that entire kingdom, with the exception of Gibraltar, to which post a Wesleyan missionary was appointed so long since as 1804. Here the Society has sustained one missionary ever since its organization. His labors, we judge from the Reports, are mainly confined to his own countrymen, the soldiers in the garrison and others, and do not seem to have been very successful. In the Report for 1818, we are told that "the work proceeds with encouraging success," and that the “number in society is one hundred and twenty.” After the lapse of more than a quarter of a century, during which there had been always one and sometimes two missionaries laboring there, the membership amounted (Report for 1845) to only sixty-four, and the year following, in which the station exhibited marks of improvement,” the number in society was seventy-four, being a decrease of forty-six in twenty-eight years.

The Island of Malta, in the Mediterranean, containing, at that time, a population of ninety-six thousand, speaking the language of Rome and of Mecca, was made a mission station in 1823, and was deemed a field of “immense importance."* From the bigoted intolerance of the Romish priests the missionaries received almost every variety of annoyance and persecution. Dr. Naudi, a native of the island, and a recent convert from Popish superstition, translated several sermons, and a part of the New Testament, with Mr. Wesley's Notes, into Maltese, which language is also used, with some slight variations, in the Barbary States. For several years the indications of success were encouraging ; but, in the Report for 1834, the station at Malta is said, though "by no means without fruit,” not to have yielded “that harvest which might have been hoped for from so much labor and expenditure.” In 1843 we are told that the operations of the mission at this place do not extend to the native Maltese ; to whom, by Protestants, “little or no access is gained ;” and, in the succeeding year, the field, once so · promising, and from which so much had been expected, seems to have been entirely abandoned.

To Alexandria, in Egypt, a missionary was sent in 1825, who, in the following year, reports encouraging circumstances. In 1829 an Arab school had been established, containing about forty boys. In 1830 the missionaries were fully employed in preaching, in conversations, and in the distribution of the Scriptures and tracts. “No obstruction exists to the preaching of Christ, if direct controversy be avoided.” In 1834 the committee, for reasons assigned, determine not to abandon this promising field; but, the next Report (1835) tells us that the mission at Alexandria has been, with great reluctance, "for the present relinquished,” assigning, among other reasons, “the failure of Mr. M’Brair's health, and the increasing extent and fatality of the plague which was desolating that part of Egypt."

The Ionian Isles were regarded, by the committee, in 1828, as “affording a valuable post of observation, from which suitable preparations may be made" for the spread of the gospel into different parts of Greece. Accordingly, in that year, two missionaries were appointed with directions to embrace the first opportunity to visit the Morea and Palestine. Some favorable results were reported, more especially from the Island of Zante ; but, in 1834, in utter

* Of the inhabitants of this island, Mr. Bartholomew, in a letter published in the Society's Report for 1830, says sixteen thousand (about one-sixth) are priests and friars.

discouragement, the field was given up, and, says the Report for that year,

“ To this conclusion the committee were led with the less reluctance, when they considered that loud and numerous calls are now addressed to them from places where no obstacles exist to the full exercise of the Christian ministry; and, when they reflected further, that one great object of their Mediterranean missions, the occupation of certain posts in advance, in which their agents might be ready to avail themselves of any favorable openings for the spread of the gospel among the varied population of the contiguous countries, does not appear likely to be accomplished, at present, as far as the agency of this Society is concerned."

To Sweden a missionary was sent in 1827, and from Stockholm, where he took up his residence, he writes, in that year, of “pleasing prospects ;” and, in the next, the Report speaks of "many encouraging tokens of success.” Mr. Scott, whose visit to this country, in 1841, will be remembered by many of our readers, succeeded to the charge of this mission in 1830; and, two years after, is spoken of as “having obtained an acquaintance with the vernacular tongue, and preaching every week to crowded congregations of native Swedes.” In 1838 the Society appropriated five hundred pounds toward the building of a missionary chapel at Stockholm; and the missionary writes : "Blessed be God, the work of salvation is going forward, especially in the Swedish congregations. The crowds lately have been unusually great, and the public services, in both languages, have been peculiarly solemn and influential.” In the Report for 1840, it is stated that “Mr. Scott's ministry has been owned by the great Head of the church, in the conversion of many from the error of their ways;" and in that for the next year an account is given of the opening of a “large and commodious chapel,” at which the services were conducted by two distinguished clergymen of the Lutheran Church. Allusion is made to Mr. Scott's visit to the United States, and the "important assistance " received by him in this country, toward meeting the expenses of "building the chapel in the capital of Sweden," is acknowledged in the Society's Report for 1842, which says : “ The importance of Mr. Scott's ministry, as a testimony for the truth, is rendered more than ever apparent.” The committee specially commend him to the prayers of the friends of the Society, " that he may be divinely guided and sustained in the difficulties by which he is surrounded.” We turn, with anxiety, to the Report for the succeeding year; but, strange as it may seem, we find there no mention whatever of Sweden. It was due to the friends of the Society, and it was specially important, as a matter of history, that

« 이전계속 »