ENCOURAGEMENT TO MISSIONARY EFFORT AMONG
BY THE REV. HORATIO SOUTHGATE, JUN.
OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
TO PERSIA, &c.
TO WHICH ARE ANNEXED, AN ACCOUNT OF THE
MEETING HELD AT THE CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION,
EVENING OF EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 3, 1836
DELIVERED THEREAT BY THE REV. MR. SOUTHGATE,
Letter of Instructions.
PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF THE FOREIGN COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF MISSIONS, BY THE
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee;
the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee.--ISAIAH Ix. 7.
THE result of the missionary enterprise is not left to be determined by the uncertain conclusions of human calculation. As GOD is true, it can have no other issue than the universal triumph of the Gospel. We repose our confidence in the sure word of prophecy. We rest our hopes upon the promises of Him who is Almighty, Omniscient, and True.
Besides the general predictions of Scripture, which assure us of the universal extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, we have also more limited and special prophecies, which have reference to individual nations or to particular forms of error. To this latter class belongs the prophecy contained in the text. Kedar and Nebaioth are tribes of Arabia; and as the chapter from which this text is selected is descriptive of the ultimate success of the Gospel, so may the text itself be considered as predictive of the final overthrow of that false religion which had its origin, and still maintains the chief seat of its power, in Arabia.
It is not my present design to trace the rise and progress of this wonderful imposture. The causes which produced it, the character and motives of its founder, and the peculiar circumstances which favored its propagation, have all been detailed by many writers. It may, however, be profitable to us, who live in this age of sectarianism, to be reminded that Mohamedism sprang from a corrupt and contentious Christianity, at a period when the spirituality of religion had departed, and the life of GOD in the soul was nearly extinguished, by frivolous disputes about things unessential. The Church had lost the purity and vital energy of her youth; she had contracted an unholy alliance with civil power; the fostering care of princes had palsied her strength; the power of hardy endurance, the [3/4] stern fortitude--the simple, yet uncompromising zeal--the spirit of noble enterprise, which she had acquired in the arena and on the scaffold, were repressed, and converted into a spiritless effeminacy by the very protection which sheltered her from her foes. Reposing in luxurious ease beneath the shadow of imperial patronage, Christians surrendered themselves to vain and idle controversies. Here, if we mistake not, is to be found the true cause of Mohamedism. "For," says Prideaux, "the churches of the East having drawn the abstrusest niceties into controversy, which were of little or no moment to that which is the chief end of our holy Christian religion, and divided and subdivided about them into endless schisms and contentions, did thereby so destroy that peace, love, and charity from among them, which the Gospel was given to promote, and instead thereof, continually provoked each other to that malice, rancor, and every evil work, that they lost the whole substance of their religion while they thus eagerly contended for their own imaginations concerning it, and in a manner, drove Christianity quite out of the world by those very controversies in which they disputed with each other about it. So that at length, having wearied the patience and long-suffering of GOD in thus turning this holy religion into a firebrand of hell for contention, strife, and violence among them; which was given them, out of his infinite mercy to the quite contrary end--for the salvation of their souls, by living holily, righteously, and justly, in this present world; he raised up the Saracens to be the instruments of his wrath, to punish them for it; who, taking advantage of the weakness of power and the distractions of counsels which their divisions had carried among them, soon overran with a terrible devastation all the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire: and having fixed that tyranny over them which hath ever since afflicted those parts of the world, turned every where their churches into mosques, and their worship into a horrid superstition; and instead of that holy religion which they had thus abused, forced on them that abominable imposture, Mohamedism, which, dictating war, bloodshed, and violence in matters of religion, as one of its chiefest virtues, was, in [4/5] truth, the most proper for those who had afore, by their schisms and contentions, resolved all the religion they had thereinto."
This account of the origin of Mohamedism, is not irrelevant to our present design; for we may assume at the outset, that the Church of CHRIST is laid under special obligation to attempt the extirpation of those malignant forms of error which have sprung up from her own defection; an obligation which exists apart from the general duty of bestowing the blessings of the Gospel upon every creature. And as we have a special obligation, so we are encouraged by special promises of success. Our efforts to bring the erring disciples of the false prophet into the fold of CHRIST will not be in vain; for the LORD of the Church has promised that "the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto her, and the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto her." Daniel, in his vision of the rise and wonderful power of the Mohamedan delusion, was instructed by the angel Gabriel to reveal its overthrow by the peaceful conquest of the Gospel. It "shall be broken without hand;"--its power shall decay, not by the violence of the sword, not by the sanguinary means which produced it, but by the renovating influence of the Gospel of peace, by the force of spiritual weapons wielded by the sacramental host of GOD's elect.
My present design is to show that these prophecies are rapidly approaching the time of their fufilment. The providence of GOD is preparing his way among the Mohamedan nations of the East, and is loudly calling to the Church to enter in and possess the land. It is not my purpose to unfold the character of the religion of the Mohamedans any further than may be necessary to present the encouragements to missionary effort among them. I shall dwell more particularly upon those circumstances in their moral and political condition which may serve to show that the time for such effort has fully come.
I. The first argument in favor of Christian missions among the Mohamedans is founded upon the probability that we shall through them operate most effectually for the conversion of the world.
While we freely admit the equal obligation which rests upon the Church to diffuse the knowledge of the Gospel throughout the world--while we hold that no nation does in itself possess a claim upon Christian effort superior to any other--while we recognise the necessity of the Divine aid in the great work committed to the Church--we believe that here, as in every other human undertaking, we cannot forego the use of appropriate means, nor neglect with impunity the dictates of reason and prudence. It is our duty to expend our efforts to the best purpose. Our work is the conversion of the world, and we are bound to apply our chief energies at those points where they will accomplish most toward this great end. Other things being equal, those nations have the first claim upon the Church in which missionary effort will bear most immediately and effectually upon the whole world. This rule is exemplified in the instance now before us.
The Mohamedan countries are the centre of the world. They occupy the region which was chosen by GOD for the birthplace of Christianity--a region from which the Gospel might spread most rapidly among the nations. It is still, from its central situation, the most advantageous stand-point for exerting a wide and powerful influence upon the vast surface of the field which the Church is called to occupy.
It is also the great commercial thoroughfare between Europe and Eastern Asia. It is visited by hundreds of thousands of merchants and traders from almost every nation upon the face of the earth, who might be, as in many instances they have already been, heralds of the Gospel to the most distant lands. You may find in the bazars of the principal Mohamedan cities people of almost every tongue under heaven. The tide of commerce is continually passing to and fro over the face of those countries, and if the bread of life were thrown upon its waters, it might ere long be found feeding the famishing millions of China. Instances are not unknown of the word of GOD being purchased by travelling merchants, to be exchanged again as an article of traffic, at the distance of a thousand miles. Similar to this is the testimony of Mr. Smith, author of the Researches in Armenia. [6/7] "A countryman of ours," he writes, in a letter to the American editor of the Memoirs of Henry Martyn, "who had already travelled several years in Cabool, Candahar, the Penjab, and other regions on the Indus, on leaving Tebriz (in North-western Persia,) just before we arrived, for more extensive researches in the same part of the world, put three copies of Martyn's Testament, (all that he could carry, as he travelled on foot,) and a few religious tracts, in his pocket, hoping to exchange them for old Greek MSS. One of the pilgrims who were leaving Tebriz for Mecca when we arrived, obtained a copy of Martyn's Testament to carry with him on his pilgrimage. It is delightful," adds Mr. Smith, "to see the work of such a man, and that work a translation of the word of GOD, penetrating even by single copies into such a centre of superstition as Mecca, and such a region of robbery and ignorance as the Upper Indus--both almost equally inaccessible." It seems beyond doubt that the Christian missionary, in either of the chief cities of Persia, might make his influence felt to the remotest extremities of Asia. And if the Eastern countries were again overspread with the light of the Gospel, what centres of illumination would they be to surrounding nations and to the world.
There is another suggestion connected with this part of our subject which is worthy of the serious consideration of the conductors of missionary operations abroad. It is this--the general extension of Christianity among the Mohamedans would be the most powerful means to the enlightening and purifying of the corrupt Christian Churches of the East. I know that it is a very common remark, that these Churches must first be elevated before we can reasonably anticipate for the Gospel a wide prevalence among the Mohamedans, in the midst of whom they are situated. The Mohamedans, it is said, see nothing in the corrupt Christianity about them superior in any respect to the religion of the Koran. But is not this rather an argument in favor of presenting our holy religion in its purity to the Mohamedans themselves? Their contempt of Christianity arises, in a great measure, from the fact that they have no knowledge of it but as it exists in the [7/8] impure form which is constantly before their eyes. They are for the most part well able to distinguish between this paganized Christianity and the pure faith of the Reformed Churches of Christendom. The corrupt religion may prove a temporary, but not surely a serious obstacle to their reception of the Gospel. May it not rather commend it by its own contrasted impurity? We need indeed look only at the political relations of the Eastern Christians and their Mohamedan masters, to be convinced that our missionary efforts should commence with the latter. If they receive a pure Christianity, its influence will inevitably descend to those who are in civil subjection to them. But the converse does by no means follow: for if the fallen Churches of the East were first elevated, Christianity must struggle upward through the prejudices and contempt of Mohamedan bigotry, and against the tide of political superiority. Thus much at least is true,--this method has been largely, if not fully tried. American missionaries have been long and faithfully laboring among the degenerate Christians of Mohamedan countries, but without any signal success. The progress of their efforts has been extremely slow, and nothing like the results of missionary labor among the idolatrous Pagans has yet appeared. Let now, then, missions still be sustained and enlarged as circumstances require, and let the Church send the unadulterated Gospel directly to the Mohamedans; and when they shall have bowed to its authority, how soon will the candlestick of the LORD be restored to its place in the fallen Churches of Asia!
The vast extent of territory over which the Mohamedan languages are spoken, presents another presumptive evidence of the wide influence of Christian missions among them. The Arabic language is the language of the Koran, and is extensively known throughout the East. [* Henry Martyn, in speaking of the Arabic translation of the Bible, says, "It will be of more importance than one-fourth of all that have ever been made." "With this single translation," he adds, "we can begin to preach to Arabia, Syria, Persia, Tartary, part of India and China, half of Africa, and nearly all the seacoasts of the Mediterranean, including Turkey. According to the tables in the modern atlas, this would give upward of two hundred millions who would be reached through the Arabic tongue."] It is second in importance [8/9] only to the Chinese, and next to it stands the Persian. That language is spoken over nearly one quarter of the globe. It was till lately the court and judicial language of India, and is now generally understood from Constantinople to Calcutta. The Turkish is, perhaps, more the language of commerce; it is every where known throughout Asia Minor, is the root of several dialects, and is the native language of one-third of the inhabitants of Persia. The Bible and religious tracts in Turkish might be read in Syria, Asia Minor, and Persia; in the Persian, in almost every part of India; and in Arabic, in the islands of the Indian Archipelago, which lie to the south of China, and even in China itself.
II. I might here add another consideration, to show the important bearing which Mohamedan missions would have upon the conversion of the world; but I deem it of sufficient importance to give it a distinct consideration, and therefore adduce it as my second argument in favor of missions to Mohamedan countries. I allude to the character of the Mohamedans. Two traits seem particularly worthy of notice.
(1.) THEIR INTELLIGENCE.--Perhaps no people excel the Persians in the higher qualities of intellectual character. They are ready in apprehension, and subtle in discrimination. Their learned men are doubtless too fond of refined and mystical speculations, but this is a fault, if it be one, only of superior minds. That they are capable of appreciating and using even historical testimony, of all kinds of evidence farthest removed from abstract reasoning, is manifest from the biography of Henry Martyn, and from such of their controversial tracts as have been translated into our own language. Martyn conducted his written controversies for the most part in a simple, practical manner, and they produced an impression which is felt in Persia to the present hour. If he failed at all, it was when he forsook the severe forms of logic for what may properly be called the dialectics of the imagination. Here his opponents were invulnerable.
We cannot say much at present for the literature of Persia, the day of its glory has declined; but we have much to hope from the intelligence of the people. We have not to begin [9/10] with minds destitute of the first elements of knowledge. It is computed by the best historian of Persia that two-thirds of the males can read.
Of other Mohamedan countries I am not able to speak with so much precision; but as a general remark, it is doubtless true, that no unevangelized people are so intelligent and capable of receiving knowledge as the Mohamedans.
(2.) A second trait in their character is their fondness for religious inquiry. This remark, however, must be confined chiefly to Persia. Those who are familiar with the Memoir of Martyn will remember how constantly he was engaged in religious disputation with those who visited him for that purpose. There are hundreds of thousands in Persia, of whom I shall hereafter have occasion to speak more fully, who are professed freethinkers--who have broken away from the rigid forms and prescriptions of Mohamedism, and are floating, without rudder, chart, or compass, upon the wide ocean of free-inquiry. A recent traveller testifies that, at all times, and in every society, the truths of religion are made the subjects of discussion. These are themes upon which the Persian mind delights to dwell--too often, perhaps, in idle and visionary contemplation.
But, on the other hand, it must be acknowledged that the genius of Mohamedism is averse to freedom of inquiry upon religious subjects. It is essentially intolerant and bigoted. This quality, however, belongs to the religion, and not to the Mohamedan mind, aside from the influence of its faith upon it. The native character of the religion cannot be changed. It is indelibly impressed upon the pages of the Koran. It is, and must ever be, a religion of malice, cruelty, and violence. And yet we may find in it strong ground for encouragement to missionary effort. This then shall be our third argument.
III. THE CHARACTER OF THE MOHAMEDAN RELIGION.--One can hardly examine the structure of this corrupt faith, especially in its relation to Christianity, without being struck with the consummate art of its founder. It originated, as I have already remarked, at a period when the religion of the Gospel had lost its primitive simplicity and purity, together [10/11] with that unity and stability which were appropriate to it as the last dispensation. Mohamed doubtless saw that in the unsettled and distracted state of the Christian Church, men's minds would readily turn to a new religion. Christianity had become so corrupt as to render it probable that it was not designed to be permanent, while the Jew still looked for a human Messiah, a great deliverer and conqueror. Mohamed therefore did not promulgate his religion in opposition to Christianity or Judaism, but as the sequel of both--a third dispensation to the Christian, and a second, even the expected dispensation, to the Jew. He did not aim to extirpate either, but only, as it were, to prune them, and graft his own religion upon the stock. He adopted into his system so much of both as would serve his purpose. He admitted the greater part of the Bible as sacred, and interwove much of its history and precepts into his own "Miraculous Book." He was the prophet foretold by Moses, and the comforter promised by CHRIST himself. The same pretensions had been made long before, even within the precincts of the Church, by Paul of Samosata and others.
I know not that the attempt has ever been made to determine how much the system of Mohamed has in common with the true religion, but it seems to have been justly observed by an eminent writer of our own country, that "it ought to be considered as a great advantage that the facts of sacred history are not wholly unknown to the Mohamedans. For though they may consider our intelligence as borrowed from their book, it is, nevertheless, something to be able to appeal to striking facts, by way of illustration, confirmation, and induction. This might, as it were, present a vulnerable point when all the rest is shielded in impenetrable prejudice. A beginning might be made by a judicious use of facts which they believe as well as we, from which occasion might be taken to correct the errors of Mohamed's narrative, and eventually to demonstrate and explain important truths.
An important question here arises, "How do the Mohamedans at the present day regard the sacred Scriptures?"
Upon this point I would not say more than facts warrant. [11/12] The Bible is so little known to the great mass of Mohamedans that the question has not yet been fully tested. It is certain, however, that the Christian missionary may demand from them, as true followers of their prophet, a respect for the word of GOD. "Your grand dependence," say the Committee of the American Board, in their instructions to Mr. Murick, the first and only American missionary to the Mohamedans, "your grand dependence must be upon the sword of the SPIRIT, which is the word of GOD. To the holy Scriptures should be your chief appeal. And with them," they add, "there is, if possible, even more need of your being familiarly conversant among the Persians than among the Turks, because the Persian regards them with more respect than the Turk, and listens to them with greater deference." This is doubtless true; and yet frequent instances have not been wanting, in late years, of the Bible having been sought after and privately distributed by Turks. As their prejudices lessen, their respect for the Christian religion and its oracles will increase. It is impossible to determine beforehand the result of an effort to distribute the Scriptures among the Mohamedans of Turkey. The Church has abundant encouragement to attempt it.
Of Persia, we can speak with greater confidence. I find that so far back as the year 1600, the Persian doctors were accustomed to appeal to the Bible in support of Mohamedism, and admitted its authority in matters of controversy. Henry Martyn and his opponents almost invariably resorted to the Bible in their controversies. His translation of the New Testament was received by his Persian majesty with the highest tokens of approbation, and with the assurance that it should be read in his presence. He also pledges his royal favor to "those excellent individuals who are so virtuously engaged in disseminating and making known the true meaning and intent of the holy Gospel." Of the same translation, Mr. Smith testifies, that in the only city of Persia which he visited, "it is not only not objected to by the people, or their moollahs, (religious teachers,) but they profess to entertain the greatest respect for it as the word of GOD."
 We have then, at the outset, this strong hold on the Mohamedan mind. The sacred Scriptures may be freely circulated, and by many at least will be cordially received. And when we reflect how great an obstacle to the conversion of the Heathen is their rejection of, and their indifference to, the word of GOD, we have abundant reason for gratitude and encouragement that the same obstacle does not stand in the way of the progress of the Gospel among the Mohamedans. That so little has yet been accomplished, must be attributed to the apathy of Christians. The press has never been introduced into Persia. Only the New Testament and the Psalms have yet been translated, [* We except the various versions of the whole, or portions of the Scriptures enumerated by Brown, in his History of Missions, of which Buchanan remarks, that they are so grossly incorrect, as to be unfit for general circulation.] and most of the few copies of these which have been circulated, have found their way thither from St. Petersburg.
Another favorable feature in the Mohamedan religion is the gross errors in philosophy, and matters of fact, which may be found in the "infallible Koran." My limits will permit me to mention only one. Mohamed adopted the Ptolemaic system of the universe, which holds the earth to be the centre, and the sun with the planets to revolve about it. This theory is promulgated as the true one in the Koran, and every sincere disciple of the prophet must embrace it. It has been truly said, that the refutation of the scientific errors in the sacred books of the Hindoos will overturn the very foundations of their religion. In like manner will the disclosure of this astronomical error of the Koran destroy the authority of the Mohamedan Bible.
A third encouraging feature of the Mohamedan religion, is the religious divisions which exist among its disciples.
It was Voltaire, I think, who said that he preferred Mohamedism to every other religion which had ever appeared on earth, because it had no sects. But nothing can be farther from the truth than this assertion. Besides those great divisions with which we are all familiar, there exist, and have [13/14] long existed minor sects, not less than two hundred in number. Many of these date their origin from the death of Mohamed. They have sprung, however, from very different causes. The greater part originated in contentions respecting the traditions of Mohamed, and the earliest Mohamedan doctors. It does not fall within my design to speak of them more particularly. The principal division is that which distinguishes the followers of the prophet into two great parties, denominated the Shiah and the Sonnee. The great majority of Mohamedans are Sonnee, the Persians alone being attached to the Shiah faith.
I need not at present describe the differences in doctrine between these two great sects. It is more important to our present purpose to show with what feelings they regard each other. The Shiah, or Persians, are most tolerant. They are content to say that the Sonnee are deceived. One Mohamedan writer speaks of them as "wandering in error." Others, however, are less conciliatory, and anathematize the Sonnee as infidels. Mirza Mohamed, a learned Persian who wrote a reply to Martyn, declares that "the Imams must be received by all of the true faith." These Imams are the immediate descendants of Mohamed, and are held by the Shiah in the estimation of prophets, while their authority is wholly rejected by the Sonnee. The same writer also refuses to accept the arguments which Martyn drew from Sonnee commentators on the Koran, "For," says Mirza, "they reject the only true interpretation of the Imams."
The Sonnee, on the other hand, esteem the Shiah not only as infidels, but as worse even than "Christian dogs," and believe that they are doomed to eternal damnation. Burnes, whose interesting travels into Bokhara and Persia, have recently been republished in this country, testifies that the Persians who came into Bokhara while he was residing there, were compelled to renounce their religion, and profess the Sonnee faith, in order to save their lives. It is, there and in Cabool, a sufficient apology for the murder of a man, that he was a Shiah. The same virulent hatred toward this sect prevails in Turkey, and there indeed with better reason. [14/15] For the Shiah, by rejecting the authority of teachers upon whose interpretations and precepts the civil polity of Turkey is based, undermine the foundations of the Turkish government.
In fine, no two religions are more violently and bitterly opposed to each other, than these two Mohamedan sects. The original unity of the religion which constituted the chief element of its power is gone, and the Mohamedism of the present day is disjointed and broken.
Nor is this all. The enthusiastic attachment to their faith, and the proselyting zeal which distinguished the early disciples of Mohamed, can no longer be found. This results in part, from the political decline of Mohamedan countries, of which I have yet to speak. But aside from this, it is true that their religion has lost much of its primitive vitality and energy. It was ever a religion suited rather to the warlike temper of the Saracen, than to the voluptuous disposition of the Persian, or the broken spirit of the Turk. It was designed to be maintained by bloodshed and violence. The delights of its sensual paradise were promised to him who conquered or fell in battle. But these incentives have lost their power. Mohamedism can find no more nations to subdue, nor has it the strength to subdue them. It has long been content to retain the ground which it occupies, without any new endeavor to extend its dominions.
The religion presents other symptoms of decline, which are worthy of brief notice.
1. With the great multitude of Mohamedans, it has degenerated into a mere observance of external rites. To be a true follower of the apostle of GOD, is to abstain from wine and forbidden animals, to pray five times a day, to observe the fast Ramasan, and to curse "Christian dogs." There is little of intelligent attachment to the peculiar doctrines of their faith.
2. Of many it cannot be said even that they observe the forms of their religion. This is particularly true of the Shiah of Persia. They scruple not to neglect almost every precept of the Koran, when it can be done with safety. The Persian [15/16] mind is, for the most part, uncongenial with that lowest form of bigotry, a blind adherence to the externals of religion, which is the sum and substance of Sonnee piety.
3. The religion itself is greatly corrupted. This is generally admitted by Mohamedans themselves. The Mollahs of Turkey acknowledge that the religion has lost its primitive purity, and the Sultan shields himself from suspicion, on account of the civil changes which he is effecting in his empire, under the pretext of religious reform.
In Persia, hardly a vestige of the Mohamedism of the Koran is to be found. Its place is usurped by a superstition not unlike that of the Romish Church. I allude particularly to the worship of saints. This has arisen from two causes. The first is their controversies with the Sonnee. The ground of these controversies is the claims of Ali, the fourth caliph, cousin and son-in-law of Mohamed. The Persians, or Shiah, hold that he was the first legitimate successor of the prophet, and that the three caliphs who preceded him were usurpers. The Sonnee reject these claims, and here the two sects join issue. The Shiah, in their zeal for the head of their sect, have lost sight of the founder of their religion, and pay more devout homage to Ali than to Mohamed. To this extreme have they been driven by the heat of controversy, and the anathemas of the Sonnee. Another cause of their defection is, that at Mecca, which is in the hands of the Sonnee, all pilgrims are compelled to acknowledge the first three caliphs, whom the Shiah reject. This law effectually prevents, on their part, obedience to that requirement of the Koran, which enjoins it on every Mohamedan to perform a pilgrimage to the shrine of the prophet at Mecca, that he may kiss the black stone of the Kaaba, and wash himself in the holy water of the Zem-Zem. The Shiah, therefore, choose a less dangerous service. They visit the sepulchres of Ali and his sons, and the tombs of holy men. Here they bring magnificent presents, and institute splendid and costly ceremonies, and worship the departed saints, and obtain precious relics of the dead. And all this they do in the face of the Koran, which every where forbids all other worship than that which is rendered to GOD. [16/17] The traveller in Persia meets with the shrine of a saint in almost every village. Nor are the Sonnee altogether free from the same condemnation; for no less reverence is paid to saints at Mecca.
Another evidence of the decline of Mohamedism, is the prevalence and rapid increase of infidelity among its professed adherents.
A missionary in Turkey testifies that multitudes there are regarded by their own countrymen as unbelievers. In Persia, infidelity is far more prevalent, so as even to threaten the extinction of Mohamedism. The sect of Sooffees, which embraces among its avowed adherents some hundreds of thousands, though usually classed as one of the Mohamedan sects, is in truth as far removed in its doctrines from Mohamedism, as from Christianity. Its fundamental tenets have been styled by an eminent writer, "A refined mysticism, of the most latitudinarian complexion." Another has more accurately defined it "the belief of the imagination." It is the same mystical philosophy which has prevailed in the East almost from the earliest times, which sprang up in Greece in the Platonic school, infected the writings of many of the Christian fathers; and, in more modern times, has reappeared in the transcendentalism of Germany. I shall not at present attempt to offer any account of the doctrines of the Sooffees, if indeed this were practicable. They are for the most part so vague and visionary, that one can hardly hold them steadily in idea, far less present them in definite and logical propositions. The Sooffees secretly disavow all religion, and are literally freethinkers. They hold Mohamedism in contempt; although, for the sake of personal security, and to render their proselyting efforts more successful, they pay it an external homage. But their influence upon it is so deleterious, that the Persian government openly discountenance them, and in former times have made them the objects of persecution. During the present century, their increase has been so rapid, that the Mohamedan doctors have repeatedly invoked the aid of civil power to arrest it. It is the opinion of Frazer, a respectable historian of Persia, who has also travelled [17/18] in that country, that the number of those who are secretly attached to this sect, is far greater than has been generally supposed. Its doctrines are peculiarly suited to the imaginative turn of the oriental mind, and are fatal to a religion so unspiritual in its character as Mohamedism. The literati of Persia are, whether avowedly or not, Sooffees in their modes of thinking on all subjects, while the professed votaries of the sect are held in high veneration among the common people for their reputed holiness. Advancing as it now is, Sooffeeism will one day become the religion of Persia, unless its progress should first be arrested by the purer and more spiritual religion of the Cross, and the dominion given to Him whose right it is to reign.
Having thus passed in hasty review the character and present condition of Mohamedism, I know of only one other ground of encouragement which may fairly be demanded--of only one other question which needs to be answered. It is this, "Is the way open for the introduction of the Gospel into Mohamedan countries?" I answer, emphatically, YES. GOD, in his providence, is removing the only barrier which remains. Nothing has prevented that Christianity should not long since have been carried into the heart of those regions, but the bigotry of Mohamedans, and their deadly hatred toward the disciples of CHRIST. This spirit, although it sprang originally from their attachment to the religion of the Koran, whose requirements stand in bold contrast with the peaceful precepts of the Gospel, has been perpetuated mainly as a national prejudice. What was at first a religious animosity has become, through the mere force of habit, a rooted aversion to every thing Christian. Until recently, it has been like a wall of adamant around the citadel of Mohamedism. It is now falling by the powerful action of causes in whose operation the devout Christian will not fail to discern the over-ruling hand of GOD. And here, let it be remarked, that when this wall is demolished, the great, I might almost say, the only obstacle to the progress of the Gospel among the Mohamedans will be removed. The religion itself, feeble and broken as it is, cannot long sustain a vigorous and determined assault. [18/19] It is like a ruined fortress entrenched by a high mound and a deep moat. Throw a bridge over the moat, scale the mound, and the fortress is our own. If we can but gain a stand-point within the entrenchments of Mohamedan prejudice, we have little to fear from a religion which exerts so feeble a control over the mind, is so corrupted by superstition, and so weakened by defection. This prejudice may be almost wholly removed without any change in the religion itself; for, as I have said, it is not so much a religious as a national prejudice. This is plainly manifest from the fact, that while the religion itself has declined, the prejudice has continued, till within a few years past, in undiminished force; and is now passing away by the influence of causes entirely unconnected with the acknowledged declension of the Moslem faith,--causes, I say, whose very character shows that the prejudices which are falling before them are the groundless prejudices of custom, and are not sustained by any sincere attachment to Mohamedism itself.
It only remains to show what these causes are, and to exhibit the actual effects already produced by them in laying the evil spirit of Mohamedan exclusiveness and intolerance.
I notice, first, the civil changes which are taking place in the Turkish Empire, and under the immediate supervision of the Sultan.
The Sultans of Turkey have long been aware that one of the principal causes of its decline has been the isolated position in which it stood with respect to the rest of Europe. The law of the Koran forbids all communication with "Infidels." The Turkish people have from the first acted in obedience to this principle of their religion, and have shut themselves out from all intercourse with European nations. "While the latter have distinguished themselves by their advances in civilization and literature, the more determined have the mass of the Turkish people become to resist their example, and to despise their progress." [* Malte Brun.] The consequence has been, that while their neighbors have been constantly rising in [19/20] national prosperity and greatness, they have degenerated with equal rapidity. The present Sultan of Turkey, aware of the cause of this degeneracy, and convinced of the vast superiority of the other nations of Europe, has commenced in good earnest the work of reform. He has introduced among his soldiers the arms, the dress, and the military tactics of his neighbors. He has established for their instruction schools upon the Lancasterian system, to the number of seven, and containing at present two thousand pupils. Thee pupils are instructed from European books, and are taught the elements of geography and astronomy from European globes and orreries.
In 1831 or '32, the Seraskier Pacha, generalissimo of the troops of the Sultan, sent five Turkish children to Paris to be educated there. From a letter addressed by him to them, and dated the 15th of June, 1832, I make the following extract.
"My dear Children,--When I selected you from among all the young people who came under my notice, in order to send you to France, I confided in you all my hopes of the instruction of the Ottoman youth. From your progress the grandees of our empire will decide whether they ought to imitate my example, and to intrust the education of their children to the learned men of Europe. * * * *
"You belong to a nation which has long been thought incapable of taking a part in the sciences and the arts of Europe, and in the advantages which result from them. Prove that we have been wrongly judged. Show that the will to do good and application to labor are also within the power of our intelligence and the precepts of our religion. * * * *
"The Sultan, reformer of a system the foundation of which has become decayed, labors incessantly to introduce into his empire the knowledge which may meliorate the condition of the Ottoman people. I have sent you to draw from this fountain of light, and on your return it will be your duty to show what civilized Europe can do for our happiness, and for our advancement. You will be the chief ties by which the Sultan seeks to attach his states to those of Christianity. [20/21] If we obtain from you instruction, manners, and social virtues, what support will these give to the plans of our prince! If, on the contrary, you bring hither only ignorance or mediocrity, you will discredit the reputation of the schools of Paris, and disseminate an erroneous opinion of the results which civilization offers to us." * * * *
Had such events as these which I have related been predicted twenty years ago, they would hardly have been admitted as possible. Malte Brun, at the time of composing his geography, considered the earliest efforts to improve the discipline of the Turkish army as altogether hopeless. Little did he then imagine that within a few years the very book which he was compiling would be studied by the soldiers of that army, in schools formed upon a European model. Yet so it is. His words, however, are worthy of attention, as showing the bearing of these changes upon the Mohamedan religion. "Difficulties," he says, "that seem insuperable oppose all projects for reformation. The Turkish government is founded entirely on the principles and dogmas of the Mohamedan religion." This is true. The precepts of the Koran, and the commentaries of Mohamedan doctors, are the foundation of the entire civil polity of Turkey; and all change, especially all change proceeding from a desire to imitate the arts and manners of Christian nations, is a subversion of the first principles of Mohamedism. Yet such changes have been commenced, and are now in successful progress. The effect of them also in shaking the deep-seated prejudices of the Turks is already discernible. They begin even to cherish a more favorable regard for the religion of Christians. Says Mr. Smith, the author of the Researches, "The opinion is becoming quite prevalent among the Turks, that while they are adopting the customs and imitating the manners of Christians, they ought also to examine the claims of their religion." In view of these changes, Mr. Murick of the American Board makes the following appeal from Constantinople. "I am more and more deeply convinced that not an hour should be lost in preparing the way of the LORD among the Turks of this city. It is impossible for me to express my [21/22] urgent sense of the duty. . . . . My cool and deliberate judgment would adjure you, in the name of CHRIST, to select forthwith the most competent man you can find for this station, and hasten his departure hither."
Such, my brethren, is the present condition, and such the prospects of European Turkey. These changes, unless retarded by events altogether beyond the range of human calculation, will continue to advance with accelerating rapidity. The grand object of desire to the Christian Church is already gained. A breach is made in the wall of Turkish prejudice. Shall it be occupied by the armies of the LORD of Hosts, or by the emissaries of Satan? Answer, soldier of the Cross, answer.
I have spoken thus at length on Turkey, because it has been rightly considered the most inaccessible to Christian influence of all the Mohamedan countries of the East. Egypt opens still brighter prospects. The Pacha, Mohamed Ali, a chief of vigorous, enlightened, and liberal mind, [* There are various and contradictory opinions respecting the character and motives of this prince. Some have represented him as tyrannical and ambitious, aiming only at his own aggrandizement. However this may be, the effect of his system of reform, in extinguishing the prejudices of his people against Christians, is the same.] has long been engaged in the work of civil and social reform. Time would fail me to speak of all the improvements which he has introduced into Egypt from the Christian states of Europe, during the last twenty years. In the words of the distinguished Sir Alexander Johnstone, "He has restored to Egypt, in their highest state of perfection, all the arts and sciences of Europe; has emulated, as a patron of knowledge, the conduct of the most enlightened of the Caliphs of Bagdad; and has afforded, as a Mohamedan, a bright example, for their imitation, to all the Mohamedan sovereigns in Europe, Africa, and Asia." I add, as more important in the present connection, that he has insured personal security to Christians residing within his dominions, is tolerant toward their religion beyond any former example of a Mohamedan prince, and is favorable to missionary efforts among his subjects, especially to the [22/23] establishment of schools, although, for reasons of state, he has withheld an official approbation. He has also granted permission to introduce and circulate the sacred Scriptures, recommending at the same time, as a matter of policy, that it be gradually attempted. So far, then, as the favor of government is concerned, there is nothing to prevent the immediate establishment of Christian missions in Egypt.
Syria, or the Holy Land, being under Mohamedan control, enters properly into the present review. The late revolution, which has transferred it from the Sultan of Turkey to the Pacha of Egypt, has made it as open to missionary effort as Egypt itself. The progress of religious freedom in Syria during the last ten years would appear almost incredible, if it were not confirmed by numerous facts from Christian travellers of the highest respectability. At Damascus, formerly the chief seat of Mohamedan bigotry and intolerance, where, a few years ago, no Christian dared to appear in a Christian garb, and where two European travellers were obliged to conceal themselves from the rage of the people against Christians, until an opportunity could be found of sending them away privately--in this same Damascus, a wide and effectual door is now open for the circulation of the Scriptures, and the American Board are contemplating the establishment of a mission there. In Sidon, also, till recently as fanatical and intolerant as Damascus itself, the Gospel is now freely published to Mohamedans, and discussions have lately been held with them by a native convert. These changes are doubtless to be in part attributed to the political revolution to which I have alluded; but after all due allowance for the influence of this and other natural causes, much will remain to be ascribed to the operation of a superior agency opening again the way of the Church into the land of her birth--a land rendered sacred by the labors and death of the Saviour, and baptized with the blood of apostles and martyrs.
Of Persia nothing need be added to what has already been said. There Mohamedan opposition has not for centuries presented that severe and deadly form which it has borne in [23/24] the other countries that we have noticed. [* "The cause," says Buchanan, "of the little jealousy of Christianity in Persia, compared with that which is found in other Mohamedan states, is to be ascribed to these two circumstances:--First, that Christianity has always existed in Persia, the Christian natives forming a considerable part of the population; and secondly, that the Persians themselves profess so lax a system of Islamism, that they have been accounted by some Mussulmans a kind of heretics."] Doubtless the Christian missionary in Persia will have to contend with many and great prejudices. He will have to encounter obstacles which he could not foresee, and endure trials of patience and faith under which no human power will be able to sustain him. Still he may enter with strong hope where a false religion is already sinking under its own internal corruptions, while from without a vigorous infidelity is silently sapping its foundations.
Of Arabia it does not enter into my present design to speak.
My last argument in favor of missions to the Mohamedans is drawn from the fact that they have always been, and still are, almost entirely neglected by the Christian Church.
I am not aware that a single missionary from Christian lands has ever been sent to the Mohamedans, with the exception of one who has lately gone from this country. The Church has sent against them kings, princes, and knights errant, at the head of slaughtering armies, and under the sacred banner of the Cross; but no messenger of love, bearing the glad tidings of peace and good-will. Hundreds of thousands have adventured for the recovery of the Holy City, but none in the sublime enterprise of gathering these wanderers into the fold of CHRIST.
Incidental and temporary efforts have from time to time been made. Henry Martyn visited Persia in 1811, to revise his translation of the New Testament. His labors during the single year of his sojourn there are not yet forgotten, and he still bears in Persia the appellation of "the Man of GOD."
There are at the present time both American and English missionaries laboring within the borders of Mohamedan countries, [25/26] but they were sent to the corrupt Christian Churches of the East, and to them their efforts are for the most part confined.
The cause of this seeming indifference of the Church to the salvation of the Mohamedans, is the opinion so generally prevalent, that, as a people, they are inaccessible. This opinion, so far as it respects Turkey and Egypt, has, perhaps, been founded in truth. I say it may have been true; for the only means of proving its correctness--a means invariably used by the apostles, even in more doubtful cases, and fully sanctioned by the commands and instruction of CHRIST--has not been tried. The actual attempt has never been made. Who shall say that if the Church had been ready to go forward in the strength of GOD, her way would not have been prepared before her, mountains would not have become plains, and the crooked paths straight?
But, respecting Persia, I can find no evidence that at any period during the last four centuries, it has not been open to the efforts of Christians. As early as the year 1602, the Romish Church commenced a mission there, "and was permitted by Sultan Murad to build convents in all parts of the empire." [* Buchanan.]
But whatever may have been the grounds of the past negligence of the Church, our present duty, my brethren, must be learned from the present position of Mohamedism, and the opportunities which now offer themselves for a successful aggression upon it. These I have endeavored to bring before you. I have drawn encouragements and incentives to effort, from the special promises of GOD'S holy word; from the probability that such effort will contribute most effectually to the conversion of the world; from the character of the Mohamedans, and the advantages to Christianity of their conversion; from the nature of their religion, its intimate relation to Christianity, their respect for the Bible, the scientific errors contained in the Koran; from the present condition of Mohamedism, the sectarian divisions and animosities which prevail [25/26] among its adherents, the decline of zeal in its propagation, its degeneracy among many into a mere system of external observances, the neglect even of these among others, its gross and manifold corruptions, and the prevalence of infidelity in Mohamedan countries; from the diminution of their long-cherished prejudices against Christians, through the influence of civil, social, and political changes; and finally, from the past and present neglect of Mohamedans by the Christian Church. In all this, I have purposely avoided all such appeals as might engender a groundless and ephemeral zeal. I have aimed solely to produce a rational and abiding conviction of duty. On my own mind, the considerations which I have now presented have pressed with irresistible power. They have brought me hither this evening; they will soon carry me hence to a field of more direct and more arduous effort for the salvation of the Mohamedans.
But this work, my brethren, is no more mine than yours, although, in the providence of GOD, we may be called to promote it in different spheres. The signs of the times in Mohamedan countries are so many indications of the present duty of the Church. We hear in them the voice of the forerunner proclaiming, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!" What mean these unprecedented changes, if they are not designed to lead to new and unprecedented effort? GOD is speaking to the Church by his providence. The revelation of his will could hardly be more clear, if it should come to her in audible tones or from an archangel's trump. It imposes upon her greater responsibilities than ever before. It calls her to the display of an energy and zeal, and to an enlargement of effort equal to the new opportunities for successful exertion.
Never has a mission to foreign lands been commenced under more favorable auspices than those which invite us to such exertion in behalf of the Mohamedans. Seldom, in the history of modern missions, has there been a crisis at once so interesting and momentous. It is for the Church to say what shall be its issue. If she will second by her own efforts these operations of the power of GOD--if she will only fall in with [26/27] the providential course of events--she may carry them forward to the most glorious results. But if she neglect to avail herself of this opportunity for vigorous and hopeful exertion, the present movement will lead to the most disastrous consequences. The last state of Mohamedan countries will be worse than the first. A thick darkness will settle down upon them which ages may not dispel. The disturbed elements of error will subside, and compose themselves into some new form of superstition, more hideous, more appalling, more vital.
To the Episcopal Church of America the call comes with peculiar emphasis. Christians of other names are not contemplating the field of effort which has now been presented. The American Board have indeed already sent out a single missionary to Persia; but they do not propose, at least for the present, any extensive operations in that country. Their older missions are suffering from the great deficiency of laborers, and these must claim their first attention. I know not that any other society in this country or in Europe, has this field of labor in view. But the Episcopal Church occupies a very different position. She has provided for herself a new and efficient missionary organization. She has fully recognised her obligations, and has taken upon herself the most solemn vows. She now stands looking over the world, free to avail herself of any new advantage, free to enter at any new opening, free to select from the wide field which stretches before her. On the other hand, there are those among her sons whose eyes and whose hearts are turned to the perishing followers of the false prophet. While the voice of GOD is heard, "Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?" they are ready to reply, "Here are we, LORD, send us." Our Board of Missions have also responded to this providential command of the great Head of the Church. At their meeting in September last, they resolved unanimously to instruct the Committee on Foreign Missions to establish a mission in Persia or the adjacent countries, if, upon inquiry, they should deem it expedient. This Committee, after careful consideration, have adopted a resolution of which the following is the substance:--
 "Resolved, That the information which has come to the knowledge of the Committee, together with other circumstances known to them, in their opinion manifestly indicate a providential direction to this extensive field for missionary operation; and are of sufficient importance to induce them to determine on appointing a missionary agent to visit Persia, and, if he should find it expedient, Turkey, Syria, and Egypt; in order to ascertain where missionary stations, with a view to the conversion of the Mohamedans, in one or more of the said countries, can be established with the best prospect of success."
The object of the proposed exploration is threefold--to ascertain more fully the present moral condition of the Mohamedans; the facilities and difficulties of missionary effort among them; and to select sites for missionary stations--all with reference to the ulterior design of establishing missions. It is a work which needs to be performed at the outset, and probably will never need to be repeated; for the information which may be obtained will be of service through all future time. In the present instance it is the more needed, because Christian research has never yet laid open to the Church those rich stores of knowledge respecting Mohamedan countries which it has gathered from other portions of the world. The information already possessed is not such as greatly to subserve the interests of the Church in her missionary operations. It is derived mainly from the narratives of travellers who have visited those countries rather for objects of scientific inquiry, or literary curiosity, than for the purposes, or, in many instances, with the spirit of Christian benevolence.
A preparatory visit of exploration seems therefore indispensable; but it must not be regarded as being distinct from the common work of the missionary. Though preliminary and preparatory to more direct labor, it can no more be separated from the missionary work, than the acquisition of the native language, to which the missionary every where is obliged, to give the first attention. It stands upon the same ground. It is the first business of the mission, and is of course to be followed by the establishment of missionary stations. The [28/29] object is not to inquire whether it is practicable or expedient to erect the standard of the Cross in Mohamedan countries; this is already determined. The design is to learn by investigation the points at which we should commence our efforts; the facilities to encourage, and the difficulties to hinder us; the best method of conducting the work; and whatever else will be of service in forming our plans and prosecuting our operations. The enterprise having been determined upon, the first thing is to survey the field, and lay out the work. This preliminary labor is necessary for several reasons.
In the first place, as less has been attempted by the Christian Church in behalf of the Mohamedans than of almost any other people, less of course is known which would avail us much in missionary operations among them. This deficiency must be supplied by Christian research, which has been, in almost all cases, the primary source of our information. The information which we need at the outset is not yet in our possession. It is the design of the tour to supply it.
Again, some countries are only partially accessible, affording perhaps a single point where the missionary may gain a footing. In such cases, the efforts of the Church must be desultory and without any regular plan. She can do no more than occupy the ground that is open to her. But of Mohamedan countries the truth is otherwise. The whole field, as far as we know, is open to us. We can at once, after possessing ourselves of the requisite knowledge, form the most extensive plans and systems of operation. We are at liberty to select those centres of effort where we can operate to the best advantage. But we can discover them only by such inquiry as is the object of the tour. If we choose our stations at random, commencing perhaps at the nearest point which is accessible, we may thank a kind Providence if we do not labor to the greatest disadvantage. The question for us is this: whether we shall avail ourselves of those advantages which the LORD of missions has put in our hands; or proceed without inquiring the way before us, without system, and without even knowing whether we are not encountering difficulties which might be avoided, and expending our efforts where they will produce the least results.
 But once more. It may be objected that our work, in its present aspect, looks too much like a mere experiment. We ought to go forth, it may be alleged, not to see whether we can promulgate the Gospel among the Mohamedans, but to promulgate it at all hazards. This view of the missionary work does indeed present the true theory of missions. It has the sanction of apostolic example. But the objection when applied to the Persian exploration, mistakes, it would seem, its design. This is not to see whether we can plant the Cross in Mohamedan countries, but where and how we shall commence and prosecute our efforts. Exploration is rendered necessary, not by the diminutiveness, but by the largeness, of our scheme. If we aimed no further than to occupy a single point, nothing of the kind would be requisite. The Church would have only to send a missionary or two to the spot, with peremptory instructions to fix themselves there, and then to preach the Gospel. But the work now before us springs from a broader design. It embraces the entire territory of Mohamedism. It aims at the salvation of the whole body of Mussulmen--at the complete subversion of Islamism. Such being the compass of the work, its entire scope is to be constantly in view. The whole field is first to be brought under our eye. The details of plans are then to be formed from a general survey of the field. In a word, the Church must, first of all, gain a knowledge of her field and her work, to enable her to carry out her design in its full extent. The first station to be occupied must be that from which the missionary can act most effectually for the accomplishment of the general design, whether this is Teheran, Ispahan, Shiraz, Damascus, or Constantinople.
[* A single instance will illustrate this subject. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, several years since, determined upon undertaking extensive operations amongst the Armenians. They found, however, they were deficient in authentic information respecting that people. They knew not, in a word, where or how to commence. What did they do? Instead of sending first their missionaries to work at random, they sent out two competent men to "spy out the land," and make a report thereof. The result is, that these explorers have laid open the extensive regions of Asia [30/31] Minor to the Christian Church, and have, by their faithful reports, created a deep and abiding interest in behalf of the Armenians. These reports are embodied in the work entitled, "Researches in Armenia," and give more definite and correct information concerning that country, than could have been obtained by many years of stationary missionary labor. At the same time the American Board, having the whole field spread out before them, are enabled to form an extensive and regular system of operation; to locate their missions where there are the most favorable prospects of success, and in such positions that they may strengthen and sustain each other, and exert the widest possible influence upon the people among whom they are established. The experience both of that society and of the societies in England, abundantly testifies to the utility of Christian research under such circumstances as those in which our new mission commences; that is, where extensive operations are contemplated, and the condition of the country, and the character of the people, render exploration practicable.]
But there is another view of the subject which seems to remove the least shadow of objection to the mode of effort which, in the present instance, has been adopted by the Foreign Committee. The labors of investigation will not prevent the explorers from acting in the character of missionaries. They are, in truth, itinerant missionaries. In all their journeyings they will not, I trust, forget that their grand object is to bring unenlightened men to the knowledge of the Gospel. They will have of course frequent opportunities of promulgating its divine truths. And as they will find it necessary, for the purposes of investigation, to reside for a time in each of the principal cities through which they may pass, these truths may be repeated again and again in the same ears. Thus the exploring tour will be in itself a mission after the apostolic model. Should the contemplated associate in this holy work be assigned me, may we go forth, like Paul and Barnabas, considering ourselves separated for the work, and sent forth by the HOLY GHOST! May we proclaim CHRIST and him crucified with the same fearless zeal, and the same excellent wisdom! And if, like them, GOD shall preserve us in the hour of danger, one or the other of us may, like them, return when our work is fulfilled, to "rehearse to the Church what GOD has done with us, and how he has opened the door of faith unto the" Mohamedans.
Such, my brethren, are the grounds of the new undertaking [31/32] upon which the Church, through her appointed agents, has now entered. By their act the work has become her own. She has assumed new responsibilities; she has placed herself under new obligations. Shall these obligations be met? Shall these responsibilities be fulfilled? It is for you, brethren, as members of the Church, to answer. Your Board of Missions and your Foreign Committee look to you for support. They can go no farther than the voice of the Church encourages them to proceed. The one hundred and fifty millions who are in bondage to the false and pernicious faith of the Koran look to you. Shall they abide and perish in their delusion, while the Church puts forth no effort to communicate to them the true knowledge of CHRIST, which alone maketh wise to salvation? He who now addresses you looks to you. GOD forbid that I should go forth to this work unsustained by the favor and prayers of the Church! Rather let me abandon, at this last moment, the long-cherished object of my highest ambition, than engage in any unapproved or prayer-less enterprise.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE FOREIGN COMMITTEE
IN RELATION TO
THE MISSION TO PERSIA, &c.
At a meeting of the Board of Missions, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 24th day of September, 1835,
Resolved, That the Committee for Foreign Missions be, and they hereby are, requested, if upon inquiry they shall think that the indications of Divine Providence are sufficiently plain to justify such a step, to send a missionary or missionaries to Persia, Armenia, or Georgia.
At a meeting of the Foreign Committee, held at their office in White-street, New York, October 26, 1835:
The Board of Missions having, at its late meeting, resolved, that the Committee for Foreign Missions be requested, if upon inquiry they shall think that the indications of Divine Providence are sufficiently plain to justify such a step, to send a missionary or missionaries to Persia, Armenia, or Georgia,--
Resolved, by this Committee, that a sub-committee be appointed to consider and report upon the subject-matter of said resolution.
At a meeting of the Foreign Committee, held at their office in White-street, New York, November 10, 1835,
The Sub-committee on the subject of a Mission to Persia, &c., made report at length, accompanied by an interesting communication from the Rev. Horatio Southgate, jun., and recommended the passage of the following resolutions, which were adopted by the Committee:--
 Resolved, That the information and suggestions contained in the communication of the Rev. Mr. Southgate, with other circumstances known to the Committee, in their opinion, manifestly indicate a providential direction to this extensive field of missionary operation, and are of sufficient importance to induce them to determine on appointing an individual missionary agent to visit Persia, and, if he should find it expedient, Turkey, Syria, and Egypt, in order to ascertain where missionary stations, with a view to the conversion of the Mohamedans, in one or other of said countries, can be established with the best prospect of success.
Resolved, That the Rev. Horatio Southgate, jun., be appointed to explore the said countries to such an extent as he may find practicable, and that he report, from time to time, to this Committee such information as he may obtain.
At a meeting of the Foreign Committee, January 5, 1836,
Resolved, That the Standing Committee on the Mission to Persia, &c., be instructed to consider and report whether circumstances do not warrant and encourage the appointment of another missionary agent, to be associated with the Rev. Mr. Southgate in his visit to Persia and adjacent countries.
At a meeting of the Foreign Committee, January 19, 1836, on the report of the Sub-committee on Missions to Persia, &c.
Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Committee, the favorable reception and flattering encouragement this mission has met with in those places where its objects have been publicly opened and explained, are such as to justify its enlargement by the addition of one further missionary, to be the associate of the Rev. Mr. Southgate.
Note by the Secretary and General Agent of the Foreign Committee.
The Foreign Committee have in view the appointment of a regularly graduated medical gentleman, now a candidate for [34/35] Orders in the Church, and near the termination of his course in one of our theological seminaries, and who has communicated his desire to labor with Mr. Southgate, to be his associate in this interesting work.
The Rev. Mr. Southgate sailed for France, with a view of proceeding from thence to Constantinople, on the 24th of April. Providence permitting, his associate will follow him in the course of the ensuing autumn.
PUBLIC FAREWELL MEETING.
The proposed public Farewell Meeting of the Foreign Committee of Missions with the Rev. Horatio Southgate, jun., their missionary to Persia, &c., was held on the evening of Easter Sunday, April 3, 1836, at the Church of the Ascension, in the city of New York; a highly respectable and overflowing audience attended; the Right Rev. Benjamin T. Onderdonk, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of New York, presided.
Evening prayer was conducted by the Rev. Samuel H. Turner, D. D., Professor of Biblical Learning in the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
After the singing of an appropriate psalm, the Rev. James Milnor, D. D., Secretary and General Agent of the Foreign Committee, read to the Rev. Horatio Southgate, jun., the following instructions of that Committee:--
Letter of Instructions of the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions to the Rev. Horatio Southgate, jun., Missionary to Persia, &c.
REVEREND AND RESPECTED BROTHER,--In behalf of the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, I proceed, according to usage, to communicate to you their instructions, in reference to the interesting work of GOD on which you are about to enter.
Your mission will be directed immediately to the adherents of the false prophet in Persia; and if the providence of GOD, when you have surveyed that extensive field, should appear [35/36] to you to indicate benefit to the great object of advancing the Redeemer's kingdom, and the salvation of the souls of men, as likely to arise from an extension of your tour into Syria, Turkey, or Egypt, you will consider yourself at liberty to pursue your inquiries and labors into any or all of those countries.
We have great pleasure, beloved brother, in expressing to you the just appreciation which we entertain of the motives that have led you to offer yourself for this hallowed enterprise. We have every reason to believe that you have been prompted by no sudden impulse of juvenile enthusiasm, nor any inducements of secular honor or advancement, in the assumption of the office of a foreign missionary, and venturing your first efforts in a very distant and almost an untried field. The LORD, by his grace, having called you into the sacred office of the ministry, you are now, in faithfulness, responding to the clear impressions of duty, as to the direction of your labors. These impressions have been almost coeval with the revelation to your own heart of the blessings of a Saviour's love; while you have not hastily or unadvisedly yielded your mind to their influence, but have sought in the word of GOD, in ardent prayer, in holy meditation, and in the pious counsels of judicious friends, to be assured that your course is that of plain duty, and your object such as will commend itself to GOD'S approval.
In like manner we have been brought to the conclusion, that, in commencing this novel undertaking, we are conforming to those divine purposes of mercy, which, by human agency, under the guidance of GOD'S providence, and the influence of his grace, are to be accomplished in behalf of our fallen race before the second advent of Messiah.
To that body from which we derive our appointment and authority, we are indebted for the first suggestion of such a mission as yours and we consider it a merciful coincidence, and a strong proof of its accordance with the mind of the HOLY SPIRIT, that we should so soon have been enabled to make an appointment, which, we believe, commends itself to general approbation, and that we should find so liberal [36/37] a measure of support spontaneously tendered, as to have no occasion, on that account, to delay your departure; while the pleasing prospect has, at the same time, been presented of supplying you soon with an associate, whose character for piety, talents, and acquirements, in every way qualifies him to divide with you the labors of your noble work.
We have spoken of your mission as novel: and we apply the epithet not merely in reference to its connection with the missionary operations of our own Church, but to those of other branches of the mystical body of the Redeemer. It is true the inestimable Henry Martyn laid down his valuable life in the prosecution of intense desires to convince Persian Mohamedans of the fatal delusions of the false prophet, and persuade them to embrace the Gospel of CHRIST. Little direct effort, however, appears to have been since made for their conversion; and while this degrading system seems crumbling under the influence of the gradual spread of science and the arts, and the worldly policy of human rulers, the Church has been criminally tardy in putting forth her efforts for its demolition.
There are, it is true, Christian missionaries in countries where the prevalent faith of the inhabitants is in consonance with the doctrines of the Koran. Some of these have been directed to the lost and scattered sheep of the house of Israel, and others to decayed and isolated Christian churches. But excellent as is their avowed design, they have had but little effect upon the appalling errors of Mohamedanism. We understand also, that one missionary from another denomination of Christians in our country has preceded you in this field; and we anticipate with pleasure, that without interfering with his plans, or compromising any principles of duty toward your own Church, should the providence of GOD bring you into contact, you will mutually cherish in your intercourse the feelings of our common Christianity, and derive aid from the observation and experience of each other.
In regard to the present state of that system of error which excludes the light of truth from the minds of so many millions of our fellow men, we repeat our persuasion that it is tottering [37/38] on its unstable foundation. Your own acquaintance with the grounds of this persuasion has been so happily and so fully evinced in your communications to us, and in your discourses from the pulpit, that, as respects yourself, it would convey no new intimations to your own mind were we minutely to repeat them.
It must, however, be considered a matter of great importance, while much credit is given to various existing sources of information on this head, to ascertain the extent of its verity by actual observation, as well as by personal converse with individuals of every class of Mohamedans; to discover both the practicability of reclaiming them from their errors, and the wisest and most effectual means which, in the fear of GOD, and with a view to their eternal happiness, may be most advantageously employed for that purpose.
Personal travel amongst, and daily familiar intercourse with, the people, will, no doubt, develope much additional information on these points; perhaps lead to the correction of some errors; and by the exhibition of encouraging facts, incite the hearts of Christians to a liberality of contribution, and an ardency in prayer, proportioned to the magnitude, the beneficence, and the feasibility of the design.
It is, therefore, our earnest request, that you will keep, during your absence, a daily journal; that you will make it the repository of clear statements of your travels, of your occasional conversations, and of striking occurrences, as well as a record of your own reflections, and inferences from all you see and hear. The frequent transmission, by safe conveyances, of portions of your diary, will relieve the anxiety of your friends, and apprize us of your progress: and the publication of many of its more important details be a means of maintaining and increasing a missionary spirit in the Church.
In your absence from the profitable associations and varied means of grace to which you have been accustomed, we need hardly remind you, beloved brother, how much the unremitted cultivation of a devotional spirit will promote your own comfort, invite the protecting care of a gracious Providence, and subserve the sacred interests committed to your charge; and [38/39] how essentially gravity of deportment, in consonance with a cheerful temper, will commend your counsels and communications to those with whom you may converse.
The blessed oracles of truth will be ever before you. Amidst their varied treasures you will find one of the incentives to exertion in your work in the recorded missionary precept of the Saviour, and your sweetest solace and encouragement in its accompanying promise of his never-ceasing presence. Often read the salutary counsels of the great apostle to those charged with the duty of executing this command, the "ambassadors of CHRIST," employed in beseeching sinners, in his stead, to be reconciled to GOD; and in the midst of the multiplied duties, embraced in the wide field of missionary action contemplated by your appointment, never forget the value of an individual soul, nor omit any favorable opportunity of becoming an instrument of good to the immortal beings around you.
Wherever you may be--on your voyage, in your journeys, in every place of your sojourning while abroad--let the beauty of our blessed religion be displayed in your temper, devotion, conversation, and conduct; and while its holy doctrines and precepts are, on all suitable occasions, stated and enforced by you, let their value stand attested by their visible benignant effects upon your own disposition and life.
From the biography of Henry Martyn, and the information of later travellers, you will derive much acquaintance, both with the general character of Mohamedans, and the particular features of that of the inhabitants of Persia. You will probably find, as he did, controversy unavoidable; nay, with such means for its maintenance on the side of truth as the sacred Scriptures supply, properly conducted, it may often prove profitable. Arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of GOD, but let its use be tempered with love; and while an intelligent acquaintance with all the grounds of our faith, and with the weak cavils of its opponents, enables you to triumph in every intellectual contest, let the principal object be to bring home its blessed discoveries to the conscience and the heart.
 In regard to your course of travel, we do not deem it expedient to give you such precise directions as might unduly trammel you in your course. A thousand unforeseen occurrences might make it important for you to deviate from any instructions that could be now given, as to your rout, or the portion of time to be expended in inquiries and labors in particular places.
Two important objects of your mission being to ascertain the actual moral and religious state of the inhabitants in the regions you may visit, and where missionary stations may be most advantageously established, your selection of places to be visited, and the duration of your stay in each, will be regulated by considerations connected with these objects. The great cities of Persia, and of the other Eastern nations to which your tour may extend, will of course attract your particular attention. The easiest, safest, and least expensive modes of visiting them will be best learned from publications with which you may readily supply yourself, and from the inquiries you will be enabled to make of missionaries and intelligent travellers, or other persons with whom you will, from time to time, meet.
The acquisition of the principal languages spoken in the countries through which you are to pass, will be a duty of the first importance; we advise, therefore, your proceeding by way of Havre and Marseilles to Constantinople, and immediately on your arrival, applying yourself with suitable assistance to the study of the Arabic, Turkish, and Persian languages. Under qualified instructers, and with habitual converse with persons speaking these languages in that metropolis, it is hoped that your diligence will be rewarded with a competent knowledge of them within a year, so as then to justify your entrance upon your main work. We rely on your piety and zeal, as well as your deep conviction of the awful responsibilities of the sacred office with which you are clothed, that even during this preparatory course, you will omit no opportunity which circumstances may allow, of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of CHRIST to perishing sinners. With this intimation it is scarcely requisite to connect [40/41] the suggestion that that "prudence" which always dwells with wisdom, will, of course, lead you to avoid, if possible, any measures that might subject you to obstructions in the great work you have in charge.
In regard to your intercourse with Christian brethren not of our Church, we cannot give you better counsel than by repeating that which was furnished the missionaries sent to China, by our venerable father, the presiding bishop, who, at the age of near ninety years, still adorns and edifies a Church, of which, through the goodness of GOD, he has so long been the faithful counsellor and indefatigable friend; and whose brief but excellent Farewell Letter, which at his request we hand you, you will prize as one of your most valuable documents.
"In the tie which binds you to the Episcopal Church, there is nothing," says this beloved bishop, "which places you in an attitude of hostility to men of any other Christian denomination, and much which should unite you in affection to those occupied in the same cause with yourself. You should rejoice in their successes, and avoid as much as possible all controversy, and all discussions which may provoke it on points on which they may differ from our communion, without conforming on any point to what we may deem erroneous. If controversy should be unavoidable, let it be conducted with entire freedom from that bitterness of spirit, and severity of language, which cannot serve the cause of GOD under any circumstances; while in the sphere which you will occupy, they will be repulsive from a religion which produces no better fruits on the temper of its teachers."
And now, beloved brother, we would fain employ our few remaining moments in tendering to you some words of encouragement before we bid you a final farewell. But we dare not suffer these to imply that you are to be privileged with an exemption from various difficulties and trials incident to the missionary life, especially where the field is such a one as that on which you are about to enter. Such has not been your own anticipation. You have counted the cost, and, we trust, are prepared in all things to submit yourself to the providence of [41/42] GOD, however mysterious may be its orderings, or painful its results. The principle of selfishness should have no place in the heart of a Missionary of the Cross. He is to "look not on his own things, but on the things of others." Self-sacrifice for the cause of CHRIST, and the eternal welfare of his fellowmen, is the most indispensable of the varied graces that are to fit him for his work. He must be ready, if required, "to suffer," as well as to "do, the will of GOD;" and under the pressure of whatever persecutions or trials he may be called to endure, find a refuge in the approbation of his conscience and his GOD, and in the consoling hopes of a happy eternity. May you, beloved brother, be favored with such a measure of faith as shall always enable you to "rejoice in tribulation," "knowing that your light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while you look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." Should you be favored with fewer trials than usually fall to the missionary's lot, let it be followed, not with an overweening self-complacency of spirit, but with much humility and heartfelt gratitude to GOD; and may you find in his manifested goodness an increased incentive to renewed energy, and zeal, and holy perseverance in his service. And if called, as you may be, to "sing of judgment as well as mercy," let a recurrence to the noble example of martyrs and confessors in all ages, and above all to the sufferings of the adorable Master whom you serve, be added to the consideration just suggested for strengthening you under their severest pressure.
It will not be among the least of your encouragements that the prayers of a united Church will constantly ascend in your behalf. It is your happiness to go forth to your missionary work, not at the bidding of a private association, laudable, as even in that case might be the motive, and useful as might be its design. You are sent as the messenger of a Church, recognising the obligation of the command of her divine Founder, for the discipling of the nations, and, according to [42/43] the measure of her ability, contemplating the world as her field. Pledged to the glorious work of missions, it is believed that she will not hereafter falter in her course; that her members will increasingly feel their responsibility to Him who has committed to their stewardship the silver and the gold; and that in the expansive feeling of Christian charity, her devoted, well-trained sons will be ready to go forth "to the help of the LORD against the mighty," wherever she may determine to plant the standard of the Cross. The spirit of missions cannot fail to increase the spirit of piety among her members, and in this, in all your distance from us, you will feel a deep and animating interest, because of the assurance it will give you of the employment of enlarged and available prayer in your behalf.
Of the sympathy of the Committee, and the Board which they represent, you need never doubt. We shall follow you in all your movements with an intensity of interest, proportioned to the magnitude of the responsibility which we have assumed in the measures to which you owe your appointment, the intrinsic importance of your mission, and the personal regard enkindled toward you by the short, but pleasing intercourse with which we have been favored.
Go forth, beloved brother, with our united prayers and the best wishes of our hearts, to your momentous work. It will be your honored office, like the great Apostle to the Gentiles, to "preach the Gospel, not where CHRIST is named, lest you should build upon another man's foundation;" and, under the influence of the same blessed Spirit that gave success to his labors, may you be hereafter enabled to say, as he did of the effects of his past ministry; "To whom he was not spoken they shall see, and they that have not heard shall understand." "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." "Hold fast the form of sound words." "Endure hardness as a good soldier of JESUS CHRIST." Finally, remember that the servant of the LORD must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, [43/44] if GOD, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." And now, may the GOD of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord JESUS, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through JESUS CHRIST, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
By order and in behalf of the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
JAMES MILNOR, Secretary and General agent.
At the close of the reading of the Instructions, a few verses of a missionary hymn were sung, when the Rev. Mr. Southgate delivered the following address:--
BELOVED BRETHREN,--The announcement of the proposed establishment of a new mission may have started in some minds the question, whether it is prudent or even safe to add so soon another to the missions of the Church already commenced in foreign lands; whether we are not giving to our missionary efforts too broad a scope, and forming designs beyond our ability to execute? In answer to this inquiry, I would remark that if there has ever been a time in the history of the Church when there was required the widest possible enlargement of effort, it is now, and among ourselves. We stand at this moment, as a Church, in the rear of every other denomination in our country which is engaged in the enterprise. While there is hardly a corner of the earth where their missionaries have not reared the standard of the Cross, we have as yet occupied only two points in the whole wide field of the enterprise. If their efforts do not outreach their duty, ours is a most lamentable deficiency. There rests, therefore, upon the Episcopal Church, a peculiar obligation to attempt a speedy and wide extension of her missionary operations. With others the enterprise has reached its present degree of strength by a slow and protracted growth. In the Episcopal Church it may justly be expected to pass through the same [44/45] stages by a rapid and sudden transition. As a Church which holds as the fundamental principle of her constitution, the example of the apostolic Church, she ought, in consistency with herself, to be foremost in the work of converting the world. But if she would overtake and outstrip those who are already in advance of her, it must be by the unexampled rapidity of her progress.
I have said that the time demands this of us. I allude now to the present condition of the world--to those mighty changes which are working among the unevangelized nations, and which portend the speedy dissolution of the vast fabrics of pagan idolatry, and the overthrow of the Mohamedan imposture. Never has prophecy appeared brought more nearly to it glorious fulfilment, not only in the progress of time but in the posture of events, than at the present moment. I do not allude to any new acquisitions to Christianity surpassing past experience, but to that weakened condition of every form of error and superstition in the world, which is the harbinger of great and sudden revolutions. Need I point you to particular evidences of such changes? Look at China--a few years ago hermetically sealed against the introduction of the Gospel, now affording unlimited facilities for the wielding of that mighty power, the press, which seems ordained to be the grand instrument of her conversion. Look at Hindoostan. Witness the decay of her forsaken temples--the growing neglect of her gorgeous festivals, once thronged by myriads of zealous devotees--the rapid decline of her colleges, those nurseries of her numerous priesthood. Look at the astounding fact, that the number of those dedicated to the service of her altars has decreased nine-tenths within five years--a fact, say a committee of the English Board of Education in Calcutta, to be attributed mainly to the decline of Hindooism. Observe the prevailing disrespect for the sacred orders among the great body of the people, by which hundreds of Brahmins have been compelled to betake themselves to secular pursuits to procure the necessary means of subsistence. Turn to Persia. Read the journal of Wolff, the fearless [45/46] missionary, who has compassed sea and land in quest of the scattered tribes of his brethren. Hear his words,--"I have proved that the missionaries of the Cross may preach CHRIST crucified in every city of Persia." Look at Syria--laid open by a political revolution to the unlimited introduction and spread of the Gospel. Turn your eyes to Africa, rendered accessible through the whole northern interior by the American colonies along her western coast. In fine, look where you will over the wide surface of the unevangelized world, and you meet every where the same signs of change--mountains become plains, crooked paths straight, and a highway prepared for the Church. But what means this transition-state of the heathen world--these precursors of moral revolution, springing up all over the earth, as by the magic touch of an invisible power? They are the voice of GOD, proclaiming among the nations, "Prepare ye the way of the LORD." They are the voice of GOD, proclaiming in the ears of his Church, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee." These changes have been wrought for the Church, though not by the Church. They are the providential revelations of the divine will to her.
Once she was guided in her holy enterprise by miraculous interpositions and direct revelations from the HOLY SPIRIT; but now that the days of miracles are passed, what clearer indication of the will of GOD can we have than these workings of his mighty power? What are they but so many voices of command and encouragement? If the Church will not hear them, neither would she be persuaded by a light or a voice from heaven. What power of incentive can our weak faith demand more than now meets our eyes? Every fallen shrine of pagan idolatry--every declining superstition--every social, civil, and political change which opens the way for the unobstructed march of the Gospel--rebukes our sloth, and urges us to larger endeavors, with a persuasive energy that nothing but the coldness of our zeal, or our deep-rooted unbelief can resist. They plead with us by the constraining love of CHRIST, by his last solemn injunction, by the inestimable [46/47] blessings of the Gospel, by our hopes of heaven, and by the unspeakable misery of a soul that knows no GOD, to avail ourselves of these new opportunities for successful exertion.
How then shall the Church act in view of these loud appeals which come to her from every quarter of the unevangelized world? Every cry should be heard, and she, like the fabled Briareus, should stretch forth her hundred hands to pluck the diadem of power from every crowned form of superstition and error throughout the earth. Her efforts, instead of lagging far behind, should run side by side with the invisible agency of GOD. Her holy zeal, springing first and warm from the deep fountains of the soul, should rush out through every new channel, and multiply its streams with the multiplying openings into the waste places of the moral world. The unprecedented opportunities for successful effort which every where meet the eye, should draw out, as by magnetic influence, the living energy of inward holiness.
Enlarge her efforts as she may, we dare not hope that for many future years they will overtake the rapid progress of change in the established seats of idolatry and superstition. Long will Gutzlaff have proclaimed from the borders of the celestial empire, "Blot out from your missionary journals that China is shut"--long will the towering fabric of Hindooism have shown signs of decrepitude and decay--long will the waning influence of the false prophet have prepared the way of the LORD in Persia--long will the overthrow of the Turkish dominion in Syria have given place to the enlightened and liberal policy of Mohamed Ali--long will our colonies on her western coast have stood as open doors for the entrance of the missionary into the heart of Africa--before the Church will have spread herself to that wide compass of effort to which the providence of GOD invites her.
But we stop not here. It is not the rank which our Church now holds in the work of missions, nor the new facilities for successful effort, which constitute the chief obligation, the binding necessity, of large endeavor. If these incentives and encouragements were wanting, our duty would remain the same; for the missionary spirit is, in its very nature, and [47/48] under all circumstances, the spirit of far-reaching enterprise. It is that spirit of faith which regards GOD as the supreme conductor of the work of evangelizing the world--which lays hold of his promises in all their largeness and fulness--which looks not at what man can do, but at what GOD can do, and aims at results worthy not of the weakness of the instrument, but of the might of the Omnipotent Agent. It is that spirit of holy love which rises above, and reaches beyond the affections of our inferior nature; which, springing from the love of GOD, partakes of the character of its origin, whose sympathies are boundless, universal; which is drawn forth in all its strength by the contemplation of moral evil, and moral wretchedness, wherever they exist: and where moral evil is deepest, and moral wretchedness the lowest, is drawn forth most strongly. That man has the elements of the missionary character in their highest perfection, who has the most of faith and love, and who yields himself to the guidance of the one, and the generous impulses of the other, with the guileless confidence of a little child. This is the true spirit of missions, and I know of no other worthy the name, whether it be sectarian zeal, earthly enthusiasm, or any other spirit of earth, which is ever found usurping the place and performing the work of faith and love.
Such, my brethren, was the spirit of missions in the apostolic Church; and such it must become in our own Church, before she will be fully entitled to the appellation which she has assumed, of a missionary Church. It is in this spirit that I could wish the mission, in behalf of which we are this evening assembled, might be conducted and carried forward. Let the Persian mission be based upon the broad principles of faith and love; that faith which shrinks at no obstacle, is intimidated by no disaster, which forms great designs, and expects great results, which trusts not to human means or human power, but leans with humble confidence on the Almighty arm; that love which takes pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for CHRIST'S sake; which counts no sacrifice too dear that it may promote the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and save the souls [48/49] of perishing men; which rises superior to earthly affection, and knows no limits but the world and the human race; which will lead Christian parents to consecrate their sons and daughters to the work, and will make those sons and daughters willing to forsake all for CHRIST. For myself, brethren, I have but one request to make. Remember me in your prayers. Bear me on your hearts before GOD, in the private devotions of the closet, around the family altar, and in the social meeting for prayer. I ask it, not for my own sake, but for the sake of Him whose servant I am, and in whose work I am engaged.
The address of the Rev. Mr. Southgate was followed by some very appropriate remarks from the Rev. Manton Eastburn, D. D., which having been delivered extemporaneously, it is regretted cannot now be given; immediately after which, a collection for foreign missionary purposes was made, amounting to upward of two thousand dollars.
The celebrated missionary hymn of the late Bishop Heber was then sung, and the exercises closed with suitable prayers, and the benediction by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Onderdonk.
The beneficial impression made at this interesting meeting, will, it is hoped, long be felt; and the generous subscription made on this occasion, prove a pledge of the zeal and liberality of Episcopalians in the cause of MISSIONS.