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would have resulted from the same amount of effort in Christian countries. But this applies only to the construction of the machinery, not to its operations. After the gospel has been introduced into a country and the usual agency established, conversions from heathenism become more numerous. If we had the necessary data, and should take the number of souls which have been saved in Christendom during the era of missions, and divide it by the number of ministers engaged, and then subject the fruits of missionary labour to the same test, we should probably find that the visible good accomplished among the heathen bears a greater proportion to the agency employed, than in nations nominally Christian. The islands of the Pacific Ocean, Burmah, parts of India, Southern Africa, the West Indies, and some of the heathen parts of America, have presented scenes of the power of God's right hand, which are rarely witnessed in the Christian church. But still the comparison must fail so long as we are incapable of knowing what the same persons employed as foreign missionaries might have accomplished in their own countries. One fact in this connexion is worthy of remark. The missionary enterprise has a powerful tendency to develope character. Its nature is so sublime, and yet its accomplishment so difficult; it urges such powerful incentives to exertion, and such unceasing demands upon faith and patience, that it must improve whomsoever it enlists. It is not extravagant to affirm that missionaries generally would never have appeared so ardent and efficient in the service of Christ, if they had not been placed where every holy passion and energy are constantly addressed.
The most abundant facts authorize this declaration. We appeal to the friends and teachers of many of the missionaries, as witnesses of the transforming influence of missions. Some of them have scarcely been able to recognise their former companions and pupils, in the new and important characters they sustain among the heathen.
The fact that missionaries generally find an earlier grave
than those who remain in their native climate, by no means invalidates the conclusions we have drawn respecting their superior usefulness. Though this point is not necessarily connected with our present argument, yet having been advanced as an objection to missions, it demands a moment's explanation. There are two reasons which tend greatly to impair the health and curtail the lives of missionaries. The first is, they have thus far occupied some of the most insalubrious countries in the world. A large proportion of missionary stations lie within the tropics. These countries
have addressed the strongest appeals to the benevolence of the church. They are not only exceedingly populous and destitute, but are well known and of easy access.
The other reason, is the parsimony of the churches. The labourers they have spared to the heathen are so few, and the work to be done so great, that they have fallen victims to excessive care and exertion. As Christi. anity advances, -as the more salubrious countries become occupied, and the number of missionaries is augmented, health and life will probably be enjoyed to as high a degree, and as great an extent, beyond the present limits of Christendom, as within them. It ought to be mentioned in this connexion, that those climates which have proved fatal to some, have proved favourable to othersand that while the argument of an earlier death ought not to deter any from becoming missiona. ries, except where tropical diseases are already seated that of a more congenial atmosphere ought to weigh with those whose constitutions are not suited to our rigorous and changeful winters.
I cannot close these remarks without briefly adverting to another topic of great importance to the rapid extension of the Redeemer's kingdom ; it is the qualifications of missionaries. To understand the most difficult and highly cultivated languagesto prepare a Christian library, give oral instruction, and above all, translate the Bible from the original tongues into those languages-- to be able to meet on their own grounds the objections and arguments of the heathen, gathered from their own extensive literature - to set an example which in all points elucidates the holy principles of the gospel – to mould anew the character not only of individuals, but of whole nations, must demand as great a degree of intellect and piety, as any work to be
erformed in the kingdom of Christ. And yet I agree with what has been said, that the great variety of engagements in every missionary station will furnish labour to every grade of talent.
There is one qualification of a moral nature which I must not omit. The want of it has embarrassed missionary operations, more than all other causes combined. Indeed I consider it so indispensable, that where it does not exist I would not willingly have a young man go to the heathen, and where this discovery is made after they have reached their destination, I would always rejoice to see them return. It is a gentle, humble, pliant disposition-- the very opposite to pride of opinion, and obstinacy of purpose; a spirit which views the suggestions of others as favourably as its own which is as willing to sacrifice its own plans, as those of others. Missionaries are literally so many colleagues over one pastoral charge. Where such
A SECRETARY OF A MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
a number and variety of minds are brought to act upon the same schemes and pursuits, how impossible to maintain harmony and co-operation, without the spirit of mutual forbearance and accommodation. As far as possible, the apostle Peter's rule ought to be universally observed, that the younger submit themselves to the elder," and where they are in this respect equal, that they “all be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility.”
This qualification is moral and attainable, and consequently none can plead its want, as a justifiable reason for declining this service. Let the churches pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up multitudes of young men of this character, and send them forth “ to be a light of the Gentiles," and "for salvation unto the ends of the earth."