« 前へ次へ »
adapted them to the most successful results. There is much involved in Christ's simple doctrines and designs, while to the superficial observer they seem to be superficial. Shall he who places within the bosom of the tiny flower that scents the vale, a laboratory of perfume which no chymist can equal, and who so perfectly adapts the olfactory sense that it shall convey the most exquisite enjoyment to man, adapt, less beautifully, means to ends in his moral world? We may not venture such a sentiment. And, hence we judge, that the plan of itineracy shall yet characterize to as high degree successful missionary operations. It is enough to know that it was an apostolic custom. The nearer we approach the Millennial state, the greater approximation will there probably be made to the simple system of belief and practice laid down by the Saviour. System after system may come and go, and each be invested with great and enticing beauty ; but that shall stand the longest and severest test, and shall be the most useful, which shall be marked with the simplicity of the Saviour's designing.
But there are, in the second place, modern facts that show that the system under notice is adapted to the wants of this age. “The general plan of the Ceylon mission, says the Rev. Mr. Winslow in his memoir of Mrs. Harriet Winslow," has been approved by the most judicious observers in India, acquainted with its operations. Perhaps one feature of it should be made more prominent that of ITINERACY. It is desirable that every mission should have some evangelists, devoted to the propagation of the gospel, by means of books and other helps, furnished by a permanent mission, in a manner more extended
and diffusive than can be practised by those who are engaged in all the labors of a station and are pastors of native churches."
The Rev. Hollis Reed writing of Ahmednuggur, a missionary station in the Deccan, thus remarks: “ Of the different means which have been employed at this station, the direct preaching of the gospel has been regarded as by far the most important. It is through this that we must look for the salvation of the Hindoos. And, surrounded as we are there by a numerous population in the vicinity, who have never before heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have regarded itineracies, as a very prominent department of our labors.” ..." There are two opinions,” he continues, “in India respecting the comparative importance of itineracies. The majority of missionaries are of the opinion, that this department of labor ought, in the present state of missionary operations in Western India, to claim the missionary's principal attention; while others advocate the plan of concentrating their labors on a few points. At first view this seems plausible. But when we look at the character of the field, we see that the concentration of labor is rather ideal, than real, or practicable."
" It will be seen from this statement,” he further adds after going into details which our limits reluctantly forbid us to copy," that we have no department of labor which answers to that which a parish clergyman enjoys in a christian land. We have, regularly, no voluntary congregations on whom we may hope to deepen, on a succeeding occasion, impressions which have once been made. As such a state of things has not yet, in the providence
of God, been brought about ; and as the country has, by the same good providence, been opened for extensive itineracies, I am brought to the conclusion that the latter ought to constiiute the burden of missionary labor."
Having thus noticed the views entertained by the Saviour and his immediate successors on this point, and presented the opinions of Messrs. Reed and Winslow, we may pass to another topic.
As a general rule, our plan would recommend that its missionaries be unmarried men; at least that they should remain so for a few of the earlier years of their residence abroad. There are many weighty reasons that might be given in favor of this position. Perhaps, however, the subject cannot be better disposed of than it is in a letter to the author from the Rev. C. Gutzlaff. “ Marriage or celibacy,” he says, “ought never to be enjoined or stipulated ; on no account, nor under any circumstances.” This is an exact copy of his remarks on this point, italicized as in his letter.
We know not how to dispose of this matter, were we called to do so, better than on the principle suggested by Mr. Gutzlaff. The subject is one of a private, personal nature. No body of men have a strict right, even in a prudential point of view, to enjoin the one or the other condition. It is left untouched by the Saviour, so far as it relates to missionary qualification. And this is all we mean, by recommending that our missionaries generally be unmarried. Much embarrassment as we have reason to know, has occurred in consequence of enjoining marriage upon our foreign missionaries. The missionary himself should be the sole judge. It is a duty for the leaders of missionary operations to advise him, and present all the arguments in favor of and against his marriage ; but there, as we apprehend, the example of the Saviour, and the dictates of propriety indicate the suspension of their agency. This topic has been introduced, principally to show that we desire no innovation upon the established custom of the first missionary band, or one which does not accord with the opinions of enlightened, practical missionaries of the present day. No one will deny Mr. Gutzlaff's claim to be heard on any point in this connexion. We
e are aware that the points recommended in this chapter imply much toil and self-denial. In fact, the objection has been urged against our whole plan, that men cannot be found who will be willing to undertake it, on account of the features just named. We do not heed the argument. We have confidence that there are those who are willing to undergo and forego any thing for the furtherance of the gospel. If none such can be found, the cause of evangelizing the nations will hang in suspense until they can be had.
Difficulty in procuring, for a new plan, a candid examination. Vari
ous incidental advantages of our design suggested.
Great responsibility attaches to religious teachers, and others who hold empire over the public mind, when a suggestion of the nature contemplated in this volume is presented to them. They have it to a certain extent in their power to secure for it a kind and candid examination, or the reverse. At the present day, there is peculiar difficulty in this particular. The public mind is sensitive. Some have so great a dread of innovation upon their stereotyped modes of thinking and acting, that the most trifling modification or addition thereto, is considered as positively heretical. From such, no improvement need expect favor or tolerance.
Another class-decided friends to inquiry and judicious change—fear to favor any new project, lest, in the tendency of the age to what they deem ultraism, it should become the property of a party, and an undue importance be demanded for it. That there is reason in the fear, cannot be denied. It is our national characteristic, to have from time to time some one object before the public mind, which its advocates claim should engross all its sympathies and efforts. The practical effect of this, is to hold in neutrality many of the wisest and best. It is unnecessary to particularize instances illustrative of this point. The general fact is familiar to the least observing. .
A third class look with no very great degree of favor