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In subsequent years we again met them, in their distant field of labor, and although still without perceiving any particular interest in the religion they proclaimed to the heathen, our admiration was much increased. It is true, that calumny and detraction essayed, in their most specious forms, to lessen in our bosom this sentiment; but the lives and labors of the missionaries presented evidence, too obvious and radiant, to allow for a moment a counter feeling.
It is almost unnecessary to add, that a more intimate acquaintance with missionary operations at other foreign stations, aided by some experimental knowledge of the
gion they offer to the benighted pagan, has not lessened our interest in all that pertains to the present missionary organizations.
We come to the work before us, then, with a heart favorably disposed.
Our mental admiration has also been called forth by the vastness of the designs of the various Boards.
At one time we see them forming plans for redeeming from spiritual bondage the three hundred millions of China. We hear of their deliberations in behalf of Burmah, Ceylon, Persia, and Africa. We trace their agency in Northern India, and on the lofty Ghauts.
In another hemisphere, we find their well appointed means in successful operation, blessing the inhabitants of the Pacific isles. And even the Rocky mountains interpose not an impassable barrier to their designs, for the evangelization of all the tribes, that wander in ignorance and sorrow, through the vast domains of North America.
They distinctly purpose to translate the Book of Life into every language, and, in conjunction with other societies, to place a copy of it within the reach of every family on the globe. Tracts, they would scatter on the wings of every wind, and, in every heathen community, establish libraries of appropriate religious books. They would endeavor, by all legitimate means, to wake up, in the bosom of the rising heathen race, a desire for knowledge. Incidentally, they would correct false views of science in ruder nations, would restore home to its sacred and benign character ; and, far above all else, would point, to the poor idolater, the great atoning sacrifice.
Surelysuch designs are of the sublimest kind !
The fidelity and propriety with which these purposes have been prosecuted, claim scarcely less of admiration. However otherwise it may have been in former times, it is now the sure evidence of a debased heart or an impov- ! erished mind to sneer at the missionary. There are men, it is true, who affect to consider him unworthy of high respect ; but it may be safely affirmed that their consciences bear testimony, as well to the exalted work in which he is engaged, as to the unsullied character of the agent. Upon what page of history, may be fearlessly asked, can there be found the record of so great a number of men, sent abroad into a world of temptation and trial, who have conducted themselves with so little cause for reproach as have the missionaries of the cross ? Or, who have been more conspicuous for perseverance, intrepidity, wisdom, and sublimity of pursuit ?
Considerations of this nature need not, however, to be multiplied. The title of missionary, even among the most wicked, is no longer a synonyme for weakness,
fanaticism, and ignorance. The features of his character, already alluded to, stand out in too strong relief to allow such a sentiment to pass current, even among the deadliest enemies of religion.
These remarks have been made in order to show that, in presenting the thoughts contained in this volume, no wish to disparage the operations of existing mission boards exists.
But it will probably be found, that, as the work of evangelizing the nations moves on, various modifications of labor will be needed; other than those within the legitimate sphere of present organizations. A number of reasons, more or less obvious, that lead to this opinion, are purposely omitted in this connexion. There are one or two, however, that may well claim a hasty notice.
The first that we shall consider partakes somewhat of a philosophical nature ; and it will appear of but little intrinsic worth, unless examined in the light of mental philosophy. The point is this :-that new modifications of missionary labor will call into the missionary ranks many gifted individuals, whose services are desirable ; and who would not be found in those ranks but for the modifications supposed.
The human mind is variously constituted, rendering one man susceptible of influence by one class of considerations, and another by a different. This is true of persons of equal piety and intelligence. It is, substantially, the philosophy of that principle which led Loyola to propose the order of the Jesuits. He saw that there were stirring spirits in the bosom of the Catholic church, which could be led to higher action in the work of spreading that religon, if some “ Brotherhood” were formed, whose laws should involve more spirit-stirring efforts, than those required by the various Papal orders then existing. There were minds that needed a different description of extraneous influence than the latter afforded. No sooner, therefore, was the Order to which allusion has been made, founded ; than those minds perceived its adaptation to their ideas of enterprise. It was a master's touch of a master spring; and has been of far greater efficiency in promoting the Papal designs, than all its other enginery combined.
The pages of the past teem with illustrations of the power of the principle involved in this immediate connexion. How countless are the instances in which minds that previously appeared but of ordinary power, have suddenly been found to possess great energies and capabilities, when stirring and important emergencies occur-. red. In times of revolution and peril, master-minds seem all at once to start into being. The developing spring within is touched by the adaptation of circumstances without. Had these not been brought into contact, no particular superiority might ever have been noticed.
Another reason for the opinion advanced is this, that the higher the character of the mind, the greater must be the motive to call forth the action of its higher powers.
It scarcely need be said that the word character, as here applied to mind, has reference to those peculiar mental powers which distinguish one man from another, and has no allusion to moral attributes. This should be borne in memory while examining the reason before us; because the difficulty of filling up the missionary ranks
lies, not so much in the smallness of the number of Christians in the churches, as in a disinclination to the mission service;-a disinclination which has its seat in the head rather than in the heart. There are scores of friends to the cause of the heathen, who pray, and give, and labor at home for them ; but there is momentous difficulty in bringing a sufficient number of those persons to the decision that they will be missionaries.
But to return. The spirit that saw no constraining motives in the monastic orders of the Papal religion, was all enthusiasm when it found a Brotherhood which required its inembers to go at a moment's warning, without asking a question, if need be, to the reinotest portion of the world. In this was found aliment for self-denial, intrepidity, and the highest efforts of man. The principles and general policy of Catholicism, as the term is commonly understood, we of course repudiate ; but it must be admitted that in this, as in many other instances, Papacy has studied to great effect the laws of the human mind.
Now, it is contended, that there are, in the bosom of the Christian church, particularly among her youthful members, those who will find, in the plan proposed in these pages, that which is adapted to their peculiarities of mental temperament; and to their views of consecration and enterprise ; and which will have a strong claim upon their personal services; a claim, too, that will find a ready and zealous response. If these remarks be true, then is the first proposition laid down, true, and worthy the most careful consideration ;-namely, that as the work of evangelizing the nations proceeds, various modifications