We have seen, with peculiar joy, the attention of our dear brethren throughout the whole continent of America, excited to the state of the heathen, who have indeed been given, in the Divine covenant, to the Redeemer, for an everlasting possession. The indifference formerly felt respecting the extension of that kingdom, which is the subject of all prophecy, of all dispensations, and for the universal spread of which the world itself is kept in existence, is a reflection which ought to cover every one, whose song is " Crown him Lord of all," with confusion of face. We were too long absorbed in the affairs of individual societies, when all the prophecies, and all the promises, as well as attachment to Him who is to be called "the God of the whole earth," should have led our devotions to the salvation of the whole world, and filled our contemplations with the delightful scenes on which the mind of Isaiah dwelt with so much rapture.
We rejoice to see the American churches making this a common cause, and that means have been taken to unite all their energies in the hands of so respectable a body of pious ministers, &c. We now send our congratulations and most fervent wishes for the success of your efforts. May many thousand souls, each more precious than the whole material system, recovered to a state of endless blessedness, be your certain, ample, and imperishable reward.
Should Divine Providence give you favour in the eyes of the Burman government, as we hope it will, that empire stands in great and pressing need of many more missionaries; and we would recommend you to send, as soon as possible, to other places, as to Siam, Bassem, Ummurapore, Ava, Martaban, &c. By thus confining your present efforts to this empire, the languages of which have, no doubt, a strong affinity, your agents will form a united phalanx. Having an immense people of the same manners, prejudices, religion, and government, as their object; and being near each other, and engaged in the same country, the experience and acquirements of each will come into the common stock, and bear an ample interest. They will be able mutually to give solid and matured advice; and in cases of removal by death, to supply the loss of those gone to receive their great reward. We would strongly recommend, that one or more, who may hereafter come out, obtain a competent knowledge of medicine.
Perhaps missions in no Eastern Country need so much all the wisdom, and advice, and mutual help, which missionaries can supply to each other, as, from the despotic and capricious character of its government, that in, the Burman empire does.
The attempts of our Society in this empire, have ended in the transfer of the mission to brother Judson, and those from you who may join him; brother Felix Carey, our last missionary at Rangoon, having gone into the service of his Burman majesty. Something, however, has been done. A Mission house has been built; the language has been opened; a grammar printed; materials for a dictionary formed; a small part of the New Testament printed, and a number of copies put into the hands of the natives.
We know not what your immediate expectations are relative to the Burman empire; but we hope your views are not confined to the immediate conversion of the natives, by the preaching of the Word. Could a church of converted natives be obtained at Rangoon, it might exist for a while, and be scattered, or perish for want of additions. From all we have seen hitherto, we are ready to think, that the dispensations of Providence point to labours that may operate, indeed, more slowly on the population, but more effectually in the end; as knowledge, once put into fermentation, will not only influence the part where it is first deposited, but leaven the whole lump. The slow progress of conversion in such a mode of teaching the nations, may not be so encouraging, and may require, in all, more faith and patience; but it appears to have been the process of things, in the progress of the reformation during the reigns of Henry, Edward; Elizabeth, James, and Charles. And should the work of evangelizing India be thus slow and silently progressive, which, however, considering the age of the world, is not perhaps very likely, still the grand result will amply recompense us, and you, for all our toils. We are sure to take the fortress, if we can but persuade ourselves to sit down long enough before it: " We shall reap if we faint not."
And then, very dear brethren, when it shall be said of the seat of our labours, the infamous swinging post is no longer erected; the widow burns no more on the funeral pile; the obscene dances and songs are seen and heard no more; the gods are thrown to the moles and to the bats, and Jesus is known as the God of the whole land; the poor Hindoo goes no more to the Ganges to be washed from his filthiness, but to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanliness; the temples are forsaken; the crowds say; let us go up to the house of the Lord, and he shall teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his statutes; the anxious Hindoos no more consume their property, their strength, and their lives, in vain pilgrimages, but they come at once “to Him who can save to the uttermost;" the sick and the dying are no more dragged to the Ganges, but look to the Lamb of God, and commit their souls into his faithful hands; the children, no more sacrificed to idols, are become the seed of the Lord, that he may be glorified; the public morals are improved; the language of Canaan is learnt; benevolent societies are formed; civilization and salvation walk arm in arm together; the desert blossoms; the earth yields her increase; angels and glorified spirits hover with joy over India, and carry ten thousand messages of love from the Lamb in the midst of the throne; and redeemed souls from the different villages, towns and cities of this immense country, constantly add to the number, and swell the chorus of the redeemed "unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, unto HIM be the glory - when this
principal muscles upon the back. The end of the pole is lowered near the ground, and the rope being made fast, the opposite end of the pole is drawn down, and thus the deluded, miserable creatures hoisted into the air, and hangs upon the torturing hooks. A man sits at his ease in a kind of swing, at the opposite end of the pole, and the two being thus pretty equally balanced, persons on the ground, by means of a rope cause the machine to turn around with great velocity. While whirling around, the woman scatters flowers, which the multitude seize with the utmost eagerness. These miserable objects were considered peculiarly high in the favour of the deity, and consequently were greatly venerated by the gazing multitude.
"Alas! how deplorable the state of the heathen, who believe that such self-inflicted tortures are the most exalted kind of divine homage, and most sure to repay the Lord far his past mercies, and secure his blessing for the future! Christian, behold this thy deluded, perishing fellow-creature! What would the knowledge of Christ be worth to such a soul! What would it be worth to the hundreds of millions of the heathen who are all equally wretched! Constrained by the dying love of Jesus, awed by his supreme authority, impressed with the solemnities of the judgment day, Christian, be entreated to inquire faithfully with yourself how much you ought to do, and how much you might do, to send abroad among the heathen that Gospel which is able to make them wise unto salvation through faith in Christ."
==========[From the American Baptist Magazine and Missionary Intelligencer, Volume 1, Boston, 1817, pp. 185-187. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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