The following essay is an appeal for missionaries to China. The Journal was published in Boston by a Board of Managers of the Baptist General Convention.
MISSION TO CHINA
The American Baptist Magazine, 1834
Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?
The Baptist Board of Missions have long contemplated this vast empire with peculiar interest. Its contiguity to their missionary stations in Burmah, and the intercourse carried on between the two countries has necessarily drawn their attention, as well as that of their missionaries in the field, powerfully to China. They have watched the openings of Divine Providence with a view to the introduction of the gospel, in the hope that the time was near, in which it should be said to them, in relation to the immense harvest there to be gathered to the Saviour. - Thrust in the sickle, and reap. Persuaded at length that the time was already come, we understand that they have passed the important resolution, THAT IT IS EXPEDIENT TO COMMENCE A MISSION TO CHINA, SO SOON AS GOD'S PROVIDENCE SHALL PUT THE FACILITIES FOR SO DOING WITHIN THEIR REACH. Fully satisfied that the means for sustaining such a misison would be cheerfully and liberaly supplied by the churches, they wait only until suitable individuals can be found to commence the enterprise. The only question now to be decided is, Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?
The indications of Providence which call for entrance into this field of labor are not few. Look at the extent of the field. A portion of the earth's surface larger than the whole of the United States, and crowded with population in every part - a portion supposed to contain from one sixth to one third of all the inhabitants of our globe - is yet, after 1800 years have passed away, hardly penetrated with a single ray of the light of life. Yet this portion as truly belongs to the promised possession of Christ as any other. He who 'died, and rose, and revived that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living,' lays a lawful claim to this people; yet has that claim been scarcely known, much less recognized by a population of from 150 to 333 millions of the race. Idolatry, in a thousand forms, Lamaism and Boodhism, prevail throughout China, with the awfully diminutive exception (if indeed it ought to be
called an exception) of such as the Romish missionaries have converted to a nominal Christianity. Nowhere has Satan a seat on the earth, to be compared in extent with that which he holds in seeming triumph in the very heart, and to the extremities of the so-called 'celestial empire.' From that seat he must be thrown down, as lightning from heaven, ere the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
And the way for this great revolution is already prepared. The increasing commercial intercourse between the United States and China affords every facility for the transportation of missionaries. The language, whose anomalous structure but a few years ago opposed a barrier more formidable than the great northern wall, or the spell-bound habits of the people, or the stern interdicts of imperial minority, has been perfectly mastered by the learning and zeal of Christian missionaries; and the labors of a Marshman, Milne and Morrison have not only prepared a grammar and a dictionary, but already rendered it tributary to the diffusion of the light of the gospel. A monthly periodical in English, the Chinese Repository, is published at Canton. The whole Bible is translated, and two editions of it are in the hands of the Chinese people, many of whom eagerly receive and read it. A tradition, it is well known, also prevails, that a religion from the west is to supplant the religion of Fo, or Boodh. An Anglo-Chinese College is in operation at Malacca, and Dr. Morrison and others are ready to receive, aid, and instruct new missionaries. His residence for so many years on the borders of the 'celestial empire,' has demonstrated the practicability of a missionary lodgement there, and the recent journals and communications of the devoted missionary Gutzlaff have made this point doubly sure. Even were the danger greater than it is, shall Protestants shrink from entering a field where the emissaries of Rome do not fear to adventure? Is there nothing in the cross, nothing in the command of Him who bled on it for our redemption, nothing in His promises of protection, support, and everlasting reward, nothing in China and her future destinies for this world and the next, to fill and inflame the soul of him who burns to preach Christ among the heathen, and to determine him to this, in preference to any other field? The requisite qualifications, it is true, are by no means small; but is there nothing in view of the considerations at which we have glanced, to stimulate the proper men to offer themselves for the high work of apostleship to China?
We cannot believe that such men are not to be found. We cannot believe the great Head of the church will not raise up such men to accomplish under Him this great and important work. And we are not prepared to admit that among the laborers in that vast field, there are none to be called out of the bosom of our American Baptist churches. Where then are the men whom the Lord has chosen, whom he has stirred up to this great enterprize, whom he has endowed with a zeal and energy, a courage and a fortitude, a self-forgetfulness and devotedness, a humble consciousness of weakness combined with high and holy trust in Him, a prudence, discretion,
and overflowing love to the perishing heathen, that mark them out for this glorious service, and make them feel that they could be happy to die in the attempt? Our Board of Missions, we understand, at this moment only wait to find the men.
[From The American Baptist Magazine, Volume 14, 1834, pp. 94-96. Document frorm Google Books On-line. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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