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For the Tennessee Baptist.
New Orleans, La., February 7, 1850.

Bro. Graves:
      Before taking my final departure from the West, for China again, permit me to make a few suggestions to my Tennessee brethren, and any others who may read the columns of your useful paper. I wish to speak of the best means of promoting the Foreign Mission cause.

      "The Commission." We must have information about every matter concerning which we would feel interested. Thus, it is well known, that politicians subscribe for and take political papers. And shall not Christians and friends of Foreign missions, take "The Commission," a paper published by the Foreign Mission Board, at Richmond, Va.! This is one of the cheapest papers published - only twenty-five cents, per annum! Twelve numbers at the price of one single letter's postage some years ago; and less than the postage of three letters now! In this very interesting little monthly paper, there are letters from the Missionaries in Asia, Africa, and other places every month; and indeed, every number is worth the subscription for the whole year. - The missionary is often requested to correspond with individuals. Now, let all individuals who wish to hear from missionaries, send twenty-five cents to bro. H. K. Ellyson, Richmond, Va., the publisher, and take his paper; and then the missionary will correspond with all that wish to hear from him at once; every one may be informed concerning the Foreign Mission cause: and God shall be glorified in the cordial and efficient co-operation of the church members at home, and the missionaries abroad!

      Agents. Until there are is a well organized system in the West, for the promotion of Foreign Missions, agents must be employed or this work will not advance efficiently. The destitution of the heathen, and the wants of the Board in order to supply that destitution, must be made known to the churches everywhere; money must be collected and missionaries sought out. But how shall this home work of our Foreign Missions be done - system organized, information communicated, many collected, and missionaries recommended to the Board - without agents? Agents must be appointed, and that for every State. One for each State is quite few enough. But do not some object to having agents, because their salaries and their expenses consume their collections? Yes, I have heard of such objections, and am now going to propose a remedy. Let there be an effort made in the State by the friends of Foreign Missions specially to raise the salary of an agent. Let fifty individuals subscribe twenty dollars each, to be paid annually, for ten years for this particular purpose. This will cover the salary and expenses of an agent, will remove the objections against agencies, will secure the promotion of the Foreign Mission cause throughout the State, and will be the means of glorifying God in the salvation of the heathen. This work should be undertaken by the brethren living in the State itself, removing as much responsibility from the Foreign Mission Board as possible. If there be no Foreign Mission society organization in that State, (but I believe there is,) or any other of the Western States, then let some of the active friends of missions secure the requisite number of subscribers towards the salary of an agent; let these subscribers meet - and organize themselves into a State Foreign Mission Society, and commence operations [3 words blurred] by employing an efficient, wise and prudent agent for the State, and directing his efforts. Should a State Foreign Mission Society already exist, it will only be requisite to turn their attention to this work, so as to secure the object.

      Now, dear brethren, this is a very important matter, will you consider the subject of permanently employing an agent for your own State in this way? The Chinese are perishing at the rate of about one million per month! And shall we not sympathize with them, and run or send to their relief. The proposition has been made by bro. Gayle of Memphis, to send 226 missionaries to their relief, very soon. But how shall this be accomplished without we go to work in good earnest at home, and that immediately? And more missionaries are greatly needed; we have fewer now in China than we had three years ago in our connexion; and are we not therefore retrograding? How shall China be converted without more missionaries and more money? But let it be recollected that more than one thousand individuals perish every hour in China! Then what we do, let us do quickly. All things are now ready. The Board are willing to send all suitable missionaries that the churches supply and support; there are openings in China to receive and employ all that shall be sent; the command has gone forth, "preach the gospel to every creature," - and the cry had reached our ears - "come over and help us." Will you not, therefore, brethren, send up speedily your prayers and your alms in this behalf! O do employ an agent of your own, I mean under the State Society, let him stir up the churches and members throughout the State; circulate the "The Commission," the "Missionary Journal," - a monthly magazine published also by the Board at Richmond, Va., the same publisher, bro. H. K. Ellyson; organized system throughout the State as to Foreign efforts, collect funds for the Foreign Board, and make full proof of his ministry and agency in this behalf."
     I. J. ROBERTS

      P. S. Providence permitting, we shall leave this place shortly for Richmond, Va., on our way to China.

      I send you the tract with this, though not enclosed, which I desire the Tennessee Publication Society to publish for me, and which I subscribed the $100; $20 of which has been paid.


[For the Tennessee Baptist, February 28, 1850, p. 2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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