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THE Baptist Board of Foreign Missions have once more the pleasure of addressing the friends of the cause of the Redeemer, who are generously engaged in giving energy to Missionary exertion. They rejoice in the success which has thus far attended their labours; and maintain an humble, yet entire confidence in His gracious as. sistance, whose glory, in the salvation of millions, must be manifested.
They are sensible that a series of uninterrupted prosperity ought not to be expected. No individual believer, no church of Christ, no societies formed and combined for the propagation of the gospel, have ever enjoyed it. The powers of earth and hell are leagued to impede the kingdom of the Messiah. The Missionary breeze that has descended on the waters of the church may, by mistaken persons, be regarded as undesirable, troublous, and about to produce no real good. Where a tender and zealous concern for the honour of Christ and the salvation of men ; where a mind enlarged by the study of prophecy, by the perusal of Missionary Accounts, by intercourse with men raised up of God to deny themselves and devote their days to lahours among the heather, exist not, who can be surprised that misconception should be followed with false representation, and apathy condemn the risings of evangelic ardour. -Let mission societies, and the boards that conduct their concerns, calculate on obstructions like these.
An error against which it becomes the friends of missions carefully to guard, is the expectation that their plans and contributions shall immediately produce great and ani. mating effects. A language, and in some instances a very difficult one, is to be acquired, before a Missionary can begin his labours; when they are commenced, it is merely the seed-time, not the harvest. A minister of Jesus introduced among the heathen, is placed in circumstances
peculiarly delicate. When he observes their attachment to superstitions which have obtained sanction in the minds of idolators by the approbation of ages, and of thousands of their populace, their priests and their philosophers; a sense of his own insufficiency, the temptations of the adversary, and the occasional assaults of unbelief, to which the best of men are subject, may often originate despairing sentiments. Should he at any time express them, the sympathies of the disciples of Christ ought to be called into exercise. It were foolish and cruel to conclude a station untenable, or an adventure abortive, because existing aspects may have created temporary dismay; and still more so to censure a Missionary for having not done what God alone can accomplish. The kingdoms of this world must become the Lord's. Burmah shall as assuredly bow to the Messiah as shall the United States, or Europe, or Hindoostan. God, in his providence, opens channels for the diffusion of his gospel; and in ways, transcending all human calculation, levels mountainous impediments into plains. The Moravian Missionaries laboured long without any visible fruit. At the expiration of six years the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal were not satisfied that a solitary native had been converted to Christ. The preface to the 2d volume of the Periodical Accounts, relative to the Baptist Missionary Society in England, contains the following impressive sentiments :
“ As great things arise from small beginnings, so they commonly fetch a compass in their accomplishment in some degree proportioned to their magnitude. God made a promise of a son to Abraham, but five and twenty years elapsed before it was performed. He also promised the land of Canaan for a possession to his posterity; there the performance required a period of nearly 500 years. At the same time Abraham was assured that the Messiah should descend from his loins, and that in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed; this promise was nearly 2000 years ere it came to pass. These events resemble the oval streaks in the trunk of a tree, which mark its annual growth; each describes a larger compass than that which precedes; and all which precede are preparatory to that which follows.
6. There is something analogous to this in almost all the operations of grace. The heart of an individual is seldom.
if ever known to be effectually renewed, without some preceding convictions; though those convictions may have nothing in them spiritual in their nature. It is the same with a people. The dry bones in the valley were not immediately inspired with the breath of life, on the prophet's prophecying upon them; but first there was a noise; then a shaking ; then a coming together, bone to his bone; then they were covered with sinews and flesh and skin; and last of all, inspired with the breath of life, lived and stood up an exceeding great army.
Information from different sources* has been communicated to the Board, that Mr. Felix Carey has seceded from the professed work of a Missionary in Burmah, and directed his views to medical and political pursuits. Let no man of God be discouraged on this account.
cessions may be expected while Missionaries are men of like passions with ourselves. It requires the faith of a Moses to contemn the charms of a palace. Possibly the recedure may be only a transient one.
Should it even continue, we are not warranted to suppose Mr. Carey an enemy. He can never forget the prayers, the toils, the voluntary privations of his excellent father. Though he sustain not the glorious character of a Missionary, his influence at court may conduce, in cases of trial, to the welfare of our friends, should the horrid tortures of Burmah at any time threaten them. He has had sufficient influence to obtain a reprieve for a malefactor hanging upon a
The elevation of Hesther, without any design on her part, effected the deliverance of the Jews. It ought not to be forgotten that much has been done by Mr. Carey already. He has facilitated the future labours of Mis. sionaries by translating the gospel of Matthew into the Burman language, and compiling for their use a compre. hensive grammar and dictionary.
On the determination of the Board to send out to brother Judson and wife at Rangoon, Mr. George H. Hough, his wife and two children, and Mrs. White, they found considerable difficulty as to the means of their conveyance. Disappointed in their hopes of a passage by a New-Eng. land vessel, they were at a loss in what direction to turn
* The letter of instructions to brother Hough and family, was written ani. presented many months before tlae above intelligeace arrived.
their inquiries-- A kind Providence, at an unexpected mo. ment, banished their solicitudes, and offered an occasion for gratitude and praise. Edward Thompson, Esq. of Philadelphia, who to the opulence of the merchant, unites the politeness of the gentleman, and the benevolence of a christian, was at this very time about sending two vessels to Calcutta: the Thomas Scattergood and the Benjamin Rush.
On application to him for a passage, with the same beneficent temper which the worthy Robert Ralston, Esq. bas on former occasions displayed, he offered the use of either of the vessels to the Board free of charge. They were both newly copper-bottomed, and each had gone only a single voyage. For beauty, strength, and facility of sailing, they were surpassed by few, if any, in the Philadelphia harbour. Some preference having been express. cd for the Benjamin Rush, Mr. T. had new cabins fitted np. He supplied gratuitously all the provisions necessary for their passage.
A few days before their sailing, our beloved friends were commended to divine preservation at a public prayer meeting. On the 11th of December last, at the notice of a few hours, Mr. Hough, with his family, and Mrs. White, embarked in the steam-boat for Newcastle, and the day following went on board the Benjamin Rush, and descended to Reedy Island. About the 20th they put out
It is probable before the present time they have reached Calcutta ; at which place they are within a fortnight's sail of Rangoon.
As a small but very sincere testimony of the thanks of the Board, for the generosity of Mr. T. who not only has furnished a vessel on the present occasion, but offered his assistance at any future one, the Board of Missions elected him an honorary member of their body, which relation he has had the goodness cheerfully to accept. May he receive an ample recompense from the God of providence and salvation,
The “ INSTRUCTIONS" given to our friends on their leaving their native shores, will be found in the subsequent pages.
The Board have reviewed with sincere satisfaction, the unwearied and successful exertions, during the year past, of brother Luther Rice, their agent. They can scarcely conceive the possibility of his having occupied a sphere of