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Convention is now engaged; and that the time is fully come, when the state of feeling in our churches justifies a determination, on the part of the Conven. tion, to commence immediately additional operations.
The Committee are aware, that the selection of new fields of labor, and the arrangement of measures for increasing the resources and the efforts of the Convention, must be referred to the deliberate judgment of the Board of Managers; but they will, in fulfilment of their duty, suggest a few considerations.
On the subject of Missions at home, the Committee think, that the welfare of our churches, and the general state of religion in our own country, demand the attention of the denomination. An increased measure of prayerfulness and ef. fort, for the spread of pure and undefiled religion over our own land, is demanded of our churches. But it is the opinion of the Committee, that the Convention can best serve the cause of the Redeemer, by limiting its Missionary operations to the Aborigines and to Foreign Missions, and leaving Domestic Missions to the State Conventions, and to Domestic Missionary Societies, which are best acquainted with the wants of particular districts, and can most wisely and ef. ficiently apply their means for the relief of those wants.
The Committee feel, that measures ought to be devised, to bring into closer concert the whole denomination; and especially those portions of it which are spread over the states west of the Alleghany mountains. From that vast region, which contains one third, at least, of the population of the United States, no Delegate is present at this Convention; and our brethren there have very little share in the labors and pleasures of the missionary enterprise. Your Committee think, that the Board ought to take this subject into deliberate consideration, and devise measures, if possible, to draw our western brethren into union and co-operation with us, in spreading the gospel of our common Lord. Committees of Correspondence, at different points, might, perhaps, be beneficial.
In regard to the missions already established, the Committees appointed to take them into consideration will doubtless propose such measures for their en. largement, as they may judge to be expedient. Your Committee will merely say, that, in their judgment, two Missionaries ought to be sent to Burmah as soon as it may be expedient, with a view to the stations at Rangoon and Ava; that another should be sent, of competent talents and education, to labour among the Karens, to construct for them a written language, and translate the scriptures; that a proper person should be stationed as an assistant to Mr Judson, in translating the Scriptures, preparing tracts, &c. in order that if one of the translators should die, this important work might not be suspended ; that, for the same reason, another printer ought to be sent without delay; and that school teachers, both male and female, of suitable character, might be sent to Burmah with great advantage to the cause of truth. They think, too, that the Mission at Liberia ought to be sustained, and that a successor to the excellent and lamented Lott Cary should be immediately provided.
The Mission Stations among the Aborigines of this country ought, in the judgment of this Committee, to be supported with a liberality and zeal, com. mensurate with the claims of those unhappy tribes, on the benevolence of the Christian world, and with our special duty, as Americans, to the miserable remnant of those powerful nations, which once possessed the country that we inhabit. Their temporal and their spiritual condition is deplorable indeed; and they call on us, with the voice of perishing men, to help them. It seems to be nearly certain, however, that they must be removed from their present site uation, to some permanent home, before attempts to teach them the religion of Christ can be made, with a very cheering prospect of success. The Committee, therefore, think that our present stations cannot, with advantage, be much enlarged, if at all; but they anticipate, with strong hope, the accomplishment of measures, under the direction of the government of the United States, for the permanent settlement of the Indians in some part of the country west of the Missouri. If such a measure should be carried into successful operation, the Committee think that the Convention ought to make all the exertion in its power, to raise these degraded and benighted men to the enjoyment of the blessings of civilization, and of the hopes of Christianity.
China is fast bound in the fetters of superstition and despotism. Direct missionary efforts in China Proper are supposed to be at present impracticable. But
God has placed within our reach, in the neighborhood of our stations at Maulamying and Tavoy, a considerable number of Chinese; and from these provinces, there is frequent intercourse with China. The providence of God seems thus to have made it our duty to send one Missionary, at least, to be stationed at Ta. voy perhaps, or in its neighborhood, who shall study the Chinese language, and direct his efforts to the instruction of the Chinese. One of the persons baptized at Tavoy is of this nation, and may become a valuable missionary among his countrymen.
Greece, too, is an inviting field. Her political situation, it is hoped, is assuming a permanent character, favorable to the introduction of the Gospel. Her moral condition gives her a claim on the efforts and the prayers of the friends of missions. Her political sympathies are in favor of American Missionaries; and her religious feelings, so far as they operate, would doubtless give a special advantage to our own denomination.
The Committee think, therefore, that one competent Missionary, at least, ought to be sent to Greece, who may learn the language, survey the country, ascertain the best modes of benevolent action, and thus prepare the way for a regular and permanent system of operations.
South-America has repeatedly been presented to the Convention, as claim. ing its attention. The great extent of country, and the numerous and diver. sified population, embraced in this general name, make it difficult to determine on any specific plans. The political state of many of the countries in South-America is yet unsettled ; and the prejudices of their inhabitants are as yet_unpropitious to the successful introduction of Protestant Missionsries. But light is penetrating and dispersing the darkness. Schools, Bibles, the press, intercourse with foreign nations, and other means, are operating to prepare South America for the unobstructed entrance and spread of the pure Gospel of Christ. The Committee think that the Convention ought to keep in view its duties to these countries, and to seek for a suitable person, who may visit them, and examine their condition. As a denomination, we know little concerning them, and it is believed that official intelligence respecting their situation, their wants, and the best methods of operation among them, would be a suitable preparation for the ultimate establishment of missions there.
The Committee will not detain the Convention, by other suggestions on this head. They are desirous that the Convention, and ihe denomination which it represents, should feel that we have merely entered on the service to wbich our Redeemer calls us ; that wider efforts, more liberal contributions, and more importunate and humble prayer, are required of us; and that our numerous churches ought to engage in the missionary enterprise with more concert, zeal, and efficiency, than we have yet witnessed. “ According to the Jowest computation of the numbers of the human family, upwards of four hundred millions of our fellow men are idolaters or Mahometans. The largest and fairest regions of the earth are yet under the dominion of superstition, and its manifold miseries. By whom is the gospel to be preached to these millions of human beings; and these dark places of the earth to be recovered to the dominion of the King of Zion ? Plainly, it must be done by the Christian church. And will so large a part of that church as the American Baptists, be contented with supporting nine or ten ordained Missionaries, and expending from twelve to twenty thousand dollars per annum, lo spread the knowledge of the Saviour? Why should we, who number so great a portion of the Christian host, come up to the help of the Lord, with a force and zeal, so inadequate to the wants of a world" lying in wickedness—so disproportionate to the strength of the denomination?
“ Brethren, let us resolve, that we will neglect our duty no longer. Churches of Christ, remember that you are not your own. He who purchased you with his blood, calls on you to engage in ihis glorious enterprise, with the full measure of your ability ; and to advance, with united hearts, and concentrated energies, like an army with banners, to fight the battles of Lord, until the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdom of Immanuel." On behalf of the Committee,
JAMES D. KNOWLES, Chairman.
INDIAN MISSIONS. The Committee appointed on the Indian Missions, have had that subject un. der consideration, and ask leave to
REPORT: That in reviewing the history of our Missions among the Indian tribes, for the last three years, we are unable to perceive any great advance in the important work. On the contrary, the conviction forces itself upon our minds, ihat after all the toils and anxieties that have been endured on account of this wretched people, they must perish, unless some more effectual measures can be adopted for their preservation. A few, it is true, have been rescued from their moral death; and the use of the same means, by which they have been saved, will continue, by the divine blessing, to impart spiritual good to a small number of individuals; but that it will effect a complete elevation of the Indian character, and a general diffusion of gospel blessings among them, we dare pot hope. It is the full conviction of your Committee, that no measure, which has yet been proposed, is so likely to accomplish these objects as the settling of the Indians in a permanent home upon our western lands, connect: ed with a prosecution of missionary labors among them. Under this conviction, we contemplate with pleasure the movement whicb the Government of our country appears to be making towards this object, and we earnestly recommend that ihe Convention use all proper measures to keep this object steadily before the eye of Government, as well as of the Christian communi. ty, and to exhibit it in a clear light.
The Committee view with deep concern, the necessity which seems to exist of relinquishing the Withington Station. Should the measure be finally resolved upon, we hope that the Board will find other ways opening before them for extending the influence of missions, among these degraded tribes.
The Committee do not deem it necessary to lay before you a statement of the condition and progress of each Station, such an account having been already presented in the Report of the Board of Managers. But we suppose it may not be improper to express, in general terms, our confidence in the management of the Board and devotedness of the Missionaries.
Just at this time, when the Burman Mission is assuming so interesting an aspect, the Committee apprehend there may be danger, lest our feelings be drawn forth somewhat exclusively towards that Mission; and lest by allowing it to absorb our thoughts, we forget in our prayers, and negleci in our efforts, these our dying neighbors, than whom no heathen tribes on earth have a more obvious claim upon us. We hope every prudent measure will be taken by the Board to keep alive in the public mind a sense of the obligations which we are under to this injured people, whose home and country we possess; and especially to interest the feelings of Christians on this sub. ject, since to them we must chiefly look for the adoption and prosecution of such measures as will tend to redress the wrongs we have committed. As but little seems to have been done of late in the mission cause, by our breth. ren in the Western States, we indulge the hope, that if the claims of these unhappy beings, who rovo about the borders of these States, were properly and fully represented, a right feeling might be elicited in their behalf.
In conducting missions among a people who need to be taught the arts of civilized life, as well as the truths of the gospel, the operations must necessarily assume, in some degree, a secular character. We are glad, however, to have it in our power to state that funds have been furnished by government, and placed under the control of your Board of Managers, for this very department of Missionary labors. A knowledge of this fact, we conceive, will satisfy the minds of any, who from a desire to see the funds of the Convention appropriated to objects exclusively religious, may have been disposed to complain that so much has been expended for the accomplishment of so little spiritual good to the Indians. Our Government is disposed to teach them the arts of civilized life, but for the instruction of them in gospel truth, re. liance must be had upon the contributions of Christian benevolence. These contributions, your Committee think, ought to be solicited, especially as they have been obtained as yet, in a degree not at all commensurate with the
importance of the object, and the extent of our obligations. Through the care and diligence of our valuable Missionary, brother M'Coy, the stations at Carey and Thomas, with which he is connected, have derived their support principally from Government for the last three years.
The Committee would further express their great pleasure in contemplating the probable results of the recent laborious tours made by our brother Ú'Coy, to the West, in order to find a suitable place for the proposed settlement of the Indians. These tours have been made by him under the appointment and in the pay of the Government; and we are happy in being assured, that in his transactions with public officers, his conduct has been such as to secure their confidence in his integrity; and at the same time to impress their minds with a conviction of his entire devotedness to the interests of the Indian tribes.
The Committee are of opinion that much good might be effected, if the Missionary Stations were visited by some suitable person or persons, on whose judgment the Board and the public could rely, and if the information thus obtained were diffused through the community.
For the accomplishment of one of the important objects, recommended above, the Committee would suggest to the Convention the propriety of adopting the subjoined Resolution.
Resolved, That the Board of Managers be requested to prepare, in the namcand behalf of the Convention, and to lay before Congress at their next session, and at their subsequent sessions if necessary, until the next meeting of the Convention, a memorial, in favor of granting to the Indians, as a permanent possession, a portion of our western lands, suitable for their setilement and future home. Respectfully submitted,
J. L. DAGG, Chairman.
The Committee on Religious Publications, beg leave to
REPORT: That two periodical works, under the patronage of this body, viz. the American Baptist Magazine, and the Columbian Star, are in successful operation, and are diffusing a salutary influence, with regard to the principles of Evangelical religion, and the benevolent enterprises of the present day on the minds of multitudes of our extensive population. As they are now conducted, they will probably be a source of revenue to a small amount, at least, and they are certain not to incur an expense to the Convention. As profits of the Columbian Star, for the last year, Rev. Mr Brantly has paid to the Convention one hundred dollars. The Memoir of Mrs Judson, compiled by Rev. Mr Knowles, of Boston, and lately published under the auspices of this body, bids fair to become an important auxiliary in its missionary operations ; 3,500 copies of this work were disposed of in a few weeks; 4000 more are now in the press, and will soon be ready for delivery. This interesting publication besides detailing the eventful incidents in the life of the distinguished indi. vidual, whose name it bears, gives a concise history of the Burman Mission, and is well calculated to awaken feelings of pious solicitude and generous sympathy, in the breasts of all who desire the salvation of the perishing millíons of this benighted empire. We most cordially recommend this work 10 the patronage of our Christian friends, and hope that not only by thousands, but by tens of thousands, it may be speedily circulated ihroughout our churches. For every copy purchased of this work, a small, but certain contribution will be made to the funds of the Convention; 350 dollars have already been paid over to the treasurer, as the profits of the first edition, and a still higher ratio of profits may be expected to arise from the sale of future editions.
DAVID BENEDICT, Chairman.
WAYS AND MEANS. Your Committee of Ways and Means, having given diligent attention to the duties assigned them,
REPORT: As the spirit of Christianity, and the spirit of Missions are identical, we regard the promotion of ardent piety, and the diffusion of Missionary intelligence throughout the denomination, as the most certain and powerful means of increasing the funds of the Convention.
As particular measures for procuring funds, we recommend the plan of Primary and Auxiliary Societies, adopted in New-England, and the system in operation in the State of New York, by which each church becomes a Primary, and each Association an Auxiliary Missionary Society. We would, however, give the preference to the latter plan, where its adoption is practicable. We further recommend, that every Baptist Minister in the United States, be earnestly solicited to spend at least four weeks in each year, gratuitously, in directing and nourishing a missionary spirit, by visiting individuals, addressing Churches, Associations, &c.
We also recommend, that where the situation of churches will admit, collections for Missionary purposes be taken up at each monthly concert.
To give efficiency to the above methods for raising funds, we recommend that the Board issue a quarterly Circular on a half sheet, and forward a copy of the same, regularly, to every Baptist Minister or church in the Union, so far as practicable-said Circular to contain the most interesting missionary intelligence which can be procured.
All which is respectfully submitted. JOHN PECK, Chairman.
[G.] AFRICAN MISSION.
The Committee on the Mission to Africa respectfully
REPORT: That they are deeply penetrated with the magnitude of the subject submitted to their consideration. Nor are they alone in this conviction. It will be seen by reference to the Minutes of former meetings of this Convention, that this Mission claimed and received an early attention. The determination of the American Colonization Society, to establish a colony on the coast of Africa, appeared to open a wide and affectual door for the introduction of the gospel into that country; and the astonishing success of the labors of that institution has served to deepen the impression of the utility and importance of the subject. The Colony already contains upwards of twelve hundred settlers, and the disposition to emigrate is evidently increasing. Among those who have availed themselves of the opportunity to return to the home of their fathers, are many of our own brethren; and it cannot be doubted that many more will remove thither. Here, a wide field is spread before us, white unto the harvest. And who has appeared to labor and to reap!
Our late beloved brother Lott Cary was appointed to the work about eight years ago, and entered upon it with holy resolution and delight. This excellent man went out to Africa, under the patronage of the American Colonization Society, as well as of this Convention, and his support has been principally derived from that Society, and his own individual exertions. Could he have devoted his whole time to our service much good might have been expected to have resulted from his labors. But he was under the necessity, in the infant and often distressed state of the Colony, to assist in its government and defence; as well as to act as its physician.
While he discharged the pastoral duties to the church at Monrovia, he, for about five years, kept in operation a native Missionary school, numbering from eighteen to thirty-six scholars; and a considerable number