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better able to bear it."* Thus, according to this system, the attendance at ine schools
be very general; yet Christianity will not be learnt, because it is not taught in them.
Another faise criterion is, to suppose that because large congregations assemble to hear sermons, they are become Christians. Several missionaries state that they have extensive congregations and audiences amounting to many hundreds, but do not feel that they have made a single convert. Martyn acknowledges that he had a considerable audience, but yet the fruit of all his time, and of all his missionary labours in India, was the making of one or two converts on whose sincerity he depended. Indeed, it is impossible not to be struck with the feeling of mortification and disappointment manifest in his journal upon this subject. “The service in Hindoostanee,” he writes, “ was at two o'clock. The number of the women not above one hundred. I expounded chapter iii. of St Matthew. Notwithstanding the great apathy with which they seemed to receive everything, there were two or three who, I was sure, understood and felt something. But not a single creature beside them, European or native, was present.”+
This was at Dinapoor; but he wrote immediately after to Archdeacon Corrie, that they all abandoned him, upon his. reproving one of them for unbecoming behaviour at worship. I * Tom. i. p. 379.
† P. 253. I P. 278.—As no one, among modern Protestant missionaries, has exerted himself more than Martyn, or won more personal esteem, I will here give the history of his success. After a long time, one woman wishing to be married, applied to him for baptism ; but not finding her disposed, he refused to admit her.—(p. 255.) That was the only ap. proach to conversion which he witnessed at Dinapoor. Another who always attended, and was even moved to tears at his sermons, refused to confer with him.-(p. 279.) From that station he proceeded to Cawnpoor, where his biographer tells us that, in spite of his delicacy, he baptized one old Hindoo woman, who though very ignorant, was very humble.-(p. 314.) In fine one other conversion is all that his panegyrist pretends to attribute to him during his mission in Persia and' India.--(p. 183.)
In another place, he states that his congregation was tolerable, but that, having preached against the errors of popery, hardly any one of them came again; and, " I suppose,” he adds, “that after another Sunday I shali not have even
Nor are these remarks to be confined to India. The missionary, at Kissey, in Africa, writes, that he has a congregation of more than 300, but, that up to that moment, not one of them has ears to hear, or heart to understand. He then explains the mystery, by informing us that he has under his inspection 500 individuals, who depend entirely upon a daily allowance from government, and that, thus, having the people more at command, he humbly hopes that the Lord will bless his word, although he probably shall not see the fruit he so much desires. “My Sermons," writes the one of Digah, “have been well frequented, and that very attentively; but there is not one of whom I can say, behold he prayeth.”I
I must now hasten to a conclusion.
You will observe that I have hardly quoted any authorities that can be considered hostile to the missionary societies. I have scarcely referred to any Catholic writer; and in general have chosen such witnesses as cannot be considered opposed to the scheme of proselytism. I have endeavoured to choose my authorities from the missionaries themselves, from their reports, or from their acknowledged advocates; and the results, if balanced against the means employed, the immense resources at command, both material and moral, the wealth, and still more, the superior attainments of those who have devoted themselves to the work, are such as justify what I said at the commencement of my discourse. therefore, to repeat; that if we look here for the blessing promised by God to the method of propagating the faith which He appointed, and if this blessing is to be manifested by their success who undertake the work; if, moreover, the
* P. 387.
| Quoted in Miscell. ut sup. 1 Missionary Register, 29th Rep. p. 56.
promise of His aid was given to those who should succeed the apostles, as in their ministry and in their doctrines, so likewise in the methods which He prescribed; we bave every evidence that it is not on the system here exhibited that the blessing was pronounced, nor those promises bestowed.
If the distribution of the Bible in a language intelligible to the people be His appointed way of conversion, and if the principle, which leads to that distribution, be the ground of faith which He inculcated, surely it is time to see some good results, after fifteen millions of copies have been scattered abroad. Time and quantity are, it is true, as nothing in His estimation; but surely, looking at the simple form and obvious methods which He chose for the infancy of His Church, we can hardly explain such an enormous want of ratio between the instrument and the effects which Himself had chosen. Who can imagine that the command to teach all nations, not only involved the command to print the Bible, but to print it by millions, before it should yield fruit? Surely then, if we ever are allowed to argue from the failure, to the inadequacy, of the means, we must confess, that after millions of Bibles have been distributed to so little purpose, their distribution is not the means appointed by God for conversion; and, consequently, that His blessing is not upon the work, nor His approbation upon its principle—the all-sufficiency of the written word. It is true that, “the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, patiently bearing till he receive the early and the latter rain."*
But if he shall, year after year, have scattered his seed in vain; if; after having used every means which skill and perseverance can supply, he still receive, in return, but deceitful blossoms, or a fruit which “sets his teeth on edge,” he will surely conclude that his seed is defective, or that he understands not the cultivation of the land.
And this mortifying conclusion must become doubly un.
* James v. 7.
-avoidable, if he shall see others around him, who, pursuing a rival process, reap yearly, from the same soil, a rich harvest of enduring fruit. And how this is exemplified in the present case, will be seen when next you favour me with your attendance.
You will perceive that I have carefully abstained from whatever might tend to decry or vilify the system followed; I have not said one word derogatory to the character of the missionaries employed. I have not, as has often been done, even in official documents alluded to many of them being uneducated, or ignorant, or not qualified by their attainments or information, for the task which they have to perform. I have not cast the slightest aspersion on their moral character, nor on the motives which have moved or directed them. I have not hinted that any thing like personal interest influences those who are concerned in the management of these societies. I have abstained from every thing of this nature, and have simply used the facts laid before us by themselves; for I have considered throughout, that the English establishment, or any other religious body, must naturally best understand what means -are calculated to effect its own purposes.
Indeed, I will farther say, that it is impossible for any person to peruse the documents which I have quoted, and make himself familiar with their details, and (far from conceiving any feeling of contempt for those engaged in this work) not be brought to acknowledge, what a fund of beautiful religious spirit this country possesses, were it only directed in those channels which God has appointed, that th ry may be effectual! We have it here shown, that there exist, to this moment, amongst us, some remains of that spirit, which led so many of our countrymen, in former ages, into foreign lands, to be, in the hand of Providence, merciful instruments for bringing many great nations to the profession of Christianity
Let but the same principle, which they bore with them to the task, return again, as a general blessing to our country;
let the mantle of the Bonifaces and Willibrords, with their twofold spirit of Catholic faith and Catholic love, be caught up by this nation, and it shall divide the rivers, and open the seas before its missionaries, and shall make them the inheritors of their grace, and render this island once more, what formerly it was, a gushing well-spring of Christianity uud salvation to the nations of the earth.