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of refinement from a savage to a civilized condition has always been 'slow and gradual. It is the work of ages. To enlighten the wild hunter of the forest with a knowledge of the arts and sciences, to inspire him with a taste for the refinements of civilized society, and the practice and enjoyments of true religion, has always been attended with great discouragements. The most painful and disinterested labors of christian missionaries have in many instances failed of success. To name no more, we have recently seen a sad proof of this in the faithful and persevering, yet almost unavailing labors of several missionaries at Otaheite and other islands in the Pacific Ocean. Christians ought not merely from want of complete success to abandon this work of charity to the souls of
pagans. Although in some cases unforeseen events have disconcerted the wisest measures; yet in attempts which have been conducted prudently, more have been the instances of success than failure. Christian societies and missionaries, who have sown the seeds of religious knowledge among pagan nations, have generally been too impatient to reap the harvest; yet has it pleased God to keep alive the hallowed fire, and to animate good men with zeal in every age to carry on this good work. They should recollect that the soil is uncultivated, hard, and barren ; that much labor is needful. It is exceedingly difficult to infuse into vacant or prejudiced minds, suitable conceptions of the plainest doctrines, which are revealed in the bible. Slowly do they admit the scripture ideas of depravity ; of the atonement made for sin by Jesus Christ;. of repentance, faith, and holiness of heart and life. The native tribes of New England, were instructed in the doctrines of revelation by our pious an
cestors, pretty readily admitted the history of the old testament, respecting the creation, the fall of man, and the deluge ; but when told of a Saviour, and his sufferings for sinners, they cried out pocatnie ? i. e. is it possible? To converse with savages on moral and religious subjects, is speaking to them in an unknown tongue. Their minds have not been employed on things of a spiritual nature. They never enter into their conversation. They are never the theme of their orators. Their language has no words to convey ideas, with any precision, on these important subjects.
Enlightened princes have ever found it a vast labor to civilize and reform barbarians. The wonderful exertions of the celebrated Czar Peter, the Great, Emperor of Russia, in this work, near the commencement of the last century, present a forcible example of the slow progress made in leading nations from a savage to a social life. Persevering courage and wisdom, are necessary in a reformer of wild hunters. To these was united in Peter the Great, the arm of despotic authority; yet he found it difficult to elevate his subjects to the rank of a civilized nation. He. spent his whole life in the work, and but partially accomplished his object. Nor have his successors, to this day, been able to complete the design. Though a considerable portion of this gigantic empire has made noble advances toward a state of refinement, yet many numerous tribes still remain at a very great remove from civilization. Another century may elapse before they attain those improvements, which are generally, enjoyed in Europe. So arduous is the labor of restraining the passions of savages; of changing their habits, and producing in their untutored minds, those ideas which are familiar,
and those opinions which are self evident to polished and christianized people.
About the commencenient of the last century, a remarkable zeal prevailed in several parts of christendom, to convey the light of the gospel to people and nations “sitting in darkness.” At that time a society of pious christians was formed in Denmark, encouraged and patronized by their excellent King, to send the gospel to the numerous tribes of Indians, on the coast of Malabar, in the East Indies. Missionaries from Germany were sent into that distant region. These were in part, supported by the society in England for propagating the gospel in foreign parts. In that extensive field of labor, churches were founded, and many schools established for the instruction of youth in human science and the principles of the christian religion. To promote this noble object, Professor Franck, who was unwearied in doing good, lent his aid. In a letter to Mr. Henry Newman, Secretary to the society in England, Anno 1713, after respectfully noticing the assistance of that society, in promoting the godlike work, of bringing the
pagans to the east, to the knowledge of the Messiah, be thus proceeds: " Posterity shall learn by it, how one nation can help another in the common cause of propagating the christian religion, finding that the German nation assisted the Danes, as the English do both. In the beginning of my design, to promote this glorious enterprize of the Danish nation, I very much scrupled whether I should embark in it or no ; for I thought to meddle with a foreign work, would not only hinder ours here, but even diminish it; considering the vast expence required to provide for every ensuing year, for the whole orphan house, so many school masters, and other innumerable
accidents without any certain foundation. But I overcame that scruple with a deep reflection on so many signal steps of the divine providence in works.of this nature, since I laid the first stone of the Orphan House, and other buildings in which I was engaged ; yea, I found by experience, of which you may be certain, that the
promoting of this foreign work, was not only no, hinderance to our own, but that even the heavenly blessing was more signally showered upon it. Converting the Malabarian heathen is a catholic work, worthy to be promoted by all charitable and public spirited christians."*
The light of the gospel, which in the days of the Apostles shone gloriously in the East, had been nearly extinguished by a long and dreadful night of Mahometan darkness. Encouragement to christians at the present day, to receive the glorious light of truth in those benighted regions, may be derived from the success of those Danish and German missionaries. By them the way is now prepared; the good seed sown by them is not lost; christian teachers may now have a friendly access to them. Those who are desirous of researches into the religion, sciences, and antiquities of the people in those regions, may in this way be gratified. The venerable society in Scotland, for propagating christian knowledge, have been engaged about a century in generous labors to spread the rays of divine revelation among the numerous clans, who inhabit the extensive and remote highlands, and the islands of the northern ocean. Astonishing progress has been made in this blessed work. Those waste and steril fields, by long cultivation, have produced precious fruit to the joy of Zion and the
* Sec propagation of the gospel in the East.
glory of the Redeemer; much remains to be done. The good already effected encourages the pious and charitable to persevere in their exertions, and to seek the enlargement of their funds.
In later times the Moravians have, with apostolic zeal, carried the knowledge of the gospel among the heathen. In almost every part of the pagan world, success has rewarded their labors. They have penetrated the regions of Tartary; made establishments on the Wolga ; raised the banner of the cross in the empire of Mahomet. They have planted the rose of Sharon on the burning sands of Africa, and the frozen coast of Greenland.* They have cheered our western forests with songs of christian praise, on the banks of the Muskingum, and in other places they have villages of praying Indians. A gradual and pleasing improvement of temper and manners, has taken place among the heathen, to whom they have borne the news of salvation. On the Muskingum and Big River Creek, houses of worship were erected, where the Indians with their missionaries attended morning and evening prayer. They wholly withdrew from the society of the wild Indians; they acquired considerable knowledge of agriculture; they were civil to strangers; they were moral and submissive to the regulations of their teachers.
Faithful men are employed for “the help of the Lord against the mighty;' nor should they despond, though success should not answer their
* See Crantz history of the Moravian missions in Greenland.
+ The Moravians deserve praise for carrying the gospel to those who are destitute. They enter not on other mens' labors, nor build on foundations already laid. Directly opposite to this christian conduct is that of one or two modern sects, who, like their predecessors, “ compass sea and land to make one proselyte” from other denominations. They make a mighty merit of their zeal to christianize christians, and build their temples with broken pillars, plundered from the churches of Christ, which have been rent and shattered by their unhallowed hands.'