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To this we answer that previous to the preaching of the gospel, the savages do not seem to have been so much interested in their teachers, as to give them a fair hearing; and they surely could not be influenced by instructions to which they had never listened. But even were this a doubtful matter, the first conversion in Greenland is a splendid proof of the way in which the simple truths of the Gospel seek their way to the human heart, unpioneered by any preliminary instruction whatever.
But, quite satisfactory as this experiment is, still did it stand alone, we might justly be charged with a rash induction, in drawing a general conclusion from premises so limited. But it does not stand alone. The Moravians have attempted the conversion and civilization, of men of almost every country and of every condition; and their uncommon success is borne testimony to, by all who have visited the scenes of their philanthropic exertions. Amid the snows of Greenland, they have planted their little villages of comfort and happiness; and the eye of the traveller has been refreshed, as it lighted on some spot of luxuriant verdure, which their hand has decked out in the midst of an African desert.* And, wherever success had attended their endeavors, whether they tell of a single addition to the number of their converts, it is to the preaching of Christ, and of him crucified, that they attribute it all. Indeed, if we inquire into the reason why the Moravians have been more successful than other missionaries, we find that the distinguishing peculiarity of their preaching consists in this, that they dwell more
* See Barrow's Travels.
simply and more constantly, on the love of Christ. In all parts of the world their mode of teaching has been nearly the same, and the change which their instructions have produced, upon men, the most diverse in their character and circumstances, is a beautiful illustration of the divine efficacy which accompanies the simple preaching of the gospel. Under the instruction of these simple, and often uneducated men, the roving and unrestrained savage has been led to abandon his irregular habits and to cultivate the decencies of civilized life. Under their instruction, the North American Indian has been divested of his barbarous cruelty, and has even been known to suffer the most palpable injustice, and the most inhuman treatment from his countrymen, without an attempt, or even a wish to revenge. And, finally, under their instruction, the degraded, and almost heart-broken slave has been led to bow to the scourge of his insulting oppressor, with a meekness and submission, which the religion of Jesus alone could inspire. These are facts; and facts are far more eloquent than words. We leave them to make their own impression.
We are aware that we may seem to have dwelt too long on this one illustration; but the paramount importance of the subject is a sufficient excuse. Almost every extract that Dr. Chalmers has read, has tended to demonstrate the vast superiority of that mode of Christian instruction which is generally termed evangelical.
After dwelling so long on a single illustration of Dr. Chalmers' method of conducting the business of these meetings, we could have wished much in the present paper, (and more especially as this is the last opportunity that may now be afforded
of so doing,) to have gone on with a more general account of the numerous interesting topics that have been discussed during the course of the Doctor's prelections. There is still one point, however, regarding the missions of the United Brethren, which we should be most unwilling slightly to pass over. And we are the less sorry, that we have been led, in these detached sketches, to confine our attention exclusively to one or two points in the history of missions, inasmuch as we have all along expressed it to be our design, to draw the attention of our readers, not so much to the subject of missions, as to those important truths which the. experiments of Christian philanthropy may have tended more strikingly to illustrate, and more firmly to establish.
We have said of the United Brethren, that they have been at once the most successful, and the most popular of all missionaries. We have, already, at some length, inquired into the causes of their success; it now remains, that we briefly advert to the subject of their popularity.
We have already seen that the peculiar views of religious truths which these Christians entertain, are not such as generally meet with very high admiration in the world; and any person who has just glanced at their writings, must know, that the way in which they express their sentiments, is not very highly calculated to please the ear or gratify the taste of general readers. Certainly, at first sight, it is not very easy to conceive how the very persons who dwell most exclusively on those doctrines of the Bible, that are known to be most revolting to mere men of taste, should at all have attracted their attention, or gained their esteem.
And yet it is a notorious fact, that by men in power, in the colonies where they labor, the Moravian missionaries are very highly respected; while, among men of taste at home, they have become the objects of an almost sentimental admiration. The explanation of the matter which Dr. Chalmers has given, is at once simple and satisfactory. It is just this:-The thing has had time to work. And those very principles which themselves are so generally nauseated by men of science and literature, have effloresced into a beauty and luxuriance which command the esteem, and excite the admiration of all.
When the man of taste reads in the accounts which these missionaries give of their success, such sentences as these, "Our Saviour continues to bless our feeble testimony, concerning the atonement which he has made for sinners." "The Lord graciously owns our feeble endeavors, and accompanies with his blessing the preaching of the word of the cross,"* (and these are fair specimens of the whole strain of their writings;) in all probability, the sneer of mingled piety and contempt curls upon his lips, or he turns proudly away with loathing and disgust. But when the same individual is told of smiling villages, and cultivated fields, starting forth as if by magic, in the midst of a barren wilderness,-when he hears that those whom he had been wont to rank, in point of intellect, with the inferior création, are now disciplined in the elements of general knowledge, and skilled in the endowments of the arts,-when he beholds the wandering marauder of the desert associated in little communities where peace and order reign in every breast, and comfort smiles upon every
Periodical Accounts of the Missions of the United Brethren.
family; his whole soul is enraptured by the realization of those very scenes, the mere imagination of which has given to poetry and romance, their chief and loveliest attractions.
Indeed, so different are the emotions excited in the mind of a man of taste, by the contemplation of the principles which are at work, and of the effects that are evolved by their operation, that he cannot be brought to believe that there is any such close connexion between the result, and that which is alluded to be the cause of it. He will not admit that a state of things, so truly worthy the admiration of every benevolent and right thinking mind, could ever have been the result of a mode of operation so despicably weak and unphilosophical. And so biassed is his judgment by former prejudices, that no form of evidence, however strong, can ever compel him to the belief that those scenes of happiness and prosperity, which have so charmed his fancy, can at all have any thing to do with the canting weakness, or the severe austerity of a system, which, far from thinking it capable of introducing order and comfort, when confusion and misery had reigned before, he had always been wont to regard as that which damped the hilarity, and embittered the pleasures of those who were weak enough to become the dupes of its hypocritical promulgators, even in happier lands. Accordingly, in the broad day-light of the strongest evidence for the contrary, it has been most confidently asserted, that the success of the Moravian Missionaries is not at all to be referred to those causes to which themselves have ascribed it. The celebrated traveller, Barrow, who visited the stations of the brethren in South Africa, gives the very highest testimony to the