Abbildungen der Seite

missionaries. To me it appears, and I think it material to be remarked, that a disbelief of the established religion of their country has no tendency to dispose men for the reception of another: but that, on the contrary, it generates a settled contempt of all religious pretensions whatever. General infidelity is the hardest soil which the propagators of a new religion can have to work upon. Could a Methodist or Moravian promise himself a better chance of success with a French esprit fort, who had been accustomed to laugh at the popery of his country, than with a believing Mahometan or Hindoo? It does not appear that the Jews, who had a body of historical evidence to offer for their religion, and who at that time undoubtedly entertained and held forth the expectation of a future state, derived any grcat advantage, as to the extension of their system, from the diseredit into which the popular religion had fallen with many of their heathen neighbours. ::. We have particularly directed our observation to the state and progress of Christianity amongst the inhabitants of India: but the history of the Christian mission in other countries, where the ëfficacy of the mission is left solely to the conviction wronght by the preaching of strangers, presents the same idea, as the Indian mission does, of the feebleness and inadequacy of human means. About twenty-five years ago was published, in Eng. land, a translation from the Dutch of the history of Greenland, and a relation of the mission, for above thirty years, carried on in that country by the Unitas Fratrum, or Moravians. Every part of that relation confirmis the opinion we have stated. Nothing could surpass, or hardly equal, the zeal and patience of the missionaries. Yet their historian, in the conclusion of his narrative, could find place for no reflections more encouraging than the following :- A person that had known the heathen, that had seen the little benefit from the great pains hitherto taken with them, and considered that one after another had abandoned all hopes of the conversion of those infidels, (and some thought they would never be converted, till they saw miracles wrought as in the Apostles' days, and this the Greenlanders expected and demanded of their instructors) one that considered this, I say, would not so much wonder at the past unfruitfulness of these young beginners, as at their steadfast perse. verance in the midst of nothing but distress, difficulties, and impediments, internally and externally; and that they never desponded of the conversion of those poor creatures amidst all seeming impossibilities *

From the widely disproportionate effects, which attend the preaching of modern missionaries of Christianity, compared with what followed the ministry of Christ and his apostles, under circumstances either alike, or not so unlike as to account for the difference, a conclusion is fairly drawn, in support of what our histories deliver concerning them, viz, that they possess means of conviction, which we have not; that they had proofs to appeal to, which we want

Paley. • History of Greenlaud, Vol. ii. p. 376.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »