« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
prosecution of this most valuable branch of industry is most true. But they are only such difficulties as might be expected to occur in such a state of society, and which, there is no doubt, wisdom and perseverance will finally overcome. Every thing practicable has been done by the Missionary Society, to introduce the arts of civilized life, as well as Christianity; and the effects even in this respect, resulting from the exertions of the missionaries, satisfactorily prove, that the labour bestowed has not been altogether in vain.
"From the connexion in which the remarks on the youth of the king, the alleged profligacy of his mother, and the jealousy of the chiefs, are introduced, it would seem as if, according to Captain Beechey, the missionaries should be accountable for these things as well as for the indolence of the natives. On the last topic,-namely, the divided state of the chiefs, and their jealousy of each other, it is only necessary to remark, that there have been no wars in the islands since their conversion to Christianity, a period of eleven years; whereas, according to Mr. Nott, there were not less than eight or ten wars, between 1797 and 1816. No equal period of peace is known to have occurred prior to the reception of the Gospel. The natives themselves often express their surprise at its long continuance, and declare their conviction, that, but for Christianity, they would have had many battles. "One of the most extraordinary parts of Captain Beechey's statement relates to Tobuai. There,' he says, 'the indolence of the natives, since their conversion, has been such, that out of the whole population, but 200 remain.' Will Captain Beechey inform us what was the number of the inhabitants before their conversion? Is he prepared to prove that it is smaller now than it was then? The belief of the missionaries is, that the population has increased, and not diminished,
since the profession of Christianity. The number of the inhabitants, small as it is, was on the very eve of engaging in war; which was prevented by the arrival of a missionary the day before an engagement was to have taken place, who persuaded them to live in peace. Yet these are the men whose efforts are represented as tending to desolation and blood. That the conversion of the natives should increase indo. lence, and this indolence depopulation, is so extravagant an assertion as to need no refutation.
"Not less extraordinary is Captain Beechey's account of one of the causes of the mortality. He justly observes, it will scarcely be believed that this mortality has been occasioned by their being too lazy to cook their food oftener than once a week; in consequence of which it becomes sour and unwholesome, and produces complaints of the stomach, which carry them off."' This custom does not, as is in sinuated, result from their embracing Christianity. It existed before its introduction. It was found to be the practice when the missionaries first visited them. They, instead of encouraging it, expostulated with the people, and reproved them; but were told it was the custom of the country. Whatever injurious effects, therefore, result from the practice, let them not be charged to Christianity, or to the missionaries. The practice must be hurtful, but cannot have produced more of disease or death since the introduction of the Gospel than before it.
Captain Beechey, the reviewer says, gives many other details of the same nature. What a pity he has not furnished his reader with them all! No doubt can be entertained that he would have done so, had they been unfavourable to the missionaries. Captain Beechey admits, that they deserve every credit for having succeeded in abolishing human sacrifices and infanticide,' which had so extensively devastated the islands. Thus the men who by one process
endeavour to save human life, and to promote happiness, by another teach the inhabitants to be indolent, encourage civil commotion, and countenance the most senseless mummery! I leave it to the Quarterly Reviewer and his readers to reconcile these things if they can."
The defence of the South-Sea missions goes on to adduce the striking testimonies of various officers who had visited the islands relative to the beneficial effects which bad ensued in consequence of the introduction of Christianity among the islanders. We shall not detain our readers with these; but will just give a single illustration of the rash manner in which charges are so often urged by the press daily, monthly, and quarterly, against Christian missionaries and missions, Our readers may remember the volcanic mountain in Owyhee, connected with which the natives had numerous idolatrous superstitions, from which the missionaries used their utmost efforts to wean them, But, says the Quarterly Reviewer, "it never seems to have occurred to these worthy men, that a simple practical explanation of the power of steam might have done more to weaken the belief of her votaries, than five hundred sermons." Now, the very book which the Quarterly critic was professing to review contains the following passage: "As far as their language and mental capability admitted, we endeavoured to explain some of the causes of volcanic fire; and illustrated them by the force of gunpowder, with the effects of which the natives are familiar, and assuring them that the expansive power of steam is much greater than that of gunpowder."
The Sandwich-Island missionaries, our readers are aware, are Americans; and their countrymen have not been backward in defending them against the attacks of the cis-Atlantic critic. And they are fully capable of so doing by the adduction of simple facts. We give the fol
lowing specimen from the New-York Advertiser:
"The missionaries are charged by the Quarterly Review with creating much mischief among the islanders;' with being destitute of common sense; with very little judgment, and little acquaintance with the human heart; not able from their education to handle the doctrinal subjects of the Bible;' with attempting to force the darkest and most dreary points of Puritan discipline upon the simple-minded islanders, whose character and habits made it so clear that an exactly opposite course ought to be adopted.' The subjects of their discourses are of the most abstruse kind, which the hearers cannot understand, and the preachers are unable by education to explain. They hold out to their disciples, little or no encouragement, either by precept or example, to industrious habits. The shoemaker who may have left his stall, and the tailor who has escaped from his shop-board, to commence evangelical preaching, would think it degradation to instruct those poor islanders in the use of the awl or the needle. They force the natives to spend all their time in preaching, praying, and singing. The naked, or half-naked converts of Owyhee are required to attend church five times every day.'
"Had the writer in the Review taken the trouble to inform himself at all, of the character, talents, learning, and other qualifications of the American missionaries, he could not have summoned hardi. hood enongh to slander them as he has done in these respeets. We say emphatically, that not one of the assertions we have above quoted is true. These no doubt well-intentioned men,' as they are sneeringly denominated by the reviewer, instead of
creating much mischief among the islanders,' are daily averting and banishing mischief, and reforming the islanders to their great satisfaction. So far from preaching from
difficult and abstruse texts, they select the most simple and comprehensible subjects. The missionaries did not go there to teach them handicraft employments; but there were mechanics in their train who have not been idle. The missionaries teach them all that is consistent with their duties, while their wives teach the native women to sew and make dresses. Instead of compelling the natives to go to church five times every day, they have regularly but three services a week, two on the Sabbath, and a lecture on Wednesdays."
unnecessary to quote further in refutation of charges so utterly gratuitous. The more we examine into the character and effects of these missions, the more we feel persuaded that they have been of inestimable benefit to the natives in all their moral, domestic, social, and political relations, and, above all, as responsible beings, heirs to a neverending duration, and needing to be pardoned and cleansed through the blood of that atoning Sacrifice which these despised missionaries have been the honoured instruments in the hands of God of making known to them.
Other documents on the subject abound to satiety; but it is surely SOCIETY FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE JEWS. THE Society commence their Nineteenth Annual Report with an expression of their humble and sincere thanks to the Author of all good, for that measure of success with which he has blessed their efforts to spread the knowledge of his salvation amongst the scattered remnant of Israel.
girls have been admitted during the past year one boy has been put out apprentice, and two girls have been placed as servants in Christian families.
The interest taken in the cause of the society, they state, continues to increase amongst Christians in general. During the past year six new auxiliary societies have been formed, at York, Wellington in Somersetshire, Hackney and its vicinity, Oxford, Reading, and Wantage. The total amount of contributions to the society, during the year, is 14,4577., which exhibits an increase of 1,2647. above the preceding year. The committee testify, that a spirit of religious inquiry is increasing amongst the Jewish people. Several individuals continue to give occasional attendance at the society's chapel; the secretaries have also received the visits of Jews, and have been requested to see others at their own dwellings, and in a few instances to visit them on a bed of sickness.
There are in the schools of the society, forty-one boys and fortynine girls. Four boys and three
The society's publications, chiefly the Old and New Testaments, or parts of them, in Hebrew, have been very numerous. The society had also undertaken the publication of an edition of the Old-Testament Scriptures in the Judæo-Polish dialect.
The society have removed their seminary to the immediate vicinity of the metropolis. Among the stu dents, who are about eight in number, is a converted Jew, who was for some years connected with the American society.
In reference to Mr. Wolff, the committee state, that his mission was so intimately in unison with the great designs of the society, that they had repaid the expenses of it, and taken him into immediate and exclusive connexion with the society. There are thirty-three missionaries, catechists, or missionary agents, in connexion with the society, of whom ten are of the Jewish nation.
In reporting their foreign operations, the committee first direct their attention to the Jewish mission at Hamburgh, where the society has
established a school for Jewish children, the number of whom has been gradually on the increase; and the improvement made by many of them has been as great as could reasonably be expected. The missionaries lament the avowed infidelity of many of the Jews, who not only refuse to believe the New Testament, but reject Moses and the Prophets. A weekly meeting of Jews has commenced for prayer and exposition of the Scriptures.
From Holland and the Netherlands the society have received several let ters, stating various insulated but encouraging facts. "We have but little to tell you of the Jews in these countries,' say the missionaries; "for it is only seed time, and not the season for fruit. But it is our duty to sow with patience the good seed in faith and hope, trusting in the Lord, in his own time, to give increase to it, that it may produce fruit."
In Germany the committee notice the services rendered to the cause of the society by the Rev. P. Treschow, now resident at Nieuwied, who has made a missionary tour through Switzerland, the kingdom of Wurtemberg, and the Grand Duchy of Baden. At Darmstadt, he met with Dr. Van Ess, through whom he learned that in the Hessian provinces, the Jews, who are numerous, are bound by law to send their children either to a Jewish or Christian school, and that many parents prefer sending their children to Christian masters. In the princedom of Neuwied, the prince pays the school-money for such poor Jewish children as wish to attend Christian schools, and the number of them is considerable. Dr. Van Ess related, that applications to him from Jews for New Testaments are still very frequent, and that recently he sold twelve copies to a rich Jew for distribution among his own children and others. In the Grand Duchy of Baden, and other states, he was informed that the attention of the government had here been engaged in improving the moral and
political condition of the Jewish population.
At Frankfort there is an auxiliary society for promoting Christianity among the Jews. At Dresden, there is a society established for promoting biblical knowledge amongst them. They have a school for Jewish children, under the care of the society.
In directing their attention to the efforts which are making in Prussia on behalf of the Jewish people, the committee notice that the attempt to evangelize the Jews begins, in this and other parts of the world, to prove a blessing to the Christian church. The Berlin society, with its three auxiliaries at Konigsberg, Posen, and Detmold, still continues to enjoy the protection and support of the king and royal family of Prussia, who are very liberal contributors to its funds. The words of eternal life have been spoken in the ears of great numbers of Jews. The Rev. Professor Tholuck continues to render very important services to the cause in which the society is engaged. He had lately been appointed by the king of Prussia to an important and responsible situation at the university of Halle. A large number of Jews had embraced the Christian faith in the city of Berlin, and Professor Tholuck continues to speak very favourably of many of them. He adds, that in Berlin there is not so much want of Israelites desirous of instruction, as of Christian ministers and friends, who have inclination and ability to instruct them, and to watch over their spiritual welfare.
At Posen a school has been established, in which thirty-nine Jewish children have received instruction. At Konigsberg there is an auxiliary to the Berlin Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews. There are from 1200 to 1500 Jews, besides a number of Jewish proselytes, who require instruction.
The committee have always regarded Poland as a most important missionary station, on account of the
number of Jews who are settled in that country. The Book of Genesis, in the Judæo-Polish tongue, had been printed and sent for distribution in Poland. A very general desire to read this version appears to have prevailed amongst Jews of all classes. The committee have long felt the importance of a general circulation of the Old-Testament Scriptures, in the original Hebrew, and in consequence have forwarded large supplies to the various missionary stations, especially to Poland, where the Jewish population is so numerous. The copies in use amongst them are so few, and so expensive, as not to be within the reach of the great mass of the Jewish nation; and the sense of Scripture is so obscured and perverted by the manifold commentaries with which the text is encompassed, that it serves as a means of perpetuating error, and of strengthening the national prejudice against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Great numbers of Jews have gladly received, or purchased at very low prices, copies of the Bible; and the Sa cred Volume, thus distributed, was very generally read, and became the subject of most interesting conversations. In place of the contentious disputations too common in a missionary's intercourse with the Jews, a spirit of friendly discussion was promoted. The committee have satisfactory evidence that their missionaries in Poland are prosecuting their work in faith and patience; and they have not been left without encouragements to prosecute their labours.
The missionaries on the European shores of the Mediterranean continued their labours under many discouraging circumstances, but not without hope. Besides visiting Jewish schools, and holding daily intercourse with the Jews in private, they have been much engaged in the translation and preparation of suitable tracts which they have circulated to a great extent. On one occasion fifty copies of a Catechism of Jewish History were presented,
for the use of a Jewish school, and were thankfully received for that purpose. The missionaries are gain; ing the confidence of the Jews, and hope that they will in future be able to obtain a more free access to them. They have already extended their sphere of usefulness; they have obtained much accurate and important information respecting the moral and temporal condition of the Jews in the south of Europe. Christian friends have been found to cooperate with them in districts which they themselves have not visited; copies of the Sacred Volume and of scriptural tracts have, through their means, found their way amongst the Jews of the Barbary States on the opposite shores of the Mediterranean; and thus the committee hope that the seed of eternal life has been sown, which will one day spring up in the full measure of a bounteous harvest. Many instances have come to the knowledge of the committee, of the oppressive treatment to which the Jews are still exposed in countries professedly Christian. These facts ought to be taken into the account, when any reference is made to the opposition of the Jews to Christianity. Their prejudices against the Christian name have been but too well founded to be treated with contempt. They have grown up under the oppression of centuries; and it is not surprising that they do not at once give way under the occasional kindnesses of a few late years.
The society at Malta still continues to render very efficient services to the cause in which it is em barked by the publication of tracts in Italian and other languages, for distribution amongst the Jews of that part of the world. There has been a great demand for copies of the Old Testament, especially amongst the Jews of the Levant. An unusual number of copies of the entire Scriptures have likewise been purchased. The committee having received many representations of the importance of publishing the Scriptures and tracts in the Spanish He