An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the
Produced by Michael Ciesielski, Robert Shimmin and PG Distributed
AN ENQUIRY INTO THE
OBLIGATIONS OF CHRISTIANS,
TO USE MEANS FOR THE
CONVERSION OF THE HEATHENS.
IN WHICH THE RELIGIOUS STATE OF THE DIFFERENT
NATIONS OF THE WORLD, THE SUCCESS OF FORMER
UNDERTAKINGS, AND THE PRACTICABILITY OF
FURTHER UNDERTAKINGS, ARE CONSIDERED,
BY WILLIAM CAREY.
For there is no Difference between the Jew and the Greek;
for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him.
For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not
believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they
have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher?
and how shall they preach except they be sent?
As our blessed Lord has required us to pray that his kingdom may come,
and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, it becomes us not
only to express our desires of that event by words, but to use every
lawful method to spread the knowledge of his name. In order to this,
it is necessary that we should become, in some measure acquainted with
the religious state of the world; and as this is an object we should
be prompted to pursue, not only by the gospel of our Redeemer, but
even by the feelings of humanity, so an inclination to conscientious
activity therein would form one of the strongest proofs that we are
the subjects of grace, and partakers of that spirit of universal
benevolence and genuine philanthropy, which appear so eminent in
the of God himself.
Sin was introduced amongst the children of men by the fall of Adam,
and has ever since been spreading its baneful influence. By changing
its appearances to suit the circumstances of the times, it has grown
up in ten thousand forms, and constantly counteracted the will and
designs of God. One would have supposed that the remembrance of the
deluge would have been transmitted from father to son, and have
perpetually deterred mankind from transgressing the will of their
Maker; but so blinded were they, that in the time of Abraham, gross
wickedness prevailed wherever colonies were planted, and the iniquity
of the Amorites was great, though not yet full. After this, idolatry
spread more and more, till the seven devoted nations were cut off with
the most signal marks of divine displeasure. Still, however, the
progress of evil was not stopped, but the Israelites themselves too
often joined with the rest of mankind against the God of Israel. In
one period the grossest ignorance and barbarism prevailed in the
world; and afterwards, in a more enlightened age, the most daring
infidelity, and contempt of God; so that the world which was once
over-run with ignorance, now _by wisdom knew not God, but changed the
glory of the incorruptible God_ as much as in the most barbarous ages,
_into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and
four-footed beasts, and creeping things_. Nay, as they increased in
science and politeness, they ran into more abundant and extravagant
Yet God repeatedly made known his intention to prevail finally over
all the power of the Devil, and to destroy all his works, and set up
his own kingdom and interest among men, and extend it as universally
as Satan had extended his. It was for this purpose that the Messiah
came and died, that God might be just, and the justifier of all that
should believe in him. When he had laid down his life, and taken it up
again, he sent forth his disciples to preach the good tidings to every
creature, and to endeavour by all possible methods to bring over a
lost world to God. They went forth according to their divine
commission, and wonderful success attended their labours; the
civilized greeks, and uncivilized barbarians, each yielded to the
cross of Christ, and embraced it as the only way of salvation. Since
the apostolic age many other attempts to spread the gospel have been
made, which have been considerably successful, notwithstanding which a
very considerable part of mankind are still involved in all the
darkness of heathenism. Some attempts are still making, but they are
inconsiderable in comparison of what might be done if the whole body
of Christians entered heartily into the spirit of the divine command
on this subject. Some think little about it, others are unacquainted
with the state of the world, and others love their wealth better than
the souls of their fellow-creatures.
In order that the subject may be taken into more serious
consideration, I shall enquire, whether the commission given by our
Lord to his disciples be not still binding on us,--take a short view
of former undertakings,--give some account of the present state of the
world, consider the practicability of doing something more than is
done,--and the duty of Christians in general in this matter.
AN ENQUIRY, &c.
_An Enquiry whether the Commission given by our Lord
to his Disciples be not still binding on us._
Our Lord Jesus Christ, a little before his departure, commissioned his
apostles to _Go_, and _teach all nations_; or, as another evangelist
expresses it, _Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature_. This commission was as extensive as possible, and laid them
under obligation to disperse themselves into every country of the
habitable globe, and preach to all the inhabitants, without exception,
or limitation. They accordingly went forth in obedience to the
command, and the power of God evidently wrought with them. Many
attempts of the same kind have been made since their day, and which
have been attended with various success; but the work has not been
taken up, or prosecuted of late years (except by a few individuals)
with that zeal and perseverance with which the primitive Christians
went about it. It seems as if many thought the commission was
sufficiently put in execution by what the apostles and others have
done; that we have enough to do to attend to the salvation of our own
countrymen; and that, if God intends the salvation of the heathen, he
will some way or other bring them to the gospel, or the gospel to
them. It is thus that multitudes sit at ease, and give themselves no
concern about the far greater part of their fellow-sinners, who to
this day, are lost in ignorance and idolatry. There seems also to be
an opinion existing in the minds of some, that because the apostles
were extraordinary officers and have no proper successors, and because
many things which were right for them to do would be utterly
unwarrantable for us, therefore it may not be immediately binding on
us to execute the commission, though it was so upon them. To the
consideration of such persons I would offer the following
FIRST, If the command of Christ to teach all nations be restricted to
the apostles, or those under the immediate inspiration of the Holy
Ghost, then that of baptizing should be so too; and every denomination
of Christians, except the Quakers, do wrong in baptizing with water at
SECONDLY, If the command of Christ to teach all nations be confined to
the apostles, then all such ordinary ministers who have endeavoured to
carry the gospel to the heathens, have acted without a warrant, and
run before they were sent. Yea, and though God has promised the most
glorious things to the heathen world by sending his gospel to them,
yet whoever goes first, or indeed at all, with that message, unless he
have a new and special commission from heaven, must go without any
authority for so doing.
THIRDLY, If the command of Christ to teach all nations extend only to
the apostles, then, doubtless, the promise of the divine presence in
this work must be so limited; but this is worded in such a manner as
expressly precludes such an idea. _Lo, I am with you always, to the
end of the world._
That there are cases in which even a divine command may cease to be
binding is admitted--As for instance, if it be _repealed_, as the
ceremonial commandments of the jewish law; or if there be _no
subjects_ in the world for the commanded act to be exercised upon, as
in the law of septennial release, which might be dispensed with when
there should be no poor in the land to have their debts forgiven.
Deut. xv. 4. or if, in any particular instance, we can produce a
_counter-revelation_, of equal authority with the original command, as
when Paul and Silas were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the
word in Bythinia. Acts xvi. 6. 7. or if, in any case, there be a
_natural impossibility_ of putting it in execution. It was not the
duty of Paul to preach Christ to the inhabitants of Otaheite, because
no such place was then discovered, nor had he any means of coming at
them. But none of these things can be alledged by us in behalf of the
neglect of the commission given by Christ. We cannot say that it is
repealed, like the commands of the ceremonial law; nor can we plead
that there are no objects for the command to be exercised upon. Alas!
the far greater part of the world, as we shall see presently,
are still covered with heathen darkness! Nor can we produce a
counter-revelation, concerning any particular nation, like that to
Paul and Silas, concerning Bythinia; and, if we could, it would not
warrant our sitting still and neglecting all the other parts of the
world; for Paul and Silas, when forbidden to preach to those heathens,
went elsewhere, and preached to others. Neither can we alledge a
natural impossibility in the case. It has been said that we ought not
to force our way, but to wait for the openings, and leadings of
Providence; but it might with equal propriety be answered in this case,
neither ought we to neglect embracing those openings in providence which
daily present themselves to us. What openings of providence do we wait
for? We can neither expect to be transported into the heathen world
without ordinary means, nor to be endowed with the gift of tongues,
&c. when we arrive there. These would not be providential interpositions,
but miraculous ones. Where a command exists nothing can be necessary to
render it binding but a removal of those obstacles which render
obedience impossible, and these are removed already. Natural
impossibility can never be pleaded so long as facts exist to prove the
contrary. Have not the popish missionaries surmounted all those
difficulties which we have generally thought to be insuperable? Have
not the missionaries of the _Unitas Fratrum_, or Moravian Brethren,
encountered the scorching heat of Abyssinia, and the frozen climes of
Greenland, and Labrador, their difficult languages, and savage
manners? Or have not English traders, for the sake of gain, surmounted
all those things which have generally been counted insurmountable
obstacles in the way of preaching the gospel? Witness the trade to
Persia, the East-Indies, China, and Greenland, yea even the accursed
Slave-Trade on the coasts of Africa. Men can insinuate themselves into
the favour of the most barbarous clans, and uncultivated tribes, for
the sake of gain; and how different soever the circumstances of
trading and preaching are, yet this will prove the possibility of
ministers being introduced there; and if this is but thought a
sufficient reason to make the experiment, my point is gained.
It has been said that some learned divines have proved from Scripture
that the time is not yet come that the heathen should be converted;
and that first the _witnesses must be slain_, and many other
prophecies fulfilled. But admitting this to be the case (which I much
doubt) yet if any objection is made from this against preaching to
them immediately, it must be founded on one of these things; either
that the secret purpose of God is the rule of our duty, and then it
must be as bad to pray for them, as to preach to them; or else that
none shall be converted in the heathen world till the universal
down-pouring of the Spirit in the last days. But this objection comes
too late; for the success of the gospel has been very considerable in
many places already.
[Footnote 1: See Edwards on Prayer, on this subject, lately re-printed
by Mr. Sutcliffe.]
It has been objected that there are multitudes in our own nation, and
within our immediate spheres of action, who are as ignorant as the
South-Sea savages, and that therefore we have work enough at home,
without going into other countries. That there are thousands in our
own land as far from God as possible, I readily grant, and that this
ought to excite us to ten-fold diligence in our work, and in attempts
to spread divine knowledge amongst them is a certain fact; but that it
ought to supercede all attempts to spread the gospel in foreign parts
seems to want proof. Our own countrymen have the means of grace, and
may attend on the word preached if they chuse it. They have the means
of knowing the truth, and faithful ministers are placed in almost
every part of the land, whose spheres of action might be much extended
if their congregations were but more hearty and active in the cause:
but with them the case is widely different, who have no Bible, no
written language, (which many of them have not,) no ministers, no good
civil government, nor any of those advantages which we have. Pity
therefore, humanity, and much more Christianity, call loudly for every
possible exertion to introduce the gospel amongst them.
_Containing a short Review of former Undertakings for
the Conversion of the Heathen._
Before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ the whole world were either
heathens, or jews; and both, as to the body of them were enemies to
the gospel. After the resurrection the disciples continued in
Jerusalem till Pentecost. Being daily engaged in prayer and
supplication, and having chosen Matthias, to supply the place of Judas
in the apostolic office, on that solemn day, when they were all
assembled together, a most remarkable effusion of the Holy Spirit took
place, and a capacity of speaking in all foreign languages was
bestowed upon them. This opportunity was embraced by Peter for
preaching the gospel to a great congregation of jews and proselytes,
who were from Parthia, Media, Elam, Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia,
the proconsular Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Lybia, Crete, Arabia,
Rome, &c. and at the first effort God wrought so powerfully that three
thousand were converted, who immediately after were baptized, and
added to the church. Before this great addition they consisted of but
about _an hundred and twenty persons_, but from that time they
continually increased. It was but a little after this that Peter and
John, going up to the temple, healed the lame man; this miracle drew a
great multitude together, and Peter took occasion while they stood
wondering at the event, to preach Jesus Christ to them. The
consequence was that five thousand more believed.
This was not done without opposition; the priests and sadducees tried
all the methods they could invent to prevent them from preaching the
gospel. The apostles, however, asserted their divine warrant, and as
soon as they were set at liberty addressed God, and prayed that a
divine power might attend their labours, which petition was heard, and
their future ministry was very successful. On account of their
necessities who were engaged in this good work, those amongst them who
had possessions, or goods, sold them, and devoted the money to pious
About this time a man and his wife out of great pretensions to piety,
sold an estate, and brought part of the money to the apostles,
pretending it to be the whole; for which dissimulation both he and his
wife, were struck dead by the hand of God. This awful catastrophe
however was the occasion of many more men and women being added to the
church. The miracles wrought by the apostles, and the success
attending their ministry, stirred up greater envy in the priests and
sadducees, who imprisoned them; from which confinement they were soon
liberated by an angel; upon which they went immediately as they were
commanded and preached in the temple: here they were seized, and
brought before the council, where Gamaliel spake in their favour, and
they were dismissed. After this they continued to prosecute their
work, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the
name of Christ.
By this time the church at Jerusalem was so increased that the
multiplicity of its temporal concerns was the occasion of some
neglects, which produced a dissatisfaction. The apostles, therefore,
recommended to the church to chuse seven pious men, whose office it
should be to attend upon its temporal affairs; that _they might give
themselves to prayer, and the ministry of the word_. Seven were
accordingly chosen, over whom the apostles prayed, and ordained them
to the office of Deacons by imposition of hands: and these things
being settled the church increased more and more. One of these
Deacons, whose name was Stephen, being a person of eminent knowledge
and holiness, wrought many miracles, and disputed with great evidence
and energy for the truth of Christianity, which raised him up a number
of opponents. These soon procured his death, and carried their
resentment so far as to stir up such a persecution that the church,
which till now had been confined to Jerusalem, was dispersed, and all
the preachers except the apostles were driven thence, and went every
where preaching the word.
A young man whose name was _Saul_, was very active in this
persecution; he had been educated under Gamaliel, a member of the
Sanhedrim, was a person of promising genius, by profession a Pharisee,
and much attached to the jewish ceremonies. When Stephen was stoned he
appeared much pleased with it, and had the custody of the clothes of
his executioners; and from that time was fired with such a spirit of
persecution himself, that he went about dragging some to prison, and
compelling others to blaspheme the name of the Lord Jesus. Neither was
he contented with exercising his rage at Jerusalem, but went to the
chief priests and obtained testimonials of authority to carry on the
same work at Damascus. But on his way, as he was almost ready to enter
into the city, the Lord changed his heart in a very wonderful manner;
so that instead of entering the town to persecute, he began to preach
the gospel as soon as he was able. This presently brought upon him the
same persecution which he had designed to exercise upon others, and
even endangered his life, so that the brethren found it necessary to
let him down the city wall in a basket by night, and so he escaped the
hands of his enemies. From thence he went to Jerusalem where he
preached the word, but being persecuted there, he went to Cesarea, and
from thence to Tarsus.
In the time of this trouble in the church, Philip went and preached at
Samaria with great success, nay so great was the work that an
impostor, who had deceived the people with legerdemain tricks for a
long time was so amazed, and even convinced, as to profess himself a
Christian, and was baptized; but was afterwards detected, and appeared
to be an hypocrite. Besides him a great number believed in reality,
and being baptized a church was formed there. Soon after this the Lord
commanded Philip to go the way which led from Jerusalem to Gaza, which
he did, and there found an eunuch of great authority in the court of
Ethiopia, to whom he preached Christ, who believed, and was baptized;
after which Philip preached at Ashdod, or Azotus.
About the same time Peter went to Lydda, or Diospolis, and cured Eneas
of a palsy, which was a mean of the conversion not only of the
inhabitants of that town, but also of the neighbouring country, called
Saron, the capital of which was Lasharon; and while he was there, a
circumstance turned up which tended much to the spread of the truth. A
woman of Joppa, a sea-port town in the neighbourhood, dying, they sent
to Lydda for Peter, who went over, and when he had prayed she was
raised to life again; which was an occasion of the conversion of many
in that town. Peter continued there preaching for some time, and
lodged at the house of a tanner.
Now another circumstance also tended to the further propogation of
Christianity, for a Roman military officer who had some acquaintance
with the Old Testament Scriptures, but was not circumcised, was one
day engaged in prayer in his house at Cesarea, when an angel appeared
to him, and bid him send for Peter from Joppa to preach in his house.
Before this the work of God had been wholly confined to the jews, and
jewish proselytes, and even the apostles appeared to have had very
contracted ideas of the Christian dispensation; but now God by a
vision discovered to Peter that Christianity was to be spread into all
nations. He accordingly went and preached at the house of Cornelius,
at Cesarea, when several were converted, and baptized, and the
foundation of a church laid in that city.
Some of the dispersed ministers having fled to Antioch in Syria, began
to preach to the greeks in that city about the same time, and had good
success; upon which the apostles sent Paul and Barnabas, who
instructed and strengthened them, and a church was formed in that city
also, which in a little time sent out several eminent preachers.
In the Acts of the apostles we have an account of _four_ of the
principal journies which Paul, and his companions undertook. The
first, in which he was accompanied by Barnabas, is recorded in the
xiii. and xiv. chapters, and was the first _attack_ on the heathen
world. It was a journey into the lesser Asia. In their way they passed
over the island of Cyprus. No sooner had they entered on their
undertaking, than they met with great difficulty; for Mark, whom they
had taken as their minister, deserted them, and returned to Jerusalem,
where, it seems, he thought he should enjoy the greatest quiet. Paul
and Barnabas however went forward; in every city they preached the
word of the Lord, entering into the jewish synagogues and first
preaching Christ to them, and then to the gentiles. They were heard
with great candour and eagerness by some, and rejected by others with
obstinacy and wrath, and cruel persecution. One while they had enough
to do to restrain the people from worshipping them as gods, and soon
after, Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city, and left for dead.
Having penetrated as far as Derbe, they thought proper to return by
the way that they came, calling at every city where they had sown the
good seed, and finding in most, if not all these places, some who had
embraced the gospel, they exhorted and strengthened them in the faith,
formed them into a church state, and ordained them elders, fasted and
prayed with them; and so having commended them to the Lord on whom
they had believed, returned to Antioch in Syria, from whence they
first set out, and rehearsed to the church all that God had done with
them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the gentiles.
About this time a dispute arising in the churches concerning
circumcision, Paul and Barnabas were deputed to go up to Jerusalem, to
consult the apostles and elders on the subject. This business being
adjusted, they, accompanied with Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch
with the general resolution, and continued there for a season,
teaching and preaching the word of the Lord.
Paul now proposed to Barnabas, his fellow-labourer, that they might
visit their brethren in the places where they had been already, and
see how they did. To this Barnabas readily acceded, but a difference
arising between them about taking _John Mark_ with them, who had
deserted them before, these two eminent servants of God were parted
asunder, and never appear to have travelled together any more. They
continued however each to serve in the cause of Christ, though they
could not walk together. Barnabas took John, and sailed to Cyprus, his
native island, and Paul took Silas, and went through Syria and Cilicia
to Derbe and Lystra, cities where he and Barnabas had preached in
their first excursion.
Here they found Timothy, a promising young man, whom they encouraged
to engage in the ministry.
Paul being now at Lystra, which was the boundary of his first
excursion, and having visited the churches already planted, and
delivered to them the decrees of the apostles and elders relating to
circumcision, seems to have felt his heart enlarged, and assayed to
carry on the glorious work of preaching the gospel to the heathen to a
greater extent. With Silas and Timotheus he in his second journey
took a western direction, passing through Phrygia, and the region of
Galatia. Having preached the word in these parts with considerable
success, he and his companions wished to have gone into the
proconsular Asia, and afterwards assayed to go into Bythinia; but
begin forbidden of the Holy Ghost, who seems to have had a special
design of employing them elsewhere; passing by Mysia they came down to
Troas on the sea-coast. Here a vision appeared to Paul, in which he
was invited to go over to Macedonia. Obedient to the heavenly vision,
and greatly encouraged by it, they with all speed crossed the Egean
Sea, and passing through the island of Samothracia, landed at
Neapolis, and went from thence to Philippi, the chief city of that
part of Macedonia. It was here that Paul preached on a Sabbath day to
a few women by a river side, and Lydia, a woman of Thyatira, was
converted and baptized, and her household with her. It was here that a
poor girl, who brought her employers considerable profit by
foretelling events, followed the apostles, had her spirit of
divination ejected, on which account her masters were much irritated,
and raised a tumult, the effect of which was, that Paul and Silas were
imprisoned. But even this was over-ruled for the success of the
gospel, in that the keeper of the prison, and all his house, were
thereby brought to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and were
[Footnote 2: The account of this second journey into the heathen world
begins at Acts xv. 40. and ends chap. xviii. 22.]
[Footnote 3: See ch. xviii. 23. and Gal i. 2.]
From Philippi they passed thorough Amphipolis, Apollonia,
Thessalonica, (now Salonichi,) Berea, Athens, and Corinth, preaching
the gospel wherever they went. From hence Paul took ship and sailed to
Syria, only giving a short call at Ephesus, determining to be at
Jerusalem at the feast of the passover; and having saluted the church,
he came to Cesarea, and from thence to Antioch.
Here ended Paul's second journey, which was very extensive, and took
up some years of his time. He and his companions met with their
difficulties in it, but had likewise their encouragements. They were
persecuted at Philippi, as already noticed, and generally found the
Jews to be their most inveterate enemies. These would raise tumults,
inflame the minds of the gentiles against them, and follow them from
place to place, doing them all the mischief in their power. This was
the case especially at Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth. But amidst
all their persecutions God was with them, and strengthened them in
various ways. At Berea they were candidly received, and their doctrine
fairly tried by the Holy Scriptures; and _therefore_, it is said,
_many of them believed_. At other places, though they affected to
despise the apostle, yet some clave unto him. At _Corinth_ opposition
rose to a great height; but the Lord appeared to his servant in a
vision, saying, _Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace, for
I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have
much people in this city_. And the promise was abundantly made good in
the spirit discovered by Gallio, the proconsul, who turned a deaf ear
to the accusations of the jews, and nobly declined interfering in
matters beside his province. Upon the whole a number of churches were
planted during this journey, which for ages after shone as lights in
When Paul had visited Antioch, and spent some time there, he prepared
for a third journey into heathen countries, the account of which
begins Acts xviii. 23. and ends chap. xxi. 17. At his first setting
out he went over the whole country of Galatia and Phrygia in order,
strengthening all the disciples; and passing through the upper coasts
came to Ephesus. There for the space of three months, he boldly
preached in the jewish synagogue, disputing, and persuading the things
concerning the kingdom of God. But when the hardened jews had openly
rejected the gospel, and spake evil of that way before the multitude,
Paul openly separated the disciples from them, and assembled in the
school of one Tyrannus. This, it is said, continued for the space of
two years, _so that all they who dwelt in_ the proconsular _Asia heard
the word of the Lord Jesus, both jews and greeks_. Certain magicians,
about this time were exposed, and others converted, who burnt their
books, and confessed their deeds. So mightily grew the word of the
Lord, and prevailed.
After this an uproar being raised by Demetrius, the silversmith, Paul
went into Macedonia, visited the churches planted in his former
journey, and from thence passed into Greece. Having preached up and
down for three months, he thought of sailing from thence directly to
Syria; but in order to avoid the jews, who laid wait for him near the
sea coast, he took another course through Macedonia, and from thence
to Troas, by the way of Philippi. There is no mention made in his
former journey of his having preached at Troas; yet it seems he did,
and a church was gathered, with whom the apostle at this time united
in _breaking of bread_. It was here that he preached all night, and
raised Eutychus, who being overcome with sleep, had fallen down, and
was taken up dead. From hence they set sail for Syria, and in their
way called at Miletus, where Paul sent for the elders of the church of
Ephesus, and delivered that most solemn and affectionate farewell,
recorded in the 20th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. From hence
they sailed for Tyre, where they tarried seven days, and from thence
proceeded to Jerusalem.
Paul's fourth and last journey (or rather voyage) was to Rome, where
he went in the character of a prisoner. For being at Jerusalem he was
quickly apprehended by the jews; but being rescued by Lysias, the
chief captain, he was sent to Cesarea to take his trial. Here he made
his defence before Felix and Drusilla, in such sort that the judge,
instead of the prisoner, was made to tremble. Here also he made his
defence before Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice, with such force of
evidence that Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a Christian. But the
malice of the jews being insatiable, and Paul finding himself in
danger of being delivered into their hands, was constrained to appeal
unto Caesar. This was the occasion of his being sent to Rome, where he
arrived after a long and dangerous voyage, and being shipwrecked on
the island of Melita, where he wrought miracles, and Publius, the
governor, was converted.
When he arrived at Rome he addressed his countrymen the jews, some of
whom believed; but when others rejected the gospel, he turned from
them to the gentiles, and for two whole years dwelt in his own hired
house preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which
concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding
Thus far the history of the Acts of the Apostles informs us of the
success of the word in the primitive times; and history informs us of
its being preached about this time, in many other places. Peter speaks
of a church at Babylon; Paul proposed a journey to Spain, and it is
generally believed he went there, and likewise came to France and
Britain. Andrew preached to the Scythians, north of the Black Sea.
John is said to have preached in India, and we know that he was at the
Isle of Patmos, in the Archipelago. Philip is reported to have
preached in upper Asia, Scythia, and Phrygia; Bartholomew in India, on
this side the Ganges, Phrygia, and Armenia; Matthew in Arabia, or
Asiatic Ethiopia, and Parthia; Thomas in India, as far as the coast of
Coromandel, and some say in the island of Ceylon; Simon, the
Canaanite, in Egypt, Cyrene, Mauritania, Lybia, and other parts of
Africa, and from thence to have come to Britain; and Jude is said to
have been principally engaged in the lesser Asia, and Greece. Their
labours were evidently very extensive, and very successful; so that
Pliny, the younger, who lived soon after the death of the apostles, in
a letter to the emperor, Trajan, observed that Christianity had
spread, not only through towns and cities, but also through whole
countries. Indeed before this, in the time of Nero, it was so
prevalent that it was thought necessary to oppose it by an Imperial
Edict, and accordingly the proconsuls, and other governors, were
commissioned to destroy it.
Justin Martyr, who lived about the middle of the second century, in
his dialogue with Trypho, observed that there was no part of mankind,
whether greeks or barbarians, or any others, by what name soever they
were called, whether the Sarmatians, or the Nomades, who had no
houses, or the Scenites of Arabia Petrea, who lived in tents among
their cattle, where supplications and thanksgivings are not offered up
to the Father, and maker of all things, through the name of Jesus
Christ. Irenaeus, who lived about the year 170, speaks of churches
that were founded in Germany, Spain, France, the eastern countries,
Egypt, Lybia, and the middle of the world. Tertullian, who lived and
wrote at Carthage in Africa, about twenty years afterwards,
enumerating the countries where Christianity had penetrated, makes
mention of the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Armenians,
Phrygians, Cappadocians, the inhabitants of Pontus, Asia, Pamphylia,
Egypt, and the regions of Africa beyond Cyrene, the Romans, and Jews,
formerly of Jerusalem, many of the Getuli, many borders of the Mauri,
or Moors, in Mauritania; now Barbary, Morocco, &c. all the borders of
Spain, many nations of the Gauls, and the places in Britain which were
inaccessible to the Romans; the Dacians, Sarmatians, Germans,
Scythians, and the inhabitants of many hidden nations and provinces,
and of many islands unknown to him, and which he could not enumerate.
The labours of the ministers of the gospel, in this early period, were
so remarkably blessed of God, that the last mentioned writer observed,
in a letter to Scapula, that if he began a persecution the city of
Carthage itself must be decimated thereby. Yea, and so abundant were
they in the three first centuries, that ten years constant and almost
universal persecution under Dioclesian, could neither root out the
Christians, nor prejudice their cause.
After this they had great encouragement under several emperors,
particularly Constantine and Theodosius, and a very great work of God
was carried on; but the ease and affluence which in these times
attended the church, served to introduce a flood of corruption, which
by degrees brought on the whole system of popery, by means of which
all appeared to be lost again; and Satan set up his kingdom of
darkness, deceit, and human authority over conscience, through all the
In the time of Constantine, one Frumentius was sent to preach to the
Indians, and met with great success. A young woman who was a
Christian, being taken captive by the Iberians, or Georgians, near the
Caspian Sea, informed them of the truths of Christianity, and was so
much regarded that they sent to Constantine for ministers to come and
preach the word to them. About the same time some barbarous nations
having made irruptions into Thrace, carried away several Christians
captive, who preached the gospel; by which means the inhabitants upon
the Rhine, and the Danube, the Celtae, and some other parts of Gaul,
were brought to embrace Christianity. About this time also James of
Nisbia, went into Persia to strengthen the Christians, and preach to
the heathens; and his success was so great that Adiabene was almost
entirely Christian. About the year 372, one Moses, a Monk, went to
preach to the Saracens, who then lived in Arabia, where he had great
success; and at this time the Goths, and other northern nations, had
the kingdom of Christ further extended amongst them, but which was
very soon corrupted with Arianism.
Soon after this the kingdom of Christ was further extended among the
Scythian Nomades, beyond the Danube, and about the year 430, a people
called the Burgundians, received the gospel. Four years after, that
Palladius was sent to preach in Scotland, and the next year Patrick
was sent from Scotland to preach to the Irish who before his time were
totally uncivilized, and, some say, cannibals; he however, was useful,
and laid the foundations of several churches in Ireland. Presently
after this, truth spread further among the Saracens, and in 522,
Zathus, king of the Colchians encouraged it, and many of that nation
were converted to Christianity. About this time also the work was
extended in Ireland, by Finian, and in Scotland by Constantine and
Columba; the latter of whom preached also to the Picts, and Brudaeus,
their king, with several others, were converted. About 541, Adad, the
king of Ethiopia, was converted by the preaching of Mansionarius; the
Heruli beyond the Danube, were now made obedient to the faith, and the
Abasgi, near the Caucasian Mountains.
But now popery, especially the compulsive part of it, was risen to
such an height, that the usual method of propagating the gospel, or
rather what was so called, was to conquer pagan nations by force of
arms, and then oblige them to submit to Christianity, after which
bishopricks were erected, and persons then sent to instruct the
people. I shall just mention some of those who are said to have
In 596, Austin, the monk, Melitus, Justus, Paulinus, and Russinian,
laboured in England, and in their way were very successful. Paulinus,
who appears to have been one of the best of them, had great success in
Northumberland; Birinnius preached to the West Saxons, and Felix to
the East Angles. In 589, Amandus Gallus laboured in Ghent, Chelenus in
Artois, and Gallus and Columbanus in Suabia. In 648, Egidius Gallus in
Flanders, and the two Evaldi, in Westphalia. In 684, Willifred, in the
Isle of Wight. In 688, Chilianus, in upper Franconia. In 698,
Boniface, or Winifred, among the Thuringians, near Erford, in Saxony,
and Willibroad in West-Friesland. Charlemagne conquered Hungary in the
year 800, and obliged the inhabitants to profess Christianity, when
Modestus likewise preached to the Venedi, at the source of the Save
and Drave. In 833, Ansgarius preached in Denmark, Gaudibert in Sweden,
and about 861, Methodius and Cyril, in Bohemia.
About the year 500, the Scythians over-run Bulgaria, and Christianity
was extirpated; but about 870 they were re-converted. Poland began to
be brought over about the same time, and afterwards, about 960 or 990,
the work was further extended amongst the Poles and Prussians. The
work was begun in Norway in 960, and in Muscovy in 989, the Swedes
propagated Christianity in Finland, in 1168, Lithuania became
Christian in 1386, and Samogitia in 1439. The Spaniards forced popery
upon the inhabitants of South-America, and the Portuguese in Asia.
The Jesuits were sent into China in 1552. Xavier, whom they call the
apostle of the Indians, laboured in the East-Indies and Japan, from
1541 to 1552, and several millions of Capauchins were sent to Africa
in the seventeenth century. But blind zeal, gross superstition, and
infamous cruelties, so marked the appearances of religion all this
time, that the professors of Christianity needed conversion, as much
as the heathen world.
A few pious people had fled from the general corruption, and lived
obscurely in the vallies of Piedmont and Savoy, who were like the seed
of the church. Some of them were now and then necessitated to travel
into other parts, where they faithfully testified against the
corruptions of the times. About 1369 Wickliffe began to preach the
faith in England, and his preaching and writings were the means of the
conversion of great numbers, many of whom became excellent preachers;
and a work was begun which afterwards spread in England, Hungary,
Bohemia, Germany, Switzerland, and many other places. John Huss and
Jerom of Prague, preached boldly and successfully in Bohemia, and the
adjacent parts. In the following century Luther, Calvin, Melancton,
Bucer, Martyr, and many others, stood up against all the rest of the
world; they preached, and prayed, and wrote; and nations agreed one
after another to cast off the yoke of popery, and to embrace the
doctrine of the gospel.
In England, episcopal tyranny succeeded to popish cruelty, which, in
the year 1620, obliged many pious people to leave their native land
and settle in America; these were followed by others in 1629, who laid
the foundations of several gospel churches, which have increased
amazingly since that time, and the Redeemer has fixed his throne in
that country, where but a little time ago, Satan had universal
In 1632, Mr. Elliot, of New-England, a very pious and zealous
minister, began to preach to the Indians, among whom he had great
success; several churches of Indians were planted, and some preachers
and school-masters raised up amongst them; since which time others
have laboured amongst them with some good encouragement. About the
year 1743, Mr. David Brainerd was sent a missionary to some more
Indians, where he preached, and prayed, and after some time an
extraordinary work of conversion was wrought, and wonderful success
attended his ministry. And at this present time, Mr. Kirkland and Mr.
Sergeant are employed in the same good work, and God has considerably
blessed their labours.
In 1706, the king of Denmark sent a Mr. Ziegenbalg, and some others,
to Tranquebar, on the Coromandel coast in the East-Indies, who were
useful to the natives, so that many of the heathens were turned to the
Lord. The Dutch East-India Company likewise having extended their
commerce, built the city of Batavia, and a church was opened there;
and the Lord's Supper was administered for the first time, on the 3d
of January, 1621, by their minister James Hulzibos, from hence some
ministers were sent to Amboyna, who were very successful. A seminary
of learning was erected at Leyden, in which ministers and assistants
were educated, under the renowned _Walaeus_, and some years a great
number were sent to the East, at the Company's expence, so that in a
little time many thousands at Formosa, Malabar, Ternate,
Jaffanapatnam, in the town of Columba, at Amboyna, Java, Banda,
Macassar, and Malabar, embraced the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The work has decayed in some places, but they now have churches in
Ceylon, Sumatra, Java, Amboyna, and some other of the spice islands,
and at the Cape of Good Hope, in Africa.
But none of the moderns have equalled the Moravian Brethren in this
good work; they have sent missions to Greenland, Labrador, and several
of the West-Indian Islands, which have been blessed for good. They
have likewise sent to Abyssinia, in Africa, but what success they have
had I cannot tell.
The late Mr. Wesley lately made an effort in the West-Indies, and some
of their ministers are now labouring amongst the Caribbs and Negroes,
and I have seen pleasing accounts of their success.
_Containing a Survey of the present State of the World._
In this survey I shall consider the world as divided, according to its
usual division, into four parts, _EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA_, and
_AMERICA_, and take notice of the extent of the several countries,
their population, civilization, and religion. The article of religion
I shall divide into Christian, Jewish, Mahometan, and Pagan; and shall
now and then hint at the particular sect of them that prevails in the
places which I shall describe. The following Tables will exhibit a
more comprehensive view of what I propose, than any thing I can offer
on the subject.
Countries. Length Breadth Number of Religion.
Miles. Miles. Inhabitants.
Great-Britain 680 300 12,000,000 Protestants, of many
Ireland 285 160 2,000,000 Protestants and
France 600 500 24,000,000 Catholics, Deists,
Spain 700 500 9,500,000 Papists.
SWEDEN including 800 500 3,500,000 The Swedes are serious
Sweden proper, Lutherans, but most
Gothland, Shonen, of the Laplanders
Lapland, Bothnia, are Pagans, and very
and Finland superstitious.
Isle of Gothland 80 23 5,000
---- Oesel 45 24 2,500
---- Oeland 84 9 1,000
---- Dago 26 23 1,000
---- Aland 24 20 800
---- Hogland 9 5 100
Denmark 240 114 360,000 Lutherans of the
Isle of Zeeland 60 60 284,000 Ditto.
---- Funen 38 32 144,000 Ditto.
---- Arroe 8 2 200 Ditto.
---- Iceland 435 185 60,000 Ditto.
---- Langeland 27 12 3,000 Ditto.
---- Laland 38 30 148,000 Ditto.
---- Falster 27 12 3,000 Ditto.
---- Mona 14 5 600 Ditto.
---- Alsen 15 6 600 Ditto.
---- Femeren 13 8 1,000 Ditto.
Isle of Bornholm 20 12 2,000 Lutherans.
Greenland Undiscovered 7,000 Pagans, and Moravian
Norway 750 170 724,000 Lutherans.
24 Faro Isles 4,500 Ditto.
Danish Lapland 285 172 100,000 Ditto, and Pagans.
Poland 700 680 9,000,000 Papists, Lutherans,
Calvinists, & Jews.
Prussia 400 160 2,500,000 Calvinists, Catholics,
Sardinia 135 57 600,000 Papists.
Sicily 180 92 1,000,000 Ditto.
Italy 660 120 20,000,000 Ditto.
United Netherlands 150 150 2,000,000 Protestants of several
Austrian Netherlands 200 200 2,500,000 Papists and Protestants.
Switzerland 200 100 2,880,000 Papists and Protestants.
The Grisons 100 62 800,000 Lutherans and Papists.
The Abbacy of St. Gall 24 10 50,000 Ditto.
Neufchatel 32 20 100,000 Calvinists.
Valais 80 30 440,000 Papists.
Piedmont 140 98 900,000 Ditto, and Protestants.
Savoy 87 60 720,000 Ditto.
Geneva, City 24,000 Calvinists.
Bohemia 478 322 2,100,000 Papists and Moravians.
Hungary 300 200 2,500,000 Papists.
Germany 600 500 20,000,000 Ditto, and Protestants.
Russia in Europe 1500 1100 22,000,000 Greek Church.
Turkey in Europe 1000 900 18,000,000 Greek Christians, Jews,
Budziac Tartary 300 60 1,200,000 Greek Christians, Jews,
Lesser Tartary 390 65 1,000,000 Ditto.
Crim Tartary 145 80 500,000 Ditto.
Isle of Tenedos 5 3 200 Mahometans.
---- Negropont 90 25 25,000 Ditto.
---- Lemnos 25 25 4,000 Ditto.
---- Paros 36 in compass. 4,500 Greek Christians.
or Miylene 160 in compass. 30,000 Mahometans and Greeks.
---- Naxia 100 in compass. 8,000 Greeks and Papists.
---- Scio, or Chios 112 in compass. Greek Christians,
Papists, & Mahomet.
---- Nio 40 in compass. 1,000 Ditto.
---- Scyros 60 in compass. 1,000 Ditto.
---- Mycone 36 in compass. 3,000 Ditto.
---- Samos 30 15 12,000 Mahometans.
---- Nicaria 70 in compass. 3,000 Greek Christians
---- Andros 120 in compass. 4,000 Ditto.
---- Cyclades, 700 Ditto.
Delos the Chief.
---- Zia 40 in compass. 8,000 Ditto.
---- Cerigo or 50 in compass. 1,000 Ditto.
---- Santorin 36 in compass. 10,000 Ditto, and Papists.
---- Policandra 8 in compass. 400 Ditto.
---- Patmos 18 in compass. 600 Ditto.
---- Sephanto 36 in compass. 5,000 Greeks.
---- Claros 40 in compass. 1,700 Mahometans.
---- Amorgo 36 in compass. 4,000 Greek Christians.
---- Leros 18 in compass. 800 Christians and
---- Therima 40 in compass. 6,000 Greek Christians.
---- Stampalia 50 in compass. 3,000 Ditto.
---- Salamis 50 in compass. 1,000 Ditto.
---- Scarpanta 20 in compass. 2,000 Ditto.
---- Cephalonia 130 in compass. 50,000 Ditto.
---- Zant 50 in compass. 30,000 Greek Christians.
---- Milo 60 in compass. 40,000 Ditto.
---- Corfu 120 in compass. 60,000 Ditto.
---- Candia, or Crete 200 60 400,000 Ditto, and Mahometans.
---- Coos, 70 in compass. 12,800 Mahometans and
or Stanchia Christians.
---- Rhodes 60 25 120,000 Ditto.
---- Cyprus 150 70 300,000 Mahometans.
[Footnote 4: The rest of Prussian dominions being scattered about
in several countries, are counted to those countries where they lie.]
Countries. Length Breadth Number of Religion.
Miles. Miles. Inhabitants.
TURKEY IN ASIA 1000 800 20,000,000 Mahometanism is most
contains Anatolia, prevalent, but there
Syria, Palestine, are many Greek, Latin,
Diabekr, Tutcomania Eutychian, and
and Georgia Armenian Christians.
Arabia 1300 1200 16,000,000 Mahometans.
Persia 1280 1140 20,000,000 Ditto, of the Sect
Great Tartary 4000 1200 40,000,000 Mahometans and Pagans.
Siberia 2800 960 7,500,000 Greek Christians
Samojedia 2000 370 1,900,000 Pagans.
Kamtschatcha 540 236 900,000 Ditto.
Nova Zembla Undiscovered.thinly inhabit.Ditto.
China 1400 1260 60,000,000 Ditto.
JAPAN contains 900 360 10,000,000 Ditto.
Isle of Ximo 210 200 3,000,000 Pagans.
---- Xicoco 117 104 1,800,000 Ditto.
---- Tsussima 39 34 40,000 Ditto.
---- Iki 20 17 6,000 Ditto.
---- Kubitessima 30 26 8,000 Ditto.
---- Matounsa 54 26 50,000 Ditto.
---- Fastistia 36 34 30,000 Ditto.
---- Firando 30 28 10,000 Ditto.
---- Amacusa 27 24 6,000 Ditto.
---- Awasi 30 18 5,000 Ditto.
India 2000 1000 50,000,000 Mahometans and Pagans.
beyond the Ganges
Indostan 2000 1500 110,000,000 Ditto.
Tibet 1200 480 10,000,000 Pagans.
Isle of Ceylon 250 200 2,000,000 Pagans, except the
---- Maldives 1000 in number. 100,000 Mahometans.
---- Sumatra 1000 100 2,100,000 Ditto, and Pagans.
---- Java 580 100 2,700,000 Ditto.
---- Timor 2400 54 300,000 Ditto, and a
---- Borneo 800 700 8,000,000 Ditto.
---- Celebes 510 240 2,000,000 Ditto.
---- Boutam 75 30 80,000 Mahometans.
---- Carpentyn 30 3 2,000 Christian Protestants.
---- Ourature 18 6 3,000 Pagans.
---- Pullo Lout 60 36 10,000 Ditto.
Besides the little Islands of Manaar, Aripen, Caradivia, Pengandiva,
Analativa, Nainandiva, and Nindundiva, which are inhabited by
And Banca, Madura, Bally, Lambeck, Flores, Solor, Leolana, Panterra,
Miscomby, and several others, inhabited by Pagans and Mahometans.
The MOLUCCAS are,
---- Banda 20 10 6,000 Pagans and Mahometans.
---- Buro 25 10 7,000 Ditto.
---- Amboyna 25 10 7,500 Christians;--the Dutch
have 25 Ch.
---- Ceram 210 45 250,000 Pagans and Mahometans.
---- Gillola 190 110 650,000 Ditto.
And Pully-way, Pullo-rin, Nera, Guamanapi, Guilliaien, Ternate, Motir,
Machian, and Bachian, which are inhabited by Pagans and Mahometans.
The PHILIPPINE ISLANDS are supposed to be about 11,000;--some of the
Isle of Mindanao 60 40 18,000 Pagans and Mahometans.
---- Bahol 24 12 6,000 Ditto.
---- Layta 48 27 10,000 Ditto.
---- Parragon 240 60 100,000 Ditto.
The CALAMINES are Sebu 60 24 10,000 Papists.
---- Mindora 60 36 12,000 Pagans and Mahometans.
---- Philippina 185 120 104,000 Ditto.
---- Negroes Isle 150 60 80,000 Papists.
---- Manilla 31,000 Ditto, and Pagans.
The Ladrone Islands are inhabited by most uncivilized Pagans.
New Holland 2500 2000 12,000,000 Pagans;--1 or 2
Ministers are there.
New Zealand 960 180 1,120,000 Ditto.
New Guinea 1000 360 1,900,000 Ditto.
New Britain 180 120 900,000 Ditto.
New Ireland 180 60 700,000 Ditto.
Onrong Java A Cluster of Isles. Ditto.
New Caledonia 260 30 170,000 Ditto.
New Hebrides Ditto.
Friendly Isles 20 in number. Ditto.
Sandwich Isles 7 in number. 400,000 Ditto.
Society Isles 6 in number. 800,000 Ditto.
Kurile Isles 45 in number. 50,000 Ditto.
Pelew Isles Pagans.
Oonalashka Isle 40 20 3,000 Ditto.
The other South-Sea Islands. Ditto.
[Footnote 5: Two Islands.]
Countries. Length Breadth Number of Religion.
Miles. Miles. Inhabitants.
Egypt 600 250 2,200,000 Mahometans and Jews.
Nubia 940 600 3,000,000 Ditto.
Barbary 1800 500 3,500,000 Mahometans, Jews,
Biledulgerid 2500 350 3,500,000 Mahometans, Christians,
Zaara, or the Desart 3400 660 800,000 Ditto.
Abyssinia 900 800 5,800,000 Armenian Christians.
Abex 540 130 1,600,000 Christians and Pagans.
Negroland 2200 840 18,000,000 Pagans.
Loango 410 300 1,500,000 Ditto.
Congo 540 220 2,000,000 Ditto.
Angola 360 250 1,400,000 Ditto.
Benguela 430 180 1,600,000 Ditto.
Mataman 450 240 1,500,000 Ditto.
Ajan 900 300 2,500,000 Ditto.
Zanguebar 1400 350 3,000,000 Ditto.
Monoemugi 900 660 2,000,000 Ditto.
Sofala 480 300 1,000,000 Pagans.
Terra de Natal 600 350 2,000,000 Ditto.
Caffraria, or the 708 660 2,000,000 Ditto, and a few
Hottentots Country Christians at the Cape.
Isle of Madagascar 1000 220 2,000,000 Pagans and Mahometans.
---- St. Mary 54 9 5,000 French Papists.
---- Mascarin 39 30 17,000 Ditto.
---- St. Helena 21 in compass. 1,000 English and French
---- Annabon 16 14 4,000 Portuguese Papists.
---- St. Thomas 25 23 9,000 Pagans.
---- Zocotora 80 54 10,000 Mahometans.
---- Comora Isles 5 in number. 5,000 Ditto.
---- Mauritius 150 in compass. 10,000 French Papists.
---- Bourbon 90 in compass. 15,000 French Papists.
---- Madeiras 3 in number. 10,000 Papists.
---- Cape Verd Isles 10 in number. 20,000 Ditto.
---- Canaries 12 in number. 30,000 Ditto.
---- Azores 9 in number. 100,000 Ditto.
---- Maltha 15 8 1,200 Ditto.
Countries. Length Breadth Number of Religion.
Miles. Miles. Inhabitants.
Brazil 2900 900 14,000,000 Pagans and Papists.
Paraguay 1140 460 10,000,000 Pagans.
Chili 1200 500 2,000,000 Pagans and Papists.
Peru 1800 600 10,000,000 Pagans and Papists.
Country of the 1200 900 8,000,000 Pagans.
Terra Firma 1400 700 10,000,000 Pagans and Papists.
Guiana 780 480 2,000,000 Ditto.
Terra Magellanica 1400 460 9,000,000 Pagans.
Old Mexico 2220 600 13,500,000 Ditto, and Papists.
New Mexico 2000 1000 14,000,000 Ditto.
The States of America 1000 600 3,700,000 Christians, of various
Terra de Labrador, 1680 600 8,000,000 Christians, of various
Nova-Scotia, denominations, but
Louisiana, Canada, most of the North
and all the country American Indians are
inland from Mexico Pagans.
California, and from 2820 1380 9,000,000 Pagans.
thence along the
latitude, and so
far inland as to
meet the above
All to the north of unknown. Pagans.
Cape Breton 400 110 20,000 Christians.
---- Newfoundland 350 200 1,400 Protestants.
---- Cumberland's Isle 780 300 10,000 Pagans.
---- Madre de Dios 105 30 8,000 Ditto.
---- Terra del Fuego 120 36 5,000 Ditto.
All the Islands in the Vicinity of Cape Horn Pagans.
The Bermudas extend 16 5 20,000 Half English, and
The LITTLE ANTILLES
are Aruba 5 3 200 Dutch, and Pagan Negroes.
---- Curassoa 30 10 11,000 Ditto.
---- Bonaire 10 3 300 Ditto.
---- Margaritta 40 24 18,000 Spaniards, and Pagan
---- St Trinidad 90 60 100,000 Ditto.
The BAHAMAS are
---- Bahama 50 16 16,000 Pagans.
---- Providence 28 11 6,000 Ditto.
Besides Eluthera, Harbour, Lucayonegua, Andross, Cigateo, Guanaliana,
Yumeta, Samana, Yuma, Mayaguana, Ynagua, Caieos, and Triangula--
The ANTILLES are
---- Cuba 700 60 1,000,000 Papists.
---- Jamaica 140 60 400,000 English, and Pagan
---- St. Domingo 450 150 1,000,000 French, Spaniards, and
---- Porto Rico 100 49 300,000 Spaniards and Negroes.
---- Vache, or Cows I. 18 2 1,000 Ditto.
The VIRGIN ISLES are 12 in number, of which Danes Island is the
The CARRIRBEES are
---- St. Cruz 30 10 13,500 Danish Protestants.
---- Anguilla 30 9 6,000 Protestants, and Negroes.
---- St. Martin 21 12 7,500 Ditto.
---- St. Bartholomew 6 4 720 Ditto.
---- Barbuda 20 12 7,500 Ditto.
---- Saba 5 4 1,500 Ditto.
---- Guardulope 45 38 50,000 Catholics, and Pagan
---- Marigalante 15 12 5,400 Ditto.
---- Tobago 32 9 3,400 Ditto.
---- Defiada 12 6 1,500 Ditto.
---- Granada 30 15 13,500 English, and Pagan
---- St. Lucia 23 12 5,000 Ditto, and Native Pagan
---- St. Eustatia 6 4 5,000 15,000 Dutch, English, &c.
---- St.Christopher 20 7 6,000 36,000 English.
---- Nevis 6 4 5,000 10,000 Ditto.
---- Antigua 20 4 7,000 30,000 Ditto.
---- Montserrat 6 4 5,000 10,000 Ditto.
---- Martinico 6 4 20,000 50,000 French.
---- St. Vincent's 60 4 8,000 5,000 The 8,000 are
---- Barbadoes 24 4 30,000 100,000 English.
---- Dominica 28 4 40,000 Ditto, 2,000 of them
---- St. Thomas 15 in compass. 8,000 Danish Protestants.
This, as nearly as I can obtain information, is the state of the
world; though in many countries, as Turkey, Arabia, Great Tartary,
Africa, and America, except the United States, and most of the Asiatic
Islands, we have no accounts of the number of inhabitants, that can be
relied on. I have therefore only calculated the extent, and counted a
certain number on an average upon a square mile; in some countries
more, and in others less, according as circumstances determine. A few
general remarks upon it will conclude this section.
FIRST, the inhabitants of the world according to this calculation,
amount to about seven hundred and thirty-one millions; four hundred
and twenty millions of whom are still in pagan darkness; an hundred
and thirty millions the followers of Mahomet; an hundred millions
catholics; forty-four millions protestants; thirty millions of the
greek and armenian churches, and perhaps seven millions of jews. It
must undoubtedly strike every considerate mind, what a vast proportion
of the sons of Adam there are, who yet remain in the most deplorable
state of heathen darkness, without any means of knowing the true God,
except what are afforded them by the works of nature; and utterly
destitute of the knowledge of the gospel of Christ, or of any means of
obtaining it. In many of these countries they have no written
language, consequently no Bible, and are only led by the most childish
customs and traditions. Such, for instance, are all the middle and
back parts of North America, the inland parts of South America, the
South-Sea Islands, New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea; and I may add
Great Tartary, Siberia, Samojedia, and the other parts of Asia
contiguous to the frozen sea; the greatest part of Africa, the island
of Madagascar, and many places beside. In many of these parts also
they are cannibals, feeding upon the flesh of their slain enemies,
with the greatest brutality and eagerness. The truth of this was
ascertained, beyond a doubt, by the late eminent navigator, Cooke, of
the New Zealanders, and some of the inhabitants of the western coast
of America. Human sacrifices are also very frequently offered, so that
scarce a week elapses without instances of this kind. They are in
general poor, barbarous, naked pagans, as destitute of civilization,
as they are of true religion.
SECONDLY, barbarous as these poor heathens are, they appear to be as
capable of knowledge as we are; and in many places, at least, have
discovered uncommon genius and tractableness; and I greatly question
whether most of the barbarities practiced by them, have not originated
in some real or supposed affront, and are therefore, more properly,
acts of self-defence, than proofs of inhuman and blood-thirsty
THIRDLY, in other parts, where they have a written language, as in the
East-Indies, China, Japan, &c. they know nothing of the gospel. The
jesuits indeed once made many converts to popery among the Chinese;
but their highest aim seemed to be to obtain their good opinion; for
though the converts professed themselves Christians, yet they were
allowed to honour the image of CONFUCIUS their great law-giver; and at
length their ambitious intrigues brought upon them the displeasure of
government, which terminated in the suppression of the mission, and
almost, if not entirely, of the Christian name. It is also a
melancholy fact, that the vices of Europeans have been communicated
wherever they themselves have been; so that the religious state of
even heathens has been rendered worse by intercourse with them!
FOURTHLY, a very great proportion of Asia and Africa, with some part
of Europe, are _Mahometans_; and those in Persia, who are of the sect
of _Hali_, are the most inveterate enemies to the Turks; and they in
return abhor the Persians. The Africans are some of the most ignorant
of all the mahometans; especially the Arabs, who are scattered through
all the northern parts of Africa, and live upon the depredations which
they are continually making upon their neighbours.
FIFTHLY, in respect to those who bear the Christian name, a very great
degree of ignorance and immorality abounds amongst them. There are
Christians, so called, of the greek and armenian churches, in all the
mahometan countries; but they are, if possible, more ignorant and
vicious than the mahometans themselves. The Georgian Christians, who
are near the Caspian Sea, maintain themselves by selling their
neighbours, relations, and children, for slaves to the Turks and
Persians. And it is remarked, that if any of the greeks of Anatolia
turn mussulmen, the Turks never set any store by them, on account of
their being so much noted for dissimulation and hypocrisy. It is well
known that most of the members of the greek church are very ignorant.
Papists also are in general ignorant of divine things, and very
vicious. Nor do the bulk of the church of England much exceed them,
either in knowledge or holiness; and many errors, and much looseness
of conduct, are to be found amongst dissenters of all denominations.
The lutherans in Denmark, are much on a par with the ecclesiastics in
England; and the face of most Christian countries presents a dreadful
scene of ignorance, hypocrisy, and profligacy. Various baneful, and
pernicious errors appear to gain ground, in almost every part of
Christendom; the truths of the gospel, and even the gospel itself, are
attacked, and every method that the enemy can invent is employed to
undermine the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All these things are loud calls to Christians, and especially to
ministers, to exert themselves to the utmost in their several spheres
of action, and to try to enlarge them as much as possible.
_The Practicability of something being done, more than
what is done, for the Conversion of the Heathen._
The impediments in the way of carrying the gospel among the heathen
must arise, I think, from one or other of the following things;
--either their distance from us, their barbarous and savage manner of
living, the danger of being killed by them, the difficulty of
procuring the necessaries of life, or the unintelligibleness of their
FIRST, as to their distance from us, whatever objections might have
been made on that account before the invention of the mariner's
compass, nothing can be alledged for it, with any colour of
plausibility in the present age. Men can now sail with as much
certainty through the Great South Sea, as they can through the
Mediterranean, or any lesser Sea. Yea, and providence seems in a
manner to invite us to the trial, as there are to our knowledge
trading companies, whose commerce lies in many of the places where,
these barbarians dwell. At one time or other ships are sent to visit
places of more recent discovery, and to explore parts the most
unknown; and every fresh account of their ignorance, or cruelty,
should call forth our pity, and excite us to concur with providence in
seeking their eternal good. Scripture likewise seems to point out this
method, _Surely the Isles shall wait for me; the ships of Tarshish
first, to bring my sons from far, their silver, and their gold with
them, unto the name of the Lord, thy God._ Isai. lx. 9. This seems to
imply that in the time of the glorious increase of the church, in the
latter days, (of which the whole chapter is undoubtedly a prophecy,)
commerce shall subserve the spread of the gospel. The ships of
Tarshish were trading vessels, which made voyages for traffic to
various parts; thus much therefore must be meant by it, that
_navigation_, especially that which is _commercial_, shall be one
great mean of carrying on the work of God; and perhaps it may imply
that there shall be a very considerable appropriation of wealth to
SECONDLY, as to their uncivilized, and barbarous way of living, this
can be no objection to any, except those whose love of ease renders
them unwilling to expose themselves to inconveniencies for the good of
It was no objection to the apostles and their successors, who went
among the barbarous _Germans_ and _Gauls_, and still more barbarous
_Britons_! They did not wait for the ancient inhabitants of these
countries, to be civilized, before they could be christianized, but
went simply with the doctrine of the cross; and TERTULLIAN could boast
that "those parts of Britain which were proof against the Roman
armies, were conquered by the gospel of Christ"--It was no objection
to an ELLIOT, or a BRAINERD, in later times. They went forth, and
encountered every difficulty of the kind, and found that a cordial
reception of the gospel produced those happy effects which the longest
intercourse with Europeans, without it could never accomplish. It _is_
no objection to commercial men. It only requires that we should have
as much love to the souls of our fellow-creatures, and fellow sinners,
as they have for the profits arising from a few otter-skins, and all
these difficulties would be easily surmounted.
After all, the uncivilized state of the heathen, instead of affording
an objection _against_ preaching the gospel to them, ought to furnish
an argument _for_ it. Can we as men, or as christians, hear that a
great part of our fellow creatures, whose souls are as immortal as
ours, and who are as capable as ourselves, of adorning the gospel, and
contributing by their preaching, writings, or practices to the glory
of our Redeemer's name, and the good of his church, are inveloped in
ignorance and barbarism? Can we hear that they are without the gospel,
without government, without laws, and without arts, and sciences; and
not exert ourselves to introduce amongst them the sentiments of men,
and of Christians? Would not the spread of the gospel be the most
effectual mean of their civilization? Would not that make them useful
members of society? We know that such effects did in a measure follow
the afore-mentioned efforts of _Elliot_, _Brainerd_, and others
amongst the American Indians; and if similar attempts were made in
other parts of the world, and succeeded with a divine blessing (which
we have every reason to think they would) might we not expect to see
able Divines, or read well-conducted treatises in defence of the
truth, even amongst those who at present seem to be scarcely human?
THIRDLY, _In respect to the danger of being killed by them_, it is
true that whoever does go must put his life in his hand, and not
consult with flesh and blood; but do not the goodness of the cause,
the duties incumbent on us as the creatures of God, and Christians,
and the perishing state of our fellow men, loudly call upon us to
venture all and use every warrantable exertion for their benefit? PAUL
and BARNABAS, who _hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ_, were not blamed as being rash, but commended for so doing,
while JOHN MARK who through timidity of mind deserted them in their
perilous undertaking, was branded with censure. After all, as has been
already observed, I greatly question whether most of the barbarities
practiced by the savages upon those who have visited them, have not
originated in some real or supposed affront, and were therefore, more
properly, acts of self-defence, than proofs of ferocious dispositions.
No wonder if the imprudence of sailors should prompt them to offend
the simple savage, and the offence be resented; but _Elliot_,
_Brainerd_, and the _Moravian missionaries_, have been very seldom
molested. Nay, in general the heathen have shewed a willingness to
hear the word; and have principally expressed their hatred of
Christianity on account of the vices of nominal Christians.
FOURTHLY, _As to the difficulty of procuring the necessaries of life_,
this would not be so great as may appear at first sight; for though we
could not procure European food, yet we might procure such as the
natives of those countries which we visit, subsist upon themselves.
And this would only be passing through what we have virtually engaged,
in by entering on the ministerial office. A Christian minister is a
person who in a peculiar sense is _not his own_; he is the _servant_
of God, and therefore ought to be wholly devoted to him. By entering
on that sacred office he solemnly undertakes to be always engaged, as
much as possible, in the Lord's work, and not to chuse his own
pleasure, or employment, or pursue the ministry as a something that is
to subserve his own ends, or interests, or as a kind of bye-work. He
engages to go where God pleases, and to do, or endure what he sees fit
to command, or call him to, in the exercise of his function. He
virtually bids farewell to friends, pleasures, and comforts, and
stands in readiness to endure the greatest sufferings in the work of
his Lord, and Master. It is inconsistent for ministers to please
themselves with thoughts of a numerous auditory, cordial friends, a
civilized country, legal protection, affluence, splendor, or even a
competency. The flights, and hatred of men, and even pretended
friends, gloomy prisons, and tortures, the society of barbarians of
uncouth speech, miserable accommodations in wretched wildernesses,
hunger, and thirst, nakedness, weariness, and painfulness, hard work,
and but little worldly encouragement, should rather be the objects of
their expectation. Thus the apostles acted, in the primitive times,
and endured hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; and though we
living in a civilized country where Christianity is protected by law,
are not called to suffer these things while we continue here, yet I
question whether all are justified in staying here, while so many are
perishing without means of grace in other lands. Sure I am that it is
entirely contrary to the spirit of the gospel, for its ministers to
enter upon it from interested motives, or with great worldly
expectations. On the contrary the commission is a sufficient call to
them to venture all, and, like the primitive Christians, go every
where preaching the gospel.
It might be necessary, however, for two, at least, to go together, and
in general I should think it best that they should be married men, and
to prevent their time from being employed in procuring necessaries,
two, or more, other persons, with their wives and families, might also
accompany them, who should be wholly employed in providing for them.
In most countries it would be necessary for them to cultivate a little
spot of ground just for their support, which would be a resource to
them, whenever their supplies failed. Not to mention the advantages
they would reap from each others company, it would take off the
enormous expence which has always attended undertakings of this kind,
the first expence being the whole; for though a large colony needs
support for a considerable time, yet so small a number would, upon
receiving the first crop, maintain themselves. They would have the
advantage of choosing their situation, their wants would be few; the
women, and even the children, would be necessary for domestic
purposes; and a few articles of stock, as a cow or two, and a bull,
and a few other cattle of both sexes, a very few utensils of
husbandry, and some corn to sow their land, would be sufficient. Those
who attend the missionaries should understand husbandry, fishing,
fowling, &c. and be provided with the necessary implements for these
purposes. Indeed a variety of methods may be thought of, and when once
the work is undertaken, many things will suggest themselves to us, of
which we at present can form no idea.
FIFTHLY, As to _learning their languages_, the same means would be
found necessary here as in trade between different nations. In some
cases interpreters might be obtained, who might be employed for a
time; and where these were not to be found, the missionaries must have
patience, and mingle with the people, till they have learned so much
of their language as to be able to communicate their ideas to them in
it. It is well known to require no very extraordinary talents to
learn, in the space of a year, or two at most, the language of any
people upon earth, so much of it at least, as to be able to convey any
sentiments we wish to their understandings.
The Missionaries must be men of great piety, prudence, courage, and
forbearance; of undoubted orthodoxy in their sentiments, and must
enter with all their hearts into the spirit of their mission; they
must be willing to leave all the comforts of life behind them, and to
encounter all the hardships of a torrid, or a frigid climate, an
uncomfortable manner of living, and every other inconvenience that can
attend this undertaking. Clothing, a few knives, powder and shot,
fishing-tackle, and the articles of husbandry above-mentioned, must be
provided for them; and when arrived at the place of their destination,
their first business must be to gain some acquaintance with the
language of the natives, (for which purpose two would be better than
one,) and by all lawful means to endeavour to cultivate a friendship
with them, and as soon as possible let them know the errand for which
they were sent. They must endeavour to convince them that it was their
good alone, which induced them to forsake their friends, and all the
comforts of their native country. They must be very careful not to
resent injuries which may be offered to them, nor to think highly of
themselves, so as to despise the poor heathens, and by those means lay
a foundation for their resentment, or rejection of the gospel. They
must take every opportunity of doing them good, and labouring, and
travelling, night and day, they must instruct, exhort, and rebuke,
with all long suffering, and anxious desire for them, and, above all,
must be instant in prayer for the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the
people of their charge. Let but missionaries of the above description
engage in the work, and we shall see that it is not impracticable.
It might likewise be of importance, if God should bless their labours,
for them to encourage any appearances of gifts amongst the people of
their charge; if such should be raised up many advantages would be
derived from their knowledge of the language, and customs of their
countrymen; and their change of conduct would give great weight to
_An Enquiry into the Duty of Christians in general, and
what Means ought to be used, in order to promote this Work._
If the prophecies concerning the increase of Christ's kingdom be true,
and if what has been advanced, concerning the commission given by him
to his disciples being obligatory on us, be just, it must be inferred
that all Christians ought heartily to concur with God in promoting his
glorious designs, for _he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit_.
One of the first, and most important of those duties which are
incumbent upon us, is _fervent and united prayer_. However the
influence of the Holy Spirit may be set at nought, and run down by
many, it will be found upon trial, that all means which we can use,
without it, will be ineffectual. If a temple is raised for God in the
heathen world, it will not be _by might, nor by power_, nor by the
authority of the magistrate, or the eloquence of the orator; _but by
my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts_. We must therefore be in real
earnest in supplicating his blessing upon our labours.
It is represented in the prophets, that when there shall be _a great
mourning in the land, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of
Megiddon, and every family shall mourn apart, and their wives apart_,
it shall all follow upon _a spirit of grace, and supplication_. And
when these things shall take place, it is promised that _there shall
be a fountain opened for the house of David, and for the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness_,--and that _the idols
shall be destroyed_, and _the false prophets ashamed_ of their
profession. Zech. xii 10. 14.--xiii. 1. 6. This prophesy seems to
teach that when there shall be an universal conjunction in fervent
prayer, and all shall esteem Zion's welfare as their own, then copious
influences of the Spirit shall be shed upon the churches, which like a
purifying _fountain_ shall cleanse the servants of the Lord. Nor shall
this cleansing influence stop here; all old idolatrous prejudices
shall be rooted out, and truth prevail so gloriously that false
teachers shall be so ashamed as rather to wish to be classed with
obscure herdsmen, or the meanest peasants, than bear the ignominy
attendant on their detection.
The most glorious works of grace that have ever took place, have been
in answer to prayer; and it is in this way, we have the greatest
reason to suppose, that the glorious out-pouring of the Spirit, which
we expect at last, will be bestowed.
With respect to our own immediate connections, we have within these
few years been favoured with some tokens for good, granted in answer
to prayer, which should encourage us to persist, and increase in that
important duty. I trust our _monthly prayer-meetings_ for the success
of the gospel have not been in vain. It is true a want of importunity
too generally attends our prayers; yet unimportunate, and feeble as
they have been, it is to be believed that God has heard, and in a
measure answered them. The churches that have engaged in the practice
have in general since that time been evidently on the increase; some
controversies which have long perplexed and divided the church, are
more clearly stated than ever; there are calls to preach the gospel in
many places where it has not been usually published; yea, a glorious
door is opened, and is likely to be opened wider and wider, by the
spread of civil and religious liberty, accompanied also by a
diminution of the spirit of popery; a noble effort has been made to
abolish the inhuman Slave-Trade, and though at present it has not been
so successful as might be wished, yet it is to be hoped it will be
persevered in, till it is accomplished. In the mean time it is a
satisfaction to consider that the late defeat of the abolition of the
Slave-Trade has proved the occasion of a praise worthy effort to
introduce a free settlement, at _Sierra Leona_, on the coast of
Africa; an effort which, if succeeded with a divine blessing, not only
promises to open a way for honourable commerce with that extensive
country, and for the civilization of its inhabitants, but may prove
the happy mean of introducing amongst them the gospel of our Lord
These are events that ought not to be over-looked; they are not to be
reckoned small things; and yet perhaps they _are_ small compared with
what might have been expected, if all had cordially entered into the
spirit of the proposal, so as to have made the cause of Christ their
own, or in other words to have been so solicitous about it, as if
their own advantage depended upon its success. If an holy solicitude
had prevailed in all the assemblies of Christians in behalf of their
Redeemer's kingdom, we might probably have seen before now, not only
an _open door_ for the gospel, but _many running to and fro, and
knowledge increased_; or a diligent use of those means which
providence has put in our power, accompanied with a greater blessing
than ordinary from heaven.
Many can do nothing but pray, and prayer is perhaps the only thing in
which Christians of all denominations can cordially, and unreservedly
unite; but in this we may all be one, and in this the strictest
unanimity ought to prevail. Were the whole body thus animated by one
soul, with what pleasure would Christians attend on all the duties of
religion, and with what delight would their ministers attend on all
the business of their calling.
We must not be contented however with praying, without _exerting
ourselves in the use of means_ for the obtaining of those things we
pray for. Were _the children of light_, but _as wise in their
generation as the children of this world_, they would stretch every
nerve to gain so glorious a prize, nor ever imagine that it was to be
obtained in any other way.
When a trading company have obtained their charter they usually go to
its utmost limits; and their stocks, their ships, their officers, and
men are so chosen, and regulated, as to be likely to answer their
purpose; but they do not stop here, for encouraged by the prospect of
success, they use every effort, cast their bread upon the waters,
cultivate friendship with every one from whose information they expect
the least advantage. They cross the widest and most tempestuous seas,
and encounter the most unfavourable climates; they introduce
themselves into the most barbarous nations, and sometimes undergo the
most affecting hardships; their minds continue in a state of anxiety,
and suspence, and a longer delay than usual in the arrival of their
vessels agitates them with a thousand changeful thoughts, and
foreboding apprehensions, which continue till the rich returns are
safe arrived in port. But why these fears? Whence all these
disquietudes, and this labour? Is it not because their souls enter
into the spirit of the project, and their happiness in a manner
depends on its success?--Christians are a body whose truest interest
lies in the exaltation of the Messiah's kingdom. Their charter is very
extensive, their encouragements exceeding great, and the returns
promised infinitely superior to all the gains of the most lucrative
fellowship. Let then every one in his station consider himself as
bound to act with all his might, and in every possible way for God.
Suppose a company of serious Christians, ministers and private
persons, were to form themselves into a society, and make a number of
rules respecting the regulation of the plan, and the persons who are
to be employed as missionaries, the means of defraying the expence,
&c. &c. This society must consist of persons whose hearts are in the
work, men of serious religion, and possessing a spirit of
perseverance; there must be a determination not to admit any person
who is not of this description, or to retain him longer than he
answers to it.
From such a society a _committee_ might be appointed, whose business
it should be to procure all the information they could upon the
subject, to receive contributions, to enquire into the characters,
tempers, abilities and religious views of the missionaries, and also
to provide them with necessaries for their undertakings.
They must also pay a great attention to the views of those who
undertake this work; for want of this the missions to the Spice
Islands, sent by the Dutch East-India Company, were soon corrupted,
many going more for the sake of settling in a place where temporal
gain invited them, than of preaching to the poor Indians. This soon
introduced a number of indolent, or profligate persons, whose lives
were a scandal to the doctrines which they preached: and by means of
whom the gospel was ejected from Ternate, in 1694, and Christianity
fell into great disrepute in other places.
If there is any reason for me to hope that I shall have any influence
upon any of my brethren, and fellow Christians, probably it may be
more especially amongst them of my own denomination. I would therefore
propose that such a society and committee should be formed amongst the
_particular baptist denomination_.
I do not mean by this, in any wife to confine it to one denomination
of Christians. I wish with all my heart, that every one who loves our
Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, would in some way or other engage in
it. But in the present divided state of Christendom, it would be more
likely for good to be done by each denomination engaging separately in
the work, than if they were to embark in it conjointly. There is room
enough for us all, without interfering with each other; and if no
unfriendly interference took place, each denomination would bear good
will to the other, and wish, and pray for its success, considering it
as upon the whole friendly to the great cause of true religion; but if
all were intermingled, it is likely their private discords might throw
a damp upon their spirits, and much retard their public usefulness.
In respect to _contributions_ for defraying the expences, money will
doubtless be wanting; and suppose the rich were to embark a portion of
that wealth over which God has made them stewards, in this important
undertaking, perhaps there are few ways that would turn to a better
account at last. Nor ought it to be confined to the _rich_; if persons
in more moderate circumstances were to devote a portion, suppose a
_tenth_, of their annual increase to the Lord, it would not only
correspond with the practice of the Israelites, who lived under the
Mosaic Oeconomy, but of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
before that dispensation commenced. Many of our most eminent
fore-fathers amongst the _Puritans_, followed that practice; and if
that were but attended to now, there would not only be enough to
support the ministry of the gospel at home, and to encourage _village
preaching_ in our respective neighbourhoods, but to defray the
expences of carrying the gospel into the heathen world.
If congregations were to open subscriptions of _one penny_, or more
per week, according to their circumstances, and deposit it as a fund
for the propogation of the gospel, much might be raised in this way.
By such simple means they might soon have it in their power to
introduce the preaching of the gospel into most of the villages in
England; where, though men are placed whose business it should be to
give light to those who sit in darkness, it is well known that they
have it not. Where there was no person to open his house for the
reception of the gospel, some other building might be procured for a
small sum, and even then something considerable might be spared for
the baptist, or other committees, for propogating the gospel amongst
Many persons have of late left off the use of _West-India sugar_ on
account of the iniquitous manner in which it is obtained. Those
families who have done so, and have not substituted any thing else in
its place, have not only cleansed their hands of blood, but have made
a saving to their families, some of six pence, and some of a shilling
a week. If this, or a part of this were appropriated to the uses
before-mentioned, it would abundantly suffice. We have only to keep
the end in view, and have our hearts thoroughly engaged in the pursuit
of it, and means will not be very difficult.
We are exhorted _to lay up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal._ It is also
declared that _whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap._
These Scriptures teach us that the enjoyments of the life to come,
bear a near relation to that which now is; a relation similar to that
of the harvest, and the seed. It is true all the reward is of mere
grace, but it is nevertheless encouraging; what a _treasure_, what an
_harvest_ must await such characters as PAUL, and ELLIOT, and
BRAINERD, and others, who have given themselves wholly to the work of
the Lord. What a heaven will it be to see the many myriads of poor
heathens, of Britons amongst the rest, who by their labours have been
brought to the knowledge of God. Surely a _crown of rejoicing_ like
this is worth aspiring to. Surely it is worth while to lay ourselves
out with all our might, in promoting the cause, and kingdom of Christ.
Back to Full Books