John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott.

An address to the Christian public, especially to the ministers and members of the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, and Congregational churches, throughout the United States : on the subject of the proposed union between the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the United Foreign Mi online

. (page 27 of 31)
Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottAn address to the Christian public, especially to the ministers and members of the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, and Congregational churches, throughout the United States : on the subject of the proposed union between the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the United Foreign Mi → online text (page 27 of 31)
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the high Puritan basis ? And the laws and administration of the gov-
ernment since that time have been as consistent with this profession, to
say the least, as those of any other Christian government in the world.
The statute laws organizing the general government and courts of jus-
tice, the criminal code, and reported trials in the courts, printed in the
English language, make five octavo volumes in the library of the Board.
Court-houses, prisons, roads, bridges, surveys of lands, and their distri-
bution, w^ith secure titles, among the people, are in constant progress.

" Here, then, let us, as a Board of Foreign Missions, in the name of
the community for which we act, proclaim with shoutings of grace,
grace ! that the people of the Sandwich Islands are a Christian nation,
and may rightfully claim a place among the Protestant Christian na-
tions of the earth ! " — pp. 253 - 255.

We dismiss our subject reluctantly. Peculiar and painful
engagements have cut short the treatment which we had de-
signed to give it. At some future time — the Board will
never suffer us long to lack a fitting text — we hope to return
to it, and, if we fail to do it justice, at least to fall not wholly
below our sense of its dignity, magnitude, and blessedness.



One of the most remarkable characteristics of our time is the opportunity
for enlarged Christian effort. Pressing are the calls, multiplied are the op-
portunities and the facilities for such effort at home ; but may we not say
that abroad, the calls are yet more pressing, the opportunities and facilities
more abundant, and the possible results yet grander in relation to the tri-
umph of the Redeemer's kingdom ? Our work is apostolic ; it is to evan-
gelize whole nations ; to plant Christian institutions, and to lay the founda-
tions of Christian culture and Christian civilization amid destitute millions.
The labor of detail, characteristic of the home work, the carrying of the
gospel into every household and neighborhood, is not the work of the mis-
sionary — it belongs to the native agency he shall train up ; and the sup-
port of churches and schools, after they have been once established, belongs
not to us but to the native Christians. Our work is purely evangelistic.
Hence its economy of men and means ; hence, too, the possibility of its early
success. One man, upon the average, throughout the whole foreign field,
for a population of 100,000, is perhaps all we need, all that it may be really
desirable to have, for the best success in training up independent, self-
supporting churches of Christ. The Eastern Turkey mission ask for but
twelve men and a physician, for a field of 160,000 square miles — nearly
four times the size of the State of New York, with a population of from
two and a half to three millions — and say they would have no more if we
had a hundred to spare. The progress that is making in that field, upon
the faithful carrying out of this principle, proves that they are right. To
carry forward this work upon the apostolic plan, requires of course the best
minds of the church, and offers them the largest field for the exercise of all
their powers.

Hitherto we have asked that the world might be opened to the influence
of the gospel. The prayer has been heard ; the world is open. Hitherto
the work has been at a great distance, and attended with peculiar trials and
hardships. That time is past. The improved methods of communication
have brought the fields of missionary effort to our very doors. The most
remote is practically nearer to us than England was fifty years ago.

The time of harvest has come. Hitherto, except at the Hawaiian Islands,
it has been a season of preparation — of seed-sowing. The barriers which
ages of false worship had reared, were to be thrown down ; the prejudices of
the people were to be overcome by practical illustrations of the power of the
gospel, and of the unselfish aims of the missionaries. In the mean time, ex-
plorations were to be made ; the best centres of influence selected ; native


languages mastered ; the Scriptures given to the people in their own tonjjue ;
a Christian literature created ; a knowledge acquired of the manners and
customs of different peoples, and the best methods of reaching them with
the gospel ; also of the peculiarities of climate, and the means necessary for
the preservation of health, and to secure proper comforts for missionary fam-
ilies. All this was to be done, and in great measure has been done. The
skirmish line has done its work ; it is lime for the grand army to advance and
take possession, in the name of its Great Leader.

The manifest blessing of God upon the labors of the past year, — in the
establishment of new churches, in the development of the native pastorate,
in the larger additions than usual to the native churches, in opening new
fields to the efforts of the missionaries, — all call for an enlargement of our
operations, and promise the richest returns. Yet the work has been sadly
hindered for want of men to follow up the advantages gained. Station
after station, won by years of labor and the sacrifice of many lives, has
been given up. Again and again has the sad intelligence reached us of a
devoted missionary sinking down at his post, overborne by his burdens and
unrelieved. Almost every mail brings us tidings of new openings for the
truth, of new and important centres that should at once be occupied. Cheered
as we have been by the privilege of sending out thirty new laborers the past
year, they have gone to help carry on the work already in hand ; not a sin-
gle new post is to be taken. The most urgent necessities of the different
fields only have been met. Not a man for Micronesia, Africa, Ceylon, Foo-
chow, and only one, a missionary physician, for North China, where we
would gladly send twenty each year, for the next dozen years.

Mr. Snow, in Micronesia, seven hundred miles away from any Christian
brother of his own race, in the midst of a woi-k already rich in results and
of yet richer promise as it spreads from island to island, toils on alone. Our
good friends Walker and Bushnell, faint and weary after more than twenty
years of patient watching and waiting, holding one of the gate-ways to Cen-
tral Africa, beg us to send men, white or colored, as we can, to preach Christ
to the multitudes within, who are ready to perish. Among the Zulus, the
instructions of the missionaries are eagerly sought in neighborhoods hitherto
indifferent or opposed ; and the anxious inquiry is made, why the white men,
across the ocean, do not come and tell them of the way of salvation ? Is it
because they want to keep heaven to themselves ?

While diplomats are digesting protocols and ultimata, and the armies of
ambitious monarchs are waiting marching orders, the missionaries of the
Board are rapidly settling the Eastern question. Give them but a few
years more, and twenty more men to help them, with the same divine favor
that has crowned these efforts for the last ten years, and they will hope to
make sure the evangelization of the Turkish Empire. But no time is to be
' lost. The awakened interest in the truth, the remarkable progress of the
last few years, the attempted reforms in the Armenian church, the compara-
tive freedom to labor now enjoyed, which the great political changes impend-
ing may seriously interrupt, urge us to the most strenuous efforts, while the
day lasts. With a just view of the greatness of the missionary work, and
the opportunities now open to them, Drs. Van Dyck, Jessup, and Riggs,


decline the most important positions in the church at home, that they may
accomplish a greater work for Christ among the Arabs and the Armenians.

And what shall we say of India, now in process of moral and religious dis-
integration ? The vital forces of Chrisiianity must be thrown in to reorgan-
ize it in the interest of the gospel. Its hoary systems of religion and super-
stition, that have so long blinded the mind and corrupted the heart, are
giving way before the light of truth. Thousands of young men, graduated
from government schools every year, are renouncing the old ways, and teach-
ing others also. Who shall teach them the way of life ? English railways,
English laws, English schools, the new spirit of enterprise that is being
awakened, all know nothing of the thousand social distinctions interwoven
with the forms of idolatrous worship. Missionaries of all denominations,
Christians in civil and military life, unite in a most earnest appeal. " In
God's name," they cry, " and in the name of Him who hath redeemed us to
God by his blood, we appeal for help." Hazen, in view of the weakness of
the Mahratta mission, writes, " Truly it seems an extremity to us." Bruce,
left alone in charge of three districts, each enough for one man, with ten
churches and over thirty native helpers, feels " oppressed with responsibil-
ity." Chester, at Dindigul, in the Madura mission, asks what he can do,
alone in the one thousand villages of his station. Tracy, who has just come
home, speaks of the prospect as never so encouraging as at present. How-
land, of Ceylon, says of the work there, " it is now or never." Twelve men
are needed at once to work the fields left to our exclusive occupation in
India and Ceylon.

But the great field, and soon to be the nearest, is China. The way is open
for the most extended labors. Twelve years ago the number of converts
scarcely exceeded the number of missionaries; now it is twenty to one, and
rapidly increasing. From Foochow we hear of a spirit of inquiry among the
people, and calls to new places. Forty men unite to send a delegation a
hundred miles or more, to Tientsin, to inquire after the new doctrine, and
to ask for a missionary teacher. Mr. Chapin writes of crowds of more than
two thousand persons gathering about him on a recent preaching tour. Mr.
Goodrich, who began his missionary career by leading the singing in public
worship on the first Sabbath and by preaching within six months after his
arrival in the country, preaches daily to large audiences a few miles from
Peking. Mr. Blodgett can find no time for. a visit home, which his excessive
labors and the care of his family seem to make necessary. Mr. Gulick, from
a pass in the Great Wall, looks out northward upon the rural population of
Mongolia, and southward upon the teeming multitudes of China, now access-
ible to the heralds of the cross. Such is the field now waiting for the gos-
pel, with its four hundred millions of human souls, supplied, as yet, by mis-
sionaries of all evangelical denominations, at the rate of one missionary to
four millions of people, or nine for a population as large as that of the United

In view of facts like these, are we not called to greater and more earnest
effort, to larger offerings of men and means to secure the early triumph of
the Redeemer's kingdom on the earth ? Do not the watchmen cry from
every high tower, " The night is far spent, the day is at hand." Is not God


calling upon his church, by the abundant openings for Christian eifort In
heathen countries, and by unwonted triumphs of the gospel where it is pro-
claimed : " Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the cur-
tains of thy habitation ; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy
stakes"! Is not our Lord calling upon us of this most highly favored of
Christian lands, by all the heightened claims upon our service in conse-
quence of special mercies to us as a people during these past years ; by all
the faith, the prayer, the sacrifices, of the devoted men and women who
have gone forth to labor in the cause ; by all the solemn significance of his
last command and the preciousness of his farewell promise, to go forward ?
Is not his voice sounding along the lines of the sacramental host ; do we not
hear it at every station and outpost, " Forward ! " " Lo ! I am with you."
The Prudential Committee of the American Board ask for eighteen new
missionaries (including those now under appointment), and three missionary
physicians, to reinforce the stations already occupied ; and for forty new mis-
sionaries to occupy new and inviting fields ; — sixty-one men, apostles all,
for the proper carrying forward of the work committed to their care.

This call for sixty-one men simply represents the pressing necessities of
the foreign field, in order to the healthful enlargement of the work in hand ;
not so much to occupy new regions as to strengthen positions in those now
occupied, and to enter adjacent fields already explored and open to our
efforts. While we stand pledged to undertake the evangelization of China,
it is with no intention to give up or to contract the work at other points.
Certain districts in India, Western Asia, and Africa, by common consent
have been left to us. Those we intend to win for Christ if it please him ;
but it is felt that the forty men asked for these different fields will be suf-
ficient for the proper carrying forward of the work in them, with such
reinforcements as may be necessary from time to time, to take the places of
those who may be removed by sickness or death ; and we shall be at liberty
to push forward the great work which Providence assigns to us in China.

In the foreign field we have not to plant Christian institutions in advance
of the population ; — the millions are already there. In the large e(!onomy
of grace, are not such institutions as important in India and China, as here ?
There are now no foreign missions in the old sense of the word. The world
has become one in sympathy and interest, and the bonds of union are be-
coming closer and stronger every hour. The world is open to the gospel,
and at our doors. It belongs to Christ. It is to become his. The Bible
is to be in every household. It is simply a question of time. To us, the
Christians of tiiis land, has this work been given as to no other people, to
give the gospel to the world. The time has come. The liarvest is ripe.
The noblest aspiration may be satisfied in the grandest work for Christ and
humanity. Who would not have a part in the coming triumphs of the
Redeemer's kingdom ?

Missionary IIousk, I'oston, Nov. 1867.


In response to Letters Missive issued by the Union Park Con-
gregational Church of Chicago, a council convened April 15th,
1867, to examine, and ordain, if approved, the following persons
as Foreign Missionaries : William E. DeRiemer, Samuel E.
Evans, Carmi C. Thayer, Spencer R. WeUs, and William Henry

These young men were members of the graduating class of
Chicago Theological Seminary.

The churches invited to sit in the council, were the Congrega-
tional and N.- S. Presbyterian Churches of Chicago, Plymouth Con-
gregational Church, Milwaukee, the Congregational Churches of
Apj)leton, Paris and Bristol, Berlin andDelavan, Wisconsin ; Far-
mington. Normal, Harvard, Lisle and Jacksonville, Illinois ; Dana,
Massachusetts ; Berkley St. Church, Boston ; and the Broadway
Church, Chelsea, Massachusetts. The foHowing ministers were
also invited : Rev. T. M. Post, D.D., St. Louis, Rev. Prof Henry
Smith, D.D.,Lane Seminary, Rev. G.W.Wood, D.D., Secretary
A.B. C.F.M., New York, Rev. Profs. J. Haven, D.D., S. C. Bart-
lett, D.D., and F. W. Fisk, D.D., Revs. H. L. Hammond, G. S.
F. Savage, J. E. Roy, and S. J. Humphrey.

The council was organized by choosing Rev. Wm. W. Patton,.
D.D., Moderator, and Rev. S. J. Humphrey, Scribe.

After a peculiarly interesting relation of their christian experi-
ence, by the candidates, and of the motives which had led them
to desire the ministry and the missionary work, they were exr
amined in their views of christian doctrine. The council then
voted unanimously to proceed to set them apart for the work to
which they had been manifestly called.

The ordination took j)lace at the Second Presbyterian Chm*ch
of Chicago, April 18th. A crowded audience were in atten-
dance, and the services were of the most interesting and impres-
sive character.


The Sermon was preached by Prof. HEisrET Smith, D.D., Lane
Semmary, Walnut Hills, Ohio, from the text — " And I, if I be
lifted up, will draw all men unto me. (.John xii. 32.) The limits
of this pamphlet allow only the closing portion of it to be given.
It was an able and eloquent presentation of the Attraction of the
Cross, by indicating some of the universal and controlling prin-
ciples of human action, to which the great truths represented in
the tragedy of Calvary make their appeal. The conclusion was
in the following words :

In the full faith of the power of this blessed Gospel to subdue
the world to Christ, Lane sends, through me, her best greetings,
her joyful gratulations, her heartiest "All hall" to her sister
Seminary of Chicago. Not with envy, but with joy does she
behold her sister in one noble gift, reaching one-fourth the entire
number, which, during a motherhood of five and thirty years,
she herself has been able to consecrate to the work of Foreign
Missions. Yet with tears of thanksgiving, she points to her own
twenty sons, who have listened to the Macedonian cry of the
world of heathen darkness. Some of them, indeed, have fallen
asleep in Jesus, but most of them continue to this present.

The beloved young brethren who are to receive our " God
speed you" to-night. Lane charges with a commission of love to
her own well-remembered sons. To whatever section of the
globe, shrouded in heathen darkness, you bend your steps, you
will find them there. Bear, then, the salutations — yea, the heart-
felt love and benedictions of theii* theological mother to the Wil-
liamsons, father and son, among the red men of the West ; to
Bushnell and Preston, in Africa ; to Smith and Montgomery, in
Turkey ; to Shedd, in Persia ; to Chandler and White, in India ;
to Williams and Stanley, in China ; to Andrews and Pogue, in
the islands of the sea ; — and especially does she charge you not
to pass by without a visit to the sacred mounds which mark the
last resting-place of her departed and glorified ehildren. She
charges you to drop a tear, and, if Providence permits it, to plant

some green and fragrant shrub, in token of her unforgetting love,
at the graves of Caswell and Spauldmg, and Campbell and Bon-
ney — of Cmnmhigs, and Wheeler, and Porter.

Men and brethren, ministers, messengers and members of
Christ's churches in the West, whom this unwonted spectacle has
drawn together to-night, are you ready for this sacrifice ? I know
that you are ready, for this act is full of the very spirit of Christ.
This good news is for all men. You believe that. It is suited to
the nature and to the condition of all men. You believe that. It
is to be published in the ears of all men. You believe that. But
when, O Christian — when? Gird yourself, I beseech you, in
whatever vocation Christ has called you to labor — gird yourself
anew and instantly for this work. Christ has laid it upon you ;
Christ has laid it upon me. Go ye into all the world, and preach
the Gospel to every creature. Go in person — go by proxy — go
now, for now is the time in which men are perishing for the lack
of this Gospel. God has laid this work upon tcs, in whatever
form of effort he has called us to serve him.

Let us labor for it — let us pray for it — ^let us give for it ; and as
we labor, pray and give, let us have faith in the principles and in
the power of the Gospel. It shall triumph — Christ hath prom-
ised it : " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men unto me." God hath declared it : " To him every knee shall
bow and every tongue confess." It shall prevail, and spread, and
prosper, untU the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom,
under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints
of the Most High God. Oh, wonderful scheme of redemption !
Oh, love infinite and unsearchable ! What heart will not respond
to it ? What Christian wUl not rejoice in it ? What poor, perish-
ing sinner wHl not be melted by it mto penitence and love ?

' ' Oh, the sweet wonders of that Cross,
Where my Eedeemer loved and died !
Her noblest life my spirit draws

From his dear wounds and bleeding side.

"I would for ever speak his name

In sounds to mortal ears unknown ;
"With angels join to praise the Lamb,
And worship at his Father's throne."

Eev. Truman M. Post, D.D., St. Louis, offered the ordaining prayer, assisted
by the following ministers in the laj-ing on of hands : Rev. R. "W. Patterson,
D.D., Rev. S. B. Treat, Prof. J. Haven, D.D., Rev. P. C. Pettibone, Rev. Z.
M. Humphrey, D.D., Rev. C. D. Helmer, Prof. S. 0. Bartlett, D.D., Rev. J.
Collie, President J. M. Sturtevant, D.D., and Rev. L. Taylor.



My Dear You^fG Brethreit, — History repeats itself to-night.
Fifty-five years ago, in the oldest city of New England, Judson,
and ISTewell, and Mills, and Nott, and Rice, stood up before
Spring, and Morse, and Worcester, and Woods, and Griffin, for
missionary ordination — the first fruits of America and of Andover.
Instead of the fathers, are the sons and the grandsons. And here
to-night, on a spot of. which the Indian then held long lease, you
come to us, another missionary five — only the first fruits, we
trust, of these North-western churches, and of this young Semi-
nary. We are here to bid you go. And this council have
appointed one who has often spoken to you in the lecture-room,
but who will so speak to you no more, to give you their solemn

While I shall not anticipate your particular instructions from
the American Board, neither may I forget that we have ordained
you specially for the missionary work. Let me then address you
with the charge of the great apostle of the Gentiles to his young
helper in the work of missions : " Watch thou in all things, en-
dure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of
thy ministry."

" Watch" ye ; be wakeful and watchful " in all things." And
first of all, be watchful over your own hearts. In the delusion
that a sacred calling exempts from temptation, you do not share.
You know that he who once crawled into Paradise, can linger
round the Seminary, can chmb the pulpit, or follow on the track
of the missionary. You will be encompassed, not alone or
chiefly by the ardor of the young convert, but by the low worldli-
ness of the earthen man of China, the gross vices of the out-caste
Mahar, by the mummied forms of a dead Christianity. A mission
field is not all heaven. Depravity and corruption will be seething
around you. Like the sainted Poor, you, too, will get new light

on tlie first chapter of Romans. Now, it was the marvel of
Christ's divine humanity that, with a heart day and night in con-
tact with all that was most earthly, that heart beat only of God
and heaven. It lay pure as moonlight on a mass of decay. And
it is the glory of our missionary band that, from the midst of all
that is hard and sensual and hateful, they invariably return to
kindle the flame of devotion at home. Such a high spiritual
frame, I know, can be maintained only by incessant vigilance.
Therefore watch over your hearts with aU vigilance, and keep
them full of the Holy Ghost.

Be watchful over your lives. I do not warn you against the
gravitation of heathen morals, and the poison of the pagan
atmosphere all around. I speak of your relations to your mis-
sionary brethren. Shut in upon yoiu'selves in fixed relations,
specially guard against the friction of a hard and wiry spirit, an
unlovely temper, or uncomfortable ways. An uncomfortable
man at home, like a live coal, can be hurried along or quietly
dropped. There he must bm-n and blister. Even while I am
littering this hint, it seems to me well-nigh superfluous, so wise
have commonly been the arrangements of the Board of Missions,
and so admirable the spirit of its missionaries. And yet, in view
of the infirmities of human nature, and the momentous interests
at stake, let me enjoin upon you that heavenly wisdom of practi-
cal life whi'ch is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be en-
treated, both toward yom- missionary brethren and the missionary

You must be watchful over your minds, I judge that in all
your incessant toils, you should not suffer your intellect to rust,
nor cease to enlarge your acquisitions. You go to the old home-
stead of the nations. In spite of his wooden looks, the China-

Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottAn address to the Christian public, especially to the ministers and members of the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, and Congregational churches, throughout the United States : on the subject of the proposed union between the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the United Foreign Mi → online text (page 27 of 31)