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 29 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 29 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

" Ah ! what has he taken of yours ?" " Sin, Sir ; death. Sir."
"What has he given you of his?" "Pleaven, Sir; holiness. Sir."

But I must crave the privilege of saying a few words to these
pastors, and these Christian friends. These young men, as you
see, are going down to the dark, cold shadows of heathenism. As
Carey expressed it, they are going down into the well. Will you
hold on to the ropes ? They are entering upon a life-campaign ;
win you equip them, as you did those regiments which fought so
bravely for the stars and stripes, and afterward furnish food and
raiment ? To put the matter in a definite shape, wUl you advance
your contributions twenty per cent. ? I believe you wiU do it. I
do not see how you can help it. Rather, I think you will rejoice
in the opportunity.


But I have something more to say. For the last nine months I
have felt a weight upon my spirit almost too heavy to be borne.
I have asked myself, Oh how many times ! " When is the world
to be given to Christ? He whose right it is, the Prince of the
Kings of the earth, when is He to be enthroned in all the world ?"

I have no distrust of present methods. It was after that bloody
death, and under the opening heavens, that the command was
given, " Preach the gospel to every creature." "We are on the
right track, therefore ; but how slow the train moves ! Four
thousand churches represented by one hundred and forty ordained
missionaries in all the heathen world !

The heathen world ! Do we think what this is ? Let us suppose
it to pass before us — say ten abreast — a living, slow-moving cur-
rent. From morning to night, from night to morning, the ear is
burdened by its heavy, incessant tread. At the pace of one mile
an hour, it would consume six years in passing by us, a long,
unresting funeral train ! At first we are awe-struck and speechless.
Myriads upon myriads, millions upon millions ; and aU traveling,
like ourselves, to the judgment seat, and almost ah ignorant of the
way of life !

Suppose, now, that we should resolve at once to enter, with our
whole hearts, upon the work of the world's reconstruction. How
appalling would the endeavor seem !

But hopeless as is the undertaking, on the human side, on the
divine side, it is perfectly feasible. See what marvels the Provi-
dence of God has wrought for missions. A little more than
twenty years ago, and China was shut against the Christian
world — locked, bolted, barred. But we have been told quite
recently, that it is now open in all its length and breadth.

With what skill and patience has He exalted the valleys and
made low the mountains and hUls of Hindoostan. First, papal
France was to be excluded from the land, as having no lot or in-
heritance there. Next the power of the native princes, idola-
trous, oppressive and effete, was to be cast down ; and then a
vast trading company, selfish as the love of pounds, shillings and
pence could make it, was to be led along by a hook in the nose,
till the set time should come for saying, " Pass on ; your work is
done." And now one of the noblest of Christian men holds the
vice regal sceptre over nearly tico hundred millloiis of Hindoos.

And look at Madagascar. When the missionaries were ex-
pelled thu'ty years ago, they left a few disciples, without a minis-


try, with no right to meet for worship, no right to read a book,
hated, hunted, in constant danger of a cruel death. But they
also left two injunctions, to wit : " Cleave to the Bible, and
cleave to one another ;" and they did so. They came together,
in fear and trembling, and read the Scriptures. After a time it
was discovered that some had more skiU than others in
explaining " the lively oracles ;" and they were asked to take upon
themselves the ministry of the word. But there were no sacra-
ments. How, for instance, should these persecuted ones com-
memorate the death of Christ ? What else to do, they knew not,
and so they asked their teachers to perform this service. When,
therefore, Mr, Ellis went there in 1861, he found that a native
ministry had sprung up, in spite of all repressing influences,
having received its anointing, not from bishops, or presbyters, or
councUs, but from the Holy Chost; and the Lord has blessed
those servants of His, as also the missionaries who have gone
there since, so that the number of communicants is ten times
greater than it was in 1861.

What now is the world's chief need ? A single word contains
the answer. Faith. A believing Church might see the speedy tri-
umph of Christ, in all the earth. Know ye not, my brethren, that
God has placed the entire resources of his kingdom at our disposal ?
Elisha was wroth with the King of Israel because he struck the
ground but thrice. " Thou shouldst have smitten five or six
times," he said ; " then hadst thou smitten Syria tiU thou hadst
consumed it. And that scene by the Mount of transfiguration !
" Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb
spirit." And then having told his story of sufiering and trial,
he said : " If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us
and help us." Jesus said unto him, " If thou canst believe, all
things are possible to him that believeth."

Were there time, I would gladly say a few words as to what
we should believe. But I wiU only glance at two particulars :
First, We should believe that Christ is waiting to see of the
travail of his soul, and be satisfied. He that died for this very
end — he is waiting for the tardy movements of his Church.
Second, We should believe that there is soul-travail for us as
well as for him. As by reason of his human nature, he can be
touched with a feeling of our infirmities, so we are to share his
sorrows and his joys. Remember how he wept over Jerusalem,
looking down jfrom Olivet, and then think what it must be for


liim to look down iij)oii a world lying in wickedness, beholding
aU the crimes which are committed, thoughts that can not bear
the light of the sun, and then glancing through all the ages of
the future, knowing perfectly what a lost spirit may become,
what a lost si^hit must sufier.

It remains for me to give you the right hand of fellowship in
behalf of the council. In the name of these pastors and dele-
gates, in the name of the Churches which have sent them hither,
as also of all the Churches of the North-west represented in some
sort by them, I give you this right hand. It is not a vain cere-
mony. I have learned that no men have so wide a place, in so
many hearts, as those who go to the heathen. In times of trial
call this scene to mind, and take comfort and courage therefrom.

A few years ago, a party of missionaries was about to leave
Persia for America. They were to travel under a hot sim, over
bridgeless rivers, along rough and precipitous ways, pitching
their tents in insecure places, tUl they should take a steamer
at Trebizond, and afterward to take a sailing vessel to Smyrna. A
Nestorian girl, just as they were setting forth, made a prayer, so
simple, so scriptural, and so apjiropriate to your circumstances,
that I wUl ask the congregation to join me in offering it for you,
only changing two or three words in the last sentence: "Dear
Father ! let not the sun smite them by day, nor the moon by night.
Give thine angels charge concerning them, to bear them up in their
hands, that they dash not a foot against a stone. When they j^ass
through the deep rivers, let not the waters overflow them. Let the
Angel of the Lord encamp round about their moving tabernacle.
Spread a table for them in all the long wilderness. When they
come to the fire-ship, let not the flames kindle upon them. When
they come to the winged vessel, though the waves go up to
heaven and down to hell, keep them in the hollow of thy hand,
and bear them safely to the desired haven. Let not then- dust
mingle with the dust of father or the dust of mother ; but let it
mingle ^^•llii tlie dust of their children, with them to hear the last
trump, with them to meet the Lord in the au-, to be forever with
him, all safely home !"

/ c









186 7.

At a meeting of the Society of Alumni, on motion of the Rev.
Theron H. Hawkes, D. D., it was

Resolved, That the Alumni of Williams College tender their sincere thanks
to the Hon. Harvey Rice, by Avhose taste and liberality the Missionary Monu-
ment, in Mission Park, has been reared to commemorate the origin and to
symbolize the idea of American Missions in Foreign lands.

Resolved, That the Proceedings ■which marked the Dedication of the Monu-
ment, be published in a suitable form for permanent record, under the super-
intendence of the Rev. Calvin Duefee.

N. H. GRIFFIN, Secretary.
Wu-liamstovn, Jdly 31, 1867.



The history of the movement which resulted in the erection
of the Missionary Monument, can be told in a few words. In
the month of August, 1866, Mr. and Mrs. Rice passed a few
days with friends in Williamstown, and were greatly interested
in viewing the Monuments erected to the memory of Fitch and
Geiffin, and in visiting the spot where stood the haystack
beneath which Mills and his associates met for prayer, just sixty
years before. Brief extracts from two or three of the letters,
received from him after his return, wiU sufficiently explain his
motives, and furnish a suitable introduction to the Proceedings
here recorded :

^^ Cleveland, September 15, 1866.
♦* Rev. C, Durfee.

"7% Bear Sir, — After I parted with you and Professor Hopkins
on the cars, I fell to thinking of the ' Haystack Monument,' about
which we had been talking. It occurred to me that the Monument
could be built of gray sandstone, so as to resemble, in its size and
form, a veritable haystack ; I herewith send a draft or plan, embody-
ing my idea. I feel a deep interest in having a Monument of some
kind erected to commemorate the sacred spot in Mission Park where
the thought had its birth-place, which is destined to revolutionize the
benighted empires of the Eastern World. And if I am not greatly

mistaken, the whole amount of money required to build the Monu-
ment could be easily obtained. Every friend of the College and of
Foreign Missions will favor the enterprise, and esteem it a privilege
to subscribe liberally. I will give $5C."

^^ October SI, 1866. I have received your letter containing Presi-
dent Hopkins's objections to a mere reproduction of a haystack ; and
I am satisfied with the correctness of his criticism. On reflection, I
think I have hit on a plan which will be considered more strictly
emblematical, and combine the historical with the classical."

"■Felruary 15, 1867. I am highly gratified that the plan of the
Monument I last sent you receives the approval of all the College
Faculty. The enterprise must now be carried out at all events ; and
the Monument must be in its place by the 20th of June next. I shall
regard you as the active agent in this matter. So please consider your-
self authorized to go forward and complete the enterprise. The first
thing now to be done, if I mistake not, is to procure the consent of the
Trustees of the College. As soon as consent is obtained, advise
me, and I will put you in possession of important information respect-
ing this whole subject. All I desire is to have the Monument well
made, placed on a firm foundation, and secured from injury by placing
arouird it a good iron fence, with gravelled walks. The expense of the
walks and railing I presume the citizens of Williamstown and other
friends of the College will be disposed to contribute. The entire
expense of the Monument itself I have concluded to assume. I will,
however, cheerfully accept of the five dollars from the little Missionary
Society in Williamstown, but not one cent from any body else. May
God bless every member of that juvenile missionary association."

The Hon. Harvey Rice, of Cleveland, Ohio, my friend and class-
mate, having proposed to place in Mission Park, at his own expense,
a Monument commemorative of the origin of American Foreign
Missions, and wishing the approval of the Trustees of the College, I

hereby express such approval on my part, and my high appreciation

of his gecerous offer.


The Trustees, who coincide with the above, are requested to add
their signatures.

Williams College, March 13, 1867.









Missionary House, Boston, March 21, 1867.
Having seen the plan of the proposed Monument for the Mission
Park in Williamstown, to be erected at the expense of the Hon, Har-
vey Rice, of Cleveland, Ohio, I am happy to comply with a request
of the Rev. Mr. Durpee, that I signify, as I do, my most hearty
approval of it. I doubt not it will be viewed with gratitude by the
friends of Missions, who shall have the privilege of hereafter visiting
that hallowed spot.


We concur with Dr. Anderson in the foregoing.



It was on the Sabbath, July 28th, 1867, at half-past
four, P. M., after havhig listened to the Baccalaureate
Discourse in Goodrich Hall, that a large audience
assembled in Mission Park, to attend the services
connected with the dedication of the Missionary-
Monument. The people collected beneath the maple
grove, fortunately spared, within seventy feet of
which stands the Monmnent. Some were seated in
carriages, some on the grass, and some on bunches
of hay brought by the gentlemen from hay-cocks
close by, which awaited Monday for garnering. It
was a fair afternoon, with scattered clouds casting
beautiful shadows upon the hill-sides. The heat
was tempered by a slight breeze. The encircling
mountains reposed beneath the alternating light and
shadow in surpassing grandeur and beauty. The
Monument had been put in its place on the 11th
of July. The dedication services were opened with
singing, by the Mills Theological Society, the hymn, —

" Ye Christian heroes, go proclaim," &c.

An appropriate prayer was then offered by the Rev.
DoKUS Claeke, of Waltham, of the Class of '17,

who had been personally acquainted with the Rev.
F. L. RoBBiNS, whose name is on the Monument, and
often conversed with him respecting the interesting
scenes connected with the prayer-meeting under the

President Hopkins then delivered the following
Introductory Address :

It is now sixty-one years since Samuel J. Mills met with
others by the side of a haystack which stood where the Monument
before us now stands. On that spot he first proposed to his com-
panions the work of Foreign Missions, and inaugurated it by
solemn prayer and self-consecration. The world took no note of
the event. The meeting dispersed, and the place of it became
unknown on this ground. Meantime, the word was spoken, the
fire was kindled, a society was formed here, a branch was formed
at Andover, Colleges were visited, the American Board was
formed, a barricaded heathendom was assaulted, missionaries were
stationed at various points, and American Foreign Missions became
an acknowledged fact and a power in the world.

It was in view of this humble origin of the Missions in con-
nection with such results, that in preaching the semi-centennial
discourse before the American Board, in 1860, I took for my text,
" There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the
mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." And if we
may compare small things with great, what was true of the mis-
sionary movement has also been true of the purchase of the Mis-
sionary Park, and of the erection of this Monument.

The place of the meeting, though often inquired for, and
especially by Dr. Griffin, was unknown. In 1852, a stranger, a
Baptist layman, in passing through town spent the night, and
expressed to the family with whom he stayed much interest in the
spot and the movement. On reaching the south part of the town


the next day, supposing the spot to be known, he sent back a letter
inclosing a gold dollar, saying that it would at least purchase a
cedar stake to mark the spot, and expressing the belief that it
would some day be marked by marble.

That dollar was placed in the hands of Professor Hopkins, and
remained with him several years. At length the Hon. Byram
Green, in visiting friends here, made it known that he was at that
prayer-meeting, and stuck a stake on the very spot. This led to
the purchase, by the Alumni, of the Missionary Park, and has now
led to the fulfillment of the prophecy of the way-faring man. The
cedar stake has become marble. For once in the history of the
world a prayer-meeting is commemorated by a Monument.
' It is a peculiar pleasure to me that this Monument has been
erected by my friend and classmate, the Hon. Harvey, of
Cleveland, Ohio. It is the more fit that he should do this as the
relative of another classmate, greatly honored and beloved, and
whose name he bears, the E.ev. William Harvey. He was a
man whose name ought to be mentioned in this connection, for he
was one of the holiest men and the most devoted missionaries I
have ever known, and gave his life to the cause in India at the
early age of thiity-three. By this act, my classmate connects his
own name and the Class of '24 most honorably with the great
cause of Missions ; and, in the name of the Class, and of the
College, and of the friends of Missions, I thank him.

Monuments commemorate the past. This is well ; but only as
such commemoration strengthens the principles that underlie the
event and movement commemorated. The stress and struggle of
the missionary work are still upon us ; the calls for help were
never louder ; and I can only hope that this memorial may serve
to kindle and perpetuate on this ground the missionary spirit. I
can only hope that as this shaft raises the mimic globe into the
sunlight and poises it there, so the increasing and united efforts of
Christians may lift a world, prostrate in sin, into the light of the
Sun of Righteousness, and poise it in permanent obedience to the
revealed will of God.


President HoPKms then introduced to the audience
the Hon. Hakvey Eioe, who dehvered the following
Address :

In the accomplishment of great moral purposes, Divine Provi-
dence employs human instrumentalities. Of this we have ample
evidence, not only in the history of nations, but in the career of

A little more than eighteen centuries ago, a few obscure fisher-
men, while casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, were called
to abandon their nets and become "fishers of men."

A little more than sixty years ago, a few obscure young men,
while pursuing their classical studies in Williams College, were
called to go into benighted lands beyond the sea, and proclaim the
divine doctrine of " peace on earth and good will to men."

These students, though unknown to fame, were young men of
thought and high moral aspirations. Influenced by a devotional
spirit, they felt that God had a great work for them to do ; and
that it was, therefore, important for them to comprehend their true
relations both to God and man.

What was the precise character of the great work assigned them,
they did not seem to know ; and for this reason, they sought for
more light, and for guidance from the mighty Counsellor, whose
wisdom is infinite, and who cannot err. In seeking for that knowl-
edge " which Cometh from above," they were accustomed, in the
milder months of the year, to hold occasional prayer-meetings in
the solitudes of Nature, believing that —

"The groves were God's first temples."

And doubtless they felt that the divine Presence dwells more essen-
tially in the silent sanctuaries of Nature, than in " temples made
with hands."

It was here, within the quiet and cool retreat of the maple grove
in which we are now assembled, that they had convened, at the


close of a sultry summer day, in the year 1806, to hold the accus-
tomed prayer-meeting, when they were overtaken by a sudden
shower of rain, and compelled to seek the friendly shelter afforded
them by a neighboring haystack.

The group of young evangelists, who were present at the prayer-
meeting, on this particular occasion, consisted of Samuel J. Mills,
James Richards, Francis L. Kobbins, Harvey Loomis, and Byram
Green. Sheltered from the rain by the haystack, they continued,
amid the conflict of the elements, their devotional exercises, and
also discussed religious topics, of deep interest to themselves and
to the world. It was a sublime moment for them and for the
world. The heavens were darkened. The lightnings flashed.
Dread thunders rolled. The rain fell. Yet, amid this conflict of
the elements, there came "a still, small voice," as if from the storm-
cloud. It was a divine whisper — an inspired thought — which
stirred the life-currents in the heart of Mills, and diffused upon
his brow a celestial radiance. That inspired thought, broad as the
earth in its comprehension, Mills announced to his devout com-
panions. They felt its divinity, and regarded it as a divine com-
munication. At the instance of Mills, they knelt in prayer, and
besought divine aid and guidance in executing the great work
which they now believed had been revealed to them. It was noth-
ing less than a mission to some heathen land, and the ultimate
evangelization of the world. In offering up the last prayer at this
meeting, so enthusiastic became Mills that he invoked " the red
artillery of heaven to strike down the arm that should be raised
against a herald of the cross."

And now, as the stornl-cloud passed away, the skies became
bright and serene. The air was pure, and fragrant as balm. The
rain-drops, like jewels, glittered on the leaves in the groves, and
on the grass and wild flowers in the meadows. In short, the smile
of heaven was reflected in the face of Nature. And the sublimity
of the scene — as it may be supposed — was heightened by the
appearance of the rainbow in the east — that glorious emblem of a
divine love, which is so ample in its character as to embrace, within


its golden circle, the great world of mankind, of every nation,
kindred and tongue.

As these inspired young men of the haystack wended their way
back to the College Halls, they " pondered these things in their
hearts," and communicated their thoughts to such of their fellow
students as they believed would sympathise with them in the desire
they felt to consecrate their lives to the great work of foreign mis-
sions. Several of their associates became at once inspired with a
similar missionary spirit. But as yet the interest felt in this new en-
terprise was restricted to the circle of the "Society of Brethren," as
it was designated. This Society was a secret organization, com-
posed of such as had devoted themselves to a foreign mission, and
had for its object the promotion of the spiritual welfare of its
members. In pursuance of this object, they held private prayer-
meetings in each other's rooms, and discussed questions of special
religious interest, and often, in the summer season, retired for the
same purpose to the neighboring groves.

In this way was sown the first grain of " mustard seed," which
was destined so soon to vegetate, and grow to a tree of gigantic
proportions. The planting of this "smallest of all seeds" con-
stituted a nucleus for more extended effort. In fact, new life was
breathed into the " dry bones " of every valley ; and Heaven
repeated the command, " Go, teach all nations."

The grand result of this day of " small things " was the
organization at Bradford, in 1810, of the "American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions " — an organization which,
under the direction and favor of a divine Providence, has achieved
so much for the civilization and evarigelization of the benighted
races of mankind. Of this, we need adduce no other proof than
the leading facts of its history.

In its inception, this Board consisted of but few members. At
its first meeting there were but five members present, and at its
second, but seven. Its receipts for the first year were but a
thousand dollars. Now its annual receipts exceed a half million

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 29 of 31)