London Missionary Society.

Sermons (1796) online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryLondon Missionary SocietySermons (1796) → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

^" 5


I Princeton, N. LJ^tjzJ |

^ From the Rev. W. B. SPRAGUE, D.D. Sept. 1839. ^


Book, / inc






Ml. SSI OX. I nv s<)( //r/y.





May U, 12, 13, 1796:


Rev. Mr. Lambert, Hull.

Rev. Mr. Pentycrofs, Wallingford.

Rev. Mr. Jay, Bath, and

Rev. Mr. Jones, Llangan.

'to which are prefixed,





ISAIAH xlii. 4. — He fhall not fail nor be difcouraged, till he have fet
judgment in the earth ; and the I/les fhall wait for his law.


Eomion :







(Publlped by the DireSforsJ

THE Sermons preached at our late Anniver-
fary AiTociation^ and the ilatement of our
proceedings, will, we trull, be read with delight
by all who favour the caufe of Zion ; but the af-
femblies muil have been feen, and the difcourfes
heard, in order to feel the deep fenfation that
imprefTed every heart and afFe6led every coun-

The general expedlation of the public made it
neceffary to engage the largell places of worfliip,
and the Tottenham Court Chapel, Surry Chapel,
the Tabernacle, and Sion Chapel, vafi: as they are,
were filled from door to door. The number of
Minifters, who aflemblcd from all parts of the
kingdom, was greater perhaps than any pcrfon
living remembers to have feen colle6led together.
And when the objedl came into coniideration, for
which this hoft of God were offering up their ar-
dent fupplications to the Throne of Grace, it be-
came a fcene unfpeakably interefting, folemn, and



On Wednefday the 11th of May, the Society,
having attended at the Tabernacle in the morning,
and heard the judicious difcourfe deHvered by the
Rev. Mr. Lambert, aflembled in the afternoon at
Spa-fields Chapel. The Rev. Mr. Bogue of Gof-
port, in the chair, opened the meeting with prayer.
The original Plan of the Society was then read
by Mr. Shrubfole, and the following Report of
the proceedings of the Diredlors, by the Rev.
Mr. Love.


( vii )




^f the Second General Meeting.

WHEN we reflcdl on the folemn manner in
which you unanimoufly configned to our
care and management the important concerns of
the Miffionary Society ; when we contemplate the
probable conne6lion between our deliberations
and the future happinefs of millions of fellow-
creatures ; and when we conlider how many gra-
cious perfons, as Well as yourfelves^ are anxioufly
w^aiting a faithful account of the enquiries we
have made, and the meafures we have adopted for
carrying into effedl your benevolent defign ; we
feel our minds impreiied with awe^ though confci-
ous of having difcharged the truft repofed in us,
with th6 utmofl fidelity and diligence.

Next to the glory of God our Saviour in the
converfion of perifhiug finners^ for whom his pre-
cious blood was fhed, we have been a6luated by a
defire of approving ourfelves to this Society^towhofc
candid judgment we fubmit a brief recital of the
moft interefling fteps we have taken, and the plans
we have matured^ as the bafis of future operations.

It mufl not be expeded that we (hall be able to
commuicate the pleafing information of Heathen
Deities vanquifhed^ and their polluted altars over-
thrown, by the vidlorious w^'-ipons of evangelic
truth. No. Such glad tidings can reach }X)u



at a more diflant period only, when our Clirif-
tian warriors fliall have been fafely condudled, by
the providence of God, to the field of adlion. But
feven months have elapfed lince the commence-
iri^flt of our inftitution — a time barely fufficient
for making faitable preparations and arrangements
for our firft important enterprize.
' ' That it may appear how careful we have been to
B.S: conformably to your wifhes, we beg leave to
recal your attention, for a few moments^ to the
proceedings and refolutions of the firft General

The late Correfponding Committee, whofe exer-
tions were, through the blefling of God, in fome
degree inftrumental in forming the Society, had,
by their writings, excited the public attention to
the hopes that might be entertained from a well-
condu61ed million to the ifland of Otaheite. This
" fpecific obje6l" was dwelt on, with plcafure, be-
fore the Society, in fome of the difcourfes from
the pulpit, and made a principal fubjecl of your
debates ; and the Rev. Dr. Haweis was particular-
ly requeftcd ^' to hrhig it forward after the public
fervice,''' at Surry Chapel, on Thurfday morning,
the 1AX\\ of September. There he made the prac-
ticability and probable fuccefs of fuch an under^
taking aj)parent, in a Memoir of confiderable
length, which you highly approved, and ordered
to be printed with the Mifiionary Sermons. Con-
vinced that this was the properefl fpot for our firft
attempt, on the day following, which was the
laft of the Generiil Meeting, you determined, what
all the Minifters had, in the vcftry of Surry Cha-
pel, unaiiimoufly approved the preceding day,
'* That the firfl ■ Mijfoiiary efforts of the Society

flioiifd be dirtied to one or more of the South Sea
" iflajids.'' And fo deeply were your minds im-
prcfJed with tliC peculiar nature and importance of
this miffion, that you decided it Ihould neither be.




undertaken upon a fmall fcale, nor delayed by
any reftridlions^ as to expenditure. You, there-
fore, refolved, " That if the Directors could prepare
^^ a MlJJion to the South Sea IJIands, conftjling of not
'^ lefs than fix perjhns, before the General Meeting in
" May, they voere empowered to expend fi^ch a fum
^^ upon it as they might think neceffaryT

We would bring alfo to your recolledlion ano-
ther circumflance, which was no fooner mentioned
in the Memoir than it feemcd to eive univerfal
fatisfa6tion. We allude to the fmgular and dif-
intcreilcd offer made by Captain Wilfon, of de-
voting himfelf freely to the fervice of the Lord, in
conveying the Miffionaries to the place of their
fleltination, with a crew of pious mariners, either
in a fhip pnrchafed by the Society, or in any
other manner they pleafed. A fele6l committee
was immediately appointed to converfe with him
on the fubje6l ; and on Monday morning, the
'28th of September, at the firft meeting of the
Dire6lors, they made a report of the fubflance of
their converfation ; upon which it was refolved^
^'^ That the Society do unanimoufly approve and cor-
'^ diaUy accept the offer made by Captain Wilfon ;
*' and that as foon as they have arranged the circuvi-
*^ fiances neceffary for the accomplifhment of theit
^^ purpofes, he f/iall be acquainted therewith,'^

Thus inftru6led in the cleareil manner, refpedl-
ing the fpot to which you determined the firft
miffion fhould be fent ; the fcale upon which the
arrangements fhould be made ; and the mode of
conveyance you would prefer ; in an humble dc-
pendance on the bleffing of God, we have endea-
voured, to the beft of our judgment and ability^ to
forward your defign.

From the zeal that evidently a6luated our nu-
merous aflemblies at the formation of the Society,
and the liberal fums that were inftantly fubfcribed
on the occafion, we conjedlurQd that our funds

b wuold


would foon be adequate to the aceomplKlinient of
jiuy objcci, which, in the providence of God^ we
iniglit be called to undertake. Nor were our ex-
pectations difappointed. The liberal contributions,
which have Howed in from all parts of the king-
dom, have produced a very confiderable fund ; the
particulars of which will be laid before the public
at midfummer, the time fixed for the nnnual pub-
lication of the fociety^s^ account.

With this confrclent hope_, that our rcfourccs
would be ccjual to our wants ; and that God would
])rorper an undertaking fo agreeable to his will, fo
conformable to his commands, and on which, at its
very commencement, he had fo gracioufiy fmiled ;
we began to look out for proper Missionaries.
Here we proceeded with the greateft circumfpec-
tion, knowing that the fuccef^ of every fuch enter-
])rife nnift depend, under God, upon the piety and
(jualitications of the inltruments employed.

As this was a fubjec^ which the late carrcfj)ond-
ing committee had very aucntively confidcred, we
relblvcd, at our firft meeting, to adopt the rules
thcv fLiggcllcd for the exaniination of candidates.
To recite them at length would, perhaps, be tedi-
ous, but we think it our duty to flate the fubftance
of them, becaufe we are pcifuaded it will aftbrd
you pleafure, and enable you to form fome notion
ofthepcrlbns who are ap{)roved and ready to be
lent forth under your patronage.

Caretlil whom we admitted into this holy fervice
of our Divine Mailer; and convinced that many
ferious perlbns may have futlicient grace to ferve
God in their own country, who have not received
^fo large a mcafure as to qualily them lor fuch a
peculiar undertaking ; we determined that no man
lliould be accepted as a JNliflionary, unlefs the
committee, appointed for his examination, were
unani'.noufly latislied that he poiieffed an. eminent
lliareof'the o-race of God, and appeared to have a



call to this particular work. That every Miffiona-
ry fhould he a learned man, wc did not dccni ne-
cefliiry ; on the contrary, we inferred, troni^the na-
^ture of things, rnd the fuccefsful attempts of the
Moravian Miillonaries, that godly mechanics
might be of fignal ufe to the undertaking, cfpecial-
ly in the South Sea Iflands, Africa, and other un-
civilized parts of the world ; but we laid it down,
as indifpenfibly requifite, that every one, learned
or unlearned, fhould pofiefs a competent meafurc of
that kind of knowledge, which the miffion lie en-
gages in may require,— be well apprifed of the dif-
fic nicies and dangers to which he may be expofed,

and willing to encounter them, through divine

afiiftance, at the hazard of his life.

Under thefe regulations ; and others that refpedl
the mode in which candidates muft apply, and the
teilimonials they muft adduce of their religious ex-
perience, condu6l, and ftanding in the church of
Chrift ; a committee of examination was formed,
confifting of nine minifters and two lay directors.

And, in order to obtain the clcareft views we pof-
fibly could on the fubjca, we deputed forne of our
brethren to confult thofe perfons, whom we ima-
gined moft likely to convey to us the ibundeft in-
formation ; and have particularly to acknowledge,
with thankfulnefs, the kind communications of Mr.

The firft report the committee made was on
Monday the gth of November lall ; when four per-
fons, whom they had ftridly examined, were re-
commended by them, and approved. At the fame
time we thought it our duty to come to fome con-
clufion refpeding married perfons, that the minds
of thofe, who had offered their fervicc^s might-no
longer be held in fufpencc. Thcrelore ; having
previoufly confultcd various books and experienced
l^erfons, to enable us to ibrm a ])roper judgment ;
and having well weighed the peculiar nature of the
'' b 2 niiission


miffion itfelf, and the example of others in circtim-
ftances the moft fimilar : and, above all, having
frequently prayed to God for direction ; we rcfolv-
ed, " that viarried men^ nxnih their wives, were eli~
^' gillie for the mijfion^ if approved of by the Committee
'^ of Exam'mation.'"

On the 14th of Deceniber another candidate
recommended by them was accepted : and, it hav-
ing been ftated to us that fevcral perfons in the
country had offered themfelves as Miffionarics,
who could not attend the committee in I^ndon
without confiderable ex pence and trouble ; befides
the lofs that might be fuftained by thofe who, after
leaving their employments to come up, might, for
for want of proper qualilications, be rejected ; we
refolved, " That the Committee of Examiyiation ^tvas
^* empowered to appoint ayiy direBors^ or other mem-
" hers of the fociety, in the country^ as a fidi- commit -
*' tee to examirie perfons in their vicinity y

In confequence of this refolution a fub-comm it-
tee was eftablifhed at Coventry for the examina-
tion of feveral candidates ; of whom fix were final-
ly approved. The fame was done at Plymouth and
Manchefter ; where three perfons more were found
duly qualified, two of them at the latter place and
one at the former.

In the mean while the committee in London
continued their exertions ; and w^e have the plca-
fure to inform you that we have already 15 fingle
men, and four married men and their wives, all ap-
proved and accepted. And, when we confider who
compofed the committee and fub-committees, that
examined them, and the great attention they paid
to difcover their real character and qualifications,
we may venture to affirm, they have received the
molt convincing proofs, that thcfe are all godly
perlbns, moved by the fpirit of God to undertake
the arduous work, and well fitted to promote the
great object of our inflitution. To mention any



particulars, refpecling their pictV;, their devoted-
nefs, their abihties, or their acquirements, would be
highly improper, as many of them may be prefent.
We truft, however, this general teftimony of our
approbation will fatisfy you, and encourage them
to go forward ; and that a growing fenfe of their
own infufficiency for the difficult fervice that lies
before them, will excite in them an ardent fpirit of
prayer, and engage them to look by faith to him,
who has promifed to fupport the weak and to in-
creafe ftrength to them that have no might.

Refpecling the accepted Miffionaries in Lon-
don, a commiittee hath been appointed to converfe
wnth them frequently on religious fubjeds, wdth a
view to improve their ability for entering on the
arduous v/ork of their miffion : and the brethren,
who have kindly devoted their time to this labour
of love, give the moft favourable idea, on a near in-
fpedion, of their fpirit and inereaiing meetnefs for
the fervice. Care has been taken, at the fame
time, to employ fome of them in the acquihtion of
fuch mechanical arts, and other information, as
may render them moil ufeful to the natives.

We have moreover the fatisfaclion to fay that
our refources of Missionaries^ as well as monev,
continue happily inereaiing. Several more . are
eagerly pressing into the fervice and waiting to be
examined ; and we hope, from the recommenda-
tions w^e have received, the greater part of them
will be found w^orthy to iliare, with thofe already,
accepted, the perils and the glory of the mission.

Thus has God, beyond even our mofl fanguine
expectation, provided flie vieans of accomplishing .
our purpofe, in funds fo nobly liberal, and ir>-per-
fons apparently fo well qualified.

But, after all our endeavours to find proper la-
bourers, it is evident that nothing could be effe(5l-
ed, unlefs fome mode were devifed for conveying
them to the place of their deftmation — an ifiand fe-



parated from us by half the circumference of tlie
globe ; ^vhcrc -we liave neither colony nor fort ;
and which, though abounding with all the necef-
faries of life for the fuppart of its inhabitants^ yet
affording no articles to engage the notice of com-
mercial adventurers, and lying far remote from the
ufual trac^ of navigation, is feldom vifited by Eu-
ropean vcficls.

This being a fubje6l of the laft importance to the
luccefs of the undertaking, it early engaged our
deliberations ; and no fooner was Captain Wilfon's
offer unanimouily accepted, and the rules for the
examination of the Missionaries adopted, than a
committee was ehofen " To eiiqiiire info the viojl eVi-
^^ gihk mode of convey 'mg MiJJionanes to the Soi/th
" Sea IJlcuuhr

After the mod diligent enquiries there appeared
to be only three modes for our confideration. The
firft, by a paifnge hired in a South Whaler. — The
fecond, by a fliip of large tonnage engaged by in-
dividuals on a commercial adventure, for the fake
of accommodating the fociety. — And the third, by
a fmall vcflel purehafed or hired by the fociety it-
felf, and under its immediate control.

With regard to the iirft of thefe modes ; we are
doubtful, to the prefent moment, whether it be
even practicable ; fince no fpecific offer could be
procured from any one engaged in that trade,
though a])plications were made to feveral. The
only information we could obtain, in writing, was
a letter from a gentleman of religious character,
friendly to our undertaking and ready to promote
it, ancl poflelfing greater property, in fhips em-
ployed in the South Whale Fifliery, than any other
])erfon in the kingdom. He fpeaks of it in terms
the moft difcouraging in every point of view : fo
that it appeared to us the moft hazardous, the moft
incommodious, and, all confiderations being taken
into account, the moft iuclieible mode that could



be adopted. In fliort, the decided and Urong re-
probation of this meafure, not only by the gentle-
man above mentioned, but by feveral others, per-
fe6lly acquainted with the nature of a South Wha-
ler, and who had been confulted upon the fubje^l,
dcterm.ined us utterly to abandon the idea ; and to
refolve, '' That it is the opinion of the Dire6lorSy that
\'- the viojl eligible conveyance of Miffionaries, to the
" ]fla?id ofOtaheite, is either by afmall-vejfel, ?iot ex-
" ceecling one hundred and eighty tons, pir chafed for
'' the ufe of the Society ; or otherwife by a vcffel
" belonging to the friends of the infhtuiion, with afe-
" haed mafier and crew ; who Jliall accomplijli the
'' fervicef>r afixedfum, mutually agreed on between
''the DireBors and owners. — And — " That a com-
" mittee he immediately formed, ,to take into confider-
'' ation which of the two modes, approved by the So-
" ciety,J/iall appear to them the mojt eligible ^

At the next monthly meeting, the committee
prefented " The outlines of a plan, for accomplijhing
" this fervice for afixedfum, by a vejfel fitted out, for
" the purpofe, by a number of fubfcribers ; provided.
'' commercial arrangenmits could be made with go-^
" vernment, the Eafi India Company, or otherwife, to
'' Tighten the general expence of the voyaged "_ The
'' thanks ofthefocietywere given to them for their af
^^ fuhdty and zeal ; but, after much cmiverfation on
''the fubjea, and after feveral eftimates had been
" read, it was rejolved. That afJiip belonging to 4he
" Society be judged by the Directors to be the moji eli-
'' p-iWt^ plan:'' And, " that the refolution he copied
"- andjmt to all the Directors for jlnal confirmation,'"

Though the Directors, who lived nearefl.the
fource of information, were thus decidedly in fa-
vour of a fliip of our own, they deferred the. final
difcussion of this fubjea, till the Diredlors, more
remotely fituated, arrived in town to hear .and ex-
amine the grounds on which their opinion rcfted,



perfuadcd that the mcafurc would be fanclioned
-by an unanimous luffrage.

In the mean while the committee, ever attentive
to the interefl: of the Soeiety, began to confider,
wdicther we might not leflen the cxpence of the
mission in a veffel of our own, by procuring a car-
go of (lores to Poil Jackfon from the government,
and a returning freight from the Eaft India Com-
pany, by leaving the dire(9: eourfe and touching at
Bengal. To detail the difficulties they foon per-
ceived, and the various fteps they took to obviate
them, would be quite unneceffary. It will be fuffi-
cient to fay, that, as they wxre proceeding in their
enquiries, a circuin fiance occurred, which providen-
tially decided for us, and left us no alternative :

Government being about to engage tranfports
to convey ftores to Port Jackfon, we wxre apprized
of their intention ; but having no lliip ready, v»'e
could make no offer, nor could their contracts be
delayed till v/e had made our arrangements. From
the feme authority we were likcwife informed, that
no ftores would be fent there again for^ at leaft,
nine months to come.

Thus were we providentially precluded from
commencing the mis^^ion with any objecl of com-
merce annexed. A fmailer veilel therefore of our
own, with a crew of godly mariners, commanded
by Captain Wilfon, and wholly devoted to the mif-
fion, till its return, now appeared to us, not only
far fupcrior to every other mode, but abfoiutely ne-
ceffary, if we meant to accompli fh the delirable ob-
jet^" without delay : for elfe, after the immenfe
pains taken ^ the funds raifed, the numbers of Mif-
tionarics accepted, our efforts would prove abor-
tive, our fubfcnbcrs be difa])pointed of their ex|)ec-
tations, the missionary zeal be quenched, and the
affairs of the Society, (except the fubfcription al-
trddy made,) be reduced to the fame ui>eertainty,
2»at the moment when w c firft began to form our



arrangements; but by adopting this meafure, with-
in a few days, or weeks at mofl^ the fhip may be
procured, and the ferious mariners^ who have offer-
ed, collected ; and, in Augufl, or September, our
Miliionaries, confiding in the prote6lion of God our
Saviour, may take their departure from their na-
tive land, to carry with them over the mighty ocean,
the invaluable treafure of the everlafling Gofpel.

Nor did we confider it to be the leail of the ad-
vantages refuiting from the mode propofed, that the
number of the Missionaries may be encreafed, as
far as they offer, with a very difpropcHtionate in-
creafe of expence to the Society ; the articles of
their equipment, and their proviiion on the voy-
age, being the principal fource of additional ex-

But the fmgular utility of this conveyance
became ftill more manifefl, when we rcileel-
ed on the very extenfive field it opened to our ex-
ertions ; a circumflance, we are perfuaded, that
muft highly correfpond with the wiflies of the So-
ciety. For the fhip being wholly appropriated to
this grand objed, till the Missionaries appear to be
fecurely fettled^ thirty perfons, or more^ can be as
ealily fent as twenty, and a part of them, ere the
Ihip returns, be ftationed either on the mofl popu-
lous ifiands contiguous to Otaheite, or a body from
them be detached to the vaft group of the
Friendly lilands, where a like door of utteranee,
and entrance, will probably be found ; or forae of
them fent to the Marquefas, where the want is
equally great, and the profpeds of welcome and
fuccefs equally flattering. And though by embrac-
ing fo many objc6ls, the voyage muft neceiiarily be
prolonged, and our expence augmented, our work
will be more effectually done, and our missionary
efforts much more extended, and with greater hope
of doing more at once, and with a firfl voyage, than
©ould he done v/ith fewer perfons, and repeated vifits.
Q Having


Having: waited for the general meeting of our
brethren from the countiy, and fubmitted to them
the refult of our deHberations upon this important
fubjecl, with the fulleft conviclion of its preferable^
nefs, and even of its necellity, we were unani-
moufly of opinion, " That a vejjel Jhouhl he pro-
'• v'uled, and navigated by a ferions captahi and
'' creiv ; containing accommodatmis for thirty M'lJ-
'/ fonaries or 'more, exclnfive of women and children ^

The expence of a Million on this enlarged fcale
will certainly be very confiderable ; but we are
authorized to hope, from the liberality which we
have already experienced, that exertions fo great
will never wiint fupport, when condu6led with
prudence and zeal, and regulated with the llri6lefl

It has been among our firft defircs to form our
Mission on the broadeft bafis of Chriilian Liberty,
and to prevent, as far as lieth in us, every fubjetl
of contention, among thofe, who may in future
condu6l the affairs of the Society. We have
theretbre unanimouily agreed, that, renouncing
our feveral educational partialities, it is a funda-

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryLondon Missionary SocietySermons (1796) → online text (page 1 of 15)