Samuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) Worcester.

The life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D.; former pastor of the Tabernacle church, Salem, Mass online

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Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterThe life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D.; former pastor of the Tabernacle church, Salem, Mass → online text (page 30 of 42)
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doubt, from the conviction that he could successfully
maintain the right side. But it was chiefly from the
union of his spirit with that of " Paul on Mars Hill."
His prevailing thoughts were imbued with the most
enlarged and diffusive benevolence ; and at times he
had joy which made his countenance shine as if
irradiated from on high.

It was kindly ordained, that, during the Controversy
of 1815, he had so much of delightful experience in
preparing the mission to Ceylon. The young men,
who were designated for service in that island, had be-
come peculiarly dear to him. They had long been in
habits of most respectful, yet familiar intercourse, as
sons with a father. So much did they love him, and
so implicitly confide in his wisdom and sound judg-
ment, that they even ventured to propose, that he
should go himself to the East, and should take the
personal oversight of them in their respective fields of

* Related as a tender reminiscence, by Rev. Mr. Poor. And it is right to
add, that he and his associates were thorovghly tdticattd for their work.


" Salem, Oct 12, 1815.

Rev, Messrs. Samuel Newell, Gordon Hall and Samuel


Very dear Brethren, —

In my letter by the Indus, Capt. Dennis, which
sailed from Newburyport, for Calcutta, 27th of last
March, I acknowledged the receipt, then recent, of
your communications down to 25th Dec. 1813, except-
ing those dated at Cochin and Goa, which have since
been received ; and expressed to you the high satisfac-
tion which those communications afforded to the Pru-
dential Committee. * *

We greatly rejoice in your having been permitted,
after so many painful fluctuations and trials, to re-
main unmolested at Bombay ; and in the prospect
held out of your being allowed quietly to establish
yourselves there, and to pursue the great objects of
your mission. Though much time was consumed be-
fore you could find an open door and a resting place ;
yet we have reason to praise the Fountain of all gra-
cious supports and consolations, that neither you nor
we were discouraged, or greatly depressed ; and to trust
in him that the things which have befallen you in Asia,
will eventually turn out to the furtherance of the Gos-

We are satisfied, dear brethren, with the devoted
spirit v/hich you have manifested ; with the endeavors
which you have used to obtain a good missionary sta-
tion ; and with the manner in which you have em-
ployed your time and applied yourselves to the requi-
site preparations for your principal work. We think
with you, that Bombay is a most eligible and impor-
tant station. And we devoutly hope, that Providence
will permit you to hold it, will enable us to strengthen
it, and will kindly fulfil the highest expectations which
are entertained respecting it.

In regard to the principal subject of your last com-
munications, while we deeply lament the difierence of
opinion which has been exhibited ; we remark with

VOL. II. 30*


much satisfaction the Christian temper with which
your deliberations, debates, and proceedings appear to
have been conducted; and we gather from it the pleas-
ing hope, that you will yet be not only of one heart,
but of one mind and judgment. It is not indeed to be
thought strangCj that in a situation so new, and in cir-
cumstances so embarrassing, a considerable difference
of opinion should arise ; or that views should, for a
season, be entertained^ which time, experience, and
prayerful reflection will correct.

At the late annual meeting in this place, the Board,
after very serious deliberation, unanimously settled the
following general principles.

1. That every missionary employed in the service
of the Board is to be considered as being, under Prov-
idence, dependent on the Board for support, under
such regulations as the Board or the Prudential Com-
mittee, may from time to time recommend or approve ;
and that all the earnings which any missionary or mis-
sionary's wife, shall in any way procure, shall be con-
sidered the property of the Board, for the objects of
the missions, and as such be regularly accounted for to
the Prudential Committee.

2. That at every missionary station to which more
than one missionary shall belong, the salaries and earn-
ings of the missionaries, and presents made to them
or any of them, shall constitute a common stock, from
which they shall severally draw their support in such
proportions and under such regulations, as may from
time to time, be found advisable, and be approved
by the Board, or by the Prudential Committee.

3. That the majority of missionaries, on any mis-
sionary station, shall, in their regular meetings, decide
all questions that may arise, in regard to their proceed-
ings and conduct, in which the mission is interested.

4. That the Prudential Committee be authorized
to allow the missionaries at each missionary station,
to take such a house for their common use, as may be
suitable for their accommodation, and charge the rent
of the said house to the account of the Board.

These principles, we are persuaded, will, upon due


reflection, commend themselves to all your minds, as
correct, and most essential to that mutual confidence,
which should ever subsist, and by all means be se-
cured and strengthened, between missionaries and the
Board, and severally between the missionaries them-
selve ; and as highly important in various respects to the
stability and success of the missionary cause. Though
we do not perceive inthe ' Form of Polity " or Social Or-
der which you have transmitted to us for our consider-
ation, anything incompatible with these principles, or
particularly objectionable on any other account ; yet
the 'Prudential Committee very affectionately and
earnestly recommend to you a candid and careful re-
visal of the whole ; and exhort you to exercise the
spirit of mutual forlDearance and brotherly concession,
and to adopt with perfect acquiescence and unanimity
such a plan, conformable to the principles established
by the Board, as your best united wisdom may devise.

Agreeably to authority granted by the Board, the
Prudential Committee wish you distinctly to under-
stand, that it is their pleasure that you take such a
house for your common use, as may be suitable for
your accommodation ; having due regard at once to
good economy, and to the essential interests of the
mission. For the rent of the house, the Committee
will be answerable.

The subject of schools is one in which we take a
very deep and lively interest; and we are gratified that
it has so early and so strongly engaged your attention.
We cannot allow ourselves to doubt, that you will
soon be brought to harmonize in judgment and in feel-
ing upon this important subject; and we repose full
confidence, under God, in your wisdom and fidelity to
adopt and execute such measures respecting it as will
be satisfactory to yourselves and to us, useful to the
mission, and of great and lasting benefit to the present
rising generation, and to the generations to come in
the land of pagan darkness in which you are stationed.
On this subject, however, we would particularly re-
commend to your attention a report of the late vener-
able missionary, Dr. John, to be found in the Mission-


ary Register for Nov. 1813, a copy of which, we trust
you will receive along with this letter. You may rest
assured that every encouragement in our power will
be given by us to the promotion of schools.*

If you duly receive the letters which have been sent
out, you will have been apprized, before this reaches
you of the preparations for sending out your brethren,
who have been for some time in readiness for the ser-
vice. Upon this subject you will be pleased to re-
ceive the following extract from the recent annual
Report of the Prudential Committee, which we regret
that we cannot now send you entire, as it has not
yet been published.


These brethren take passage in the brig Dryade,
Capt. Buffington, from Newbury port, directly for Cey-
lon, where it is expected the Dryade will leave them,
and proceed on her voyage to Calcutta. Their in-
structions direct, that on their arrival at Ceylon, they

* " We trust, dear brethren, that you have already had substantial proof
that we are not unmindful of you in regard to your support; and that al-
though, owing to your removals from place to place, and the obstruction for
a time of direct intercourse v^ith India, you have been subjected occasionally
to some embarrassment and to the necessity of being indebted for pecuniary
aid to the kindness of friends abroad ; yet it has not been long before you
have received from us the means of redeeming your bills and of relieving you
from enibarrassment and from anxiety. We wish you to be at ease upon
this subject. Our remiiiances to you will be such as, if duly received, and
we trust, that hereafter there will be no extraordinary hindrances, will al-
ways keep you in advance. We suppose that you cannot yet have made so
full and fair an experiment of living in Bombay, as to be able to determine
with accuracy, as to the adequacy of your salaries. It lakes considerable
time in a new place and in a new situation of life to get well settled, and to
learn the ways and means of economizing, of accommodating to circum-
stances, and of profiling by favorable opportunities and judicious foresight
and arrangement ; and until all this be attained, even though no extravagance
be indulged, though economy be studied, yel the expenses of living will un-
avoidably be very considerably greater, than afterwards will be found neces-
sary. This will especially be the case in great cities. While, therefore, we
think it right to make j'^ou such allowances for extraordinary expenses as your
accounts and an attentive consideration of j^our circumstances indicate to be
necessary and proper ; yet we deem it expedient to wait some time longer
before any fixed alteration be made in what we denominate your stated sala-
ries. This we think important for the prosperity of ihe mission in India, and
for the prevention of any prejudicial impression at home. Be assured, how-
ever, that it will be our care and our endeavor that your hearts shall not be
depressed nor your hands enfeebled, for want of competent means of sup-
port.— Upon this general subject, you will receive further and more particu-
lar information from the Treasurer."


should avail themselves of the best information, re-
specting not only that Island, but also the neighboring
Peninsula, Bussora, and other parts of the unevange-
lized East ; particularly that they open as soon as
possible a correspondence, with you, and weigh very
attentively any advice or suggestions, which from
your knowledge and experience, you may think proper
to offer for their consideration ; and that after due de-
liberation, they should use their best discretion as to
the place or places in which to establish themselves.
They are distinctly given to understand, and wish you
to understand, that, as in our view the station at
Bombay is a very important one, if the way be open
it may be highly expedient, that some of them should
join you there. On this point particularly, you will
be able to give them the best information ; and in re-
gard to this and every other point mutually interest-
ing to them and to you, as engaged in one great
cause, you will be forward, we doubt not, to commu-
nicate to them such intelligence and advice as will be
useful to them, and to render them every assistance
in your power.

The design of a mission to the Indian tribes in our
own country, though suspended is not relinquished.
Mr. Kingsbury, who finished his studies at Andover
this fall, is devoted to this service ; and should a suit-
able man be found to accompany, such an one as we
have particularly in view and hope to obtain, not
many months, we trust, will elapse, before the mission
be set on foot. Besides these, Mr. John Nichols, of
the Theological Seminary at Andover, and Mr. John
Ross, and Mr. Elisha P. Swift, of the Theological
Seminary at Princeton, have offered themselves for the
general missionary service. On the whole, the inter-
est is rising in this country, as it is most wonderfully
in England. The work is God's, and will prevail
and prosper.

Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of
his might. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let
them be afraid. Be steadfast, and immovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord ; and God, the all-



sufficient God, will be your shield and your exceeding
great reward.

Accept, dear brethren, the christian salutations of
the Prudential Committee and of the whole Board.
With great personal affection and esteem,

Your friend and brother,

Samuel Worcester,
Cor. Sec. and Clerk of Prud. ComJ^

Other correspondence of this period is reluctantly
omitted. There may be an interest for some in the
credentials^ or the official passport of the missionaries.

" To all whom it may concern : —

These presents may certify, that the bearer, the
Rev. James Richards, a native citizen of the United
States of America, liberally educated, and skilled in
medicine and surgery, is a duly approved and ordain-
ed Christian Missionary, under the patronage of the
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis-
sions, sent out with Instructions to preach the Gospel
of peace to the Heathen. And he is hereby affection-
ately recommended to the protection and favor of all
rulers and public functionaries, and to the courtesy
and kind offices of all persons, in every place to which
divine Providence may bring him.

Given at Salem, Massachusetts, U. S. A., this 16th
day of October, in the year of Christ one thousand
eight hundred and fifteen.

Samuel Worcester,
Cor. Sec. of the A. B. C. F. iJf."

On the 23d of Oct. the missionaries who had been
ordained in June, with the exception of Mr. Mills,
embarked at Newburyport. The exercises of embark-
ation, like those of the ordination, were attended by a
numerous assembly, and very materially promoted the
missionary spirit in the churches. Their Instructions,
with some necessary variations, were the same as


those given to the brethren, who preceded them, in
Feb. 1812.*

Mr. Mills remained to labor at home, in forwarding
the great cause, in which he was so ardently engaged.
His heart was much interested in the Indian tribes,
and also in the prospective mission to the Sandwich
Islands, — for reasons naturally associated with his
early acquaintance with Henry Obookiah.f Near the
close of this year, 1815, this interesting youth was for-
mally received under the patronage of the Board.
William Tennooee, and Thomas Hopu, natives also
of the Sandwich Islands, were received in like man-
ner. The foundation was thus laid for the establish-
ment of the Foreign Mission School, at Cornwall,
Conn., — which fairly commenced operations in 1817,
and, so long as it continued, was an object of very
affectionate care of the Prudential Committee.

In the Memoranda for November, the fifth parental
bereavement of Dr. Worcester is recorded. That " lit-
tle son, John Norris," was the second of the same
name. And as before, the father was enabled, to pre-
sent to his family, and all his friends, the example of
a perfectly resigned and comforted spnit. It was,
perhaps, more than ever apparent, that it was a fixed
principle of his life, — as a servant of Him who him-
self died for the world, — to consider the opportunities
of "doing good" and the "shortness" of "time," as
requiring some effort for the subordination of his do-
mestic griefs and sorrows, to the higher claims of per-
sonal usefulness in " preaching the Gospel," in " pub-
lishing salvation," and in " earnestly contending for
the faith."

* Dr. W. was obliged to return home, the 18lh. Thus he was nol with
either of the first two companies of Missionaries, when they sailed.
1 See Memoir of Mills.


Dr. Channing again addressed the public in " Re-
marks." He was particularly influenced, as he him-
self intimates, by the manner, in which he had been
called upon to retract " the flagrant mis-statement." —
Of the three pamphlets from his pen, it would justly
be considered the ablest. It breathes also a much less
indignant and a somewhat subdued spirit. But, as
before, all the great points in Dr. Worcester's Letters
are omitted or evaded ; while other topics are intro-
duced with the same ingenuity and earnestness, and
with higher exertions of embellishment and eloquence.
He also gave ample occasion for his opponent to
speak of his " fervid rhapsodies and inflammatory par-

It would seem, however, as if he had the " inten-
tion fairly and fully to meet the charge," for instance,
of " flagrant mis-statement." He so affirms. Yet from
the manner in which it was, or, rather was not^ met, —
it is not an uncharitable conclusion, that he really did
not perceive the error which he had committed, and
which, as he persisted in it, as a just interpretation of
Dr. Worcester's language, was perfectly astounding
and incomprehensible to others, as well as to Dr. Wor-
cester. His quotations and comments proved no such
thing, as he had affirmed. He had adopted, and still
adhered to the rule of interpreting the Letter, by the
" impression,^^ which it made upon his own mind and
that of his friends.

Dr. Worcester was much in doubt, whether it was
expedient to make any further rejoinder. But he at
last concluded to resume the subject ; and it is not
unsuitable to say, that he meant to make his Third
Letter, as it proved, decisive and final.

The controversy had materially changed. Ques-


tions of doctrine, as true or false, essential or non-
essential, were now more directly involved in the is-
sues. And hence it was conceived to be of vast im-
portance, that the public mind should be still further
enlightened, respecting points of faith, which had been
studiously depreciated, if it be wrong to say, carica-
tured and contemned.

Of his feelings, his motives, his aims and wishes, it
was a kind of humiliation in Dr. Worcester, to be
obliged to speak as he does, in resuming the grave
and momentous themes of discussion, which, in his
view, comprehended all the "interests of truth, justice
and mercy," in the glorious redemption of " the church
of God, which he hath purchased with his own

" I find," he says, at the beginning of his Third
Letter, " that you have seen fi.t to make to the public
another set of remarks about me, and about other per-
sons and things in connection with me. I did hope, if
you should condescend to write again, it would not be
in the style of a murmurer and complainer, or of a
popular suiter and declaimer. If the ' self-respect' and
'virtuous indignation,' of which you have so emphati-
cally spoken, required you to turn your back upon
your opponent, and to refuse to him the offices, not
only of brotherly kindness, but of common civility ;
yet it might have been well, had they not withheld
you also from attending to the points which essentially
belong to the debate, which have been distinctly
stated and urged, and which certainly merit very se-
rious and candid consideration and discussion. Those,
however, are virtues it should seem of no ordinary
loftiness and inflexibility, and of no ordinary claims
and prerogatives.

On the question of writing again, several considera-
tions have presented themselves to my mind. My
Second Letter seems to need no vindication or sup-

VOL. II. 31


port; as your Remarks have not I suppose, to any one,
even the appearance of an answer.* My labors and
duties are many, and my health is frail. A consider-
able portion of the public are probably desirous that
the controversy should cease ; as a large class have not
patience to attend long to any subject which requires
serious thought ; not a few have an imposing prejudice
against all religious debate, and a morbid dread of this
discussion in particular ; as if religious truth, and such
especially as relates directly to the redemption of man-
kind, and the person and kingdom of the Redeemer,
ought not to be developed or defended ; and not a little
influence is exerted to prevent people from reading —
more than one side.- — Still, however, there are many
who do read and will read both sides. The points in
discussion are among the most important, that could
be offered to the attention of the christian community.
Though some ill effects may ensue, as, in like
this, is always to be expected, when any thing is at-
tempted for the cause of truth ; yet the persuasion, I
believe, is continually extending and gaining strength,
that the good effects will greatly preponderate. And
though I have been accused of being a volunteer in
this service, as I would certainly wish to be, in a cause
so deeply interesting to the honor and kingdom of the
Lord Jesus ; yet as I have girded on the harness,
whether prudently or imprudently, the time does not
seem to have arrived for me to put it oft". — What I
have now to offer will be disposed under several dis-
tinct heads.

I. In the outset of your remarks, you re-urge the
charge of 'bad spirit and intention.' To this I am

* " The appearance of an answer." As an intelligent lady, herself a con-
vert from Unitarianism, was silting at the table of Dr. Worcester, — some six
or eight weeks afier the publication of Dr. Channing's last " Remarks/' —
she ventured to sound him, a little freely, respecting his intentions. " I have
heard it said," she pleasantly remarked, " that Dr. Channing h unaoiswerable.
He seemed to be much amused. "■ Ah.'^^ said he. — " Yes, I have heard it
said so, repeatedly." — Without answering her implied question, whether he
should write again, he significantly and smilingly added ; — " It is sometimes
not a little difficult to know what there is, that needs to be ansicered .'"


compelled briefly to reply. — My conscience bears me
witness, that my design has been not to excite popular
or party passions and animosities, already in a flame
when I first took my pen, but to assuage them ; not to
promote a violent disruption, or an irregular denuncia-
tion in the christian community, but to give such a
direction to the controversy, as would lead to sober
and conscientious inquiry, and to a right understand-
ing of truth and of duty. It has long been well known,
that I have not been the advocate of rash measures, of
hasty separations, or of a rigorously restricted system
of fellowship. You have yourself been pleased to say,
that you had ' regarded me as a man of candor, mo-
deration, and liberal feelings.' Though you have seen
fit to alter your opinion, and to represent me as a man
destitute of candor, and possessed of a bitter, malig-
nant, and persecuting spirit ; yet I suppose it will be
obvious to others, if not to yourself, that this latter
opinion has been formed under circumstances not the
most favorable to an impartial and correct judgment ;
and I am sustained in the confidence, that candid men
will pronounce, that for your sudden change of opinion,
and your consequent criminations, so hastily express-
ed, and so pertinaciously reiterated, you had no sufii-
cient reason." *

* " To a candor, indeetl, which confounds ihe distinction between truth
and error, — to a moderation which regards both the one and the other, as of
little consequence; — to a hberalily which places them on equal terms, in re-
gard to christian character and christian communion, I make no pretentions.
I do hold, that belief in the truth is essential to Christianity; and that ' tlie
church of^the living God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth,' and
the ministers of Jesus Christ, who are * set for the defence of the gospel,'
have not only a right to inquire, but are under obligations of infinite respon-
sibility to inquire, concerning the faiih as well as the practice of individuals
and communities, claiming christian fellowship ; — to inquire, however, with
candor, and meekness, and charity, making a difference between ignorance
and disbelief, and between circumstantial errors, and fundamental. This is
my heinous offence, — my impardonable crime. It is on account of this per-
suasion, that you have ' considered my letter unworthy of me as a christian
and a christian minister,' and ' thought that I have discovered a strange in-

Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterThe life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D.; former pastor of the Tabernacle church, Salem, Mass → online text (page 30 of 42)