William Brown.

The History of missions : or, of the propagation of Christianity among the heathen, since the Reformation (Volume 1) online

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By ADAM CLARKE, LL. D. F. S. A. &c. &c.

" Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." — Dan. xii. 4.
" And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. — Matt, xxiv. 14.






Be it Remembered, That on the eighteenth day of September, in tiie
»#***##* forty-first year of the Independence of the United States of Ame-
% % nca, A. I). 1816, Benjamin Coles, of the said district, hath de-

* ^'^' * posited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he
###*###« claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:

" The History of Missions, or of the Propagation of Christianity among the
" Heathen, since the Reformation. By the Rev. William Brown, M. D. with
" additional notes, and a map of the world. Also, a short account of the first
"introduction of the Gospel into the British Isles. By Adam Clarke, LL. D.
"F. S. A. Scc &c- 'Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be in-
"creased.'— Dan. xii. 4. ' And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached
*• in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end
" come.'— Matt. xxiv. 14."

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entituled,
" An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps,
charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the
times therein mentioned." And also to the act, entitled, " An Act supple-
mentary to an act, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by
securing the copies of maps, charts and books to the authors and proprietors
of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits
thereof to thp arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other

Clerk of the District of Pennsylvania,


J. Maxwell, printer.




The propagation of Christianity in the world, is the most
important subject which can engage the attention of a his-
torian. The rise, the progress, and the downfall of em-
pires; the discovery of unknown countries; the lives of
philosophers, of senators, of princes; the improvements of
the arts and sciences, may furnish useful and interesting
materials for history; but nothing is so momentous as the
diffusion of the gospel in the world, which at once brings
" glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good
will towards man." The transcendent importance of this
subject is stamped by no less than Divine authority. In
the New Testament, we have only two branches of his-
tory; the Gospels, containing the life of our Lord and Sa-
viour Jesus Christ, and the Acts of the Apostles, exhibit-
ing a view of the propagation of Christianity in the world.
It is not improbable, indeed, that some will think the
following work should have commenced with the Chris-
tian cera; but as, from the period of the Apostolic age,

iv Preface,

until the Reformation, the materials are in general ex-
tremely scanty and uninteresting, and as the principal
facts have already been detailed nearly at full length, by
our ordinary ecclesiastical historians, the Author consi-
dered it as unnecessary for him to repeat what had so of-
ten been written before.

Others, perhaps, will think that he should have given
an account of the Roman Catholic, as well as of the Pro-
testant missions; but if it be considered, that Popery is
Antichristian in its nature, it will appear obvious, that the
extension of such a system, had little or no claim to be in.
troduced in a work, the object of which was to exhibit a
view of the propagation of Christianity since the Reforma-
tion. Besides, the Roman Catholic missions have been
so numerous, so extensive, and of such long standing,
that, had the Author included them in his plan, the work,
instead of consisting of two, would have extended to five
or six volumes; a circumstance which would probably
have excited no slight feeling of repugnance in the minds
of most of his readers.

The Author, however, has deeply to regret, that, even
with regard to the propagation of Christianity by the Re-
formed Churches, his work is, in some instances, materi-
ally defective. This is particularly the case with respect
to the Danish, and several of the Moravian missions. In
writing the history of the Danish mission in the East In-
dies, it was not in his power to procure the Reports of th^
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and still less
the accounts of that mission which are annually published
in Germany ; and as he was anxious not to withhold any
information which he did possess, he has, in his account

Preface' y

of it, indulged in a looseness of narration, by no means
consistent with historical precision. In other instances,
there is a considerable disproportion in the several parts
of the narrative; while some events are detailed at full
length, others of equal or greater importance are slightly
passed over. These things he is sensible require an apo-
logy; but, in fact, they were in a great measure unavoid-
able in the present state of our information, relative to the
propagation of Christianity among the Heathen.
March Ist^ 1814.


THE missionary cause is emphatically the cause of God. They who
engage in it with hearts congenial with the temper of the gospel of
Christ, give " Glory to God in the highest^ on earth peace, and good-
will to men." They will not only share the honor, but eventually the
reward of "workers together with him." He who becomes instrumen-
tal of saving only one soul from endless misery, does more for man
than if he should give him a kingdom, or the world; " for what is a man
advantaged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself, or be cast
away.^" The cause of missions rises in importance as we contemplate
the value of the human soul, for it brings to the nations, sitting in dark-
ness and in the shadow of death, the knowledge of the salvation of the
souls of men; and it becomes still more important from the considera-
tion, that it brings the knowledge of this salvation as emanating from
\ the source of uncreated wisdom and goodness; and as the only ivay
(that sinful men can be restored to the favor of God, consistently with
his veracity, and the demands of his violated law. No resources of na-
tural light have ever been found sufficient to give this knowledge. In
vain do we listen to the most profound philosophers, the wisest states-
men, and the most refined metaphysicians. These in all ages, desti-
tute of divine revelation, have only left man where they found him,
" dead in trespasses and in sins." The most they have been able
to do, is, to raise an altar, and inscribe on it " to the unknown
GOD." And as to the article of human happiness, they have sought
out many inventions to obtain it, but alas, these have proved only
as broken cisterns, that will liold no water. To whom then shall we
go to obtain relief from the flood of miseries that sin has introduced
into our world? I answer, to those men of God, who have received a
dispensation of the gospel of Christ to shew unto men the way of
salvation, by the remission of sins through the blood of the cross;
*' Ask of them, the old paths, where is the good way, and walk there-

viii Introductory Preface.

in, and ye shall find rest for your souls." No man having once ex-
perimentally obtained the knowledge of this old way straightway de-
sires a new, for this plain reason, he saith, " the old is better."

The missionary cause is a distinguishing characteristic of the gos-
pel system of i-eligion. No other system in the world has ever made
it the indispensable duty of its votaries to disseminate its principles
throughout the world, in order to ameliorate the moral condition of
the human family, from a principle of pure good-will to man. In-
numerable have been the machinations of worldly policy, and sordid
ambition to extend territorial jurisdiction, and even in many instances
under the mask of Christianity; but, it has always been done by com-
pulsory measures — by fire and sword; such as the Gospel system
disapproves and scorns. The language of the Gospel is, " do vio-
lence to no man, neither accuse any falsely." — Luke 3, xiv. And
the apostle of the Gentiles, breathing the spirit of the Gospel, says,
" though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the
weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to
the pulling down of strong holds." All the Gospel needs, is a free
course, and it will run and be glorified. St. John saw it in the em-
blem of " a pure river, as clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne
of God and of the Lamb, on eitlier side of which was the tree of life,
whose leaves were for the healing of the nations." The Gospel is an
expression of the free, unmerited, sovereign love of God, to perish-
ing fallen man; and it has found its way only through the channel
of Missions.

Tlie Lord Jesus Christ, though, in his divine character the se-
cond person in the adorable Triniiy, yet, in his mediatorial charac-
ter, condescended to undertake a mission into this sinful world.
" God so loved the world, that, in the fulness of time, he sent forth
his only Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life. There was a man senth'oxa. God, whose name
was John," who also had imbibed the heaven -descended principle of
love to God and man, and came as the harbinger of his Lord and
master, to propagate the Gospel. The angels came down on the
same kind errand, and announced the advent of the Saviour to the
men of Judea. The apostles, who were first made to drink into the
same spirit with those congenial spirits above, were then sent, first
to their own, then to all the nations of the earth, with the supporting
promise of the great Head of the Church — " Lo lam with you alway,
even to the end of the world." These missionaries died, for the pro-
phets tliey do not live forever; but the world remaineth lying in
wickedness, and the God of missions ever liveth to shed abroad his
love in human hearts by tlie agency of his blessed spirit, and thus e^-

Introductory Preface. ix

sentially to qualify, and send forth men in every age, who count not
their lives dear, so that they may be found faithful and successful
Embassadors for Christ.

The necessity of divine agency, and the reasonableness of human
instrumentality in this august work are obvious, when we realize the
inveterate nature of human depravity, and the constitution of things.

Man is fallen from innocence and rectitude, and, in his iall, has
contracted blindness in his understanding, avex-sion in his aftections,
and contumacy in his will to all spiritual good; and these disordered
powers, by exerting their corresponding influences in the soul, bring
it into subjection, as under the actual force of a most powerful law,
and constitute the fruitful source of all moral evil, as well as of those
horrid superstitions practised by the Heathen nations: hence the ne-
cessity of divine agency to etfect a renovation of heart; and hence,
with great propriety, does the "faithful and true Witness" declare,
" Except a man be born again^ he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Though man be thus fallen, he remains a rational being, and as
such, he is still a subject of moral government. The Gospel contains
a rational system of divine truths; hence tiie propriety of reasoning
with his fellow roan on Gospel truths which involve the eternal sal-
vation of the human soul, and bring life and a glorious immortality
to light: therefore Paul " rfflsoTZfcZ of righteousness, temperance, and
judgment to come," before Felix; and was accustomed to go into the
synagogues of the Jews on the Sabbath day, and " to reason with them
out of the Scriptures, opening and alledging that Christ must needs
have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus,
whom he preached unto them, was Christ." {Acts xvii. 2, 3. xviii. 4,
19, xxiv. 25) and thus saith the Lord to his literal Israel, " Come,
let us reason together^'' (Isai. i. 18.) and Gospel worship is called a
^'reasonable service^'' {Rom. xii. 1.) But God hath placed this matter
beyond all dispute, by enjoining it on his servants as an act of moral
obligation. " Go teach all nations," said Christ to his apostles, after
having produced the credentials of his Divinity, by working miracles
in the face of the world, and declaiing that all power in heaven and
in earth was given to him. And all real missionaries of the Gospel,
who are called of God, as were the apostles, reply, " The love of
Christ constraineth us," and " woe unto us if we preach not the

The moral, like the natural world in the beginning, lies in chaotic
darkness, and God, in tlie dispensation of his Gospel through mis-
sionary agency, says " Let there be light," and " the light of the know-
ledge of the glory of God. as it shines in the face of Jesus (vhrist.


X Introductory Preface.

shines into iiuman licarts;" and the effect is, men turn from dumb
idols to serve Hiin^ihe only living and true God.

Ignorance of the nature of God is the corrupt fountain of all the ah-
surdities of the Heathen worship. No worship can be acceptable to
God, but that which is rendered in obedience to his will, and proceeds
from a heart rightly affected towards his government, and towards all
the natural and moral attributes of the Divine nature. Nothing is more
rational, and nothing is more necessary, according to the nature and
fitness of things, than these words of Divine revelation. " God is a
Spirit, and they who worship him, must worship him in spirit and in
truth." The Heathen, by the light of nature, know there is a God,
but being ignorant of his peculiar nature, " they glorify him not as
God." Being vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart
darkened, they have ever been " cliangingthe glory of the incorrupti-
ble God into images made like to corruptible man, to birds, to four
footed beasts, and to creeping things." Hence it is, that they can
have no proper conception of the infinite demerit of sin, as commit-
ted against an infinitely just and holy God. Through the lapse of
near 6000 years, we observe the Heathen, with all the combined i-e-
sources of mere human wisdom and strength, have not been able to
set forth an altar and a sacrifice, sufficiently meritorious, to obliterate
the hand writing of ordinances that stands against sinful man, and
thereby open a communication from Heaven to earth, that God might
be just in dispensing pardon and all spiritual blessings. Where
then, amidst this tempestuous sea of human miseries, shall we find
solid rock, on which we may rationally cast the anchor of our hope,
and look for deliverance.^ From what souixe draw refreshing
draughts of strong consolation.'' And upon what justifiable grounds
may men unite all their energies to ameliorate the moral condition
of the Heathen, and confide in the patronage of Heaven, and an all
pervading Providence.^ These are questions that demand the most
serious attention of the evangelized world. He who can remain in-
different to them, while he professes himself a Christian, betrays not
only inconsistency of character, but a sottish stupidity, foreign from
tliat temper which the Gospel inspires; because, on their answer de-
pend, as it respects all human determinations, the temporal and eternal
prospects of millions of the human family. Whereas, he who is alive
to their just importance, will act, not only consistent with the ration-
al dignity of human nature, but will shew a proof of that love to
God, and of that true philanthrophy which have ever been recogniz-
ed as the distinguishing characteristics of " pure and undefiled Re-

Do the iiiftilel Philosophers of our age, those professed friends of
humanity, ask for v arrantable grounds, on which, consistently with

hitroductory Preface, xi

their mode of reasoning, men may advance with honor, and a ration-
al prospect of success in tliis glorious cause? They ask for principles
of analogy; the civilizing and moralizing efficiency of the Gospel
among the Heathen, in every age, furnish them. We refer them to
the Acts of the Apostles, and tlie History of the propagation of the
Gospel by their faithful successors in the ministry, who have sought,
not their own, but, the glory of God in the salvation of souls, for
facts, — stubborn, undeniable facts, written, not merely with ink, but
with the Spirit of the living God in fleshly tables of the heart. These
furnish data^ as the firmest principles of analogy; for, " do men ga-
ther grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles.^" No. " A good tree," as all
naturalists will acknowledge, " cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither
can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Hence they have adopt-
ed this rule of philosophizing, viz. "That effects of the same kind
are referred to the same causes." The uniform effects of the Gospel
of Christ, from the days of the apostles to the present period, on the
human mind, wherever dispensed in its purity, have been the same;
that of civilizing and moralizing mankind in every department of
society. But these effects arc only the leaves of this tree of life, yet
they are sufficient to prove that it is of Divine origin, inasmuch as it
ameliorates the moral condition of the human family, The internal
fruits of the Gospel are, however, more especially worthy the wisdom
and power of God, and the admiration of all rational and holy beings;
such SiS faith, wliich purifieth the heart, and which is the substance
of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen; refientance
towards God wliich needeth not to be repented of: and which effects
a watchfulness and indig?iaticii against all sin, a vehement desire for
holiness, and a zeal for the honor of God; love, which is stronger
than death, or this mortal life, or angels, or principalities, or pow-
ers, things present, or things to come, or heiglith, or depth, or any
other creature; peace with conscience and with God; patience under
adversities, and in tribulation; meekness and humility towards God
and man; pleasures and delights, which are pure and substantial;
comforts and consolations, as strong as the immutability of God's
counsel, and oath; deliverance from the bondage of sin, that sting
of death, and from the awful forebodings of a guilty conscience; and
joys which are eternal, unspeakable, and full of glory. Though these
be only a few of the blessings, which, by the Gospel, are imparted to
the human heart, yet, they are more than all the wisdom of this
world have been able either to give, or, when given, to take from
one soul: and they abundantly prove, what the apostle Paul is not
ashamed to declare to the Romans, viz. that " the Gospel is the
flower of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1, 16)

xii Introductory Preface.

But faith, that rs connected with salvation comes by hearing
the Gospel preached, and a preached Gospel comes by the means
of Missions; for, how shall men preach except they be sent. (Rom.
X. 12 — 17) Thus " the tree is known by his fruit^'' and thus it
becomes evident, that, after the world by wisdom knew not God, it
hath pleased God in the wise economy of redemption, by, what many
esteem, the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

But, notwithstanding the Gospel be thus infinitely superior to the
light of nature, the former is so far from contradicting the latter on
the subject of moral obligation that it establishes it. The light of na-
ture, as it shews man his duty to God, and requires obedience, is
to be regarded as a law influencing the practical judgment; and,
though much obliterated by the fall, gives the Heathen intimations of
important, necessary trutlis, which they feel after as in the dark,
such as the existence of God, of moral evil, the necessity of an ex-
piatory sacrifice, &c. whicli the written Law and Gospel objectively
and clearly reveal. " The Gentiles which have not the Law, do by
nature the things contained in the Law, these having not the Law, are
a law unto themselves." (Rom. ii. 14.) This law is common to all
mankind, and operates alike in all. Christ " came not to destroy"
this internal la\v of nature, nor the holy, just, and good Law of God,
of which, this is but the vestige, but to fulfil it, as he declares, in its
purity, and to print a new edition df it in the human heart, by the
agency of liis blessed Spirit and Gospel. Hence the apostle adds, " Do
we then make void the Law through faith.^ God forbid; yea, we estab-
lish the Law," and " We know that the Law is good, if a man use it
lawfully." (Rom. iii. 31— 1 Tim. i. 8.)

_Plutarch, a Heathen philosopher, when the knowledge of the true
God was almost extinguished in the world, could observe the glim-
merings of the law of nature. "If," says he, "you go over the earth, you
may find cities without walls, letters, kings, houses, wealth, and mo-
ney, devoid of theatres, and schools; but a city without temples and
gods, and where there is no use of prayers, oaths, and oracles, nor
sacrifices to obtain good, and avert evil, no man ever saw." Here
the law of nature suggests the universal depravity of mankind, the
existence of a Supreme Being, and the necessity of active and pas-
..sive obedience, to obtain good and avert evil; but leaves them in the
dark with respect to the infinite demerit of moral evil, to the nature-
of God, and by consequence to the infinite merit of that obedience,
or righteousness which only can procure acceptance with God. We
obser\e, then, the law of nature universally demands a righteous-
ness, and tiie demand is just, rational, and indispensible, because it
arises out of the immutable and eternal relation that exists betwixt
God and his rational creation. The Pagans, Mahommedans, the ig-

Introductory Preface. xiii

uorant Jews, and the merely nominal Christians, all practically avow
this to be their creed; for " they all follow after the law of righteous-
ness, but do not attain to it; wherefore? because," says the apostle,
" they seek it not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the Law."
The Hindoos, for instance, seek it in the sacrifice of themselves and
children to the idol Juggernaut, or in the waters of the Ganges; the
deluded Mahommedans seek it in their pilgrimage to Mecca; the
wilfully ignorant Jews seek it in their partial obedience to the cere-
monial and moral Law; and the merely nominal Christians seek it in
their conformity, in some measure, to the morality of the Gospel. But
" being yet without strength," exclusive of the grace of the Gospel,
what the law of nature together with the written Law could not do, be-
ing "weak through the flesh," God sending his Son, in the likeness of
sinful flesh, and by this sacrifice for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh, that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us."
This is the glorious mystery whicli was hid from ages and genera-
tions, but which God now wills to be made known to the Gentiles
by the preaching of the Gospel: and it is worthy the remark, that no
theme of the Gospel so arrests the attention and affects the heart even
of the most obdurate and ignorant of the Heathen, as a plain and
faithful exhibition of the obedient life, painful sufferings, and excrucia-
ting death, of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners. To the preaching of
Christ and him crucified do the Missionaries in the following Histo-
ry attribute their chief success, in propagating the Gospel among the
Heathen; yet, so powerful is the law of nature, that, self-righteous-
ness they find to be the last idol, that Divine grace irradicates from
the human heart.

The righteousness of Christ, comprising his obedient life and death,

Online LibraryWilliam BrownThe History of missions : or, of the propagation of Christianity among the heathen, since the Reformation (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 45)