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late Mr. John Thornton. It does not appear among his printed letters, but it is so beautifully expressive of the loveliness of true Christian humility, that the perusal of it may, by the blessing of God, benefit the reader. It is the more striking, as impatience of opposition, if not spiritual pride, has been sometimes imputed to the writer, by those who did not know both his self-abasement before God, and his readiness also to receive the kind reproof, whether deserved or not, of a fellowChristian.


Hon. Sir, I cannot see the motive for your reproof; but whatever it was, I fall under it, and stand corrected. I have not a word to say for myself before God or man. I cry, Peccavi. My mouth was never more stopped about self-defence, than at present. Although I am persuaded of God's special love to my soul, and of the free forgiveness of sins, yet I feel it daily hard fighting against them, now at the close of the battle, very, very hard; yea, so hard, that I am stripped of every great and high conceit of myself,

said or did any thing praise-worthy, it was the Lord's entirely. The will, the power, the success was his. He has all the honour. What was blame-worthy, it was altogether mine own. I take the shame of it to myself, and wish for more of that true humbling which he felt, who confessed, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Every thing that brings, and keeps a deep sense of this alive on my soul is profitable, because it is the means of keeping up communion with the Almighty Saviour. It affords a fresh conviction, that I have no failings pardoned but through his blood, nor subdued but through his grace. And I trust I am living to learn to magnify Him for both. In which if you will give me your prayers, it is the only favour I have to ask of you, and a great favour it is the Lord incline your heart to do it fervently, in brotherly love, such as I feel towards you. O pray (and may the Lord bless you to pray) for




Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

and am forced every moment to re- ON PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILIES nounce all self-confidence. There is not a man in the world more exercised with the body of sin, or more plagued with its continual opposition to God's most holy will. In these sore conflicts, there is not a sin that can be committed, but I find it in me; and, if God leave me to myself, may be committed by me. In this situation your reproof found me, acknowledging that salvation never did come, nor possibly can come, to one less deserving of it than I am.

Go on then, sir. Repeat your charges. Make one fault a thousand. Multiply that by thousands, by tens of thousands, yet still you are far short. I feel more than you can number. I have nothing, in me, nothing done by me, nothing I can even think of, which is mine own, but what, God knoweth, I loath and abhor myself for. If ever I

THE letter of your intelligent correspondent Z. (see Christian Observer for January last) relates to a subject which every well-wisher to the cause of missions must acknowledge to be of very great importance, and to which therefore the attention of all who are intrusted with the management of missionary institutions, cannot be too early or too seriously directed. My object in troubling you with the following remarks, is not, however, to discuss the general question which he has so clearly proposed, but merely to place in a correct point of view the practice of the Brethren's church in regard to it; a task, which will hardly be deemed unnecessary by those who recollect that it is from

this practice, and its real or presumed consequences, that the argument of the writer derives its chief corroboration.

If the statements of your correspondent on this subject be perfectly correct, it is hardly possible to avoid the conclusion, that the church of which I have the privilege to be a member, has committed a serious and alarming oversight in undertaking to provide for her superannuated missionaries, and for the widows and children of those who engage in her service; and that if it behoves the managers of kindred societies to pause, before they irrevocably pledge themselves to a similar course, it is doubly incumbent on the directors of the Brethren's missions, to relinquish a system fraught with consequences so perilous. Our error, if such it prove to be, is indeed distinctly characterized as a venial one, seeing that we have committed it ignorantly, not in the obstinacy of unbelief, but in the simplicity of faith; not from a disposition to tempt God by the indulgence of presumptuous expectations, but from inability, owing to the want of the requisite information and experience, to estimate aright the difficulties inseparable from the system we had determined to pursue. Yet notwithstanding the apprehensions expressed by your correspondent, and the anxieties to which we ourselves too often give way, I will venture to affirm, that we should not hesitate to adhere to the same principle and practice, if, with the accumulated experience of nearly a century, we had to commence our missionary work afresh.

For so bold a declaration, it becomes me to assign a sufficient reason. In doing this, I wish to be understood as offering no opinion as to the existing practice of other missionary societies, or the expediency of their either following or avoiding our example, (for who are we, that we should commend ourselves or judge our brethren?) but merely as endeavouring to explain

what is the real state of the case, as it regards our own church. Having supplied several important omissions, and rectified a few serious, though doubtless unintentional errors, in the statement of your respected correspondent, I shall leave your readers to decide what degree of parallelism there exists between the circumstances and experience of the Brethren's missions, and those of other societies, and in how far, consequently, our example may furnish the beacon which it has been presumed to do.

The first notice is claimed by a fact, which appears not to be generally known, but which may be considered as the key to the financial system of the Brethren's missions. I refer to the circumstance, that the missionaries of our church, wherever employed, and whatever their incumbencies, receive no fixed salary; but a pledge, on the part of the society, that with the Divine help, they shall be supplied with food, raiment, and other necessaries of life, both during the period of their service, and when they are compelled by any visitation of Providence, to retire from it; and that a suitable education shall be provided for their children, till they arrive at a certain age. The lastmentioned engagement, it will be observed, extends much farther than your correspondent is aware of; since it is not merely the children of retired missionaries, but of those likewise who are in actual employment, to whom a specific provision is guaranteed.

Having thus briefly stated the principle on which the practice of the Brethren's church in this particular is founded, allow me to ask, whether that practice could be relinquished without the subversion of the whole system;-whether having once engaged to provide our missionary brethren with whatever is needful for their own maintenance and that of their families, so long as they continue faithful in their calling, we could, under any circum.

stances of outward pressure, with draw from the aged and worn-out labourer, and the bereaved widow, a support to which they are as fully entitled as we are absolutely pledged, or to withhold from their offspring the advantages of a careful and religious education, in the bosom of their own church. It will surely be admitted, that the faithful missionary labourer is worthy of his hire, whether like Zeisberger, or Beck, or Marsveld, he chooses to spend his little remaining strength, and to lay his bones in the midst of the Indians, the Greenlanders, or the Hottentots, who have enjoyed the benefit of his lengthened ministry, or, like others of his fellow-servants, he solicits and obtains permission, to have the evening of his days cheered by the society of his children or near relatives, and by intercourse with friends and brethren, from whom he has long been separated.

Such at least are our feelings, in regard to this important question; and we shall therefore, I trust, be forgiven, if we hesitate to apply to the scanty and hardly-earned pittance, enjoyed by our retired missionaries, the name of relief, or, to speak of them in terms employed by the writer of an ingenious article, in a contemporary journal, as an interesting class of sufferers. Those who in heathen lands, " for Christ's sake have borne and have laboured, and have not fainted," have, I think, a claim to be treated rather as fathers of the church than as dependents on her bounty.

But I proceed to point out a few other particulars, in which the statements of your correspondent appear to need correction or explanation.

And first, in regard to the experience of Life Insurance Societies, which he considers not only to be generally applicable to the case of missionary institutions, but to have received a decided confirmation from the financial history of our own. The accuracy of the principle laid down, I am not prepared to call in

question; nor am I even qualified, by a careful collation of the unpublished returns of our missionary disbursements, previous to the year 1818, to state, whether the ratio between the annual expense of retired missionaries and their families, and that incurred for general mission-purposes, has or has not reached its maximum. It will not however appear surprising, that the number of the former class should have been gradually increasing within the last twelve years, when it is ascertained that during the same period, the active labourers have increased in nearly the same proportion, namely, from 160 to 200 (including the wives of missionaries). Had your correspondent confined his calculations to this branch of the subject, the result would have been more accurate, as well as less alarming: by extending them, as he has done, to the question of expenditure, he has fallen into mistakes which seriously affect his argument.

1. He has omitted to mention the fact, that, although the missionary expenditure of the Brethren's church has varied but little in the course of the last twelve years, her sphere of missionary activity has, through the Divine blessing, been greatly enlarged. This is sufficiently proved by the establishment of eight new stations since the year 1818.

2. Another circumstance, still more important in its bearing on the general question, is (inadvertently, I am persuaded) kept out of view ;-namely, that the sum of 6300/., which is quoted as the average annual expense of thirty-eight missionary stations, includes none of the disbursements in the Danish West India Islands and Labrador, and only a proportion of those incurred at the Cape of Good Hope and in Surinam; the charge of these missions, containing seventeen stations and one hundred and fifteen missionaries, being defrayed, either wholly or in part, by the aid of distinct societies, and the laborious exertions of the missionaries themselves.

3. In referring to the maintenance cessive generations of these children, of retired missionaries and their fa- the ranks of our missionary labourmilies, he has neglected to notice ers, and of those servants of our the three following very material church who are employed in Chrisparticulars :-That the annual ex- tian countries, have been frequently penditure, on account of the former recruited; so that it would be easy of these two classes (the only one at the present time to exhibit a which comes strictly within the catalogue of individuals belonging scope of his argument), has during to both these classes, who are themthe last twelve years, experienced selves the children or grand-children an augmentation, scarcely propor- of missionaries. One series of extioned to that which has taken place amples of this kind is so remarkable, in the number of missionaries em- that I am tempted to quote it, in ployed;―That of the sum of 2900/. illustration of the above statement. the amount expended in 1828_on the objects above specified, no less than 1600 was required for purposes of education; and lastly, That of the eighty-six children who received their maintenance from this fund, probably three-fourths were the offspring of missionaries in actual service.


The expenditure for these several objects, though considerable, will, it is hoped, not be deemed excessive, by any person who has examined and compared the statements annually published by our Society;on the contrary, he will rather incline to the opinion, that the allowances to each class are apportioned with a degree of economy bordering on parsimony. Taking the averages of five years, it appears, that the pension of a retired missionary and his wife, is about 351. per annum; of a widow 127.;-and that for the education of a child, the annual disbursements do not exceed 16/. It is hardly necessary to add, that without the advantages afforded by the peculiar institutions of the Brethren's church, especially on the continent of Europe, economy to this extent would be impracticable. In regard to the education of the children of missionaries, I may perhaps still be allowed to observe, that though adherence to this branch of our system is abundantly warranted by every principle of justice and equity, it has not failed to receive additional confirmation from the blessing of God hitherto manifestly vouchsafed to it. From suc

The name of John Beck, the instrument in the hand of God for the conversion of Samuel Kajarnak, is well known to all who have perused the history of the Greenland Mission. Before this veteran in the missionary field was called into eternal rest, in the seventy-first year of his age, and forty-third of his labours, he had the pleasure to see two of his sons following close in his footsteps, the one as a missionary in Greenland, the other in Labrador. The former of these departed at Lichtenau, in the year 1822, after a faithful and blessed ministry of above half a century;the latter retired in 1797 from a yet more arduous service of nearly twenty-five years among the Esquimaux. Nor has this desire to minister to the salvation of their fellow-men become extinct, even in the third generation; several members of the same family being at present actively engaged in the service of the Lord's house,—two of their number, the children of our late venerable brother Jacob Beck of Lichtenau, as messengers of peace to the very tribes among whom their father, uncle, and grandfather so long and successfully laboured. Could a more distinct or cheering evidence be afforded to an ambassador of Christ, that his own service, however feeble and imperfect, had been well-pleasing in the sight of his gracious Master;-or that the Head of the church had condescended to accept and ratify his solemn and well-considered vow,

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord?"

There is yet one other circumstance, connected with the existing state of our missions, of which we are reminded by your correspondent, and on which, therefore, I beg leave to say a few words. He declares with truth, and we acknowledge with gratitude (and I may add, without shame, in as far as our poverty is the cause), that the extended work carried on by the Brethren's church among heathen nations, has, for a number of years, been in a great measure dependent for its support on the liberality of British Christians. Were this generous aid withdrawn, either from necessity or from a change in the public feeling, we readily admit that our situation would become, humanly speaking, not merely critical, but desperate. But when we recollect at whose command, and in reliance on whose grace and strength the work was originally undertaken, and has been successfully prosecuted now for nearly a hundred years, and further consider, that He who in the present day inclines the hearts of so many of his children to minister to our necessities, is the same Lord who, in former times, afforded us help and deliverance, by means altogether out of the control of man, our faith is powerfully confirmed, and we are enabled to rejoice, that we serve a Master to whom there is no restraint to save, by many or by few. So long as He accounts us worthy to labour in his vineyard, we are confident that He will not leave us destitute of those things whereof He knoweth we have need; but if we should hereafter be found slothful and reprobate servants (unprofitable we confess ourselves to be), what else ought we to expect than that He will be as faithful in the execution of his threat, as He has shewn himself in the fulfilment of his promise; and that, when the period of his longsuffering has reached its limit, He will cast us out of the vineyard, and CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 340.

transfer the portion we have so unworthily occupied to other husbandmen, who will render Him the fruits in their seasons.

In the mean time, I trust it is unnecessary for us to assure our fellow-servants in other churches, who have so nobly and spontaneously come forward to bear our burden, so fulfilling the law of Christ, that we are not unthankful for their labours of love, but that our fervent prayers continually ascend in their behalf to the Throne of Grace, that God would make all grace abound towards them, that they always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

I cannot conclude, Mr. Editor, without tendering to yourself and your readers, a twofold apology for this communication; in the first place, for its length, which to many may appear very disproportioned to the interest of the subject under discussion; and secondly, for its bearing the signature of an individual comparatively inexperienced in the work concerning which he has ventured to state some particulars; a hewer of wood and drawer of water in the missionary vineyard, whose term of service has probably been shorter than that of your respected correspondent. My apparent presumption will perhaps be more readily forgiven, when I mention that the task which I have undertaken has been urged upon me, by several valued friends in other churches, and the statements which I have made have received the sanction of a revered parent, who has devoted forty-three years of an active life to the furtherance of the Gospel among the heathen, through the instrumentality of the missions of the United Brethren. As an associate in his labours, and in the present instance as his representative, I have presumed to address you; and now beg to subscribe myself with sentiments of unfeigned respect and esteem,

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Your servant in the Gospel,


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