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by a Mission, is the character of its Native Agency. Though the European Missionaries may be zealous and active themselves, though large numbers of converts may apparently be made, if
, at least after an adequate time has elapsed, the Native Agents be comparatively ignorant men, constantly requiring guidance and stirring up, the real advance made has been small. A Missionary remarked in commendation of his Agents, “ My Catechists are like children; they come and ask me about every thing.” But so far from being satisfied with children, that would perish without the fostering care of parents, the aim ought to be to raise up men, able to judge for themselves and maintain an independent existence.
Missionaries not Pastors.--It has sometimes happend that the Missionary has merged into the simple pastor. Underhill says:
“ Converts have gathered at his feet and, like children, bave clung to himn for protection and aid, for instruction and guidance. Schools have been instituted—these require incessant visitation. He must be prepared for, and at home, to preside at the regularly returning days and hours for the worship of his, perhaps small, but interesting Christian congregation. Then ihe sick have to be visited, cases of distress to be investigated, advice given to assiduous applicants, and all the affairs, both temporal and spiritual, of his little flock, have to be carefully attended to. Thus he has left, if not too fatigued to embrace them, but few and very occasional opportunities
to convey to a wider circle the good news of which he is the bearer. The Missionary is almost lost in the pastor. His stated work absorbs all his energies and time.
“ The friends of Missions at home have since come to doubt the propriety of the Missionary pastorate. They observe that the first Missionaries, the Apostles, speedily transferred the pastoral duties to persons chosen for the purpose from among their converts ; that, however dear the converts were to them, and however much the converts longed to retain them in their midst, they hasted away to the regions beyond,' affectionately com
men:ling them to God and the word of His grace, which is able to build them up and to perfect them in His way3.
The Memorial Volume of the American Board thus quotes the opinion of the American Mahratta Mission on the progress of Missionary work :
“ The course of the Missionary in regard to preaching they say must be different in the same place, according to the different stages of the work. When he first enters upon his labours at a new station, his great effort will be to draw people around him, and interest them in the presentation of Gospel truth. In doing this, it will not probably be found necessary to make use of schools in order to collect a congregation, as has been hitherto deemed important in most of our Missions. The Missionary who declines to establish schools for this purpose must go forth to one place and another, preaching in the streets to small companies or gathering large companies around him at Chaudis, or in the Chapel. When conversions occur, he must instruct his converts in the Christian faith. He must have his regular congregation on the Sabbath, for which he must exert himself in preparing religious instruction, feeding the flock of God over which the Holy Ghost hạth made him an overseer. But he must not be satisfied with this. He must look beyond the mere pastorate of a Church. He must endeavour to collect Native Churches in different places, and he must train up some of his converts to be the pastors of these Churches. He should be prepared to commit the truths of the Gospel to faithful men, that they may teach them to others also. As they increase in knowledge of the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel, and in adaptation to the work of making them known to others, he must give them an opportunity of exercising their talents, standing out of the way when necessary, that they may gradually be prepared to come forward and perform the duties of faithful ministers of Jesus Christ. He should ever himself be aiming at further extension, seeking how he may collect new Churches, and prepare pastors for them, thus making all his plans subserve the one object of fully planting the Gospel of Christ in the country where he resides, by the establishment of Churches with their appropriate pastors and other officers. The Missionary shoull feel it to be his business to go forward and find out where new Churches can be established, collect the nucleus, and then furnish the Native laborer who shall carry on the work. Dr. Judson said, when he had succeeded in collecting a Chnrch of one hundred members in Burmah, that he was satisfied'; his anticipations of success were fully realized. The days of the pioneers of Christian Missions are now past. Henceforth let it be the aim of the Missionary to collect, not one Church of a hundred members, but tweoty, fifty, or a hundred Churches, over which Native pastors shall be placed. With such an object in view, the minor plans of a Missionary will be arranged more wisely, than if he makes his arrangement to remain an indefinite time in one spot. And not only so, the views of the Churches which he gathers will be more correct, than if he settles down in one place, feeling little interest in the regions beyond. If he labors to extend the Gospel with its privileges to the whole country round, his Churches and their pastors will be churches and pastors of the right kind, possessed of a Missionary spirit, and laboring with one heart for the spread of the Gospel among their countrymen. On the contrary, if the Missionary becomes absorbed in teaching or in home labor, there is great danger, as we all have had opportunity to observe, that his young men will also be absorbed in study, or teaching, or some other local occupation, and their views will thus become very much confined; and instead of being good soldiers of Jesus Christ, there is great reason to fear they will become effeminate, delicate, worldly, and unfit to do the work of an Evangelist, or to labor efficiently in the cause of their Master.'
* Calcutta Conference Report, p. 119,
In the instructions delivered to some Missionaries of the Church Missionary Society the following occurs :
“The progress and prosperity of a Mission are dependent upon the development of the Native Church Take an illustration from Saint Paul. The Native Church is a holy temple to the Lord : the European Missionaries are the master-builders and the fellow-workmen in the Lord—the Mission, speaking of its machinery, is the scaffolding. When the ground is first laid out for a building, the master-builder is the chief actor, and all the pules and platforms which he erects are the chief objects; but as the building rises, the builders occupy less and attention,--the scaffolding becomes unsightly and when the building is completed, it is taken to pieces.
" Will this representation offend the true Missionary ? Certainly not, if Christ is with bim all in all : for to build a new temple for Christ's glorious habitation is his only purpose. He is ready to exclaim with one of old, «He must increase, but I must decrease.' Even though the children of whom he has travailed in birth assume a superiority over Him, he can say with the great Missionary of the Gentiles, Ye have reigned as kings without us; and I would to God that ye did reign that we also might reign with you.'
THE TRAINING OF NATIVE AGENTS.
The Necessity.-In some Missions the training of Native Agents receives due attention; in others it is almost entirely neglected. Few errors have done more to retard the progress of Christianity in India than the overlooking of this most important department. The compiler once asked why a large Mission in North India had no Theological Institution. The reply was, “Every Missionary trains his own Agents. This is little better than mockery. The Agents are not trained in this way, and they CANNOT be properly trained. The ordinary Missionary, has no time, and, in some instances, little inclination, to attend sufficiently to his Native Agents. There are, perhaps, a few Missionaries who do nothing more than pay the salaries of their Native Agents, with an occasional reprimand for their indolence and inefficiency. After a systematic training has been given, the Missionary may do the comparatively easy work of keeping up, in some measure, the habit of study; but that an ordinary Missionary in charge of a Station can do all that is necessary, is a delusion, as is shown hy painful experience. Many Missions are reaping the bitter fruits of past neglect. In every Mission of any size; the best qualified man should be set apart to the special work of training Native Agents. It cannot otherwise be done.
MODE OF TRAINING.—There is no one system which will serve in all cases. The two great points to be taken into account are, 1. The capabilities of the persons to be trained. 2. The nature of the work for which they are intended. Two other questions must also be considered in some cases; the means at disposal for training; the urgency of the demand.
Adult Converts. --The Bishop of Grahamstown, at a Conference of Kaffrarian Missionaries, spoke as follows of such men :
“ Paid Agents, again, might be of two classes. They migbt be taken from the older converts ; or they might be young men specially trained for the work. The question had been much discussed everywhere of late, as to which class of Ayents should be preferred. The real fact was, there was abundance of room for both, yea, for all classes of persons, to help in the work. Each class had its recommendations. Those who were specially brought up to the work would probably do more towards the general elevation of the converts as a whole, and their advancement in civilization. The older converts, if truly men of God, would, perhaps, have a greater influence in particular cases, and do more good among the men of their own age and status in the tribes. Influence did not depend altogether upon amount of learning. Il proper men, truly converted to God, great influence might be acquired and exercised, although they had but little special training, and the work might be greatly forwarded by such men. They saw it in heathenisin at this moment. There were men in every kraal and tribe who possessed a great amount of influence among their neighbours. Such men, endued with the same natural capabilities, under the control of Gospel principles, would doubtless be equally looked up to. The danger was (as bad been shown in the South Indian Missions)* that of taking up such men too soon, before they had been fully tested, or their characters sufficiently formed. If this danger be avoided, such men might generally be employed in the Missions with very beneficial results. But all success for the future must depend upon the training of the younger men. The firm establishment of the Native Church could thus only effectually be accomplished.”+
This must be understood as applying to their early periods.