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sing so charmingly, the gardens are not so productive, the fruit is not so varied and delicious, nor are the meadows so green as in England."
But the Missionary will be chiefly pained at seeing idolatry rampant, and the people mad upon their idols. Many Christians at home have very incorrect ideas of the state of things in India. They do not realize the vast extent of the field ; the individual cases of religious inquiry or conviction they read of in Missionary Journals, they are apt to consider as types of the people generally. Sanguine men in India, like the late Bishop of Calcutta, have spoken of superstitions “ doting to their fall,” of Hinduism as "dying, yea as well-nigh dead," and indulged in “premature anticipations of speedy and extensive missionary triumphs.” Unfounded hopes thus being disappointed, another error is often committed. Dr. Carey used to say, You young men think that nothing has been done; but we, who'saw things at the beginning, know that a great deal has been done.
Sometimes a young_Missionary is dissatisfied with the native converts. People in England entertain the most unwarrantable notions with respect to them. They consider that neophytes, who have just emerged from a heathenism which has been growing for three thousand years, far surpass in Christian character those who have been nurtured from their earliest childhood surrounded by the holiest influences. It is true that very difficult ideas prevail in the East amongst worldly Europeans. One of the first lessons which an “old Indian" seeks to impress upon a griffin, as they sit together after dinner, with cheroots and brandy and water, is,“ Don't take native Christian servants ; they are all great rascals !" Every thoughtful intelligent man will make allowances for the circumstances of the case.
Cautions.--Some consider all advice to new-comers useless, as frequently they will not learn by any experience except their own. This, however, is an extreme view.
1. The young Missionary should bear in mind the good Apostolic precept, “ Be swift to hear, and slow to speak.” Old Missionaries sometimes complain, that persons who have been a few days in India think they know a great deal better how plans should be carried on than those who have laboured twenty years. Recommendations from young men, tendered in an offensive manner, are apt to provoke the retort, “Tarry at Jericho till your beards be grown.” Mr. Macleod Wylie observes, “A thorough understanding of our Indian Missions is not to be quickly obtained even by the best and ablest men ; for experience has taught nearly every resident in the country, that many of his first and perhaps his strongest impressions were mistaken. Indeed Bishop Corrie (a singularly sagacious man,) used to say, that it was a mercy if a Migsionary did no harm in his first year.” The late Lord Dalhousie, notwithstanding his pre-eminent talents, spent a considerable period in studying the country before committing himself to any important
Especially beware of depreciatory remarks to old Missionaries about their labours. “ Bachelors' wives and maids' children are well taught.” Many a Missionary has found, at the close of his career, the results very different from what he anticipated. At all events, “ Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.” The feelings of men who have borne the “ burden and heat of the day” deserve to be consulted.
2. Provide yourself with a good-sized Blank-Book for Missionary “ Notes and Queries.” It is not for a moment denied that every department of Mission work, like all things human, is susceptible of great
* Beugal as a Field of Missions.
improvement. The immortal Newton spoke the words of truth and soberness when he said, that he was only a child picking up pebbles from the shore, while the vast ocean of truth lay unexplored before him. Throughout the countless ages of eternity, man will be discovering fresh proofs of the wisdom of God. As great an advance will be made in the moral condition of the human race.
We can look forward to a reign of joy and love incomparably superior to the present. Every year witnesses improvement in our moral machinery at home, and it would be preposterous to suppose that the modes of working in Missions, still in their infancy, have attained any degree of perfection. All honor be to the noble and great men who first engaged in the Missionary enterprise. Many of them were giants. Still, we dwarfs, to use the well-known illustration, stand, or ought to stand, on their shoulders.
Under judicious management, it is a great advantage to Missions to have men coming out fresh from England, acquainted with the advance of benevolent effort. Old men are sometimes apt to view very beneficial beneficial measures
as new-fangled, useless changes. As an experienced Missionary observed, they get into ruts, out of which they are not easily moved; and there is a danger of their becoming satisfied with a very imperfect state of things. Young and old Missionaries represent, in some measure, the reform and conservative elements, both very useful to correct each other. As probably three-fourths, or a still larger proportion, of the changes suggested by new-comers would be impracticable, or produce worse evils than those they were intended to remedy, the young Missionary will do well to bear in mind the following cautions by Dr. Duff
Beware, therefore, of first impressions, and above all, of first judgments. Record both, if you will, for future reference and comparison. The vivid freshness of the earlier pencillings even when modified or corrected by after knowledge, will tend
to infuse new life into the fainter sketches of a dull and monotonous familiarity. But in all your homeward communications beware of hasty inferences from partial induction, or ill-digested facts, or spatches of observation. Beware, especially, of opinions and statements that may seem to clash with those of your predecessors. It is always better to go slow than to go wrong.....
Should time reveal any those errors or mistakes, into which precipitancy is sure to hurry the stranger, correction will be an easy work when weither credit nor character has been publicly committed. ... And should time confirm any conclusions diverse from those previously formed by others, you will then bring experience to add weight to your authority; and the chastened calmness of long-continued deliberation, to render that authority as inoffensive as may be, in conducting a corrective process, attended with all the natural pains and unpleasantness of an operation in moral chirurgery ...
Clear your way well before you assume the onerous and invidious office of a reformer of the measures of your predecessors and associates in the mission. Let your proposals never appear, directly or offensively, to impeach their character for wisdom, or judgment, or consistency. Let them gradually rise in the form of modest suggestions and gentle insinuations. Let it be seen and felt that it is the good of the cause which is the animating principle and not the gratification of any personal ainbition, the love of superior distinction, or the promotion of favourite or peculiar views.” †
Be ever seeking to learn. There is perhaps not a single Mission Agent, European or Native, from whom you cannot elicit some information of value, if you take the right means. Carefully note all improvements in mission work which suggest themselves. Investigate the causes of defects; ascertain the probable consequences of the correctives you would apply. The most dogmatic old Missionary will treat you with consideration if you appear a modest inquirer, and you are far more likely to gain him over to your way of thinking than if you took another course.
3. Guard against one-sided views.--Some would
+ Missions the Chief End, &c. pp. 52 & 59,
give up every effort except preaching ; others have no faith in any thing but education ; a few think the circulation of the Bible the grand means to be employed for the conversion of India. It is very well for the preacher or educator to have the highest confidence in his work, and to be enthusiastically devoted to it. The evil is that, in some cases, not satisfied with that, they denounce every thing else as worthless. Endeavour to hear all sides and form an independent opinion. The great body of Missionaries are agreed that, under different circumstances, every agency has its appropriate place. The one should not be pitted against another; but all harmonise, like the members of the body.
But though Missionaries are substantially agreed on certain great points, it is admitted that there are several important questions still open. Some of them are mentioned below :
“ We have found a much greater scope for experience in the prosecution of missions than we expected. One thing was clear, iudeed, at the outset ; namely, that we were to preach the essential doctrines of the gospel as the grand means of spiritual renovation in man. But how to secure congregations for our preaching ? How far our preaching should be controversial ? How much time and money should be given to common schools ? How far it is judicions to bring children into the seclusion of boarding schools ? How far our higher institutions should approximate to the college in the nature of its studies ? How far we should give employment and consequently support to our converts ? What standard of qualifications we should adopt for our native preachers, and how we should best introduce these preachers into the actual discharge of the sacred functions ? These and many other similar questions are yet far from being satisfactorily resolved. We are applying the results of experience acquired in the thirty years past to these matters, but are afraid to do any thing rashly."*
The grand mistake with some has been to insist
* Dr. Anderson to Sir E. Tenuent. ---Christianity in Ceylon, p. 184.