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societies which have been expressly instituted for the promotion of the Christian Faith ; viz.
I. The “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” incorporated by Charter in 1701. This Society consisted of the chief personages in church and state, and commenced its career with much zeal and success. tions were directed to the British Plantations in America ; and the civilization of the natives of that continent was essentially promoted by its labours. The Society employs at this time fortyfour Missionaries, and forty Catechists and School, masters, who are chiefly stationed in the colonies of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada *.
* “ So happily had the benevolent assistance of this So. “ ciety been extended, though furnished solely by volun. “ tary subscriptions of members, and occasional legacies “ and benefactions, that at the time when the troubles in “ America began, besides a great many schoolmasters,
nearly ONE HUNDRED missionaries were in actual em“ployment.”—Sermon by Bishop of Salisbury, preached before Society in 1793, p. 15.
The actual number in the Report of the Society for 1771, was ninety-four missionaries, and thirty-one schoolmasters and catechists; making, in the whole, one hundred and twentyfive teachers.
The missionaries of the Society can scarcely be called II. The “ Society for promoting Christian Knowledge,” (not incorporated) a voluntary So- , ciety, established in the year 1698. This Society also has been patronised by principal persons in church and state. The object of its institution was the promotion of religion at home and abroad. As the incorporated Society confined its exertions to the Western World, the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge directed its attention to the East. Since the year 1710, it has supported Missionaries in different parts of the East Indies; and the establishment of the Protestant Faith in Hindostan has been owing in an important degree, to the pious zeal and pecuniary resources of this Institution. Its Missionaries to the heathen are all from Denmark or Germany, being ordained ministers of the Lutheran Church, which the Church of England acknowledges as a sister communion. These Missionaries were formerly more numerous; but they have
missionaries, in the usual acceptation of that term, desig. nating persons who learn a new language and preach to heathens. They are clergymen, generally in humble circumstances, who, bringing with them such a recommendation of character as satisfies the Society, are content to accept the provision which the mission affords. The annual Reports exhibit frequent instances of painful labour and persevering zeal in their vocation.
been reduced by death, and the Society has not been able to obtain a new supply. The Society has at present four European Missionaries and five native priests on their establishment in Hindostan *.
III. The “ Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East,” conducted by members of the Established Church, has now been in existence twelve years, having been instituted in the first
year of the present century. While the “Society for propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts" limits its exertions chiefly to the American Colonies, and the “Society for promoting Christian Knowledge” confines itself to the assistance of the Danish Mission, and the support of Missionaries in the Indian Peninsula, the “Church Missionary Society has been formed with the view of calling into action the zeal and charity of members of the Church of England toward the heathen world at large.
* From the Report of the Society just published (for 1812) it appears that four native Catechists have been recently ordained by their Missionaries according to the rites
of the Lutheran Church; and that the Society has been · pleased to assign to each a stipend similar to that which they
allow to Sattianaden, a native formerly ordained,
This Society has sent to the Western Coast of Africa, at different times, nine Missionaries, who have been all ordained ministers of the Lutheran Church. At this time eight Lutheran ministers, five lay settlers, five English students, and about 120 African children, are dependent on its funds.
The Church Missionary Society is further attempting to lay the foundation of a settlement in the large and populous island of New Zealand, with the view of introducing civilization among the interesting inhabitants of that region, preparatory to the introduction of Christianity; and it has authorised a Corresponding Committee at Calcutta, on the suggestion of the late Rev. David Brown, to adopt the important measure of establishing public readers of the Christian Scriptures, throughout the principal towns in India ; a practice pursued by the Mahometans and Hindoos, with regard to their respective Scriptures.
These are the three Societies belonging to the Church of England, whose objects refer to the propagation of the Gospel *.
It is manifest that the exertions of the Dis
* For the particulars given above, see the Reports of the respective Societies,
senters in sending forth Missionaries, have been vastly greater, of late years, than those of the Church of England : and hence it has been inferred that the Dissenters have more religion than the Church. But this is a doubtful criterion. The “ Society for propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” the “ Society for promoting Christian Knowledge,” and the Society of the United Brethren, maintained Missions to a very considerable extent during a long course of years, while no other Christian denomination was making any effort. As to the smaller denominations in England and Scotland, they were, till lately, as is well known, in a very torpid state. The venerable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge (an institution founded in the evangelical counsels of pious men) was awake to the glorious object of extending Christianity in heathen lands, while other societies slept, or were as yet unborn. It supported Missions in the East, before that denomination of Christians which now rivals all the rest in extent existed*.
But the newly kindled zeal of the Christian world has called all religious bodies into action. The spirit itself seems to have been excited, under the providence of God, by the concurrence of a
* The Wesleyan Methodists.