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of one rendered willing, by divine grace, to renounce all earthly comforts and prospects, and to labour amidst hardships and perils, with undaunted courage, unwearied patience, and steady perseverance, among pagans, in some remote and obscure part of the world.
This is the genuine missionary spirit, which, in ordinary circumstances, must be called forth by the use of proper means, and the blessing of God upon them; and, when we consider the immense field to be cultivated, it must appear that every thing which tends to excite this spirit, where Christianity is now known, forms a most important part of the general plan for evangelizing the heathen in future ages, in concurrence with our endeavours to attempt whatever we can for the benefit of the present generation. And, though the Society has not hitherto engaged any missionaries, they are not without hopes of being able shortly to do it: and they cannot doubt that at length God will hear their most earnest prayers, and “send forth la« bourers into his harvest."
It will appear, also, that various attempts are either actually making or in contemplation, for translating the scriptures, or parts of them, or short compendiums of Christianity, into the languages of the heathen, in order to circulate them in several countries, as preparatory to missions ; and in other ways to render the press subservient to the grand design.
It is also purposed to educate native Africans, and to instruct them carefully in our holy religion ; in order at length to employ them as schoolmasters among their countrymen. The avidity with which the Africans embrace opportunities of learning the elements of science is fully ascertained ; and it is haped that gratuitous instruction of this kind will open a way for the gospel among them; and that African schoolmasters may concur with British missionaries, and become perhaps missionaries themselves in process of time ; and such missionaries as will not so much as be incommoded by a climate exceedingly trying to European constitutions.
This is not the whole of the designs already formed by the Committee; which, as they become matured in any good measure, will be made known: when it is hoped that objections started against some particulars in their plan will be satisfactorily obviated. They have well weighed the extreme difficulty of the undertaking ; and have endeavoured to get their minds armed against dismay and discouragement: but they would use all prudent means for preventing any waste of the sums advanced by the public liberality; and, still more, to avoid any needless risk of the health or lives of those zealous men who engage in missions; and who are apt to disregard their own lives in proportion as they long after the salvation of souls. Here we would imitate prudent and able generals, who are always careful not to expose their most valiant soldiers to needless danger.
But, so far from giving up the design, as some have supposed, the Committee. are more and more deeply impressed with the sense of its vast importance, and more fully determined, by the help of God, to persevere in it to the uttermost. I shall only add, my brethren, that, whether you can
or cannot afford us any pecuniary assistance, we earnestly entreat you to aid us with your daily prayers and supplications to that God who alone can give wisdom, inspire zeal and love, and keep us cordially united in humility and simplicity; who alone can raise us up helpers and instruments, open doors, remove mountains, and give success : as it is our decided opinion, that they who most pray for us are the best benefactors to the institution, and take the most effectual means of rendering it successful.