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put on." And often, even with the most constant use, it will last longer ; and as ministers wear out and die off, others must be edu. cated to take their places.
The pre-eminence in importance and in just claim for the largest patronage has been often set up in behalf of Foreign Missions. We are not going to say that Foreign Missions does not deserve this regard. But before we have done (if you give attention to what we shall say, you will find some reasons for not assenting to that idea, without some careful thinking on the subject. It is certainly true, that at present, the benevolent people of our nongregations bestow more upon the cause of Foreign Missions than upon any of its sister Institutions. They may be right. Perhaps they would continue to do the same thing if they should examine as extensively into the operations and promises of these institutions, as they are capable of doing. And yet, it may be, that peculiar circumstances, and not wholly a sound and just judgment, have mainly given such a direction to their charities. We think it most certain, that the benevolent of this favored country have not done too much for send. ing the gospel to other and heathen nations. Would they had dono more! Would that they would come up to the measure of duty and do it now! And when we compare Foreign Mission with Home Mission enterprise, let us not be understood as desiring to divert from the former a single fraction for the purpose of turning it into the channel of the home department. But looking at the extensive action for evangelizing the heathen, and commending all that has been done, let us take that as an argument and stimulus and oncouragement for doing more than we have dono yet, for our own country and our own kindred.
I have before me the accounts of the annual receipts for Domes. tic and Foreigo Missions, of those great Ir.stitutions which it pleases you to employ to dispense your bounty ; I mean the Boards of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church on the one hand, and the American Home Missionary Society and American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions on the other. I ask your attention for a moment, first, to the comparative amounts given to the General Assembly's Boards of Foreign and Home Missions. In 1848 Foreign Missions received $108,586. Home Missions, $61,922. In 1847
56,522. In 1846
52,800. In 1846
50,000. In 1844
41,000. In 1843
32,126. In 1842
34,463. In 1841
33,622. In 1840
39,220. In 1839
This is going back far enough to show the general feelings of the patrons of these Boards, and almost back to the commencement
of the separate action of the General Assembly's Board of Foreign Missions. Under the General Assembly, then, for the last ten years, 1 Foreign Missions have received $721,175 Home Missions have received 448,987
So that through these channels $280,188 more have been given for Foreign than for Home Missions, in the last ten years.
Next, we ask your attention to a similar comparison between the amounts beslowed for the same purposes into the Treasuries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the American Home Missionary Society.
In 1848 Foreign Missions received $254,056. Home Missions, $140,197. In 1847
116,717. In 1846
125,124. In 1845
121,946. In 1844
101,904. In 1843
99,812. In 1842
92,463. In 1841
78,345. In 1839
Through these channels, then, for the last ten years,
So that through these channels $1,428,221 more have been given for Foreign than for Home Missions in the last ten years,
Of the whole amount given to those Institutions, Home Missions have not received one third.
And this comparative amount seems to be a kind of established rule. If we extend the comparison back to the year 1827, (the date of the first Report of the American Home Missionary Society) the result will not be very essentially altered. The joint income of these two Institutions since that period, has amounted to $5,991,90e. Of this sum the American Home Missionary Society has received $1,751,327, not one-third of the amount.
Now this may be all right, if we have no more to give. We are not complaining of it. But we are very sure that Home Missions deserve a more efficient patronage. Due self-denial-due Christian love for souls—a large measure of the spirit of her Lord and Master, would soon enable the church of this country to give the ministry of the gospel to every human being that breathes the air.
And if we have no more to give, or if we are not going to increase our benefactions to a vast extent, it becomes us most seriously to consider whether we are not bestowing too large a portion of our benevolence upon a foreign and uncertain field, while we are too much neglecting a more promising field at home.
As we consider these two objects, (Foreign and Home Missions,) we ought, indeed, to remember that ihey rather contrast, than compare with one another. Look at some of the items.
Allahabad and Bombay, China and Ceylon, are farther off than Indiana and Illinois and Iowa ; and it costs more to send and sustain a Missionary on the other side of the globe, than just in our neighborhood.
At home, the cost of ordinary school education is not defrayed from Mission Funds; but in foreign lands it must be, or children must be left to grow up in igcorance of letters to a vast extent, or be taught heathenism along with all the erudition they attain,
The printing of Bibles and other books of education and religion for our own country, does not devolve upon Home Missionary Institutions ; while, for the heathen, much of this comes under the head of Foreign Missions, so called.
To a great extent, buildings for schools and seminaries, as well as church edifices, must be erected from Foreign Mission funds ; but Home Mission Institutions are not called upon for any of this expenditure.
These are some of the items. It should be remembered, there, fore, that Home and Foreign Missions do not exactly compare with one another. For our own country we do many things under other names, which for heathen lands, are of necessity embraced under the name of expenditures for Foreign Missions, And hence, when the comparative amounts of expense look strange to us, it becomes us to consider carefully the different ob. jects they have in view, before we conclude that our charity is too diffueive.
But it is not at all strange, if the attention of the benevolent has been too little directed to our own land. We name to you some of the things which have tended to produce such a result.
The people of God slept too long over the subject of the world's evangelization. And when their attention was once aroused to the subject, and they saw on the wide map of nations, country after country, with all their untold population, in deep darkness, in idolatry and awful degradation and misery; it is no wonder that the object of saving ihe long neglected nations should have almost entirely absorbed their attention and their charities.
That object was new to them. It is not now old. The Foreign Board commenced in 1810. One of its first Missionaries was a schoolmate of my own. Things that can interest the human mind often have a power of interest by reason of their novelty, which they could not have without it. Home Missions was no novelty. The General Assembly commenced that work in 1789 : the New York Missionary Society was instituted in 1796 : the Connecticut Missionary Society in 1798 : the Massachusetts Missionary Society in 1799 ; and the New Jersey Missionary Society in 1801. And it is not to be wondered at, that attention and liberality should have been, and should still be inclined to follow the impulses of novelty, and overlook too much the old field of work.
As the enterprise of Foreign Missions began to be prosecuted, the people of God were astonished at what they discovered. They were amazed to find Divine Providence preparing the way 80 rapidly for the spread of Christianity. Nation after nation was flung open to the gospel. Barriers were broken down. Obstacles were lifted out of the way. The whole world seemed almost ready to woo the advent and welcome the footsteps of the Christian Missionary. This seemed like the direct pointing of the finger of God. Men thought it so-called it so-and eager eyes were looking to see the rising beams of the Millennial glory. And it is no wonder, if the opened and waiting nations now unexpectedly ready to receive the gospel, should have led the benevolent people of this country too much to forget the wants of their own land.
It is very natural that our attention, zeal and vigor of effort should correspond to the deemed magnitude of the work we have to perform. "Beyond the oceans lay an opened world. Not one country, but nine-tenths of the globe's population lay out on the vision of the awaking church, as the field of her appropriate work for setting up the kingdom of God. These old nations were full of people. Their population was told on the startled ear of the listening Christian, by tens and hundreds of millions ! The church was astonished at the magnitude of the work before her. It is by no means surprising, that those accustomed to pray-" thy kingdom come," should have lent their attention to a darkened world and its dying millions, and should greatly have overlooked less imposing work which lay nearer by.
There may be some romance in religious achievements as well as in any other. Few of us, perhaps, are actuated simply by cool wisdom, conscience and truth, aside from any mixture of more impassioned emotions. We seem quite as likely to be influenced by those spirit-stirring appeals wherein magnificence figures, and gives a new and strange energy to hope; as by the more humble and plain and not less important, though less imposing duties, of which it cannot be said,
" 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view." In respect to the mighty work of regenerating a world, the church has heard every possible and stirring appeal. The changes have been rung on the moral dignity of the enterprise—the vastness of the work the duty and privilege of doing it. “The field is the world.”. Deep darkness hangs over dying millions on the other side of the globe. They are rushing to eternity without ever having heard a sermon. The hope was waked inio exercise, that before another generation of mankind should have gone down to the grave, the grand and glorious object might be accomplished, of publishing Christ and pardon and immortal life to every living
These are great ideas. They wake deep emotions. They seem to fall in with the expanding and brotherhood principles of the gospel. They have great and Christ-like truths in them. This is not to be denied. And while the emotions they excited have been living in all their freshness in thousands of benevolent hearts, who can wonder and who can blame us, if we have, wbile thinking to redeem a world, partially lost sight of the smaller and less romantic duties, which lay nearer home? Who can wonder, if piety has sometimes regarded the conversion of a heathen soul as something far more done for Christ, than the conversion of a soul in our own land ?
To a believer--to every sensible man--there is something exceedingly exciting in the horrid and bloody practices of heathen religion. Such religion is degrading and cruel. Men leave their aged parents to starve in some untrodden wild, and be devoured by the wild beasts of the desert! Mothers bury their children alive! Frantic devotees fling themselves before the idol's car, and it is drawn on by the frenzied multitude, its victim crushed, and its wheels dripping with human blood. These things have amazed and aroused us. They ought to have done so. As Christians and as men, we ought to have felt them. But there are no such excite. ments to wake our interests for the souls cut off from the gospel in the new settlements of our own West- without a minister-without a Bible--and just as really needing our pity, charity and prayers for their salvation, as the worshipers of Brahmah, Boodh, or Vishnoo. And hence, excited by the foreign tale, (which no man could hear without emotion,) it is not wonderful if our feelings of Christian compassion have led us too much to overlook the unblest souls of our own country.
These are some of the causes which have been operating and are operating still. We have not done too much for the heathen, or felt too much, or prayed too much for distant and darkened nacions. But we have felt and prayed and done too little for the destitute in our own land. If we shall do so much for other countries, shall we not at least do as much for our own ?
III. And therefore, if we have sufficiently accounted for our neglect, and mentioned the best apologies that can be made for it, let us direct your attention to some of the matters which seem to us to deserve your special regard, as you would learn the measure of your duty towards Missions at home. We select eight ideas out of a multitude that occur to us.
1. The people in the destitute_settlements of our country, (mostly in the newer States and the Territories,) are of our own nation and blood. They are our fellow-citizens, our brothers, sisters, and children. The gospel is not selfish to limit our bene. volence to our own family and nation ; but the gospel is wise and