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Besides, where is the divine command to restrict ourselves to one mode of propagating the christian religion? The apostles certainly had two. They preached; and then, by the laying on of hands, they instrumentally conferred extraordinary gifts of teaching, prophecy, government, tongues and miracles on certain of the converts.* The first we do as they did; the second, in the only manner within our power, viz., by a course of instruction. And as the command to do a thing includes the means which are necessary for its performance, this
, being essential to the accomplishment of the work enjoined, is also commanded. Moreover, by what authority do we limit the meaning of the Saviour's last command to the public, oral, formal proclamation of it to a congregation ? When has it been shown, that the apostles delivered sermons in the mapner of modern times ?-And why make adults the only object contemplated by the injunction ? Should the gospel not also be proclaimed to youth and children, and the manner of proclaiming it be suited to their years ? Why tie up this blessed command, so full of good will for mankind, to one single method of conferring the benefit ?
Why limit its applicability to one single combination of circumstances? Is the consecrated church the only place where the gospel can be, where it ought to be preached? May the gospel not be preached in an upper, private room? May it not be preached, in conversational tones and manner, to a single family? May it not be preached by the way-side to a single traveller? May it not be preached in the Bible-class, and Sabbath school, and even in the week-day school; and then may not the media of truth, common in such circumstances, be employed to make it known to the youthful mind ? I would ask, too, if the writing of Paul's Epistles was not an act of obedience to the command under consideration ? No one doubts that it was ; and if so, and if a copy of his Epistle to the Colossians was made out for the church of the Laodiceans,t was not the copying of the epistle in obedience both to the letter and spirit of the Saviour's command? And when we, availing ourselves of the manifold copying powers of the press, print this epistle and the other portions of the word of God, and distribute them by thousands, is not this obeying the command? And when we teach the unlettered to read the word of God for themselves, and thus enable them to confer the same ability on others, and to grow more in knowledge and grace than they otherwise would, is not this also obeying the command? Yes verily; it is intelligent obedience. For the printing of the word of God, and teaching men to read it, are not something different from the work enjoined. They are not designed to open and smooth the way for the gospel. They are not preparatory work. They are the very work itself—as much so as the conferring of miraculous gifts of
* Rom. 1: 11. Acts 8: 17. 1 Tim. 4: 14. Acts 19: 6. + Col. 4: 16.
prophecy and teaching, or the writing of the Gospels, or the inspired Epistles anciently were. The schools are-if they are what they ought to be-nurseries of piety, places and means for the direct inculcation of gospel truth in youthful minds and hearts. They are folds where the lambs of the flock are to be fed.
Lest I should be misunderstood I will say here—what will more fully appear in the sequel-that a due proportion is to be observed in the different parts of the work. The different gifts, like the different members of the body, though all essential to the completeness of the whole, have their relative degrees of importance, and should each be kept in their several places, and each have no more than their respective proportions of time. Preaching has the first place. It has that place at home, and it has it and should have it abroad. It is the grand means of operating upon the conscience and heart. It is the grand means of conversion. In some form or other, adapted to the circumstances of the missionary, it should be the leading pursuit of his life. In every mission it should be the focal point, the ultimate, grand object, the final cause with the members in all their plans.
It is time now to state, more precisely, what place education should hold in the system of modern missions.
1. If we were to regard education simply as a convenient method of inculcating a knowledge of the gospel on minds of a certain class, still it may properly be used by the missionary. So far as heathen youth are concerned, it is found in practice to be the only method of getting early access to their minds, the only method of preaching the gospel to them. It is often the most direct and effectual means of bringing others, and especially parents, under the preached gospel.* The visitation and superintendence of schools also gives a fine field of usefulness to missionaries recently come upon the ground, and not enough acquainted with the native language to preach formally to the adults. It is almost the only thing they can do; and in the larger missions there will almost always be some missionaries in this condition.
* Acts 19: 9.
2. In barbarous pagan countries, if we could make any use of the press and the printed word of God, elementary schools are indispensable. If we withhold the Bible from the pagan, no matter how, in what respect does our policy differ from that of the church of Ronje? I need not say that books and the press are useless in a community which cannot read.
3. Ages of experience in protestant Christendom have shown, that connecting a small system of schools with the stated and frequent preaching of the gospel, is wise as a means of increasing the effect of preaching and the durability of its influence. And if it be so within the bounds of Christendom, why not beyond ? The ministry throughout the world, acts under one and the same commission, and is governed by one and the same code of laws. The gospel they preach is the same.
Human nature, with which they have to deal, is the same. If the circumstances differ, as they do very greatly, the difference only shows the greater need of connecting schools with preaching among those who know not the gospel. The ordained missionary will indeed engage no more than is necessary in their elementary instruction.
He will commit this as soon as may be to native teachers. But when occupying a fixed station, he will no more be without such schools than the pastor at home, and no more will be withbold from them his fostering care, and watchful guardianship. The missionary who has these schools around him, and the missionary who has them not, will do well from year to year to compare their respective congregations, and the results of their preaching. Let their native churches also be compared, and their prospects among the rising generation.
4. After all, we cannot undertake to educate the youth of the whole heathen world, nor even any considerable proportion of them. The labor and the expense are both out of the tion. Whatever it may be proper or desirable for us to do, in a general point of view, the scantiness of the means placed at the disposal of missionary societies renders it expedient, yea unavoidably necessary, that schools at the expense of such societies be established on a limited scale. We can educate only the few, and they must educate the many. Our pupils, as far as possible, should be select, and selected with some regard to the ulterior employment of the most promising of them as helpers in the mission. Our schools should be model schools. They should be nurseries of teachers. They should be introductory to the higher seminary, and preparatory to it. The preached gospel must at all events be sustained, and the number of schools should be regulated by the means placed at the disposal of the society, and the balance remaining of what is appropriated to the mission, after providing for the support of its preaching members. Still I must doubt,-if missionaries are not to be mere itinerants, if they are to have a fixed residence and operate within the bounds of some one district,—whether the church has any right to insist upon their laboring wholly without schools; or, in other words, without a system of means in operation around them for rearing up native helpers and successors in their work. Do the Scriptures confer any such right on the churches ? Do they impose any such obligation on the missionary? Had missionaries the power of conferring supernatural gifts by the laying on of their hands, as the apostles and some of their associates had, the case would be very
different. 5. While I assert the legitimate use of schools as one of the means of propagating the gospel in foreign missions, and while I maintain the right of missionaries to be furnished with them to a certain extent, I would suggest a general rule in relation to their establishment; having respect in this rule to the average amount of funds which experience has shown may be relied on by missionary societies, and the proportionate demand which will be made on these for sending forth and supporting preachers of the gospel. The rule is this ;-- That the system of education, in all its parts, so far as it is supported by the funds of the mission, should have a direct reference to the training up of native teachers and preachers. To this, in the smaller missions, and also in the less concentrated missions, there must be exceptions. A liberal construction should always be given to it. In some missions, as among the Tamul people of Ceylon and South India, the rule itself may require a considerable number of schools ; – to awaken attention, give tone to the public mind with respect to education, furnish a better selection, give importance to the subject in the view of the select pupils, open a field for the occasional trial of their powers while pursuing their studies, and strengthen their motives to arrive at high attainments. Still, whatever scope is allowed for the exercise of discretion in arranging and managing the details of the system, there will be a great practical advantage in having the one definite object proposed by this rule.
And it is a question, whether missions themselves ought not to be established, organized, and prosecuted with more reference to the same end. Are not many of our missions modelled as they should be, if our object and expectation were to furnish a full supply of preachers from Christendom for all the nations of the heathen world, now and for ages to come; and as they should not be, if our object be to imitate the apostles by throwing the great amount of permanent labor upon converted natives, and introducing what the Holy Spirit may be expected to make a selfsustaining, self-propagating Christianity?
The plan suggested would involve a seminary of a higher order in each considerable mission, which would receive pupils from the preparatory schools, and conduct them through a course of liberal education more or less protracted. These seminaries should be commenced on a small scale, and enlarged no faster than shall be necessary. They should combine the college and the school of theology. The notion that instruction in the principles of human science must precede the study of theology, is derived from the schools of philosophy, and is not countenanced by the word of God. The plain, simple theology of the Scriptures can be taught to youth, and even to heathen youth, in every stage of their education. The institutions should be eminently missionary institutions. The whole course of education, from beginning to end, should be christian. It should be no part of the object of these seminaries to educate natives for the law, nor for medicine, nor for civil affairs, nor for trade, except so far as this will directly promote the legitimate objects of the missions with which they are connected. The course of instruction should be planned with a view to raising up, through the blessing of God, an efficient body of native helpers in the several departments of missionary labor—to be teachers of schools, catechists, tutors and professors in the seminaries, and, above all, preachers of the gospel, pastors of the native churches, and missionaries to the neighboring heathen districts and countries. For this purpose the seminaries should be furnished with competent teachers, and with all necessary books and apparatus, and a press should generally be in their neighborhood.*
See a Statement of Principles, on which missionary Seminaries