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joined with them in the work of the
leave you; but my God shall sup
Mrs. W. being much distressed on his account, he said unto her, 66 My dear, it seems to be the will of our heavenly Father that I must
On Sunday, the 2d of January, died Charles Townsend, Esq. of Homerton, in the parish of St. John, Hackney, after a short illness, which was closed by a happy dismission into the world of spirits ;-and, on the Saturday following, Edward Hanson, Esq. of Clapton, in the same parish; who, after patiently waiting, entered into his desired rest.
Some particulars relative to these gentlemen, and to the liberal things devised by them for the poor, and for the interest of religion, we shall lay before the public in a future No.
The Directors feel a peculiar pleasure in recommending the following
Edinburgh, Dec. 28, 1802.
THE Directors of the Edinburgh Missionary Society would be deficient in the gratitude which they owe to God, if they embraced not the earliest opportunity of laving before you, and other friends of the
great cause in which they are en-
the establishment of a Christian Mission. The more we examined the map of the world, and consider ed the moral and religious state of its inhabitants, the more deeply did this idea impress our minds. Almost in the center of the Old Continent; -on the confines of several of the greatest empires in the world, having Persia on the south, Turkey on the west, Russia on the north, and Tartary on the east ;-surrounded on every hand by numerous tribes of men, all sunk in the deepest ignorance and depravity; some of them indeed, professedly Christians, though altogether strangers to genuine Christianity; the rest, either Mahommedans, followers of the Dalai Lama, or Heathens of some other creed, what a wide field of usefulness here for faithful Missionaries! What an inviting situation for scattering some handfuls of the corn of Heaven! and what rich returns might, by the blessing of God, be expected in the conversion and salvation of perishing millions!
Obvious, however, as were the advantages of this Missionary station, difficulties of a formidable, nay, apparently insurmountable nature, presented themselves to accurate observers. These we shall not at present detail. Suffice it to say, that for a while they damped the courage of the most confident, and checked the ardour of the most zealous. Hence, opportunity of preaching the gospel in this extensive and uncivilized part of the globe, was an object rather of desire than of hope.
done their duty; and that, should it promise to succeed, the friends of the gospel would come cheerfully forward to furnish them with the means of carrying it into effect.
It was a circumstance for which they desire to be thankful to God, that, when they formed this resolution, the Rev. Henry Brunton, who had formerly given proof of his prudence and zeal as one of their Missionaries among the Susoos, in Africa; and who had afterwards proved his capacity for the acquisition of foreign languages, by composing several religious tracts in the Susoo language, was then not only unemployed, but zealous for hazarding his person in such an attempt. The Society, therefore, committed to him, in conjunction with Alexander Paterson, a young man of whom they had every reason to think well, and whom they had been educating for two years preceding for Missionary labours, the execution of this very difficult and hazardous work. After having been separated for their work, and committed to the protection of God, they set sail for St. Petersburgh in the month of April last, taking along with them Gillorum Harrison, an African youth, who had been committed to Mr. Brunton's charge in Africa. Our hearts followed them with many anxieties for their welfare, trembling often, not only for the issue of their mission, but even for their personal safety.
Yet the magnitude of the object seemed to demand that an experiment should be made. The Edinburgh Missionary Society, therefore, after collecting information from every quarter to which they had access, and after many consultations together on the subject, and frequent prayer for divine direction, resolved, notwithstanding the disapprobation of many, and the fears of more, to risk the small remainder of their funds on a Mission of Inquiry to Astrakhan, and the Countries adjacent; satisfied that, if the attempt should fail, they had
Blessed be God, who has disappointed our fears, and exceeded our hopes! The Society has reason to erect a stone of memorial, and to call it Ebenezer; because hitherto the Lord hath helped. After a prosperous voyage, our Missionaries reached St. Petersburgh the begin ning of May. There they received many civilities from the persons to whom they were recommended; and although for some time they met with many discouragements respecting the object of their mission, and almost all classes of persons with whom they conversed, agreed in representing the difficulty and extreme danger of fixing their residence in the southern parts of
the Russian empire; and still more, of attempting to convert the natives to the Protestant faith,-insomuch, that they almost despaired of obtaining liberty even to travel thro' the empire; yet, at length, through the good hand of God upon them, their fears were dispelled, the ob structions to their progress moved, and their way made prosperous. He, in whose hand are the hearts of all mc», unexpectedly raised up for them a friend in M. Novassilzoff, a Russian nobleman, in the confidence of the Emperor, and a Lord of his Bed-chamber. Through his means they obtained not only the permission, but the approbation of the Russian government. Passports were granted them, with liberty to travel thro' the empire, and settle in any part of it they chose ;-post-horses were ordered; private letters of introduction were given thein; and an open letter was written by M. Novassilzoff, recommending them to the protection and kind attentions of all civil and military officers. Thus the difficulty which the Society were taught to consider as the greatest, has not only been removed, but a degree of public countenance has bech given to the mission, of which those who were most sanguine in their expectations, never entertained the most distant hope.
Encouraged by these tokens of the care of Providence, our Missionaries proceeded by the way of Moscow, Tambou, and Sarepta, to Astrakhan; and performed a journey of about 1400 English miles, which occupied them nearly two months, without accident or other inconvenience beyond what must be considered as unavoidable in such a journey through such countries. Everywhere they met with kindness. The magistrates of the places through which they passed, were forward to assist them, and many private individuals received them with hospitality, particularly the Moravian Brethren at Moscow and Sarepta; and, after they reached Astrakhan, Mr. Brenner, a German banker.
The city of Astrakhan appear
ing, in some respects, an unsuitable situation for cominencing their Missionary labours, they left it on the 10th of August, proceeding south-west towards the country of Georgia. Their intention was to have settled in Teffis, or its neighbourhood. But here again Provi dence kindly raised up for them a protector, counsellor, and guide. General Knoring, the GovernorGeneral of these provinces, dissuaded them, on account of the unsettled state of the country, from proceeding into Georgia; and directed them to move towards Cir, cassia. They halted, therefore, for some time at Georghiyersk, and then proceeded to Constantinegorod, at the foot of the mountains of Caucasus; the governor of which, by the General's orders, furnished them with a guard to enable them with safety to explore the surrounding country. At length, after some days search, they found a most eligible spot; and have taken up their residence at Karass, a Tartar village in the neighbourhood of that fort, inhabited by above 500 souls, where they lodge in the sultan's house, and enjoy the protection of a Russian garrison.
God, who has promised to "lead the blind in a way they knew not; and in paths which they have not known," has thus given our Mis sionaries favour in the sight of strangers; has led them in safety. through a long and dangerous journey, by sea and land; has preserved them in health, though they passed through various climates in the sultry season of the year,―and, during three months, slept seldom under a roof; has conducted them to a place which appears peculiarly adapted for a Missionary station; and has opened to them a wide door (May it also be an effectual one!) of usefulness to multitudes of immortal beings involved in ignor-, ance and guilt! What may we not hope from such auspicious begin nings? Shall we say, that he who' has led them, as by the right hand,, from their native homes to the foot of Caucasus, intends, after all, to defeat our expectations? Rather let us hope, that God has many
souls in these dark and desolate regions, for whose sakes he has conducted them thither; and that, ere long, the light of the glorious gospel shall diffuse, through them, its cheering rays!
Look into the map of the world, and see in what a desirable and hopeful station Divine Providence has placed them. Observe that narrow slip of land which separates the Euxine from the Caspian Sea. Towards the northern extremity of this, at an equal distance of 400 versts (somewhat less than 300 miles) from each, near the source of the river Cubane, which separates the Russian from the Turkish empire, is a Tartar village, Karass; the inhabitants of which are Mahommedans; and in which, as it is composed of natives of all the surrounding countries, six or seven different languages are understood. In its neighbourhood, on one hand, is a horde of Nagay Tartars; subject to Russia. A little more than a day's journey on the other, are the Cubane Tartars; subject to Turkey. All around them are Circassians, Kabardians, and Abyssinians. Here, amidst darkness, and vice, and misery, are two men who have left their country and their friends; who, for the sake of Christ and the souls of men, have parted with all that men hold dear; who have devoted their lives, that they might be the messengers of good, the heralds of peace and salvation, to the wretched natives. Are they to be abandoned to their fate? or shall they have sympathy and support? Shall we recall them, and shut the door of hope to the Heathen and Mahommedans around them, which God has thrown open? or shall we follow the leadings of Providence, send them the necessary supplies, and, in particular, hasten to them ethers to take part with them in their labours?
We anticipate your reply. To abandon your Missionaries, you say, in such circumstances, were inhumane, and, after the assurancés of support which they must have received, would be perfidious. To recall them before experience demonstrate the inefficiency of your
plans, would bet ray a fickleness of temper unworthy a Society erected for the diffusion of the truth; and, after the very striking testimonies of the divine approbation which you have already received, would be to counteract the apparent intentions of Providence, and to obstruct the very cause which it is the professed design of your institution to promote. By all means persevere. Hasten to them the necessary supplies. Send them, with all speed, fellow-labourers to comfort them in their solitude, and assist them in their work. "Trust in the Lord, and do good." Though the begin nings are small, the latter end may greatly increase.
The Directors of the Society are eager to follow the counsel which you gave them. They are anxious to send them the necessary sup plies; and, if possible, by the month of April, three young men who have been educating for the service, under their inspection. At that time, they wish to send out Mrs. Brunton and her family; and they are convinced that, to give efficiency to the undertaking, several more Missionaries should accompany them to the same spot.
But, Sir, what can we do? To will is present with us; but how to perform the good that we would, we find not. We are deficient both in Missionaries and in money. The expences of the undertaking, tho' hitherto smaller than we could have previously imagined, you cannot doubt, must have been considerable; and the funds of the Society are insufficient, not only to send out the number of Missionaries which we deem necessary, but even to send out the few who are under our charge, and only wait our orders to join their friends in Circassia.
Nor would you be surprized at the low state of our funds, did you know how few donations we have of late received, and how we have employed what the liberality of the friends of the gospel has committed to our charge. The Society have educated and maintained sixteen Missionaries, some of them with timilies. Besides, unwilling- that their funds should remain unoccu
pied, when they had not immediate occasion for them themselves, they have, at different times, given considerable sums of money for the support of the Moravian Missions; and of the Baptist Mission in the East Indies; and particularly of the London Missionary Society, after the heavy loss they sustained by the capture of the Duff. They supported for several years an expensive Mission on the coast of Africa; and are at this moment supporting, in union with the Glasgow Society, though for two preceding years without any aid, a still more expensive Mission in the island of Jamaica; where, we men tion it with gratitude, appearances have of late become promising; and where we are anxious, if possible, not only to continue, but in .crease our exertions.
We do not accuse ourselves of precipitancy in embarking, with exhausted funds, in a new Mission to the north-west of Asia. We promised much on the liberality of the lovers of Christ and of souls, of which not only our Society, but many other benevolent institutions, have had repeated experience. We said, Let us exert ourselves in devising schemes for the enlargement of the Mediator's kingdom, - and trust to that God whom we serve, for the means of execution. Let us show to his people. that we are active in his work, that he has given us wisdom to conduct it, and particularly, that his providence appears to favour our undertakings; and then their hearts and hands will open to our aid.
We hope that we have done so, and that we shall not be disappointed in our expectations. No it shall not be said, that the zeal which a few years ago burned in so many breasts with such ardour, has been so soon extinguished. This sacred flame will spread wider and wider. It will not expend its fires on a few undertakings of easier execution, playing only around the slands of the sea, and along the hores of the ocean; it will penerate to the center of the great Coninent, in prayers and exertions for he salvation of the millions who shabit it. Already it has been
kindled for the natives of the southern parts of Asia; and India has felt its blessed effects. Let it also inclose within its circuit the inhabitants of Northern Asia; and aid us in our endeavours for their deliverance. Souls are precious in whatever region they are found! Between the Euxine and Caspian they have peculiar claims on our pity. The darkness is extreme! Even their temporal misery is great. Besides, circumstances exist which give hope of their conversion. Many of the Georgians, Circassians, and Armenians, call them. selves Christians, though they know not what Christianity means. The Mohommedan inhabitants of these and the adjacent countries, have little knowledge of their religion, and little of that intolerant zeal · which prevails in many other regions. The Pagan superstitions are weak, because formed into no re. gular system, and diversified ac cording to the fancy of each parti. cular tribe, The Russian government is strong, to give effectual protection to our Missionaries, and friendly to whatever tends to civilize the half-barbarous inhabitants of the extremities of the empire. Every thing invites to vigorous measures for enlightening these "dark places of the earth;" and who knows if Christians in this country be not deficient in duty to their Saviour, but, thro' the blessing of God, the spark kindled at the foot of Caucasus may burst into a flame, which may spread through Turkey, Persia, and Tartary, till it reach India on the south, and the confines of China on the east ?
Sir, We therefore request your prayers for our success. Direct us to persons of approved piety and prudence, whom we may employ as Missionaries. Do what you can for our aid. Exert your influence among your godly neighbours and acquaintances; and may the blessing of many in Asia, that are ready to perish, come upon you!
Signed, in name and by appointment of the Directors of the Edinburgh Missionary Society, by James Peddie, President. Walter Buchanan, Sec,