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A general acquaintance with history, especially so far as it relates, in any degree, to the sphere of your labours; and an acquaintance with the manners, and customs, and sentiments of the adjacent regions, especially those of the Mohammedans who reside there, would be of great service to you.
The knowledge of the Arabic is, I am deeply convinced, of the greatest importance to Missionaries in ' Africa and the East;' as being, perhaps, itself or in dialects, more generally used than any other language in the world. It grieves me to think that I could give you so very little help in this part of your studies: but I am persuaded that you have so far attained as to be enabled, if favoured with health, to acquire, by a moderate application, whatever is needful in that language. I trust you are fully aware of the importance of doing this; as it will give you much additional influence among tribes who know no learned men except Mohammedans, and scarcely conceive of learning unless in association with the Arabic language; as it will open to you a treasury of words not unknown to the natives, and peculiarly capable of being assimilated to their idiom, with which to supply the deficiencies of their languages: and as it will give you access to the more recondite learning of the Mohammedans, and to the knowledge of their delusions and superstitions, and their plausible way of stating and defending them. This is a species of knowledge more important to you than all the classical learning in the world: for how can you counteract those errors you do not understand?
But let these hints suffice on a subject of which I am but little competent to speak.
2. The dispositions of the heart, under the teaching and influence of the Holy Spirit, are of still greater importance, and of more urgent necessity.
Here faith is especially needful, in all its exercises. You can do nothing to any purpose but by faith. A realizing view of eternity, of the everlasting happiness or misery of every human being, and of the consequent the incalculable value of an immortal soul; an abiding conviction that all men, every where, are "by nature children of wrath," and "vessels of wrath fitted for destruction," and under condemnation for their personal crimes; and that there is no salvation for any one of them except in Jesus Christ, and by faith in him; a firm persuasion that a single soul converted by your means is a greater good, than the utmost possible success in any secular employment, or even in an attempt to meliorate the temporal condition of mankind—both in respect of the man himself, and the consequences of his conversion at present and even in future generations: all this, I say, is indispensibly requisite. Indeed should you spend your whole lives in assiduous labours, and win but a very small number of true converts from the kingdom of darkness; you will have lived to more purpose, not only than the most celebrated warriors, poets, orators, and historians, but even than legislators and philanthropists. Faith in this respect, strong and animating faith, is peculiarly requisite for you, in the prospect of long delays, numerous disappointments, and the apparently small success of your labours. Never forget, I again repeat it, that he who wins one soul does more, a thousand times more, for the glory of God and the benefit of mankind, than he who civilizes whole nations ; except as their civilization may eventually prove conducive to their conversion and eternal salvation. That faith, also, which " sees him who is invisible;" which " sets God always before us;" which looks habitually to the once suffering, and now glorified Redeemer, who, 'we believe shall come to be our * Judge ;' "faith which worketh by love—purifieth "the heart—overcometh the world;" faith which entrusts our present and our eternal concerns, unreservedly, into the all-powerful and faithful hands of Christ, and receives him in all his offices and characters; faith, by which we "yield ourselves to i( him," to be employed and disposed of as he pleases; faith which rests on his promises, and expects the accomplishment of them from his power, truth, and love: in all respects, faith will be especially needful to you, my brethren, every day, and every hour. "Lord, increase our faith !" must be your constant prayer.
vol.. VI. h
Fortitude is especially required in a Missionary— the courage of faith; for all other courage will fail in this case. Nor that courage which often madly risks both life and soul in assaulting others; nor even that which is shewn in defending ourselves, or those connected with us: but that steady fortitude by which our Lord himself persisted in his labour of love; unmoved by dangers, or the immediate prospect of death in its most tremendous form, till he could say, " It is finished!" You must "arm "yourselves with the same mind;" and be followers of his holy apostles, "as they followed him," and trod in his steps of zeal, and love, and fortitude, undismayed by any terror, unwearied by any hardships or sufferings, till they too could say," I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I "have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up "for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, "the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day." —<-" Even after that we had suffered before, and "were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Phi"lippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you "the gospel of God with much contention."1 ltrat calm and steady fortitude with which the three young Jews met the frowns and menaces of Nebuchadnezzar, and the prospects of a fiery furnace; and with which St. Paul was prepared to meet the rage of an incensed multitude at Bphesus; must be your pattern. You must be bold in adhering to the path of duty, and in acting according to your conscience, amidst the scorn, and revilings, and rage of enemies, and perhaps the censure of misjudging friends.
But, my brethren, this fortitude must be connected with proportionable meekness and gentlenest. You must aim to be firm as a rock where the eause of God and your evident duty are concerned; yet this should be With suavity, kindness, and temper: but, in what relates merely to your own interest, indulgence or inclination, you must be as pliant as the willow. It will especially be incumbent on you to watch against every tendency to irritability of spirit: and to endure the unteachableness, the unreasonableness, the ridicule, reviling, or injuriousness of those around you, without apparent emotion: you should be ambitious, so to speak, of being considered as men whom none can make angry. And here I will introduce some observations of one who is well acquainted with the Africans, and a cordial friend to your object:" 1—c Africans, even of the lowest order, 'possess much more intelligence and discernment 'than Europeans in general give them credit for. 'Missionaries should be apprized of this. Also 'that they are keen, patient, calm, and decorous in 'discussion. If, in argument, they find their ad'versary deficient in any of these qualities, they 'know well how to make their advantage of it, and 'the audience are in general quite ready to decide 'against him. A Missionary should keep this well 'in mind; as, in most of his discussions with Afri'cans, the whole of those who are present will feel 'a common interest with his opponent,'
1 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. 1 Thess. ii. 2. 1 William Dawes, Esq. formerly Governor of Sierra Leone.
Patience, not only in bearing hardships and suffering with resignation and serenity of mind, but especially "patient continuance in well-doing;" perseverance in your undertaking amidst discouraging circumstances, perhaps year after year without visible success; is peculiary needful for a modern Missionary. Of all other things this is perhaps the most essential: and, without it, the most fervent zeal, accompanied with other promising endowments, will seldom produce much effect. For want of this, many who have made a good beginning, and sown good seed, have prematurely left the field and the expected crop to the ravages of the wild beasts of the earth. In this respect, the Moravians have given Missionaries a most instruc