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Report of the Directors to the London Missionary Society,
at their sixteenth general meeting, on Thursday, May
1 Christ among the Heathen nations, appears to be better understood by serious Christians than in former days. This Society owes its existence, and its continuance, to a sense of this duty ; actuated by which, their liberal contributions have enabled the Directors to continue their exertions in the support of Missions already established, and to send forth several additional labourers into the extensive field. The Directors to whom the Society intrusted the management of their concerns for the past year, now present to them a summary account of their proceedings : and although they have not the gratification of relating any very remarkable instances of success, they trust that their Report will be found, on the whole, satisfactory and encouraging; will show that the grand work in which they are engaged is in a prosperous and improving state; will furnish an occasion of new thanksgivings to the God of all grace, and animate the Society to persevere in the most vigorous exertions to diffuse the savour of the knowledge of Christ in every part of the world.
The Directors will first report the progress of their faithful Missionaries in Africa.
BETHELSDORP. Dr. VANDER KEMP and his associates continue, with unremitting assiduity, their benevolent labours at this institution, and in several of the native kraals which are within a convenient distance to admit of their occasional visits : and the blessing of God accompanies their zealous exertions. From a summary account both of the external and spiritual state of that Mission, we select the following extracts : « The external state of Bethelsdorp puts on gradually a mpore promising appearance : the people become more in
alustrious. The knitting-school flourishes, under the direction of Brother Read's wife. Formerly we had no corn of our own; but this year the Lord has shown that it is in his power literally to change a desert into fertile ground, by af. fording, throughout the whole year, such an abundance of rain, that we have been enabled to sow wheat and barley sufficient for our provision, which is almost ripe, and pro. mises a copious harvest. The number of inhabitants also increases, so that we have been obliged to surround the square which forms Bethelsdorp with a second, and that with a third square, which, in all probability, will soon be fillod up. Our fields are covered with cattle, amounting to about 1200 head, not including the sheep and the goats. There is such an abundance of milk and butter, that this last article has been employed in manufacturing soap. Other necessary articles, as clothing, corn, and flour, are brought by the boors in waggons, as to a market-place.”
It is impossible to contemplate the short sketch here given of the outward state of things in this Missionary station, without the most pleasing and grateful emotions. How remarkable is the contrast which it exhibits, to the rude and unproductive condition in which the Missionaries found it a few years ago! - What a rapid advance towards civilization has Christianity produced in so short a space! How great ti ly has it promoted the comfort of life, and raised the human sharacter from the lowest state of degradation to some de, gree of social order and intellectual improvement! This will become more apparent, from the following extract relating to the spiritual state of the mission :-“ As to the state of religion, we have so much more reason to praise and glorify the holy name of God, as spiritual blessings out. weigh those of the world. The word of life is by no means lifeless among us: and although we cannot well estimate the number of those who, we have reason to believe, are favoured with a saving knowledge of Christ, on account of their concealing, in great part, the inward disposition of their hearts ; yet, from what we hear accidentally from others, we believe it to be considerable. There are, however, not a few in whom the work of converting grace is more evident to us. Among these we number two slaves, and a Hottentot, who frequently come over on the Sunday to hear the word of God: and three Kaffree women, one of whom, called Leentjee, was remarkable for integrity of life, and not less for assiduity and fervour in prayer. She was taken ill at a farm in our neighbourhood, and desired to see Brother Vander Kemp, who fetched her home in a waggon,
and took her to his house. Here she spent almost night and day in prayer and close communion with Christ. One morning she sent for Brother Vander Kemp, requesting him to give her love to all the people of God, and to be laid in the open air: which being done, she said, “ Now I will go to my God;" and whilst Brother Vander Kemp, who expected that the disease would be lingering, placed a mat round about her to screen her from the rays of the sun, he observed that she turned herself on her side, and inclined her head upon her arm, as if going to sleep; but looking more attentively at her, was surprised to find that her last enemy was destroyed before any symptom of conflict could be observed. She walked with God, and was not ; for God took her.”
Dr. Vander Kemp and his colleagues express a strong persuasion that the institution of an orphan-house at Bethels. dorp would be productive of the most beneficial effects; and he has made application to the government at the Cape for their sanction and assistance ; but has not yet received any reply. As it appears to us an object of great importance, we think it proper to give the following extract from Dr. Vander Kemp's letter on the subject :-" There is, I believe, no place where an orphan-house is more necessary than at Bethelsdorp. In other places, it serves only for the education of orphans, and children abandoned by their parents; but at Bethelsdorp, and in general among the Hottentots, the education of children is so shamefully neglected, that we fear the rising generation, which is numerous, will become burdensome and even dangerous to the colony, unless some efficacious means be adopted, by which children, belonging to the institution, may, from their infancy, be ac. customed to an industrious and decent life. To this end, nothing seems to us more conducive than a kind of seminary, in which not only orphans, but children whose education may be neglected by their parents, may be constrained to labour for their subsistence. The fund for the support of this, may perhaps, in part, be raised by benevolent subscribers in England, and in part also by the product of the labours of the children themselves, who may be employed in manufacturing soap, mats, straw hats, baskets, leather caps, and fishing-nets; in taylors', shoemakers', carpenters', or smiths' work. A knitting-school, and one for needle-work, will be necessary. Brother Ullbricht is ready to introduce weaving. Some may be employed in collecting socotorine aloes, which Bethelsdorp produces in large quantities : but the introduction of these employments will be gradual and slow, and require an almost Herculean labour."
. We wait with anxiety to learn the result of the application to Lord Caledon on this subject, which appears to us to have so direct and auspicious an aspect on the interests of this Missionary Society, as to be fully entitled to encourage. ment and support, both from this Institution and the religious public.
The design which Dr. Vander Kemp expressed of attempting a mission in the island of Madagascar, or among the nation of the Tambookees, and which he still entertains, has not, however, been put in execution, Lord Caledon not having yet given his answer to the representation which has been submitted to him on this subject. In the anticipation, however, of this event, the Directors have replenished that station by the accession of two Missionaries, (Mr. Wimmer and Mr. Pacalt,) whose conduct whilst on board the ship in wbich they proceeded, and also since their arrival at Cape Town, has afforded the Directors peculiar satisfaction, and justifies the expectation and hope of their future usefulness.
It appears that Dr. Vander Kemp has suffered some indisposition, and has had a slight fit of the apoplexy, which he considers as an intimation that his continuance may not be long. He concludes one of his letters with the following expressions of resignation and thankfulness :-" The path by which God is pleased to lead me, is not smooth and uniform; but I have the more reason to bless his holy name, for healing the wounds which I now and then receive in my fesh from its thorns. He continues to support me in the troubles to which I am, by the nature of my work, exposed; and I have more than once experienced, that He who slept in a storm can give rest to my soul, though all around me is agi. tation and alarm.'
ORANGE RIVER. The accounts from this station continue to be satisfactory. Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Jantz, exert themselves with commendable diligence, in preaching the gospel; in the instruction of the adults, and especially the children, in reading; in promoting industry, and particularly in cultivating of the earth, to which they urge and encourage the natives by their own laudable example. Mrs. Anderson also ap. plies herself to the instruction of the females in those branches of education which are peculiarly adapted to them: and indeed there appears to be a judicious and constant at. tention to all the means which have a tendency to accom
plish the ends in view--the conversion of the Heathen, their improvement in religious knowledge, and in those habits of industry which serve to rescue them from the vices connect, ed with the manners and pursuits of uncivilized life. By these measures, they are laying the foundation of a system of social order, both of a spiritual and civil nature : and the divine blessing appears to sanction their labours. The congregation consists of about 800 persons, who reside at, or near the Missionary station during the whole or the greatest part of the year; as the practice introduced by the Missionaries of cultivating the earth for their subsistence, is gradually superseding their former habits of hunting, to supply the wants of nature ; and thus they are constantly enjoying the beneficial superintendence of their instructors. Besides their stated congregation, they are surrounded by numerous hordes of Corannas and Boschemen, who occasionally receive instruction from them. But these faithful servants of our Lord are much entitled both to our sympathy and prayers, They are exposed to various alarms and dangers, the greatest part of which seem to arise out of the quarrels and wars of the rebel Caffrees with the Brirquas and other tribes; and although their discreet conduct has impressed on the minds of these savages a considerable degree of reverence and respect, and a conviction that they are not enemies, but men of peace, and therefore they have been hitherto pre, served from injury, yet the reports of an intended attack on their settlement became so frequent and alarming, that it was deemed expedient that Mr. Anderson and his family should visit the Cape Town, in order to seek advice and protection from the government. Their departure was marked by expressions of the utmost affection on the part of the congregation, who considered the plundering and destruction of their habitations, and their personal danger, as evils far inferior to that of losing the instruction and oversight of their teachers.
Previously to this event, the Missionaries had been visited at their station by Dr. Cowan and Mr. Donavan, of the 83d for regiment, who had been sent by the government to explore the interior of Africa as far as Mozambique. These gentlemen received every accommodation and assistance from our Brethren, with whom they remained about a week, and by whom they were furnished with guides into the interior, On their return to the Cape, the report which they made to his excellency the governor respecting the conduct of the Missionaries, and the result of their labours among the Heathen, produced on his mind a favourable impression; and ac