Page images

privilege of being the first to plant the Cross of Christ; nor has she any cause to be ashamed of the roll of her Missionary names. Not to mention Hunt and WHITAKER, of whom little is known but their high purpose and devoted zeal, the memory of THOMAS BRAY must ever be had in honour.

He freely devoted himself and his fortune to the promotion of God's glory, and seldom has any one been privileged to perform services more extensive or more lasting. The name of BERKELEY is second to none in the honoured list of Missionaries. In natural endowments, and in the accomplishments of science and literature, he stands pre-eminent, and few have ever given up so much to follow their Heavenly Master. Though all must lament that his noble designs were frustrated, none will be disposed to ask, “For what purpose was this waste ?” save those who are incapable of appreciating the high moral importance of such an example as that of Bishop Berkeley.

The Church that can boast many such must have a well-filled quiver ; but the reader will not fail to recognise in Keith, and Talbot, and Johnson, in CLEMENT Hall and John BEACH, in Bishops SEABURY and INGLIS, many of the same qualifications which have distinguished the devoted servants of God in every age of the Gospel. The early Missionaries in North America laboured single-handed amid manifold difficulties, and did all that men so situated could accomplish. In later times, the Church in the Colonies has obtained a more perfect organization, while the resources of the mother country have been largely increased. As, therefore, more has been given, more will be required than in times past. In every direction there is a cry for help. Not only are thousands of our poorest countrymen in the Colonies destitute of the means of grace, and entire Provinces without the blessing of Episcopal government, but multitudes of the Heathen in our vast Indian empire are, by manifest tokens, showing a readiness to learn the way of God more perfectly.

Here, then, is a work of surpassing importance committed to the hands of our Church ; and, may we not reverently conjecture, committed to her as being the most faithful depository of revealed truth? It is surely no undiscerning partiality to regard our own mother Church of England as occupying a position of advantage, both for the defence and for the propagation of the Gospel. In the old world it may probably, ere long, become an ark of safety for those who can find no sure footing amid the developments of a subtle theology and the pretensions of unauthorized human systems. Assuredly, too, the same Church is specially called to impart the gifts she has received—her pure doctrine and her Apostolic ordinances—to Heathen lands and newly-settled Colonies. To this call she is becoming daily more awake; and the following “Notices” have been compiled, not without the hope that the record of what was done in one department

of Missionary labour by our forefathers, may help to arouse us to more zealous and combined efforts.

It is right to say, that a large portion of the present Volume has already appeared in the pages of the “British Magazine,” from which it was regularly adopted into two, if not more, of the ablest and most influential Journals of North America. Much, however, has been since added, and the whole has been arranged in more convenient order. Without making any idle apologies for the faults and imperfections which may be found either in the plan or in the execution of the work, the author desires simply to state in explanation, that his book was written not to supersede any other work on the subject, but because no other existed. The “ Historical Account of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,” by Dr. Humphreys, contains indeed a useful summary of the operations of the Missionaries in the North American Colonies during the early part of the last century; but there the history ends. A valuable compilation of a different kind, consisting principally of extracts from the Anniversary Sermons preached before the same Society, and arranged under appropriate heads, was published in 1819, under the title of “Propaganda,” and contributed to make the past and then present condition of the Church in the Colonies better known. This Work is the more deserving of honourable mention as it was compiled by the late Rev. Josiah Pratt, at a time when, as holding a prominent official position in another Society, his whole attention might have been supposed to be engrossed in the furtherance of its special designs. The “ Propaganda,” however, is not a regular or continuous history. Something, therefore, in the way of a more connected narrative seemed to be required. The position of the Author gave him access to a large mass of original letters from the Missionaries in America ; and he thought that an examination of them, with a view to the publication of the more material parts, might be not altogether an unprofitable employment for his leisure. In this manner he gleaned the facts which are now submitted to the Reader; and he will be abundantly compensated for the labour which the Volume has cost him, if, by diffusing more accurate information on the subject of our earlier Missions, it shall tend, in any degree, to awaken a livelier sense of our obligation, as a Church and nation, not only to maintain the ordinances of religion among our distant brethren in the Colonies, but to fulfil the commandment of our Blessed Lord, as far as it permitted to us, by making known His Gospel in all lands.

1 “The Church " newspaper, Cobourg, Canada West; and the “ Banner of the Cross," New York.

may be CONTENTS.

79, Pall Mall, November 15th, 1845.

« PreviousContinue »