The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20
The Wants of the New Hebrides Mission
The Wants of the New Hebrides Mission.
1st. We want more Missionaries. In seventeen years, three Missionaries and six Teachers have received about 4000 converts from heathenism. When, with the same number of laborers and at the same rate of progress, viz: 230 per annum, will the whole 150,000 Natives come over to Christianity? Why, after the lapse of 600 years! But this must not be. It will not be, for by the close of this year there will be ten Missionaries on the field and a staff of teachers. But even with ten Missionaries at the past rate of progress per Missionary, when shall we be able to say that every Native has had the Gospel preached to him? We be able, did I say 1 Why, we on the field now shall not only have grown old and gone the way of all the earth, but nine generations of laborers shall have succeeded us before it can be said the New Hebrides Natives are all blessed for they know the joyful sound. Must two long centuries yet elapse? I assure you for myself and brethren that we cannot bear the crushing The ught that so many years must pass before the copestone is placed on the building the foundation page 13 of which we have laid. Christian friends, can you wonder (knowing how the Home Societies are taxing themselves, and that these ignorant Natives are dying at the rate of two per hour,) that we have turned our wistful eyes to the Australasian Colonies and to New Zealand among the rest crying for help?
To overtake fully and at once the whole group, we require thirty men from the Colonies, of which number New Zealand must send us five at an annual cost of £650. Yes, we want the Presbyterians to look out for, send, and support five Missionaries—men of the right stamp—young-vigorous in body—skilful with their hands—persevering—prudent-learned—of strong faith and full of love to souls. Aye, and we want as many women, their wives, who will compassionate their sable sisters, and whisper in their ears that God cares for them, and tell them of that Saviour through whose work, from being slaves to their husbands, they may become servants to the Most High, and of the Holy Spirit who, The ugh their skins cannot be changed, can yet change their hearts. We want men as like as possible to Paul, Martyn, Carey, Hunt and Williams; and women like Priscilla, Harriet Newall, and Mrs. Judson—whose praise is in all the Churches.
Young men and young women of these Colonies, it is from you that a supply of labourers must come, for the heathen field. You will readily get acclimatized and adapt yourselves to new circumstances, and acquire the language of These to whom you go. The Missionary work is important and difficult, and I would not have any one to undertake it rashly; but looking at the millions of heathen, and remembering that they can be evangelized only through human instrumentality, I would ask you as in the sight of God if there be no indications that you should think of this work. The Missionaries want more labourers, and so do the heathen, and the Church, and even God himself. While volunteers can be found for our Queen, and soldiers to fight the battles of our country, why is it that so few young men in these Colonies are turning their attention to the Ministry, not to speak of the Missionary work? Young men and young women, have you no desire to be the first to claim some country for Christ, to be the first to pronounce to some barbarous tribe the name of Jesus, and to be the first to give to some people a translation of the Word of God? Why should you be so hard to persuade? Is it nothing to be a co-worker with God, and to have the omnipotence and omnipresence of Jesus, to be, the one the breaker up of your way, and the other your rearguard?
Perhaps you think of the Missionary work as one of loneliness and hardship only. These are some of its features, but not all. Hear the testimony of Judson, a Missionary to Burmah:—"This is a filthy and wretched place, still, if a ship were lying in the harbour, ready to convey me to any part of the world I might choose, I should prefer dying to embarking. I know not that I shall live to see a single convert, but notwithstanding, I feel that I would not leave my present situation to be made a king." Or take the testimony of Paul:—"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; page 14 we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed."
Ponder well this matter then, and if it appear to be the will of God that you should go far hence to the heathen, begin at once to prepare yourselves.
But I would ask not only the young, but also parents, How can the heathen hear without a preacher? Yes, Parents, what are you doing for the evangelization of the world? Perhaps you give money, well that is good; perhaps you also pray, well that is better; but your first-born or your most gifted child would be the noblest contribution of all. Mrs. Lyman, when she heard that her son had been murdered by the Battas, said,—"I bless God who gave me such a son to go to the heathen, and I never felt as strongly as I do at the present moment the desire that some others of my sons may become Missionaries also, and may go and preach salvation to these savages who have drunk the blood of my son."
"But," you will say, "how can we send five men? We have more need of five men here, for the Church is small and engrossed with Home extension efforts; wait a little." True, but you may as well tell your child to wait for the strength of manhood before attempting to walk. Let the Church remember Carey's motto—"Attempt great things for God and expect great things from God." The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Though numbering only about 40 congregations, will have in a few months five Missionaries on the New Hebrides, or one for every eight congregations. Besides supporting them she, will raise if required, £250 a-year for the Mission ship. Her efforts for the heathen have been a blessing, as her Home operations were never more extensive or more prosperous than now. If forty congregations in Scotland can support five Missionaries, will it tax the sixty Presbyterian congregations in New Zealand, to support that number? I think not.
2nd. We want support for Native teachers. They are colored Natives of the Christianised islands in the Pacific, who act as the pioneers and assistants of the Missionaries. They are well fitted from previous training and habits for island life,—for subsisting on Native food, and for living in such houses as can be conveniently erected, If food is scarce, they can fish and plant and raise food for themselves. Again, these teachers are less apt to offend the Natives than white men, from knowing their habits, customs, feelings, and prejudices; being more on a level with the heathen they obtain more ready access to them, and the heathen associate more readily with them than with Europeans. Besides, their modes and forms of The ught are much the same with The se of the heathen; and they can, especially at first, better explain things than the Missionaries. As showing what these men can do, I may mention, The ugh the case is somewhat exceptional, that there was a Church of sixty members on Fate when the first Missionary was settled there. All the instruction these people had received to fit them for that position was received viva voce from teachers. A teacher and his wife receive a salary of £5 a-year in clothing, medi- page 15 cine, tools and barter. We could employ with advantage 100 of these men, if we had support for them, and Missionaries to superintend them.
3rd. We want support for the Mission vessel, "Day Spring." She is a brigantine of 115 tons, built in Nova Scotia in 1863. Her purchase money, (over £3,000), was raised chiefly in Australia and Tasmania, through the efforts of Mr. Paton. Her yearly expenses will be about £1,300, including nearly £200 for insurance. This sum we hope will be raised by her owners—viz., the children of the Australasian Colonies, and leave the Home societies free to send more Missionaries. If every Australasian Presbyterian Sunday School will give on an average £5 per annum we shall have enough. The Presbyterian Church in Victoria has promised £500, and I think it will not overstrain the Sunday Schools in New Zealand to give yearly £200. This is the work for the young, and I trust that there will soon be in every Sunday School a Mission box, a portion of the contents of which, at least, shall go for the "Day Spring." We consider a vessel quite as indispensable as Missionaries. But for the "J. Williams" and the "Southern Cross" the Mission could not have succeeded in its early stages. The "Day Spring" works the New Hebrides and Loyalty groups, and her importance to the Mission will be apparent from the following statement:—
The "Day Spring" goes to the Christianized Islands for Native teachers, and settles them wherever there may be an opening on the heathen islands.—Takes to the teachers their yearly supplies o clothing, medicine, barter, &c., to the value of £5 each a-year; and takes away The se who require to be removed from age, inefficiency, sickness, bereavement, or the hostility of the Natives.—Takes to the missionaries yearly supplies of foreign food, clothing, and medicine; their home and colonial letters, magazines, and newspapers; as also all other requisites for their own comfort and the progress of the work of God.—Takes missionaries who are in danger to a place of safety, These requiring a change to a colder climate; new missionaries, or The se who may have been recruiting, from the colonies to the islands, and the children to a Christian land to be educated.—Enables the missionaries, teachers, and Native Christians on one island to write to and visit the missionaries, teachers, and Native Christians of other islands, and all the missionaries to meet for consultation.—Takes heathen Natives to Christian islands that they may see the effects of the Gospel, and have their prejudices against it and against the missionaries and teachers somewhat removed. She also returns strayed Natives to their own island.—Carries the word of God from the Press to the several islands, and the contributions of the Native Christians for the support and spread of the Gospel to a market.
The "Day Spring" is the rope for lifting the Missionaries and Teachers occasionally up out of the mine of heathenism, and for sending down necessaries for their minds and bodies. I wish all the young to put a hand to this rope and to hold it firm and fast.
In addition to purchasing the vessel, the Australian Colonies page 16 raised last year for her sailing expenses—in New South Wales, £346; Tasmania, £227; South Australia, £634; Victoria, £313. While all this has been done in these places, not much has been done in New Zealand, not from want of interest I am sure, but "ye lacked opportunity." The other colonies are thus a-head of you and a long way to windward. How can you lessen the distance between you and them? You cannot help to purchase the vessel now, but you may still have a connection with her. New Zealand might insure her. An association for this purpose has been formed, and her estimated insurance value, £2000, has been divided in 440 shares of £5 each. Can New Zealand not produce 440 men and women to undertake the risk? A shareholder taking one share will require to pay £1 a year for five years, unless he prefer paying up at once. If anything befall the vessel; say after three years, the balance of the share, viz £2, will be called up at once to replace the vessel. Of these shares 110 have been allotted to Auckland, 30 to Hawke's Bay, 50 to Wellington, 140 to Otago, and so on in proportion to the supposed ability of the several Provinces. The only dividend that I can promise subscribers will be, not twenty per cent., nor even five, but the consciousness of having done something for the cause of Christ.
But why not continue to insure the "Day Spring" in the regular way? The advantages of the plan above proposed are these: 1st. We shall save the present premium, about £180 per annum. 2nd. The vessel will get the benefit of the interest accruing from shares or parts of shares paid up. 3rd. New Zealand will have a connection with the "Day Spring" not inferior to that of the sister colonies. 4th. We shall be free to go where and when we wish, without losing time by writing to London for authority. We want a world-wide range for our vessel, like that of the Gospel she is designed to spread.
4th. We want prayer for the blessing of God to attend our labours. These are our plans, but in what will they result without prayer? I am not mocking you when I say "Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified," in the New Hebrides, "even as it is with you." Pray that your hearts and the hearts of the Church at large maybe opened to feel for the heathen. Pray that as the harvest is great and the labourers few the Lord of the harvest would thrust forth labourers into his harvest.
We shall look to the children, then, to keep the "Day Spring" afloat; to the adults to support Missionaries and Teachers, and to insure the "Day Spring;" and to all (for all can help us) to uphold the cause by prayer. And may we soon see on the New Hebrides some of the sons and daughters of this country to aid the solitary labourers now on the field, and to be the representatives among the heathen of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.