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of Methodists, the various schools of the Baptists, and the minor sections of Christian modification which the scrupulous or erroneous conscience has originated with such abundance in that country. To add to this consideration, since the publication of Dr. Dwight's work, great changes have taken place in the religious relation of that part of America, a circumstance that should have a very obvious influence on the statements of our countrymen respecting the United States. No where in the whole world does the face of nature and of society change so rapidly, and institutions move onwards to their acme with such velocity : the circumstances of mankind there forbid any thing to be stationary, and more is done within ten years than can be performed here in a century. Since that statement was first put forth, great exertions have been made by the Presbyterian and Congregational churches in the formation and working of Home Missionary societies, and these societies have been for many years in active operation in the very districts where the destitution was once felt and complained of; and ministers of many denominations, but principally of the two former, and the Baptist and Methodist connexion, are now in addition to the original number, either settled over separate churches, or are evangelizing the most distant parts in orderly and periodic succession. In fact, relying on the testimony of gentlemen from America, we dare assert that the proportion of ministers to the whole population is, even in the distant provinces, nearly, if not quite equal to the average proportion of resident and preaching ministers in England; and that compared with the secluded parts of the highlands, and especially with the western islands of Scotland, the superiority will be found greatly in favour of the United States.
The reflections which we have offered above to the consideration of our readers, arose from a glance at the work whose title stands at the head of this article, connected as these volumes are with many of a similar character which have lately proceeded from the press, as records of the labours of the American churches. When we think of the vast efforts which the Christians of that land are making for the evangelization of the heathen, and consider the ability, the practical good sense, the self-denial, and the scriptural piety exemplified in the publications of her missionaries, we have no doubt—w
-whatever their enemies may say—as to the real state of religion in the churches which sent them forth ; and we congratulate ourselves on this additional proof of the efficacy of the principles we have already seen triumphant in its home operations, The investigations preparatory to missionary excursions which are recorded in the volumes named at the head of this article, were undertaken by the American missionaries and merchants residing in the year 1837, at China. The first volume gives an account of the voyage of the ship Morrison, from Macao to Japan. This ship was commanded by Captain Ingersoll, and carried
Doctor Parker, Mr. Gutzlaff, the well known missionary, and Messrs. Williams and King, as passengers ; and it was hoped that its approach to the interdicted ports of Japan would be facilitated by the undoubted benevolence of at least one object of this voyage, the intended restoration to their native land of three parties of Japanese seamen, who had been shipwrecked on the different shores of western America, Hainan, and Luzonia in the eastern Archipelago, and by the character of the vessel, which was deprived of all her warlike implements for the sake of allaying suspicion as to her designs. The object of the second volume is to give the details of the voyage of the brig Himmaleh from Macao to Singapoor, and successively to Celebes, Ternate, Borneo, and other isles of the Indian Sea. This vessel was commanded by Captain Fraser, and had on board Mr. Stevens, an American missionary, and on his decease, at Singapoor, Mr. Dickinson, a gentleman of the same official character, and Mr. Lay, an English naturalist, and an agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Mr. Lay is the author of the second volume, as Mr. King is of the first, and two volumes of a more interesting character, interesting in the most exalted sense, as having for their object the record of a truly benevolent and Christian design, were never presented to the public. In the light of documents on the moral state of the countries they respectively regard, they are valuable to the philanthropist; to the student of nature they offer some original, and in truth, some philosophical observations, which we doubt not will be of considerable value in the theories of atmospheric phenomena, and other kindred sciences; but it is in their religious aspect we especially regard them as at once affording a valuable testimony to the disinterestedness and benevolence of the Christians of America, and as supplying a long desired directory in the prosecution of future designs for the civilization and evangelization of the eastern world, at that glorious and long expected time when the energies of Europe and the other Christianized sections of the earth, shall be extensively and fully called forth to the high and noble work of raising their degraded and idolatrous fellow men to the knowledge, and worship, and obedience of God.
Japan has been long known to Europe as being, conjointly with China, the country most impervious to the civilization and science of Europe; her ports have been for the period of a century obstinately shut to all intercourse with this portion of the world, excepting in a very limited degree with Holland ; and this privilege appears to have been granted to the Dutch as a reward for their not very honourable conduct towards the Portugese and Spaniards in the quarrels between those nations and the Japanese. This jealousy of foreigners has been exercised to such a degree of intolerance, that European vessels are not permitted to enter her
ports, and in those instances where her own countrymen have been shipwrecked on distant shores, their return to their native land has been virtually forbidden, as all attempts to land them from European ships in Japan have been prevented by force. We have already observed, that this benevolent object was again undertaken in the present instance, and to prevent
the possibility of any misconstruction of the designs of the agent of this enterprise, the vessel undertook her voyage deprived of all her military apparatus. It was hoped that whilst this first purpose was answered, and the shipwrecked Japanese were restored to their country and to their families, a regular mode of intercourse might be established between Japan and America, and that opportunities might be afforded of conveying the blessings of pure Christianity to its many millions of idolatrous inhabitants. Our readers are aware that a peculiarly corrupt form of that religion did once exist, and, indeed, so far as numbers and influence are concerned, may be said at one time to have flourished in Japan ; but the ambitious designs of the Popish priesthood being discovered to the ruling powers, the European missionaries were universally banished, and the native converts, after a series of sanguinary persecutions, were at length effectually and completely eradicated. In truth, the secular designs which the Japanese government detected as lying hidden under the mask of proselytism in the Roman priesthood, first directed the storms of persecution against the professors of Christianity, and have ever since been the cause of the extraordinary policy which has forbidden all intercourse with the professors of that faithThe vessel was furnished with printed documents in the Japanese language, expressive of her exclusively pacific character, the benevolent object she contemplated, and the wish of America to establish an intercourse which might be favourable to both countries; it was hoped that the known fact of that country having no form of religion connected with her state polity, would be a sufficient guarantee that such designs as had been in former ages charged on Portugal and Spain, would not be suspected in the present instance; and it was felt as a favourable omen of the enterprise, that if an opportunity should be granted by this or succeeding attempts of introducing a purer form of Christianity into this country, one objection to its reception would at least be obviated, inits entire independence on national and secular power. If Christianity were thus again to visit the shores of Japan, it would go in its own character and for its own sake, and not as the means of securing national aggrandisement, and of advancing worldly power and ambition. We regret to say,
far as concerns the primary and ostensible object of this enterprise, the design failed: the vessel was not permitted to approach the shores, and the Japanese authorities did all that was possible to prevent any connexion between the
inhabitants and the crew; they even carried their bigoted and short-sighted policy to such an unjustifiable height as to open a fire from batteries constructed for the purpose, on the unoffending vessel, though well acquainted, from printed documents in their own language, and circulated abundantly amongst their countrymen, with the pacific character of the voyage, and the utter impossibility of carrying on any belligerent design, in consequence of the absence of the usual warlike armament; nay, farther, though the intention of the American captain of restoring the shipwrecked Japanese to their families and country was industriously circulated, and the humanity of that design very generally, at least among the poorer inhabitants, appreciated. But our readers will acknowledge, with us, that one object of the visit was obtained : it is worth the difficulties of the voyage to know that a large portion of mankind yet lies in this state of inhuman and savage hostility. We should scarcely have believed without this painful experience, that any section of the family of mankind, still less that a section not of barbarians, but of men who have attained to no mean proficiency in the arts, nay, even in some of the sciences of civilized life, and who in their own estimation have reached to a height of refinement from which they may regard the nations of Europe as barbarians, could thus outrage the rights of humanity. Here we have a stronger evidence than perhaps has yet been presented to the eye of philanthropy, of the need of missionary institutions. If there are yet even in our country individuals who doubt the propriety of efforts to Christianize, surely they will now concede, at least, the necessity of some well directed effort to humanize these children of the rising sun. That attempt shall be again made. The address to his Christian reader, with which Mr. King concludes his account of this frustrated benevolence, will not be read in vain by Christians in this and other lands.
• If he will follow me, and the American people will follow me, through the inferences I would make from this experiment, and the plans I would ground on its apparent failure, results may be obtained equivalent to ample success. I said failure ; but what are failures in any worthy cause ? 'the lesser waves repulsed and broken on the strand, while the great tide is rolling on, and gaining ground with every breaker. It is over a succession of repulsed and fallen instruments that grand plans, like the ocean tide, make their steady, irresistible advance.'
Though this voyage contributed but little to the great object of missions in any direct shape, yet the observations which occur in Mr. King's narrative are well worthy of a missionary's attention, and speak so favourably of the sobriety of his religious views, that we cannot refuse ourselves the pleasure of quoting one or
two. Speaking of one of those many causes that render sea voyages often tedious, Mr. King says
* No wonder, if at sea, after the failure of all and sundry signs and tokens of a coming breeze, a sovereign supporter of hope, 'a special providence,' should be called in to raise a wind. Let me not be understood to impugn the trust of the becalmed sailor ; I would rather prompt him to admire the providence which has subjected the strongest influences he is called to encounter, to laws which he may usually ascertain, if he be intelligent, and will always conform to if he be humble and wise. Let him rely, then, on special interposition whenever the 'diynus vindice nodus' shall occur, but remember all the while, that benevolence is to be sought for in the rules of the Divine Government, rather than in exceptions to them ; that it is no miracle for God to be kind.'-p. 161.
The volume commences with a well written introduction, in which Mr. King gives a concise history of the successive circumstances which have attended the intercourse of the several European nations with Japan, according to the order of their chronological connexion with the East. The Spanish and Portuguese narrative occupies, of course, the first place; and, as may naturally be supposed, occupies the greatest portion of this recital. To that succeeds the history of the Dutch factory; and, finally, we have a brief account of the English attempts to establish a connexion with that country, an account which might be considerably enlarged, and rendered far more interesting. A few pages on the Russian intercourse conclude this account.
An account of the voyage from Macao to the coast of Japan next succeeds, in which the author gives a narrative of his short stay at the interjacent isle of Loochoo. There are many observations on the currents and prevailing winds between China and Japan, which we doubt not will contribute to facilitate future missionary enterprises in this part of the ocean; but we confess the observation of our author on coming a second time within sight of Japan, conveys a sentiment we have so keenly felt on similar occasions, that we are tempted rather to select it for our readers than any of a more scientific character.
Uninteresting as this coast is, there was a kind of pleasure felt by all, again on the 23rd at the cry of land.' In fact, beautiful as the plateau is, whose centre the ship at sea always keeps, I observe that no one ever regrets when its perfect outline, on the broad base of the noble dome that covers it, is broken by any mean, little lump of ground. All share with the companions of Æneas, in the 'magno telJuris amore.”
After the author has described the various attempts made by