[From Grindrod's Compendium, 1842]

PART III.

THE INSTITUTIONS OF WESLEYAN METHODISM.

CHAPTER VIII.
THE WESLEYAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY.

The Origin of our :Missions — Formation of the Wesleyan Missionary Society — Rules — Deputations to Auxiliary Societies-Instructions to Missionaries — Particular Inquiries to be made concerning Candidates — Appointments, Stay, and Return of Missionaries.

SECTION I.-ORIGIN OF METHODIST MISSIONS, AND FORMATION OF THE WESLEYAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY.

THE general system of Wesleyan Methodism is admirably adapted to Missionary purposes. Its vital doctrines, its prudential ordinances, its peculiar discipline, and the spirit of ardent zeal for the con-version of all mankind which it inspires, eminently fit it for taking a prominent part in the dissemination of the Gospel amongst all the unenlightened nations of the world. Its Founder was a Missionary ; and, on a voyage to a foreign land, to preach Christ to Heathens, he was taught the simple, evangelical method of believing in order to salvation; which he afterwards published, through a protracted [p194] life, with extraordinary zeal and success. Thirty years after the formation of the "United Societies of the People called Methodists," he founded the first Foreign Mission, under the care and direction of the Conference. That assembly held its annual session at Leeds, in the year 1769; when the following Minutes were adopted:-

We have a pressing call from our brethren at New-York, who have built a preaching-house, to come over and help them. Who is willing to go ? Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor. What can we do further, in token of our brotherly love? Let us now make a collection among ourselves. This was immediately done, and out of it 50 were allotted towards the payment of their debt;1 and about 20 given to our brethren for their passage.2

These honoured men were the first regular Itinerant Methodist Preachers upon the Continent of America afterwards, at different periods, the Rev. Messrs. Francis Asbury, Richard Wright, Thomas Rankin, and George Shadford, were sent to them by the British Conference. The first American Conference was held at Philadelphia, in the month of July, 1773; at which the Rev. Thomas Rankin presided. The whole number of members in society, at that time, in the " New World," including six or seven Travelling Preachers, was about 1,000.3 In the year 1840, sixty-seven years from the above date, there were, in the " Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States," 844,816 members; and, at least, 3,106 regular Preachers in Circuits, and Missionaries to the Indians, and others; besides 216 Supernumerary and Superannuated Preachers.4

[195]At the Conference held in Bristol, in the year 1786, Mr. Wesley appointed the Rev. Thomas Coke, LL.D., to visit the societies in British North America. These societies had been raised, partly by the ministry' of the Rev. Lawrence Coughlan, formerly a Travelling Preacher in connexion with Mr. Wesley, and subsequently, at the request of the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, ordained by the Bishop of London, as a Missionary for the Island of Newfoundland; partly by the preaching of Mr. John M`Geary, whom Mr. Wesley sent as a Missionary to the same island; and partly by the labours of Preachers sent from the United States. Mr. William Warrener, whose ultimate destination was for the island of Antigua, in the West Indies, Mr. William Hammett, and Mr. John Clarke, intended for Newfoundland, sailed with Dr. Coke. After a fruitless contest for many days, with opposite winds and unfavourable weather, they abandoned their original intention of reaching North -America, and bore away for the West Indies; where, in the island of Antigua, they landed on Christmas Day, 1786. Dr. Coke regarded this event as being providential; and left his three Missionary companions to prosecute their labours in the islands of the West Indies. These were the first Preachers sent by the British Conference to that Archipelago. From that period their number has been increased from year to year, and their labours have been followed by results the most beneficial and glorious, as it regards the political, moral, and religious condition of the once degraded and depraved population of those islands.

[196]Until the year 1813 our Missions were confined chiefly to the British settlements in North America and the West Indies; and they were carried on under the general superintendence of Dr. Coke, who, to furnish the requisite pecuniary supplies, for many years " stooped to the very drudgery of charity, and gratuitously pleaded the cause of a perishing world from door to door." By means of his unwearied and indefatigable exertions in most parts of the three kingdoms, together with a public collection made by the Preachers in their respective Circuits, a sum amounting to somewhat more than 6,000 was annually placed at his disposal, to be applied chiefly to the purposes of Negro instruction; the spiritual necessities, and temporal sufferings of the slaves in the West Indies, exciting in those days a deep sympathy whenever they were pressed upon the public attention. At the above period, Dr. Coke, in his sixty-seventh year, set his heart upon a Mission to the East Indies ; and neither the difficulties of an enterprise so arduous, nor the reasonings and entreaties of his brethren in the ministry, could divert him from the prosecution of this noble and benevo lent object. Accompanied by a band of young Missionaries, who fully entered into all his feelings and views, he embarked for India, in the month of December, 1813. The friends of Wesleyan Missions now perceived that a responsibility devolved upon them, which they had not previously felt; and that new and extraordinary exertions were necessary to meet this additional expense, as well as to support the Missions which had long been in useful and active operation. Several plans were proposed to meet this unexpected emergency; and that which originated with our Ministers then stationed in Leeds,[197]was adopted by the ensuing Conference.5 The wisdom and utility of the plan has been made strikingly apparent, by the splendour of its results, during a period of twenty-seven years. The annual income of the Missionary Fund was at that time below 7,000; now it amounts to the sum of 91,182. 8s. 8d. In the year 1814, the whole number of Missionaries employed under the direction of the Conference was 70: there are now (1841) about 245 principal or central Mission Stations, occupied by our Society in various parts of the world; there are 367 Missionaries, beside Catechists, Local Preachers, Assistants, Superintendents of schools, School-masters and Mistresses, artisans, &c.; Of whom upwards of 300 are employed at a mode.. rate salary, and about 4,000 afford their services gratuitously. At the former period, the total number of members in society under the care of our Missionaries, was 18,747; the present number, according to the latest return, is 84,234.6

1 No doubt by this is meant the debt upon the preaching-house in New-York.
2 Minutes, 1769.
3 Myles's Chronological History of the Methodists, p. 128.
4 Minutes, 1840.

5 See Jackson's Life of the Rev. Richard Watson, pp. 134, 135.
6 Report of the Wesleyan-Methodist Missionary Society for 1841, p. 109.

SECTION II.-THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF THE WESLEYAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY.

1. THIS institution shall be designated THE WESLEYAN-METHODIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY.

2. The object of this Society is to excite and combine, on a, plan more systematic and efficient than has heretofore been accomplished, the exertions of the societies and congregations of the Wesleyan Methodists, and of others, who are friends to the conversion of the heathen world, and to the preaching of the Gospel generally, in foreign lands, in the support and [198]enlargement of the Foreign Missions, which were first established by the Rev. John Wesley, M.A., the Rev. Thomas Coke, LL. D., and others; and which are now, or shall be from year to year, carried on under the sanction and direction of the Conference of the people called Methodists.

3. Every person subscribing annually the sum of one guinea and upwards, and every benefactor presenting a donation of 10 and upwards, shall be deemed a member of this Society, and entitled, as such, to a copy of the General Annual Report.

4. All Methodist Missionary Societies which have already been formed, and those which it is intended to form as soon as it shall be found practicable, for the several Districts in this kingdom into which the Methodist Connexion is divided, shall be entitled, "Auxiliary Methodist Missionary Societies," for the Districts in which they have been, or may be, formed.

All Methodist Missionary Societies already formed, or here-after to be formed, in the particular Circuits of any District, shall be entitled, " Branch, Methodist Missionary Societies," for the Circuit, or (where there are, or shall be, more than one such Society in the same Circuit) for the city, town, or village in which they are, or shall be, established. And the formation of Ladies' Branch Associations, and of Juvenile Branch Societies, in connexion with the Auxiliary Societies of the several Districts, is also earnestly recommended, wherever separate institutions of that nature are likely to be advantageous.

5. The moneys raised in any Circuit for the Methodist Missions, by Branch Societies, or other Local Associations, and all other moneys, in whatever way; collected, for the same object, shall be regularly paid, once every quarter, or oftener, into the hands of the Treasurer of the Auxiliary Society for the District in which the said Circuit is situated, with the deduction only of such sums as may have been disbursed for the incidental and local expenses of the Branch Society. And the Treasurer of every District Auxiliary Society shall remit to the Treasurer or Treasurers of the General Society in London, once in every quarter, or oftener, all sums so received [199]by him from the various Circuits in his District, deducting only the necessary incidental expenses incurred by the Auxiliary Society.

6. The Secretaries of every Branch Society, or other Local Association, shall forward annually to the Secretaries of the Auxiliary Society for their District, an alphabetical list of all the benefactors and subscribers during the preceding twelve months, with an account of their respective contributions ; stating, at the same time, what portion of the sums so received has been detained for local expenses, and what por-tion has been paid in to the Treasurer for the District. And 'the Secretaries of every District Auxiliary Society shall also forward annually to the Secretaries of the General Society in London, a similar list of the benefactors and subscribers in all the Circuits of their District, and an abstract of the accounts of the Auxiliary Society ; showing its gross receipts, its local 'payments, and its' remittances to the General Treasurers.

7. All benefactors of 10 and upwards, and all subscribers of one guinea and upwards annually, to any of the Auxiliary or Branch Societies, or other Local Associations, in connexion with this institution, shall be deemed, in right of such benefaction or subscription, members of the General Society.

8. All persons who collect to the amount of one shilling and upwards, weekly, or five shillings and upwards, monthly, `for this institution, or for any of its Auxiliaries, Branches, or Associations, shall also be members of the General Society, and entitled to receive a copy of each Annual Report, and of each Number of the Wesleyan Missionary Notices.

9. An Annual public Meeting of the members and friends of this Society, connected with such religious services as may be deemed expedient, shall be held in London on the first Monday in May, unless that day shall fall on the 6th or 7th 'of May, in which case the Meeting shall be held, for that year, on the 29th or 30th of April.

10. A General Committee shall be appointed by the Conference, to whom shall be intrusted (in the intervals of the annual assemblies of that body) the superintendence of the collection and disbursement of all moneys raised for the [200]Foreign Missions, which are now, or may hereafter, be carried on under its sanction, and by the Preachers in connexion with it; and also the general management of those Missions, according to the rules hereinafter provided. This Committee shall consist of the President and Secretary of the Conference, for the time being, and of forty-eight other members, of whom at least one-third (eight Travelling Preachers, and eight other members of the Methodist society) shall be selected from the country Circuits ; the rest shall be resident in or near London, where Meetings of the Committee shall be held once a month, or oftener, for the. transaction of business. Those of the Methodist Ministers who are annual subscribers to the Missions of one guinea, and one Treasurer, Secretary, or other principal member from every District Auxiliary Society, who may be in London occasionally, shall be entitled to meet and vote with the Committee.

11. The London members of the General Committee shall consist of sixteen of the Methodist Ministers, stationed, for the time being, in or near London ; and of sixteen gentle-men, members of the Methodist society, not Travelling . Preachers. Four out of the last-mentioned sixteen shall go out annually by rotation. This rotation, during the first three years, shall be effected by ballot of the Committee ; after which it will proceed in regular course. Four of the country members (two Preachers and two others) shall also be changed annually.

12. One or more General Treasurers, who shall be entitled to sit and vote with the Committee during the year of their continuance in office, shall be annually appointed.

13. Four of the Methodist Ministers, stationed in or near London, shall be appointed to conduct the official correspondence of the Missions, and to perform the other duties of Secretaries. The Secretaries shall be expected to devote themselves on the weekdays, in general, to the service of the Missions exclusively; being subject, however, to all the General Rules of the Connexion, respecting a regular change of Station.1

[201]14. As all the Missionaries, supported by the funds of this Society, are to be Preachers in connexion with, and under the direction of, the Methodist Conference, and have generally a -claim to be received as such into the Connexion at home, on their return from Foreign Stations, the selection of Missionaries shall be made in the following way ; namely:-

(1.) Every Candidate must, in the first instance, be recommended by the Superintendent of the Circuit in which he resides ; be approved by the Quarterly-Meeting of that Circuit ; and be examined and approved also, either by the annual District-Meeting, or at least by three other Superintendents in the neighbourhood.

(2.) The list of Candidates for Missionary service, who shall be thus recommended by their several Superintendents, Quarterly-Meetings, and Distriet-Meetings, &c., shall be annually laid before the Conference ; and such a number of those who are deemed most eligible as are likely to be wanted, in the course of the ensuing twelve months, shall be sent for to the Conference, and be examined by a Special Committee in reference to their Missionary views and qualifications. In cases where it may be found inexpedient for them to attend the Conference, they shall be examined by as many of the Preachers of the London District as can conveniently assemble for that purpose.

(3.) Those Candidates who shall be approved by the Special Committee at the Conference, or by the Preachers of the London District, as before mentioned, shall be entered on the List of received Missionaries, and be subject to the call of the General Committee for such Stations as may need supply or reinforcement.

(4.) When Preachers, already engaged as such in the Con-nexion at home, offer themselves for foreign service, they shall be personally examined, in reference to that subject, by a Special Committee at the Conference ; or, if that be impracticable, by as many of the Preachers of the London District as can conveniently assemble for the purpose ; and shall, if approved, be also placed on the List of received Missionaries. (b.) If it shall at any time appear, to a majority of the [202]General Committee in London, that there are reasons why any Preacher, called out from the said List of received missionaries, and proposed for a Foreign Station, shall not proceed upon that service, they shall have a right to suspend his appointment as a Missionary, until the ensuing Conference shall especially consider and determine on his case.

(6.) If, in the intervals of the annual Meetings of the Conference, the List of received Missionaries shall be exhausted, and more Missionaries shall be urgently wanted,-or, if an immediate supply shall be needed for some Station of peculiar difficulty, or requiring peculiar qualifications, :the General Committee shall be at liberty to employ such persons as they deem suitable provided always, that such persons shall have been previously recommended by their respective Superintendents; by the Quarterly-Meetings of the Circuits in which they reside, and either by the District-Meetings, or by three other neighbouring Superintendents; and shall also be pre-viously examined and approved by as many of the Preachers of the London District as can conveniently assemble, who shall be considered, on such occasions, as exercising, on behalf of the Conference, the same functions which would, in ordinary cases, belong to the Special Committee appointed during the sittings of the Conference, according to the 2d and 4th articles of this Rule : provided also, that this right of the Committee to employ Missionaries not entered on the Annual List, shall be exercised only in case of pressing necessity, and not without the consent of the President of the Conference for the time being.

15. The Plan for stationing the Missionaries supported by this Society shall be annually drawn up by the Secretaries, laid before the General Committee in London, and, if approved by them, recommended to the Conference.

16. The trial of Missionaries, who may at any time be accused of misconduct, or of having deviated from the doctrines and discipline of the Connexion, shall, in all ordinary eases, be left with the Foreign District-Meeting to which such Missionaries may at the time belong, according to the General Rules and usages of the Methodist Conference. But the Conference shall have, as heretofore, the right of recalling any Missionary, whether put on his trial by a Foreign District-Meeting or not, whenever there shall appear to them to, be reason for such recall. And, in the intervals of the sit-tings of the Conference, the General Committee in London shall possess a similar power of recall, and of putting any Missionary, so recalled by them, upon his trial before the ensuing Conference ; or, in case of necessity for immediate decision, before as many of the Preachers of the London Dis-trict as can conveniently assemble.

17. For the satisfaction of the numerous country friends of this Society, on whose continued co-operation so much depends, and many of whom are in the habit of attending the Annual Meetings of the Conference, it is agreed, that a Special Meeting of the General Committee shall be held once a year, at the place where the Conference is held, at nine o'clock in the morning of the Tuesday preceding the last Wednesday in July. To this Meeting the Conference shall, from year to year, invite nine Preachers, and nine other members of the Methodist society, resident in the neighbourhood, who are not Travelling Preachers, together with the Treasurers and Secretaries of the different Auxiliary and Branch Societies in the vicinity, and such other leading country friends of the Methodist Missions as can conveniently attend. The persons thus assembled, in conjunction with those regular members of the General Committee who can be present, shall review the Minutes of the financial business transacted during the pre-ceding year, and examine the general accounts of the state and expenditure of the Missions. Any suggestions for the improvement or extension of the Missionary concerns of the Connexion, which this Special Meeting may deem it expedient to recommend, shall be minuted by the Secretaries, and promptly considered by the Conference, or at the subsequent regular Meetings of the General Committee in London.

18. It is earnestly recommended to the members of this Society, and of the Auxiliary Societies, and other Local Asso-ciations in connexion with it, to consider it as an indispensable part of their daily Christian duty, to pray to Almighty [204]God for a blessing upon its designs, and upon those of all similar Societies of other denominations, engaged in the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ; under the full con-viction that, unless he "prevent us in all our doings with his most gracious favour, and further us with his continual help," we cannot reasonably hope for a succession of persons of proper spirit and qualifications for the office of Missionaries, or expect their labours to be crowned with the desired success. And it is further hoped that, with the same view, all the members and friends of this Society will sanction, in their several neighbourhoods by their presence and influence, the monthly Missionary prayer-meetings, which should be held in every chapel in the Methodist Connexion, according to the recommendation of the Conference, published in their Minutes for 1815 ; at which Meetings extracts from the Missionary Notices, containing recent intelligence from the Foreign Stations, may be read, and united supplications offered up for the salvation of the world;. 2

1 For the regulations relating to these appointments, see p. 37.,
2 Minutes, 1818.

SECTION III.-PLAN OF MISSIONARY DEPUTATIONS, TO DISTRICT AUXILIARY SOCIETIES.

IN order to meet the wishes expressed by several very respectable Districts, for a more easy and systematic method of procuring suitable assistance at our Missionary Anniversaries, the following regulations are recommended :.-

1. Let Deputations be appointed for the Anniversaries of District Auxiliary Societies only ; or to include, at most, such of the principal and most productive Branch Societies in each District, as may usually be- attended without detaining the persons who compose the Deputations from the duties of their own Circuits for more than one Sabbath at a time.

2. Let not more than two, Preachers be appointed on any such Deputation, as representatives of the General Committee. Where additional help is indispensably required, let that of [205]other Preachers be solicited, as formerly, by the Local Committees of the Auxiliary or Branch Societies themselves, acting in conjunction with their Superintendents.

3. Those Branch Societies who cannot conveniently obtain the attendance of Deputations acting on behalf of the General Committee are requested to make competent provision for their own Anniversaries, as heretofore, by timely applications to other Preachers ; and especially to those who are stationed in their own respective Districts or neighbourhoods.

4. It is recommended to the General Committee and Secretaries; in the appointment of Deputations, and to the Local Committees, in the invitation of other assistants, to pay as strict an attention to economy in the expenditure both of time and money as a proper regard to the peculiar circumstances of each Society, and to the success of the several Anniversaries, will admit.

5. As mutual consultation, on the part of the various Circuits of each District, in reference to the periods at which their Anniversaries may best be held, would, in many cases, produce a considerable saving, both of money to the fund, and of time to the Preachers appointed or invited to visit them,-it is desirable that each Auxiliary and Branch Committee should meet, to deliberate on that subject, as soon as convenient after every Conference ; in order that the Preachers and Circuit-Stewards, who compose the Financial District-Meetings, annually held in September, may report the views and wishes of the different Committees in their District, so as to facilitate some general arrangement, satisfactory and advantageous to all the societies engaged in this good work.1

6. At the several Financial District-Meetings, which shall be held in September, arrangements shall be made for holding Missionary Meetings throughout the respective Districts, especially those in the Circuit-towns, during the ensuing year; so that such Meetings may be held at the least possible expense : and the District Treasurers and Secretaries shall be earnestly invited to attend the said District-Meetings, when [206]such arrangements are under consideration. The plan for each District, thus provisionally arranged, shall be imnediately transmitted by the Chairman to the several Preachers who form the Deputation for that District, as appointed in the list of Deputations published in the Minutes of the Con-ference for that year. The said Preachers are required to correspond with the Chairman on the subject forthwith; in order that such final arrangements may be adopted, by mutual consent, as to the exact time of holding the Missionary Meetings for the Circuits of each District, as will prevent in future the great inconvenience which has resulted from the absence, on any Missionary Deputation, of more than one Preacher from the same Circuit at the same time. It is requested that a copy of each arrangement thus formed be forwarded to the General Secretaries in London. It is also recommended, that one of the usual Quarterly-Meetings of each District Auxiliary Committee be summoned during the sitting of the annual District-Meeting, for the purpose of investigating the expenses incurred at Anniversaries, &c 2

1 Minutes. 1825-
2 Minutes, 1839.

SECTION IV.-PARTICULAR INQUIRIES TO BE MADE CONCERNING MISSIONARY CANDIDATES.

Questions, additional to, or explanatory of, those usually put to Missionary Candidates, and to the Preachers who recommend them, at the District-Meetings,1 which the Missionary Committee request the Chairmen of Districts to pro-pose, and enter, with their answers, in the blank spaces of the circular letter in which they are contained.

1. From what Circuit is the Candidate recommended?

2. What is his age?

3. How long has he acted as a Local Preacher?

4. What is his occupation or profession, and is he acquainted with any other art ?

5. Is he of robust or slender habit of body?

[207]6. Has he enjoyed uninterrupted health ; and if not, what is the disorder to which he is most liable?

7. Has he been given to reading, and what books?

8. Does he appear well acquainted with the Scriptures? 9. Does he know English Grammar?

10. Does he write a good hand?

11. What other language or languages, beside his native tongue, is he acquainted with; and what science or sciences?

12. Does he prefer Missionary labour to any other, feeling deeply for the state of the Heathen, and being earnestly desirous of enlarging the kingdom of Christ?

13. Is he willing to go to any part of the world where his labours may be likely, under God's blessing, to be most useful ?

14. Is he willing to remain abroad as long as the Committee may think proper? 2

15. Does he offer himself to the Committee to go out as a 'married, or as a single, man?

16. If as a married man, can the person to whom he is engaged be recommended for her piety, prudence, general fitness for the wife of a Missionary, and her zeal in the cause of Christ?

17. Have the parents of the young woman given their consent? As to the 13th question, which we wish to be clearly understood by our brethren, and to be fully explained to the Candidates when they are proposed, we certainly greatly prefer a young man who leaves his appointment to the best judgment of his brethren ; but in all cases, as far as possible, we endeavour to meet those preferences which may exist in the minds of Missionary Candidates; thinking that strong draw-ings of heart to any particular part of the world, especially if it be one of difficulty and hazard, may be from God.

It will also be necessary to state to the Candidates, that the Committee will not, in future, send out any Missionary who has a matrimonial engagement unfulfilled. If the Candidate offers himself to the Committee to go out married, he cannot [208]be finally accepted, until satisfactory testimony as to the suitableness of the person he intends to marry is obtained by the Secretaries, should no explicit testimony on that point be transmitted from the District-Meeting, in answer to the 15th and 16th questions. On the subject of subsequent marriage-engagements, in the case of those who offer themselves to go out single, we wish the Candidates to be made acquainted with the following Resolution of the Committee :-

" That in future every Missionary Candidate, who has offered himself to the Conference or Committee to go out a single man, shall be informed, that he instantly becomes bound by the rule which directs our Preachers not to take any step towards marriage without consulting their brethren : and that every such Candidate shall be acquainted that the Committee expect that those who are proposed as single men, shall actually go out single ; or that at all events, even in case of some unlooked-for change of circumstances, no step of that kind must be taken by him, under any pretence whatever;' until he shall have first consulted the Secretaries, and obtained, through them, the full and formal consent of the Committee."

The above regulations received the sanction of the Conference of 1821. The reasons on which they are founded are obvious. Whilst our Missions were confined to the West Indies and British America, where no languages were to be learned, and no great expense of outfit was incurred, and where the Connexion at home could, without difficulty, find Stations for all returned Missionaries, a limited period of service was allowed without involving much difficulty. These circumstances, however, as the brethren well know, are now greatly altered ; and justice to the Mission cause and its friends on the one hand, as well as to the Connexion on the other, required that the former rules on the term of foreign service. should be altered. There may, indeed, be extraordinary cases, in which the Missionary Committee ought to be vested with power to modify some of the above standing rules ; but such cases must always be considered as exceptions, to be only admitted on the special deliberation and decision of the Con-ference or Committee.[209]Another end will, we trust, be accomplished by such regulations. Those persons only are likely to comply with them, whose minds are influenced by that love to the souls of the Heathen, and that devotedness of spirit to Missionary labours, without which the usefulness of any man abroad is very problematical.3

1 For the usual questions, see pp. 79-81.
2 See section vi. of this chapter, for the explanation of the design of this question.
3 An official Document bearing date, " Mission-House, 77, Hatton-Garden, London, April 30th, 1822." Revised and modified, so as to agree with subsequent regulations of the Conference.

SECTION V.-INSTRUCTIONS TO MISSIONARIES.

AT a Meeting of the Committee, held at the Wesleyan Mission-House, Hatton-Garden, London, December 18th, 1817, it was unanimously resolved :-

1. That the substance of various Advices and Directions which have, from the commencement of the Wesleyan Mis-sions, been delivered to the Missionaries, shall be forthwith embodied in the form of printed Instructions, which shall be considered as standing rules of conduct for the said Missionaries.

2. That a copy of these Instructions, signed by the Secretaries for the time being, shall be furnished to every Mis-sionary who now is, or hereafter shall be, employed in any of our Foreign Stations.

3. That the said Instructions shall be read over annually, at the Meeting of every District-Committee, by the Chairman; who is to inquire whether they have been observed on the part of the brethren ; and the same shall be reported in the District-Minutes regularly, and with them transmitted to the Committee in London. Every Superintendent is not only charged with the observance of them himself, but is responsi-ble, as far as may be, for their observance by the brethren under his direction, or for an immediate report to the District, or to the Managing Committee in London, in any case in which they may have been violated.

I. We recommend to you, in the first place, and above all things, to pay due attention to your personal piety ; which, by prayer, self-denial, holy diligence, and active faith in Him [210]who loved you and gave himself for you, must be kept in a lively, vigorous, and growing state. Set before you constantly the example of the holy' Apostle: This one thing I do; for-getting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. iii. 13,14.) Amidst all your reading, studies, journeyings, preaching, and other labours, let the prosperity of your own souls in the divine life be carefully cultivated ; and then a spirit of 'piety will dispose you to the proper performance of your .ministerial duties; and, by a holy re-action, such a discharge of duty will increase your personal religion.

11. We wish to impress on your minds the absolute necessity of using every means of mental improvement with an express view to your great work as Christian Ministers. You are furnished with useful' books, the works of men of distinguished learning and piety. We recommend to you to acquire an increase of that general knowledge which, if the handmaid of piety, will increase your qualifications for extensive usefulness. But more especially, we press upon you the absolute necessity of studying Christian divinity, the doctrines of salvation by the cross of Christ, " which things the angels desire to look into." They exercise their minds, which excel in strength, in the contemplation of those precious truths which you are called to explain and illustrate. Let all your reading and studies have a reference to this. You are to teach religion : you must, therefore, understand religion well. You are to disseminate the knowledge of Christianity, in order to the salvation of men; let the Bible then be Your noon ; and let all other books be read only in order to obtain a better acquaintance with the holy Scriptures, and a greater facility in explaining, illustrating, and applying their important con tents. We particularly recommend to you to read and digest the writings of Wesley and Fletcher, and the useful Commentaries with which you are furnished, which are designed and calculated to increase your knowledge of the sacred volume. Like the Baptist, you must be " burning and shining lights ;" and, therefore, recollect every day, that whilst you endeavour[211]by reading, meditation, and conversation, to increase your stock of useful knowledge, it is necessary for you to acquire a proportionate increase of holy fervour.

III. We exhort you, brethren, to unity of affection, which will not fail to produce unity of action. Let your love be without dissimulation. In honour prefer one another. On this subject, we beseech you to pay a practical regard to the advice of the venerable Founder of our societies, the Rev. John Wesley. With his characteristic brevity he inquires, "What can be done in order to a closer union of our Preachers with each other?-Answer. 1. Let them be deeply convinced of the absolute necessity of it. 2. Let them pray for an earnest desire of union. 3. Let them speak freely to each other. 4. When they meet, let them never part without prayer. 5. Let them beware how they despise each other's gifts. 6. Let them never speak slightingly of each other in any kind. 7. Let them defend one another's character in every thing, to the utmost of their power. And, 8. Let them labour in honour to prefer each the other before himself."

IV. Remember always, dear brethren, that you are by choice and on conviction Wesleyan-Methodist Preachers ; and, therefore, it is expected and required of you, to act in all things in a way consistent with that character. In your manner of preaching, and of administering the various ordi-nances of God's house, keep closely to the model exhibited by your brethren at home. Indeed, you have solemnly pledged yourselves so to do. You have promised to preach, in the most explicit terms, the doctrines held as scriptural, and therefore sacred, in the Connexion to which you belong. We advise, however, in so doing, that you avoid all appearance of controversy, in your mode of stating and enforcing divine truths. While you firmly maintain that ground which we, as a body, have seen it right to take, cultivate a catholic spirit towards all your fellow-labourers in the work of evangelizing the Heathen; and aid them to the utmost of your power in their benevolent exertions. You have engaged also to pay a con-scientious regard to our discipline. We need not tell you, -that all the parts of that discipline are of importance; and [212]that, taken together, they form a body of rules and usages, which appear to meet all the wants of individuals who are seeking the salvation of their souls; and, under the divine influence and blessing, to promote the prosperity of every society. We also particularly press upon your constant attention and observance, Mr. Wesley's Twelve Rules of a Helper.

V. We cannot omit, without neglecting our duty, to warn you against meddling with political parties, or secular disputes. You are teachers of religion; and that alone should be kept in view. It is, however, a part of your duty as Ministers, to enforce, by precept and example, a cheerful obedience to lawful authority. You know that the venerable Wesley was always distinguished by his love to his country, by his conscientious loyalty, and by his attachment to that illustrious family which has so long filled the throne of Great Britain. You know that your brethren at home are actuated by the same principles, and walk by the same rule: and we have confidence in you that you will preserve the same character of religious regard to good order and submission "to the powers that be "-in which we glory. Our motto is, "Fear God, and honour the King ;" and we recollect who hath said, "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey Magistrates, to be ready to' every good work."

VI. You will, in a Foreign Station, find yourselves in circumstances very different from those in which you are at home, with regard to those who are in authority under our gracious Sovereign. It is probable you will frequently come under their immediate notice and observation. We are, how-ever, persuaded, that while you demean yourselves as you ought, you will be generally favoured with their protection. On your arrival at your Stations, you will be instructed what steps to take in order to obtain the protection of the local Governments ; and we trust that your subsequent good beha-viour towards Governors, and all who are in authority, will be such as shall secure to you the enjoyment of liberty to instruct and promote the salvation of those to whom you are sent.

VII. Those of you who are appointed to the West-India [213]colonies, being placed in Stations of considerable delicacy, and which require, from the state of society there, a peculiar circumspection and prudence on the one hand, and of zeal, diligence, and patient perseverance, on the other ; are required to attend to the following directions, as specially applicable to your Mission there :-

1. Your particular designation is to endeavour the religious instruction and conversion of the ignorant, pagan, and neglected black and coloured population of the island, or Station, to which you may be appointed, and of all others who may be willing to hear you.

2. Where societies are already formed, you are required to watch over them with the fidelity of those who must give up their account to Him who hath purchased them with his blood, and by whose providence they are placed under your care. Your labours must be constantly directed to improve them in the knowledge of Christianity, and to enforce upon them the experience and practice of its doctrines and duties, without intermingling doubtful controversies in your administrations, being mainly anxious, that those over whom you have pastoral care should clearly understand the principal doctrines of the Scriptures, feel their renovating influence upon--the heart, and become "holy in all manner of conversation and godliness." And in order to this, we recommend that your sermons should consist chiefly of clear expositions of the most important truths of Holy Writ, enforced with affection and fervour on the consciences and conduct of them that hear you ; that you frequently and familiarly explain portions of the Scriptures ; and that, as extensively as you possibly can, you introduce the method of teaching children, and the less instructed of the adult population, by the excellent Catechisms with which you are furnished.

3. It is enforced upon you, that you continue no person as a member of your societies, whose " conversation is not as becometh the Gospel of Christ" and that any member of ' society who may relapse into his former habits, and become a polygamist, or an adulterer ; who shall be idle and disorderly, or disobedient to lawful authorities ; who shall steal, or be in [214]any other way immoral or irreligious; shall be put away, after due admonition, and proper attempts to reclaim him from the " error of his way."

4. Before you receive any person into society, you shall be satisfied of his desire to become acquainted with the religion of Christ, and to obey it ; and if he has not previously been under Christian instruction, nor baptized, you are, before his admission as a member, diligently to teach him the Christian faith, and the obligations which he takes upon. himself by baptism ; so as to be assured of his having obtained such knowledge of the principles of religion, and such belief of them as to warrant you to administer to him that ordinance. Beside this, no person is to be admitted into society, without being first placed on trial, for such time as shall be sufficient to prove whether his conduct has been reformed, and that he has wholly renounced all those vices to which he may have been before addicted.

5. You are to consider the children of the Negroes and coloured people of your societies and congregations as a part of your charge; and it is recommended to you, wherever it is practicable and prudent, to establish Sunday-schools, week-day-schools, and infant-schools, for their instruction. It is to be considered by you as a very important part of your duty as a Missionary, to catechise them as often as you conveniently can, at stated periods; and to give your utmost aid to their being brought up in Christian knowledge, and in industrious and moral habits.

6. On all persons, in the relation of hired servants, you are diligently and implicitly to enforce the same exhortations which the Apostles of our Lord administered to the servants of ancient nations, when by their ministry they embraced Christianity: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good-will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, [215]whether he be bond or free." (Ephes. iv. 5-8.) " Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh : not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men ; knowing, that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance : for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." ( Col. iii. 22-25.)

7. You are directed to avail yourselves of every opportunity to extend your labours among the Negroes of the islands where you may be stationed ; and respectfully to seek, for that purpose, the permission of the owners, or managers of plantations in the country.

8. As many of the Negroes live in a state of polygamy, or in a promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, your particular exertions are to be directed to the discountenancing and correcting of these vices, by pointing out their evil, both in public and in private, and by maintaining the strictest discipline in the societies. No man, living in a state of polygamy, is to be admitted a member, or even on trial, who will not consent to live with one woman as his wife, to whom you shall join him in matrimony, or ascertain that this rite has been performed by some other Minister; and the same rule is to be applied, in the same manner, to a woman proposing to become a member of society. No female, living in a state of concubinage with any person, is to be admitted into society so long as she continues in that sin.

9. The Committee caution you against engaging in any of the merely civil disputes or local politics of the colony to which you may be appointed, either verbally, or by correspondence with any persons at home, or in the colonies. The whole period of your residence in the West Indies- is to be filled up with the proper work of your Mission. You are not to become parties in any civil quarrel; but are to " please all men for their good to edification;" intent upon the solemn work of your office, and upon that eternal state, in the view of which the Committee trust you will think and act.

[216]10. In cases of opposition to your ministry, which may arise from any quarter, a meek and patient spirit and conduct are recommended to you. You will in particular guard against all angry and resentful speeches, and in no case attempt to inflame your societies and hearers with resentment against persecutors or opposers. Your business, in such cases, after every prudent means of obtaining relief has failed in your own hands, is with the Committee at home ; who will immediately take such steps as may secure for you that protection, from a mild and tolerant Government, which they hope your peace-able and pious conduct, your labours and your successes, will ever merit for you.

N.B. The directions to the West-India Missionaries are also to be considered as strictly obligatory on all others, as far as they are applicable to the circumstances of their respective Stations.

VIII. It is peremptorily required of every Missionary in our Connexion to keep a journal, and to send home frequently such copious abstracts of it as may give a full and particular account of his labours, success, and prospects. He is also required to give such details of a religious kind as may be generally interesting to the friends of Missions at home ; particularly accounts of conversions. Only, we recommend to y on, not to allow yourselves, under the influence of religious joy, to give any high colouring of facts ; but always write such accounts as you would not object to see return in print to the place where the facts reported have occurred.

IX. It is a positive rule amongst the Wesleyan Methodists, that no Travelling Preacher shall 1 follow trade." You are to consider this rule as binding upon you, and all Foreign Missionaries in our Connexion. We wish you to be at the remotest distance from all temptation to a secular or merce-nary temper. " No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath called him to be a soldier." Independently of the moral and religious considerations which enforce this principle, we here take occasion to remind you, that all your time and energies should be the more sacredly devoted to the duties of [217]your Mission, because the Committee feel themselves fully pledged to pay an affectionate attention to all your wants, and to afford them every reasonable and necessary supply. And this pledge, they doubt not, the generosity of the friends of Missions will, from time to time, enable them to redeem, so long as you continue to regulate your expenses by as much of conscientious regard to economy, as may be found to consist with your health and comfort, and with the real demands of the work of God.

And now, brethren, we commend you to God and the word of his grace. We unite with tens of thousands in fervent prayer to God for you. May he open to you a great door and effectual ; and make you, immediately or remotely, the instruments of the salvation of myriads. We shall inces-santly pray, that" you may go out with joy, and be led forth with peace ; that instead of the thorn may come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier the myrtle tree ; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; and blessed be his glorious name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen."

SECTION VI.-REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT, STAY, AND RETURN OF FOREIGN MISSIONARIES.

1. No Preacher shall be appointed to a Foreign Station until he has travelled four years at home, and is received into full connexion : excepting, (1.) when there are such urgent and pressing calls from abroad as cannot be met but by the appointment of Preachers who are on trial, or on the List of Reserve; or, (2.) when any Candidates for our Missionary work may be deemed sufficiently fitted for it at an earlier period.

2. The offer of every Candidate for our Missionary work [218]shall be carefully and distinctly recorded in the Minutes of the District-Meeting by which he is recommended ; and the Chairman shall transmit, without delay, a copy of such record to the Missionary Secretaries in London.

3. In all cases in which the Missionary Examining-Committee (consisting of the Preachers of the London District) may deem it convenient or expedient, they shall, before the meeting of Conference, examine the Candidates who may be recommended by the Districts, that they may determine on the propriety or inexpediency of their being proposed for admission on trial as Missionaries.

4. Every Candidate examined and approved by the Missionary Committee, shall sign an agreement written in a book to be kept for that purpose, that he will enter upon the foreign work at the expiration of his four years of probation, or at an earlier period, if the Committee, in conjunction with the President of the Conference for the time being, shall so appoint; and that he will take no steps towards marriage without the advice of the Missionary Secretaries and of his Superintendent.

5. The Missionary Secretaries shall have a general over-sight of those Candidates for our foreign work who may be stationed in any of our regular Circuits at home ; and shall furnish them with suitable books for their general improve-ment; which books shall be considered as a part of their usual outfit when they go abroad. The Secretaries shall also supply them with other books necessary for the acquisition of any living language, or of any particular branch of knowledge, to which they may be directed by the Com-inittee to turn their attention ; but books of the latter class shall not be considered as a part of their ordinary book-outfit.

6. In the third or fourth year of the probation of such Candidates, the Committee shall be empowered to place those of them who may be deemed eligible for Stations which require special literary qualifications, under more regular and sys-tematic instruction, either under the care of such Preachers in different Circuits as may be selected for that purpose, or [219]in London, under the direction of the Secretaries, who shall obtain for them such assistance as may be deemed necessary.1

7. The Superintendents of Circuits in which Missionary Candidates may be employed, or under whose care they may be placed, shall regularly forward to the Missionary Commit-tee quarterly reports of their diligence, improvement, and general conduct.

8. The Stations of our Missionaries are in all cases deter-mined by the Conference and the Committee ; who, never-theless, will take into careful consideration the views and feelings of those who may think 'that they have a special. providential call to any particular Station, or field of labour.

9. The term of the service of our Missionaries abroad shall be regulated by the circumstances of the Stations to which they may be appointed ; which circumstances appear to divide the Stations at present occupied into three classes:-

(I.) Stations chiefly tropical, or unfriendly to health, and which afford few or no opportunities for the education and settlement of children. To this class belong the West Indies; Honduras, Hayti, Continental India, and Ceylon. In these countries the minimum of service shall be ten years, commencing at the time of the Missionary's departure from this country.

(2.) Stations which are in the main healthy, where education may be had for children, and where they may probably be settled in life with comfortable prospects. To this clan; belong British America, New South Wales, and Van-Diemen's Land; and also South Africa, within the Cape colony, or within a moderate distance of any of its settle-ments. In these the minimum of service shall be twenty years from the time of departure.

(3.) Stations which, from their peculiar unhealthiness, danger, and hardship, or, on the other hand, from their proximity to this country, and other favourable [220]circumstances, may be considered special, and proper to be placed under various regulations. To this class belong Labrador, Western Africa, parts of Southern Africa at a considerable distance from the colony, New-Zealand, and the Friendly Islands, and also the more proximate Stations in the Mediterranean, France, Sweden, &c. The stay of Missionaries in Western Africa and Gibraltar shall be as hitherto deter-mined; namely, in the former, two years, and the latter, three years, from the time of departure. In all other Stations of this class, the period of stay shall be arranged as those Stations approach to, or recede from, the first and second classes in their circumstances, or as particular occur-rences may suggest.

A list of the Stations, thus classified, shall be inserted in the Minute-Book of the Committee, with the period of stay attached to each of them ; and every additional permanent Station taken up shall be placed in its own class, or under its own exception, in this list, as soon as the proper information concerning its circumstances can be obtained ; so that every Missionary may fully understand his engagements at the time when he enters upon his work.

10. The majority of Missionaries, it is presumed, who have completed their probation at home, will marry prior to their entrance upon the foreign work ; but in the case of any one going abroad unmarried, the following regulations are adopted :-

(1.) If he be appointed to the West Indies, Honduras-Bay, .or Hayti, he shall be allowed, if he think proper to request it, to return home at the end of four years, in order to marry ; provided he engage to resume his Station abroad at the expiration of, at most, one year, and to serve eight years from the period of his second appointment

[221](2.) If he be appointed to Ceylon, or Continental India, he shall be allowed, if he request it, to visit his native country for the same purpose at the termination of six years ; provided he engage to return to a Foreign Station at the end of one year, and to serve eight years from the period of his second appointment.

(3.) If he be appointed to Stations of the third or special class, he is left to negotiate this affair with the Committee.

(4.) On account of the difference of circumstances, no arrangement is made for the temporary return of Missionaries from the Stations in British America; each of whom will be required to remain abroad until the expiration of the entire period of his engagement.

(5.) Cases of failure of health, and of peculiar circumstances, are left, as before, to the discretion and management of the Missionary Committee 2

The above regulations are not intended to apply to Travelling Preachers in full connexion, who may offer themselves as Missionaries. The period of their stay abroad is reserved as matter of negotiation between them and the Committee.

The Missionaries, during their term of foreign service, are under the same general discipline of the Connexion, as that which applies to persons engaged in the home ministry; and upon their return to Europe, at the expiration of that period, they are entitled to all the privileges of regular Travelling Preachers.3 Their characters are subjected to the same annual scrutiny and examination, in their respective District-Meetings, as that which takes place in the home department; and the Minutes of their District-Meetings, containing a detailed account of their proceedings, with regard to finance, moral and ministerial conduct, with an account of the state of the societies under their care, as well as the general state of religion in the countries in which they are stationed, are regularly transmitted by the Chairman to the executive Committee in London.4 The societies raised by the labours of [222]the Missionaries are subject to all our rules of discipline, regarding admissions, exclusions, class-meetings, love-feasts, &c., as those which govern our societies in Europe ; and the Superintendent Missionary has the same authority, in all these matters, as his brethren filling that office at home possess.5

The Branch Missionary Societies are under the direction and authority of the Superintendent of the Circuits to which they respectively belong; and he is accountable, in the first instance, to the District Auxiliary Committee, for the operations of those Societies; and although there is no positive law which empowers him to nominate their officers and Committees, as in the case of Class-Leaders and other society-officers, the reason and fitness of things renders it necessary and proper that no appointment of local Treasurers, Secretaries, Committees, or Chairmen of public meetings, should be made with-out his knowledge and consent: for any parties to make such appointments without consulting their Superintendent, is very irregular and unseemly.

1 This case is now met by the admission of Missionary Candidates into the Theological Institution.
2
Minutes, 182'7.
3 Ibid., 1801.
4 Ibid., 1806.
5
Minutes, 1800.


 

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