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“ 2, Salisbury Place, Mary-le-bone, London,
13th June, 1823. “My dear FRIEND AND BROTHER, “ 'Tis more than twelve months ago that I formed, and have since cherished in my mind, the fond purpose, by the leave of Him' whose are all our ways,' of visiting once more the land of my fathers, and of making a closing appeal to the redeemed of the Lord there, in behalf of the sons of the strangers. The enfeebled state of my constitution admonished me to work, with increasing ardour, while my sun yet hung above the horizon, and an opportunity was yet afforded me of doing something for Him who has done so much (O how much !) for me. I was desirous, also, of reviving, by a personal interview with my brethren, those sacred and endearing friendships, in the enjoyment of which I have survived almost all those who began their ministerial career with myself. Agreeably to this purpose, and by the kindness of the ministers, I was enabled to form and fix a tour of labour for the space of ten weeks. In the midst of these expectations, it pleased God, about four weeks ago, in the exercise of his sovereign, holy, and, I trust, gracious Providence, to visit me with the return of a severe constitutional disorder. It was brought on by a fall at a public meeting for a pious and most benevolent object, from the giving way of the platform, by which my whole frame was greatly injured. I have been confined, and chiefly to bed, for these four weeks past. In the midst of my anxiety to obtain a suit-able substitute, it pleased God, in consequence of my earnest application, combined with that of my brethren in the direction of the London Missionary Society, to incline the heart of my beloved brother and co-presbyter, the Rev. Mr. Broadfoot, to acquiesce in our wishes. This has relieved my mind from a heavy pressure, and, I trust, will be found a part of the Divine plan that will greatly conduce to the advancement of the Redeemer's cause. Mr. Broadfoot's talents as a preacher, the liberality of his
sentiments, the mildness and suavity of his manners, his connexion with the United Associate Synod, and the ardour of his zeal for the diffusion of the glorious Gospel, eminently fit him for the important work. You will receive him into the warmest nook of your heart, and aid him in the object of his mission, which is indeed your own mission as truly as ours. In this cause national distinctions are lost, -or, rather, national faculties will be combined in the advancement of an object that will unite all nations in one holy family.
“I enclose a paper containing an address by the directors of the London Missionary Society, which I beg you will read to your dear people on the Sabbath before Mr. Broadfoot's arrival, subjoining whatever considerations your own zealous and devout mind may suggest for their excitement. “ Now, my dear friend and brother, farewell ! “ Ever and very affectionately yours,
By a communication with which Mr. Broadfoot has kindly furnished us, it appears that he collected, during his short tour in Scotland, about 7001. ; and that “ he considers it due to justice and candour,” as he modestly expresses it, “ to state, that his success was eminently owing to the name and influence of the person whose place he occupied. From the moment,” he adds,“ of his obtaining my consent to take that part in the mission from which he was prevented by severe bodily indisposition, he laboured to prepare my way, by a circular letter which he sent to a number of the ministers of our body in Scotland. This was read to me by one of them, when at his house; and though I am fully conscious of my coming short (alas ! far short) of what is said in it of myself, I regarded it as a recommendation of the important cause in which I was engaged (especially considering the person from whom it came), very highly calculated to secure for me, wherever it went, a kind and favourable reception.”
From the foregoing account of his numerous and laborious journeys in the service of the Missionary Society, it might appear to a cursory reader that these constituted his chief and most arduous exertions in this cause; yet such was far from being the case. His journeys were, perhaps, among the least laborious of the duties performed by him in this great field. Besides being one of the most assiduous members upon the Board of General Direction, he acted as a member of various special committees, appointed from time to time, as well as of the permanent committees of Funds, Correspondence, and Examination ; and the consequent extent of his missionary exertions, considering the amount of his other numerous and urgent avocations, would be incredible to persons of less mental activity, and less strictly methodical in the division of time and labour. Labour, even when his age and infirmities required repose, was never regarded by him as a task, but rather as a tribute of gratitude for the love of his Saviour; and, like the great apostle of the Gentiles, he was always willing to work as well as to teach.
Among other duties which he was frequently selected to perform, was that of addressing the missionaries sent forth by the Society, on their departure from their native land to execute the
important and arduous trust committed to them. The following paper is a specimen, though a very imperfect one, of the manner in which he was wont to perform this solemn office. It is entitled “ Hints towards a Farewell Address to the Missionaries ;” and seems to have been intended as the heads of the different topics which he designed to illustrate more fully in his spoken charge:
“ DEAR BRETHREN, “ Before we take our last leave of you, permit us, out of the fulness and in the simplicity of our hearts, to suggest a few practical hints to your consideration. We look upon you with the sincerity, the solicitude, and large measures of the warmth, of parental regard. May the Spirit of wisdom teach us how to address you, and teach you how to receive our words, for your spiritual profit and consolation!
« The work on which you are sent is difficult as it is important. But you know where your strength lies. • God is able to make all grace abound towards you ; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.' Mountains of Mahomedan and heathen superstition, before the Son of God, become plains. Look up to, and lean, therefore, on his arm, and thus ye shall lose the sense of your own weakness.
“ Maintain close fellowship with God in your own souls. By this means your confidence in him will increase, your compassion for them who are strangers to communion with him will become more tender, and all the powers of your minds be set on a blaze of holy scriptural zeal for their conversion.
“ While you make known to the ignorant African the grace of God that bringeth salvation, O! we beseech you, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, that you shew to them, in your own lives, how this grace of God hath taught you to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly and righteously and godly in this present evil world. The depth of your reasonings their untutored minds may not be able always to fathom; but a humble, self-denied, contented, and gentle deportment, is an argument which every mind can comprehend, and which, by the grace of God, every heart will feel.
“Keep ever in view the great object of your mission, that, while you in your stations minister the Gospel of God, the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Let nothing divert you from this great object. Say to every temptation from the love of science and the love of gain, that would turn thy heart aside, or weaken its steadfastness, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things which are of men.' With God's commandment, therefore, in your ears, the joy set before you in your eyes, and the zeal and firmness of Jesus which conducted him to that joy, hold on in your chosen course steadfast and immovable to the end.
“ Seek from God in fervent prayer, and encourage in your own minds, every missionary