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stipend ?" But, up to this point, it may be smooth sailing enough. Now begin his difficulties. A place of worship, a school house, perhaps a dwelling house, must be built; a place of worship is needed at home, but in Jamaica it is impossible to get on without one. If not subjected to our colds and storms, he and his people are under the burning heat of a tropical sun. Then, as to a schoolhouse, let any one enter even an ordinarily well ventilated school liouse at home, and breathe for half an hour the oppressive and noisome air, and it will require little persuasion to convince him how necessary is a well-constructed, well-ventilated school house, to the health and benefit of both teacher and pupils. But the question presses on the missionary, How are these to be built ? whence the ways and means? He casts about for resources, but in vain. The church at home provides not for this. The church provides the man and his stipend; the church sets him and his family down free, and pays him as much as will keep him in comparative comfort, but the church does no more. His health may suffer_his usefulness may be impaired—the whole scheme may be wrecked. The church is not surely to blame ; she has assuredly done all that is incumbent on her! He need not look to the church at home; and so the missionary begins to look about him on the spot. The white men in his neighbourhood care little most of them about religion, especially the methodism of dissent; perhaps a rich Liverpool planter may give a piece of ground, as he believes the mission tends to make the people sober and industrious; and then the natives themselves, what can they do? they are not slaves, indeed, but freemen, and earning by honest labour a decent maintenance. They give to be sure, and give liberally many of them; but their gifts, in the first instance, tend rather to excite the hopes than to satisfy the substantial demands which the missionary must meet, should he venture to aspire to a house in which he and his people may worship the Most High. But a place of worship must be built, and the work is commenced ; labour is high in price, so are materials; the workmen must be paid from week to week, without resources- with no commercial credit but what his character obtains for him, the missionary is now often at his wit's end. His own limited income is the first and readiest resource. Even it has been often forestalled, and he and his family reduced to privations, a simple narrative of which would touch a heart of stone. His distractions unfit him in a great measure for his proper work; he is reduced to shifts which place his property and even his person in peril ; and when, after a course of toil, and suffering, and privation, the buildings are finished, there rests on them generally a load of debt, which in his case, as in similar cases nearer home, is felt to be a sad hindrance, if not a positive barrier, to the successful prosecution of the high and holy calling of the christian ministry. But between the foreign and the home cases there is this difference, that the missionary dwells in the land of the stranger, we have many friends; he is alone, and must interpose his personal responsibility, having none to share it with him-we have our managers and members to divide the burden; he borrows money at an enormous rate of interest, which thus converts a small debt into a large annual pre mium, while we can borrow generally at a moderate rate of interest, apd even the law interposes to prevent money being “put out to
usury.” The consequence of all this is, that the best part of a mis sionary's life-especially if he be occupying a new field-is engrossed in an occupation which, had he been but provided with means, might have been despatched in half the time; and, instead of the harassment of mind, risk of influence, health, property, and personal liberty even, the whole affair might have been conducted and terminated with comfort and credit. To remedy this state of things is surely a desirable object; and we shall now suggest what seems to us the likeliest way of meeting the difficulty, the remedy providing, as we consider it must provide, for two things,-the lending of money on proper security, and the stimulating of congregations to reduce or sweep away their debts. Were the foreign missionary aware that the church at home considered a place of worship and school-house as essentials which could not be dispensed with, and that his claim to have these provided would be listened to as readily as would his request for a catechist to assist him in providing for a promising and needy district, he would of course go about the work in the right way. He would prepare his case and his plans, procure his estimates, and ascertain, so far as practicable, his local resources. These he would submit to the Board at home, and, if approved of, with whatever suggestions might be deemed advisable, he would then be encouraged to proceed ; and were he provided with the necessary funds, from time to time as these were required, the buildings would be erected in the best way, in the shortest space, and with the greatest saving of expense; and, instead of risk to the missionary of health, comfort, means, or influence, the salary which the church allows him for living (not for building), would be left untouched, unpledged, and free, and his local influence and standing would be strengthened and promoted.
We come now to the mode by which we propose to gain the objects sought for—the building economically, and without personal hazard or harassment to the missionary or catechist, and the gradual extinction oft he congregational debt.
The first part of our scheme has reference to the loan fund,-a fund the amount of which can hardly be estimated, as it would vary from time to time according as the demands on it increased or diminished. It is believed that L.2000 might be assumed as a likely and even high average; because, suppose a congregation at present to commence to build, and a loan to become requisite of L.800, and, a twelvemonth after, another congregation were to receive a similar sum, and a year beyond this a third congregation were also to obtain a similar sum ; although these three would exceed our average fund, yet, by the time the third received its quota, the first of the congregations would be commencing to refund the sum advanced ; and, unless we could suppose churches erected in our colonies, to build which assistance were required, at a rate exceeding that of one each year, every rest beyond this would, in ordinary cases, continue to diminish the amount on loau by the periodical repayments flowing in from the congregations which had benefited by the accommodation. Not only might the advantages bę extended to new congregations, or to new stations where buildings of some kind had become necessary, but also and primarily to such existing congregations as have debts, for portions of which private friends
may have become responsible, or for all or portions of which they must, to ordinary creditors, pay enormous interest.
It would not be difficult, in our opinion, to obtain the sum that would be required. The money might be raised in a purely business way. Were the church at home favourably to entertain the present proposal, or a modification of it, and appoint certain trustees for this special purpose, with authority to borrow whatever sum might be needed, but limiting the amount to an average such as should be estimated as likely to meet pressing demands, these trustees (they could be got at an hour's notice) might advertise for loans in the usual way. The security would be unexceptionable ; and the interest offered would be the usual market interest. It is not doubted the money would be obtained even through the ordinary channels; individuals or their agents having small sums to invest, would readily prefer this to ordinary personal caution, or to the expensive and troublesome security of a landed mortgage ; and, is it too much to expect that there would be found friends of the Secession and of Christianity, who would be disposed to lend L.100, or L.500, or L.1000, where their money was safe, the interest on it regularly paid, and they deriving the unspeakable satisfaction all the while of knowing that, in thus trading, they were also promoting the best interests of their fellow-men? This, or something similar, has been successfully attempted in Glasgow already, on a smaller scale, by the private intervention of some benevolent friends of our church, and with the best results. Why not attempt on system, and on a larger scale, and conducted with equal prudence and discrimination, a financial scheme, the necessity for which has been always felt, often pled for, and as often laid aside, as a thing rather to be sighed for than attempted ?
Of course, the congregation on whose behalf the loan is made, would be required to pay in general a reasonable rate of interest; and the property would be held by the trustees at home in security of the advances, “aye and until” the amount should be refunded. We have said that this would offer a fair security ; 1st, because church property is as valuable in Jamaica, for instance, as it is in Scotland ; 2d, because, erected in an economical way, which it would be were the plan indicated pursued, its cost would not be enhanced without increasing its value, as is now the case, by the desultory intermittent system of building which a lack of funds necessitates ; and, 3d, because all that would be contributed on the spot-whether ground, labour, or money, would just give the property additional value, and increase the security for the sum which would be required over and above to complete it, and which would just be the amount lent by the church at home.
We are to imagine, then, the church or schoolhouse erected, and bur. dened, of course, with a considerable debt; and to diminish this debt, the most, if not the whole of which is supposed to be due to the loan fund, is the next consideration. There are two modes of dealing with this difficulty ; the first is to urge the people by a sense of duty and obligation to exert themselves to repay what has been so disinterestedly and generously advanced ; and the auxiliary, and, as we think, the most efficient plan would be, to bring them within the scope of the fund, or a fund, for assisting weak congregations. If this were done, let us see how it might be expected to operate:- The people have nominister to pay in the mean
time—he is supported by the church at home—they have reasonably good wages, and it might be calculated on an average that, what between members and persons attending on divine ordinances, two hundred persons at a station so hopeful, and so aided, might be looked to as contributors. Suppose that after exhausting local and peculiar resources, their debt remained at the sum lent to them, namely L.800,—and the board for assisting weak congregations were to offer them L.100, provided they contributed of their own substance L.200, or L.1 each, during a twelve-month to be allowed them, of course this would reduce their debt to L.500. Were they then granted a time to recruit their energies—their numbers having, in the meantime, probably increased,—and were they offered another L.100, on condition that they raised L.300 in one year, and the remaining L.100 during the twelvemonth following,—what between the feeling that their debt would thus be swept away, and that the property, which had hitherto been held in security by the creditors at home, would now be conveyed to themselves, it is not doubted that the thing would be accomplished. It is not more than—it is not so much as-has been done at home, by congregations whose circumstances were not more favourable. At an outlay and sacrifice, then, of L.200, you have such a congregation as we have instanced, ultimately and rapidly freed of its debt.
We throw out these hints,—they are only hints—with the view of turning attention to this subject. Although we have spoken of foreign missions, we confess that we have had the West Indies rather than Canada in our eye. Not that we are less favourably disposed to the one than to the other—not that we would think it as displaying good feeling or sound policy to lavish attentions on one branch of our missions and withhold them from another; we wish to strengthen the hands of the brethren in Canada, in every possible way—to send them reinforcements of men, and to treat them more liberally than they have been treated in past times ; but as to the erection of churches in Canada, we have imagined that there were fewer difficulties to contend with there than in other parts of the world. A Canadian is not a man to make much ado about building a log house, for instance ; and what between the hatchet of the woodman, the omnigenous accomplishments of the farmer, and the handicraft to which all are trained, we have understood that the erection of a church in the outstations was not reckoned a thing to make a noise about. But it is altogether different in the West Indies. The cause of the difference has already been stated. It is for Jamaica and Trinidad, and wherever else, circumstanced as they, we may send or disseminate the glorious gospel that we now mainly plead; and oh! may we not say for Africa too. Already, we trust, has one missionary left the print of his foot on the sand of her shores,already, perhaps, has he whispered to some of her barbarous kings and chiefs the first accents of redeeming mercy,—already, perhaps, has the standard of the cross been planted on fields stained with the blood and massacre and cruelties of centuries. And if this be so, who can tell how soon we may hear of savage warriors and kidnappers and murderers, renouncing their horrid practices, submitting themselves to the religion of the Prince of Peace, gathering themselves into little bands to listen to his word and observe his ordinances,mand by and by crying to the
NO. III. VOL. III.
church at home, “ you have sent us christian teachers, thus showing your love to us; imitate still farther the conduct of that man who showed his love for his nation by building them a synagogue, and help us to erect tabernacles in which, with order and benefit, we may worship the most high God.”
That controversy about religion is not necessarily an unlawful thing, is evident from the fact, that we are called on to contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints,"—that our Lord himself frequently engaged in disputation, and that a considerable proportion of the Scriptures themselves partakes of a controversial character. Notwithstanding the evils which controversy has engendered within the christian church, from her infancy to the present hour, it would not be difficult to show, that it has not been altogether an unprofitable thing; that notwithstanding the divisions it has occasioned — the heartburnings it has kindled-and even the spirit of persecution it has evoked, it has “ fallen qut rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” But for controversy, what must have been the condition of the christian church ? But for the contendings of men valiant for the truth, and their faithfulness even unto death, what must have been the fate of our most 66 precious things ?" Undoubtedly but for these, under the blessing of Heaven, we must have been like Israel of old, “ without a king, without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.” Passing other services which controversy has rendered to mankind, it has awakened inquiry, it has winnowed truth, it has kindled zeal-zeal which though not altogether without alloy, has been zeal in a “ good thing," and highly serviceable to religion. By means of it, doctrines have been recovered, and principles brought to light, which have thrown beauty and lustre on the temple of God. If now it is our privilege to have access to “ the lively oracles," and to listen to the very words in which God speaketh to us from heaven, none preventing or “ making us afraid”—if the Sun of Righteousness himself is no longer hidden from us behind a cloud of superstitious observances,—and if, as the result of these things, there are among the churches of these lands, clearer views of the constitution and nature of the Redeemer's kingdom than formerly, is it not in a great measure to controversial discussion that we are indebted for it? And such results are not the accidental merely, but the natural and necessary fruits of controversy, wherever it has been engaged in after a scriptural manner. It cannot be denied, however, that evils great and manifold have often followed in the train of controversy. An instrument powerful for good, if only properly directed, it has been wielded in such a manner, as to be the cause of evils so serious, as fre. quently to hide from view the benefits it has conferred. These evils, however, are its accidental, not its necessary results, and may therefore be in a great measure removed ; and the benefits which it has only