Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No Inclination to Turn Back

A portion of a letter by the missionary to the Indians in Oklahoma, Isaac McCoy (1784-1846), to a critic, a Mr. Samuel Dedman of Pike County, Indiana, who opposed his plans to live among the Indians and give his life, if necessary, in reaching them with the gospel. The letter was written on January 12, 1820.

I assure you, my brother, that every opposing difficulty, the opposition of the association not expected, has only tended to increase my missionary ardour. May my merciful God forgive me if I be wrong, and set me right. I would rather be a missionary to the Indians, than fill the President's chair, or sit on the throne of Alexander, emperor of Russia. I would rather preach Jesus to the poor Indians in a bark camp, than address the thousands who assemble in Sansom Street meeting house, Philadelphia [the General Missionary Convention had been held there, May 7, 1817]. Something has turned my attention towards the Indians, and every feeling of my soul is enlisted in their cause, yet still I may be wrong. But I feel not the least inclination to turn back, but would drive on with the vehemence of Peter, the meekness of Moses, and the wisdom of Solomon.

Kansas Historical Quarterly, "Isaac McCoy and the Treaty of 1821," by Lela Barnes, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 128. Thanks to Gary Long of Particular Baptist Press for sending me a digitized copy of this letter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good From Scripture for One's Own Soul

A portion of a letter from Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) to a young minister about preaching. Fuller wrote several letters to this person under the title, "Thoughts on Preaching." The emphasis in this paragraph is the need for searching the Scriptures for one's own benefit, not just to find sermons.

To understand the Scriptures in such a manner as profitably to expound them, it is necessary to be conversant with them in private; and to mix, not only faith, but the prayer of faith, with what we read. There is a great difference between reading the Scriptures as a student, in order to find something to say to the people, and reading them as a Christian, with a view to get good from them to one’s own soul. That which is gained in the latter of these ways is, beyond all comparison, of the greatest use, both to ourselves and others. That which we communicate will freeze upon our lips, unless we have first applied it to ourselves; or, to use the language of Scripture, "tasted, felt, and handled the word of life."

The Works of Andrew Fuller, "Thoughts on Preaching," volume 1, letter 1, p. 713.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Cannot Hate Them In Return

A selection from a letter by Augustus Toplady to John Ryland, Jr. Toplady addressed the conflict he had with those of "Wesley's party," that is, the Arminians. He was greatly despised for his defense of Calvinism but sought to love those who differed with him, though he himself could be very sharp in disputation. The letter was written April 30, 1773.

The envy, malice, and fury of Wesley's party, are inconceivable. But, as violently as they hate me, I dare not, I cannot hate them in return. I have not so learned Christ.—They have my prayers and my best wishes, for their present and eternal salvation, But their errors have my opposition also: and this is the irremissible sin, which those red-hot bigots know not how to forgive.

The Works of Augustus Toplady, volume 6, London, reprint, p. 173.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Soldiers Converted in a Foreign Land

A portion of a letter from missionary William Carey, to his sisters back home in England. He writes about the conversion, this time, not of the Indian people he was attempting to reach with the gospel, but European soldiers stationed there, most of whom were surely British. The letter was written from Calcutta, May 4, 1810.

There has, of late, been a great awakening among the European Soldiers in several Regiments now in India. Bro. Chamberlain has baptized near fifty, mostly belonging to one Regiment. There are thirteen now in Fort William, who are under hopeful impression, who constantly attend worship at our Chapel in Calcutta. One of them, who has been long under very strong convictions is a native of Flower near Daventry, and another from the neighborhood of Bedford. Thus the Lord takes these people from a Land of Gospel light, to a land of gross Idolatry, and there reveals his grace to them.

The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey, collected and edited by Terry G. Carter, Smyth & Helwys, 2000, p. 186.