FROM the Boston Recorder we copy the following remarks as introductory to a very long letter from the South Sea Islands, in which the writer shows that the religion carried thither by American Missionaries, is not proof against temptation, rum and ruin.
"AFFECTING INTELLIGENCE FROM THE SOUTH SEA ISLANDS.
Appended to several of our London Magazines for July, we find a letter addressed to the directors and friends of Bible and Missionary institutions in Great Britain and America, by R. Ferguson, of the British and Foreign Sailor's Society. It is headed "Affecting Intelligence from the South Sea Islands," and is intended to show that all which has been done by Christians in Britain and America, for the Islanders of the Pacific during the last 40 or 50 years, is in danger of being lost in consequence of the vices of British and American seamen who visit the islands, and especially by the introduction of ardent spirits in British and American ships. We copy the letter below, in the hope that it will arrest the attention of those who are best able to devise and apply a remedy to the evil."
What a pity! The labor, expense and piety of forty or fifty years is likely to be LOST! The cob-house begins to totter to its centre, and an overthrow of missionism on these ill-fated islands seems inevitable. O Baal, Awake! Ye Britains and all ye saintly sons of Columbia, Arouse from your slumbers! Apply the remedy, the best remedy, and that speedily, else will the magnificence of your missionary idol be in danger. Let the governments of America and Great Britain apply the remedy! Let them forthwith supply a mighty fleet, (manned with pious officers and crews) to protect those Islanders from the impending danger; and let them deal out thunderbolts of vengeance and of death to any who may approach these consecrated islands, except they be Sound in the missionary creed. The pious missionaries have toiled forty or fifty years incessantly. Millions of money have probably been spent for the support of these missionaries; and after so much labor, piety and expense, the missionaries have reported the number of their converts - but how can they stay converted unless something can be done to keep sin off the Islands? The missionaries can undoubtedly keep their converts sober if the governments of England and America will prevent their being able to obtain intoxicating drink. They can manage to keep them orderly so long as there are no temptations before them; but to keep them sober and chaste when the temptation is presented, is more than can reasonably be expected from any system of religion ever invented by man since the world began.
What a comment the missionists have in this case furnished on their own delusions. In order to convert the heathen, immense labor, money and time are brought into requisition; and then to keep them converted, the governments of the nations of the earth must interpose their authority, or all that men have done to save souls is lost, utterly lost. As the letter written itself remarks, "But what can be expected, while these poor islander are exposed to temptations and disease brought among them by the notorious crews of the shipping, whose vicious practices cannot fail to subvert and banish every virtuous feeling.
But ere we close these remarks, we wish to call attention to a kind of religion very different in origin, nature and effects: we allude to the Religion of the Lord Jesus Christ; that which eminates from God, not from Mission Societies. That which effects a radical change in those who are favored of God and become the subjects of it, and which can never fail to lead its subjects to desire and pursue after holiness, in life and conversation - that which can meet and resist the fiery temptation, and that which teacheth us to deny ourselves of all ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present world. For we, Old School Baptists, are confident of this very thing, that he that bath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: and that he is able to keep that which we have committed to him against that day. What the Lord doeth is well done, it is done forever; none can add to it or take from it, and the Lord doeth it that men may fear before him.
Alexandria, D. C.,
October 15, 1839.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 537 - 539