Edited by the London Missionary Society
South Seas; though their islands were almost unknown. But the West Indies were close shut. "If you preach to the slaves," said the Governor of Demerara to a missionary, "I cannot let you stay here." They were excluded from South Africa and from India. China was sealed, and remained so for forty years. Passages were expensive; voyages were full of discomfort; letters were few. They knew little of the manners and systems of heathen nations; they knew less of their literature; they knew nothing of their languages. Dictionaries, literature, buildings, converts, everything had to be produced. Their fields of labour were unprepared. Their message and their aims were little understood.
In all these elements of usefulness we occupy at this hour a position of usefulness, in marked contrast to that of our predecessors. With a mighty advance in practical freedom, in intelligence and education, in social comfort, in material resources, the entire religious life of England has secured a solidity, an elevation, and a general influence of the most marvellous kind. In the number and wealth of our churches, in the character and position of the ministry, the Society ought to find supporters immeasurably in advance of the few but earnest friends of seventy years ago. Our missions have made indescribable progress. Our agencies continue to grow