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History Of The Missions Of The American Board Of Commissioners For Foreign Missions To The Oriental Churches, Volume I.   By: (1796-1880)

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HISTORY OF THE MISSIONS OF THE AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS TO THE ORIENTAL CHURCHES.

BY RUFUS ANDERSON, D.D., LL.D., LATE FOREIGN SECRETARY OF THE BOARD.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

BOSTON: CONGREGATIONAL PUBLISHING SOCIETY. 1872.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by THE AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE: STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BY H. 0. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.

PREFACE.

Missions to the Oriental Churches occupy a large space in the forty nine volumes of the Missionary Herald, and in as many Annual Reports of the Board; and in view of the multitude of facts, from which selections must be made to do justice to the several missions, it will readily be seen, that their history cannot be compressed into a single volume. The Missions may be regarded as seven or eight in number; considering the Palestine and Syria missions as really but one, and the several Armenian missions as also one. The history of the Syria mission, in its connection with the American Board, covers a period of fifty one years; that of the Nestorian, thirty seven; that of the Greek mission, forty three; of the Assyrian (as a separate mission), ten; of the Armenian mission, to the present time, forty; and of the Bulgarian, twelve. The mission to the Jews, extending through thirty years, was so intimately connected with these, as to demand a place in the series; and the facts scattered through half a century, illustrating the influence exerted on the Mohammedans, are such as to require a separate embodiment.

In writing the history, one of three methods was to be adopted; either to embrace all the missions in one continuous narrative; or to carry forward the narrative of each mission, separately and continuously, through its entire period; or, rejecting both these plans, to keep the narratives of the several missions distinct, but, by suitable alternations from one to another, to secure for the whole the substantial advantages of a contemporaneous history. The first could not be done satisfactorily, so long as the several missions have a separate existence in the minds of so many readers, and while so many feel a strong personal interest in what is said or omitted. Even on the plan adopted, so much must necessarily be omitted, or stated very briefly, as to endanger a feeling, that injustice has been done to some excellent missionaries. As for the second, the author had not the courage to undertake consecutive journeys through so many long periods; and he believed not a few of his readers would sympathize with him. If, however, any desire to read the history of any one mission through in course, the table of contents will make that easy. Each of the histories is complete, so far as it goes.

No attempt has been made to write a philosophical history of missions. The book of the Acts of the Apostles is not such a history, nor has one yet been written. The time has not come for that. There are not the necessary materials. The directors of missions, and missionaries themselves, have not yet come to a full practical agreement as to the principles that underlie the working of missions, nor as to the results to be accomplished by them; and it must be left to competent writers in the future, when the whole subject shall be more generally and better understood, after patiently examining the proceedings of missionary societies in America, England, Scotland, and Germany, to state and apply the principles that may be thus evolved. The most that can now be done, is to record the facts in their natural connections, together with the more obvious teachings of experience. If the author has been successful in doing this, his end is gained.

In the present state of religious opinion respecting divine Providence among a portion of the reading community, it may be proper to state the author's strong conviction, that the promise of the Lord Jesus, to be with his missionaries, pledges the divine interposition in their behalf; and that "whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord... Continue reading book >>


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