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interested. This has been the theme of my meditation, and my prayers. I feel that my happiness and usefulness are deeply concerned. I tremble at the thought of relinquishing the object, after having so often consecrated myself to it, and had such comfortable evidence that I ought to engage in it. I tremble too lest, if I give up the object, the blood of souls may be found in my skirts. I know not how to understand the language of Providence. Is this to forbid my laboring among the heathen? Or is it only to test my resolution, my patience, and my love for the work? Why have I been led to think and feel so much on this subject? Was it to prepare me for foreign service, or was it to prepare me to be disappointed and labor at home? Sometimes the language of Providence at this crisis seems to be -- Stay, you are not qualified for the great work.' I fear I have not that faith, that patience, that selfgovernment, necessary to render me useful. This is the only ground on which I can doubt. If I take it for granted that I am nearly as well qualified to labor abroad as at home, the question is decided at once. The importance of the fields will bear no comparison. The prospect of supply is altogether in favor of my going abroad. The prospect of immediate usefulness is greater perhaps at home. Still I cannot doubt that missionaries among the heathen exert an influence on the church at home, which vastly more than compensates for the loss of their personal service.
“O my Saviour, I am thine. To thee I now consecrate my mind to be guided and taught, and my heart to be moved and excited. I submit to have my mind perplexed with doubts, and my heart filled with pain, as long as thou shalt see best, if it may but terminate in a conviction of duty, and a disposition to do it. I would cheerfully meet all the difficulties, and bear all the pains thou shalt appoint, if they may but lead me to more wisdom and humility,
and prepare me to do more good. But I do intreat thee, not to suffer my views and feelings to be so influenced, as shall prove detrimental to the interests of Zion. O let the result be better
preparation to be a good and useful servant of my Lord. I bless thee that thou hast afforded me so much assistance, and guided me thus far, and by thy aid I hope for light, and peace, and joy. Let me not wait in vain. Trust, O my soul, trust in thy Saviour, and he will guide thee.
"If there is any thing for me to do, the Lord will lead the way. If not, let me rejoice that others will be employed to carry on his work; and though nothing be found for me to do, the interests of the church, and the honor of the Saviour are secure. It is enough. O my Saviour I give myself to thee. Do with me as thou wilt.*
"Aug. 17. To-day I have been reading the memoirs of Pearce with the hope of deriving some advantage from the perusal. If such a man was not allowed to labor among the heathen, how can I hope for the happiness? But he was already in an exceedingly important and useful station. It is not so with me. Should I stay in America, all my plans for usefulness may fail. I may prove but a burden to the church. Many of Mr. Pearce's expressions, I think, I can understand. Many of his trials I have experienced. Oif I could pray as he did, if my heart were pure as his, God might accept me, and give me a gracious answer. But I do not yet know what to make of the present dealings of God with me. My heart is pained, my very soul is full of anguish. When with my fellow-students whom I dearly love, I find it difficult to be sociable. This great question occupies my thoughts, and engrosses my feelings, so as to exclude all common topics, even such as I have often dwelt upon with great
*The reader is requested to revert to the letter which Mr. Fisk addressed to the Professors at this time, and to the paragraph which immediately follows it, p. 41.
delight. I long to have the question settled. But I must not be impatient. I have consented to bear as much as shall be best, to have my mind tortured till God shall see fit to give me peace. I would not recal what I have done; I would cheerfully submit to have my very soul rent with anxiety and pain, if I may but be fitted to be a useful servant of Jesus Christ. Only let me learn duty, and be the process ever so painful, I will rejoice in it.
"Aug. 31, 1817. This morning I found unusual pleasure in prayer for missionaries. I sat a long time in my closet, and thought of them, scattered in different parts of the world, and laboring with various success amidst various trials and disappointments. While I mused, my heart kindled to a flame of love for them; and even now while I write, I feel a union to them which I never felt even to my dearest earthly relatives. I long to share their burdens, to participate their labors, and their success.
"The anxiety I have had of late respecting my course in life, has subsided. My mind is again quiet, and I trust I have not been deceived in thinking it my duty to devote my life to the service of Christ among the heathen. I can now praise and glorify God for all his dealings with me; and especially for giving me so much evidence that he does approve of my purpose to be a missionary. Once more blessed Saviour, I offer myself to thee without reserve, to be disposed of and dealt with as seemeth good in thy sight.”
A perusal of the foregoing journal clearly shows, that Mr. Fisk did not hastily determine to become a foreign missionary. He looked at the subject with a mind powerfully impressed with the magnitude, the difficulties, and the responsibilities of the undertaking. He sat down in his closet, and with many anxieties and inquiries, prayers and tears, counted the cost. He was led to a satisfactory result, having come finally to a conviction of personal
duty not far removed from assurance. Immediately after concluding the solemn and interesting investigation of the question of duty respecting missions, he wrote a communication to the American Board of Missions, offering himself to be employed under their direction, in some part of the pagan world. His proffer of himself was accompanied with ample testimonials from the Professors of the Theological Seminary.
The class, of which he was a member, finished their regular course of professional studies in September 1818. The public examination was held on the 23d of the month, and on the same day, at a meeting of the Prudential Committee of the Board, the Palestine Mission was established,* and Messrs. Fisk and Parsons were appointed to that station.
THE BOARD OF MISSIONS, TILL HIS
BEFORE proceeding to the missionary station assigned him, it was judged expedient that he should be employed one year as an agent, to visit the southern section of the country, for the two-fold purpose of soliciting donations for the use of the Board, and interesting the public in the objects of missionary enterprise. He accordingly received ordination in the Tabernacle Church, Salem, November 5, 1818; and, towards the last of the month, he sailed from Boston for Savannah, Georgia, at which place he arrived after a passage of eleven days.
He was kindly received by the good people of that city, and particularly by the lamented Dr. Kollock, who gave him a cordial welcome. After a
* The reasons, which led the Prudential Committee to establish this Mission, are contained in their tenth Annual Report, p. 23.
suitable time, he proposed his object; but to his severe disappointment he found circumstances unfavorable to his success. A variety of public ob jects occupied the attention, and required the patronage of the people. Pecuniary embarrassments were complained of, and the stagnation of lucrative business: but the greatest difficulty of all was the influence of formidable prejudices against northern agents. Special efforts, therefore, in soliciting donations for the Board at that time, were judged to be unadvised.
Mr. Fisk, however, spent a little time in the city, which he improved in visiting a few individuals of influence, for the purpose of enlisting their feelings in missionary objects. In the mean time some small contributions were made, and before he left, the Savannah Missionary Society voted to defray the expenses of his agency for six months, by the liberal appropriation of sixty dollars per month. Great as the discouragements at first sight appeared, Mr. Fisk did not wholly relinquish his object, nor despair of ultimate success. He revolved in his mind the question,-“What measure can I propose, that shall be likely to meet with a favorable reception?" At length he proposed to the people that some missionary be designated, to whose particular support their funds should be appropriated. The proposition being somewhat novel, received attention, and was regarded with approbation. He left the subject. for their further consideration, and proceeded to visit some of the back counties. He went south as far as St. Mary's, preaching from place to place, giving information on the subject of missions, and taking up collections, where permission was obtained. The prospect of success began to brighten.
At St. Mary's, Jan. 2, 1819, he writes to a friend then in Wilmington, Vt.,—“I endeavor, in going from-place to place, to do what I can to animate and comfort Christians, to alarm careless sinners,