Qualities of a missionary

Daily Reading for February 15 • Thomas Bray, Priest and Missionary, 1730

But since, I am not over sanguine to hope for any publick Funds for the PROPAGATION OF CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, either in this, or the other Colonies: And my great hopes are from the pious Clergy themselves, and such particular Persons amongst the devout Laity, whose Hearts are inflamed with a Love of God, and of those Souls which he has purchased with his own Blood: I shall rather turn my self to you, my most Reverend Fathers, and other Noble Patrons of Religion, giving you a general Estimate of the number of Missionaries, which we hope to be supplied withal from your Paternal Care, and Pious Assistance: . . . .And the necessity that there should be both so many, and those singularly well qualify’d for the purpose, I am next to shew you. . . . The Persons which alone can do good there, as I conceive, must,

In the First place, be of such nice Morals, as to abstain from all Appearance of Evil;. . . It is the worst Fault of the Plantations, that they give their Tongues too much liberty that way, especially if they can find the least Flaw.

Secondly, They must be Men of good Prudence, and an exact Conduct, or otherwise, they will unavoidably fall into Contempt, with a People so well vers’d in Business, as every the meanest Planter seems to be.

Thirdly, They ought to be well experienced in the Pastoral Care, having a greater Variety, both of Sects and Humours, to deal with in those Parts, than are at home; and therefore it would be well, if we could be provided with such as have been Curates here for some time.

Fourthly, More especially they ought to be of a true Missionary Spirit, having an ardent Zeal for God’s Glory, and the Salvation of Mens Souls.

Fifthly, Of a very active Spirit, and consequently, not so grown into Years, as to be uncapable of Labour and Fatigue, no more than very Young, upon which account they will be more liable to be despised.

And, lastly, They ought to be good, substantial, well-studied Divines, very ready in the Holy Scriptures, able with sound Judgment to explicate and prove the great Doctrines of Christianity, to state the Nature and Extent of the Christian Duties, and with the most moving Considerations to enforce their Practice, and to defend the Truth against all its Adversaries: To which purpose, it will be therefore absolutely requisite to prove each of them with a Library of necessary Books, to be fix’d in those places to which they shall be sent, for the Use of them, and their Successors for ever: This to be a perpetual Encouragement to good and able Divines, always to go over, and to render them useful when they are there.

From A Memorial Representing the Present State of Religion, on the Continent of North-America by Thomas Bray, D. D. http://anglicanhistory.org/england/tbray/memorial1701.html

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