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Missions

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MISSIONS, an organized method of propagating a religion: specifically, the propagandism of Christianity among the heathen.

Apostolic and Medieval Missions.— The Gospel made great progress during the lifetime of the apostles and found a footing in most countries to the E. and N. of the Mediterranean. It was also successfully introduced into Egypt and other African regions. As the result of persecutions thousands of converts were scattered abroad and Christian churches were founded in Persia, Mesopotamia, and Arabia. Within a century after Christ the Gospel had probably been preached over a large part of the Ro man world. Alexandria early became noted for its missionary college from which teachers were sent to all parts of the world. By the close of the 2d cen tury also Carthage had its church with Tertullian at its head. In 306 19 big hops assembled at Elvira in Spain. The Goths and Vandals came down on the Roman empire from the N. and carried away many Christian captives. Ulfilas, the descendant of one of these, translated the Bible into Gothic and is regarded as the Apostle of the Goths. Before the time of Constantine there were churches of considerable extent in the S. and N. sections of Britain, due not so much to missionaries as to the natural intercourse of Britain with Rome. These churches, however, became distinguished for their missionary zeal and Saint Patrick is commonly regarded as their leader. He found Ireland entirely heathen and lived to see it become Christian. As the Scotch Patrick was the apostle to Ire land, so in a certain way was the Irish Colomba the apostle of Scotland. The island of Iona with its monastery became a sort of missionary center and Aidan went from there to Northumbria and es tablished missions. The Scotch-Irish missionaries were the evangelists of a large part of the European continent. Columbanus, Gallus, and "a host of others numerous as a swarm of bees," introduced, together with religion, agri culture and civilization into France, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe. The English Boniface became the apostle of Germany. Ansgar, a monk of Corvey in the 9th century, under the influence of Louis the Pious, preached in Den mark and Sweden. The Russian prince Vladimir was baptized in 988 with all of his sons (in the Dnieper at Kief) and his people. Kublai Khan, a grandson of the famous Genghis Khan, a ruler of the E. Mongol empire, sent for missionaries to tell him about the new doctrine. It is supposed that the Nestorian-Tartar church flourished till the country was devastated by the Mongols. It is al most certain that the Nestorians intro duced the Gospel into India and that they passed through Tartary into China and founded churches there which ex isted till the end of the 9th century. As early as the year 1200 Albert I. of Ap peldern went with a band of pilgrims to the mouth of the Duna river and founded the city of Riga and established there the Brotherhood of the Knights of Christ, or the Brethren of the Sword. He has

been called the Bishop of Livonia. One of the most remarkable missionaries of the Middle Ages was Raymond Lully.

The Roman Catholics after the discovery of the new world founded several mis sionary orders, chief among which were the Jesuits, Capuchins, Dominicans, and Franciscans. Their object was the ex tension of the Church among the Mussul mans of Spain, north Africa, and west ern Asia. Francis Xavier was sent as an apostolic nuncio for India, and worked with wonderful success in all parts of India and the islands of the Chinese ar chipelago. He labored for years with success in Japan. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV. established a society for the propa gation of the Gospel, and that has ever since controlled the mission enterprises of the Church. It has its seat in Rome where there is a college for the train ing of missionary priests.

Protestant Missions.—In 1555 a com pany of men including several mission aries sailed for Brazil with a hope of establishing there an asylum for the Huguenots, but it was unsuccessful. In 1559 Gustavus Vasa sent a missionary to Lapland, but it was more than half a century before the country was Christianized. In 1612 a college for the training of missionaries was es tablished at the University of Leyden and a few years later the Dutch intro duced Christianity into Java. Their suc cess was so great that 100,000 Christians were counted there in 1721 and a single missionary in Formosa had baptized nearly 6,000 adults and taught 600 of the natives to read. In Ceylon alone the Dutch Church in 1722 reckoned over 240,000 members. John Eliot, "the apos tle of the Indians," came to America early in the 17th century under the auspices of the Corporation for the Spread of the Gospel in New England. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was founded in 1701 for work among the British col onies rather than among pagans. Early in the 18th century the first Protestant mission was sent to India. It was pro jected by the King of Denmark, and con tinued throughout the greater part of the 18th century. At first, and for a long time, Germany supplied the mis sionaries; but the pecuniary support of the mission soon devolved on England, Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne, having recommended the object of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. In 1847 the entire mission passed into the hands of the Leipsic Society. In 1731 Count Zinzen dorf, the patron of the United Brethren called the Moravians, visited Copenhagen and there saw two Eskimos and a negro boy from the Danish West Indies. When he returned he told the story and two of the Moravians resolved to go to St. Thomas and teach the slaves the Gospel. This was the beginning of the mission ary enterprises of the Moravians. Their work from their first beginnings in St. Thomas and Greenland in 1732 to their latest undertaking in the Tibetan Hima layas is most interesting.

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