Part 4: Foreign Work Proposed
This is a reprint of The Haystack Prayer Meeting. It was written by Edward Warren Capen, PH.D. president of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, now Global Ministries, and published as one of the 1906 Envelope Series. Subscribers paid 10 cents per year for the series.
PLEASE NOTE: This piece was written in 1906 and therefore reflects the language of that time.
So far as known, the first person to suggest definitely that the time had come to take up work in pagan lands was Rev. Samuel Hopkins of Newport, Rhode Island. In 1770, he became pastor of the First Congregational Church, among a rich, commercial, cultured people, much of whose wealth was derived from the slave trade. He became an advocate, not only of abolition, but of sending Christian missions and colonies to Africa. Mr. Hopkins was joined by his neighbor, Rev. Ezra Stiles, later president of Yale, in issuing in 1773 an appeal for funds with which to educate two young colored men, members of the First Church, who were desirous of returning to their homes with the gospel message. A society was organized, money was secured from the colonies and from England, and the embryo missionaries were trained at Princeton and elsewhere. The outbreak of the war prevented their sailing, and thus was left to Judson, Newell, and their companions the honor of being the first missionaries to sail from this country to non-Christian lands. Samuel Hopkins was a personal friend of Samuel J. Mills, senior, and it is probable that to the Newport minister was due, in part at least, the interest of young Mills in behalf of the Christianization and colonization of Africa by American Negroes. It was in this work that Mills laid down his life.