chapter  2
44 Pages

“These words are so changed in a native’s mouth”: Contested Frames in William Ellis’s Polynesian Researches

In the September edition of the Evangelical Magazine, 1794, the Reverend M. Brogue of Gosport published a sermon criticising the lethargy in evangelical endeavour among his contemporaries:

A survey of the state of the world presents to us more than one-half of the human race destitute of the knowledge of the Gospel, and sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. Their deplorable condition it is utterly impossible for words to describe! And what have we done for their salvation? [ . . . ] While we are forced as a body to acknowledge that we have done nothing, we may justly reflect that we are under the strongest obligations to do every thing in our power. We all know that it is the supreme end of our existence to glorify God. [ . . . ] The servants of Jesus came from other lands and preached his Gospel among you. Hence your knowledge of salvation. And ought not ye, as an equitable compensation for their kindness, to send messengers to the nations which are in like condition with yourselves of old, to entreat them that they turn away from their dumb idols, to serve the living God, and to work for his Son from Heaven? Verily their debtors you are.1