The occasion of writing and publishing the following account was given us by Dr. Walch of Goettingen. He expressed a wish to have some information, concerning the method which the evangelical Brethren make use of, in their missions among the heathen. Many detached accounts thereof have already been published, but never yet laid before the public in a proper connection; though we saw clearly that it might be equally useful and agreeable, not only to the members of the Unity of the Brethren, but also to other friends of the truth. It being therefore resolved upon, I was commissioned to draw up such an account. And I readily undertook this work, in reliance upon the Lord our Redeemer, who gladly heareth the prayers of his servants for his gracious assistance.
The first thing I did was to consider, in the presence of the Lord, the method of the disciples of Christ in preaching the gospel among the Gentiles. For whatever our Brethren have done, and are still doing among the heathen, ought properly to be judged according to that. Blessed be God for the excellent instruction we find concerning this matter, in holy writ. The /ii/ second thing was, that I referred back to the first occasion given to the Brethren for their undertakings among the heathen, of which I myself was an eyewitness; remembering, at the same time, those rules and measures, which, by the grace of God, served the Brethren as a direction from the beginning. Lastly, I have endeavoured to express myself clearly about the method, or way and manner, by which they endeavour to bring and preserve the heathen in the way of life, that is, to Christ.
Being persuaded that one or another of my readers, may probably wish to know something more concerning this and the other point, which is only briefly touched upon here, I have to this end referred to such passages, in the historical writings of the Brethren's labours among the heathen, already published, as may answer this purpose.
At the same time, I most heartily entreat God our Saviour, from whom cometh every good thing, that he would, out of the abundance of his grace, accompany all with his blessing.
AUGUST GOTTLIEB SPANGENBERG,
BARBY, DECEMBER 12, 1780.