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The facts related in the following pages are extracted from Mr. Crantz's valuable history of Greenland, and the periodical accounts of the Missions of the United Brethren. It has been the care of the Compiler, to concentrate the scattered information contained in these publications, bringing the whole within a compass, which might render the history of this great work of God, accessible to the generality of readers.
The Editor, in offering a Second Edition of this work to the Public, has endeavoured to render it as useful as possible, by carefully revising the whole, and introducing into the narrative much interesting matter, which was wholly omitted in the first Edition. The facts contained in the early part of the history have all been obtained from Mr. Crantz's work, but it has been deemed expedient to alter the arrangement, to change many forms of expression, and to intersperse the narrative with reflections which are not found in that history. But wherever extracts from the communications made by the Missionaries to their brethren in Europe, or from the letters and speeches of the Greenlanders themselves are introduced, no alteration whatever has been made in the language, which is often very uncouth; but the pious reader will make every allowance for an unpolished phraseology, under the surface of which lies a mine of the precious ore of genuine Christian experience.
Mr. Crantz's history of the Greenland Mission is ar
ranged in the form of a Journal, in which the annual round of events, differing but little from each other, wearies the reader by its sameness; while the details which he gives of the history of individual converts lose their interest, by being widely scattered through a variety of miscellaneous occurrences.
The first chapter of this little volume contains a short account of the natural peculiarities of Greenland, and of the civil and social condition of its inhabitants when first visited by the Missionaries. These subjects principally occupy Mr. Crantz's first volume ; but, although this part of the work has been greatly abridged, it appeared inexpedient to exclude it altogether, as some acquaintance with the natural history of Greenland, and the mode of living and customs of the savages, is necessary, both in order that the reader may estimate the enormous difficulties which the Missionaries had to encounter, and that he may have a more just and lively perception of some of the facts related in the course of the narrative.
In the nine following chapters, the reader will find a general history of the progress of the Mission, up to , the present time. The second chapter, which contains a detailed account of the labours and trials of the Rev. Hans Egede in his attempt to evangelize Greenland, is wholly new, and also the ninth, in which Mr. Kleinschmidt's perilous, but successful voyage to South Greenland, is related. In this part of the work, the history of the first nine years of the Mission is principally enlarged upon: to give a detailed account of events after that period, would be but to repeat transactions differing in little from those already related, except in the names of the persons concerned.
The biographical sketches of some of the principal converts, with which the volume concludes, will introduce to the notice of the reader some of the principal events and persons connected with the history of a large portion of the latter period of the Mission; the individuals of whom they treat, lived in the time intervening between the year 1738, the period at which the firstfruits of the Mission, Samuel Kajarnak, received the Gospel, to the year 1762, when Daniel Angusina, a native preacher, entered into rest. The facts recorded in these sketches are all extracted from Mr. Crantz's book. The Compiler has interspersed reflections, designed to prove the reality of the experience, and the consistency of the conduct of these heathen converts, by the test of God's unerring word—to lead the mind of the reader to acknowledge the power of the Holy Spirit, in the marvellous change produced on these once stupid savages—to excite in him a concern for his own spiritual interests—and to exalt the glorious Mediator, to whom all power is given in heaven and in earth, whose atonement is the only ground on which the sinner can obtain pardon, whose Spirit is equally needed, and equally effectual for the removal of the spiritual blindness of the sage and the savage,—and whose free love is the only object that can win back the alienated affections of rebel worms to their Maker. Should this volume, in the least degree, accomplish these important ends, the pains bestowed upon its compilation will be abundantly recompensed.