Missionary awareness in England and the formation of the London Missionary Society

The London Missionary Society, like other great religious and philanthropic organisations which sprang into existence at the close of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, was the child of the evangelical revival in England led by George Whitefield and John Wesley and his brother Charles. The hymns of Charles Wesley expressed in words the new religious passion of awakened Christendom.

At the dawn of 19th century, several missionary societies were organised and finally established in England, North America and Europe. The following Societies were founded during this period.  The Baptist Missionary Society (1792), the London Mission Society (1795), the Church Missionary Society (1799), the British and Foreign Bible Society (1805), the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1810), the Basel Evangelical Missionary Society (1815), the Methodist Missionary Society (1818), and the Committee for Foreign Missions of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1824). Christianity took root in all the five continents as a result of this great religious awakening. ”Never before had any religion been planted over so large a proportion of the earth’s surface.” The London Missionary Society was founded on Monday, 21 September, 1795at the Castle and Falcon in Aldersgate Street, London, by David Bogue, Independent Minister of Gosport and Head of the famous Gosport Academy, and a few ministers of other churches

consequent on a letter from William Carey, the Baptist missionary who reached Calcutta in 1794. The first enterprise upon which the London Missionary Society entered immediately after its establishment was the mission to the islands of the South Seas, which have since been the scene of glorious triumph of the Gospel. The Missionary ship ‘The Duff, under the leadership of Captain Wilson, carried 30 missionaries to the South Seas- 4 of them being ordained ministers-one among them John William, 25 artisans and I surgeon. The first missionary of the LMS in India was  Rev. Nathaniel Forsyth, who carne in the first instance to Calcutta. but finally settled in Chinsura about 20 miles north of the city, because of the opposition of the English East India Company. On 20 April, 1804, a party of 6 missionaries was sent out to establish mission stations in South India and Ceylon. The names of the missionaries were; Ringeltaube, Desgranges, Cran, Voss, Erhardt and Palm. They sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Tranquebar in SouthIndia inthe Danish ship, ‘King’s Packet’-the only means of communication with India then open to missionaries. (Ringeltaube incepted the LMS’s work in South Travancore. His first station was Myladi, which is now inTamilnadu.)

* A History of the London Missionary Society in South Travancore 1806-1959

Rev. John A. Jacob

(Reprinted)*