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Saviour who will not at all aid this divine cause. In such cases, is there not a manifest lack of real Christianity?
On the other hand, how great is the encouragement to the missionary spirit amidst apparently small results. Whole districts, tribes, and nations may not be converted; but the repentance of one sinner causes joy in heaven. And although multitudes may not throng the road of true repentance, a solitary traveller attracts the attention of angels, and fills their hearts with joy.
And since angels derive joy from the repentance of sinners, they must look with complacency on the use of scriptural means to enlighten the human mind, to convince the conscience of the evil of sin, and to bring men to repentance. And therefore the zealous evangelist at home, in his own town or neighbourhood, as well as the friends of Christian Missions to foreign lands, need not much regard, nor need be much discouraged by human censure, or by man's neglect.
Since human affairs are known to the angels-who indeed are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation-and this knowledge cannot be by any powers approaching omniscience, it follows that spiritual beings must traverse the universe, and communicate knowledge to each other. And if angels communicate the affairs of our world to each other, why may not they communicate such knowledge to the spirits of just men, that have attained the perfection of a heavenly state?
I see no reason to answer this question in the negative; at the same time, I do not presume to make any positive affirmation concerning what is not expressly revealed. But the probability of this knowledge and intercourse, may be useful in leading our meditations more frequently, and more impressively, to the invisible state; and may prevent our being so much absorbed, as men too frequently are, with sublunary things. O, my fellow-sinners-my Christian brethren, all heaven is concerned for our eternal welfare:--forbid it, O blessed God! that we should be stupid and unconcerned.
WRITTEN IN THE INDIAN OCEAN, JAN. 2, 1824.
[It is the annual custom for two of the ships from China to carry, on their way home, stores to the Cape of Good Hope.
The Waterloo, in the season 1823 and 24, was one of those. Anticipating a short stay at the Cape, (which indeed proved to be only four days,) Dr. Morrison prepared the following discourse for the African Missionaries connected with the London
The Rev. Dr. Philip, Resident Agent at the Cape for the Missions, was then in the interior, awaiting at the different stations, his Majesty's Commissioners, who were making a tour of the Colony. However, several Missionaries, the Rev. Mr. Moffat and others, were then at the Cape, residing in Dr. Philip's house, adjoining a Chapel which he had built. Mrs. Philip, a pious and amiable lady, exerted herself to the utmost, and beyond her strength, to render the families, then "quartered" upon her, as comfortable as possible.
On the Thursday evening, Jan. 29th, 1824, an accustomed service took place in the Chapel, and the stranger from China was expected and pressed to address the Congregation. He readily assented, but the intense heat of Cape Town, and the fatigue of walking about its streets, and paying the usual respects to the local authorities, induced a severe head-ache, to which, from childhood, he has been in all climates constantly subject; and it was totally impossible that he could even read the discourse which he had prepared.
Under these circumstances, Mr. Moffat, instead of preaching a Sermon of his own, read to the people the following Discourse. And the Rev. Mr. Faure, Dutch Clergyman at the Cape, who was present, took a copy for the purpose of translating it into the Dutch language.
Cape Town, to an Asiatic, appears quite European; or if not quite European, so nearly allied to Europe, as to seem European to an old Indian. The closeness of the houses, occasioned by
the inhabitants shutting every door and window to keep out the clouds of dust and sand, was, to people from the high seas, perfectly intolerable. Capt. Alsager and the writer of this were, on one occasion, shewn into a room to await the appearance of the master of the house, where they could scarcely breathe, and consequently retreated to the door-way and there took their stand till some external air was admitted into the chamber.]
MISSION OF BARNABAS AND SAUL.
ACTS, XIII. 1, 2, 3.
"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch, certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
WHEN it is remembered, that the prophets declared the Messiah should be for a light to the Gentiles, and for salvation to the ends of the earth, Is. xlix. 6; that the angels at the Saviour's birth declared the Saviour's advent was good tidings to all people, Luke ii. 10; and that Jesus, when ascending to Heaven, commanded his Gospel to be taught to all nations-it is surprising how slow of apprehending this essential truth the first Jewish Christians were. Eight years elapsed before any of the Africans attended to this command to preach to the Gentiles-and then Peter required an express revelation from heaven to induce him to go to a Roman military officer, Cornelius-and when he did. do so, the Apostles and brethren at Jerusalem censured him for it; and still no Church was formed amongst the Gentiles
until persecution, which arose about Stephen, scattered the disciples; and even then some of them, who came as far as Antioch, preached the word to none but unto the Jews only, (xi. 19.) However, eventually some men of Cyrene, (Africans,) for Cyrene was a place in Africa, "spake unto the Grecians preaching the Lord Jesus;"-and the "hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed"— and then a Gentile Church was formed at Antioch, and with this first Gentile Church, raised by African preachers, originated the name Christian, as a designation applied to Christ's disciples-and from this same Church the first Mission was sent out. We shall notice,
I. The persons employed on this Mission.
II. Their dedication to the work.
III. The field of their labour.
IV. Their manner of executing the work.
I. The persons employed on this Mission were Paul and Barnabas. Of Barnabas little is recorded, Paul's history is well known. From the circumstance of the people of Lystra having supposed Barnabas to be their god Jupiter, and Paul to be the god Mercurius, the patron of eloquence, it is likely that Barnabas was a man of gravity and dignity in his manner, less prompt in his elocution than Paul. However, these two missionaries in addition to their natural qualifications, possessed supernatural endowments of a spiritual nature, and also the power of working miracles for the confirmation of the truth. Still they appear to have been subject, occasionally, to the same bad tempers and passions as other men; for when about to go on a second Mission, they differed in opinion concerning an assistant, and contested the point so sharply, as to cause a separation. Barnabas insisted on taking his relative Mark with them, and Paul obstinately refused to allow it, because Mark had abandoned them on a former occasion.
If men so eminently qualified, so richly gifted, so expressly appointed or called by Heaven, manifested such unconciliating tempers, we should not expect an entire absence of
human frailty in modern Missionaries, nor be discouraged when strifes occasionally arise, and separations take place. However, the example of the Apostles in this matter is not for imitation, but should induce watchfulness and caution; for by a sinful indulgence of temper, these two divinely selected servants of God were prevented from walking together in love, and from labouring together for the faith of the Gospel.
Paul, at the time of his wonderful conversion, when he saw a heavenly vision, was told by Jesus, that he would be sent to the Gentiles to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; and on the present occasion, when at Antioch with other teachers, the Holy Ghost said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereto I have called them." The divine operation on the human spirit, or communications from the Spirit of God to the soul of man, is a doctrine every where taught in the Bible from beginning to end; sometimes this influence operates in a manner known to the persons so operated on or influenced, and sometimes not; but of the Holy Spirit's work in striving with men, in regenerating and changing the hearts of men, in suggesting truth to the mind, and in comforting the souls of men, divine Revelation does not admit a doubt. In every age, holy men of God have spoken and acted, in many cases, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Not that the Holy Spirit's influences are in all places and all times alike, for in divers manners God spake in times past, by the inspired Prophets, before the coming of his Son; and subsequently, seeing Jesus promised to send the Comforter, and encouraged the children of God to pray for the Holy Spirit, it is manifest the Spirit's operations continue under the reign of the Messiah, that dispensation or method of divine rule under which we live. However, there is one great difference in the ministration of the Spirit in ordinary cases, and during the apostolic age; his suggestions or influences are not in later ages so certainly ascertainable; for our circumstances are different, the written word has long been complete, and it must be our guide. It is the rule according to, and it is the instrument