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bels think it, in themselves, a charity to do so: and this proclamation has been in their possession eighteen centuries, and yet one half of mankind has even now scarcely heard distinctly of it; so indolently and carelessly have successive generations done their duty. And there are professing Christians in our land, and ministers of Christ's religion, who think they have nothing at all to do with Christian missions, which are designed to proclaim this divine mercy, to the ends of the earth: and who think that the Lord's servants must all of them stay in their native country; and that when Heaven chooses, Heaven will convert the rest of the nations by a miracle. But alas! how impious and rebellious this language, which is every day heard how insulting to common sense!
But, perhaps, say some, the Gentiles at the ends of the earth will not thank us for our message. Thank us! their reception, or non-reception of the message, their gratitude or ingratitude, are not chargeable on us, nor are they the rule of our duty. It is ours to obey the King's command; to go and proclaim it. But then, says the spiritual casuist, we shall make their case worse. They had better never hear of mercy than reject it; and therefore we had better not go and proclaim it. Oh! how shocking the presumption and self-conceit of spiritual pride. It is assumed by this objector, that man's tender mercies are greater than God's-how blasphemous! The objector assumes, that he is wiser than God; and disobedience to Heaven is justified by the assumption of being more merciful, as well as wiser than the God of mercy, and than He, who is the infinitely wise God! When driven from this ground, the caviller next comes forward, and asks, if we would have every body become Missionaries, and form a crusade, in the ridiculous sense of that term, and desert our native land? and he asserts, that there is work enough to be done at home. There are plenty of pagans at home. And a Principal of a university will tell us not to give a shilling to foreign missions, till all the work is done at home. Now,
I have endeavoured to prove, that Christ's church on earth is not limited to any political government, the extent
of which is what people commonly call home. The homes of an Englishman, Scotchman, and Irishman, were once very different; and under that opinion, they were something worse than careless about each other-they often thought it meritorious to hate each other and they called this malevolent feeling an ardent patriotism. But now, in reference to such matters as we speak of, any part of our united kingdom is considered home: and even India, though not called home, is allowed to have a claim, as being filled with fellow-subjects. But has the great Head of the Church, either by the letter, or spirit, or scope of any thing that he or his apostles taught, ever countenanced the idea, that the Church on earth shall thus confine, by political limits, her attention and her care? Did the principles or practice of the apostles countenance this idea? The peculiar attention paid to Judea by our Saviour and his apostles, was not on the ground of that being their native country; but on the ground of the inhabitants of that country having been heretofore God's peculiar people; in which circumstance, they were not to have, and have not, any successors. Jesus threw down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, and ever since that time, the nations of the earth are all on the same, and on an equal footing, as viewed by the Christian revelation. The Church of Christ on earth has no exclusive home, but should feel at home in any part of her Father's world; and should equalize her care and anxieties for the good of the whole of mankind. She should not care less, nor use less effort for one part, than for another; unless, indeed, she had some special notification from Heaven to do so, which she has not. I think the prevailing idea of the excessively disproportioned claims of home, not supported by Scripture nor reason. As to the cavil about English Christians all quitting their native land, it is meant only as a sneer-and sneers are not often easily answered, although they may be easily retorted. The answer I would give to the cavil is this, that it opposes what is not affirmed-no crusade is by me advocated; but, it is affirmed, every Christian ought to do his utmost to promulgate the Gospel.
If the church be compared to an army; there, when a general order is given, it is expected that every officer and soldier should do his duty, which is to do his utmost, to carry that order into effect; and his utmost doings will be regulated by his station and his strength. In the general order to promulgate the Gospel, which has been given by the King of Zion to the church, every Christian is bound to consider him or herself as included. And no one can innocently stand by, and say, "this matter does not concern me." No Christian Minister can innocently say, The proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth, is a matter with which I have nothing to do; I am a settled Minister, a stated pastor; I need not feel any interest in it. No! every Christian and every Minister, should rather say, "This too is my concern, and God helping me, I will do something to assist." If not, how shall they, in that particular, give in their account with joy, and not with grief? How can any Christian Minister pique himself on saying, "Yes, I heard of the general order to proclaim the Gospel to every creature, and I paid no attention to it; I did nothing to assist, but I endeavoured to explain it away, as binding only on the apostles; or I tried to prove that it was impracticable, and the scheme visionary; or I endeavoured to shew, that the time of using means was not yet come, or as a French Abbé has lately said, the time has gone by." It is not true, that we want every body to become missionaries; but we want many more than have yet become so. We want the bishops, and presbyters, and pastors, and teachers, to imitate the apostolic church at Antioch, and choose from amongst themselves some of their most experienced, and wisest, and holiest men-men separated by the Holy Ghost from worldly ambition, and schemes of self-aggrandizement, and selfish notions of domestic comfort, to go forth to the nations, to proclaim the Gospel. The churches should send forth their Pauls and their Barnabases, with young men like Mark to minister to them, and assist them; and when they die, to succeed them, as Joshua did Moses; and as Elisha did Elijah, that the work may not cease.
The thing that is most wanted is personal service. The missionary work is still, by the churches, deemed, in comparison of the ministry at home, a low service. I know I shall be told, that this is not true, that it is very much esteemed and praised. That it is very much praised is true, and it cannot be the meaning of your preacher, that he is not sufficiently praised; but praises are very easily bestowed: if the service were really esteemed by the churches and ministers, a greater number of experienced men would enter into it. If it were really thought to be preferment to become a Missionary; we should have many more candidates from men esteemed in the churches than we have. Those whom the churches look up to, are thought to do great things, if they become members of a deputation, to go abroad, and forthwith come back, again; or, as to some, if they will condescend to become Directors, instead of Missionaries. And so the truth comes to be, that there are nearly as many directors as missionaries; as many generals as soldiers in this spiritual warfare. I solemnly avow the highest respect for individuals, who are directors, and for those who have been members of deputations, whilst I speak of the subject generally. The men of eminence in the churches cling to home, and now and then preach a missionary sermon, and the churches laud them for it, and they laud the churches for their liberality; and all parties devolve the actual labour, and the conflict, in foreign lands, on the inexperienced. When chaplains, and ministers, and bishops are wanted for India, with a good income, and a pension, after a limited service, you will find men of standing in the churches come forward; and you will find eminently good men, who will undertake deputations, and become superintendants for a time; but none of these will undertake the hard and everlasting duty abroad, which is expected of the Missionary; were it duly esteemed, no discomforts nor difficulties would prevent men from engaging in it; for if fear, or the love of ease, prevent men engaging in a high and honourable calling, then is the charge of coward and sluggard justly applicable. To convince, I must speak what I conceive to be plain truths.
My affirmation is, that generally the churches of this land still consider the missionary work, in comparison of the ministry at home, a low work; and I ground the affirmation on the fact, that so few men of experience and eminence engage in it but if they who should naturally engage in it, assert that they consider it a high and honourable work, really superior to them, and that they must devolve it on the young and inexperienced; then do I say, they trifle and mock the subject, and expose it to the scorn of the enemy; and what is worse, they, by consequence, mock Him, whose the work is. I despise not the young and the inexperienced; for who was not once young and inexperienced? nor do I affirm, that Heaven cannot by these perform the work to be effected; but I lament the apathy, and, I was going to say, selfishness of those churches that devolve the most dangerous and difficult part of their Lord's service on those that are, humanly speaking, least qualified for it, and retain the most highly gifted men at home. In this, indeed, (although not a rule to us,) it may be, the hand of God is eventually to be seen, that he may stain the pride of human glory; and manifest more illustriously the power of his Gospel, totally irrespective of the vessels which convey it to the nations.
I have spoken hitherto only of the bearers of this treasure; and I would not have them identified with the treasure itself. Some say, that "preaching" is the great instrument of converting the nations; of course, they must mean preaching the Gospel; but it is often so read and understood, as if the emphasis were on preaching; whereas, I believe that the great, the only instrument, in the hands of God's Holy Spirit for regenerating the nations, is Christ's Gospel; and preaching, in the modern sense of that word, is a mere circumstance of no importance whatever. The instrument is the sublime, and awful, and soul-saving truths of the glorious Gospel of the ever-blessed God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, conveyed to the human mind,-to the understanding and conscience, and affections,-in any way, whether by public preaching, or private conversation, or by collegiate