« ForrigeFortsæt »
all its possessions will appear to you, when you are passing out of time into eternity? Do you recollect that what you may have given to promote the cause of God, will then give you unspeakably more satisfaction, than all that you have spent to gratify yourself, or saved to enrich your posterity? And ought you not to act now, as you will wish that you had acted then? Brethren, "we use great plainness of speech”--the occasion calls for it--and we would be very sensible that every interrogatory which the cause of missions addresses to you, comes with peculiar force to ourselves.
In conclusion, we desire it may be deeply and solemnly impressed on the minds of our brethren, and on our own, that no missionary attempts or efforts are likely to be successful, unless they are accompanied with much fervent and persevering prayer. It should never be forgotten, that when the promise of God is made to take away the stony heart and to give a heart of flesh," and that "the heathen that are round about shall know that the Lord buildeth the ruined places,” it is added"I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." Nothing but the influence of almighty grace will ever change a single human heart. This is a truth never to be lost sight of; and it is equally true, and equally important to be kept in recollection, that there is not a single human heart so de praved, that almighty grace cannot change it. We are therefore, on the one hand, to despair utterly of effecting the conversion of one of our fellow sinners, unless God shall bless the means we employ; and en the other hand, we are to employ the best means, and never to to despair of the power of God to convert even the most depraved and abandoned of our guilty race. Now it is by prayer the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man which availeth much”-that we are to seek for that divine interposition, which shall give a full efficiency to the faithful means we use. To withhold these means, even the best that we can devise, because the work is God's, is to set at nought his appointment, for he works by means; and to neglect to look through all means, as perfectly inefficient by themselves, and to look by faith to that God who can render them effectual, is a daring affront to the Most High-as implying that we take a work into our feeble hands, which his almighty arm alone can perform. O tor much and earnest prayer, in which a feeling of self-insufficiency shall be united with a firm and unwavering confidence, that God can grant us what we ask, and infinitely exceed all our expectations! O for wrestling with God, in persevering prayer of this character! O that this night take place in all our churches, and in the hearts of all the professors of religion in these churches! We are gratified and encoaraged, dear brethren, in observing that the monthly concert of prayer is so well and generally attended, by the people of our denomination. But in this there is still much room for improvement; and we counsel that every thing proper be done, to render an attendance on the concert more general and punctual; and to promote, not only seasons of prayer, but the spirit of prayer. Let it not be forgotten that resivais of religion--of pure and undefiled religion—and the the prosperity of the missionary cause, are naturally and indissolubly connected · with each other. Revivals of religion are the birth-places and nurseries of missionaries and the missionary spirit. They excite and cherish that deep concern for the salvation of immortal souls, and for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, without which the right kind of missions cannot exist. On the other hand, it is our beliel. that if our churches desire to see revivals of religion at home, and among themselves, they can do nothing more likely to be folowed by a gratification of that desire, than to exert themselves zealously in the missionary cause. "He that watereth shall be watered also binself." Let Christians show that they truly desire the extensive por. motion of the declarative glory of God in the world, and truly sympsthize with those who are perishing for want of “the waters of lite," and they may then hope that God will send down upon them a shower of divine influence, which shall refresh and cheer their own souls, and make their children and the youth around thein, "spring up as wil lows by the water courses--trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."
Finally, brethren, suffer us to entreat that the Board of Missions, and their Executive Committee, may have a special remembrance in your nearest approaches to the throne of God's grace. Sensible as we are of the honors and privileges conferred on us, in being called to the service to which we have been appointed, and in being permitted to address you as we now do, still we feel-sometimes very painfully feel—our great insufficiency for the work assigned as. We feel that we exceedingly want grace, wisdom, zeal, prudence
, fortitude, in far greater measure than we possess them. Did we not know that the strength of Christ is made perfect in weakness and that through his strengthening us, we can do all things” to which in his providence he calls
us, we should entirely despond. But in reliance on him, we determine to go forward; and saying to you ie the language of an inspired apostle-Brethren pray for es," and commending you to the grace and benediction of our dear and code mon Loril, we affectionately bid you farewell.
Signed, in behalf of the Executive Committee of the Board of Missions of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, by
ASHBEL GREEN, President: GEORGE W. BLIGHT, Secretary.
NEGLECT OF KNOWN DUTIES. James iv. 17. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it 1101,'. to him it is sin.
Although the Apostle wrote this verse with reference to a particu-. lar sin, viz. a confidence in our own ability to ensure worldly success, yet it is no doubt applicable to every kind of known transgression, whether of commission, or omission-whether seen by the world, or manifest to the transgressor only. To feel the whole force of this declaration, requires an acquaintance with the heart, and a strictness in judging of moral actions, which mnen in general do not possess. But the considerate Christian, who properly weighs the numberless inotives of gratitude and love which press upon him, will find it profitable to meditate upon so fertile a subject. Not to mention some of the most obvious calls of duty, he will see occasion to ask himself such questions as the following:
Do I show by the general tenor of my conversation and conduct, that I consider the soul as the principal part of man? Is it not justiy expected of me, that I should bear this silent though explicit testimony to the value of religion. Does not a contrary course look like cowardice in the best of causes? like indifference to things of everlasting moment: like insincerity in the most solenn professions?
Do I seek, by every mean in my power, to promote the everlasting salvation of my family, my friends, my enemies, my countrymen, and the whole human race? Are my prayers ascending for this object continually? Do they partake of that fervor which the importance of the subject demands; of that importunity which the Son of God, when on earth, approved and commanded; and of that faith which is the necessary attendant of all acceptable prayer?
To my supplications for my fellow men do I add those exertious and sacrifices in their behalt, which are indispensable to prove my sincerity? The present is a day when disinterested services to the Church of God are greatly needed, and when they promise great saccess. Do I seize every opportunity of directing my influence, small as it may be, to the most promising benevolent purposes? Do I strive to promote the observance of the sabbath, and the regular and solemn worship of God, as far as my example and authority extend: Do I feel the importance of having the rising generation brought up
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Is orda to promote se desirable an end, do I use all iny efforts to regulate schuis in a proper manner, and to place them under the care of pious instructors: Da I examine all the plans of charity to which I might be able to conth bute; and when fully convinced of the utility of any object, do I give it all the support in my power, so far as may be consistent with my other duties? In particular, do I patronize all the attempts to send the Bible and a preached Gospel into the destitute places of our om country, and the benighted regions of the earth? If able to do nothing else, do I rejoice in the beneficence of others, and take a deep inter est in the success of their labors?
All these things, as well as many more, are among the duties of Christians at the present time. They are duties which osght to be known by all; and if they are known, and not performed, by the de cision of the Apostle, they are accounted sin.
DR. FRANKLIN. One of the most renowned philosophers and statesmen of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, informs us, that all the good he ever did to his country or mankind, he owed to a small book which he acci dentally met with, entitled, “Essays to do good," in several ser mons from Gal. vi. 10. "As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the house hold of faith.” These sermons were written by Dr. Cotton Mather, a very able and pious minister of the Gospel in Buston. “This little book," he says, “che studied with care and attention, laid up the sentiments in his memory, and resolved from that time, which we in his early youth, that he would make doing good the great purpose and business of his life.”
UNSANCTIFIED LEARNING. 'The pious and learned Mr. Halyburton, Professor of Divinity in the University of St. Andrews, being asked, when a young man, by an aged minister, if ever he sought the blessing of God on his st* dies, ingenuously acknowledged that he did not. Sir," said the minister, with an austere look, unsanctified learning has dobe much mischief to the church of God.” These words made a deep imprese sion on his mind, and from that time
he looked up to God for those assistance and blessing in the prosecution of his studies.
“Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
THE PREACHER WITHOUT A MESSAGE. As I was travelling alone on horseback, meditating on that assertion of the Redeemer's, “This is the condemnation, that light is coine into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil,” I came to the following conclusions:
Our blessed Lord did not mean by "the light" that “is come into the world,” the light of science, or the improvement in the arts; for men do not prefer darkness to light in these matters. Shew the farmer a more profitable mode of agriculture, and he will readily adopt it-teach the seafaring man a safer and better method of navigating the ocean, and he will be willing to profit by your teaching. God has never given us to understand that the carnal mind is enmi. ty to any thing but God and the things of God. But there the enmity is total. If it is not, the Saviour and his apostles have at least) neglected to mention the exceptions. There is no one doctrine of the Bible that is not light. Dlf men by nature loved any one of these doctrines, it would follow that in that instance, they preferred light to darkness. If wicked men loved light only to some small extent, there would be in that diminutive love, the seeds of immortality. And then the only difference between the regenerated or religious, and the natural man, would be, that the former had a more Eztensive love. The difference would be, that one had only a mus tard seed preference for light, whilst the other had made greater progress in that love to God; love to God-for we cannot love God without loving his truths, and we cannot really feel a love to his truths, without loving him more or less.
Now if the Saviour knew what was in man,” and if he has des dared that those who are far from God, whose deeds are evil, love, darkness rather than light, then it must follow that this class of men will not readily receive a truthful view of the gospel, but will more. willingly accept of error. Vol. II.