Billeder på siden

instruction, or in schools; whether orally, or by the press, matters not. In different places, different means are to be employed, as circumstances direct, and as human governments do, or do not interfere. And it is not wise to set up one mode of communicating divine truth against another, and to insist upon that one to the exclusion of others; but to let them all co-operate: the family, the school, the college, the press, and the pulpit are all so many different ways of conveying the truths of the Gospel to the mind; these are the mere channels through which the waters of life are conveyed; some are more easily employed in one place, and others in another. Happily in this land, they are all employed with assiduity, and great success; and it is difficult to say how much is owing to one, and how much to another. The Bible, and tracts, and schools, and colleges, and old pious books, periodical religious pamphlets, convince, and convert, and edify, and reprove, and console, perhaps in as great a degree as the pulpit. I lay stress upon this part of the subject, because these first named means are almost the only means that can be employed in some new missions. Foreigners rarely make good preachers, and books go where preachers cannot; and in different periods of the church, the enlargement of its limits, and the revival of it when dead, have been in a great degree effected by books. Paul's letters have done more for the church than all his preaching. But I am not putting down preaching, only endeavouring to put it in its right place. And I desire, that the Christian churches in this land will not despair of Eastern Asia, because Englishmen cannot run through China and Japan preaching in their cities and villages. Though this means cannot now be used to make known the Gospel, let not those means that may be used be neglected. The admirable Luther employed, in his own person, the three great channels of conveyance-the press, the college, and the pulpit. He wrote and scattered widely his pestiferous tracts (as they were called); he taught theology to the students at Wittemberg, and he was an assiduous preacher in the town. Let the churches send forth such men as

they would find most useful at home, and they will generally be most useful abroad. Not very eccentric men, but steady, prudent, holy, zealous, humble men; and let these men employ as many of the means that have been useful here, in this land, as they can, according to the peculiarity of circumstances, wherever they may be. And let the churches at home minister willingly to their necessities, and pray devoutly and fervently for them, and for the descent of the Holy Spirit in copious showers, to cause the seed sown to take root and bring forth abundantly.

I said, let the churches minister willingly to the necessities of their Lord's servants abroad. Whatever is done in this cause, should be done willingly, and from right principles, because it is felt to be a duty, and not as a meritorious work, nor as a charity extorted by persuasion, or importunity. Pecuniary resources are essential to foreign missions, under the existing dispensation of Divine Providence, and pecuniary aid, or the obtaining of it, are not to be despised; but at the same time it is the least and lowest part of the whole concern; nor should it be sought by any unholy, unchristian contrivances; not by flattery, nor by appeals to the passions, the vanity, or the self-complacency of the human mind. We can never spread Christianity in the world by any unchristian trickery to obtain pecuniary resources. I am of opinion, the necessary resources will always follow the right sort of men, and the right sort of men it is not in the power of money to procure. We shall not make the nations renounce lies, vanity, and unprofitable things, but by truth, simplicity and real godliness, which is profitable for all things;, for the life that now is, as well as for that which is to come.

I trust this audience will forgive the freedom of these remarks, as they are given, although with freedom, not with disrespect.

And finally, from the lies and vanities which so generally prevail in this apostate world, let us ever raise our hearts to the great source of all truth, and the fountain of real bliss. The cause of Christian missions is the cause of God; men are in it but feeble instruments; important,

indeed, in his hand, but utterly useless, if they affect to act independently of him. Except the Lord build the house, the spiritual temple on earth, they labour in vain that work at it. These are simple truths, which we every day repeat, and which every body acknowledges to be true, and which, practically, we every hour forget. The religious and the moral apparatus, as it is sometimes called, got up in our day, with the design of turning the nations from their lies and their vanities, although it makes a bustle and stir here, in the united kingdom, is, when separated, and sent forth in different directions to the ends of the earth, scarcely perceivable; but were it much, as it is supposed to be, all this moral machinery will be utterly useless, unless the hand of Deity guide it; unless the Divine Redeemer recognise it; unless the Holy Spirit's influences descend upon it. And here we have no occasion to be discouraged; we have reason to hope that this guidance, and recognition, and these influences will all be granted; for our endeavours are directed to what God has declared shall one day take place. We hope, with simplicity and humility, that we are workers together with him. We, the several Missionary Societies of this land, never imagine, that by our handful of generally feeble and despised Missionaries, we shall be able to change the religious and superstitious opinions of hundreds of millions of human beings, intrenched as they are with reverence for their fathers, and surrounded by the rust of antiquity, and possessing, as they do, sages, and learning, and cleverer men, than any of the Missionaries or most of their supporters; and pampered, as many of them are, by all the luxuries and delicacies of life; rich, and increased in goods, and standing in need of nothing, of a worldly nature, from us. I say, we affect not, by any power possessed by Missionaries or Missionary Societies, to re-model nations. But we are assured it is God's design, that false religions shall one day give place to true religion; that the worship of idols shall be exchanged for the worship of himself; that the spirit of delusion in the world the Lord shall consume, with the spirit of his mouth-with the blessed Gospel with which his mouth has revealed. It is not man, but

God that is to effect the change. To him we look. Those who think our attempts arrogant or presumptuous, mistake the matter, and attribute to us notions of self-sufficiency which we do not possess; on the contrary, we renounce self-dependence, and we adopt the prophet's words in our text, as expressive of our real sentiments-"O Jehovah, our strength, and our fortress, and our refuge, in the day of affliction, our eyes are towards thee, to cause the Gentiles to come from the ends of the earth, and to cast off the lies, and the vanities, and the profitless things, which they inherited from their fathers. And is any thing too hard for God! Hath he spoken, and will he not do it!

Shall the Redeemer, who was wounded for man's transgressions, and bruised for man's iniquities, and died on the accursed tree to redeem man from the curse of the law, not see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied?-O ye Christians, to-day, or whenever ye remember the death of Jesus, remember the millions in various lands to whom his atoning sacrifice has not been preached; and remember his last command-"Go and preach the Gospel to every creature," and then the guilt of indifference to the cause of missions will appear.




2 COR. v. 13, 14, 15.

"For, whether we be beside ourselves it is to God, or whether we be sober it is for your cause; for the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.”

THE E persons speaking in the verses which I have now read were Paul and Timothy, whose names are joined in the commencement of this letter, which begins thus: "Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia." In the first instance, then, the words we and us refer to these two servants of God. An account of the first introduction of the Gospel at Corinth is given in the 18th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, where it appears that Christianity there met with much opposition. St. Paul, as his manner was, first addressed himself to the Jews: he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and testified that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, or promised Messiah. The Jews, however, op

« ForrigeFortsæt »