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and ardent piety, but liberally educated, and well qualified, by a thorough training, for their work. Enjoying such high advantages, the American church has not been under the necessity, which has been felt by some parts of Christendom, of accepting as missionaries men who are but partially educated for the ministry. She has been able to command men of talents and learning, as well as of good sense and piety, for the important work of evangelizing the world. And this has given her a high standing in the missionary field, and furnished her with important facilities for engaging in the missionary enterprise.
III. The duty of American Christians to send the Gospel to the heathen, will still further appear,
if we consider the unexampled prosperity which the country enjoys. I say unexampled, for I am persuaded it has no parallel in the history of the world, either in ancient or modern times. Freely indeed has this country received of the blessings of heaven. “ The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage.” In addition to our many local advantages of soil and climate, of civil and religious liberty, the most surprising and unprecedented success has attended the efforts of our citizens in the acquisition of wealth. Fortunes have been accumulated in a day, which, in the ordinary course of circumstances, and in other countries, if obtained at all, would have required a long life of industrious and persevering effort. The horn of plenty is filled to overflowing, and is pouring out its rich treasures upon every part of our extended land. New sources of wealth are continually opening. The
spirit of enterprise, which is the spirit of the age,
finds a wide and extensive field for operation in this new world. Improvements in mechanics almost annibilate distance, and bring remote parts of the land into close and friendly vicinage. The common laborer, instead of earning a scanty pittance, which will scarcely feed and clothe himself, much less his family, as in most of the countries of Europe, here finds a ready and pressing demand for his services; and, in a little while, with common diligence and perseverance, may become as independent in circumstances as he is in sentiment and feeling. The farmer supports himself and his family in comfortable independence, and finds a ready market for his surplus produce in the wants of an increasing population. The mechanic, instead of sustaining as in most foreign countries an inferior grade in society, is justly appreciated and honored in this land, where usefulness, and not birth, is the acknowledged criterion of rank. The merchant, under the protection of his country's flag, honored and respected among all the nations of the earth, finds a ready admission for his ships into foreign ports, and hails their return laden with the riches of the east and the treasures of other lands.
In connection with the consideration of our unexampled prosperity, we may urge as another reason why American Christians should send the Gospel to the heathen, the facilities for this object afforded by their commercial relations. These relations are increasing every day in magnitude and importance. The American flag finds access to every part of the navigable globe, and the produce of our country, and the specie to procure the products of other countries,
may not only be safely wasted to distant shores, but, what is of more value than worldly goods, or thousands of gold and silver, bands of devoted missionaries, with hearts filled with love to Christ, ready to proclaim the glorious Gospel to the perishing, may, by the same safe and speedy conveyances, be transported to the places of their destination, to labor and die in the service of their Lord. No nation on earth, not Great Britain herself, possesses greater facilities, by commercial intercourse, to spread the Gospel among the heathen, than the American people.
The duty of American Christians to send the Gospel to the heathen, will appear in the last place, if we consider the revivals of religion with which they have been so signally blessed. In this respect they have been distinguished above every Christian nation on earth. The American churches have, within the last twenty years, been remarkably blessed with the effusions of the Holy Spirit. Divine influence has descended upon our Zion, “like the rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” Multitudes have been “pricked in the heart” and led to inquire “ what they shall do to be saved ;” and thousands have been seen flocking unto Christ, as “a cloud, and as the doves to their windows." The precious manifestations of divina mercy have not been confined to our churches and congregations, but have extended to our colleges and schools of learning. These fountains of literature have been purified with the salt of divine grace, and many of the youth, who have proceeded from these halls of science, have consecrated themselves to the great work of spreading the Gospel among the heathen. The Lord has given the word, and great is the company of those who are
ready to publish it to the ends of the earth. A missionary spirit has been awakened in our colleges and theological schools, which promises incalculable good to the church and the world. In these nurseries of Zion, numbers of holy, self-denying, devoted young men are now preparing to go far hence unto the Gentiles, and are only waiting for the indications of divine providence, and the increased liberality of American Christians, to send them forth.
Such are some of the facilities which American Christians possess for sending the Gospel to the heathen—facilities which, we hesitate not to affirm, are not enjoyed, to an equal extent, by any nation on the globe. And do not these advantages impose correspondent obligations ? To whom much is given, of them much will be required. Freely we have received-freely should we give.
1. Gratitude demands it. Surely American Christians have peculiar and abundant cause for gratitude. “Our cup runneth over.” “We are prevented with the blessings of goodness.” It may be said of us as of ancient Israel, “ He hath not dealt so with any nation." Cold and insensible must that heart be, which can be unaffected by the contemplation of the rich and innumerable blessings we enjoy, and which does not burn with a desire to do something, however unproportioned to the vast debt we owe, to manifest a sense of obligation to our bountiful and unwearied Benefactor. It is true, we cannot give in the same proportion as we have received, but we should aim, in the spirit of the text, to imitate the great Giver in the freeness of his bounty. And how can we better express our gratitude to him, than by an unreserved
consecration of ourselves and all that we have to his service—by disinterested and liberal efforts to promote the diffusion of that holy religion, to whose benign and salutary influences we are indebted for all the blessings we enjoy ?
II. Patriotism demands that, as we have freely received, we should freely give. Do we love our country? Do we rejoice in her prosperity? Do we desire that she may be “a name, and a praise, and a glory?" How can we better testify our appreciation of her free institutions, than by laboring to plant them in other lands? For, where the Gospel goes in its purity and power, there will follow in its train the blessings of civilization, liberty, and good govern
And, although it will not be the object of the devoted missionary to interfere, in any way, with civil government, but to confine himself exclusively to his appropriate work of preaching the Gospel, yet who can deny, or who would wish it otherwise, that his influence, when honorably obtained, through the success of his labors, will, in a greater or less degree, be felt in the relations of civil life; and, coming himself from a land of freedom, he will naturally spread around him an atmosphere of liberty. The patriot, then, with no higher motive than the love of his country's free institutions, should unite in sending the Gospel to the heathen. But especially will the Christian patriot feel the force of the obligation, for, in his view, the salvation of his country depends upon it. Let me not be thought extravagant when I make this declaration. The salvation of our country demands, that, as we have freely received, we should freely give.