Page images
PDF
EPUB

spiritual, man. It imbues its subject with kind affections, and spreads those affections abroad upon the most elevated objects. For the sake of the everlasting happiness of a fellow-man, of a miserable creature, whom the pride of the world would pass by with neglect, perhaps with contempt, of an enemy whom hate would destroy, it watches, and labors, and suffers, and prays, is intrepid in the greatest dangers, and is willing to die any moment. In short, it formed such a character as that of Paul. Is then this religion a contrivance of man? Is it not certainly from God?

2. Does not the survey, which has been taken of the character of Paul, go to a complete vindication of the doctrines of grace against the objection, that they subvert obligation and have a tendency to produce a lax and careless manner of living?

It cannot be denied without putting an affront upon reason and trampling evidence in the dust, that Paul, more than any other sacred writer, insists upon these doctrines as the truth of God, the essential articles of the Gospel of our salvation. No man ever believed them more firmly. No man could have been, no man is, and probably no man will be, at least till the millennium, more under the practical influence of them than Paul. What was their influence in fact upon him? Did they make him an idler in his vocation? Did they paralyze his moral sensibilities and make him careless of his duty? He is before us in his true character. And

a better mere human character never was formed. Let even a captious liberality judge. His life is decisive proof that these doctrines are according to godliness, and do, and must ever, act most propitiously upon the hearts and lives of all who sincerely embrace them. “Do we then make void the law through faith? Yea, we establish the law.”

3. Does not the view which we have taken of the missionary character of Paul completely vindicate, and strongly recommend, the office and the labors of the Christian missionary, generally considered?

Can an intelligent Christian, can a friend to the intellectual, moral, social, and immortal interests of man; can any one, who is not as great a fanatic in the cause of a skeptical liberality, as Simeon, the Stylite, was in his notions of expiatory and meritorious penance, think lightly, or speak in disparagement, of the service of the faithful missionary? Can a man, with the thousandth part of a grain of generous feeling towards his fellow-men in the wretchedness of heathenism, fail to attach his decided approbation to this office? Surely, in the example of Paul, it has the strongest recommendations.

4. Let the excellent character of Paul, as an apostolic and Christian missionary, the immeasurable value of the service he performed as such, and the incalculable benefits that result from it to a ruined world, have its proper influence upon us,

my brethren, to stimulate us to augmented efforts in the cause of missions.

Let us, in this great and godlike enterprize, come forward with a stronger zeal to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Let us labor to embody in our future selves all the moral excellencies of our apostolic missionary. The cause, for the sake of which he resigned so readily all his temporal expectations, to which he was so exclusively devoted, upon which his affections acted in so strong and tender a manner, and in which he so inflexibly persevered, is the same precisely in ours, that it was in his, hands. It is, as it was then, and ever will be, the cause of humanity, of truth, of virtue, of salvation, of God. It embraces all that is valuable to man for time and for eternity. Whoever embarks in this cause, then, must do it with all his heart. He must let his lukewarmness open itself on some temporal concern. Let him be a coward every where else; but let him fight manfully here. Let him be parsimonious in regard to all other demands; but let him be very bountiful here.

We rejoice greatly in the resuscitation, within thirty years past, of the primitive missionary spirit. But, taking the missionary character of Paul for our standard of estimation, we must confess that, after all, this is a day of small things. The Christian Church moves but slowly. The most zealous are as if they were halting between two opinions. Our contributions are as if Mammon had stronger

hold of our affections than the Lord of glory; as if things temporal were more in our eye than things eternal.

We do not complain of our missionaries. They are the most beloved of our brethren; and we confess that Christianity has strong recommendations from the virtues they display, and the part they act. But we wish them all to grow to the stature of Paul. We wish them to imbibe more largely his excellent spirit. We wish them to be as forward in the race, and as valiant in the fight, as he.

We wish our young brethren, who are candidates for this holy employment, to fix their mark by the standard of Paul; to take up their cross with an equal self-denial; and to be determined in the name of their Almighty leader, to run this race with an equal speed.

Let instructors of youth in our Theological seminaries keep this model of missionary excellence before their eyes, and direct their efforts faithfully to bless the world with missionaries of this order. Let them assiduously labor to store the minds of their pupils with correct views of Christianity, as a revealed system of truth: but be at least equally concerned to inspire them with lofty views, with zeal, with an untiring patience, and, with a holy heroism.

“The harvest is plenteous; but the laborers are few.” Let us ever pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth such laborers into his

harvest. O, that one might become a thousand, land and ocean be traversed, the darkest places of the earth be explored, and the Gospel be preached as faithfully, as Paul preached it, to every creature. Then we might expect to hear the triumphant, universal shout, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign FOREVER AND EVER.”

« PreviousContinue »