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and usefulness of the Missionary Character.
DELIVERED IN HARTFORD, CONN. SEPT. 15, 1824.
Fifteenth Annual Meeting
AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
BY SAMUEL AUSTIN, D. D.
No. 50, Cornhill.
GAL, i, 15, 16. BUT WHEN IT PLEASED GOD, WHO SEPARATED ME FROM MY MOTHER'S WOMB, AND CALLED ME BY HIS GRACE, TO REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, THAT I MIGHT PREACH HIM AMONG THE HEATHEN, IMMEDIATELY I CONFERRED NOT WITH FLESH AND BLOOD.
The first propagation of the Gospel, with all the saving influences that attended it, was upon a missionary system. The labors of Christ himself were, , in fact, of a missionary character. He appeared among men, not to do his own will, but that of the Father who sent him. During his ministry, and considerably anterior to his crucifixion, he ordained twelve, who were called apostles, whose names are particularly mentioned in the Gospels, to be the chief instrumental agents in spreading the triumphs of his power and grace through the world.
Afterwards he appointed seventy, whom he sent abroad through the cities and villages of Judea to
preach the Gospel of the kingdom, and to perform miraculous works in his name. After his resurrection, and before he left the world, having more largely instructed the apostles, in regard to the glory of his person, the spiritual nature of his kingdom, the end of his sufferings, his competency and determination to support them in the trying service to which he was separating them, the opposition from the world they must calculate to meet, and the certain success which should attend this unprecedented and most interesting enterprise, he formally commissioned them in this memorable injunction, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” And we are told, that, having received this charge, seen him ascend into heaven, and been made partakers in the promised gifts of the Holy Ghost, they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following.
Paul was subsequently converted, in an extraordinary manner, and united to this college of missionaries. He was to act in concert with them. His designation, however, was somewhat peculiar. He was eminently a missionary to the heathen. While their labors were chiefly devoted to those who belonged to the circumcision, his were especially given to the uncircumcision. To him the mystery, which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body with the believing Jews, was particularly revealed. To
him, he tells us, “was this grace given, that he should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” · And to the believers at home he observes, “I am debtor, both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise; so, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you, who are at Rome also.”
The world was his field of labor, and the world he traversed. We find him in Arabia, Judea, Syria, the Lesser Asia, Macedonia, Greece, Illyricum, Italy, and directing his course to the most western parts of Europe. We have a more particular account of this apostle than of any other. His labors and his success seem to have been greater than those of the other apostles; though they were undoubtedly faithful to their charge. The history of the Acts of the Apostles is rather a history of his
We have a larger collection of his epistolary writings, than of all the other apostles. In short, he stands before us the most eminent, laborious, and efficient of all the missionaries of the cross, and the very best mere human model of the missionary character. In this light, my brethren, judging it to be sufficiently appropriate to the present exercise, I
propose, with divine assistance, to set before you the most prominent features in the character of Paul.
I must apprise you, however, that I intend to select those things only in this eminent missionary, which, in their nature, are to be looked for in all