Page images
PDF
EPUB

these causes, to fight against God. Those, who truly believe and love the Gospel, who know how to estimate the value of the Gospel, and who feel any thing of the benevolent spirit of the Gospel, will not, cannot object to Christian Missions; will not, cannot hold back their hands from the benevolent work. It is true, “salvation is of the Lord;" but it is equally true, that he works by means; and has designated the means, by which sinners are to be converted, sanctified and saved. “After that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” The knowledge of the Lord must be communicated through the medium of his word. This word, therefore, must be translated into every language, published in every land, and preached to every rational creature under heaven.

Be entreated, then, my Christian friends, my brethren and sisters in the Lord, to put your hands to this glorious work; and set an example, which your fellow Christians, every where, may safely follow. Like your elder brother, while you lean on Jesus' bosom, imbibe his heavenly spirit;— like John, the beloved disciple, show that you are yourselves constrained by love, to speak the language, and perform the labors of love.—Like your elder sister, do what you can for Christ and his cause;-Like Mary, anoint the feet of your blessed Redeemer; and though some Judas should reproach you for your zeal, and charge you with the folly of wasting your substance; yet be not ye discouraged by the reproach, nor terrified at the charge. It is the reproach of the cross—it is the charge of a traitor. Wherefore break the box, and pour the precious ointment on the Şaviour's feet.

[blocks in formation]

Mat. XXVII. 18, 19, 20.- And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go

ye

there. fore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world.

I RISE to advocate the cause of missions to the heathen and to plead for a dying world. My sole object is to enforce the claims of five hun. dred millions of perishing men by some plain and simple arguments which have affected my own mind. And I have chosen this text because it contains some of the arguments and suggests the rest. Both the authority of Christ and his personal reward are here distinctly brought to bear on the subject. For his obedience "unto death” he received the inheritance, including “the leathen” and “the uttermost parts of the earth,”* rith authority to manage the whole estate. This

authority he employed in sending forth missionaries to disciple all nations and to bring to him the unnumbered millions promised for his seed.

My first argument then is founded on the authority of Christ. The injunction in the text was not addressed to the eleven exclusively, but to them as depositaries of the divine commands, and through them to the whole body of ministers in every age. This appears from the promise subjoined, “Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world.Indeed the eleven were expressly commanded to transmit to their successors all the injunctions which they themselves received, one of which was to disciple all nations. Go ye—and disciple all nations,-teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.This command then is now sounding in the ears of the ministers and churches of the nineteenth century.

And yet some when called upon for their aid are heard to say, I do not approve of such things : just as though they had a right to place themselves on the seat of judgment and decide for themselves what they will approve and what not, when the command of God is in their car and his sword at their breast. Hark! did you not hear that thunder ? “ Curse ye Meroz ;-curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”*

My second argument is grounded on the example of Christ and his apostles. The Saviour of the world sent out a band of missionaries and charged them to “preach the Gospel to every creature ;" "and they went forth and preached every where” “ that men should repent." No one objection can be raised against missions at the present day which will not equally lie against Christ and his apostles. The attempt is no more presumptuous now than then; the prospect is no more discouraging ; the difficulties are no greater ; the power that is engaged to give success is the same, for the promise remains unchanged, “Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world.”

My third argument is founded on what we owe to the heathen. Is the Gospel no blessing to you? And would it not be an equal bless

* Judg. v. 23.

ing to them? And are, we not bound to extend to others all the happiness in our power? To say that pagans can be as happy without the Gospel as with it, is to say that the Gospel is no blessing to inen : and then you do not believe that it came from God. If the Gospel would be no blessing to the heathen, why do you preach or support it at home? Are you universalists ? But still you find motives enough to preach or support what you call the Gospel at home. Why then not send it to other nations? If all mankind are to be saved, and mercy' requires that the tidings be circulated with sectarian zeal through Christendom, to dispel the gloomy fears of former generations, why not send the glorious news to Asia ? If things are so, let armies of missionaries be collected, to stop those bloody rites which guilt and fear have invented to atone for sin and prevent future punishment. Let them hasten to stop the self-torturing pilgrimages, to take down the wretch who hangs voluntarily suspended by a hook thrust through his side, to drag the infatuated victim from under the car of Juggernaut and the widow from the funeral pile, and terminate for ever the destruction of infants in the Ganges. Let them pour upon the ravished ear of Asia the tidings that all guilt was expiated on Calvary ; that they have no necd of their bloody rites, nor even of a resormation of manners; that they may live in pleasure here without apprehension and enter on eternal pleasure hereafter.

Let it be true that all men will be saved, or even that men are as likely to be saved without the Gospel as with it, is the Gospel of no service in the present life, as a foundation of hope, as a purifier of manners, as a tamer of the passions, as a mcans of civilization, as a handmaid to science? What nation since the commencement of the Christian era ever arose from savage to civilized without Christianity? If you are the friends of the human family, I call upon you to weep over the degraded and comfortless condition of five hundred millions of people destitute of the light of science and the pleasures of refined society, subject, in a large proportion of cases, to all tlic hardships of the savage state, and in every instance to the horrours of a gloomy 511perstition.

Be it so,

But what believer in revelation except a universalist will say that men are as likely to be saved without the Gospel as with it? that good heathen will be saved, but the mass of the licathen are not good. They are sunk in the grossest vire. All the passions and all

the crimes that ever degraded man, there rage with little restraint. Owing to some defect which nothing but revelation can explain, man is universally inclined to evil. This truth, which every page of history attests, which a thousand poets have mournfully sung, which all the statutes of legislators have acknowledged, is confirmed by every day's experience. It is equally certain to every believer in Christianity that the grand means to reform the world is the Gospel of Christ. Let nations with all these native passions, run wild without this means of reformation, and what can you expect but that they will sink into the lowest depths of vice? Tell me not that their ignorance excuses them. Whence then that resentment with which you contemplate savages breaking into a village at night, burning houses, murdering infants in their mothers' arms, dragging their prisoners to the slow tortures of the stake, and rioting on their groans ? Does ignorance excuse all the infernal passions and crimes of the heathen world? They will not plead this themselves. If they are conscious of no fault in these things, whence their resentment against each other? When they take revenge, do they not give judgment that pagans may sin ? Do they not this when they execute their laws on criminals? “ their conscience -bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing-one another.”* But if any doubt remains, read the Epistle to the Romans : contemplate the picture of the heathen world sketched in the first chapter, and the inference drawn in the third. And what said the charitable John? “We know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”[ The only means to reclaim the world is the Gospel of Christ. What nation since the world began was ever reclaimed without the Scriptures? Talk as you will of the salvation of pious heathen : let it be admitted if you please that now and then a pagan becomes a good man ; yet the mass of the heathen are grossly wicked, and will always remain so till reformed by the Gospel of Christ.

But I go further. Show me one instance in which God has erer saved or enlightened an adult without his word and ordinances. But his word and ordinances cannot travel to the heathen alone and there explain themselves. The living preacher must go with them. Even in the days of miracles you never hear of a Bible carried through the air to a distant land and there expounding itself, nor of a pagan tauglit

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »