Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

church to another. Nor is this considered contrary to the obligation of Christian churches, or the responsibilities of Christian character. Would it not be warranted by the same Christian license, nay, is it not called for by apostolic practice, and the cries of those who are perishing for lack of knowledge, frequently to make selections from more highly favoured Christian countries, to supply the wants of the perishing heathen population ? Are not the heathen Christ's possession, promised, given up to him, secured in terms of the covenant? If occasional deputations are warranted, and called for, as being useful, would not an abundant supply to remain in dark and destitute parts be more useful? Is it not called for? We think it is : and that the conductors of Missionary Institutions will be warranted in making the demand. If this should prove the voice of God, who will refuse, who dare? If none, then may we expect to see the work of Missions advance more speedily, and the day appearing not far distant when the earth shall yield her increase, and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

We are encouraged to believe that the work will be progressively carried forward. The commission was given by one who knew the end from the beginning, who has all power in heaven and in earth, and he commanded his servants to begin at Jerusalem; but they were to proceed till their labours should extend over all nations. He intrusted them with a commission, which he knew would be fulfilled, and gave them a command with which he knew they could

comply; but he reserved unto himself the time when he should accomplish the good pleasure of his will. To the superficial observer, or the wicked caviller, there has been apparent ground for the question, “Where is the promise of his coming ?” for lo! these eighteen hundred years all things continue almost as they were ! how little a portion of the world is evangelized! But let such look again, and inquire if any promise is given that the success will be immediate. Are these predictions of partial success and great darkness antecedent to the final establishment of the gospel ? And has not this been accomplished ? Is there one can look to the events recorded on the historic page of past ages, without beholding the finger of God, the progress of Jehovah's designs, the fulfilment of prophecy, and prophecy, too, contained in the revelations of the New Testament?

The success Jehovah was pleased to bestow upon the efforts of the first labourers, was sure, and calculated to show that it was a progressive, not an instantaneous, work in which they were engaged. They were crushed, but prevailing, a spreading body; their progress was much opposed, but they gained ground; their work was temporarily and partially impeded, but it went on from one degree of strength to another, until, in the language of their opposers, they had filled the world with their doctrine. “ The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard-seed which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the great

est of herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. It is like leaven which a woman took and bid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened.” It is the stone cut out without hands which smote the image, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. These are our replies to those who ask for our success; and we would ask them, whether there is not a visible, a progressive advancement? Is there no impression made upon the strong holds of Satan? Is not the empire of darkness gradually diminishing ? Are not the clouds of superstition clearing away? Is not the day dawning, and the day-star arising ? Have not those who sat in darkness seen a great light, and to them who sat in the region and shadow of death, has not light sprung up? Is not the Saviour preached in regions where his name was never correctly known before? Are not thousands taught the sacred truths of his word, who might never have known what God has revealed, had it not been for recent exertions? And now, O Lord, what wait we for? our hope is fixed in thee! Disappoint not our expectations ! Save now, we beseech thee, O God! Send now prosperity! Let not the labourers faint nor be weary, for we shall reap if we faint not !

We are not to rest till the word of the kingdom is preached unto all nations. The husbandman has long to wait, but he who goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall assuredly return again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. And weep

ing may continue for the night, but joy cometh in the morning; and though crosses and disappointments befall us, we are not to be discouraged; though the seed lie long in the ground, yet will it spring up. This is a matter in which the interests of both worlds are at stake with thousands and millions; for which holy and good men have prayed, and laboured, and suffered; to which the apostles devoted their time, talents, and life; for which the whole Christian world is now uniting in supplication; over which angels watch with the deepest interest, and to which they administer with their mighty powers; for the accomplishment of which Jehovah gave time its birth, the world its foundation, man his existence, and his onlybegotten and well-beloved Son to suffer, and die, and rise again, and to continue occupying the mediatorial throne; for the success of which all heaven waits, the Redeemer intercedes, the promises of God are given, his Spirit employed, and his character pledged. This cause must prosper, and there is every inducement for the agents in the work to persevere; their path is that of the just, which shines more and more unto the perfect day. They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Who will, for the enjoyment of a few temporal pleasures, and a few momentary gratifications, forego the unspeakable delight of being a fellow-helper with Christ, and a fellow-worker with God and his Spirit?

Means divinely ordained, and which are conse

quently the best, will ultimately be adopted in all places and encouraged. Christ, when a sojourner in the valley of sorrow and persecution, refused the aid of the sword for his personal defence, and interdicted the application or influence of it in any way in attempting to secure the establishment, or promote the prosperity of his dominion. Repentance and the remission of sins are to be preached unto all nations. This is the grand means prescribed by Christ: he has honoured it in all ages of the church, and his faithful servants will always have recourse to it in accomplishing the work to which they are called. Hence in every prosperous portion of the church's history, we discover that great attention has been paid to institutions formed for qualifying those who are to preach the gospel. They have been the subject of devout and fervent prayer; to them have been devoted the largesses of the affluent, and the contributions of the poor disciples of Jesus. To secure their continuance and faithful administration, a confederacy and bond of union are required among the servants of Christ; and it remains the duty of all Christians, who profess principles of a common character, on which they can meet, to unite in the same plans and support the same measures; and when they have given their pledge to render a certain proportion of aid, not to go back in that which they have spoken, either to disappoint their colleagues, or weaken the hands of their representatives in the field.

This age of benevolent exertion and Christian

« AnteriorContinuar »