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Objections to Foreign Missions answered.
in the support and extension of the missionary cause. I involuntariJy drew my memoranda-book from my pocket, and with my pencil, in shorthand, literally traced every word of the speaker, as they fell from his lips. The following is a correct copy of the discourse, from the place where I commenced my notes. Yours,
It may be asked, perhaps, (observed the preacher) why are we to waste our strength and treasure upon the heathen ? Is there not scope and occasion for the labours of all at home? I answer, it is well for us that the Apostles did not argue in this manner; for if they had not turned to the Gentiles till there remained no unconverted Jews for them to instruct, the very name of Christ would probably long since have been forgotten among men. This objection may be classed with that of Judas respecting the box of ointment, "why was this waste made,” &c. and will admit of the same definition, and requires no different answer-' not that he cared for the poor,” &c.
“ The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” The Providence of God has abundantly confirmed this animating promise of his word. Facts are stubborn things, and often disprove the most confident theories. The results of actual experiment, visible to every eye, and gratefully acknowledged by every pious heart, are enough, surely, to put down and eternally silence every cavil of this kind. This objection, once such current coin with nominal professors and cold hearted Christians, is fully proved to be counterfeit, base metal. And it is now more than twenty years too late for it ever again to be offered. Time was, and that within the memory of most of us, when Christians at large contentedly slumbered over a world in ruins-no feelings of compassion or desire for the salvation of the poor heathen were manifested ; and no measures were taken, or even projected, or thought of, for sending them the Gospel. And what was the state of religion then in our own land? Was there then more given, and greater exertions then made to extend religious instruction to the destitute-to build up the waste places of Zion, in our own country, and to send the Gospel to our aboriginal natives, than since the period of Foreign Missions ? We know that it was directly the reverse. The churches, indeed, had a nominal existence, but were in a cold and lifeless state the Gospel was preached, but without power, and without effect. Some few concealed, isolated instances of conversion, might take place, so that the churches were kept from utter extinction; but the influences of the Spirit were generally withheld; and a revival of religion was an event almost as rare as an earthquake, and the surprise and novelty as great to the public mind. The principal exertions respecting the aborigines then was, not how to possess them of the Gospel, but how to dispossess them of their lands, and cheat them of their furs. The general state of our country, in a religious view, presented a widespread field of moral desolation ; while intemperance, profaneness, and every immorality stalked with shameless front, and the trumpet of infidelity sounded from Dan to Beersheba.
Now, my brethren, is it not an incontrovertible fact, which it would be criminal to deny, or even to doubt, that religion has flourished in our own country, and the gospel been succeeded and bless ed and attended, since the era of missions, beyond any former period, and that too, in exact proportion to our zeal, and liberality, and exertions in the missionary cause ? Revivals of religion have been, and still are experienced, for their number, power, frequency, extent and duration, far beyond the example of any former period. Showers of grace are descending all around us, and the cloud of blessings is widening, and spreading to every part of our land. Christ, the Captain of our salvation, as a glorious conqueror, is travelling in the greatness of his strength, displaying his mighty power in subduing the hearts of sinners, and bringing multitudes of new subjects into his kingdom. The fields of Zion are becoming verdant-converts to righteousness springing up like “willows by the water courses”_ thousands of new and admiring guests are approaching the table of the Lord, and with their eyes fixed on Calvary, joyfully celebrating their Saviour's dying love. Then let all such excuses of pride and sloth, and covetousness, and unbelief, be put to shame and silence, and let all exert themselves in the cause of our gracious Redeemer, with fervent prayer to the great “ Lord of the harvest, that he would thrust forth labourers into his harvest."
Think of the boundless compassion of our Saviour, the blessed pattern for our imitation, and “let the same mind be in us which was also in him.” When he beheld our misery he flew from heaven on the wings of love, and to rescue us from destruction, counted nothing too valuable to forego-nothing too painful to suffer-nothing too arduous to achieve--nothing too costly to give. Ah! truly, and how did Christ give ? Not as we give, slowly, reluctantly and sparingly, and perhaps willingly losing the opportunity when presented ; but Christ gave cheerfully; he did not wait to see what others would give, but stood forth foremost and pre-eminent in charity ; he gave voluntarily and freely; he did not wait for solicitation-alas ! if he had, we should never have known the fulness of his grace, but have perished in spiritual famine. Christ gave from disinterested goodness, and motives of the purest benevolence; and he gave unsparingly-not as selfish men give-perhaps only a thousandth part of their yearly income, leaving the heap both untouched and increased; but he gave all-the whole of his immense wealth for the salvation of sinners. He emptied his coffers for us—he opened the infinite treasury of heaven, and poured it down in immeasurable profusion upon a perishing world. Though he was rich, even the Lord of all, yet for our sakes he became poor-yea poorer than the birds and the foxes--that we, through his poverty, might be made rich. O the matchless grace-the stupendous bounty--the unrivalled munificence of the blessed Jesus !--let heaven wonder, and the earth adore!
Think how vital to our holy religion, are deeds of benevolent charity, and how graciously Christ will accept of them at the great rewarding day! If he will accept temporal favours bestowed on his people as conferred on himself, will he not much more acknowledge
the spiritual blessings which we confer? I was in darkness, and you enlightened me--I was far from God, and you brought me near-I was perishing, and you saved me. I was an ignorant savage Indian in the western wilderness of America-you sent me missionaries, and school teachers, and Bibles, to instruct and civilize me, and bring me the knowledge of the gospel salvation. I was a poor depraved Hottentot, sunk in ignorance, filth and wretchedness—you sent me the Gospel, and raised me to the dignity of a man, and the happiness of a Christian. I was a poor orphan child in Bombay ; my father was dead, and my mother had burnt upon the funeral pile--a wretched outcast from the world, I wandered in the streets, and reposed in the ditches--naked, needy and forlorn; without a friend; without a God, and without hope--when you had compassion upon me, and took me in; you fed and clothed me by your bounty ; nourished and sustained, educated and brought me up ; taught me the knowledge of the true God; led me to embrace by faith the only Saviour, and finally to rejoice in his presence for ever. 0 wbat a thought is this! how impressive! how animating ! how transporting! O the luxury of doing good! Shall we not feel insatiable to give ? Is there one present who would not seek such an honour as this? Be liberal then now, while you may, 7
“For time is swiftly flying;
For the Christian Ilerald.
· Introduction. In great cities an alarm of fire is no uncommon occurrence; and it generally, and especially in the night, spreads great consternation among their inhabitants. Having recently witnessed a number of these frightful scenes, a series of reflections occupied my mind, which I now send you, in hopes (should you publish them) it may please God to sanctify them to the salvation of some who are now secure in sin, although actually in more danger, as it regards their eternal interest, than their temporal can possibly be in a fire alarm.
Part I.—The Alarm. The first train of thoughts was on the alarm itself. It is generally announced by the cries of “ Fire! Fire !” accompanied by shouts and shrieks of various kinds ; the bells ring, and people run in every direction, and all seem intent on doing something to prevent the threatened evil. Think, reader, Almighty God has ordered the alarm of fire to be given to this great world ; and it is the alarm of hell fire too! Thus he announces, “ A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” (Deut. xxxii. 22.) "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Ps. ix. 17.) Lewdness, and all sensual
pleasures which banish from the mind serious things, are the way of hell. (Prov. vii. 27.) To call a brother a fool, is to come into the danger of hell fire. (Matt. y. 22.) Fear God; for he is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. x. 22.): “How can ye escape the damnation of hell.” (Matt. xxiii. 33.) The slandering, backbiting tongue sets the whole course of nature on fire of hell. (Jam. iii. 6.) False prophets shall be tormented in a lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil that deceived them, for ever and ever. (Rev. xx. 10.) “And the unbelieving, and the abominable, and mur. derers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." (Rev. xxi. 8.) Now in all this there is no false alarm. The fire is kindled. It is for the wicked of our world, who refuse the grace of the Gospel. God is true, and will not lie. He will accomplish in righteousness all the threatenings which have gone out of his lips.
The second thought on the alarm, was on the feelings it excited in the immediate neighbourhood of the fire. What commotions are seen! What running! What rushing and flying for safety! And what agony if a child or a friend is in danger from the raging element! This whole world is the neighbourhood concerned in God's fire alarm ; " for the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Pet. iij. 10.) It is, with all its greatness and splendour, but as a little house in a great city, among the many ten thousand worlds that roll in the expanse around it. Yet, although the fire is kindled, and is beginning to burn, in all its apartinents, I see little or no alarm among its busy population. - I see some who mock at the alarm. Some others who abuse the watchmen who discover the fire and give them warning. They are so occupied with their business, or with their amusements, that they will probably never believe in the alarm, till the building falls around them, and there will be no means of escape from the fire of hell. O how the hearts of the humane bleed for the dreadful infatuation and folly of man, when it is said, “O that they were wise : O that they knew the things which belong to their peace. Do ye thus requite the Lord ? O foolish people and unwise." (Deut. xxxii. 6, 29. Luke, xix. 41, 42.) To show that other beings feel an interest in the welfare of man, and desire that he should obey the Gospel, take the aların and live, see the following passages, viz. Matt. xviii. 10. Luke ii. 12, 13. Heb. i. 14. and many others of similar import.
The next thought connected with the alarm was, the precautions which men take to guard against fire. Many erect what are called fire proof buildings ; and many insure their buildings and property beforehand. But how unlike this is the conduct of men in religious concems. Instead of building upon the Rock they build upon the sand, and must consequently in the end meet with an overthrow.
Matt. vii. 24, 27.) They build with wood, or hay, or stubble, or any other combustible rather than with those materials which the fire, which is to try men's works, cannot consume. (1 Cor. iji. 11, 15Matt. xvi. 18.) They choose rather to sow to the flesh, and indulge in all its Insts, than to sow to the spirit. (Gal. vi. 7, 8.) They will,
consequently, reap the second death. With regard to Insurance, there is none but Christ; for there is salvation in none other. (Acts, iv. 12.) His terms of insurance are not a moral life, and moral honesty in the eyes of the world simply; but a spiritual birth. (John, iii. 5.) Not subscription to a creed, or confession to a priest, but “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts, xx. 21.) These terms not complied with, and the result will be, to be consumed with the fire of his wrath. (Ezek. xxii. 31.) Why will not men be wise unto salvation ? And why, above all things, will they not be as wise for eternity as they are for time; for their souls as for their bodies?
The last thought immediately connected with the alarm, was the loss sustained in cases of fire. This I find to be only the goods of this world, and a little of its transitory happiness; or at most, the loss of temporal life. But in the case of God's alarm, there is a greater loss to be sustained, if we do not escape it. In that fire the soul will be lost; and to have all the world and lose the soul, the loss is eterpal and irreparable. (Matt. xvi. 26.) There is the loss of eternal life. (Matt. XXV. 41.) They will be raised from the dead only to shame, contempt and damnation. (Dan. xii. 2. John, v. 29.) The loss, therefore, is the loss of honour with all its enjoyment, and the company of all the good, throughout eternity. Happiness will be lost, for there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when they see the kingdom of the blessed. (Luke xiii. 28.) Heaven will be lost, for then they shall “ drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation ; and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever; and they bave no rest day nor night." (Rev. xiv. 10. 11.) “Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God;" (1 Cor. vi. 9.) no, not one of them the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Who then can inherit that kingdom ? None, indeed, without being cleansed by the blood of Christ. (1 John, i. 7.) None without the insurance alluded to above; and none can have that, but on the condition there speci. fied. Reader, wilt thou not be wise in time? If thou art still an im. penitent sinner, this alarm, true and awful as it is, is yet an alarm to thine own soul. O let it be a timely warning to thee; and flee now to the strong hold of faith, as a prisoner of hope; for eternity approaches, to set the great seal of heaven upon thine eternal and unalterable destiny. Thou wilt be with the number on the right, or on the left hand of the Judge, and wilt hear him with a voice, sweeter than from an angel's tongue to the one, and more terrible than hell itself to the other, pronounce, as he points to each, “ These shall "go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.”
- Then, Jehovah with determined aspect turns
His adamantinc key's enormous size Vol. IX.