« IndietroContinua »
Have we entered into it, and are we pursuing it, in the simplicity of faith, with that earnestness and zeal, which the words before us express, and which its own incalculable importance and the Divine commands and encouragements require?— Whatever we have done in this respect, whatever we have devised to do, yet is there not cause to stir you all up, and to exhort you, Brethren, to cultivate this spirit and abound in your work more and more ? What, indeed, can we suppose that we have yet done? Think, Brethren, of those deep and awful views of our fallen race, which so affected the Son of God, even in the glory of the Highest: think of his incarnation—of the travail of his soul for us— of those very conflicts, as it were, of Divine Love, in the mission, the labours, the death of the Redeemer: think, then, that to us He has left it to carry on his work, and to make known his salvation unto the ends of the earth ; and consider the hundreds of millions of our fellow-creatures yet lying in darkness and in the shadow of death—of the hundreds of millions whom the Name of Jesus has never reached; and then say, What have we done, even the most diligent among us—what have we done in the exertions of all our Societies—in any degree worthy of that which becomes us as Christians! How many are there, who content themselves with very slight impressions of that sacred duty to promote the Kingdom of Christ, which is incumbent on all who name his Name!—who may manifest some zeal on occasions like this on which we are assembled, but who soon relax and grow cold ! How many are there, who have never yet rendered to this great work any stated or steady aid!
Arouse yourselves, Brethren, and fulfil the work, which your Lord expects from you, as ye are his Disciples! Acquaint yourselves more perfectly with the great principles of the Missionary Cause, and commend it to others. Count it your happiness, if, by pecuniary contributions, you may, as you do, essentially promote its interests. Remember how the Son of God even made his soul an offering for sin for you; and render, at length, to your Heathen Brethren, according to your ability, as the Lord himself has done for you. Especially increase, Brethren, your prayers for us: and pray earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest, that he would send forth Labourers into the harvest. Oh pray witHour RESERVE I Be willing, as ye pray, that it may be your ownselves, or any members of your own families, who shall be called forth to the toil. Yes, Brethren, we must press and exhort you to pray the Lord, in the strong language of the Original, to “Thrust out.” Labourers into the harvest; for, alas! painful, most painful, are the hindrances, which, from some cause, prevent our obtaining the Missionaries whom we need. What are these hindrances, and whence do they arise? Can it be that the friends of Missions have not yet learnt the Missionary Prayer, which the Lord himself dictated ?—or that they use it with a secret reserve, that, send whom he may, he will excuse them and their families! Forgive me, Brethren, such an intimation. Yet what shall we say ? Forgive me also, ye beloved Brethren in the Ministry, if even from this place I observe, how few have yet gone forth from our own body under this Society to Africa and the East! Should this be so 1–0ur Missions are cramped for want of suffcient aid. Brethren, pray then fervently the Lord of the Harvest, that he will Thaust Forth Labourers into the harvest! - - a
Finally, receive cordially the call, which is now made loudly upon the Churches of Christ—not more distinctly by the voices of Brethren, than by all the signs of the times and the testimony of prophecy: pray for the fulfilment of that great reserved promise of the Divine Word, the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh in the latter days. This it is, which alone can give effect to the bestconcerted plans for the conversion of Gentiles and of Jews. You, Brethren, know this to be true, from the limited and partial success which yet accompanies Missions. We have painful evidence of the fact upon the spot—as we stand in the midst of the Heathen, and behold as yet but little fruit of the Ministry among them. Here and there, a Paul is planting, an Apollos is watering, but how small is the increase! The abundant rains and dews of Heaven are as yet withheld. As the Prophet in vision (Ezek. xxxvii. 1–10), we look through a vast and dismal valley full of dry bones; and behold, as Missionaries prophesy, a shaking, bone coming to bone, the sinews and the flesh, and the skin covering them, but, alas ! there is no breath in them. This is the prospect which we have witnessed—and still we have to mourn over the dead! No breath cometh from the four winds, to breathe upon the slain that they may live And why? Is it not, that the Lord not only would make us feel that the whole excellency of the power is of Himself, but would thus especially stir up his servants to
a more distinct and sensible acknowledgment and glorifying of the blessed Author of the Divine Life in the Soul, and of sanctification in the Churches; and to a more combined and holier importunity in prayer for the promised gift, more suitable to the dignity of the Divine Agent, and the vastness of the blessing which is to flow forth to the nations? Hail then, Brethren, the call for this new effort of piety and lovel Be of one heart and of one mind to honour the Holy Spirit; and call upon Him, and He will hear you. Stir ye up one another, and your prayer shall enter into the ears of the Lord of Hosts: the Redeemer will manifest his glory, and the whole work shall be consummated. Brethren, we speak no vain thing ; for He cometh, for He cometh, saith the Scripture, to judge the world in righteousness and the people with his truth. He cometh, and his reward is with him. He cometh to take unto himself the Kingdom, under the whole heavens. And then, in that day, when He shall himself gather in the fruit unto life eternal, then indeed shall he that soweth and he that reapeth rejoice together. Then, welcome unto Him, welcome among the chief shall they be, who have most abundantly laboured, in the mind and spirit of our Lord, to promote the Salvation of Mankind. To such faithful servants He will say, with especial joy, “Come ye blessed of my Father—ye, whose meat it was, even as mine, to do his will and finish his work—who shrunk not from sacrifices, perils, and pains—who freely gave your substance, your children, your own-selves to my service, in any land or in any clime: the day is come—the day which by faith ye beheld—the day of your desire—the day of my triumph: rise ye and reign : enter ye into the joy of your Lord, in the day of His great joy!” Is the vision yet for an appointed time? At the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait . jor it; because it will surely come; it will not tarry. Blessed, let every heart respond, blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things and blessed be his glorious Name for ever ! And let the whole earth be filled with his glory? Amen and Amen'