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commands to his disciples; or the way in which they understood them, and their example of zealous unwearied exertion, amidst hardship and persecution, and with martyrdom always before their eyes: or whether we advert to the law of love, as illustrated by his conduct, " who came into the world to save sinners;" and "for the joy set before him endured the cross and "despised the shame;" it is obvious, that something should be attempted, with zeal and perseverance, to enlarge the Redeemer's kingdom by evangelizing the heathen. '' &
But even in the primitive times, it was not the duty of every christian to become a minister; nor that of pastors in general to leave their stated charges to preach the gospel in distant lands: and therefore they were not criminal in declining these services. Slaves, poor persons, and others, would have very little acquaintance with the state of distant countries; very little ability to amend what they saw amiss nearer home; and no direct influence beyond their own contracted circle. Some individuals however were so evidently called forth, qualified, and marked by their brethren, and the pastors of the church, for these services, that if they declined or forsook them, they were highly criminal: such at first was Mark, when he went not with Paul and Barnabas to the work, evidently because he shunned danger and hardship; and Demas who forsook the apostle, " having loved this present world." It was also incumbent on the stated pastors of the church to excite in the minds of christians a zeal for the conversion of the nations; and by their example, prayers, and ministrations, to stir up a desire in proper persons to engage
in the arduous but honourable service. They who were not employed in the ministry, or endowed with the needful qualifications, were doubtless bound to contribute, according to their ability, to the support of such as " went forth in the name of Christ, taking no"thing of the Gentiles;" in order that they might be "fellow-helpers to the truth." Others would be rcqiured cheerfully to part with their dear relatives, that they might not prevent their engaging in the perilous work: nay, loving Christ more than any relation, it would be their duty to encourage them, if competent judges deemed them called to undertake it. In a variety of ways the common cause might be promoted, by the examples, influence, and conversation of christians in general; as every thing, that tends to communicate and perpetuate a spirit of genuine zeal and love within the church, must also tend to remove obstructions to its enlargement. And especially all might unite in constant prayers to " the Lord of the harvest, "to send forth labourers into his harvest," and to protect, comfort, guide, and bless all those who were engaged in preaching the Gospel to the nations: while the degree of every man's obligation, and his criminality in not fulfilling it, bore a proportion to the talents entrusted to his stewardship.
Tfle case is still the same. It behoves every one of us to enquire what we can do in this respect, consistently with other duties? What advantages we possess, for promoting so good a cause? What we might attempt, did not selfishness, love of the world, and fear of hardship and suffering, induce a reluctancy; or unbelief lead us to conclude, that no good can be done? How we may, by patronage, liberality, or labour, second such well concerted plans as others have formed, but have not the means of executing? Or how concur in forming plans, which others, who have more influence, may adopt and carry into execution? Or how we may suggest hints to those who are employed, which may conduce to their success?
The talents and circumstances of men are immensely various: and we should not merely aim to induce the concurrence of multitudes; but that each individual should be employed, according to his peculiar qualifications, or the situation in which he is placed. In times of war, it would not conduce to success, for all to become soldiers: for, statesmen, and senators, and very many descriptions of men in subordinate stations, are as necessary as even the soldiers themselves.
Thus faithful pastors in their several congregations; prudent and active men who form and conduct plans for evangelizing the heathen; men in business, who devote a portion of their honest gain to support the expeaces; they who study the languages of the nations, and use other means of preparing missionaries for their work, or facilitating their progress; and they that, having influence or reputation; patronize and protect their designs against the opposition of worldly men; are all serving the common cause: nor would it he advisable to remove them from their several stations, even to employ them as missionaries. In various ways, especially by adorning the gospel, and promoting the purity and peace of the church, and by constant prayers, vast multitudes may concur, who have neither that vigour of constitution, nor that ardour and strength of mind, nor those rare and peculiar endowments, which are requisite to constitute such a missionary, as may hope for permanent success.
But should any one be led to think that he ought to engage in this service; or should the eyes of his pastor, or pious friends, be turned on him, as a suitable person; it would be his duty, earnestly' to pray that God would enable him to divest himself of all prejudice, arising from worldly hopes and fears; to examine impartially his own motives and spirit; to consult competent judges; to deliberate on their advice, as in the ^:ght of God; to view the subject steadily and on every bide; and thus to determine how he ought to act, and then to follow his conviction, leaving all consequences in the hands of the Lord.
In short, if a man attempts what, all things considered, he deems incumbent on him; and endeavours by proper means to learn more fully "what the will "of the Lord is;" he is not in this respect chargeable with guilt: but if his conscience testifies, that sloth, self-indulgence, and a disregard to the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow creatures, compared with worldly objects, induce him to neglect what he might do, and what he ought to do, he is doubtless criminal: and it may seriously be apprehended, that all christians, during many ages, have been chargeable with great neglect in this particular: and it especially forms no inconsiderable part of our national guilt; in that, professing the christian religion, we have carried our merchandize and our vices, into all the regions of the earth; and have almost entirely failed of improving our peculiar advantages, for communicating to the Gentiles the blessings of our holy religion. A remnant, I trust, has sighed and mourned on this account, as well as over the other prevailing iniquities of our land: yet a selfish torpor, a Laodicean lukewarmness, seems to have seized upon the hearts of most of us; from which, I pray God, we may at length be finally and effectually delivered; so that " our love and zeal may "abound more and more in knowledge and in all "judgment!"
III. I proceed to suggest some hints concerning the performance of our duties in respect of the conversion of the heathen.
But indeed, if the Gentiles are living "without "Christ, without hope, and without God in the world;" it might be supposed that they, who by providence and grace have been made to differ, whom God hath "reconciled to himself by Jesus Christ," and who now rejoice in the hope of eternal glory, would be all alive to the feelings of compassion towards their poor fellow-sinners, as well as filled with grateful zeal for the honour of their beloved Lord and Saviour; and that having experienced the blessings of his gospel themselves, they would be eager to communicate them to those who are perishing in pagan darkness. Thus the primitive christians and ministers evidently felt and acted; hence all their zealous labours, and constant self-denial, and patient sufferings. They did not coldly ay, What is my boundenduty? But, What can I do? "Here I am, Lord, send me." The apostles and evangelists were ready to go any whither, and to venture and suffer any thing, provided they might have the invaluable favour granted them, of "preaching among