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A call to Prayer for the sending forth
THE LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
THE CHURCH OF ST.SAVIOUR'S, SOUTHWARK,
LUKE X. 2.
Therefore, said he unto them, the harvest truly is. great, but the labourers are few: pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he would send. forth labourers into his harvest.
THE propagation of our most holy religion, among those who still remain strangers to its inestimable benefits, should be considered as the common cause of christians, throughout the world: and all attempts, to disseminate scriptural truth by scriptural means, should be countenanced and forwarded by every man according to his ability, and as far as it consists with his other duties and engagements. “ For his name's "sake, they went forth taking nothing of the Gentiles.com “We therefore ought to receive such,” (or help them on their way,) “ that we might be fellow.helpers to “the truth."*
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Indeed, to withhold any assistance, which we can, with a clear conscience, afford to those, who are en. deavouring to rescue from destruction some of the many millions of perishing sinners among the Gentiles, merely out of regard to unessential differences in forms or opinions; seems not less absurd, and in some respects more unfeeling, than to suffer the destructive progress of a conflagration, and to disregard the cries of such as are perishing in the flames; while we scrupulously enquire into the tenets of those, who attempt to raise the ladders and work the engines. With the greatest alacrity, therefore, my beloved brethren, and in full confidence that I do not at all act inconsistently with my more inimediate relation to another society, formed for the same pious and benevolent purposes, I have acceded to the request of the directors, and am ready to bear my feeble testimony in behalf of the London Missionary Society; to which this peculiar distinction belongs, that it has excited an immensely more general attention to the state of the heathen and the obligations of christians respecting them, than be. fore prevailed; and thus has occasioned the establishment of many other societies of the same nature, in Britain, on the continent, and in North America; the fruit of which will, no doubt, in due time, be made manifest, to a degree not easily to be calculated.
It has indeed been asked, Why preach for both the societies? To which I answer, for the same reason, that I would preach for both the Westminster Infirinary and St. George's Hospital, (contiguous charities, both for the same purposes;) because both are needful and useful, and are entitled to support. · Bus * this leaves us at a loss to which we should subscribe:' Then, if you can afford it, subscribe to both: if not, use your own discretion, and follow the dictates of your own judgment. I do not come to urge subscrip. tions, but to recommend the general cause of missions, and of this society in particular, as standing forward in that cause; and to intreat at least the assistance of your fervent prayers.
When we hear of several societies for missions, es. tablished, and holding their annual meetings, in this metropolis, we are apt to enquire, What need of so many for the same purpose? But when the immensity of the field which lies open to their exertions, is care. fully considered, there will by no means appear too many. The societies may seem, (and probably no more than seem) to crowd and interfere with each other in London: but there is no fear, that their missionaries, when sent abroad, will be in one another's way, or impede each other's usefulness. Thus the ships, by which our extensive commerce is carried on, are greatly crowded together in the river; but not so on the vast seas and oceans which they severally navigate. Nay, (the case of war excepted,) the sight of a sail is generally refreshing to the seamen: when vessels, even of different nations, meet at a great distance from home, they relieve each other's wants; and often the approach of a vessel, though belonging to a rival company or merchant, gives the most heari. felt joy that can almost be conceived. Perhaps the comparison may hold still further: and as a greater number of ships of moderate size are generally preferred to a few that are inconveniently large; so, dif. ferent societies, if mutually aiding each other, will be