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tcntion to the subject, and in forming societies, and raising contributions; and at first, while this is doing 'with success, some may be ready to think, the grand difficulty is now removed: yet after all, the whole may be like a well-constructed mill, on a stream which has entirely failed; and all the admirable machinery is quite useless, because no water can possibly be procured.
No doubt, the faithful preaching of the gospel, and animated instructions and exhortations on the subject of missions, are proper means of calling forth missionaries. But, as God alone can give the increase, even in the conversion of sinners; our dependence on his omnipotent grace is still more sensibly felt, when christians^ fitted for peculiarly difficult services, are wanted. Even a stated pastor, if able and faithful, is a man of a peculiar turn of mind, in many respects different from other christians; and such a turn of mind as God bestows on some, and not on all, his people; according to the important question in the ordination service of our church, ' Do you trust that you 'are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon * you this office and ministration, to serve God for the 'promoting of his glory, and the edifying of his people?' For no one can honestly answer this question in the affirmative, who does not from his heart prefer the work of the ministry, and the glory of God in the salvation of souls, independently of outward emoluments or distinctions, to all other employments, however lucrative, creditable, or easy.
But a missionary, such a missionary as the cause requires, is in the turn of his mind more disinguished from other ministers, than they are from other christians. He is the hero in the spiritual warfare; he takes pleasure in labours, and .hardships, and dangers, for the cause of Christ. His bowels yearn, his heart melts, over perishing sinners in distant regions, of whom he knows nothing but by report. He is prepared to leave his country, his friends, his prospects, and the comforts of civilized society, to brave seas and deserts, inhospitable and unhealthy climates: he " puts his life "in his hand," and traverses the vast forests amid the hoivlings of savage beasts, and ventures among human beings more fierce than even lions or tigers. He longs to be permitted to live among these wretched barbarians, in their rude and hardy way, that he may, by the best and most effectual method, endeavour to soften their manners, and meliorate their character; namely, by preaching the doctrine and copying the example of Christ. And every instance of success in the arduous attempt of their conversion, he values more, than the soldier does his spoil or laurels, or the merchant his abundant gain. Having put his hand to the plough, he will not look back, except his impaired health and strength oblige him. When unsuccessful in one place, and driven from it by persecution, and hardly escaping with life, he preaches the gospel in another, with unabated courage and ardour.—If disabled for a time, he longs to return to his work, and grieves more, because compelled for a while to decline it, than for all his pain and weakness; and when recovered he makes haste to the scene of his disinter. ested lalxnirs. Vol. III. T f
Witness your missionary lately in England, who tasted no bread for six months, besides enduring many other hardships and escaping many imminent dangers; yet was he all in earnest, to leave the comforts of his native country, that he might return to the scene of his labours in the wilds of Africa; and who, after severe experience of the missionary's life, repeatedly refused a very comfortable settlement, out of love to the poor natives among whom he laboured!*
Yet all thisheroical resolution must be accompanied tvith a mild, forbearing, and gentle spirit; with the greatest tenderness and affection; with command over every passion; superiority to all those inclinations which enslave mankind in general, and an assiduous perseverance, amidst discouragements, often during many years of ill success.
Not to recur to the primitive times, when evangelists, who far exceeded this feeble description, spread the gospel through the nations: Swartz, Elliot, Brainerd, and many among the Moravians and others, stand as demonstrations, that the Lord of the harvest is still able to send forth such labourers.
Yet all this is so contrary to human nature, and to the education and habits of men in civilized regions, and especially in such an affluent and luxurious country as Britain; that at first view one is almost apt to despond, and to conclude it impracticable to obtain missionaries of this stamp and character.
* Mr. Kircherer.
Sanguine adventurers, indeed, may at any time be found, ready to volunteer their services almost in any cause: but where shall men of this eminence and excellence be found? "With man it is impossible, but "with God all things are possible."
Call to mind, my brethren, the case before stated, at the opening of our subject.
Where, at the time when the Saviour expired on the cross, were the preachers, who soon after carried his gospel through the extent of the then known world: Where were they, who so laboured and prospered, that had others trodden in their steps, it might seem as if our exertions would scarcely have been wanted? All these, almost, were at that time proud and selfish Jews, or blind idolaters, and the rest were prejudiced, disheartened, and cowardly disciples. "Is then the "Lord's arm shortened, that he cannot save?" out of these stones he can raise up, not only children unto Abraham, but, genuine successors to the primitive missionaries. Nor is there a scoffer, a profligate, an opposer, a coward, or a man buried in the pursuit of worldly riches, in this congregation, that he could not endure with all the zeal, and love, and courage, and wisdom of an apostle.
He needs only speak with power, and say, as he did to Matthew the publican, at the seat of custom; "Arise, and follow me," and he would "leave all "and follow him." Oh, " pray ye therefore the Lord "of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers "into his harvest."
Observe again, my brethren, that this is an 'aid, though of primary importance, in which the poor, and the unlearned and obscure, may concur as effectually as the wealthy, the learned, and the eminent. All cannot give, though inclined to do it; but every one can pray, whose heart is so disposed: and every one may beg of God to give him the .spirit of grace and supplication, of fervent zeal and expansive philanthropy. And he, who prays constantly and earnestly, for the success of missionary designs, and that the Lord would furnish the missionaries, and prosper their labours, will be found a more valuable friend to the cause, than he who gives his money or his time; nay, than he who preaches sermons, and writes books to promote it, if he do not also unite with them his fervent prayers.
It may be thought, as the cause is that of God, he will accomplish his own purpose for his own name's sake, whether we pray or no. But let any impartial person simply regard the sacred oracles, and the outlines of ecclesiastical history, and ask himself, whether a fervent spirit of prayer, by the remnant of believers, have not always preceded great revivals in religion, and gracious interpositions of God for his church? »
Reasonings against scriptural instruction and undeniable fact, must be false and vain, however specious. Nothing can be more enlarged and unencumbered, than the promises of God to Israel by Ezekicl; but after all, it is subjoined, "I will yet for this be cn"quired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."*
• Ez, xxxvi. 24, 37.