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His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in his train ?
Triumphant over pain;
He follows in his train.
The martyr first, whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave;
And called on Him to save :
In midst of mortal pain,
Who follows in His train ?
A glorious band, the chosen few,
On whom the Spirit came,
And braved the cross and flame :
The lion's gory mane;
Who follows in their train ?
The matron and the maid,
In robes of light arrayed ;
Through peril, toil, and pain :
To follow in their train.
THE GREATNESS OF THE WORK AND GREATNESS OF THE
The heathen are not yet given to Christ for his inheritance, nor the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession; but they are his by a divine decree. They are his in certain reversion. Nay, they are his in actual possession. They are under his dominion. They are governed by his providence and laws. He is fulfilling among them the secret purposes of his will, and making known through them to principalities and powers in heavenly places the manifold lessons of his wisdom and mercy, of sin and salvation, of the apostasy and recovery of man.
. But there is no mystery as to the result. By special revelation, that result was made known to the Apostle Paul, (Eph. iii. 2–7) and demonstrated by his almost superhuman life and labours. To talk of difficulties and discouragements and dangers, is unbelieving disobedience. God has promised, and who shall make his promise of none effect? Ps. ii. 8, &c.) To his church he has given
the assurance, “Thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited,” (Isa. liv. 3,) and who can arrest her onward course? He has declared, “I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations **** that have not
they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles,” (Isa. Ixvi. 18 19,) and who may venture to say the work is impracticable? He has promised of his Son, “He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth; and behold they shall come with speed swiftly,” (Isa. v. 26,) and who can doubt of success in a work like this? No! beloved brethren, with the open pages of God's word and promises before us, we cannot doubt. The work must go on, until every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess. God's purposes must and will be fulfilled.
Neither is there any mystery as to the agency for accomplishing this result. It is by men that men are to be converted. The redeemed are to restore the captives. The saved are to seek the lost, and those who hear and live are to become the preachers to them that have never heard, and who are perishing for lack of knowledge. This has been God's agency in all past dispensations of the church and is the only instrumentality instituted for all time to come. (Rom. X. 13-15).
Neither is there any ambiguity as to the course of duty. Events belong to the Lord, but commands belong to us. Obedience, therefore, is ours, and it is with God to bless or to withhold his blessing, to withhold or to withdraw his presence; and this obedience is to be rendered according to our ability and opportunity, whether success or disaster has attended past exertions—whether hope or despondency lower upon the future. The very essence of obedience is that it is rendered from a principle of love, submission, and confidence towards God, whose will is done. Let us suppose that missions to the heathen were a failure. Let us forget thát Christendom, including all Christian civilization, is itself the fruit of missionary effort. Let us forget that the ice-bound shores of Greenland have become a fruitful field and a garden of the Lord under missionary culture. Let us cease to remember that the islands of the Pacific have blossomed with the rose of Sharon, planted there by missionary hands. Let us forget that in India and Burmah, in New Zealand and Ceylon, and amid the jungle forests of Africa, thousands make prayer continually, and offer praises to Jesus. Let us forget that every wind wafts his story, and every sea bears his glad tidings, and that there is no speech nor language where this voice is not heard. Let us suppose that amid the thick darkness which rests upon the nations who know not God, the eye can catch no ray of light to tell of coming day; that Mohammedanism, now almost at its last gasp, was “lengthening its cords, and strengthening its stakes;" that the gates of China, instead of being thrown