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THE FAITH WHICH IS THE PRINCIPLE OF MISSIONS,
LEADS TO THAT OBEDIENCE WHICH IS THE LIFE OF MISSIONS. THE feeling of love and good-will to men, and the conscious obligation to communicate to them whatever benefits we enjoy—so far. as our opportunity and ability permit—are collateral and coextensive. Where one exists, the other cannot be absent; and to whatever extent the one prevails, the other will be found operative. To love our neighbour as we love ourselves—the second of God's two comprehensive commandments-is to do unto others as we would think it right and humane in others, if in our circumstances, to do unto us.
The faithful and even proportionate application of this principle to the gospel, and to
its manifold blessings, is however only possible to those who cherish a deep and lifeinspiring faith in that gospel, as “the power of God, and the wisdom of God, unto the salvation of every one that believeth.” Faith, therefore, is the Principle of Missions ;* faith in the sinful, guilty, and dangerous condition of the heathen; faith in the gospel as that remedy, by the foolishness of preaching which, it hath pleased God to save them that believe; and faith in those awe-inspiring declarations of God's word, that the whole world are guilty before him;—that without & written law, the heathen are a law unto themselves, their own consciences accusing or condemning them;—that there is no other name under heaven by which they can be saved but the name of Jesus;"-"go ye therefore into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned."
Faith in these truths is the principle of missions, as a Christian duty, although there
* See “Faith, the Principle of Missions,” published by the Board.
are many other motives which conspire in urging upon every humane and philanthropic mind an enterprise designed to convey to semi-civilized and barbarous nations that gospel which is not only in itself considered the greatest of all earthly blessings, but is also the source and the security of all perfect civilization, refinement and progress.
When royal Truth, released from mortal throes,
Ill had the holiest sued
A patron multitude, Or courted Tetrarch's eye, or claimed to rule By the world's winning grace, or proofs from learned
But, robing him in viewless air, he told
They in their turn imparted
The gift to men pure-hearted, While the brute many heard his mysteries high, As some strange, fearful tongue, and crouched, they
knew not why.
Still is the might of Truth, as it has been,
Reared on lone heights, and rare,
His saints their watch-flame bear, And the mad world sees the wide-circling blaze, Vain-searching whence it streams, and how to quench
And as it is faith in these evangelical, or gospel truths, which alone constitutes the principle of Christian missions, so also is it found to be true, that no other motive or principle will impel to that obedience which is the life of Christian missions. It is just as certain that he who does not believe the gospel, will not incur the self-denial and selfsacrifice necessary to preach that gospel to every creature, as that he will not be himself saved by it. Faith is, by its very nature, an operative principle. It brings into action not only every element of thought, but also every impulse to action. It fills the sails of the ship which the divine builder has manned, equipped, and made ready for sea. It supplies steam to the machinery of our moral nature. It projects the mind forward in the orbit of duty. It works by love, both to God and to man.
Like clouds they are borne
To do thy great will,
Around the world go:
They thunder, they lighten,
The waters o'erflow.
They thunder—their sound,
It is Christ the Lord !
His citadels fall,
Went forth at thy word,
The Canaanites' wall.
0, loud be thy trump,
And stirring the sound,
From sin's deadly sleep;
In darkness around,
Their vigils to keep.
But to be thus energetic, faith must be pure. Faith must be evangelistic, in order to be evangelical. In order to secure patience, perseverance, and heartfelt obedience, there must be faith in the remedy, as well as in the disease; faith in the physician, as well as in the remedy; faith in the height of the mercy, as well as in the depth of the misery. These constitute the only power