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employed zealously and assiduously; for, since all these means are, less or more, rendered effectual, it is manifest that the Lord does not confine himself to any one, to the exclusion of the rest; and therefore it is incumbent on Christians to employ all, or such of them, as circumstances may render most practicable. In one’s native country, where instruction can be conveyed to thousands in one's mother tongue, preaching should be extensively employed. Amongst unlettered tribes of men, no use can be made of books, and therefore that means is by the necessity of the case excluded; but a seminary to introduce the knowledge of letters, and to raise up native preachers, would be an important means. In some places, as China for example, it is extremely difficult to become qualified to preach; and it is impossible, under present circumstances, to gather a congregation to preach to. Teaching a few individuals, or writing books in one's own hired house in China, or teaching in a college out of China, and the distribution of Bibles and Tracts amongst Chinese colonists, are the means that can be mostly used. Happily, the Sacred Scriptures are all translated into the Chinese language, and there are a few religious essays, but much more—very much, is still required to be done in qualifying preachers and writers to expound the Scriptures, to testify the Gospel, and to reason with the heathen, to enforce even the principles of natural religion, and declare to them the God that made the heavens, who is to them generally unknown. Heaven, indeed, they speak of, but concerning Him who is higher than the heavens, they are almost totally ignorant. Oh, what a wide field ! what an abundant harvest! is there in the regions beyond India, accessible through the medium of the Chinese language! how few the labourers, and how difficult the work. But, blessed be God, a beginning has been made. Providence has blessed the efforts of his servants, so that the acquisition of the language is now much facilitated. In the Anglo-Chinese College, native books, teachers, and students are provided. By the Chinese Bible, divine truth is made accessible to the educated; and there is one Chinese Protestant set apart to the ministry amongst his countrymen,
with the Bible in his own language, for his sole guide and his instructor, under the desired influences of the Holy Spirit. I thus briefly rehearse to you what God has done by his servants, for it was his co-operation which gave efficacy to the very limited means at first employed; and now that the means are thus far increased, it must ever be remembered, that all that men can do, when they have done their utmost, is but the use of means which cannot be effectual unless the hand of God work with them; the energy of his Holy Spirit must be prayed for and relied on, and then the labour will not be in vain. Men, and the efforts which they make, or the measures they employ, preaching, teaching, writing, must all be considered as instruments in the hand of God, the Father, Son, and Spirit. In the temporal deliverances and national conquests of God's ancient people, his might, and the operation of his hand were always acknowledged. In the spiritual deliverances from Satan's usurpation of the human heart, and the spiritual conquests of primitive disci ples and apostles, “The hand of the Lord” was recognized in those that believed the Gospel and turned to him, and to him they gave the glory. The churches should esteem and encourage those men who spend or hazard their lives in distant lands for the sake of the Lord Jesus, but they should be careful not to rob God of the honour that is due to his name, for this is the very principle of pagan idolatry, and of all impiety. Men sacrifice to their net and to their drag, and pay a sort of worship to the mere human instrument of good, forgetting the divine hand which wielded it.
These Notes were added when the same discourse was read in England.
Although we have not assembled to-day expressly for missionary purposes-yet, in as much as I believe it capable of demonstration, that one part of the design of Chris
tians forming societies or churches, is the diffusion of Gospel light throughout the world—you will not deem the discourse of this day irrelevant to the object of our meeting. I fear Christian churches still view the propagation of the Gospel, rather as an act of voluntary benevolence than as a duty binding in all Christians, and all churches to the full extent of their means. Christians are too selfish in supposing that their own edification is the sole object of associating together in church fellowship, and they do not, perhaps, consider sufficiently that indifference to the great object of extending the Redeemer's kingdom, is rather presumptive evidence against their being subjects of his kingdom. Alas! where is the loyalty of many to Zion's king I speak of what comparatively ought to exist. Whilst I rejoice that in this highly privileged land, there are so many of every rank in society who are faithful servants and subjects of the most High God—may they daily increase, and may hundreds and thousands be raised up to spend their fortunes, and sacrifice their lives, in his spiritual and just wars against Satan's usurped dominion over the children of men.
Leaf Square, May 2, 1824. And I by no means wish you to begin in distant regions, but to begin in your own neighbourhood, by teaching the rising generation those things that promote their usefulness in this life, and their happiness in the next.
[During the night of February 22, 1824, whilst sailing fast homeward, with a fine fair breeze, something gave way at the fore-top-mast stunsail; a man was ordered up by the second officer, then on duty, to replace it. The evening was fine, and there was some moon-light; but the man, having over-reached himself to pass a rope, fell; and, from the moment of his fall into the sea, was never more heard or seen. The ship was put about; a boat lowered down; and the officer on duty went out himself, and rowed about in every direction, hoping to find the man clinging to the life-buoy, which was instantly cut from the quarter. But every effort was unavailing. The men returned; the boat was hoisted in ; and the ship steered her course. Poor Benjamin Hill, the unfortunate sailor who fell, thus suddenly ended his mortal career, and sunk in a watery grave. Almost every voyage such casualties occur. They produce a momentary impression of seriousness on the minds of the ship's company, but generally leave no evidence of a lasting beneficial result, for no new truths are communicated to the mind. Since the Writer left China, in the short space of two years, three persons whom he knew there, have in Europe committed suicide; one in Paris, who returned home rich; one in Edinburgh said to be prosperous, but disappointed in further schemes of ambition; and the officer on duty, in this melancholy case, who shot himself when embarking for another voyage.
The Sabbath after the loss of Hill, the following exhortation was delivered to the men.]
PREPARATION TO MEET GOD.
AMos, Iv. 12.
“Prepare to meet thy God.”
HuMAN beings, whether nations or individuals, are in this world subject to the government of the Almighty. The world is his, and men are all his creatures, accountable to him for their conduct. This principle is applicable to all nations, and to all individuals:—to Jews and to Heathens; to Greeks and to Barbarians; to Mohammedans and to Hindoos ; to the rich and poor; to the learned and ignorant. His kingdom extendeth over all, and his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness. Justice is the habitation of his throne, and his judgment is according to truth. But nations and individuals too often cast off the fear of God, and obedience to him, and live and act as if they were accountable to no superior authority; during which time the Almighty, who delights in mercy, graciously employs means to bring men to repentance. For this purpose the prophet Amos was employed and sent to Judah and Israel, to remonstrate with them, and forewarn them of the calamities that would befal them, unless they repented and reformed. Heaven had already sent many calamities to chastise them, and bestowed many mercies to awaken their gratitude; but they still continued their impiety and wickedness, and therefore greater calamities were denounced, when God himself should enter into judgment with them; in the prospect of which, the words of the text were addressed to them by the Prophet, as from the Almighty himself— “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” To every man it is appointed once to die, and after death the judgment; for the Scriptures testify that God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in