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are unconverted and unsaved, what is the use of going into other nations. Home is dear to us. English souls are as valuable as Hindoo souls. If I can save five souls a year here, I shall be more useful here than some of the Missionaries, who have laboured twenty years, without perhaps saving one soul, or but one or two.”
To this mode of speaking I am really at a loss what to say. It seems pious, but I fear it is impious sophistry, virtually impugning the wisdom and goodness of the Saviour's command, to make known his salvation to all nations. I conceive the Saviour's declared intentions and wishes must be the rule to individual disciples and churches. And whilst there are many nations to whom Christ's salvation has not been proclaimed; the reasoning which has been exhibited is impertinent and irrelevant. Oh man, who art thou that arguest against thy Saviour? He says, “Go and disciple all nations”—but thou sayest, “No: we will stay till all the souls in this nation are converted.” Here I might ask, on what system of theology is the opinion grounded, that such will ever be the case with respect to any one nation? Would that this were the case ! but many men will not come to Christ, that they may be saved. Broad is the road that leads to destruction, and multitudes persist in travelling onward in it. Ye ministers of religion, let the Saviour's command weigh more with you than such reasonings as have been now set before you.
The Chinese occasionally call Christianity the “European religion,” and our Saviour is, in the Imperial Dictionary, called “The Saviour of the West ;” and there are those in Europe who seem to think, or at least to act, the same as the Pagans. It is the Itoman world, the European world; the civilized world, (so called by Europeans,) which occupies the attention and the cares of Christendom. Our learning must be European learning, our languages must be the ancient Pagan languages of Europe; and the distant reports of Greek and Latin writers are more regarded than the records, (more probably true,) of Asiatic historians.
I shall, no doubt, be told that some efforts to evangelize the nations, have been made in various quarters of the world, which, in a very qualified sense, I admit; but oh, how disproportionate to the requirements of that precept to which I have this evening called your attentions Not only have Protestant efforts been vastly deficient; but even a mental recognition of the duty has been rare. Some years ago I looked over half a dozen Commentators on the motto of this evening's address; and found that they either passed over the great commandment to evangelize the nations, without notice, or slurred it over with a sentence or two, whilst pages were spent in arguing the time and manner of water baptism. The difficulties which exist to impede the prosecution of this work, are many and great. The love of sin in the human heart; the worldly-mindedness of earthly principalities and powers, the pride of science, and the gates of hell, are all in league against the servants of Jesus in this enterprize. In this Christianized land, notwithstanding a partial triumph of religion, since the days of avowed French Atheism and infidelity, many are the enemies of the cross, in all ranks of the community; from the most powerless and ignorant peasant, up to the most learned and dignified courtier at the foot of the throne, are they to be found; among the merchants, and the lawyers, and the statesmen, notwithstanding all the “cant” of philosophy, philanthropy, and liberalism, there are in all places not a few covert enemies of the cross of Christ. And in some other nations, the obstacles to the discipling of men are a thousand-fold increased. Ignorance and prejudice, and malignity and enmity against God, exhibited sometimes by the populace, and sometimes by priests, or by politicians, all stand in hostile array against the banners of the cross, and turn a deaf ear, and dart a look of scorn at the envoys of Heaven's mercy to a guilty world. But, notwithstanding all these difficulties, greater is he that is for us, than all they that can be against us.
Jesus has “all power in heaven and on earth,” therefore, says the heavenly mandate, “Go and disciple the nations.” If this * suffice not, Oh ye ministers and Christians, to sanction, and to stimulate, and to encourage your going, I have done; my arguments are exhausted. If required obedience to the Almighty Saviour will not operate on ministers and churches, I know not “by what methods,” nor “by what topics to excite them to Missionary exertions.” I might indeed urge, that the love of our neighbour requires Missionary efforts. O my fellow Christian, how dost thou value the salvation of thy soul; and how dost thou esteem the benevolence of that man, or those men, who first introduced Christianity to Britain? for after the lapse of many hundreds of years, gratitude from the millions of British Christians, even of this day, is still due to them. Wert thou on an island of the Southern Sea, or on the continent of Asia, without the knowledge of Christ; and couldest by any possibility know its value as thou now dost; what wouldest thou think of that man who could say, an English soul was as valuable as thy soul; and because there were Englishmen unconverted, he would not go and proclaim the King's mercy to thee! I might urge on you this night the love of God, which requires the ministers of the sanctuary to be zealous and valiant for the truth. Among many of the nations, error and wickedness, and the worship of demons, which rob God of his glory, universally prevail. Ought not zeal for the divine glory, to rouse ministers and Christians to Missionary efforts' But I rest not this duty on our notions of propriety, or expediency, or usefulness; I rest it solely on this, it is the
* “Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain Prophets and Teachers, as Barnabas,” &c.—from these the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul,”—for a Mission throughout Europe. Such is the example furnished by Holy Scripture. Is there any preceden t in Holy Writ for sending (except as Helpers) on a foreign Christian Mission inexperienced young men, who have never exercised the ministry.
will of God. And say not, Oh ye rebellious priests and people of Israel, “Thy will be done,” and then fancy ye have done your duty. It is his will that Christian Churches use the means. “Go and disciple all nations; go and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” But, says the objector and caviller, would you have us all go and leave our own country and our own homes, and we pastors go and leave our flocks? No, my brethren, I require no such thing, Heaven requires it not. England's king has many affairs in foreign lands, commercial, and political, and martial; and it would be England's disgrace, if she could find no able and enlightened men and veteran servants to engage in these important missions. And Zion's King has important affairs in all lands; embassies of pardoning mercy to the guilty, of peace to the bitterest enemies; of salvation to perishing sinners, of conflict with the powers of darkness, where Satan and idols are enthroned; and it is the disgrace of our Zion that she sends not some of the ablest, and wisest, and holiest of her servants. What our Saviour taught, and did, and suffered on earth, was for the benefit of all nations. And it is his revealed will that the glad tidings of salvation should be proclaimed to all nations. Therefore every disciple, whether private Christian or Minister of the word, at home or abroad, should regard the Lord's will as the rule of his thinking and acting on this subject. He should have solemn soul-communings with the Divine Being on this part of duty; and answer conscientiously to Him, taking that deep interest in the affairs of the kingdom, and making those personal and domestic sacrifices for its welfare, which true unfeigned loyalty to Zion's King demands. It is incumbent on those who exhort the congregations of God’s people, to urge the general duty, leaving the particular application to each individual's conscience in the sight of God. No one has a right to interfere with or judge another man's conscience. As for example, beneficence is a duty binding on every Christian; but no one can prescribe to another how much time, or how much
themselves. The real disciples of Jesus, in becoming such, think for themselves, and in their subsequent career must act for themselves, without ever expecting that their principles and conduct will always meet with the approbation of the non-discipled. Having once seen it right to become the followers of Jesus, we must be guided by his example and his precepts. There is an evil spirit who rules in the hearts of the disobedient, and he is the god of this world. To oppose him and subvert his control, Jesus was manifested, and he has erected a standard, surmounted by the cross, on which he died for the redemption of the world, and around it every true Christian is commanded to rally. Not a physical, but a moral and spiritual conflict, is that to which every Christian is called. However, I dwell not on the figure; the weapons of our warfare are not carnal; we are prepared not to shed the blood of others, but to sacrifice our own as witnesses for the truth. I mention these things briefly to intimate, that a life of ease and unassailed tranquillity ought not to be expected by any genuine disciple. Satan, and the world, and evil propensities, will not leave him in peace; he must defend himself, and that sometimes in bitter conflict; and it is his duty to go forth aggressively against the empire of Satan, of ignorance, of superstition, and of vice. It is his, however, not to destroy, but to carry aloft into the rebel camp, a proclamation of mercy from the supreme Ruler of the universe. “I (says the divine Saviour) have all power in heaven and on earth; go ye therefore and proclaim the glad tidings of mercy to every human creature.” This did the first Disciples and the Apostles of our Lord, to the extent of their means; and this, more or less, have all their true successors done up to the present day; and this is still the doing of what, in common parlance, is called, “The Missionary enterprize.” Emmanuel appeared not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. The tyrant oppressor, and artful deceiver of