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A true apprehension of the nature of the Missionary work, may best, perhaps, be obtained by following the faithful Missionary to his field of labour, and observing the method of his procedure.
Supposing all preliminary difficulties, with regard to means of communication and otherwise, to be removed, there are two modes of operation available, which have both often been tried, and always with the same result. On the one hand, you may tell the unbeliever of his degraded moral condition, and shew him how unworthy of the dignity of human nature are the habits and pursuits incident to that condition. You may hold out the inherent beauty and excellence of virtue, and the native deformity of vice, and appeal to reason to appreciate the value of that which is good and upright, in comparison with what the common sense of men pronounces to be abject and unworthy. This is a line of argument and effort which readily suggests itself to the philosophic and benevolent mind. In society among ourselves it is followed to a great extent, and, with a certain degree of success, suited to the views of those who adopt it. In the Missionary field, the same line has often been tried; and, by the united testimony of those who have made the experiment, the invariable result has been entire failure. The beauty of moral excellence, however attractively presented, has not power of itself to raise men from a degraded condition, fortified by early prejudice and inveterate habit.
The other mode of procedure is more humbling to the Missionary. It follows a line of argument and persuasion quite unintelligible to those who have not
learned it in the school of experience. But as the method of moral urgency has always failed, so it may be said of this, that where it has been faithfully and perseveringly applied, success has followed, in circumstances aud situations the most discouraging. Here, also, you tell the unbeliever of his depraved nature, and you conduct him to its source,-shewing him that man was made in the image of his Maker, holy and blessed,—that he lost that image by disobedience to the Author of his being,-that he is still involved in this moral ruin,—a ruin irretrievable, as regards all human means,— and that, by the testimony of his own conscience, he is daily adding to that inheritance of sin, by offence in thought, and word, and deed, against his Creator and Preserver. The sense of guilt being reached, and a feeling excited of the need of supernatural aid, the way is prepared for announcing salvation through grace, by the expiation of a Divine Redeemer, and faith in His perfect atonement. This, you all know, is the Gospel appointed by God to be preached to all nations, and kindreds, and tongues.
We are never to forget, that the hearts of men are in God's hands, who turns them whithersoever He listeth, and that all human effort is vain, unless it be His will to give the increase. But we must remember also, that it is God's pleasure to work by human instrumentality; and while, therefore, we look and cry to Him for aid, it is our duty to endeavour, as far as means and knowledge serve, that the instrument shall be suitable to its purpose. In secular diplomacy, how earnestly do earthly rulers study to adapt the qualities of their ambassador to the nature of his errand, and to the character and circumstances of those to whom it is sent!
Now, if we revert for a moment to the two modes of procedure which have been referred to, the difference in these points out an essential characteristic of the truly evangelical Missionary. When I condemn sin in the unbeliever, and appeal to his reason to induce him to embrace the virtues and graces which I press upon his notice, it is evident that I speak er
cathedra, and that, whether professedly Reason and experience, then, alike tesor not, yet necessarily and in effect, I tify, that the Gospel method is that alone assume a position and tone of moral su- by which success can be hoped for in the periority. But it is clear, that it is only Missionary field. But when we consider a Divine nature that can so teach with the perversity of human nature in all cireffect; for no advantage or superiority of cumstances, and its degraded condition a man over his fellows can obliterate that wherever the light of truth has not penehuman infirmity, which all inherit, and trated,-when we remember the difficulty which will here be intuitively discern- with which new views are admitted in ed, even in the adoption of a method any sphere, especially among men of of teaching, which does not acknow- uncultivated understandings,—when we ledge the teacher's own moral condition.
But when the Missionary of the Gospel approaches the perishing soul, he lays claim to its attention and sympathy, by telling of a condemnation and ruin, which have fallen upon himself as well as upon him whom he addresses. He speaks not as the moral censor only, but as a fellow-sufferer in the same calamity, who has discovered the gulf yawning beneath their feet, and has come upon the errand of love to arouse a brother to the common danger, and tell him of a way of escape. With the power of sympathy we are made familiar by profane literature,
"Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco;"
and we have the highest example of it in Him, who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, and who, in that He himself hath suffered, being tempted, is able to succour them that are tempted. It is manifest that the Missionary who delivers his message in this form must impart to it greater influence and authority, because he takes the precise position which the very terms of his announcement impose upon him. If he speaks of primeval innocence, he deplores its blessedness as lost to himself, no less than to his hearer. The moral depravity which he portrays is avowedly depicted from the confessions of his own conscience. The difficult ascent from that depth of debasement, he points out as a steep which they must both labour to surmount. And the Divine grace, by which alone strength for that arduous effort can be supplied, he describes as the subject of everlasting adoration and gratitude to himself, as well as to all who hear of it from his lips.
consider also the time and labour requisite to establish the Gospel evidences in civilized minds, not to speak of those who must now for the first time be trained in the very elements of thought and reflection,-it is evident, that, long before the missionary can dream of reaping any fruit of his labours, it is indispensable that he obtain such a footing as will ensure him of a hearing,—such a degree of acceptance as will induce the objects of his Missionto listen to him at least,-if it do not fa vourably dispose them towards him from the first. Now, this preparatory disposition on the part of the unbeliever cannot evidently be reckoned upon as the fruit of a persuasion of the truth of the Gospel message; for it must be formed long before any such persuasion exists. How, then, is this favourable state of mind to be produced?
I shall not enter here upon any inquiry into the nature of the soul, or of the laws by which its impressions and emotions are determined. If time permitted, we might find grounds to conclude, that, although as a Divine instrument marred and disorganized, the elements of its first condition are still present, and while the process of renovation must be long and gradual, yet the accents of truth, deriving their sound and import from that holy Spirit, which first imparted the breath of life, cannot be heard without stirring the immortal part to a dim and mysterious, but attractive sense, that this is a language consonant to its being, that it feels a capacity for the high destiny of which these accents tell. Passing by, but not disregarding that lofty inquiry, our attention is claimed at present by the peculiar qualities and characteristics of the Missionary, which may conduce in disposing
those whom he addresses to listen to his diffuses a shade of humility and tendererrand. We observe, then, that
THERE MUST BE IN THE MISSIONARY'S
OF HIS ERRAND.
The sincerity of every professor is more or less tested, it may be unconsciously, by the observation of those around him, and no situation is more severely subjected to this ordeal, than that of the Missionary. The entire novelty of everything connected with him in the eyes of those among whom he moves, invites to his conduct a closeness and intensity of observation, combining the intuitive accuracy which we ascribe to the simplicity of the child, with the mature force and sagacity of manhood. All the first presumptions no doubt are in his favour. It is a strong earnest of disinterestedness, that one should exchange for a foreign land and strange people, the advantages, attractions, and endearments of home. But it is with the Missionary as with others,
"Cœlum, non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt."
He can separate himself from clime and kindred, but he cannot separate himself from his own heart; and it will nearly concern the efficacy of his labours, whether his words, and actions, and manner of life bear testimony to a spirit within, which has sacrificed its own desires, and which acknowledges and obeys in everything the power of the Gospel which he declares. Let us look at him in relation to the different parts of his message.
He tells first of original and contracted guilt. Does he demean himself as one conscious of that fallen state? Adorned, it may be, with varied accomplishments, versed in all human and divine learning, formed by nature and education for high intellectual effort and enjoyment, and entitled, according to conventional rules, to assume a position of prominence and weight in society, is it, notwithstanding, manifest, that he reckons not whether these things lift him above his fellows, that the prevailing remembrance, which
ness over all his words and actions, is, how far he is removed from God and from all goodness? He tells of one who left the bosom of the Father, and the praises of angels, enjoyed from all eternity, and for our sakes made Himself of no reputaflection of that self-denying spirit? Ention. Does his conduct exhibit the rejoining his hearers to bear about with them the dying of the Lord Jesus, does he himself exhibit marks of the contrition and profound humiliation of a heart, to which that dying cannot be presented, without bringing also the remembrance of the cause, in its own depravity ?
of mercy and of redemption through a The second part of his message treats crucified Saviour. There is nothing more offensive to the unrenewed man than to be addressed as the object of mercy. The soul which has never been awakened to of which it knows not the need; and a sense of its own guilt, rejects overtures, even those, whom education has made familiar with the Gospel scheme and language, often exhibit in their conduct no practical recognition of the awful truths which these imply, with regard to their own condition and prospects. Do, then, the Missionary's conversation and deportment make it evident that he has overcome the offence of the Cross? Is it manifest that when he accepts of mercy, he has sounded the depths of sin in his own heart, which have rendered that acceptance his only refuge? Do his language, and tone, and everything in his conduct that serves as a silent exponent of sincerity, all declare, that, in very truth, he acknowledges himself the heir of condemnation, and that, in humbleness of spirit, he is content to become altogether a debtor to grace? How shall the unbeliever receive his message, if, by moral indifference, intellectual pride, or carnal security, he either virtually contradicts his doctrine, or at least pays no real homage to it; or gives no test of its sincerity in his own conduct? And when he preaches faith in the awful mysteries of religion, how can he expect that the slightest impression will follow, if the precept be uttered by the lips only, while
it is practically repudiated by a life bestowed entirely upon earthly and visible things, and enjoyments.
These two fundamental points of Christian doctrine,-human depravity, and the Cross,-furnish the test by which the ingenuous heart is to determine whether it has truly received the better life. It is not more certain that all must submit to death, than it is certain, that there is no sincere child of God, who has not bent his neck to this yoke of humiliation. The monarch upon his throne-the philosopher with his intellectual elevation-the minister of the Gospel, with the influence of his attainments, his character, and his office-the respected member of society, with his credit and esteem-the professing Christian with his charities and spotless repute;-each of these, as well as the poor and humble professor, must pass through this valley of self-abasement, and see the nothingness of the highest and best distinctions the world can give, and feel himself as much lost and self-condemned, as did the publican when he smote upon his breast, and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
But the third great subject of the Missionary's message is personal holiness, not as a condition of salvation, but as the inevitable fruit of faith in Christ; and nothing can be more evident than that the first proof which the unbeliever will seek of the sincerity of this injunction, will be the consistent life of him who delivers it. While he exhorts to mortify pride, passion, lust, and envy, is it manifest that he is himself risen with Christ, and seeking those things which are above, and having his conversation in heaven? If so, it will appear by infallible symptoms. The brightness of Moses' face when he came down from the mount, is the same thing in a high degree, which, to some extent, will appear in the aspect and bearing of every man, whose spirit habitually maintains converse with God. Our own Christian poet says,
"When one that holds communion withthe skies Has fill'd his urn, where these pure waters rise, And once more mingles with us meaner things, 'Tis even as if an angel shook his wings,— Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide, That tells us whence his treasures are supplied."
The illustration of Cowper you see verified in the appearance of the angel to Zacharias. In Calvin's Commentary upon the 12th verse of the 1st chapter of Luke, you will find the circumstance of Zacharias being troubled at the angel's visit, ascribed to the power of the Divine presence in humbling the pride of the flesh, which exalts and indulges itself, only when we withdraw ourselves from God's sight. And he asks, if Zacharias, a man commended as just and blameless, felt thus at the sight of an angel, who is but a spark of the Divine light, what should become of us miserable offenders, if the majesty of God should usher us into the full effulgence of His own brightness? The light and holiness derived from dwelling in the Divine presence, shine forth in all that the man of God says and does; and the power of the manifestation of the heavenly life is felt wherever he abides. Robert Moffat was faithful in teaching and preaching; but it was the living example in his person of a renewed man, self-sacrificing, humble, patient, tender, and loving, yet holy and just, acting in every thing, so far as human infirmity might permit, in accordance with the pure doctrine which he taught-this was the instrument, which, by God's blessing, was made effectual, after ten years' endurance amid apparent barrenness, to break the stony hearts, and bring down the refreshing dews of repentance and love upon the parched souls of the children of the desert.
The points upon which we have touched are such as suggest themselves in immediate connexion with the leading doctrines referred to. There is not space here for a comprehensive and detailed view of the Missionary's life, as an illustration of his message; and, in addition to what is already noticed, we can only refer to that charity, greater than faith or hope, which is his crowning and characteristic grace. Devoted, soul and body, to the work of saving souls, his fervent charity is only excelled by that of the fountain from which it is derived, in the heart of Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us. It is by the power of the love drawn from that inexhaustible source,
that the Missionary suffers long and is kind, envies not, vaunts not himself, is not puffed up-seeks not his own; is not easily provoked-rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The work of Missions, then, is to bring perishing sinners to a sense of guilt,-to the humble acceptance of God's mercy in Christ, and to the blessedness of a holy life. And with regard to the missionary's qualifications, whatever may be his knowledge and learning, (and in these his acquirements cannot be too extensive or elevated,) this is indispensable, viz. :That he be drawn to his vocation,-not by earthly motives, not by temporary excitement, or spiritual vanity,-but by the love of God, and of the souls which He has made capable of endless happiness or woe; and that his own life shall be an unequivocal test of the sincerity of his faith and profession, and a convincing demonstration of the purifying influence of the doctrines which he bears.
The last thing which we proposed to consider was, what the supporters of Missions do, or profess to do. But upon this it is unnecessary to detain you. If the Missionary's success depends, under God, upon his feeling that he is, himself, subject to the same wrath, an object of the same Divine redemption, and amenable to the same obligations of holy living, which he announces,-are not they who send him, partakers also of these responsibilities, and hopes, and duties? It can not be otherwise. Each one of us who promotes the Missionary cause, by his prayers, or his countenance, or his contributions, professes, by that act, to believe himself an object of God's mercy, calling him from an abyss of misery, how unfathomable, to an inheritance of joy glorious and unending. By our aid, each of us makes the Missionary his messenger. He says to him, " Go; my soul yearns for those perishing thousands. Tell them from me that they are sunk in guilt as I
Tell them that Christ is the way of escape, and that I have found Him to be
Tell them that it becomes every one that nameth that blessed name to depart
from all iniquity, and that I am striving to do so." If we are, indeed, sincere, all this is implied in our exertions and countenance, however limited or casual. If we do not mean what I have said, then is our profession vain and empty indeed. But if, even with doubt and weakness, we are truly in earnest,-and may God of His mercy grant it be so with many, if not all, who hear me, then shall we receive what is promised to them who give, and it is given to them again. God will cause His face to shine upon us, when we strive that His way may be known upon earth, His saving health among all nations. Then shall the earth yield her increase, and God, even our own God shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him!
THE TRUE CHRISTIAN GOD'S WITNESS IN
You who have the Bible and do not
If your life corresponded to your profession; if your hearts were penetrated by the truths of the Christian Religion; if your conduct were conformable to it in all points, your example would be its most effectual recommendation.
The Eternalsays to you: "Be ye my witnesses." The witness which God requires of you in order to convince the world, is your love, is your holiness, is ing Him this witness, you betray His your likeness to your Saviour. In refuscause; and your impenitence, your transgressions of His law, your love of the world, the contradiction, in short, be tween your belief and your works, retard the advance of God's reign and the acknowledgment of revealed truth in the world. Be ye awakened; be ye converted yourselves, and, all around you, men shall be awakened and converted.
Disciples of Jesus Christ, the more tian theory shall be striking, the more the practical confirmation of the Chrisyour love shall be burning and constant; your zeal indomitable and wise; your piety contemplative and active; your prayers humble and confident; the more, in short, that you resemble your Master, the more valuable and successful will your witness be. Rousseau has said: "Take away the miracles of the Gospel,