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the gospel to every creature." "It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day, that repentance and remis sion of sins should be preached in his name among all nations." "Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and inall Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."—It would seem, certainly, that Christ said as much on this subject as he needed to say, in order to place the work of spreading his gospel, among the positive institutions which he bequeathed to the world. I only add,

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5. That the manner in which the immediate disciples of Christ understood and obeyed his commands, proves, that they considered the work of spreading his gospel as worthy to be ranked among his noblest Institutions. No sooner had their Divine Master ascended, and "endued them with power from on high," than "they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them."-In consequence of the persecution, when Stephen was put to death, the disciples at Jerusalem" were scattered abroad," and they went every where, preaching the word."It was while Peter was passing throughout all quarters, that he came down to the saints which dwelt at Lydda;" upon which many there who "saw him turned unto the Lord."-It was a declaration of Paul, and made long before his death, "that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, he had fully preached the gospel of Christ." Indeed, so laborious were the primitive disciples, in the work of spreading the gospel, that Paul repeatedly intimates in his Epistles, that the world was comparatively filled with their doctrine. "Their sound went forth into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." The early Ecclesiastical historians have given a

more full account than that left us in the scriptures, of the labors and travels of the primitive preachers of the gospel; and it is evident from all, that they considered themselves under indispensable obligations to scatter the seed of Divine truth, and to do all in their power to fill the world with the doctrines of their Lord and Master.-We may then most safely and certainly conclude, that the work of spreading and propagating the gospel is founded on the authority of heaven, and is worthy to be regarded as an institution of the most High.

REFLECTIONS.

1. If the work of Missions is a Divine Institution, then it is as binding as any other Divine Institution. There are persons, and it may be pious persons, who do not appear sufficiently sensible of this. They have a regard for Divine Institutions, and a disposition to maintain and observe them. They remember the sabbath day, and endeavour to keep it holy. They reverence the sanctuary of the Most High, and are exemplary in their attendance on the appointed means of grace. They observe the special ordinances of the gospel, baptism and the Lord's supper, and profess to love and value them. But they are inclined to do little or nothing, for the spread of the gospel in heathen lands. In regard to this, they feel under no solemn and binding obligations. But it may be properly inquired of such persons, what reason they can have for regarding any Divine Institution, which is not a reason for regarding this? Will they say, that the other institutions of the gospel are founded on the command of Christ? And so is this. Or will they say, that the Apostles and primitive disciples regarded the others

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as Divine Institutions? And so they did this. Or will they say, that it is honorable to God, and beneficial to themselves, to observe the other Institutions of Christ,? And will it not be honorable to God, and beneficial to themselves, to observe this also? It will doubtless be honorable to God and religion, to manifest so deep a regard for religion, as to endeavour to extend its blessings to our destitute fellow men. And to do the same, instead of personally injuring us, may be expected to issue in our highest good. A most important trait, doubtless, in the character of a christian is uniformity of obedience. Most professors of religion appear well in some points; while it is too frequently the case that they are deficient in others. Their characters are shaded with dark spots, which deface the glory of their profession, and render their prospects doubtful and ominous. If we would be prosperous and happy in our spiritual concerns, we must copy the whole example of our Lord, and endeavour to obey him in all things. We must have respect to all his Institutions, and be uniform in our obedience and love. And the more any christian examines the subject, the more I am persuaded he will be convinced, that all the reasons which bind him to observe any of the Institutions of Christ, bind him to observe that which has been considered in this discourse.

2. If the work of Missions is a Divine Institution, then those Churches cannot expect to prosper who wickedly neglect it.-It has been thought and said, that the work of Missions is so great and expensive, that a vigorous prosecution of it must endanger the prosperity, if not the existence, of the churches at home. But so far from this is the fact, that without a vigorous prosecution of it, I think the Churches

at home cannot expect to prosper long. The work of Missions is an Institution of Christ; and can that Church of Christ expect a blessing from him, which long and wickedly neglects one of his positive Institutions? Should we expect a Church could continue to prosper, which should pay no regard to the sabbath or should neglect public worship-or should presume to dispense with, if not to abolish, the Christian Sacraments? And why not? Because of its neglect and abuse of the Institutions of the gospel. And is not that Church, which neglects and discountenances exertions for the spread of the Gospel, chargeable with neglecting and abusing an Institution of the gospel? Christ says to his Churches, and to the whole body of those who bear his name, "Go ye and teach all nations. Do all you consistently can do, for the universal spread and triumph of my religion and Kingdom." But here is a Church called by his name, which virtually says, "I will do nothing in this business." And still does this Church expect a blessing from Christ-Christ walks, my brethren, in the midst of his Churcheshe walks, with a vigilant eye and a powerful handhe walks among them to inspect and govern them— his favor to them is life; and his loving kindness is better than life; but his frown is destruction which nothing can avert-if he sees them faithful in his service and devoted to his institutions and commands, he will bless them and build them up; but if he sees the contrary, he will chastise if not destroy them ;-It is from plain principles such as these we gather the conclusion, that those churches, which neglect and discountenance exertions for the spread of the gospel, cannot expect to prosper long. They stand opposed to a plain Institution of Christ, and Christ must stand opposed to them.

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And in this view we may see, I think, why it is, that the Churches of Christendom have experienced so many frowns, and such long and distressing darkness, in ages that are past. They have neglected and abused the institutions of the Saviour; and especially that which has been considered in this disWhile the primitive Churches were faithful in this important work, and labored to spread the knowledge of the truth, they enjoyed constant and evident tokens of the Divine favour. They "walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and were greatly multiplied." But when they began to decline from their duty, and, instead of wasting their strength in the service of the. gospel, were disposed to waste it in biting and devouring one another, they forfeited of course the approbation of their Lord, and he began to visit them with the rod of his wrath. And as their declension from duty continued, they became more and more deserted and afflicted, and one candlestick after another was removed out of its place, till their light and comfort were at length succeeded by ages and centuries of most distressing darkness.

3. In view of the principles which have been established we may see why it is, that those portions: of the Christian Church have been the most highly favoured, and have exhibited the brightest evidences of grace, which have been most engaged for the spread of the gospel.-Of the truth of the fact here stated, the history of the Church furnishes abundant evidence. From the eighth to the sixteenth century of the Christian era was emphatically "an iron age," and a season of deep spiritual darkness. And it is observable, that nearly all the rays which glimmered upon the gloom of this long and dreadful night

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