Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

to a provision for Missionaries to the East In> “ dies; where they too well knew the vast com

pass of the regions of darkness in a spiritual

view, and could not therefore be insensible to the urgent calls of compassion in behalf of the “ numberless captives of idolatry, superstition,

and error.

“ Unable, from impediments of different kinds, “ to find a supply of persons qualified, and ready “ for this arduous service, at home, they have hi“ therto availed themselves of the good offices of " such as have been recommended in Germany • from men of the most respectable name, and “ under the sanction of the best authenticated tes“timonials, in respect to both literature and “ Christian conduct.

“ From this fertile source of accommodation, *** the most substantial advantages have been de“ rived to our designs, and to the common cause “ of pure and undefiled religion. The successes “ of its advocates, however various and unequal, “ have, in general, been sufficient to evince the “ earnestness of their endeavours, and, in some s« instances, so signal as to distinguish most re" markably that merit, which results from a wisely " directed zeal, and to stamp upon their names “ such marks of applause, as the records of gratiso tude ought faithfully to preserve.

“ One, in particular, in this list of Christian heroes is so very illustrious, that we may as well.

á

attempt to deprive virtue of its charms, or relia

gion of its superior loveliness, as to separate the “ name of Swartz from good report, I had almost

said, from apostolic praise.' * It has been the surprize of many, and the “ lamentation of more, that fortitude thus exem

plified, should not have inspired some of our

own clergy with an emulation to follow and to “ imitate these champions of the cross, thus seek

ing, and thus contending to save them who are 6 lost.

« But, when we consider the different circum“ stances and situations of men, and of things, the “ different modes of training and education, the “ different habits, connections, and prospects of “, life, and that what may be a competent support: “ for one is not so for another, whatever ground " there may be for sorrow, that a work so neces --

sary, and so glorious, should be seemingly slighted, there is little cause for wonder.

“ We are told upon an authority not to be con “ troverted, that they, who preach the Gospel, “ should live of the Gospel, and that the work-“ man has, in this view, an undoubted right to “ reward. Now, if when hardships of the se-"

verest sort were submitted to for the sake of planting and propagating eternal truth, this

was insisted upon as ordained by God himself, ". it cannot be expected, in quite another state of

< things, that human nature should not recoil at g thought of worldly distresa.

To convince us, however, that common dism couragements have not always the same opera" tion, and that no perils, not even such as St, “ Paul describes, can damp the ardour of Chrise “ tian faith; you, my reverend brother, have det “ voted yourself, with a firmness of laudable

resolution, to execute the final commission : of
your Lord and Master to his apostles.
“ Such a principle of exertion we must ap

plaud, confiding not merely in the fervency, so but in the purity, the sincerity, the moderation of your zeal. The beneficial exercise, and «s successful influence of which will depend upon «. a combination of such virtues and qualities as

these, application, diligence, circumspection,

consistency, and self-command. All which “ must, in the course of your pastoral conduct, “ be harmoniously preserved, as from the nature c. of your situation, and the calls of your office,

none of them can be discontinued without exa

treme injury to others, and certain dishonour “ to yourself. But we are persuaded better things “ of you, and things which accompany salvation; 5 and therefore I do not speak as having autho

rity, but as an humble instrument of that edie « fication for which it is our common wish and as our united aim to provide. A provision, we ,

trust, which cannot be made with greater prog

(C

so bability of success than, in addition to that only “ infallible guide, the Bible, a conscientious ad“ herence to the doctrine and discipline of our e established Church, that bulwark of Protestant

ism, that illustrious ornament of the Christian

name. Which, too sensible of the imperfec" tions attending the correctest human systems, «r boasts not of infallibility, but boasts of a purity;

a solidity, a well.connected order, a ritual and “ ceremonial institution, equally reinoved from " the glare of pageantry, and the aukwardness of “ neglect. If its doctrines or its discipline have “ been at any time unfavourably represented, * it probably arose from invidious malevolence,

partial information, or enthusiastic bias, by rc. which we too well know the beauty of holiness; “ the Scripture of truth itself, hath been by men “ of perverse minds defiled and deformed.

“ Should it happen that you are put to any “ trial with respect to either, avail.yourself stedo

fastly of your knowledge of, and your venera“ tion and esteem for these, and being possessed “ of that securest of all armour, the shield of faith

and the helmet of salvation, bid defiance to “ every assault under the influence of that “ strength which will be made perfect in your “ weakness.

" It is possible you may, under certain circum“ stances, be exposed to disputation with men of

strong prejudices and deeply rooted disgust.

[ocr errors]

* of this be as wary as prudence itself can make

you, keeping constantly in mind with a uniform “ view to its application in each part, that admonition of Him, who spake as never man spake.

ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves., • But should necessity, or the credit of your pro“ fession, provoke you to such engagement, guard against two very hazardous, and, in the * view of religion, not justifiable weapons of de

fence, I mean, sarcastical þitterness and wanton “ ridicule, which should have no place, whiere " solid reasoning, sound argument, and clear evi" dence are in the course of debate the only

proper and satisfactory means of support. Severity or banter, though applied with all the

brilliancy of wit, can never answer the purpose " in things serious and sacred, nor can they be ~ consistent with that meekness of wisdom, which * is essential, in every part of conduct, to the * character and success of a minister of Christ.

is This is noticed as an incidental, not as the 35 direct object of your concern. That is a more

substantial part of duty; the most exalted act * of compassion upon earth. It is to open the ti blind eyes, to break off the yoke of diabolic

tyranny from the necks of mankind, to bring "them over from the infatuations of idolatry to " the worship of the one true God, to free the " mind from persuasions early imbibed and long.

possessed, to eradicate a fondness for opinions

« VorigeDoorgaan »