« PreviousContinue »
BY WHICH WE
the only way, the divinely appointed | lip must be sealed, and, in the silence of way, of a sinner's acceptable approach to despair, you must listen to your doom, God; but, ere I proceed to derive from and receive your sentence, “ Depart, ye the topic I have chosen an argument, an cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for appeal, in behalf of the great object that the devil and his angels:” for “ he that now lies before us, may I be permitted— believeth not the Son shall not see life; nay, in the faithful and conscientious dis- but the wrath of God abideth on him." charge of the duty with which, as a But our deep and profound attention, preacher of the gospel, I am intrusted, my brethren, is now demanded by a can I do otherwise than pause, and put world lying in wickedness; and we must it to every man's conscience in this as address ourselves this day once more to sembly, whether he has embraced the THE way thus consecrated for a guilty world, STRIVE
YOUR SYMPATHIES, and, by faith in the atoning sacrifice of YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS, AND YOUR PRAYERS, Christ, secured his own individual and IN AID OF THE MISSIONARY CAUSE. personal acceptance in the sight of God? O how gladly would I retire from the
My fathers and brethren in the ministry service, the weight and the magnitude of will, I know, justify me, and approve the which wellnigh overwhelms me, and liscourse I take, when I say, I will not seek ten to the more powerful pleadings of to move your sympathies in behalf of some able advocate from among the many perishing millions in pagan lands, till I devoted and honourable men by whom I have first pressed the inquiry home upon see myself surrounded. But I am here yourselves on each one in this congre- at your bidding, I cast myself upon his gation, Dost thou believe on the Son of aid whose cause I dare to plead; and, God? No matter what thy age, thy sex, resting on the thousand promises adapted thy rank, thy station, thy condition in to an occasion like this, I spurn with society, Dost thou believe on the Son of boldness the dark suggestions of despondGod? Is the mediatorial work of Christ ency and unbelief. the exclusive ground on which you build The time has gone by, my brethren, for eternity? If it be not, you must when any thing like novelty can reasonaperish; and your ruin will be the more bly be expected in a Missionary Sermon; tremendous by reason of the advantages and I rejoice exceedingly that it has. The you have enjoyed, the warnings and ad- novelty of the subject has been for ages monitions you have buried in oblivion, or the scandal of the Christian church; but the fair and specious profession you have that scandal has now, happily, been rollmade. Oh, it would have been better for ed away. Christians of every denomina you that you had never been born, or that tion have become familiar with the mighty you had been born in the rudest, wildest subject. It is no longer the matter of solitude of nature, where the name of doubtful speculation, or of the divided Christ was never heard, where a Bible opinions, that it once was. The army of was never seen, where the foot of a Chris- the living God is enrolled—it has become tian missionary never trod, where the a living mass of the Lord's detachments light of a sabbath, a Christian sabbath, the troops have advanced far into the never dawned, than that you should hear goodly land, and they have taken possesof Christ to despise him, and to reject sion of many fair and promising regions him, and to trample on his blood :—for in the name of our Immanuel. And we, how can you escape? I shall press the my brethren, who stay at home and watch question, How can you escape? What for the issues, have only from time to mountain will cover you—what rock will time to recount to you the victories won crush you—what refuge will shelter you by their peaceful armies, to beat up for what subterfuge will avail you? By fresh recruits, and levy new contributions what arguments will you triumph and on your willing benevolence and zeal. prevail ? “ How will you escape if It is for this that you hold your annual you neglect so great salvation ?" "Your festivals in this great metropolis, and we
in the distant provinces of the empire, / ways, and the unrighteous man his and our brethren in every village, in every thoughts; and let him return unto the hamlet throughout the country ;-that as Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; the pious Jews in ancient times strength- and to our God, for he will abundantly ened the bond—the bond that was more pardon.” The chief excellency of the than filial affection--to Jerusalem, by gospel, my brethren, is that it is precisely their annual visits to the temple, so we adapted to the condition and the necessity may rekindle our liberal zeal, and renew of man, under all the possible circumto one another the solemn pledge of de- stances of his existence upon earth. The votedness to this great cause; and year state of the case is simply this; every after year thus at the altar of God swear creature is in a condition to need the gosthat we will not forsake it while there is pel, and the gospel is adapted to the cona single human being upon the face of dition of every creature. Every creature the earth who has not heard and wel is guilty; the gospel announces pardon. comed the glad tidings of salvation. Every creature is ignorant; the gospel
The cause in which we are engaged, sheds the light of divine illumination my brethren, is infinitely worthy of a de- upon the darkened understanding. Every votion like this, inasmuch as that every creature is wretched; the gospel directs other to which men have consecrated him to the true source of felicity and joy. their energies in comparison with it—1 Every creature is polluted; the gospel say in comparison with it I care not unfolds a fountain open for sin and unwhether it be the cause of philanthropy, cleanness. Every creature is diseased, or the cause of philosophy, or the cause and dying from the dreadful malady of of patriotism—but every other in compa- sin; the gospel points to the true soverison with it dwindles in utter insignifi- reign balm-announces the balm of Gilead cance, or is not worthy of serious consi- and the physician of souls. Hence, he deration at all: for what is the body to who has it in commission to preach the the soul?—and what are the interests of gospel may ever be at work, and wherever an empire, and the passing, perishable, he meets a human being, with that hufleeting concerns of time, to the enduring man being he has to do. He has a mesrealities of eternity ?
sage with him—he has a story of redeemPonder, then, my brethren-ponder this ing love to tell him; and there is no day again the great object of missionary exception at all, constituted by man's enterprise. Contemplate it as an object 80 colour, or kindred, or clime—his rank, simple that a child may comprehend it—an or station, or condition in life. It adobject 80 sublime that the purest seraph that dresses alike the monk and the libertine burns before the eternal throne would deem the widow in her cottage and the peait his highest honour to be intrusted with sant in his barn--the criminal at the bar the great commission, and would fly with and the judge upon the tribunal—the the rapidity of lightning to execute it. It philosopher in his studies and the poet in is simply to preach the gospel to every his reveries—the beggar on the dunghill creature. And what is the gospel it and the monarch on the throne; and he preaches? I say its very name is glori- that rejects it does it at his peril; its ous; and, wherever there is a tongue to glad tidings must be welcomed, or the proclaim it, it must awaken emotions of man must perish. the liveliest gratitude and joy. It is Ponder, brethren, again, I beseech you news-good news good news to man-1-since how glorious is the message good news to all-good news to men which I have to deliver to mankind--ponsunk in ignorance and sin—good news der the grounds of encouragement with from God. It is a proclamation of par- which you are presented in the publication don from the King of kings to his rebel- of the message to the world. They are so lious subjects from God to the human abundant that I scarcely know where to race; and the first sentence of the procla- begin. In the first place, the preaching mation is, “ Let the wicked forsake his of the gospel is a divine institution. It is
not a human device; the language of the cursed tree, the heaving of the solid Saviour is most distinct and unequivocal: ground, as in the throes of an untimely “ Go ye into all the world, and preach birth-the darkened heavens at high noon the gospel to every creature.” This is the rending of the rocks—the raising enough for us; we want no more than of the dead, proclaiming him to be the this. With this assurance we can meet Son of God. But it was only for a seathe sneer of contempt, the serpent of ma- son that he bowed to the empire of death, lignity, and the loud laughter of derision. and condescended to remain a captive in We know that the instrument is mean, the grave. He burst the bars of the and in itself altogether inadequate. We tomb; it was not possible that he could know that it is an earthly vessel, in be holden of them; and he rose to ascend which the heavenly treasure is contained. up on high. Amid the greetings and We wondor not that the wise and pru- shoutings of cherubic and seraphic attenddent of this world account it the foolish- ants, and the morning stars of light and ness of preaching. But if the instrument glorified spirits of the just made perfect, were even meaner than it is, and God he entered the celestial world, and took still condescended to employ it, he could his seat at the right hand of God, and make it mightier than all the influence grasping the sceptre of universal empire that may be exerted against it, and demon--his double right, by creation and by strate, in a way the most humbling to his blood-he sways it over, and is overthe pride of man and degrading to human ruling continually the affairs of this infeglory, that the foolishness of God is rior world, that he may establish the wiser than man, and the weakness of security of his church, accomplish her God stronger than man.
destined trophies, and set up his throne Ponder again the dignity and glory of in the hearts of the millions, the countless Him in whose cause you are engaged, and millions, he has ransomed in his blood. by whose authority you act. It was in The success, my brethren, which has immediate connexion with this great com- already accompanied the preaching of the mission that the Redeemer declared, “All gospel, and the trophies which the cause of power is given to me in heaven and in Christ has hitherto achieved, furnish another earth." And it was not a vain boast. ground of confidence in connexion with the Witness the credentials with which he missionary enterprise. That there are was furnished, and the many proofs he difficulties we are quite ready to acknowhad of the divinity both of his person and ledge; we are by no means anxious to of his mission. Three times was it conceal them, as it respects their number attested by a voice from heaven: once at or their magnitude. We know something his baptism, when the heavens opened, of the obstinacy and perverseness of the and the Spirit descended like a dove and human heart-something of its deeprested upon him; once at his transfigura- rooted and bitter malignity against Godtion, when the displays of his godhead something of its decided and desperate beamed so glorious through the veil of hostility to every thing that is pure and his humanity, that the disciples were holy; we know something of the terrific enraptured, and wist not what to say; forms which this bitter enmity assumes and once, when so terrible was the voice, in pagan lands; something of the invethat some said it thundered, and others teracy of habit; something of the power that an angel spake. Do you want fur- of a system, whose institutions and ther proof? See him imparting the light whose principles are wrought in the very of day to the sightless eyeball, giving texture and frame-work of society; and tone and vigour to palsied limbs, ejecting we know how hopeless would be the demons from their distressed victims, effort to undermine and overthrow this stilling the furious tempests, and raising state of things, so firmly settled, so the dead; and even in the season of his deeply rooted, by the mere effort of deepest ignominy and extremest suffer- human ingenuity, of human skill, or by ing, when he bled in agony upon the ac- lan arm of flesh. While, however, the
statesman and the philosopher pour con- salvation-were the meanest and the most tempt on our undertaking, and regard it despised among men; fishermen, taxas the extreme of fanaticism and folly, 'gatherers, tent-makers. Against them we occupy ground on which they never power lifted up her arm, and authority stood, and we have resources at our com- promulgated her edicts; bigotry mustered mand on which they never calculated. her hosts—intolerance pointed her enmity Is any thing too hard for the Lord ? -persecution opened her dungeons, forged "Who art thou, O great mountain ? Be- her fetters, reared her gibbets, kindled her fore Zerubbabel thou shalt become a fires; and yet—at the peril of imprisonplain.” Only admit that the cause is ment and death, at the risk of all that God's, and that the arm of Omnipotence men are accustomed to hold dear-these is guaranteed on its behalf, and all our devoted servants of the cross went forth : fears are given to the winds. He may they scattered the seed of the kingdom; indeed, for the trial of our faith, and the they nourished the seed they scattered exercise of our patience, in the accom- with their blood; it was rendered, by an plishment of his purposes, seem to delay; influence from heaven, prolific; and, but though it should ever be remembered growing a very great tree, it speedily that one day is with the Lord as a thou- filled the earth with its foliage and the sand years, and a thousand years as one luxuriousness of its fruit. day; though in a manner to humble our And hear, my brethren,-hear the pride, and to convince us that in this great pledge and promises of those triumphs undertaking our confidence must be which the gospel is yet destined to reposed exclusively in him, he may suf- achieve, and which it must achieve, ere fer us sometimes to endure disappoint- the predictions of ancient times are ment, yet, as to the final issue, we can accomplished; that the knowledge of the no more doubt than we can doubt the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters return of the seasons, or the rising of the cover the sea. Then, Juggernaut shall morrow's sun. Men talk about the bow before the cross; then, the Shasters mighty fabric of eastern superstition, and of the Brahmin, and the Koran of Mahoabout the power of prejudices, and about met, shall be torn in pieces, and their the fascinations of caste, as though these fragments scattered to the wind. Then, things were omnipotent,—and to mere every pagan idol, every pagan altar, every human strength they are; but mighty as Mahometan delusion, every popish suis the fabric, though it be consummated perstition, shall be crushed beneath the and cemented by the veneration and prac- wheels of the triumphant car. Then, tices of ages and generations, and tho the cities of Pekin and Canton shall send it be deeply rooted in all the natural appe- forth their teeming populations to bid the tites and passions of the human breast, Saviour welcome. Myriads of voices in yet, if God put his hand to the work, | heaven shall respond to myriads on earth; and employ his almighty power, 6. The and the anthem shall be heard like mighty strong shall be as tow, and the maker of thunder rolling the universe of God, it as a spark; and they shall both burn Hallelujah, hallelujah! the Lord God together, and none shall quench them.” Omnipotent reigneth!” Visions of glory!
There is no species of opposition, my Bright anticipations of the future! Shall brethren, over which the gospel has not they ever be realized ? They shall, they already triumphed, and over which it is must. God hath spoken it, and he cannot not still destined to triumph. Can you lie; and to the declaration he has set the conceive of difficulties more formidable seal of an oath; and, because he can than those which pressed around it in the swear by no greater, he has sworn by first age of Christianity. All the rank, himself, saying, “Surely every knee shall learning, power, influence, eloquence, bow to me, and every tongue confess that wisdom, and philosophy of the world I am God.” were overthrown by it, though its abet Must I plead, and must I plead with tors, its supporters—the first heralds of you this great cause? Let your counteVOL. I.-4
nances respond. Tell me, do you need | ishness and solitude, and thus steal to argument to convince you, and strong heaven alone. No; but he gave you this appeals to excite you? Are you not con- book in commission, in trust, that you scious of the miseries of millions of your might give it to others; and he sent you species--millions sunk in all the degra- the gospel, that, having drank yourselves dation of paganism, wallowing in its deep and refreshing draughts of the cup pollution, and agonized by its tortures? of life, you might hand it round to the Must I appeal to you on the principles of perishing millions that are within your common humanity? If this be the bread reach. And is there a man—nay, is there of life that is to feed a starving world-a creature that calls himself a man, for I if this be the sovereign balm that is to will not designate him so—in this assemheal and to sooth the moral maladies and bly, who will rise up and ask, “Who is wounds that infect our nature—if this be my neighbour, and who is my brother ?" the only light that can conduct man Every man-every man, whether his through the darkness of this world to skin is black or white-whether he climes of felicity and bliss beyond the speaks your language, or one you cannot grave, can you have it, and the power to comprehend—whether he dwells here or impart it—and imparting it to others will at the antipodes I say, every man is by no means impoverish yourselves—I your brother and your neighbour, and if say, where is your claim to a spark of com- you can reach him, and enlighten him, mon humanity if you can withhold your and save him, can you refuse to do it? hand, monopolize the precious boon, and if you do, God will plead against youlet others perish in moral want? I appeal will take the injured brother's part; for on the ground of common justice. I do the voice of his blood will cry to heaven not merely appeal to you on principles of against you from the ground. benevolence, to move you by the multi Go, I beseech you, and be prompt and plicities of their miseries, but I plead liberal in what you do this day. Time is upon the ground of common justice. It rolling rapidly on; men are perishing is a debt you owe to the world. “I am every moment in ignorance; zealous misa debtor, says the apostle, both to the sionaries need supplies, and the wants of Greeks and to the barbarians; both to the a perishing world need to be satisfied ; wise and to the unwise;" and you are as and we look to your benevolence and zeal much a debtor as he could be. God gave that their cry may be answered, “Come you not this book that you might mo- over and help us!” I cease to plead : nopolize it, and the gospel, that you let the collection now be made. Arise, might press it to your bosom in your self-| 0 God, AND PLEAD THINE OWN CAUSE !