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in the mind, and works, and ways of Jehovah himself? Must we not attach to such a thing the highest importance? Indeed the prospect which it opens to man, contrasted with his circumstances as a guilty degenerate creature, strongly mark its peculiar importance: to raise him from the deepest depravity to the most exalted perfection of nature and character; from being a child of wrath to be an heir of God and of eternal life; to make a world of sinners a kingdom of saints, and to translate them finally to the kingdom of heaven, must strike us as a scheme of such magnitude and extent that every thing else must sink into insignificance compared with it. To be permitted, still more to be commanded and encouraged, to take a part in such a work, must be felt and acknowledged as the highest honour of which human nature is capable. Whatever then others may say of our Missionary plans and conduct as weak and foolish, deserving only pity or contempt, let us rejoice in the sanction of Divine approbation, and in the high honour of being workers together with God. And who can harm us if we be followers of that which is good to the souls and bodies of men, which hath the promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come?
It follows in the third place from what hath been said, that peculiar qualifications are necessary to the faithful discharge of Missionary duty, The service is indeed honourable, but it is also arduous. The design and work allowed to be so important, must be attended with many difficul. ties, and require a wise, laborious, and able execution. I mean not that this work should not commence, or cannot go on, without great literary talents and worldly patronage or influ
Whatever may be the occasional use or advantage of these, we must seek qualifications of a very different and superior nature for the business of Christian Missionaries. They must be men of tried faith, piety, purity, and patience. We cannot be too cautious in the trial of their character, or too careful in the tui. tion of their minds. They should appear to us to be thoroughly sound in their principles, and under serious deep impressions of the truth;—men of enlarged scriptural knowledge, good capacity, and good utterance; of a humble, meek, quiet, and patient spirit; not easily provoked; dead to the world; eminently spiritual, holy, heavenly, laborious, and persevering. The nature and importance of the service demand every Christian grace, virtue, and temper in the highest degree. While we therefore acknowledge the divine condescension and kindness in countenancing and animating our first exertions in this glorious cause by an extraordinary excitement of the Missionary spirit, and it is our duty to cherish and direct it wherever we find it, yet experience also must convince us of the necessity of the most deliberate, strict, and patient examination of every candidate. He may shew himself possessed of considerable gifts, and yet not give satisfactory evi. dence of grace. We may have no doubt of his personal religion, and yet not find all the talents and temper which we judge requisite for a Missionary. They should not be
years, nor novices in religion; and perhaps a very considerable time should be insisted on for their trial, ere a final approbation is obtained. Such should be our anxious care to find out them who are worthy, but we must beware in exercising this solicitude, of trusting to our own judgment, or their abilities; the work is God's: to him therefore we must commit our cause as being his own, and depend on his blessing and spirit alone for counsel, aid, and success. To conclude, does not our subject and the design of our meeting call upon all the
friends of Evangelical Missions, to recommend the gospel and its propagation among the Heathen, by exemplary lives. When our temper and conduct correspond to our public professions, we most effectually put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. When they see us meeting for prayer, let them have no reason to say that we neglect it in our closets or families. When profes. sing to use the best means, in dependence on the Spirit of grace, for renovating the character of the Heathen world, let us put off from ourselves the old man of sin, with his deeds, which are corrupt, and put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. When we aspire to be the instruments of universal reconciliation, let us be at peace amongst ourselves, walking in love one towards another, as Christ hath loved us. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. We have many adversaries; let us arm ourselves against them with the same mind which was in our Lord. If we imbibe his spirit and walk as he walked, we need not be discouraged by the suspicions or accusations of enemies. We may boldly say the Lord is our helper, we will not fear what man can do unto us; we shall be more than
conquerors through him who loved us, and even our Missionary labours shall not be in vain in the Lord. If still men shall revile us, and speak all manner of evil against us falsely for Christ's sake, let us not render railing for railing; let us bless them who curse us, and pray for them who despitefully use and persecute us; let us shew that in seeking the salvation of the Heathen we are not unconcerned for our brethren at home; that we preach peace to them who are near, as well as to them who are afar off. We beseech every sinner in this great assembly to be reconciled unto God: we cannot convey this joyful sound to every ear, but this Missionary Society and many others will proclaim it as far and wide as divine influence, and the public liberality, shall enable them. It is their prayer that all ends of the earth may see the salvation of God, for it is their faith, that it hath pleased the Father that in Christ should all fulness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth or in heaven. Amen, and Amen.
YOUNG, GALLIE, & CO.