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but the providence of God soon made them glad to adopt the measure which before might seem impracticable. When obliged to flee for their lives, they found other places of abode, and, scattered among unbelievers, had the finest opportunities of spreading the gospel, and were no doubt enabled to say in reference to the persecutions that drove them from Jerusalem, "It is good for us that we have been afflicted." There may be no present appearances that threaten the British churches with a similar fate; they may not be driven into exile : but were persecution for conscience sake to arise, what would be thought of the practicability of colonising heathen countries? And would not this plan afford the best conceivable means of cherishing and bringing into notice promising talents for the higher departments of missionary labour? Would not the younger members of churches be trained up and excited to regard the service of God among the heathen as a great and most important work; and, seeing with their own eyes the fields white unto harvest, would they not desire to become labourers?
I will not anticipate objections, but to prevent being misunderstood, I would only add, that it is not necessarily supposed according to this plan that every individual member of a church, without exception, should embark in such an emigration; some from age, state of health, &c. might be improper persons to join their brethren; but with all neces
sary deductions the great body of a church might, I am persuaded, with the prospect of doing incalculable good, thus go forth in the name of the Lord, devoted as one man to the promotion of his glory.
Do not tell me that the example of the churches planted by the apostles, and the exhortations addressed to them to abide every man in his own calling, &c. make against the scheme now suggested. It is true the apostles do not enjoin upon the churches the duty of changing their abode in order to fix their residence among a heathen population. But why? They were planted in the midst of the heathen, they were themselves societies gathered from the Pagan and Jewish world, and were on every hand surrounded by those who still continued in the state of darkness from which they had been translated. There was in those days no such thing as a christendom, a portion of the earth distinguished by the general profession of the religion of Christ. The whole world was then what many parts of it are still, inhabited by unbelievers, with here and there a church of Christ gathered out of the nations. The aim of this, or any other plan of missionary enterprise, is to bring the whole world under the denomination of christendom.
It has almost passed into a proverb, that with all the devotement of heart, and life, and substance which Christ requires of his disciples, every one is not obliged personally to engage in this work. Admitting the general truth, there is at the same
time reason to fear that this convenient proverb is often carried too far, and may help to blind the eyes of some to their duty, suggesting a reason for declining obedience, which is sufficient or insufficient, according to circumstances. This is a serious subject, and requires the solemn consideration of every one who calls Jesus, Lord and master.
The other general method of conducting missionary operations is to send forth a body of missionaries who shall enter heathen countries, and bend their strength, not so much to the mere raising of congregations of christians, and attaching them to the missionary settlement, as the Moravians do; but rather direct their resources with a view to the spread of christianity through the length and breadth of the land, aiming by apparently slow but effectual measures to sap the foundations of the existing superstition, and introduce christianity in its room, and contemplating the accomplishment of this chiefly by the agency of the natives themselves. With this view, opening seminaries for the instruction of the youth, training up promising young men to be teachers of their countrymen, making every suitable convert an evangelist; at the same time preparing versions of the scriptures in the vernacular languages, promoting the cause of general education, introducing useful knowledge, &c. The preaching of the gospel directly to the natives, as far as practicable, is implied of course. What I mean
as to the general plan is, that the missionaries do not confine themselves to the communication of oral instruction as their great and only branch of labour.
These two methods have each their advantages and disadvantages. The first is the favourite of some friends of missions, while the second is extolled by others; but it appears to me, that either the one or the other should be preferred according to circumstances. In one country the former may be more effective, in another the latter. And in most places, perhaps, a system of operation combining both, that is, partaking of the first by adopting the plan of partial colonising, and of the second by laying hold of all the advantages for carrying forward the work to be derived from the employment of natives as catechists, &c. The same mission in different stages of its history may also in part alter or modify the general plan of its procedure for a mission, at first conducted wholly by foreign teachers, may in the course of time, and after being blessed with a measure of success, in a great degree dispense with foreign aid, and proceed on the plan of employing natives, till at length, having a sufficiency of internal resources it may be left wholly to itself.
I am, &c.
ON THE PREFERENCE DUE TO THE
My dear Friend,
THE choice of a profession ranks among the most important acts of a man's life, and most of all important, when the profession chosen is the christian ministry. I have already offered you some thoughts upon the motives, good and bad, which may actuate an individual in determining to assume the sacred character. I seem not, however, to have said all I wish to say, and therefore, at the risk of being tiresome, or even tautological, I must write on, throwing myself upon your friendly indul
When a man determines upon following any particular line of secular life, the chief questions respect the adaptation of his talents and dispositions to the nature of his proposed pursuits, his prospects of success, honour and comfort. His motives, any further than his own interests may be concerned, are of little consequence. But when a man proposes to make the service of the sanctuary the business of his life, a most solemn and impartial