Billeder på siden

"inferior men This, I repeat, is

then comfort themselves that may do as well, if not better! lowering the claims and character of the missionary cause, and injuring its interests not merely in the eyes of the world, but by rendering its operations less effective and successful than otherwise, there is reason to conclude, they would have been.


(2.) If it be admitted that learned and able missionaries, other things being equal, are to be preferred to men of inferior attainments, ought not all proper means to be used to procure men of the former description? Is it not wrong to rest contented with inferior instruments, and palliate or excuse, or even justify the men of superior station and learning, who might prove more effective instruments, merely because they do not choose to go, or do not find it so easy" to make the requisite sacrifices? And is it not wrong in a professed friend of the cause, (and the more eminent that friend, so much the greater his crime,) to sanction and teach the "rich and learned" to scorn the missionary work as beneath them to take any actual share in it, leaving it to men of learning so limited, and station so mean, that they may charitably be supposed to be good for nothing else?"

I know not whether most of the arguments against the employment of highly qualified persons may not be traced to an underrating of the office of the ministry. It was truly observed by

one,* concerning the apostle Paul, that "his life and death were one magnifying of his office. His object was to win souls;-to execute the will of God." And it was profoundly added, “As the man rises in his own esteem, his office sinks; but us the office rises in his view, “the man falls." So when men are regarded as very rich or very learned, they are thought too high for the office of a missionary. The office sinks before their wealth and wisdom. But the right view of the office shews that, while men are evidently unfit-too low for it, none are too great, too high for it.


is sufficient for these things?" is the exclamation of one impressed as he ought by a sense of the weight and difficulty of the office.

I thought that christianity taught its disciples to condescend to men of low estate; that it taught the rich to rejoice in that he is made low, while it taught the brother of low degree to rejoice in being exalted; but if we are to adopt the principle of excusing the rich man, because he cannot "assimilate with the poor," and "associate with their poverty, and tolerate their ignorance," politely assigning him a good place at home, where he will not be shocked with the contact of poverty and ignorance, are we not "having respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, saying unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and saying to the

* R. Cecil.

poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool." See the whole of the second chapter of the epistle of James, and try if you can reconcile it with the doctrine here animadverted upon. I suspect you will find it to be more difficult than some have found it to reconcile James with his brother apostle Paul.

I am, &c.




My dear friend,

IT must have struck you in perusing certain books, which profess to give a general view of the doctrines and duties of revelation, how little the missionary character of christianity has brought forward. Indeed, so obscure a place does this subject hold in some systems of divinity, whole duties of man, &c. books, otherwise sound, judicious, and comprehensive, that a reader might peruse the whole, and scarcely be able to tell if the duty to propagate the gospel was not wholly left out of the system. The duty of praying for the coming of the kingdom of God, is of course introduced in the exposition of the Lord's prayer, and the duty of love to God and man naturally embraces every object, which is a proper expression of love; and among the rest, the promotion of the divine glory, and the welfare of our fellow-creatures, by disseminating the truth of God. But this is treated as a subordinate topic, while doubtful questions and strifes of words occupy many pages, and call forth all the zeal of the authors.

But if some writers have made too little of this point, perhaps you may think that I have made too much-that I have spoken in too unqualified terms on several topics connected with the spread of christianity-such as the obligation resting upon properly qualified christians (nil obstante) to become missionaries to the heathen—the quantity of exertion and sacrifice to be made by christians, in order to fulfil the command of Christ, &c. But I think the advocate of such a cause need not feel much uneasiness, although he may have neglected to qualify in every particular his representations. They whom it concerns will supply his deficiency, and practically make sufficient abatement of the demands. There is no danger of too many well qualified candidates offering themselves, in consequence of any such calls upon them. There is unhappily no cause of alarm at present, lest the christian world should err in the way of excess in contributing to the missionary cause.

On the contrary, if experience and observation may be at all regarded, there is ground to conclude that such statements of the case as have been made in these letters, supposing them to be sounded in the ears of the very men to whom the strictures apply, would, in a great majority of instances, leave them in a very complacent frame of mind, as to what they had been doing in this cause, and what they should in future do.

Still, however, some might hear, and consider,

« ForrigeFortsæt »