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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 indulgence.
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
investigation of his motives ought to be made, as in the sight of God, before he advances a single step; and if he is not, in his own conscience, fully satisfied that his motives are such as God will approve, he should relinquish the design, whatever his talents or qualifications in other respects may be. A physician, or lawyer, need have no scruples about the exercise of his respective functions, although he may not be conscious that a disinterested desire to promote the good of his patients or clients prompts him to serve them to the utmost of his ability. If he perform his duty, he is worthy of his reward. To obtain his living may be the ultimate end of his exercising, his profession, and he may honourably and consistently avow it to be so. But if a minister of the gospel is not influenced by a love to the souls of men, and a zeal for the glory of God in their salvation, he is disqualified in the most essential particular for his office. On this account it is, that young men, whose minds are inclining to the ministry, should be directed to give this point their most attentive consideration; and if they obtain proper satisfaction of mind in regard to purity of motive, it will, in most cases, go far towards determining their call to the work.
Most young persons, whose rank in life is such that they must think of devoting themselves to a profession, find their minds leaning towards some particular employment, which is generally such as
their connections or circumstances render desirable or expedient; and, consequently, the choice is made, and the matter proceeded in. But many young men of piety, who have not yet made choice of a profession for life, are apt to look upon all secular professions with equal indifference, or even aversion; and others, whose minds have been brought under the power of religion, after their pursuits for life have been entered upon, become dissatisfied with the employment to which they found themselves bound. They derive no pleasure from the performance of the duties required of them, and long for the moment when they can disengage their hands and their head from the irksome, daily routine of their calling; happy only when they can bid a short farewell to it, and enjoy the society of kindred minds, or taste the sweets of retirement, and indulge in their favourite exercises, undisturbed and unknown. Such persons are apt to look upon ministers as the happiest of human beings. They have little to do with the things of the world; their duties must be their delight, for they consist in studying the word and the works of God, and speaking of them to their people. Their leisure for study, their opportunities of acquiring knowledge, their advantages for self improvement, all appear most desirable; and the pious young man, thus speculating upon the office of the ministry says with a sigh of longing desire, "O that I were a minister!" Now all this is a speculation of
selfishness, and there does not enter into it a particle of the true motive that ought to actuate the breast of a servant of Christ. There may be nothing inconsistent with the love of souls and the the glory of God; but when views of personal enjoyment fix the choice, and take the place of higher considerations as principles of action, what must follow when experience shall have taught that these selfish ends cannot be gratified? What shall bear up a man in the actual discharge of duties, which in reality will be found, many of them at least, very different as to personal gratification from the fancy picture the young aspirant to the sacred office drew for himself? In a word, what shall he do when his principles of action fail him? But, perhaps, if he make self gratification the end of his ministry, he may have his reward.
But I must come to the point I have more immediately in view, in bringing forward these remarks at present.
As an individual, actuated in the manner above described, will seek for himself a station in the church squaring as much as possible with his love of ease, literary leisure, &c.; so, on the other hand, one whose heart is truly devoted to the work of his lord and master, will prefer that station where he has the best prospects of real laborious usefulness, where he may do most good to souls, and most extend the Redeemer's kingdom among