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men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them that oppose themselves." 2 Tim. ii. 25. “Put them in mind to be gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.' Tit. iii. 2. "Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, gentleness, humbleness of mind, meekness." Col. iii. 12.
I am not fond of apologies, but I feel it proper when I think of the difficult subject I have attémpted to handle in the former part of this letter, and the monitory strain of the close of it, to repeat that I disclaim the idea of setting up as an instructor or monitor to those of whom it would better become me to learn. But the communications of sentiment, although it consist of nothing very new or striking, may elicit new trains of thought in other minds, which but for such communications might have lain for ever dormant. "Whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understandings do clarify and break up in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they look when they are turned into words; finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour's discourse than by a day's meditation." (Bacon.) What is true of discourse is in a great degree true of writing; and I have not been altogether without a view to my own improve
ment, in "turning these thoughts into words," and whetstone of your
purpose of " a
if they serve the wits," as the same author expresses himself, “although they do nothing more, I shall not regret having communicated, nor will they be altogether useless." Allow me to borrow another illustration
to the same purpose. "Two men in a frosty season come where they find a company of people ready to starve. The one wraps himself up lest he should perish with them. The other in pity falls to rub them, that he may recover heat in them, and while he laboureth hard to keep them, getteth far better heat to himself than his selfish and unprofitable companion doth." Baxter.
Thus much in reference to the subjects of this letter, but you may extend the apology if you please to all the others I have sent you.
I am yours, &c.
P. S. A former page of this letter would have been the proper place for inserting what follows. The mode of argumentation which I have supposed to be necessary in the case of cavilling and prejudiced heathen, is not to be viewed as an attempt to remove their objection to the gospel itself; but rather as suited to convince a heathen that it has come from God, and is therefore "worthy of all acceptation," and if his favourable ear is so far
gained, that he listens under this impression, a great point is secured. If he admits that there is ground to believe the message the missionary delivers is from God, there is no disputing about the terms of the message itself.
But as before intimated, the doctrine itself carries in it strong internal marks of its divine original, and while the unbeliever hears, "he is convinced of all, he is judged of all; and thus the secrets of his heart are made manifest, and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and repeat that God is in you of a truth."
It is of importance to bear in mind that it is in the form of a testimony the gospel is to be published to the heathen. Now the design of publishing it is to produce a belief of its truth in the minds of the hearers. When this is distinctly kept sight of, there will scarcely be room for any material error in the manner of presenting the truth to the attention of the heathen. But, it may be remarked in passing, that this gives a striking view of the necessity of the missionary himself being a man who clearly understands the import of the message he is to deliver. If he mistakes or mutilates his message, he not only leads his hearer astray, but obscures and wrongs the gospel itself; and in so far as he departs from the genuine spirit of it, in so far he lessens the evidence of its truth, and increases the difficulty of believing it.
But this is not all. If he errs in regard to the
real terms of the message he delivers, although his hearers should believe what he says, their faith would not be the faith of the gospel. It may be one of the many compounds of truth and error current in the world, that go under the name of the gospel, but which, in various degrees are perversions and counterfeits of it.
I merely hint at this in passing, as suggesting matter of caution as to the employment of men of unsound views; and to missionaries themselves, that they study constantly the genuine records of truth. The scriptures contain the doctrine they are to publish, let them learn it with humility and prayer from that source, and they will not err.
ON THE REASONS WHICH MAY JUSTIFY QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS TO DECLINE THE MIS
My dear Friend,
WHAT reasons are sufficient to justify an individual qualified for missionary service, declining that service, and spending his days at home? This is a question you will say easier to propose than to solve. I am persuaded, however, that the difficulty attached to the question is not so great as may at first sight appear; and provided you admit the assumption upon which I proceed in attempting the solution of it, I trust you will be satisfied that I have drawn a fair and reasonable conclusion.
It would argue great ignorance of human nature, however, to expect that any solution of such a question could prove equally satisfactory to all who might consider it: and especially to those who might feel themselves more immediately interested in it. Quot homines tot sententiæ. The decision of practical questions should be an act purely intellectual-the undisturbed, unbiassed work of the judgment. The passions can be safely admitted