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the consideration of the subject. I have spoken of learning also as among the qualifications of a missionary; but learning is an acquirement, not a natural gift. They possess peculiar advantages who have made this acquirement (i. e. learning) in early life, and they stand upon vantage ground who have had their attention early turned to the missionary work, and so have betimes acquired the predilection for it, to which we have given a place among the list of qualifications. But it may happen that diligent study at a later period of life may repair the defects of a neglected education in youth. And the attention of a pious man being at length directed to the nature and obligation of missionary service among the heathen, he may acquire, though late, the preference for the work which a right hearted missionary ought to possess.
The predilection I speak of is not a romantic enthusiastic feeling, resting upon no sufficient grounds, and for which no adequate cause can be assigned; but a sober, although warm and decided choice and preference of that which recommends itself to the enlightened and sanctified judgment as well as to the best dispositions of the renewed mind. And the work is one which may well beget such a desire to engage in it-and fully justify the choice made of it, a choice rational and laudable, and as honourable to the head as to the heart of him who forms it.
I think it quite consistent therefore to press upon a suitable person the duty of devoting himself to this cause; his not already possessing a predilection for it may be owing to want of due consideration of its claims. He may have wanted light to see it as worthy of being preferred to certain other objects of pursuit, which hitherto may have appeared to him the best and most important. But by acquiring juster and more enlightened views of duty, he may become possessed of the desire to engage in this "good work.'
This view of the subject will at the same time obviate the objection, that our affections are not at our own command; and that we cannot love and hate, and choose and reject at the bidding of another. It is sufficient to repel this excuse, should it ever be urged by one who pleads the disqualification of not having a predilection for this service as a reason why he should not undertake it, to point to the numerous precepts of Scripture where men are commanded to exercise love, desire, hatred, fear, &c. This of course is to be accomplished with the help of God, and simply by setting and keeping steadily before the mind the objects suited to excite these respective affections.
Should any one possessing the requisite qualifications in point of learning, talent-and, as far as men might judge, piety, and having no reasonable ground for declining this service of Christ, still
feel no desire to engage in it-feel no predilection for it, after having the subject properly brought before him, that person, I grant you, is most undoubtedly disqualified, and ought by no means to assume a character in which he could at best but act the hypocrite.
INFLUENCE OF SUCCESS ON
My dear Friend,
THE measure of success in a matter of ascertained duty ought not to be made the measure of our zeal in the performance of it. Yet who is not sensible of the general proneness to adopt this standard of measurement. Success, which is at best but an encouragement to persevere and abound more and more, is made the main spring of obedience. This is taking an ultimate effect, and turning it into a primary cause-inverting the natural process of proceeding under a sense of duty, in the hope of final success, and giving to present success the power of an impelling motive; and to the want of present success the power of a prohibition to persist farther in the performance of the duty.
Were this practical error exhibited to view in this naked form, many would disclaim it;-they would admit that they feel encouraged when their labours are successful, and discouraged when they are not: but that they make success or defeat the criterion of duty, and the spring of action they
deny. Be it so, and let their conduct prove that we were mistaken.
These observations are not offered because I think the missions now in operation are, generally speaking, not blessed with success in the degree that might have been expected; but because I think it of prime importance to adhere scrupulously to principles. A departure from them may seem at first a trivial error, but in the end may produce the most disastrous consequences. And I should have thought it not the less necessary to expose the evil of converting success into a criterion of the favour of heaven or a chief incentive of zeal, had every plan for the evangelization of the heathen been successful to the utmost extent of the wishes of the agents employed. I should then have thought it equally,needful to lift up a warning voice to prepare them for a posssible reverse. I should have considered it time to give a serious premonition that it might be well to count upon yet unknown trials of their faith-“ a great fight of afflictions"the withering of their fairest hopes-the defection of converts-the introduction and spread of errorsthe blast and mildew of heresy and schism-or the revival of the spirit of idolatry in countries where it appeared to have been utterly extinguishedand to examine how far their criterion and incentive would stand them instead in those circumstances.
It is not so much from the view I take of the