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that to represent it as wrong to make the measure of our success the rule of our duty, does not imply either argumentatively, or in real experience, that we are to be indifferent as to the result of our labours. On the contrary, the man who utterly disclaims the idea of the visible happy effects of his exertions being made his reason for continuing to exert himself, may, whether successful or not, have the most earnest, longing desires for a blessing upon his engagements. Nay, unless he feel deeply concerned about the issue of all his pains and toils and watching and prayers
for the conversion of souls, I cannot conceive how he can be earnestly engaged in the matter. If his heart be thus set
the success of his work, the want of it will but prove the greater trial of his faith and patience; but these will be strengthened by the trial.
66 He never had the right ends of a preacher in view who is indifferent whether he obtains them or not, who is not grieved when he misses them, and rejoiced when he can see the desired issue.”
In a word, we must “ walk by faith, not by sight,” and with the eleventh chapter of Hebrews in your eye, I leave you to judge whether faith be not a principle that can animate an obedience more devoted, universal, and persevering, than can even spring from the sight of the eyes or the hearing of the ears.
I am, &c.
DEFECTS IN THE MODE OF ADVOCATING THE
CAUSE OF MISSIONS.
My dear Friend, I HAVE just turned over some volumes of missionary sermons for the purpose of ascertaining what are the principal things generally insisted on, in order to stimulate christians to exertion in the cause. It is truly refreshing to the spirit to contemplate so many just, striking, and able exhibitions of christian truth as these productions contain—to mark the catholic spirit they uniformly breathe—the expanded christian charity that glows in them for the salvation of the whole family of
But I confess it has been with disappointment and grief I have noticed a certain defect in many of them. With all the prominence given to many arguments, and the ingenuity displayed in selecting and applying them, there is one argument in not a few discourses not even once alluded to, and scarcely in any treated as it ought. I mean the command of Christ to preach the gospel universally, and the consequent duty of obedience.
Do not mistake me-I do not find fault with
the arguments used in the compositions referred to. Many of them are most forcible and weighty and appropriate; but it appears to me that the matter of duty as resulting from that command, has not been pressed so strongly or so frequently as it ought.
A preacher may be regulated by a regard to the taste of his audience in the selection and treatment of a particular topic of discussion for a missionary
may be naturally led from the nature of his subject to insist on some special motive, encouragement, direction or warning, bearing upon the work of the evangelization of heathen and Mahometan nations. And this may preclude the possibility of his making the obligation to labour founded upon the command of Christ, a part of his plan ; but I conceive that this argument, like the fundamental doctrines of the gospel in an ordinary sermon, should be implied in the whole frame of the discourse, and although not formally enlarged upon, sufficiently intimated to be perceived in its true importance.
It is not less undeniable than humiliating that many professed christians are more effectually wrought upon by a rhetorical appeal to their passions, than by a sober truth accompanied with its evidence, submitted to their judgment, or a solemn duty charged home upon their conscience. And it must be confessed that preachers, knowing the character of a great proportion of the people
whom they address, seem to act wisely in making use of that method which is able to produce the greatest effect. It is trite to observe that man is a being possessed of passions as well as reason. But the legitimate way of dealing with him, is to address the former through the medium of the latterfirst to inform the judgment, and then call in the affections to aid and invigorate the conclusions of
I see no cause why the first place ought not to be given to that which, in the judgment of the truly enlightened and judicious, is first in importance; and this I conceive would be paying a better compliment even to the less enlightened, than the plan of treating them as if they were incapable of being stimulated by any thing else than pleasing images presented to the imagination, or by passionate appeals to the sympathy, &c. of the heart.
The apostles furnish us with the best models of the method of enforcing duty, as well as with the matter of instruction as to duty itself. We find in them no empty declamation--no attempt to influence the conduct by heating the imagination without informing the judgment—no exhibition of motives in an inverted order- no exhortation without a wherefore-no doctrine without a therefore. In other words, there is no duty inculcated by those inspired teachers, without the exhibition of the ground on which it rests—and the place it holds in the scheme of christian obedience. While on
the other hand doctrines are uniformly shown to be practical in the spirit and tendency of them. Hence, as there are some heretics who find it necessary to twist and bend scripture, in order to force it into something like a correspondence with their sentiments—there are others who, disjoining doctrine and practice, find it necessary to cut and hew scripture in pieces, picking up the detached fragments that suit their purpose, and throwing the rest away. But this by the bye.
To return then to the point.— The cause of missions is not recommended to us merely on the principle of gratitude, and yet it has here a most powerful claim. If we are not grateful beyond expression for the gospel, we neither understand nor believe it. If we do not express that gratitude by exerting ourselves to convey the blessing to others, how shall we prove it? The cause of missions is not recommended to us merely on the principle of humanity, and yet we violate every feeling and dictate of humanity if we neglect to disseminate the gospel. This cause is not recommended to us merely on the principle of justice, and yet we are most evidently unjust if we withhold from others a blessing to which they have an equal right with ourselves. If we have not an exclusive right to the gospel we are fearfully unjust in not communicating the knowledge of it to the ignorant. May we be delivered from the guilt of this “ crying sin,” ere it shall be said in accents of