« ÎnapoiContinuați »
most elevated walks of literature and science, consecrating their acquisitions to the cause of Christ, and societies of benevolence collecting the resources and concentrating the exertions of millions of ready hands and hearts to reclaim the world to God; when we see missionaries of the gospel of salvation, with apostolic zeal, penetrating the darkest corners and the most savage tribes of earth-translating the Bible into every language, circulating tracts in every dwelling, and preaching the gospel in the very temples of heathenism, thus planting the banner of the cross upon the strongest bulwarks of satan's crumbling empire ;-when we see hundreds of thousands of the children of idolaters, gathered into Christian schools and trained up in Christian faith and morals, the Pagan systems of all Asia visibly totteringthe idols of all the islands of the sea rapidly following the vanquished God's of Tahiti, Rarotonga and Hawaii, how can we doubt that the prediction of the text is soon to be fulfilled-that "the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it."
DISCIPLES OF JESUS!-Are you suitably awake to the privileges and responsibilities of the age in which you live? These considerations should encourage you and inspire you with unwearied zeal. The whole world is soon to be reclaimed to God; and he has assigned to you an alloted part in this great achievement. He expects your fervent prayers, your self-denying toil, your energetic never tiring perseverence. Are you aroused and at your work, fulfilling your vows, concentrating the intensity of your emotions, the stability of your principles and the energies of a holy life to the salvation of the perishing? Never were Christians so highly favored as now, never so encouraged as now. FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST! How many of the friends you love may now be won to Jesus by fidelity, how many ruined by worldliness and neglect! Soon you will stand at God's bar. Your friends and the present world will meet you there. Will they bless you, or condemn you? Will they bear witness to your consistent piety, or to your inconsistent life? Will they testify to your faithful and heartfelt exertions to lead them to the Savior, or will they attest, that, with a worldly, a frivolous and a careless spirit, you left them to perish unwarned? Fix your eye on death and the judgment, and live in view of those awful realities.
But there are many who yet reject the Savior. You are living in practical infidelity; saying, by your conduct, to the world around you, that the commands of the Savior you will not obey,-that the warnings of the gospel you will not heed. Is there no appeal that can reach your heart? Is there no motive in heaven's joy to allure you,-none in hell's horrors to repel you from sin? Has death, with its pallid cheek and palsied tongue, no voice that you can hear? Has the dark grave, where you soon must sleep, no influence to move you? Is there nothing worthy of a thought in the awful thunders of the resurrection trumpet, at whose peal your mouldering body shall
start again into eternal life? And can your ear be dead, and your heart be insensible, to the decisions of that judgment day, which will place you forever an angel in heaven, or a fiend in hell? O! my hearers, these are awful, awful realities. The world is awakening to them; breaking satan's chains; thronging to Christ. The young, the old, the heathen even, are crowding to the mountain of the Lord's house. And will you, can you, my friends, slight mercy's offerssquander probation's hours-brave judgment's terrors, and go down into a grave of stubborn rebellion and hopeless despair? Will you again this day say to your pleading Savior, "Depart from us for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways?" Will you still encounter the hazard of an unprepared death, of being cut down at a stroke by the Divine displeasure?
You have but a few days more to decide whether you will join the triumphant cause of your Redeemer, or share in the terrible defeat of satan and his legions. O! friends, hastening to death and judgment, harden not your hearts against these truths; disappoint not the hopes of angels; destroy not yourselves. Now seek and obtain an interest in that free salvation, which shall cheer your heart while you live and when you die, and which shall introduce you to that celestial world where there is no sorrow and no night.
BY REV. J. N. WYCOFF, D. D.
PASTOR OF THE SECOND DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, ALBANY, N. Y.
THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS.
"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach his name among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."-Gal. i. 15, 16.
THE spirit of real and exalted piety, is the true spirit of missions. Just so much as every professed christian has of the spirit of Jesus Christ, just so much he has of the spirit of missions. True piety admits of no "serving two masters," of no "halting between two opinions."
The exalted christian is a man of one great idea. His aim is single. His purpose is uncombined. He acknowledges and obeys but one impulse. Mighty and overpowering as the principle of gravitation in physics-quick and energetic as the impact of the electric force, is the operation of grace on his heart. The principle of religion is the atmosphere in which he moves-its devotions are the breath he breathes its provisions are the food on which his soul subsists. Jesus Christ is his Alpha and Omega. He knows no other master-he regards no other authority. Jesus Christ is his rock and refuge-his buckler and shield-the horn of his salvation, and the lifter up of his head. Often and gratefully does he breathe,
"Other refuge have I none;
Often and fervently does he beseech,
"Leave, O leave me not alone;
The love of Christ is the main-spring of all the machinery of his ac
tion; the word of Christ the only chart of his voyage through this world. The hope of glory through Christ is the magnetic power that continually draws him on from earth towards heaven. In Christ he exclaims,
"In Christ, I've all my soul's desire;
Now this spirit of true and exalted piety, we affirm, is also the true spirit of missions. At what moment soever it seizes the soul, at that moment also the holy passion rises to glorify him, who has translated the soul from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto Godat that moment, there begins to sprout the germ of a hallowed principle-fruitful of all blessed charities, and ready, without stipulation, to give all its power of production to the glory of the Master, and to the salvation of immortal souls.
Such was evidently the effect of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Such was clearly the development of religion in his soul. Scarcely had the heavenly vision burst upon his dazzled eyes, when he cried in mingled terror and submission, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do." Forthwith, when he was baptized and had received his sight, he went out in the very city to which he had been sent to persecute the saints-preached to the Jews, whose High Priest had commissioned him to hale men and women to prison, and in their very synagogue that Jesus Christ, whom they crucified, is the Son of God. It was no wonder that all that heard it were amazed, and said, "Is not this he that destroyed them that called on His name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the Chief Priests ?"
But Paul himself explains to us, in our text, the character and cause of this phenomenon. The spirit of Christ had taken possession of his mind, and immediately the spirit of missions entered into his soul, and became his ruling principle. "But," says he, "when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."
Let us, dear brethren, farther inquire respecting this spirit of mis
I. What manner of spirit is it?
II. Does it exist in its true character in the churches?
III. Whose duty and privilege is it to possess it?
IV. How may it be encouraged and raised to its proper standard in the different churches?
May the spirit of light and power that informed and impelled the
Apostle, aid and impress our views of this great subject! For Christ's sake. Amen.
Concerning the spirit of missions, then,
Taking our cue from the declaration and conduct of the great primitive, apostolic-missionary, who speaks in the text, we pronounce this spirit to be, that of a prompt, unconditional, total, self-sacrificing, all-sacrificing dedication to the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ, at home and abroad, among nominal christians and real heathen.
1. The spirit of missions is prompt. It has no affinity with that cold and killing charity, which says, "Go and come again, and I will give thee." It does not synchronize with the purpose of Felix, "Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." It has weighed the divine declaration, "Go to, ye that say to-day or to-morrow, whereas ye know not what a day may bring forth." It has entertained the precept, "What thine hand findeth to do, do with thy might."
Perhaps it has reflected, that while the christian is pausing in his purpose, or waiting for more ability, or a fitter opportunity, souls, by thousands, are sinking to irredeemable wo.
Perhaps the christian has imagined himself on the summit of a rock, high and secure. Far below him the sea is lashed to fury, and dashing in foamy spray around the base. On its lengthened and steeply inclined side, an innumerable multitude of his fellow beings are standing aghast with fear, or sliding down into the boiling, ingulphing waves below. Oh! would it be a time for him and his compeers, with vast coils of rope and cordage, and a great anchor of hope fastened by that wonderful cable of promise, ample for the support of untold millions without breaking, all lying on the rock. Oh! would it then be a time for him to hesitate and delay instant effort to raise the question and stop to discuss it—are the ropes long enough to reach them are the cords strong enough to hold these poor sufferers-will they seize hold of the ropes if they were lowered? No. No. He would say, let us try-let us try. Let us let them all down at once. Yes: the ropes are strong enough. Perhaps they will take hold, and then the poor sufferers will be rescued from a watery grave, and oh, how we will rejoice together when they are saved!
But the spirit of missions is as full of feeling, as of reflection. Its principle is settled, and it needs but little reflection. It looks down from the top of the rock; it sees the brother on the slippery side; he slides he falls; the deep waters are ready to swallow him up; he hears his low wail of distress-help-help. Oh! the christian cannot stop to think; he throws the coil of cordage from the top; he cries, take hold---take hold---we will help you. O God! save the suffering. Deliver from going down to the pit, those who are ready to