« ÎnapoiContinuați »
christian who is among them and beholds their abominations and wretchedness.
And is it not practicable to cherish and exhibit that spirit just as much in the one case as in the other? If the missionary engages unconditionally in the cause of God in foreign climes, cannot the christian unconditionally devote himself to the same cause at home? If the missionary make all manner of sacrifices of ease, honor, property, friends and fame, abroad, cannot the christian do the same at home?
If the missionary abroad engages promptly and vigorously in the work of translating, teaching and preaching, on heathen ground, cannot the christian at home show the same spirit, by preaching, giving, collecting, persuading, in behalf of the cause? I conclude, therefore, that it is the duty, aye, and the blessed privilege of the minister at home, to have just as much of the missionary spirit as his brother, already among the barbarous tribes; just as much the duty and the privilege of the lay brother, and the christian lady, to exhibit the missionary spirit, as of the lay-helper and the female teacher, and the missionary's wife, on a heathen shore. I affirm the certain and solemn reciprocal proposition with which this discourse commencedthat the true spirit of piety is the spirit of missions and the spirit of missions is nothing more than the true spirit of piety.
IV. I close with the practical inquiry, How shall this spirit be encouraged, or raised to its proper standard in the different parts of the church?
In answer to the inquiry, I venture to offer the following suggestions: Here,
1. The fact, the desideratum, is to arouse the attention of the churches. This must be done by agitating the subject. Let it be constantly thrown before the churches. Let them hear till their ears tingle, and their hearts ache. Let the Herald visit them. Let the Day-Spring shine upon them; let the messenger come to their houses; let the ambassador reside with them. Deluge them with information. Iterate and re-iterate the story of ignorance and crime, and idolatry and misery, which blacken the annals of heathen history. Tell them also, how many poor heathen and renowned chiefs, like Kuakuira, Africaner, and Keophlani, have lived and died in the Lord. Let every minister be an agitator. Let every minister by day and night cry aloud and spare not. Let them lift up their voices, like a trumpet, to declare the sin of those who manifest no fellowship in the work and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and the blessings of those who are workers together with him, in extending that kingdom which is "not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." Yes. Let every christian agitate, agitate, until the whole christian mind is filled with the grand enterprize of publishing peace on earth, and good will towards men.
2. The second desideratum is, to impress the hearts of the christian community with a deep and touching compassion for the destitute, and with a stirring sense of their accountability, in the premises. Let every christian be carried around the brow of the mountain, encompassing the valley of the shadow of death. Let him look upon all those dead bones that are so very dry. Let his eye affect his heart, while he meditates on the bondage of ignorance, idolatry, cruelty, parricide, infanticide, pilgrimages, heathen feasts, suttees, human sacrifices, and all the unnatural abominations of the heathen; and let his heart melt with pity when the voice of lamentations, mourning and wo, strikes his ear from the bloody Morai of the South Sea Islands, from the sweltering fire-house of the Parsees, from the devil's bust of the African-yes, and from the ornate mosque of the sensual Mahometanfrom the plain synagogue of the outcast Jew, and from the splendid cathedral of the deluded Romanist. And with his melting pity for their wretchedness, teach him to mingle a deep sense of his own responsibility. Let him remember that God has ordained the illumination of the world through the instrumentality of the church. He has bidden her to "arise and shine;" that he has commanded every christian according to his measure, to preach the gospel to every creature. Make him to understand, that if the heathen perish, he cannot be innocent of their blood, unless he has done what he could to save them. In a word, let the spirit of missions, full of affectionate and earnest desire, take hold of his soul, and you will have almost grasped the lever by which a fallen world can be raised to hope and heaven.
3. The third and last desideratum, is the agency of a divine power -the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Ah, brethren, "Paul may plant and Apollos water; God must give the increase." The barriers of ignorance, and depravity, and inveterate hatred are too high and strong to be levelled by human power. It is not "by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord.".... Ministers and christians will never feel the magnitude and obligation of the duty to evangelize the world; they never will be prepared to make the sacrifices and do the labors so promptly, so energetically, so perseveringly as the cause demands, and the dark, untutored heathen will never submit their prejudices, and bow to the law of Christ, until the spirit shall "be poured out from on high," in some such glorious effusion as fell on the primitive disciples, and on the multitude, when they were gathered together, on the day of Pentecost.
O, my brethren, ye that make mention of the Lord-ye that long for the glory of his appearing---remember this, that this spirit of power was first given when the disciples were making supplication with one accord in one place, and is usually given to the earnest, united, importunate prayers of God's people in every age. Therefore let us not keep silence; therefore let us strain our eye upon the valley of vision, and cry, day and night,---O breath, come, O breath, come and breathe upon the slain, that they may live. Therefore, having with Daniel understood from the books the number of the years, and
that the time is at hand, let us set our face unto the Lord God to seek this blessing, by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes, saying, O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken, and defer not, for thine own sake, O our God. And thus, in exerting all human agency, and invoking all divine aid, we may live to see the day, "when the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; when the kingdom, and the dominion under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people and the saints of the Most High God."
A SHORT SERMON.
NECESSITY OF REVIVALS OF RELIGION.
"Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."-Acts iii. 19.
I. IN fulfilment of this interesting prophecy, great and glorious revivals of religion are to be expected with increasing frequency and
1. Revivals of religion are necessary to the accomplishment of God's purposes. Great means will be necessary to bring these great purposes to pass. But great things never were done, and never will be done, without great revivals of religion. All the orthodoxy in the world will not do it. Speculation is cold and ineffectual without the power of the Holy Ghost. Theoretical systems will do nothing, unless warmed by revivals.
2. Revivals are necessary to counteract the luxury and corruption which naturally follow in the train of human industry and business. The common exertions, and slow effects of the ordinary means used, will never prevent the growth of intemperance, or control the love of worldly pleasure.
3. Great revivals are necessary to prevent the re-action which may be expected from the world. The wicked will soon be alarmed at the increase of holiness and strict religion. There will be a great conflict. And then if we do not have revivals, things will go back. Zion will not be able to stand in so dreadful a conflict. The alarm and the conflict are, indeed, already begun, and we must have revivals.
4. Revivals are necessary to provide the men for evangelizing the world. This is already seen to be the case. Where and how else can men be found? The expense is too great to be borne by the churches, as they now feel and act, while they have also to meet the expenses of worldly conformity and fashion, and think they must "lay up treasures on earth," so that they can say to their souls, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."
5. Without revivals in the Pagan fields, we shall be driven off
again. Orthodoxy will never convert the world, without the power of God. Infidels see that human means will not convert the world. And they confidently calculate that the thing is impracticable. So it is, except by revivals.
Therefore we may conclude that great and glorious revivals of religion are to be expected.
II. Great revivals are expected by the church. There is a general expectation of great things about to take place. Christians are, in some degree, waking up and turning their attention to these things, and feeling the necessity of great means. Great expectations in the church have always preceded great events.
1. The means of promoting revivals are vastly increased. Bibles, Tracts, Hymns, Music, Sabbath Schools, Infant Schools, Benevolent Societies for Missions, Education, Seamen, Temperance, &c. are provided. The means of revivals are greater a thousand fold than they were fifty years ago. More seed is sown in one year, than used to be in ten.
2. Revival preaching is more common, and more generally demanded in the church. Religious theory has been much modified by experience. The doctrine of divine sovereignty, co-operating with human means, is better understood. Truth is exhibited more scripturally; self-righteousness waiting for God's time, is less encouraged in sinners; and by many preachers wholly exploded. The obliga gations of repentance, faith, and a holy life, are pressed upon sinners, and they are urged to an immediate submission, by the motives which the Scriptures furnish. The ability and consequent duty of complying with the terms of salvation are extensively recognised. It is understood that revivals are not miracles, but are brought about by the use of means which are adapted to the end. Mulitudes are convinced by incontrovertible facts, that where the proper means are used in a proper spirit, a revival never fails to follow.
3. Revivals are of a new order. They are more frequent. We used to think, once in ten, twenty, thirty, or even fifty years, was as often as a church could expect a revival. They are also more generally rapid and powerful in their progress. They are more pure, more free from extravagance and wildfire.
4. The spirit of prayer is better understood, and the efficacy of prayer more realized.
It is believed that there is an efficacy in prayer to move our Heavenly Father to grant blessings. The spirit of prayer is increased in the church. Prayer meetings are much more frequent; seasons for definite prayer are more highly valued, and more frequent. All these things show that the church is expecting great
III. What shall we do, then, in view of all this? Why we must, 1. Believe it, 2. Rejoice in it. 3. Prepare to work in revivals.