Page images

have practised fraud, he could have done it. If any could have enriched themselves out of the public charities, he could have enriched himself. Still, he died comparatively destitute of property, and has left a dependent family almost without support. And yet he is one of the men who it is pretended have been growing rich on the bounty of others, and fattening from the treasury of the Lord. I do not ask, whether such a charge is uncharitable; or whether it is unjust? But I do ask, whether it is not cruel? Have not those devoted men, who are wasting time and property, health and life for the benefit of others, and in most cases without any earthly com- : pensation-have they not enough to bear, without bearing the "evil surmisings" and cruel aspersions of a jealous slanderous world?

I have not brought this subject forward, because I think the opposition to the cause of Missions is at all formidable. We have nothing to fear from it, and we fear nothing from it. We had reason to expect it, long before it appeared. It could not be supposed, that Satan would renounce the empire of this world without a struggle. If the work of Missions was not assailed by the wicked, it would lack one decisive evidence of being a work of God. It would be the first peculiar work of the Divine Spirit, which ever escaped the opposition of men..

Nor have I brought this subject foward with the expectation of silencing opposition. I have reason to know the world too well to look for such a result. It will, no doubt, be said after all, that the public is imposed upon, that the bounty of Christians is misapplied, and that the almoners of their charities are enriching themselves. As reason has had no

hand in exciting this opposition, it cannot be expected that reason should stop it.

Nor has this subject been taken up, because I supposed the trustees of our public charities stood in need of my feeble aid, in order to vindicate them. They have God, and truth, and justice, and benevolence on their side; and what can they need more? Indeed the charges against them are so obviously malicious and unfounded, that I fear any attempt at vindication may be deemed superfluous.

But I have brought this subject forward, that we all may be prepared to act with light and understanding respecting it. If any of you, my dear hearers, are determined to enlist yourselves with the opposers of missions, you will now do it with your eyes open; and you will take the responsibility of doing it upon yourselves. You will have no occasion to say hereafter, when you and I meet at the bar of God, 66 we were instructed no better."

I have hoped also, by the foregoing discussion, to relieve the minds of some pious persons, who have not been able to attend largely to the subject. Such know, on the one hand, that many of their brethren and sisters are warmly in favour of Missionary objects; and this is with them presumptive evidence that such objects are good. But then they hear it asserted on the other hand, that this movement respecting Missions is all a trick, intended to filch away money from industrious people, and put it into the pockets of idle and fraudulent men. They are therefore at a stand. They know not what they ought to do, and most commonly conclude it will be safest to do nothing. Such persons have reason to be, and so far as they have been honest in their scruples I think they will be, satisfied, in view of what has been said.

Their doubts will be removed; their minds relieved; and they will be prepared to co-operate in the building up of Christ's kingdom with vigor and effect.

I have farther hoped, that by removing a common and popular objection to the Missionary work, the true friends of that work might be strengthened and encouraged to go forward in it with renewed zeal.Such know and feel, that the object they are pursuing is immeasurably noble and important. It is an object, compared with which the sublimest worldly schemes dwindle to nothing. They are aiming to impart life and salvation to perishing myriads whe are immersed in deep and doleful darkness. They are aiming at the conversion and renovation of a world. They know too, that this is an object which will be accomplished. Its accomplishment is secured by the unfailing promise of God. If the opposi


tion to it were a thousand times more formidable than it now is, it could ultimately avail nothing. It could terminate in nothing but its own defeat. -The friends of Missions may also be satisfied, that the means now in operation for the accomplishment of this object are wise and proper ones. They are such as God hath himself appointed-such as he has been pleased to honor and to bless. And they may be satisfied farther, after what has been said, that whatever is contributed in a way of means to promote the great object they have in view will be most faithfulty and conscientiously applied. The pretence so often urged, that "contributions for the support of Missions do no good-they are misapplied-are squandered away on unworthy agents, and never reach their destined end"-is one of those "evil surmisings," which the Apostle condemns. It is a cruel malicious slander, which has no foundation in truth,

and which must have originated, either in great ignorance, or in a very depraved heart. It is a slander, the tendency of which is not to benefit him who utters it but to injure the cause and the friends of truth; to put a stop to exertions for the spread of the gospel; to fasten the chains of ignorance, superstition, and wretchedness upon six hundred millions of our fallen race; and to seal them over to irremediable destruction.

It is devolving then on the friends of Missions (and in this number I hope I may class all who hear me) to go forward. The path of our duty is as plain as though it were marked in sun-beams. Whenever we are called in the Providence of God to contribute of our substance for the spread of the gospel; let us cheerfully bestow all we ought to bestow-let us measure our liberality by the line of our duty. And in estimating our duty, let us be guided, not by the maxims of mere worldly prudence (which are ordinarily but another name for the dictates of a supremely selfish heart) but by the precepts and example of our Saviour.

Rest assured, my friends, the Lord of hosts is with us. He will carry forward his own work, though earth and hell oppose. The success already witnessed is but a pledge of still greater success. The victories already achieved over the prince of darkness, are but an earnest of more splendid triumphs. All who will yoke themselves with this malignant spirit, in opposition to the spread of truth, must with him be overthrown. When the king of saints shall ride in triumph over a prostrate but adoring world, they must be crushed beneath the wheels of his all-conquering chariot. Let us then be wise. Let us labor diligently and suffer patiently for

the spread of the gospel. And though, before its triumphs are complete, our eyes should be closed in death, still they will be opened on heaven; and it will be the portion of our children, and our children's children, to enjoy the comforts and participate the glories of Millenial scenes.

« PreviousContinue »