Page images

by their Christian brethren and friends. And this is all that is furnished for them. From the contributions of Christians, they have no means and no possibility, of ever amassing wealth.-And we are expressly informed that Paul, in the course of his missionary labors, received frequent charitable aid from individuals, and from the churches. "The house of Onesiphorus sought him out very diligently," while he was a prisoner at Rome," and oft refreshed him, and were not ashamed of his chain." In "many things also they ministered unto him," during his abode at Ephesus. While he was laboring at Corinth, he received contributions from other churches for his support. "I robbed other churches," says he to the Corinthians, "taking of them wages to do you service." These were probably the churches of Macedonia; for he immediately adds "That which was lacking to me, the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied." The brethren at Philippi were very liberal, in contributing for the support of the great missionary Paul; and in his Epistle to them he commends them for it. "Ye have done well, that ye did communicate with my affliction; for even in Thessalonica, ye sent once and again unto my necessity. But I have all and abound ; having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you."

5. Missionaries in modern times are accustomed to travel from place to place, dispensing the word of life as opportunities are presented. They have not parishes and churches where they constantly reside, and over which they are constituted pastors; but are in the habit of making frequent and extensive circuits, in accomplishing their labors of love. Now this is precisely the manner in which Paul labored. He

was never the pastor of any particular church, or for any great length of time the minister of any particular parish or city. He went about doing good. He travelled from city to city, and from place to place, scattering the seed of divine truth, and dispensing the gospel of the grace of God, wherever he went. At one time he is at Antioch, then in Iconium, then in Syria, then in Macedonia, then in Athens, and next perhaps at Rome. Thus he travelled and labored as missionaries now do, and was enabled to say, several years previous to his death, that "from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum he had fully preached the Gospel of Christ."

6. Missionaries at the present time are not unfrequently employed in collecting and receiving the contributions of the pious. They are employed as agents in this business, previous to their going forth ainong the heathen. And so far as the newly planted churches have ability to contribute, they are occasionally employed in the same business afterwards. And in this respect, they are but followers of the great missionary, Paul. He was much engaged, during a certain period of his ministry, in taking up collections among the churches of the Gentiles, for the relief of the poor and persecuted saints at Jerusalem. "Now," says he to the Romans, "I go to Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem." "Concerning the collection for the saints," he writes to the Corinthians," as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come, and when I come

whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem."

It would be superfluous to quote more relative to these contributions; as the whole of the eighth and ninth chapters of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, besides other passages in the writings of Paul, refer to them.

7. Missionaries at the present period are in the habit of keeping and transmitting journals of their proceedings. These journals constitute a continued history of their labors and travels, their successes, afflictions, wants, and prospects, and in general of their circumstances. The more interesting parts of them are usually published, and are read and rejoiced in by thousands. Paul the missionary also kept, or caused to be kept, a journal of his proceedings; and for the benefit of Christians in all succeeding ages, this journal was early published. The Acts of the Apostles, from the thirteenth chapter to the end, is no other than a journal of the life and labors of Paul. Here we may follow him from place to place, and may study his bright and interesting example, from the time of his being commissioned to go among the heathen, almost to the period of his death. We may listen to his instructions, witness his conflicts, and admire his persevering engagedness and his brilliant


8. Missionaries now are in the habit of writing frequent letters, to their employers, to one another, to Christian associations, and to their Christian friends. These in many instances are brought before the public. And Paul the Missionary, it appears, was in the same habit. the same habit. He wrote a variety of letters, to his fellow laborers, to the several stations he had formed, and to the churches and friends

of his divine Redeemer. Several of these letters were probably lost; but many of them were collected and published in the volume of inspiration, and will be read in the churches till the end of time.I add,

9. Missionaries at the present period frequently present reports of their doings and circumstances to the Societies which employ them. In some instances they return to make these reports; though the foreign Missionaries more frequently make them by means of periodical and joint communications. We read also of Paul, after his return "to Antioch, from whence he had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which he had fulfiled," that he 66 gathered the church together, and rehearsed all that God had done with him, and how he had oper the door of faith unto the Gentiles." Soon after this, he and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders; "and when they were come, and were received of the church, they declared all things that God had done with them. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them."

It is thought the missionary character of Paul, is now fully established, not only from the meaning of the word Apostle, which was customarily applied to him, but from the general similarity of his labors and circumstances to those of missionaries in modern times.


1. If Paul was a missionary, then the cause of missions is supported by very high authority. It is


sometimes questioned whether this cause has any foundation in the Scriptures-whether it is not an innovation of the times, and a needless expense and burden to the church. The view we have taken is sufficient to put such a question at rest for ever. Paul was a missionary to the heathen. From almost the commencement of his public ministry to the hour of his death, he labored and suffered in this glorious work. The cause of missions, is therefore supported by the whole example of the apostle Paul. It is supported in like manner by the example of the other apostles. The other apostles were all of them missionaries. They were those whom Christ himself sent forth to preach and propagate the religion of the Gospel. Indeed the cause of missions has all the support which the authority and the command of God can give it. When Paul was set apart and sent forth from Antioch, it was done by the command of the Holy Ghost. "The Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Paul for the work whereunto I have called them." It is moreover asserted, that Paul was an apostle or missionary" of Jesus Christ by the will of God." The cause of missions should be regarded therefore as a divine institution. It is as really an institution of God as the Sabbath, or a preached Gospel, or baptism, or the Lord's supper is. It is not a thing proposed to us by our fellow creatures merely and which we are at liberty to think of as we please; but a work committed to us by our Maker, which we are bound to help forward by every method in our power.

2. We may learn how sinful it is to oppose the cause of missions. It is to condemn the whole example-to pass a censure on the whole ministerial life and work of the apostle Paul; for Paul was a mis

« PreviousContinue »