« EdellinenJatka »
whole world, is, the obedience of the heart, arising from supreme love to him for his superlatise excellencies, manifested chiefly in giving himself for our sins, and in “suffering for us, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.” All coercion there. fore, all threatening of pains, penalties, or temporal loss, if the doctrine of Christ be not received, is infinitely distant from that spirit which seeks to win souls to the obedience of Christ, not only as completely annihilating all freedom of judgment and enquiry, and therefore gaining hypocrites to Christ, whose hearts are not with him and with whom he can never dwell, rather than real disciples; but as being in its own nature unjust, and therefore completely abhorred by Him, who, while a Saviour, is Jesus Christ the Righteous; and who, from his loving righteousness and hating iniquity, was " anointed with the oil of gladness above his fel. lows."
Nor, on the other hand, is this spirit, a spirit of finesse and trick and enticement. It rejects with abhorrence every attempt to be. guile the simple into Christianity under other pretences. Nothing in could be farther from the temper of Christ himself, than this disposition. Judging from his iitsisting that none could be his followers who did not deny themselves and take up their cross daily, -who did not, comparatively speaking, hate father and mother and even their own lives for his sake and the gospel's, we might almost imagine that he meant to terrify men from embracing his doctrine by a needless representation of hardships.
But he was infinitely wise; he held up to contempt the idea of a man's be. coming his disciple without previously counting the cost, both because he knew what it would really cost a man, and because his holy and infinitely penetrating mind, could have no delight on those who were not ready to part with all for his sake. He knew what it was about to cost him to redeem the human soul; and he knew the worth of salvation ; he therefore treated with infinite contempt the idea of beguiling any one into a profession of his nane, and foretold in the most unequivocal terms, what those had to suffer who embraced his doctrine : saying, “Ye shall be hate
ed of all men for my name's sake.” In unison with this spirit was the conduct of that pattern of all ministers and missionaries, the grrat Apostle of the Gentiles. He rejected those meretricious arts of eloquence, then so much used to gain followers by philosophers of different sects ; and with the noblest theme before him, he, though endowed with the richest talents, purposely abstained from enticing words of man's wisdom, lest the faith of his converts should " stand in the wisdom of men,” and not in the power of God," knowing as he did, that eloquence with all its arts, though it might dazzle the understanding and interest the passions for a season, would never produce that permanent change in the soul which could make a man renounce himself, as well as all outward advantages, take joyfully the spoiling of his goods, and suffer him. self to be accounted the off-scouring of all things for Christ's sake. Nothing therefore could be farther from the apostle, than any at. tempt to beguile or allure a person into the profession of Christi. anity, by any sinister act,--and nothing can be farther from the genuine Missionary spirit. If it desire men to receive Christ and profess his name, it must be upon the most deliberate choice, af. ter fully counting the cost of such a cordial and decisive recep tion.
Let us then view this spirit and disposition apart from pride and ostentation, from folly and fanaticism-as abhorring the most dis
tant approach to coercion on the one hand, and to finesse and r deception on the other; and endeavor to examine its real nature
and trace its effects. This spirit then, unless we are completely mistaken, will be found to include in a high degree, a disinterested concern for the welfare of others. This feeling must necessari. ly enter into the very essence of the spirit in question ; for if this be not felt, whence any effort to lay instruction before others, often when, through ignorance of danger, it is completely undesired? Were a man to see another about to swallow a mortal poison, and were his attempts to apprize him of its nature to be received in
an unwelcome manner, what could make him persevere in them, but an earnest concern for his neighbour's safety ? If this were not
felt, would not the attempt be given over and the man be left to his fate? Such then is the spirit in question ; it is the practical expression of a disinterested concern for others, even when thanks are not received in return. It is an emanation from the mind of the Saviour of the world, who “ though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich.”' It is that spirit, which, when it fully pervades mankind, will remove every misery the removal of which lies within the compass of human power. The British and Foreign Bible Society, therefore, the African Association, the British and Foreign School Society, and the various Missionary Societies as far as they are influenced by this spirit, inasmuch as they exhibit a genuine concern for the welfare of other nations without any expectation of profit in return, do honor to Britain and the human race.
This spirit also involves in it both examination, and firmness of mind. It does not bend itself to the removal of spiritual and eternal misery because regardless of men's temporal miseries; but merely because these are the greatest;--and because in removing these, the removal of all others is secured. Hence it is not the
gralification of a whim which leads them to this course, but the exercise of the soundest judgment, acting on indubitable proof. If those actuated thereby wish to turn men's attention to eternal salvation, rather than to confine it wholly to the removal of temporary misery, it is because they feel the justness and weight of that awful interrogation; “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?” and act from the full conviction that striking at its root, is the most effectual way of removing human misery. Nor is this to be discerned without careful examination ; nor the course pursued when ascertained, without steady decision of mind, contemued as it is by all who merely look at the surface, and expect to remove human misery, while its root is nourished in the fullest vigor. This spirit therefore, from its very nature nourishes examination and discernment, and generates firmness of mind in the prosecution of what appears in the highest degree beneficial to mankind: dispositions
these which enrich and strengthen any nation in which circumstances can render them habitual. They who can pursue the eternal good of their fellow-creatures with undeviating step, will find little difficulty in turning their attention to their temporal good, whether this consist in relieving their bodily wants, in training them to habits of industry, or diffusing among them the light of science. Elliot and David Brainerd improved the temporal circumstances of the Indians whom they directed to the Redeemer of the world. The Moravian missionaries have made the civilizing of the Hottentots, and their instruction in habits of industry and the various useful arts, as much their object, as though their views terminated wholly in their temporal good. And the diffusion of knowledge and of the best habits of Buropeans, throughout the nations of Eastern Asia, will as really accompany genuine missi
onary exertions among them, as though these were the sole ob. #jects in view.
This spirit will also be found highly favorable to exertion. In a work so laborious as that of communicating instruction to the unlettered savage, of planting the gospel where it has never yet been known, exertion is so necessary, that without a mind suited thereto, to engage in the undertaking is complete folly. Even the work of acquiring languages, in some instances without an alphabet, and in most without a grammatical apparatus to smoothe the passage, requires exertion of no ordinary kind. Yet this is but the beginning of labor ; every idea and expression intended to convey light, and to influence the mind, must be the result of mental exertion. Noris exertion less needed in missionary-affairs at home. But this spirit nourished in any country, particularly if it be separate from interested motives, must add to the mental riches of that nation by whom it is cultivated.
Lastly, a spirit of fuithfulness and disinterested probity in pe. cuniary concerns, is among the fruits produced by a missionary spirit. Amidst all the Bible, and School, and Missionary Socies ties, which of them has been charged by the tongue of slander itself with unfaithfulness in applying the funds intrusted to them?
Thus, under different names, funds to the amount of nearly Two Hundred Thousand Pounds sterling are raised annually in Britain, and applied in a great variety of ways, without even the suspicion of a job being attached to their management or application. This cannot but be beneficial. The labor must in some instances be as great as in some of the departments of Government, yet is it done gratuitously. On what principle ? For the sake of alleviating the miseries of others. Let this principle extend its influence in Britain, and may it not gradually induce a disposition to Jischarge by public business of another kind in the same manner? Why may not pity be felt for our own countrymen, as well as for people of a other nations for whose sake this is done ? and in due time why may we not hope to see men who can live on their own estates, as much ashamed to receive a large salary for transacting a little bu. siness for their poor and afflicted countrymen, as they would now be to receive a large salary for doing it in a Missionary, a Bible, or 2 School Society? If the principle be extending, who can say where it will end ?
RE . Thus much then is clear, that if this spirit, in itself separate from pride and ostentation, nourish a disinterested concern for the wel hat fare of others, lead to careful investigation respecting the best means of effecting this object, and to steady perseverance therein when supposed to be ascertained, -to the utmost exertion for the sake of accomplishing it, and to a gratuitous and faithful management of all the pecuniary concerns connected therewith however laborious they may be ; sårely a spirit which originates and nou. rishes such habits of concern for others--of investigation-of perseverance--of exertion-of disinterested activity in the discharge of business, must be valuable to a nation, whatever be the occasion in which it originates, or however small the good which may be accomplished thereby;--it must bless the British isles if it should terminate merely on the exercise of itself. . But if its object be the same with that of the Governor of the universe-if it accord with the ideas of the Saviour of the world, it shall not be nourished in vain ; however long suecess may be delayed, it will be