Imágenes de páginas

they intend to lead a new life as soon as they can but shake off their old connexions ;-in short, it is thus with great numbers in all our towns, and villages, and congregations; they put off the great concern to another time, and think they may venture at least a little longer, till all is over with them, and a dying hour just awakens them, like, the virgins in the parable, to bitter reflection on their own fatal folly.

But, Secondly, This plea not only affects the unconverted, but prevents us all from undertaking any great or good work for the cause of Christ, or the good of mankind. We see many things that should be done, but there are difficulties in the way, and we wait for these difficulties being all removed. We are very apt to indulge a kind of prudent caution (so we call it) which foresees and magnifies difficulties beyond what they really are. It is granted there may be such things in the way of an undertaking, as may render it impracticable, and in that case it is our duty for the present to stand still ; but it becomes us to beware lest we account that impracticable which only requires such a degree of exertion as we are not inclined to give to it. Perhaps the work requires expense, and covetousness says, wait a little longer, till I have gained so and so in trade, till I have rendered my circumstances respectable, and settled my children comfortably in the world. But is not this like ceiling our own houses, while the house of God lies waste? -Perhaps it requires concurrence, and we wait for every body being of a mind, which is never to be expected. He who, through a dread of opposition and reproach, desists from known duty, is in danger of being found amongst the fearsul, the unbelieving; and the abominable.

Had Luther, and his cotemporaries, acted upon this principle, they had never gone about the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

glorious work of Reformation. When he saw the abominations of popery, he might have said, “These things ought not to be, but what can I do? If the chief priests and rulers in different nations but unite, something might be effected; but what can I do, an individual, and a poor man? I may render myself an object of persecution, or,

which is worse, of universal contempt, and what good end will be answered by it?"' Had Luther reason, ed thus, had he fancied that because princes and prelates were not the first to engage in the good work, therefore the time was nci come to build the House of the Lord; the house of the Lord, for any thing he had done, might have lain waste to this day.

Instead of waiting for the removal of difficulties, we ought in many cases to consider them as pure posely laid in our way, in order to try the sincerity of our religion. He who had all power in heaven aud earth, could have not only sent forth his aposiles into all the world, but have so ordered it that all the world should treat them with kindness, and aid them in their mission ; bui insttad of that, he told them to lay their accounts with persecution and the loss of all things. This was, no doubt, to try their sincerity; and the difficulties laid in our way are equally designed to try ours

Let it be considered whether it is not owing to this principle that so few and so feeble efforts have been made for the propagation of the gospel in the world. When the Lord Jesus commissioned his apostles, be commanded them to-Gu, and teach all nations, to preach the gospel to every creature ; and that notwithstanding the difficulties and opposition that would lie in the way. The apos, tles executed their commission with assiduity and fidelity ; but since their days, we seem to sit down half contented that the greater part of the world should still remain in ignorance and idolatry

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Some noble efforts indeed have been made, but they are but small in number when compared with the magnitude of the object. And why is it so ? Are the souls of men of less value than heretofore? No. Is Christianity less true, or less important than in former ages? This will not be pretended. Are there no opportunities for societies, or india viduals in Christian nations, to convey the gospel to the heathens ? This cannot be pleaded so long as opportunities are found to trade with them, yea, and what is a disgrace to the pame of Christians, to buy them, and sell them, and treat them with worse than savage barbarity! We have opportunities in abundance ; the improvement of navigation, and the.maritime and commercial turn of this couuntry, furnish us with these ; and it de. serves to be considered, whether this is not a circumstance that renders it a cluty peculiarly binding upon us.

The truth is, if I am not mistaken, we wait for we know not what ; we seem to think the time is not come, the time for the Spirit to be poured down from on high. We pray for the conversion and salvation of the world, and yet neglect the ordinary means by which those ends have been used to be accomplished. It pleased God, heretofore, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believed ; and there is reason to think it will still please God to work by that distinguished mean. Oright we not then to try, at least, by some means, to convey more of the good tidings of salvation to the world around us,* than have hitherto been

* It may not be amiss to inform the reader, that at the time of the above discourse being delivered, the Rev. Mr. CAREY of Leicester, was present. After worship, when the ministers were together, he moved the question, « J'hether something might not be done in the way of sending the gospel into the heaihen world?" It was well known at the same time that Mr. CAREx had writien a judi


conveyed? The encouragement to the heathen is still in force, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved; but how shall they call on him in whom they have vot believed ? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a prea, cher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? Rom. X. 13.-15.

Let it be farther considered, whether it is not owing to this principle that so few and so feeble efforts are made for the propagation of the gospel in places within our reach. There are many dark places in our own land, places where priests and projd, it is to be feared, are alike destitute of true religion, all looking to their own way, every one for bis gain from his quarter. Were every friend of Jesus Christ to avail himself of that liberty which the laws of his country allow him, and embrace every opportunity for the dissemination of evangelical principles, what effects might we hope to see? Were every true minister of the gospel to make a point of preaching as often as possible in the villages within his reach, and were those private Christians wbo are situated in such villages to open their doors for preaching, and recommend the gospel by a holy and affectionate bem haviour, might we not hope to see the wilderness become as a fruitful field ? Surely in these matters we are too negligent. ---And when we do preach to the unconverted, we do not feel as if we were to do any good. We are as if we knew not how to get at the hearts and consciences of people. We cast the net, without so much as expecting a draught. We are as those who cannot find their cious piece upou the subject, which he had by him in mani. uscript, shewing the duty of Christians in that matter, and the practicability of the undertaking. It was therefore a: greed, as the first step proper to be taken, that Mr. CAREY be requested to revise and print his manuscript.

hands in the day of battle ; who go forth not like men inured to conquest, but rather like those into ured to defeat. Whence arises all this? Is it not owing, at least a considerable degree of it, to a no. tion we have, that the time is not come for any thing considerable to be effected 2

Thirdly, It is this plea that keeps many from a public profession of religion, by a practical acknowledgment of Christ. Christ requires of his foliowers that they confess his name before men), that they be baptized, and commemorate his dyiog love in the ordinance of the Supper. Yet there are many who consider themselves as Christians, and are considered so by others, who still live in the neglect of these ordinances. I speak not now of those who consider themselves as having been baptized in their infancy, but of such who admit adult immersion to be the only true baptism, and yet do not practise it, vor hold communion with any particular church of Christ. It is painful to think there should be a description of professed Christians, who live in the neglect of Christ's commands. What can be the motives of such neglect ? Probably they are various ; there is one, however, that must have fallen under your observation, that is, the want of some powerful impression upon the mind, impelling them, as it were, to a compliance. Many persons wait for something of tbis sort, and because they go from year to year without it, conclude that the time is not come, or that it is not the mind of God that they should comply with those ordinances, at least that they should comply with them at present. Impresšions, it is allowed, are desirable, provided it be truth or duty that is impressed, otherwise they deserve po regard; but be they as desirable as they may, the want of them can never justify our living in the neglect of known duty. Nor are they at all adapted to shew us what is duty, but mere-,

« AnteriorContinuar »