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unto them to aspire for the highest spiritual attainments, and those eminent qualities of mind and manner which become the ministers of Jesus Christ. The church has more to do in giving a distinct and particular character to the ministry than most Christians imagine. It is true to a certain extent that the church will follow in the foot. steps of her acknowledged leaders, and ministers are very likely to fashion the character of their people after the model of their own. This, however, is mostly true only in reference to ministers who have passed the period when character receives the impress of its peculiar and distinctive features, and have obtained gradually, and by confirmed habits, a controlling influence in the church. The prominent charac. teristics of nearly every minister have had their origin in the circumstances of simple church membership, when the training of mind and morals was mostly directed by the general examples of professing Christians. If we would elevate the character and increase the moral power of the ministry for the spiritual good of the world—if especially we would give to the succeeding generation of ministers a character more primitive and apostolic, and more likely to hasten on the evangelization of all nations, and supply the wants of the world with mis. sionaries in sufficient numbers and of suitable qualifications—we must begin within the ranks of the church, and awaken a stronger and more elevated tone of piety among her members. They must be persuaded to take higher ground in Christian enterprise, and propose to themselves a wider range of active benevolence. They must learn to receive the gospel plainly and simply as it is, uncorrupted by the glosses and accommodations of false philosophy. They must sacredly regard it as the only standard of experimental and practical piety, and obtain a more deep and abiding conviction of their indispensable obligation to the world. Far more is to be done by every Christian than merely to save his own soul. Each one is a steward of the grace of God," and is to employ his talents for the good of others, and the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom.

It is made the duty of the church to “pray to the Lord of the har. vest that he would send forth more laborers into the harvest." This duty, however, if rightly performed, must be the result of a benevolent and lively interest in the spiritual welfare of the world. We must look at the wants of the world ; at its guilty and degraded condition ; at the appropriate and efficacious remedy provided in the gospel for the moral maladies of mankind. We must be sensible how important it is that this remedy should be applied as speedily as possible, foras. much as the millions who now throng the road to death will soon have passed beyond the reach of hope, and any delay on our part may re. sult in the ruin of thousands who otherwise might be saved.

What an overwhelming consideration ! How fearful the destiny which awaits the countless multitudes thronging the dark way to the world of spirits ! Awful indeed must be our accountability if their destiny of wo shall finally be charged to our neglect! Our individual interest, as well as theirs, should prompt us to the use of such means as God has placed within our reach for their recovery to the hope and possession of eternal life. Christian charity will not allow us to slumber. The fountain of our benevolence would become corrupted by a baneful selfishness, poisoning our own life springs, if we were to restrain from others the waters of salvation. Every feeling of a regenerated heart shrinks from the thought, and urges itself to the work of faith and labor of love. Awakened to the true sympathy and zeal of the gospel, and to the full conviction that God works by human instrumentality, we shall be incited to earnest and unceasing prayer that holy and faithful men may be thrust into the field, and the proclamation of mercy be made to the ends of the earth. We shall endeavor to impress upon each other the great duty of caring for the souls of the heathen ; and especially shall we be forward to encourage young men of suitable piety, and other requisite qualifications, to listen to the loud cry of perishing millions—and, if God call them to the work, to give them the aid of that influence with which our talents and means may furnish us.

When the church shall fully attain to this high eminence; when her motto, “ Holiness to the Lord,” shall be clear and legible upon

all her members as it was upon the mitre of the Jewish high priest ; and when she shall exhibit those traits of character which justify the sacredness and dignity of her profession, then only may we expect that any thing like a full supply of evangelical ministers will be furnished for the world. In this state of things, it will seldom be found neces. sary to urge upon those whom God shall commission to the work the importance of doing their duty. Considerations of worldly policy, pecuniary emolument, or the worthless applauses of the unstable mul. titude, will have no weight either with the church or with candidates for the sacred office. Motives which govern an unholy ambition are, at any time, base and incongruous in the highest degree, and can scarcely exist except where a degenerated and vitiated taste has smothered the warmth of vital piety. Let the church be pure and ardent in her love, and holy and zealous in her examples, and un. worthy motives will be known only to be detested and repelled. The sons of the prophets, nurtured in such a school and trained for the missionary enterprise under the influence of such holy principles, will burn with desire to cast themselves and all they have upon the sacred altar, and esteem it their highest honor to toil and suffer, though it may be in the ends of the earth, so they may be instrumental in ex: tending the triumphs of the cross. Not a call will be made for laborers but many will cheerfully offer themselves for the work; not a door will be opened for usefulness but numbers will be found waiting to enter; and thousands, as they engage in the holy calling, will cheer them by the voice of encouragement, and sustain their efforts by that “ fervent and effectual prayer” which God has promised shall never be unavailing.

The active co-operation of the church in the work of spreading the gospel is essential to its prosperity.

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Such was the solemn injunction of our blessed Lord to his apostles and first disciples. The duty thus required of them is equally binding upon his ministers and people in all succeeding ages. The light which illumi. nates and cheers their pathway is to be held up for the benefit and comfort of others, and made to shed its influence upon the darkness and misery of the world around. No one has a right to hide the


lamp of grace under the measure of a selfish monopoly ; no one, in. deed, can do it without extinguishing the light within him, and losing himself in darkness more terrible than that of the heathen. In becoming the disciples of Christ we utterly renounce all feelings and inte. rests of a selfish character; we invest every thing we have in his cause; we resign ourselves to his government, and identify our hopes and purposes with the prosperity of his kingdom and the salvation of a guilty world. A religion based upon less elevated ground than this

-- which shuts itself within the narrow limits of the heart's own selfishness, and moves only at the promptings of personal regard—is not the religion of the Bible; it is not the religion of the compassionate Jesus, who, “though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.” The spirit which animated him in the work of redemption he inspires in all who are made par. takers of his grace. He engages them in a cheerful co-operation with himself, and makes them sharers in his joyful triumphs.

Nothing can be more certain than that the true prosperity of the church is closely connected with her duty. No longer than she retains the spirit of the gospel, her love to the Saviour, her zeal for his glory, her interest in the advancement of his kingdom, and the recovery of souls from sin and death ;-no longer than this can she retain the character of a living, spiritual church, and claim the honor of the presence of Christ in her midst. Just in proportion as the tone of benevolent feeling is elevated and enlarged, and liberal plans are devised for the expression of Christian sympathy, the spiritual state of the heart will be improved, brotherly love increased, and the church rise in her character and influence; and just in proportion as the people of God lose their interest in objects of Christian benevolence, they will languish and fall short in their personal piety, and recede from the essential principles of their holy profession. The whole his. tory of the church is in proof of this. Its zealous and active co-operation with Christ and his ministers for the furtherance of the gospel has ever been the measure of its spiritual prosperity. As it has be. come lax in the one, it has declined in the other; and the days of its brightest glory have been seasons of the greatest self-denial and most enlarged benevolence.

It is a solemn fact, which it becomes all well to consider, that, if they do no good in the world, they do evil ; and the amount of evil is according to the means they possess of doing good. It is not in the power of any one, connected as he is with human society by a thousand sensitive cords, to render himself neutral: he is constantly send. ing out an influence which takes hold upon the character and destiny of others; and every talent he possesses, whether well improved or otherwise, while it tends to his own welfare or ruin, affects more or less the interests of those around him. It is selfishness-that selfish. ness which the gospel condemns that disposes us to care only for ourselves, and throw off all concern for our fellow.creatures; and it is undeniable that an indifference to the wants of others is an evidence that we are wanting in true piety. That hand which withholds from others is itself made poor, while he who scattereth abroad is made rich. “The liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand.”

The church is required to co-operate in the missionary cause by free and liberal contributions of pecuniary aid.

The leading and distinguishing trait in the character of the gospel is benevolence. The highest and most perfect form in which it was ever exhibited to the world was the great work of redemption, by the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God. “ God so loved the world” is the only reason which our Saviour assigned for that amazing display of infinite mercy. Nothing on the part of man, either in the circumstances of his guilt, or the agency he has in his own salvation, in the least detracts from the gratuity. It is benevolence, free and unmerited, from beginning to end, and teaches to all its subjects the duty of cherishing and extending the same mercy of which they have been made the partakers. The gospel, in the benevolence of its nature and influence, has a duplicate in every regenerated soul. To the exact extent of that power by which it is felt in the hearts of men, it produces its own likeness ; and thenceforth, in the lives of its redeemed subjects, there is an imitation of the example of the Lord Jesus, who said, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive;" and who, in exem. plification of his heavenly maxim, “ went about doing good.” Be. nevolence is the atmosphere in which the Christian breathes the medium of his spirituality. Selfishness is the choke-damp of all religious feelings; and sooner than any thing else extinguishes the flame of piety, and alienates all hope from the promised reward in heaven. Benevolence, however, where there are objects within the scope of Christian charity, can never remain inactive. Like the element light, it lives only as it is in motion, and leaves that heart dead which it cannot excite to deeds of generous sympathy. It becomes the ruling passion of the mind, kindly enlisting into its service the entire energies of soul and body, and exacting tribute of those means and opportu. nities for the good of others which selfishness monopolizes for its miserly cravings.

The great object of Christian benevolence is a world that lieth in wickedness. Like the man who fell among thieves, and was wounded, and left half dead, it has been given to the care of the church, with this solemn injunction from the Saviour, " Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more when I come again I will repay thee.” How can the church acquit itself before its great Head and Lord ex. cept in obedience to his command ? and except in the cultivation of those principles which constitute both the ground-work and spirit of Christianity? The example of Christ—especially his example of active and untiring benevolence is our pattern. And is it saying too much, that he who is wanting in Christian benevolence, according to his capacity and means, is not a follower of Christ? In what does he imitate the divine Saviour, and wherein does he walk in his footsteps, if he be destitute of those feelings and principles which it was the bighest glory of the Son of God to exhibit and carry out in all their practical influence? Look at the early history of the church. The rapid progress and complete triumph of evangelical principles asto. nished, confounded, and finally silenced the world. Within forty years after the apostles received their full commission, and unfurled the banner of the cross in the holy city, societies were formed in

every province of the Roman empire; and Jewish bigotry, heathen philo

Vol. XI.-Jan., 1840. 5

sophy, and pagan superstition, trembled and fell before the mighty influence of truth and holiness. That the Holy Spirit was the efficient and all-powerful agent in this work, we cannot doubt. Nor can we doubt that the apostles were eminently faithful as ministers of the word, and that they preached with wisdom and power “ which not all their adversaries were able to gainsay or resist.” But we are not to suppose that private Christians contemplated all this with apathy and cold indifference. Much, very much depended upon their influence and efforts for the extended and permanent success of the ministry. The apostles were sustained by the great body of believers. Such means as were necessary to carry out the designs of the public mi. nistry, and supply the immediate wants of those who devoted their all to the work, were readily and amply furnished, even though it might be at the expense of many private comforts.

While therefore the church cannot but feel its obligation to lift up the unceasing prayer that “knowledge may be increased, and many run to and fro” to carry the word of life to the ignorant and destitute portions of the earth, let none suppose that this can be effected without appropriate action on the part of the church itself-without the expenditure of strength, and talents, and money. Bibles are to be multiplied, instruction is to be communicated, ambassadors to the heathen are to be supported in their work; and this cannot be done without pecuniary aid. For what more important purpose has God given to his people an abundance of earthly goods? And if these things may be rendered subservient to the eternal interests of souls redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, who that has wherewith to give can conscientiously and innocently refuse, and clench with the hand of covetousness what righteously belongs to others? Hoarded wealth is a curse to its possessor, generating and sending forth, li e a stagnant pool, the miasma of disease and death. It was given that it might flow forth in living streams, purifying its own fountain, and fertilizing all within its influence. It thus becomes a double blessing; it blesses both the giver and the receiver. There is wealth enough in the church, over and above all that is needful for the wants of those who possess it, to supply the entire heathen world with Bibles and Christian teachers, within at least as short a time as was occupied by the first ministers of Christ in carrying their doctrines into all the Roman empire. And it cannot be doubted, that if the church pos. sessed a disposition to give, equal to its ability, God would raise up ministers in sufficient numbers to answer every call, and meet the expectations of the most enlarged benevolence.

Let every Christian, then, calmly and prayerfully inquire what is his individual duty to Christ and to the world. Have you considered the condition and wants of the perishing millions around you? Have you given yourselves to earnest prayer that God would speedily enlighten and save them? Have you appropriated a reasonable portion of your earthly gains to sustain the missionary enterprise ? Have you done all you were able to do? Till you can truly answer these questions in the affirmative, you cannot conclude that you have fully discharged your duty.

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