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and as my case was by no means peculiar, I also concluded that there is but one legitimate call to foreign missions, and that ability and opportunity to labour among the heathen constitute that call.
Under ability I include not only the qualifications already possessed, but equally those which are attainable ; and under opportunity not merely an open way of access to the heathen, but also the power of removing those obstructions which may
bar that way
Only extend the limits of our native lands, and make them conterminous with the earth and there will be no difference of opinion on this subject. The most satisfactory reason assigned by ministers of the gospel for changing their spheres of exertion, is the greater extent of the field; and hence the brighter prospect of usefulness. Why should this reason fail when applied to less favoured countries? To this general position I know of but one plausible objection which can arise in any mind. It may be thought that the facilities for successful operation are not so numerous and effective among uncivilized nations as in Christendom, and consequently a greater amount of good may be accomplished at home than abroad. As I have no time to examine this subject, I hope it may
receive the consideration which it merits, from some one who may succeed me.
there be a difference in favour of the ministry at home, which is opposite to my opinion, it is not sufficient to affect the position I have assumed.
As long as the demand for labourers is so much greater among other nations than in Christendom, there is evidently a standing call in providence to exercise our ministry in those nations ; and he who cannot show the best reasons for not complying with this demand — in other words, he who has the ability and opportunity to become a foreign missionary, is bound to listen and obey. We cannot conceive how any other call can neutralize this.
The spirit of God never opposes the providence of God. Those who require something beyond this unequivocal summons, may be as successful as Balaam in demanding a second intimation of God's will, because the first did not please him. That this ability and opportunity by no means exist in all cases
that there may be very obvious hinderances to the missionary life, none can deny. There
be such a state of health as forbids all mental application, or as renders the trials and toils of this life insupportable.
There are at times hinderances in the domestic relations. A wife may be unable or obstinately indisposed to go. Parents may have no other worldly dependence than a son in the ministry.
This last objection, however, seldom exists, or may generally be obviated. Many are so extensively connected in life---such a numerous family has been committed to their care for support and training, that they could not consistently either leave or take them.
Some are too old to begin this life ; and a few may be disqualified by mental imbecility or great moral imperfections; but the first class we believe are equally unfit for the ministry at home, and the last can only plead exemption, when they can justify allowed sin.
How far eminent standing and usefulness at home ought to prevent a change in the sphere of our labours, it is difficult to determine. Paul appeared to be exerting the happiest influence in many places, when he felt it his duty to leave them. But Paul carried his usefulness with him. In tones of gratefulexultation he could exclaim -“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." -- 2 Corinthians, ii. 14.
I am well aware there are other obstacles to this course which are considered satisfactory. It has been taken for granted that certain distinctive endowments are indispensable in a missionary.
Many of these are of a moral nature, and as loudly proclaim the unfitness of the subjects for the ministry, as for this department of its duties. The minds of Christians have been darkened by the unscriptural distinction between the terms ministerial and missionary, as applied to office. Hence they have believed that a higher, or rather, different order of qualification were requisite in the one case than in the other.
They who plead constitutional imprudence, or impatience, or habits of indolence and self-indul. gence, as grounds of immunity from the missionary service, have the same reason to question their call to the ministry, as to that sphere of its labours in which, if they would only put forth greater effort and practise more self-denial, they might be most extensively useful. A man who has assumed the solemn obligations of the priesthood, may prove that his intellectual endowments are not adapted to some stations; but by the laws of his holy office, he can never decline a situation because the highest spiritual attainments are necessary. Neither is any standard of intellect which is not inadequate to the ministry at home, unequal to some of its duties abroad. Here the noblest capacities can find full scope, while every inferior grade of talents may be usefully employed,
I am by no means satisfied of the conclusiveness of the reasoning we have just heard, said a young clergyman, who once thought seriously of becoming a missionary; but who afterwards “ married a wife, and could not come.” My mind is not yet convinced that it is the duty of the majority of young men to devote themselves to this sphere of labour. I doubt the solidity of the grounds upon which our missionary friend has founded his call to the foreign service.
He speaks of destitution as one element in this call. Does he mean that I ust leave any place 1 may occupy, as long as others are less favoured with the means of grace? To what endless changes would this expose the ministry. Even had I selected the most destitute spot in the world, if at all successful, I should be driven away by this very success, to places which had not been equally blessed. And thus in regard to numbers, our friend forgets that the alternative, to preaching the gospel in one place at home, is not to preach it in every place abroad. If we leave