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God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself and became obe. dient unto death, even the death of the cross."
A SECRETARY of a missionary society, who had long filled his important office to great public acceptance, resumed the subject as the last speaker sat down.
There is one inquiry, said he, which those who have preceded me have expressed a hope would be pursued. It relates to the comparative fruitfulness of the ministry in Christian and in heathen countries. Some of our younger fellow-labourers have maintained, -as an objection to going abroad, that they might be more successful in multiplying the subjects of the Redeemer's kingdom among their fellow-citizens, than in a land of strangers. The objection, as far as I understand it, is limited to the immediate effects of the gospel ministry. Now this is only one view of the subject, and if correct, would prove very little. The point turns upon other considerations.
I commenced my ministerial course near the epoch of modern missions. I remember the first operations of this heavenly spirit. I have seen
the powerful influence it has exerted upon the church at home, and I believe I am safe in affirm. ing, that if the missionaries had done nothing among the heathen, they have accomplished more for their own countries by going abroad, than if they had remained at home and filled the most distinguished stations among us. The inspiring example of these self-denying men — the light they shed upon our domestic heathenism - the boundless range they opened to our confined vision — the wide scenes of wretchedness they spread before our restricted benevolence - the astounding claims upon our narrow purses, which they preferred — and the practical views of our varied ability, which they furnished, produced effects which no causes within our own limits could have originated. It was like life from the dead. Our eyes were opened and our hearts penetrated. What we had always deemed impracticable, we attempted. What was thought impossible, we achieved. Aroused to a sense of our responsibility, there appeared no limits to the blessings with which the Lord was pleased to crown our efforts. The result has already been stated. Those institutions which are the glory of our country, arose in rapid succession into existence. I can add my testimony to what has been affirmed that the very men whose sympathies were first awakened by this new object of Christian benevolence, and who employed their influence and wealth in its promotion, have been the earliest and firmest supporters of all our 'domestic charities. To me the effect appears magical. I can scarcely imagine that I am in the same country in which I began my ministry. If no other good resulted from the toils of the missionary, what do they not accomplish through the means of influence which they furnish to ministers, teachers, and parents ? What other subjects speak so eloquently to the minds of children as their narratives and appeals ? Here then the good seed is sown in a soil which promises the richest harvest of blessings to the Church of Christ.
But there is another view of the subject, which our younger brethren appear not to have taken.
Even if they could show that the immediate fruits of the ministry are greater among civilized than pagan nations, could they also prove that the varied modes of operation which are usually employed by missionaries, would not ultimately produce greater results than those adopted at home? The books they generally prepare and distribute -the schools they institute and supervise — the native agency they create and control, are all to be added to the public and pastoral duties which comprise almost the only instrumentality employ
ed in Christian countries. Look for a moment at the immense labours which have been performed by the missionaries within the last generation, whose principal fruits are yet to be gathered. The Bible has been translated in whole, or in part, into about one hundred and twenty strange languages - vast libraries of Christian volumes have been published in these languages - millions of copies of the Scriptures, and of religious works have been put in circulation -- a literature has been given to many barbarous tribes, and myriads have been taught to read, in their native tongues,“ the wonderful works of God." Here, then, we perceive two of the most invaluable effects of missions which the spirit of the objection entirely overlooks -- the collateral or reactive, and the ulterior.
But is the objection valid, even when taken in its restricted sense ? Are the direct results of the ministry in gospel lands greater than where the missionary is called to labour? The answer to this inquiry varies with circumstances. In the commencement of a mission where the language is to be acquired and perhaps reduced to writing, where books are to be prepared, and where the missionary is to gain the confidence of the ignorant and suspicious, there is no doubt a smaller accession of souls to the kingdom of Christ than