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power from on high, how changed would be the feelings and language of Christians in reference to the heathen! Who would refuse then their personal assistance ? Who could be kept back from this honourable service? What crowds would rush for the foremost ranks of the victorious army! None would think of preferring his own private interest to the conquest of a world. Parents would say to their children, nay, congregations to their pastors, “As much as we enjoy your presence, and value your exertions, we cannot detain you. Yonder are crowds loaded with guilt, and shrouded in ignorance. They have never heard of a Saviour, and yet their only period of preparation for heaven is as brief as ours. We enjoy the means of grace ;
we have the Bible. Even if deprived of the regular ministry, we need not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” We possess the most valuable ser. mons in print, and we can read them on days of public worship. However great may be our sacrifices, they are nothing compared with the necessities of millions. We cannot, we dare not detain you. Golour blessing shall accompany you, and the blessing of thousands, ready to perish, shall come upon you.
It is my earnest prayer, that this spirit of disinterested benevolence may soon animate the
church, and bless the world. The spiritual advancement of both must go together. He that limits his beneficence to the church, while he neglects the world, will probably accomplish but little more at home, than he attempts abroad.
A PRESIDENT of a literary institution followed with a short address. Our colleges and other seminaries of learning, said he, owe much to the spirit of missions which has recently been diffused among the churches. As pious students may be easily distinguished from the mass, who make no profession of religion ; so those who are looking forward to the foreign field are generally distinguishable from their brethren.
It is in most cases superfluous to inform me of their expectations ; I can discover it by the elevation of their character, and the exuberant fruits of their piety. Without neglecting their literary duties, they are always the warmest promoters of every plan for the spiritual improvement of themselves, or the conversion of their ungodly companions. And their influence is not limited to the Institution. You see them in the active labours of the Sabbath-school — you hear them in the praying circles of the neighbourhood - you meet them in the walks of the tract distributor
you find them enlisted in every good work which is not inconsistent with their academic pursuits. It is unnecessary to enter into any laboured investigation of their moral fitness for the missionary calling. As well may we inquire whether light proceeds from the sun, when he is pouring forth his mid-day effulgence. They act out their qualifications for oflice every day. They are missionaries at home, and these are the only characters who promise to be missionaries among the heathen.
I do not affirm that all who proclaim themselves actuated by this spirit, and devoted to this object, exhibit these traits of character. Much less would I declare that no others are eminent in their Christian course. I merely speak of the habits of a large majority of those who have formed this determination from correct motives, and in whose fixedness of purpose I have confidence. Where a young man does not disclose these attributes of character, however flaming may be his protestations of interest in the heathen, his zeal almost unisormly expires before the hour of separation from friends and country arrives.
There is something exceedingly salutary in the very expectation which many young men cherish of spending their lives in making known the riches of divine grace to benighted idolaters. I have referred to its evident influence upon their own character. I have known individuals completely remoulded by the power of this new principle. From gay, ambitious, formal professors of religion, they have become meek, humble, determined, most exemplary disciples of the blessed Jesus. Hence the objections to an early resolution to become missionaries, appear to me groundless ; nay, I am afraid they are often indicative of a secret reluctance to a participation in this work. For my own part, I am greatly in favour of such a resolution I care not how early it may be formed. It can do no injury. If enlightened, it proceeds from principles by no means friendly to the natural man. Indeed, such a spirit is in a great measure self-determined. Remove existing barriers, and all its sympathies will flow out to the heathen world as in their natural channel. There objects of the greatest wretchedness and necessity are found, and there the most rigorous self-denial and effort are demanded. Where else would the most devoted spirits long to live and die !