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The advocates of foreign missions are obliged to contend with serious obstacles when they plead with Christians to send the gospel to the heathen.
Many of those whom they address combine with a very limited knowledge of the subject, the strange belief that it stands in hostile array against their personal interests and the spiritual welfare of their countries. So long have they possessed the inestimable blessings of divine grace, that they have at least practically forgotten that these blessing were neither communicated originally to them, nor designed exclusively for them. Hence they assume as a principle of action, that they have a right to dispense the gospel in the manner and measure which their judgement and generosity
The following pages aim at the correction of these and similar mistakes. Those arguments which are usually advanced against foreign missions, are briefly and dispassionately considered, while those which should engage every Christian in this work are presented to the consciences of all to whom they apply.
To divest the subject of all local or extraneous associations, the writer has had recourse to an effort of imagination. He has pictured a scene for the occasion, which lies within the region of the strictest probability, and is perhaps best calculated to place the subject of missions in its true -aspect. Ein
His object is not to pamper a vitiated taste, nor to embellish truth with the trappings of imagery. The candid reader will not charge him with much attempt at dramatic effect. He will soon perceive that the characters introduced are with very few exceptions made to possess about the same amount of intelligence, and to employ the same style of address. They are represented as urging rather what might be advanced on the points they advocate, than what persons under their circumstances would be qualified to adduce.
The sole intention of the writer in this ideal scene is to present the Christian duty of evangelizing all nations, in as pure and strong a light as he can pour upon it.
We will imagine that at the expiration of eighteen hundred years from the ascension of the Saviour, a grand assembly convened at the ancient city of Jerusalem, to discuss the relative claims of the various nations of the world to "the gospel of the grace of God." Representatives from all the different countries of the earth were present. Jews, Mahometans, Pagans, Christians, in every variety of their numerous sects had each their respective delegates at the meeting. Among this mingled multitude, so different in national peculiarity and early education, there was one common feature. Though they were the representatives, or rather the advocates, of all the nations and classes of men in the world, they themselves had been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son.” Convinced of the absolute necessity of the gospel, they were all desirous that their countrymen should enjoy that measure of its blessings which its great author designed for them.