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advantage of the land of my earliest and strongest attachment, I should never think of restricting it within our own bounds. Experiment has fully demonstrated the wisdom of the liberal plan of Christian effort ; while the trial of centuries has put the ban
the restricted measures which have been so zealously advocated.
The Moravian Church furnishes a striking illustration of this fact. A century ago, this little band organized themselves into a missionary board, and resolved to aim at nothing less than the conversion of the whole world. The congregation was then composed of six hundred members, principally exiles. Since that period, God hath “extended peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.” Instead of one congregation at home, there are now eighty ; while forty stations among the heathen, and upwards of two hundred missionaries, proclaim the blessing of God upon their foreign efforts.
Ask the most valuable members of the Church of England about the remunerating influence of Foreign Missions, and they will inform you that the change which has come over the spirit of their communion, began near the epoch of their labours among the heathen.
Consider the history of the American churches. Less than thirty years ago, a few young men
conceived the strange purpose of consecrating their talents to the instruction of the unevangelized nations of men. Their friends were alarmed at their rash zeal. It was feared that the whole Christian public could not sustain them. Still they went forward, and their going was “as when one letteth out water.” The fountain of benevolence which had been sealed, was opened. Streams rushed out through a hundred channels, and the surrounding country, as well as remote regions, felt the fertilizing effects. Facts have been adduced in long array to show how much more Christianity flourished in America after that period, than before.
This gigantic effort led to other projects on a similar scale. The destitute and dying at home, who had before been overlooked, were now remembered and relieved. Plans of benevolence were devised in almost every variety to suit the numerous exigencies of the country.
Bible and Tract Societies : Societies to Educate Young Men for the Ministry ; Temperance Societies ; Societies for the benefit of Seamen; and other institutions for the reduction of misery, and prevention of guilt ; all appeared in such quick succession, as proved that they proceeded from some new spring of benevolence. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis
sions have about one hundred and twenty ordained Missionaries in their service. The Assembly's Board have not one-fifth of that number; while one Home Missionary Society alone, under the auspices of the churches which employ these boards, which society has been organized within twelve years, supports between seven and eight hundred labourers, and expends annually from eighty to one hundred thousand dollars.
The Baptist denomination, which sustains about fifty foreign representatives, have brought up their number of Domestic Missionaries to upwards of one hundred, in the short space of four years.
The Episcopal and Methodist churches feel the same powerful impulse. According to the reports of the former body, those congregations which give the most liberally to Foreign Missions, contribute still more bountifully to Domestic. And here is a fact which, perhaps more than all others, proves the benign effects of Foreign Missions upon the churches and the countries by which they are sustained. Those persons who are the most zealous and munificent in evangelizing the heathen are the most liberal patrons of all domes. tic institutions. And what adds peculiar force to this consideration is, that before the condition of the heathen world aroused the sympathies of these very Christians, they scarcely gave any thing to objects of charity.
What a rich commentary does this specimen of facts furnish upon a large class of Scripture passages. “ There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth: and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty.” “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
“He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly: and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.” 66 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you: that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
Being enriched in every thing, to all bountifulness.”
The 58th chapter of Isaiah is chiefly devoted to the advantages of beneficence.
The Lord considers himself even the debtor to all those whom his own grace disposes to acts of mercy and charity. “He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord : and that which he hath given, will he pay him again.”
There is something in the very nature of the missionary enterprise, which is adapted to produce the most salutary effect upon the churches. It is pre-eminently conducive to the greatest developement of those principles which constitute the chief attributes of Christian character.
The world is the object of benevolence - the
whole world in all its magnitude and misery ---the rebellious, self-ruined world for which Christ died, and which is to be reconciled to him by human agency. What love, what zeal, what liberality, what self-denial, and faith, and prayer, are not demanded in this stupendous undertaking! The heart which it enlists must be greatly improved, whatever may have been its previous excellence ; for there is no other subject which searches it so thoroughly -- dispossessing it of its narrow, selfish policy, and filling its enlarged capacities with the Christ-like spirit of universal brotherhood. He who does not realize these happy effects of the work of missions upon his own character, has reason to question his sincere devotedness to this work.
He whose soul, spirit, and body are unreservedly consecrated to the extension of the Saviour's kingdom, must necessarily exhibit a striking resemblance to him to whom his spirit is allied in such powerful sympathy. What a blessing, then, must missions be to the churches, and the countries in which they are situated! How could it be otherwise than that those whose best principles and mightiest energies had been summoned, and in a measure adapted to the project of a world's conversion, would exert the most benign influence upon every domestic institution and object of be