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nevolence? The very qualifications which prepare them for evangelizing the world, dispose them to become proportionately useful at home.
This, then, would be my objection to limiting the gospel to my native land, even if the salvation of my countrymen were my exclusive duty. How doubly mistaken are the brethren who have spoken; first, in magnifying each one his own country above all the world besides ; and secondly, in endeavouring to render this country an Eden, while the richest influences promised to disinterestedness and liberality are all forfeited and all withheld.
At the close of this speech, the meeting was adjourned until the following day.
Tue assembly convened at an early hour, and the meeting was opened with prayer. The interest of those whose countries were destitute of the gospel was intense. Not satisfied with the reasons which had been assigned, they were anxious to know whether any valid arguments could be adduced for withholding the gospel from the heathen. If any, it would furnish them with such an apology for the apparent inertness of Christianity as would settle their own minds and silence the opposition of their countrymen.
If there were none, it inspired the hope that a brighter day would immediately burst upon the darkness of the world that a plain duty would be no longer neglected.
A delegate who had dissuaded his son contrary to his strong inclinations and avowed purposes, from consecrating his life to foreign missions, opened the discussions of this day. My own mind, said he, has been long made up on this subject. The reason which determined my judgement is not a mere arbitrary measure of human wisdom -not simply a rule of expedience in the mode of fulfilling Christ's command. I believe I have acted on the principle of positive duty. The word of God declares that “if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” It is a maxim of wisdom which none will gainsay, that “charity begins at home.”
God has connected mankind together by a variety of bonds, for the obvious design that we might be more deeply interested in some characters and communities than in others. It is thus that the social compact is maintained. And were it not for these various degrees of affinity, and the interests and duties they involve; we know not how society could hold together. Hence it is not only natural, but rational and scriptural, that I should care more for my parents than for distant relatives—for my immediate circle of friends than for strangers — for my countrymen than for foreigners. We feel that the providence of God has thrown certain objects upon our sympathies and kindness, and that we should oppose every arrangement of divine wisdom, as well as every dictate of our best affections, if we neglected to provide for such objeets.
Now it may not be known to a part of this
assembly, that a very large proportion of our own kindred and neighbours and fellow-citizens are “ aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” It is true they are not involved in pagan ignorance, but their guilt is far greater than if such were the case. Even in our most populous and favoured cities, a large majority of the inhabitants never attend divine worship. They are not included in any congregation -- they enjoy no pastoral visitation. Many of them are poor and unable to make a decent appearance they are depraved and unwil. ling to improve their condition. This is the case in our oldest cities. In many parts of the country there are no churches, no ministers. People may be found who know nothing of God, or Christ, or immortality. Ignorant, destitute, prejudiced, where can we find objects whose appeal to our charities is so powerful ? Have we not then heathen enough at home to awaken our sympathies? I merely echo the inquiry of a thousand lips- Are there not heathen enough at home? Or must we leave these and go in search of others to strange and distant lands? The cry for help comes up from every part of our own country. Where can we turn and meet no destitution? The ministry does not equal this demand. It seems impossible to provide for the increasing exigencies of our own country. Not until I change my views of duty can I ever believe it right to leave those to perish who are thrown at our very door, and to go