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ABOUT TO PROCEED AS MISSIONARIES TO THE WESTERN
DELIVERED AT AN OPEN COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE
CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY,
AUGUST 28, 1811.
The reader will perceive that the two persons to whom this Address
was made had been under the Author's tuition at Aston Sandford.-J. S.
Dearly beloved in the Lord,
IN complying with the request of the honoured Committee of this Society, by giving you a charge on the present most interesting occasion, when you are about to leave this country, and to go to a distant part of the globe, "to preach among the gen"tiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;" it is not likely that I should suggest to you many things, which you have not already, in a detached manner, heard from me, as well as from others. "To speak "the same things unto you, to me indeed is not "grievous, but for you it is safe." I may, however, hope" to stir up your pure minds by way of "remembrance." And if, by collecting together, and arranging in some order, the observations which you have often heard from me at different times, with a sincere desire of impressing them deeply on your hearts; I may be an instrument, in any degree, of promoting your future comfort and usefulness, I shall deem it an additional favour from our gracious God and Father.
From all which I have seen and known concerning you, I am fully convinced that it is the earnest and fervent desire of your hearts, to be employed by the Lord Jesus in enlarging his kingdom, by
preaching his gospel to those who are now "sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death,” and "perishing for lack of knowledge:" and that your minds are made up to submit to any privation or self-denial, and to face any danger, to which the pious, benevolent, and arduous attempt may call
Some things, therefore, which I am about to adduce may, perhaps, be deemed the less needful for you: yet they may not be improper, by way of remembrance: and, while I more directly address you, some hints may perhaps be dropped, which, in one way or other, may be useful to future Missionaries.
I shall arrange my thoughts, on this occasion, in the following method:
I. The special office and object of a Missionary: II. The peculiar difficulties, which Missionaries at present must encounter:
III. The endowments and dispositions which the service requires; especially in the region of your appointed labours:
IV. The peculiar encouragements by which you may be animated in your arduous undertaking: V. Some counsels and exhortations arising from a review of the whole.
I. The special Office and Objects of a Missionary.
It appears to me that a Missionary, properly so called, is a minister of Christ of a peculiar description. Others, who are not set apart to the sacred ministry, may be exceedingly useful in promoting the Missionary's grand object: they may be Schoolmasters or Catechists; or they may,
as private Christians, render good service in various ways: and, if any choose to call the whole company, with their families, Missionaries, I do not object to it. But it appears to me, that many things of a secular nature may be consistent with the character of these helpers in missions, which are not so with that of the Missionary himself.
I would by no means excite a question about the rank which Missionaries hold among the ministers of Christ: at least, it is not, as many sup pose, inferior to that of ordinary resident pastors in Christian countries. My brethren, I would earnestly desire that you should be very humble before God and man; yet, consistently with this, you may "magnify your office." The apostles themselves were the Missionaries of Christ; as their very name imports. The Saviour sent them forth to preach the gospel to all nations. Other ministers were ordained to teach and rule particular churches; but the commission of the apostles reached to the whole world: and, in this at least, they had no successors; for none were ever thus sent forth immediately by Christ himself " to make "disciples of all nations."
It appears also to me, that Timothy, Titus, Trophimus, Tychicus, and others (who seem to have been distinguished by the name evangelists,1) were Missionaries sent forth by the apostles, or by the church, or by both in perfect concord. They were assistants to the apostles, in executing their grand and extensive mission: they were sent to the places to which the apostles could not personally go, to
Acts xxi. 8. Eph. iv. 11. 2 Tim. iv. 5.