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may, perhaps, be fairly stated as follows. It is only when we are awakened to a sense of the value of our own soul, that we
can feel any real concern for the souls of others; it is only the man, who has himself received the gift of true faith, who can enter into the spirit of his Saviour's last command; it is only the man, in whose heart the love of God reigns supreme, that can have true love to his fellow-creatures: in other words, it must be the gift of the Holy Ghost which enkindles the true Missionary spirit; and, therefore, before any man can exhibit it, he must be a temple of the Holy Ghost.” And from these undeniable premises, you will be inclined to reason thus : “In my own parish, the thing which grieves me is, that I fail to awaken my people to a sense of their own lost estate, and this is the reason why they show so little love to their Saviour, and are so loth to sacrifice their own wishes and feelings for the advantage of other men's souls. Hence, my strongest appeals meet with so little response, being addressed to men who are like the deaf-adder; and the cry of others for help falls powerless on their ears, because they themselves are spiritually dead. And, to say the truth,” you conclude, “the plan here proposed seems to me, to reverse the order we ought to pursue, as if one should tell us to put on the top stone, when, as yet, the foundation is unlaid."
I have purposely left this objection to the last, not only because it involves most important prin
ciples, but because it has often occasioned much practical difficulty.
Certainly, it is when we have been ourselves awakened to see the precipice, on the edge of which we have been slumbering, that we are ani. mated to exert ourselves aright for the deliverance of others; and so far from denying that the true Missionary spirit must be wrought within us by the Holy Ghost, I would most strongly insist upon the truth of such a statement. Still “ as the wind bloweth where it listeth,” so the Spirit is not restrained to one invariable course of proceeding. One person may be brought to the knowledge of the truth in one way, and another by a very different (external) process. And why may not the contemplation of the depth of misery into which others have fallen, be the means by which the Spirit leads us to turn our eye inwards, and manifests to us our own actual condition? Or, again, may not the example of the converted heathen shame many a professing Christian into an examination of his own conduct? Who can limit the blessed effect which the frequent recital of such passages as the following might have upon the negligent and slothful amongst our people ?
“Be the weather what it may," (writes a Missionary in North-West America), “rain or snow, storm or sunshine, frozen mercury or fever heat, the church is more than full. Many have to walk five or six miles each way, and that often, in winter, through two or three feet of
These facts, together with their deva
tional responses and attention in God's house, are a source of the greatest satisfaction and encouragement."*
Who can tell the result which might be produced from hearing of the conduct of the inhabitants of the Island of Bananas, who have to this day (August 15, 1847) successfully withstood the establishment of any liquor-vendor among them, so that none can be had for money in the whole island;" + or, how far the regularity with which the despised Africans in Free-Town attend the celebration of the Holy Communion may provoke our careless fellowcountrymen to acknowledge that they have neglected their Saviour's dying commands, and to confess that, in so-doing, they have sinned ?
But why should these things be put conditionally? The most blessed effects have resulted from the use of the means of which we speak. We rejoice in the belief, that in the last great day, many a native of this favoured shore shall give glory to God, whilst he confesses that, instrumentally, he owes his present bliss to the reflex influence of Christian Missions to heathen lands. Yes, even in the midst of the enjoyments of heaven itself, we believe, that many shall delight in recounting the way in which the love of God was first manifested to their dark souls ; and one shall tell, how he owes his all, to circumstances such as I have
Forty-eighth Annual Report of the Church Missionary Society, p. clxvii. + Ibid. p.
narrated and another, how his heart was moved within him, when he heard of the depth of misery and degradation into which idolatry had plunged its wretched votaries; and another that it was the patience and self-denying zeal of those who preached among the heathen the “ unsearchable riches of Christ,” which convinced him that there was a reality, and a substance in the Gospel, of which till then he had never dreamed.
Did space permit, it were no hard task to show by many examples, that these are no fanciful or baseless anticipations. I shall confine myself to one instance of the kind, which I will relate, as nearly as possible, in the words of a friend who is himself personally acquainted with the facts. “At a village a few miles off, there lives a blacksmith, who was once a professed infidel, and who seldom, if ever, entered a place of worship. On the occasion of a Missionary sermon being preached, he was induced, from mere curiosity, to go to hear the strange preacher and the strange sermon ;' he afterwards expressed himself thus, 'I then saw and felt that I must turn myself right round;' that is, he was persuaded to take the opposite road from that along which he had been travelling before. The same day, he began to cry for mercy, and he has given good evidence from that period to the present, a space of about thirteen years, that he has become in very deed, a new creature.” Numberless are the instances of this kind, which even in this world have come to light, where the most blessed effects even of an occasional meeting or sermon have rested upon
the souls of some of those who have been present; but if full proof were made of a systematic plan such as is here contemplated, who will dare to predict the extent or the fulness of the blessing that would follow? Alas, that so few are in a position to solve the question from their own experience!
But there are many other ways in which the cultivation of the Missionary spirit may prove useful to our people. I will assume that you have, for some time, systematically followed the plan I am recommending, and that your
flock have become familiar with the general aspect of the Missionary field. The whole of your pastoral intercourse with your people will be affected by it.
Suppose, for instance, that in speaking to a congregation so instructed, you wish to produce some of “the evidences” of the truth of the religion we profess, and to prove the Divine authorship of Holy Writ: what more appropriate, or striking fact can you adduce—what more telling argument can you strike out, than the universal applicability of the words which the Bible speaks; the persection of the picture which it sets forth of the character of man, as displayed not in one place only, but in many, nay, in every region of the earth, by men of every colour, and differing as much in other respects as in geographical position, and external circumstances ?
Or again, if a self-righteous man meet you with the common answer, “I have never done