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enlarge; as there are one or two matters on which I have not yet touched, but which cannot be wholly passed over.
And, first with respect to the instrumentality to be employed; an important point in every respect, but especially when the main object in view is the home-influence to be produced. The instrumentality I would recommend is, THE CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
To do this, I need enter into no general examination either of the constitution or the practical working of the Society. It is enough that I simply direct your attention to one or two of its leading features, which, as it appears to me, render it a most suitable instrument for producing the ends contemplated in this letter.
It diffuses widely the fullest information that can be given or required, and thus enables its supporters to become as far as possible acquainted with the Missionaries and the stations in which they are employed, and so to become identified in mind and feeling with these selfdenying men. It sends out those who are bound to the same services which we ourselves are privileged to use ; which is no unimportant point, as regards the effects to be produced at home. It provides, as far as human foresight and precaution can extend, that all its agents shall be men who will not fail to declare the full and free Gospel of the grace of God, even as we believe it to be contained in the Word of God, and reflected in the Articles and Liturgy of our Church; men who are determined to know nothing among the heathen but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified; to lay the only sure foundation, and to build thereon that of which they shall never need to be ashamed. And this is a most material point in regard to the home influence which the work will produce. For the careless may well be convinced by it, that we are in earnest when we tell them, that nothing but the simple Gospel can quicken the soul and save it everlastingly: and the sincere believer in Christ, will find his faith, joy, and love, aroused, strengthened, and deepened, by every intimation he receives of the triumphs which are gained over the great enemy of God and man, through the power of the same Gospel in which he himself believes.
I add a word on three practical points, respecting the way in which your Church Missionary Association should be conducted.
Avail yourself of the support and co-operation of the laity, in all matters within their province. The advantages of this course are neither few nor small; one of the most obvious is, that it will enable you to abstain from the personal collection of money, and even from its temporary custody. You will thus avoid “the appearance of evil;" you will be freed from all possible accusation of self-interest; you will prove that you have no desire to exercise that spiritual tyranny to which I have referred; and you will be enabled to enforce the duty of giving, with far better effect. *
Much advantage has accrued from the practice of publicly exhibiting (on the church door or otherwise) the vouchers
Form your plans so as to be as independent as possible of extraneous and periodical assistance. You will find this advantageous, as in other respects, so especially in this; the effect which is produced will be not transitory but permanent. A strong feeling may be produced by a powerful appeal, and we thank God that donations thus made are often the manifest effect of Divine grace. But a calm and deliberate habit of giving (time being taken to consider in what way other expenses may be retrenched), and a periodical laying by of what can be spared, commends itself to our own judgment, and approaches nearer to what the Apostle desired; for he expressly forbad collections when he himself should have arrived, and strongly recommended the contrary method.* Occasional deputations are most useful, and that in very many ways; but is it not a proof that there is something deficient, not to say unsound, in a system which stakes the success of a whole year's operations upon the eloquence and persuasive powers of one man, and he a comparative stranger ? In short, the plan I recommend is not one of ease for yourself, but, on the contrary, depending in a great degree upon yourself; not upon your eloquence, but your industry; not upon the exhibition of brilliant talents, but the application of the more sterling qualities of a careful study of the details of the subject, united with a prayerful watching for the souls of your people.
which are supplied on the payment of money to the headquarters of any of our public societies.
* i Cor. xvi. 2. See Guyse's Paraphrase, and Scott's Prac. tical Observations. It would be a manifest distortion of the apostle's words to assert that they forbid collections after Meetings or Sermons. And it would be no less false to insinuate, that what is so given, is frequently, or even commonly, the result of transitory emotions.
Lastly, let your motto be perseverance. Without this, the best arranged plans will effect nothing, and great expectations will end only in a merited disappointment. This applies, not only to general arrangements, but to the course to be pursued with individuals. In respect to ordinary reproof, exhortation, instruction, or persuasion, you are not satisfied with a single attempt : you add line to line, and precept to precept; here a little and there a little: you watch for a man's soul as one that must give account. Deal out the same measure with respect to the point before us, interweave this too much forgotten duty amongst the others on account of which
each member of your flock; exhort him to this as to the more frequently recognised offices of reading and hearing the word of God; instruct him on this point of Christian practice, even as you would with respect to the commonest moral obligations, the prime and weightiest matters of the law, or the most fundamental principles of the Gospel ; persuade him to this, even as to other points of that Christian obedience in which consists the chiefest happiness of man.
And now I would press you to say, what reason can you assign for neglecting to adopt my suggestion? I have stated the case very imperfectly, but with a conscientious persuasion that the position is a true one. I have spoken as unto a wise man: judge what I have said. Enquire of the unerring oracles of God's word, and if by that rule you find any matter overstated, reject the conclusions based thereon: but if I have argued only in accordance with the revealed will of God, take heed how you neglect a weapon, of whose utility and power that word assures us.
Let us ever remember that we are commanded to make full proof of our ministry. Let us emulate the conduct of him who could say that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God, and therefore was pure from the blood of all
But how can we speak thus, if we leave one arrow in our quiver, or one smooth stone at the bottom of our scrip?
That the Holy Spirit of God may bless this feeble attempt to advance the kingdom of Christ, that He may give to both of us a right judgment in all things, leading us to perceive and know what things we ought to do, and giving us grace manfully, faithfully, and perseveringly to fulfil the same: that He may give us many seals to our ministry, and grant that after we have preached to others, neither of us may become a cast away, is the fervent prayer of
Your faithful brother in the Lord,
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