Page images

deem it unnecessary to press these subjects farthers. The Institutions for which I plead sufficiently speak for themselves on all the most essential points that have been noticed. They guard equally against the evils of Ignorance, and the evils of mistaken or misapplied Instruction. They neither leave the soul" without knowledge;" nor do they infuse into it that knowledge which only "puffeth up;” much less, that which panders to its evil and corrupt propensities. The Wisdom which they inculcate, is that which siis first puré, then peaceable, gentle, easy to 4 be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, “ without partiality, and without hypocrisy!.” This is the Wisdom, this the Knowledge, which shall be " the stability of our times "." In promoting this, you will be Benefactors to your country and to yourselves, no less than to “ these little ones,” of whom it is not the will of your heavenly Father that any one “ should perish "."

Go on, then, and prosper in the good work you have taken in hand for these objects of your

tender care. Nor doubt of an abundant recompense. You are forwarding, as far as is permitted to human agency, the great purpose for which their Creator gave them a being, and for which their Redeemer lived and died. To apply to your humbler labours, what St. Paul said of his own and those of Apollos, — You are planting ;” —You are “ watering ;”—and GOD, in His good time, will give the increase.”

1 James iii. 17.

m Isa. xxxiii. 6.

n Matt. xviii. 14.


o 1 Cor. iii. 6.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

I am made all things to all men, that I might by

all means save some.

In contemplating the progress of Christianity under the immediate guidance and direction of the Apostles, a wide field is opened to us of instructive observation, with reference to our continuation of the work which they so auspiciously began. The parallel will not, indeed, hold good in all respects, between their labours and ours, in prosecuting this great design. Without that extraordinary aid which they derived from above, we must be content to follow them at an immeasurable distance. Yet, notwithstanding this superior advantage, much appears to have been left to their own judgment and discretion, much to their individual talents, dispositions, and acquirements, in applying to existing circumstances the extraordinary powers they had received They are, therefore, still to be regarded as patterns for our imitation : and our conduct will then be most blameless, and afford the best prospect of success, when we most carefully adhere to those rules and maxims by which they invariably shaped their

a Preached before The Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, at their anniversary Meeting, in the parish Church of St. Mary le Bow, on Friday, Feb. 15, 1822.


In these, as in other respects, we cannot have a more unexceptionable authority than St. Paul himself. His education under the most learned of the Jewish scribes, his rooted attachment to the Jewish Law, his early prejudices against the Gospel as seemingly opposed to that Law, his zeal in the persecution of those who embraced the Christian faith, his sudden conversion to that faith which he had so vehemently withstood, and his subsequent labours in promoting its acceptance among both Jews and Gentiles, are points of character which command the special attention of all who are engaged in spreading the knowledge of Christian truth; since they furnish some of the most irrefragable arguments by which its certainty may be established.

But the point to which I would now more particularly direct your attention, is one which eminently distinguished this great prototype of Missionary preachers of the Gospel ; and upon which I purpose to ground some observations respecting the most rational and scriptural method of endeavouring to make converts to the Christian faith ; such also as, I trust, will be found entirely to accord with the views and proceedings of that excellent Institution which we are here assembled to encourage and to promote. The passage

from which the words of the text are taken, represents the Apostle’s different mode of conduct towards Jews and Gentiles ; his endeavours to adapt his instructions to their respective habits, dispositions, and attainments; and his readiness to consult even their prepossessions and preju. dices, in imparting to them the great truths committed to his charge :-“Unto the Jews “I became as a Jew, that I might gain the

Jews; to them that are under the law, as “ under the law, that I might gain them that “ are under the law; to them that are with

out law, as without law, (being not without “ law to God, but under the law of Christ,) " that I might gain them that are without “ law. To the weak became I as weak, that “ I might gain the weak : I am made all

things to all men, that I might by all “ means”—that is, by each of these several

save some."




« PreviousContinue »