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predictions of his word. “I saw, in the night visions,” says Daniel, “one like the Son of Man, come with the clouds of heaven; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. All the ends of the world, shall remember, and turn unto the Lord. All the kindreds of the nations, shall worship before him. The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord. Righteousness and praise shall spring forth, before all nations; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.”
5. The missionary cause is great, in the system of means which are necessary to carry its purpose into effect. Though the conversion of the world must be the work of the Spirit of God, yet it will not be accomplished, without human instrumentality. The moral kingdom of God, as well as his government of the material world, is a kingdom of means. And the preparation of means, is, in most instances, proportioned to the importance and dignity of the purpose to be effected. When a world is to be recovered, from the desolations of ages; when six hundred millions are to be converted to Christianity; how powerful must be the combination of instruments and efforts!
We are not to suppose, that a nation is brought into the kingdom of Christ, because we have stationed half a dozen missionaries, in one of its cities or villages; as navigators claim for their sovereign, a newly discovered country, by landing on the coast, and erecting a standard. While your teachers are zealous and active, within the little circle of their labors; the vast regions around them, are beyond the reach of their voice. The great mass of the population may never have heard even the name of Christianity. If there are millions of heathen to be converted; there must be thousands of missionaries engaged in the work. There must be tens of thousands of schools, for the instruction of children. There must be numerous companies of native teachers, prepared to encounter the peculiar prejudices of their countrymen. There must be schools of the prophets, missionary colleges, to furnish the minds of those who are to give instruction to others.
All these measures require the aid of pecuniary means. Missionaries cannot go to the isles of the sea, and the tribes of the wilderness, without expense. And here, after all, is to be found the check, which, at the present day, is put upon missionary exertions. The fields are white unto the harvest. The reapers stand ready to enter upon their labors: but the means of their subsistence are withheld. The missionaries, at their several stations, are urgent in their requests, that their hands may be strengthened, by an increase of their numbers. All that prevents an immediate compliance with their intreaties, is the want of adequate funds. The providence of God is loudly calling upon us, for the establishment of missions, in regions which have not yet been visited. There are many who are waiting for an opportunity to devote themselves to this service. But the pecuniary aid is not furnished. The streams of the public bounty, must flow more copiously than they have hitherto done, before the requisite supplies will be obtained.
The present missionary efforts, it is to be hoped, are only the commencement of a system of operations, which is to be vastly more extended and efficient. We are not to look principally at the good which may be done, at the insulated stations, in Bombay, Ceylon, and Owhyhee. But these ought to be considered as preparatory establishments, which are to be greatly multiplied, and which, in connexion with the measures of other denominations, and of other Christian countries, are ultimately to be brought to bear, with united and powerful influence, upon the whole heathen world.
Among the great combination of means, for sustaining and advancing the missionary cause, the most important place is to be assigned to prayer. Without this, all our measures will be inefficacious. After the application of the highest human skill and effort, the blessing must come from God. This will be bestowed, in answer to prayer. It is prayer which opens the hearts of the people, to pour their gifts into the treasury of the Lord. It is prayer which conducts in safety the messenger of salvation, as he crosses the perilous deep. It is prayer which preserves him from the destroying pestilence. It is prayer which gives him audience before princes, and access to the hearts of the heathen. It is prayer that bursts the gates of brass, and brings liberty to the captives; that demolishes the fabrics of superstition, which in the progress of ages, have grown up to the heavens.
6. The missionary cause is great, in the rewards which it bestows, on all who are engaged in promoting it. “The blessing of him who is ready to perish shall come upon them. They that turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars, forever and ever.” Would you invigorate the principle of grace in your own souls, call into exercise the benevolence which earnestly seeks the salvation of others. Would you wish for the full assurance of hope, that you are heirs of the kingdom of God, let your heart, your life, your property, be devoted to the interests of that kingdom. Are you anxious that your families should be partakers, of the divine mercy? Consider that “he who soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully. The righteous sheweth mercy and giveth. He shall be in everlasting remembrance. His seed shall be blessed in the earth.” Are you waiting upon God, and beseeching him that the showers of his grace may descend upon the region around you? While you call upon your Christian friends, “to go up to the house of the Lord, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem;” forget not the heathen, who are hastening to the world of retribution, while they are strangers to the hopes and consolations of the Gospel. Our prayers and our bounty for them, will be rewarded, by a revival of the power of religion among ourselves. When have the windows of heaven been more frequently opened, to pour us out the blessing, than since our exertions to send to other lands, the privileges which we have so long and so abundantly enjoyed? And are we to expect a continuance of this the richest of all the bounties of heaven on our country, if we are regardless of the spiritual interests of every other portion of the globe?
But is not the prospect of the good which is to be brought to the heathen, by missionary efforts, of itself an abundant reward, for all the sacrifices, which we may be called upon to make in their behalf? Are we not compensated, for the portion of time and money which we apply to this object, by learning that the devoted widow is rescued from the funeral pile? that the mother is restrained from abandoning her infant to the tide of the Ganges or the Indus? that the worshippers of Juggernaut, instead of gathering the vultures to his festival, have left him to stand motionless in his temple? that the western savage has exchanged his war-song for the praises of Jehovah? that the cruel African has dropped his murderous knife, and is sitting at the feet of the man of God, who teaches peace and good will to men? that the islanders of the Pacific, instead of sacrificing their children, on the altars of devils, are rearing temples for the worship of him who made heaven, and earth; and are at this moment enjoying a brighter and more unviolated Sabbath, than the descendants of the pilgrims of New England?
Is it not enough, that the Mahommedan, the Jew, and the Pagan; the Hindoo, the Cherokee, and the Greenlander, have all been “made to drink into one spirit; and with the ransomed of the Lord, will soon come to Mount Zion, with songs and everlasting joy on their heads” Will your sacrifices for the salvation of the heathen appear great, when you have done with the toils of life, and are admitted to the heavenly rest; and when you find, that one and another is com
ing, from the East and the West, from the North and