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to the holy ministry. You are separated from your fathers' houses, from your kindred, from your country, from all that would solicit your settlement or residence in a christian land,-1that you may go " far hence to the gentiles."
Your vows are made—are recorded on high ; are scaled for the day of the Lord's appearing. These vows, dear Brethren, must be kept. This holy designation must never be violated. Wo is unto you, if you preach not the gospel; if you preach it not to the gentiles; if you ever forsake the work.
As ministers of Christ your first care will be, that you be true and faithful to Him, your Master and Lord. To your entire devotion, your every sacrifice and service, his claims are supreme. He has bought you with his own blood; he has recovered you from death by the sovereign efficacy of his grace; he is giving you a name and place in his kingdom, not to be exchanged for earthly titles or thrones; he assigns to you a course by which others who have gone before you have attained to the highest seats of immortality, to the brightest crowns of glory.
In his claims upon you, in your obligations to him, there is a tenderness and force, a sacrcdness and majesty, which can never cease to act upon all the sensibilities and faculties of your souls with irresistible intensity. Under this action you will be crucified unto the world, and the world will be crucified unto you; all the ties that would hold you back from going where He would have you go, from doing what he would have you do, or from suffering what he would have you suffer, will be dissolved; every terrific, every enchanting exhibition, which would impel or allure you to a dereliction of his service, or delinquency in it, will be abolished.
To you Christ will be all in all. His glory will be your object; his word your guide; his sufficiency your strength; his approbation your felicity. It is this which constitutes the christian; more especially the christian minister, most of all the christian missionary. "I count all things but loss," says a preeminent Exemplar of Christians, of ministers, and of missionaries, "I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.'* "What mean ye to weep, and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die—for the name of the Lord Jesus." "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that 1 might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which 1 have received of the Lord Jesus> to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
What but this same spirit of devotion to Christ has induced you, Beloved Brethren, to present yourselves here, a wonder to many—a spectacle to God, to angels, and to men? Only when this spirit shall languish, will you ever regret any sacrifices you have made, any sufferings you have endured, any difficulties you have encountered for him; or shrink from any yet to be made, endured, or encountered. Only then will you ever grow weary of his service, or wish for any thing else, but to labour and die in the field to which he has appointed you. Evermore then give ail diligence, that by holy converse and communion with him in humble prayer, in sacred reading and meditation, in devout attendance on the institutions of grace, and by all the means which in the plenitude of his goodness he has provided for the purpose, you nourish and strengthen this spirit, and keep it constantly glowing with increasing fervency and brightness.
The high commission to the ministers of Christ is—Go Ye
INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY
Creature. Under this general commission, you, Dear Brethren, are to act. The work assigned to you is to publish the everlasting gospel. In this work your whole hearts are to be engaged, and all your abilities employed.
That you may prosecute the work with every advantage, your attentions and labours will necessarily be diversified. Whatever will contribute to invigorate your faculties, to enrich your minds, to augment your resources, to enlarge your spheres of action and of influence, to facilitate your access to the minds and hearts of men in various conditions, to conciliate favour and bring help to the great cause; in a word, to give wisdom and efficiency to your purposes, and substantial and extended utility to your operations; will have a claim to be comprehended in your plans of study and of effort.
But beware, Beloved Brethren, that amid the diversified ob. jects which solicit, and which claim your attention, you never for a moment lose sight of the one grand object, to which all your studies and all your efforts are to be steadily and sacredly directed. Science, learning, taste—dignified, enchanting names! E)o what you can to enlist them in the service, and bring them to do homage at the cross of your Lord; but beware, lest at any time they seduce you from your fidelity to that service, or from your attachment to that cross. Beware most especially, lest by any means, you be " spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Fix the resolution immoveably in your minds, "to know nothing," wherever you go, " but Jesus Christ, An» Him Crucified —nothing, not included in this doctrine, or legitimately associated with it; nothing that will not yield to itst sacredness and supremacy; nothing that will not contribute to its elucidation and advancement.
This is the doctrine which you have in solemn charge to preach and to teach :—a doctrine not hidden, not obscure. It is the Sun of the Christian firmament. It illumines all the regions of truth, and in it all the lights of revelation centre. . " If it be hid, it is hid to them that are lost 5 in whom the god hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Carry with you the Bible, in your hearts and in your hands, and you will carry with you the gospel; study the Bible, and you will study the gospel; publish the Bible, and you will publish the gospel; preach and teach the Bible, and you will preach and teach the gospel. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God, the minister of Christ—the missionary of the cross may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." The scriptures entire are the instructions of your embassage. Them you will unceasingly study, with fervent diligence and prayer; in them you will devoutly meditate day and night; and to make them known, in all the plenitude of their truth and grace, by all the means, and to all the extent in your power, will be your study and zealous aim and endeavour, until your course be finished, and your prize won.
It is into the regions and shadow of death, Beloved Brethren, that you are to carry this celestial light. You are to go to the Gentiles.
It is a delirious dream of infidelity, that the various systems of paganism are only so many diversified forms of the true religion; that all nations acknowledge and worship the true God, only under different names, and with different riles. You will find the dream as false as it is delirious. You will find the declarations of scripture true, that "the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God that " they know not Jehovah;" that in most affecting reality, they have no hope, and are without God—are atheists, in the world." You will find, that with all their imposing descriptions of a Supreme Being, or Universal Cause—they have no conceptions of Him who inhabiteth eternity, whose Name is Holy :—of his perfections, his character, his law, or his government; of his sovereign claims upon men, of the immeasurable difference which he puts between moral right and wrong, or of the everlasting retributions which he has prepared for the righteous and the wicked. Least of all have they any idea of his redeeming love, of the propitiation which he hath set forth for the sins of the world—of the way which he has opened for the recovery of lost mankind, by the mediatorial sufferings and reign of his Son.
In respect also to moral principles, and habits, and manners, you will find the case in Pagan lands most strikingly unlike what you have witnessed in this land, on which the Sun of Righteousness has so long been pouring his healing beams. The systems of Paganism, so far from exerting any purifying or elevating efficiency, only serve to sink their miserable votaries in still deeper corruption and debasement. Nor is this the worst of the case: Those pernicious systems go the shocking length to sanctify the roost revolting corruptions, and to dignify the most deplorable debasements; and thus to erect barriers, hardly to be surmounted, against every attempt to recover the lost mind.
Such is the empire which the god of this world has established; and. which the missionary of the cross is sent forth to assail.
But, Dear Brethren, be not dismayed. You have the word of the everlasting God, that that empire shall be demolished. He whose ministers you are, and in whose name you arc to go forth is to have the heathen for his inheritance—all lands for his possession. The darkness which covers the people, though of palpable density, will be dissipated; the vail that is cast over them, though seemingly impenetrable, will be destroyed. The weapons, with which you are to be armed, are mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds. The words in which you are to prophesy in those dismal regions of death, are spirit and life; the hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear them, and live. And such is the cleansing efficacy of that blood which you are to exhibit, that those who have been immersed in the foulest pollutions, may wash their robes and make them white, and stand with acceptance and favour in the presence cf infinite Purity.
All this has been demonstrated in the face of the universe. It was demonstrated in the day of the first publication of the gospel to the nations; it has been demonstrated at subsequent periods; and even in our day, in Asia, in Africa, in America, in the Islands of the sea.
But, my Brethren, if you would see a similar demonstration, by your own instrumentality, you must go forth, and evermore act, in the spirit of the holy Apostles of Jesus. In the Divine Records of their missions, which you cannot too attentively study, their spirit is most clearly and strongly marked. It was a spirit of faith, of love, of self-devotement, of wisdom and a sound mind, of decision and energy, of patience and perseverance.
It was by faith that the first Christian Missionaries penetrated the realms of Pagan darkness in all directions; surmounted every barrier; drove the Prince of this world from his strongest fortresses; planted the standard of the cross upon his proudest Tamparts; silenced his oracles, cast down his idols, and shut up his temples; took the prey from the mighty, and delivered the lawful captive; called the dead to life; turned the habitations of cruelty into dwelling places of righteousness, and brought nations and kingdoms under the sceptre of the Prince of Peace.
The same faith, you must possess; the faith which takes hold of the strength of Emmanuel, and moves heaven and earth for His cause. Without it you can do nothing; with it you can