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express command of the Savior is obligatory? Would not the time and labor be worse than lost? What if he should gravely attempt to demonstrate, that two and two make four? Would you hear him? What if thousands of your fellow men were now famishing in the streets, Avould your humanity suffer me to argue for one moment, upon the duty of relieving them? Or what if some frightful plague were now ravaging three quarters of the globe, and the people of this country were in possession of the only cheap and infallible remedy, who that should attempt coolly to reason upon the duty of sending out as many ships as might be necessary to convey relief to the dying millions, would not be interrupted by a hundred voices at once, exclaiming, "This is no time for proving what is self-evident. Under different circumstances, it might be amusing enough to hear your arguments; but in the present case we cannot be hindered a moment, as every hour of delay may cost thousands of precious lives."
Thus it is, dear Brethren, in the case before us. The command of Christ is, Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. The most terrible and fatal of all plagues is ravaging all the heathen lands. There is no remedy but the Gospel* This remedy, God has sent to us, and shall we, or shall we not, manifest our gratitude and benevolence, by sending it to the perishing? My appeal is not so much to the understanding as to the conscience: and even this must be brief. I must not retard your preparations by much speaking:—for while you sit here, the cold hand of death is upon many for whom 1 plead. O how they cling to life, and shudder as he tears them away? How they shrink back from the darkness of the grave, from the tremendous uncertainty of a hereafter! The duty of the Church is written in sun-beams. Let her read and obey.
VI. The aspects of Divine Providence are peculiarly auspicious to the missionary enterprizes of the day. The church has every encouragement to go forward. The mount on which she stands, overlooks the whole land of promise. She lifts up her eyes "northward and southward and eastward and westward," and as she gazes upon the affecting scene, wonders how she could have slumbered so long. Where, she cries, have been my faith and my zeal and the sounding of my bowels? And before she has time to ask, Whom shall we send and who will go for us, the scene is changed and she exclaims, with astonishment, "Who are these that fly as a cloud and as doves to their windows? Surely the Isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish, first to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee." A mighty impulse from above seems to be putting the whole Christian world in motion. Multitudes from whom we had not expected aid in this great work, are "coming up to the help of the Lord, against the mighty," and resolving with one voice, "For Zion's sake we will not hold our peace, and for Jerusalem's sake we will not rest, till the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burueth."
The mists of ignorance and prejudice, which so long hung over missionary operations and designs, have been mostly dissipated by the light of trutlh Verily "the night is far spent, the day is at hand." If we are not greatly deceived, it even now shines upon the tops of the mountains. The morning star looks down with a smiling aspect upon the benighted nations, or rather, a new and bright constellation of Missionary and Bible Societies seems to be ushering a flood of light and glory upon the dark places of the earth.
Charity, robed in light and peace, has descended from her native skies, and is flying from land to land, upon the "wings of the morning." How noble, how godlike are her yearnings and designs! Her benevolence has no bounds. She is now teaching the poor Hindoo in his cabin, and confounding the Bramin in his temple. She is found by the admiring traveller at Serampore, at Bombay, at Ceylon, and at all the missionary stations in Asia;—at Bethelsdorp and Leicester mountain; at Brainerd, and all similar establishments both in Africa and America. No region is so sultry, no atmosphere is so charged , with contagion, as to shake her steadfast purpose of doing good at every hazard. No climate is so rigorous as to cool her ardor—no human abode so remote, or obscure, as to escape her benevolent regards. She crosses wide oceans, traverses great continents and visits distant islands. It is now more than twenty years since she took her flight to the Pacific Ocean, and having at length persuaded the Society isles to "cast their idols to the moles and the bats," she has recently gone over to Owhyhee, and
is there anxiously expecting the ship, which is destined for that important missionary station.
Such are some of the animating 6igns. of the times in which we live, with respect to the general cause of missions. But the occasion seems to demand a separate thank-offering, in behalf of the Sandwich Islands. It is not in my power to give you a full geographical, or statistical account of that interesting group, even if my limits would permit; nor will a particular history of the events, which have resulted in. what we this day behold, be expected from me, after what has been recently presented to the public, in that little volume, which has given birth to so many prayers, and brought in such large contributions to the missionary fund. But I cannot do less than advert to some of the prominent indications, that the time, even the set time to favor the Sandwich Islands is come. Whence originated the design of Bending them the Gospel? Why are we assembled here to-day? "It is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes." To him it belongs to bring good out of evil and light out of darkness. Who could have anticipated, that an important Christian mission would ever spring from a savage massacre ina far distant isle? Yet, but for that heart-rending tragedy, Obookiah might never have been heard of by the American Church; might now have been a pagan priest, bowing before an idol, instead of a "king and a priest unto God," in his heavenly temple. And thus, nothing might yet have excited your particular attention, to the spiritual wants of that interesting branch of the human family, to which he belonged. You might have had no Foreign Mission School, and might never have witnessed such
a spectacle, as now gladdens your hearts and brightens your countenances with hope and admiration. I know not where the hand of God has been more distinctly visible, even in this age of wonders, than in the events connected with the present enterprize. Unbelief itself, one would think, must at least be confounded at the recital. A poor heathen, orphan boy, weary of life in his own native isle, resolves to leave it for some distant country, where he may, if possible, forget the bloody scene that broke his heart and made him utterly desolate. He flies, but he knows not whither. He is brought to a strange land. Numbers before him had come and gone, and no "one cared for their souls." Why does not he also return and die a heathen. Led by an unseen hand, Obookiah seeks for instruction. At first he seeks in vain, because all the treasures of knowledge are locked up in a language which he does not understand. But at length, the orphan's tears excite both curiosity and compassion. Christian charity takes him by the hand, and assures him that he shall not want a friend. It is soon found that he has an ardent thirst for knowledge. The wonders of redeeming love are unfolded to his view. He listens with astonishment, is awakened, convicted, hopefully converted. Christians become more and more interested in his story. His companion, who came with him in the same ship from Owhyhee, is found and shares with him in the benevolent regards of the church. It is soon ascertained, that other natives of the Sandwich Islands are in this country. They are gradually collected. The establishment of a heathen missionary school is contemplated. But where and how are questions not