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- a change in their own sentiments and dispositions, before they can cordially unite in any attempt to promote this general renovation of the world. While therefore we state their duty, we expect not their assistance. But to real Christians we shall not speak in vain.-If, my brethren, you are constrained by the love of Christ—if you feel for the miseries of a world, lying in wickedness —if you have learned to estimate the value of immortal souls, you will cheerfully and earnestly engage in this glorious work. The language of divine promise will become the language of your daily prayers. You will pray in faith, with fervency and perseverance, that the dominion of Christ may speedily be extended from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. For Zion's sake you will not hold your peace; and for Jerusalem's sake you will not rest; until the righteousness thereof go forth, as brightness, and the salvation thereof, as a lamp that burneth. To your prayers you will add your exertions. You will use your influence, to increase pure and undefiled religion in your families, among your friends, and through the whole circle, in which Providence has destined you to move. You will, moreover, by personal labors or pecuniary assistances, aid in sending the gospel to those, who are perishing for lack of vision.* Let none, who pretend to be Christians, excuse themselves from taking an active part in this business. Say not in the language of indolence and impiety; “because the Lord reigneth, our exertions are unnecessary, and would be in vain.” Such a declaration is a perversion of the doctrine of Providence, and implies a disregard to the express commands of Heaven.—It is true, God is the
* Prov, xxix. 18.
Governor of the universe; but men are among the agents, employed in his government. He will be the Author of the predicted change in the state of the world; but men are among the instruments, which he will use in producing it. The gospel was not published without apostles. The reformation was not effected without the instrumentality of man. Nor will Christianity obtain its final triumph and universal influence, without human exertion. Within a few years much has been done in the glorious work of evangelizing the world. Societies have been formed, both in Europe and America, for the propagation of the gospel in heathen lands, and the promotion of Christian knowledge, evangelical truth, piety, and virtue, among nominal Christians. Missionaries have been sent forth. Pious schools have been established. Bibles and religious tracts have been distributed. The sums, collected and expended, for these purposes, by several societies in England, are immense; and their exertions beyond all example. By some of them missionaries are sent forth and supported in Africa, in various parts of Asia, particularly in Hindostan and the islands of the Pacific ocean; having the everlasting gospel in their hands, translating into various languages, and preaching it to people of different nations and tongues. Others are employed in supplying the poor and destitute with the word of God and other means of grace, not only in their own country, but through almost the whole extent of Europe, not excepting even their enemies. The same missionary spirit has likewise displayed itself, among serious people, in other protestant nations in Europe; and, as we before observed, has made its appearance, and spread with wonderful rapidity, in America. When * 4.
th’s society, FoR PROPAGATING THE Gospel AMong THE INDIANS AND oth ERS IN NORTH AMERICA, was formed, there did not exist a similar institution in the country. But how many have since arisen, to aid it in its benevolent exertions; some, to distribute the Bible; some, to disseminate religious tracts; some, to support missionaries, and assist in the settlement of ministers, in the destitute portions of our country; and some, to propagate the gospel in far distant, heathen, lands !— Much has thus been done; but much more must still be done, before this glorious work will be accomplished. Let me, therefore, exhort all in this assembly, seriously to consider, what they can do, and what they ought to attempt in this business. Every one may do something, either by personal exertions, or by contributing to the funds of missionary societies.—Let none plead, that they are unacquainted with the subject of missions. For the increasing means of information, with which we are furnished, renders such a plea inadmissible. Beside, the different immediate objects of missionary societies all unite in one grand object. Whether, therefore, you contribute, to send missionaries to heathen lands, or to supply the destitute with the preached gospel in our own country—whether you aid in translating the scriptures into other languages, or furnishing them for the poor, who speak our own language, you are still promoting the same glorious cause. In the minds of some there may be a choice among these immediate objects; and others. may divide their contributions, and appropriate a part to each. But no Christian can, by pleading ignorance, justify himself in neglecting all.—Nor can any plead inability, while they indulge themselves in one article of luxury—while they spend their money for one superfluity—
while, without injury to their families, or injustice to others, they could appropriate, for the propagation of the gospel, even the widow’s mite.—Let all, therefore, consider, what they can do for this purpose, and what they ought to do on the present occasion.
I urge no further. Every one must judge for himself, act for himself, and give account of his stewardship to God. “Remember” only, my brethren, “the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give, than to receive.”* “Every man,” therefore, “according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, nor of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.”f
* Acts, xx. 35. f 2 Cor. ix, 7.