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in all the Churches-with whose name that of Missions is inseparably entwined—whom all God-fearing men, irrespective of sect or creed, love and pray for--and whom wide Christendom reveres as a prince and paragon of Missionaries. Dr. Duff's short but comprehensive treatise is, or ought to be, in the hands of all-well-known and pondered ; yet, in making such brief observations as your time will allow, you will not wonder if I should glean and scatter some pearls from his treasury.
The argument is short and irrefragable. Since the unchristianized world is lying in the wicked one, and every soul in it is naturally dead in trespasses and sins, it follows, as a corollary, that each individual must be personally quickened and taught of God, else he cannot truly live or safely die. But this wondrous transformation-wholly a work of God-can neither be expected nor realized without the intervention of some earthly instrumentality, which God is pleased to bless. Such an instrumentality was our Lord's personal ministry on earth—a truly mission work; and, when He died and rose, He delegated this—His own high function—to His Church and people, throughout all time. He gave them His own great name, “the light of the world,” in testimony of His will that the Church, as His “ Witness" on the earth, should proclaim to all around His gracious message, and beseech men “in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Is not the Church's Head “a light to enlighten the Gentiles"
_“ salvation to the ends of the earth”. _66 that taketh away the sin of the world ?” Is not the Saviour's Body the people on whom He laid His parting mandate, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature ?"'l
And the Church prospers just in proportion to her zeal and faithfulness in obedience to this behest; for while the injunction is peremptory, the appended promise is sure, “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.” Evangelizing, both within and beyond her own local pale, as the work given her to do, she lives and grows; failing and faithless in this, she lapses and decays. What Church so boldly and truly missionary as the primitive Apostolic Church at Jerusalem ! And what Church so flourishing! “Behold these Christians, how they love one another!” was the extorted praise of admiring heathens. And yet, no sooner did that same Church, “in contravention of Heaven's appointed ordinance, begin to relax in the exercise of its evangelistic function towards the world at large, than its sun, under the hiding of Jehovah's countenance, and
See Appendix, A.
the frown of His displeasure, began to decline, and hide itself amidst the storms of wrathful controversy, or sink beneath a gloomy horizon, laden with freezing rites and soul-withering forms." The Church never wholly decayed. God has never left Himself without a witness. She waxed and waned as her Missionary efforts did. In the Protestant Church of this land, at the close of the Reformation erathe Reformation itself intrinsically a grand evangelistic movement-it seemed " as if the
windows of heaven had then opened, and the showers of grace had descended in an inundation of spiritual gifts and graces—converting the parched lands into pools of water, and the barren wilderness into gardens that bloomed and blossomed as the rose.” And yet that same Church afterwards became 6 torpid, shrunken, shrivelled thing;" having undergone the “ blight and mildew of Jehovah’s displeasure, on account of a neglected and unfaithful stewardship.” In these, our own times, there has been a marked revival in Evangelical Christendom; and, parallel with that, there has been as marked a revival of Missionary enterprise. Let the Church be but steadfast now in this as in her other high functions, and she need not fear a fall. Let her “nobly resolve to assume the entire Evangelistic character, and implement the Divine condition of
preservation and prosperity, by becoming the dispenser of Gospel blessings, not only to the people at home, but as speedily as possible to all the unenlightened nations of the earth. And, if there be truth in the Bible--if there be certainty in Jehovah's promises—if there be reality in past history, she shall • arise and shine, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.'”1
But, granting all this to be the great office of the Christian Church, it may be asked—How does it peculiarly devolve upon me, as an individual, to ply the same vocation? This question would contain its own reply, if happily every such interrogator owned himself to be part and parcel of the Church, whose collective obligation he acknowledges; since each of her members must make conscience of taking his proper share of that duty which lies cumulatively upon the body. Nor could the answer be different, did he grant the primary principle of 6 celestial ethics," that “ man's chief end is to glorify God,”—and so “ to enjoy Him for ever;" since no one can honestly prefer the prayer,
66 Hallowed be Thy name," without yielding himself, as an instrument, for the fulfilment of the petitions fol
* See Appendix, B.
lowing it—“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”
Should, however, these postulates be demurred to—and how often are they ?-the argument may be safely perilled on a more axiomatic basis. That it is the interest of all to seek the possession of wisdom and happiness, is an apothegm, the very triteness of which vouches for its universally recognised truthfulness. But why should it not be recognised, with equal universality, that it is the duty of all to seek the diffusion of wisdom and happiness to their fellow-men? Certain it is that the propriety of this latter sentiment can no more be reasonably impugned than that of the former; and it is in no small measure a token for good, in these our days, that we hear propagated on all sides the philanthropic cry-" The greatest good to the greatest number!” We cordially re-echo the important watchword; but we insist, with Franklin, upon making the addition—" You have got a good principle, go through with it;"-seek for yourselves, and seek for others, too, the possession of the greatest wisdom and the greatest happiness !
6 But where shall Wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith-It is not in me; and