London Missionary Society.

Sermons (1796) online

. (page 12 of 15)
Online LibraryLondon Missionary SocietySermons (1796) → online text (page 12 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Me who dreams of carrying with him to Otahehe^
or of finding there, all the luxuries of London, has
not a particle of the miffionary fpirit within him,
let him remain where he is. He who affedls pre-
eminence ami difi:in<^ion, he who is not pre-dif-
pofed to order and fubmiilion, he who is not »dif-
pofed to be, and to do, any thing, evciy tiling
Avhich may tend to promote the objecl of his mif-
■fion; he who is not determined by grace to facri^
iice pun6lilio, humour, inierefi^, even his reafon-
able claims, nay reputation, healthy life, for the

22 JESUS christ'^s instructions

caufe in which he is embarked, is not for our*
purpofe, " let 'him return and depart.'* " Na-
" ture/' fays the proverb, " is fatisficd with little/'
and grace with lefs, and grace in a Miffionary
fhould not be of the ordinary calt. To what a
height of it was the firlt and great Apoftle of the
Gentiles exalted, when it enabled him to fay, '•' I
" have learned in whatever ftate I am, therewith
'^ to be content. I know both how to be abafed,
" and I know how to abound ; eveiy where and
" in all things I am inftrucSted, both to be full
" and to be hungry, both to abound and to fuf-
" fer need *." What a iliame then is it for a mo-
darn apoftle, for a difciple of the felf-denying Je-
fus to ram1)le '' from houfeto houfe," in quell of
a fuller table or of a fofter bed, and peevilhly to
complain, if his temper is not ftudied, and his pa-
liite gratiiied, in every particular ?

4. Our Lord recommends to the difciples, un-
divided, undeviating attention to what was fpe-
rially committed to them. This is plainly implied
in the'injun6lion, " Salute no man by the way."
And this is by no means an encouragement to
pradlife rudenefs and incivility, for the Gofpel in-
culcates not only the weightier matters, fueh as
*• are true, venerable, juit, pure ;" but thofe alfo
which " are lovely and of good report," and ordains
that " all things be done decently." But the falu-
tations of the eaft were, and are, formal, tedious, ce-
remonious, and cuftoin fandioncd them lb far as ta
fufpcnd and interrupt the moft ferious and necef-
fary bufmefs. It became needful, therefore, on
urgent occalions, to difpenfe with the cu'domary
laws of decorum. To this purpofe was the in-
llrudlion given by the Prophet to hisfcrvant, when
the fon of the Shunnamite was to be railed to life
again : " Giid up thy loins, and take my flaff in

* Phil. iv. II, 12.

'' thine


'*' thine hand, and go thy Avay : if thou meet any
" man falute him not ; and if any falute thee,
*^ anfwer him not again*." The King's bufinefs
rccjuireth hafte. When a dark world is to be en-
lightened, when the dead in trefpafles and fins are
to be quickened into newnefs of life^ let the fer-
vant of Jefus Chriit give his whole heart to it ;
^^ let the dead bury their dead/' let the men of
the w^orld attend to the ceremonial of the world,
but " let his eyes look right on/' let not him
turn to the right hand nor to the left ; let him go
forward from fhrength to flrength, from company
to company. May no hoUilc falutation impede
or defeat the progrefs of this MifQon^ but wafted
of Providence^ may it fpeedily reach the field of
a6lion^ and in due time rejoice our ears and our
hearts with the glad tidings of their advancing, in
the flrength of the Redeemer, from conquefl to

5. Our Lord's inflrudlions to the Seventy re-
fpect their work, and the manner in which they
were to perform it. This conlifls of three articles:
They were to proclaim peace wherever they went,
they were to heal the fick, and to announce the
immediate approach of the khtgdom of God, What
a copious return for the lodging and refrefhments
of a day ! And it is thus that the great God ac-
knowledges and remunerates the little ferv^ices
which men render him in the perfon of his mini-
flers. " Say, peace be to this houfe." It w^as the
glory and the joy of angels to deliv^er a fimilar
mcflagc to a perifhing world, by announcing the
advent of the Saviour. " Unto you is born this
^' day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is
" Ghrift the Lord, — and fuddenly there was with
*^ the angel a multitude of the heavenly holl,
^^ praifing God and faying. Glory to God in the

* % Kings iv. 2q.


*^ higheft, and on earth peace, good will towards
*^ men*." This honour is the glorious Jehovah
putting on you, men and brethren. I behold you
novering in the air over Otaheite, with the olive
branch in your hand, and the faluUition of peace
on your lips. Peace be to this illand, peace be
to old and youngs *' peace, peace be to him that
^ is afar off, and to him that is near'' — '•' Peace
* with God through Jefus Chrift our Lord." You
are not going to ftun the carsof thofe unoffending
sflaiiders with the thunder of European artillery,
and to reduce their native domain to a defert, in
order to enfure the fovereignty of it. Inafmuch
as it is more bleiled to give than to receive, will
your blellednefs be fuperior to that of all the dif-
covering navigators, and of all the ambitious con-
€j;iierors that have exifted from the day that tlie
afpiring Julius landed on the Britifh ftrand, down
lo the prefcnt hour. O may the fons of peace be
prepared to receive you, that " your peace may
'*■ reft upon them," and not " turn fruitlefs unto
•* you again."

" Heal the fick." The Se\^enty were endowed
^lli miraculous pmvcrs of healing. They had
nhis fupernatural feal affixed to their commiffion,
and thus an effectual door was opened for them to
the hearts o^ thofe to whom their meiiage was ad-
tirefled. We pretend not to fend } ou forth armed
with fuch powers as this. But you go not altoge-
tlier uiiprovrded. You carry with you no incon-
tklerablc portion of European fl^ill and experience;
vou arc furnitlied with, the medicines of all the
fjuarters of the globe; yoii may be called in pro-,
yidence, tp pertbrm wonders of healing, which
liiall have, to thofe iimple fons of ignorance, all
the iippearance, and produce on them all the ef-
Jfcx^ts, of a real miracle. And who can tell what

^ Luke ii. ^i, I3,..i4.

a Teturn


^ return you may be enaJDled to make to your own
generous country, for the good which it intends,
and is attempting, in the yet unknown medicinal
plants, and drugs;, and gums of thofe . fortunate
iilands; bleffings of Nature flill lying hid to us,
as the bleffings of the Gofpel are, as yet, to them ?

" Say unto them, the kingdom of God is come ^
nigh unto you." This prepared the inhabitants
of Galilee for a perfonal vilit of the Saviour of the
world, thus was his approach announced in " every
" city and place, whither he himfelf would come;"
and thus are thefe our miffionary brethren to '^ go
" forth," I trull:, ^' in the fpirit and power of Elias,
^' in the fpirit and power of John Baptift;" a " voice
^' crying in yonder wildernefs. Prepare ye the
^^ way of the Lord, make ftraight in the defert a
^^ high-way for our God ;"^ a finger pointing
out, a tongue proclaiming, " Behold the Lamb of
'^ God w^hich taketh away the fin of the world."-}*
'^ Our brethren who vifited you at firft, came in
^^ the name, and by the command, of the King
^^ of our native Mand, but we come to you in
*^ the name, and by command, of the King of
*' kings, the God of the whole earth. He already
" rules over you, and over all mankind, in the
*^ kingdom of nature and of providence, and he
^^ is now coming to you in his kingdom of grace
'^ and love; he has fent us before his face to warn
^^ you of his approach, and though you will not,
'' cannot fee him with the eye of the body, for
^^ God is a fpirit, he will make you to feel his
^' power, and to rejoice in- his goodnefs."

6. Chrift encourages his difciplcs with this af-
furance, that he fhould confidcr the reception
which they met with, as given to himfelf; every
inflance of negle6l or infult w^hich fhould be of-
fered to them as difrefpe61ful to him, and confe-

* Ifaiah xl, 3. t Jo. ii. 29.

C quently


qucntly to Gocl; and every cxpreilion of kindnefs
and benevolence to them, as a perlbnal favour.
" He that hearcth you heareth me; and he that
" dcfpifcth you defpifeth mc; and he that defpifeth
" me defpifeth him that fent me." Such is the
tender interefl which the . Redeemer condefcends
to take in the treatment of his fervants. When
" Saul ^oes forth breathing out threatenings and
" flaughter againft the difciples of the Lord," he
is arrefied with this challenge, not, why perfecutefl
thou /he/e P but, " Saul, Saul, why perfecutefl thou
^^ jnet''^ When the works of mercy performed
by the righteous are to be applauded and rewarded,
the acknowledgment runs in thefe terms, " In as
'' much as ye have done it unto one of the leaft
" of thefe my brethren, ye have done it unto me."-^
Keep the intercft of your Maficr, my very dear
friends, fleadil)^ in view, and you may fafcly trull
him with the care of yours; to touch you is to
" touch the apple of his eye." But imagine not
yourfelves warranted from this, to refent and re-
venge every fu])pofed affront offered to him in
your perfons. The arm of man is much too feeble
to wield the thunder, and his head too uninformed
to dire 61 it. In '' the mecknefs and gentlenefs of
" Chrift," let your imitation be as exadl as poHi-
hie, " Gome unto him, and learn of him to be
*^ lowly of heart." But he will not truft the crea-
ture with hh wrath. With an emphatical folem-
iiity he challenges this awful province as his own.
<f Vengeance is mine, I will repay, faith the
" Lord.'":}: The difciples James and John were
difpofed to execute fignal judgment on a village
of the Samaritans, which refufed to receive their
Mailer: " Lord," faid they, "wilt thou that we
*' command tire to come down from heaven, and
" confume them, c\cn as Elias did? But he turn-

^ A6ls ix. 4. t Mat. XXV. 40 t Rom. xii. 19.


'^ ed, and rebuked them, and faid, Ye know not
^^ what manner of fpirit ye are of, for the Son of
" Man is not come to deilroy mens lives, but to
^' fave them: and they went to another vilhige."^^
Th'e only mark of difpleafure whieh the Seventy
were permitted to exprefs, in the cafe of being
treated inhofpitably, was to " go out into the
^^ Itreetsof the city, and to wipe off the dull from
^' their feet" againfl the inhabitants, with a decla-
ration that they had done their duty. Leave it to
•a fanguinary Mahomet, to a bigotted Pontiff, to
propagate opinion by fire and the fword. " The
*^ weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but
we are confident they will be " mighty through
^^ God to the pulling down of ftrong holds, cafling
^' down imaginations, and every high thing that
^^ exalteth itfelf againfl the knowledge of God, and
*^ bringing into captivity every thought to th^
^' obedience of Chriit." - }-

7. Our Lord inliru6fs his difciples to keep their
hearts with all diligence, from the emotions of felf-
gratulation and com.placcncy in the hour of fuc-
cefs. To the full extent of his promife, and be-
yond it, his prefence and power had accompanied
them. This they joyfully acknowledged on their
return, '^ faying. Lord, even the devils are fubje6l
'^ unto us, through thy name." That eye which
nothing can efcape, difcerned through this ex-
preflion of exultation a fliade of vain-glory in o-,
which, with a mildnefs peculiar to himfelf, he
deems it necefiary to reprefs. While he himfelf
^' rejoices in fpirit" at the commencing downfal
of " the Prince of the power of the air," he admo^
nifhes them of a purer fource of fatisfadlion and
delight than even the fubjedion of evil fpirits to
the miraculous powers conferred upon them. It
could not but be grateful to them to receive this

* Luke ix. 51^^ 56. f 2 Cor. x. 4, :,.

C 2 alluraUcQ

28 JESUS Christ's instructions, Sec.

allurance from the lips of their divine Mafter:
*• Behold, I give unto you power to tread on fer-
" pents and fcorpions, and over all the power of
" the enemy; and nothing fhall by any means
^' hurt you;" this fenced them about as with " a
" wall of fire," againfl all the afiaults of earth and
hell, but even this was furpaffed by a ftill dearer,
and more deeply interefting confideration : Not-
'' withftanding, in this rejoice not that the fpirits
^' are fubje6l unto you; but rather rejoice, becaufe
^^ your names are written in Heaven." Hereby
their great, their eternal all was efFeclually fecurecL
Whatever might be the iffue, whatever the efre6^,
of their future miniftrations, they had the exalted
confolation of refie6ting, that their " life was hid
" with Chrift in God," that "none could pluck them
" out of his hand."

The gifts of prophecy, of working n^iracles, of
fpeaking with tongues, have been beftowed upon
bad men. The Lord Jefus, in another place, fup-
pofes more than the probability that a plea of this
nature would be fet up unavailingly, in the great
day of accounts : " Many will fay to me in that
" day. Lord, Lord, have we not prophefied in thy
^^ name? and in thy name have caii out devils?
'^ and in thy name done many wonderful works?
" And then will I profefs unto them, I never knew
" you: depart from m,e, ye that work iniquity.*"
It will be highly honourable for you, my beloved
brethren, to be made inftmmcntal in caftuig down
the idols of the heathen to the ground, in WTcfiing
a province from Satan's empire; it will ol')tain for
you a name and a place among the beneflidors of
mankind ; but remember you have a ftill nearer
and dearer concern to purfue : " Work out your
" own faivation with fear and trembling," that
you may have " your own fouls for a prey in the

* Math. rii. Z2,z^,

'' day


*^ day of the Lord." Look to the Apoftle Paul,
and learn of him to fay : '' I keep under my body,
" and bring it into fubjedlion : left that by any
^'^ means, when I have preached to others, I my-
"= feif fhould be a caft-away."* '' Not as though
^'^ I had already attained, either were already per-
'^ fed: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend
^^ that for which alfo I am apprehended of Ghrilt
*^ Jefus. Brethren I count not myfelf to have ap-
" prehended : but this one thing I do, forgetting
" thofe things w^hich are behind, and reaching
'' forth unto thofe things which are before, I prefs
^^ toward the mark, for the prize of the high cal-
" ling of God in Chrift Jefus."f

To conclude: Let every profefled Chriftian con-
sider himfelf as fpeciaily commiffioned to declare,
and to live, " the truth as it is in Jefus," in the
ears, and before the eyes of a carelefs and unbe-
lieving world. Let fuch as have put forth their
hand to this good work, more efpecially, remem-
ber that they are '' a city which is fet on a hill,
" that cannot be hid." Many eyes are upon you,
and not all of them in kindnefs and affection.
Take care that '^ your good be not evil fpokcn of;"
that this " miniftry be not blamed ;" that you
*' give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to
*^ the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God." — —
^' Now the God of Peace be with you all. Amen."

*■ I Cor. ix. 27. t Phil, iii. 12, 14,









IT is hoped the feverity of
cnUclfm will have no room for exercife, when it is
tinderflood that, owing to peculiar circtimfianceSy
the following Difcourfe was written on one day^
delivered the 7iext, and, 07i the third, fent to the
Frefs untranfcrihed; which was nnavoidahky
partly, hecanfe the Author wkis obliged to leave
town that day, and partly hecaife no time could
be lofi before Printing, that the Publication, of
which it is a party might be ready for the Mif-
flonaries, who are in daily expc5iation of embark-
ing. May God blefs the Publication, both to
the dear Mifjionaries and all who read it, and He
fhall have the glory.



Y dear brethrcn in the Lord^ the magnitude
of the caufe in which you are now engaged,-
and the folemnities of tliis day, have not been
often equalled ; whether we coniider your num-
ber as MifRonaries, the liberal countenance of the
public^ the place of your dcilination, or the na-
ture of the caufe itfelf. So intereftcd is the re-
ligious public in your favour, that not only
thoufands of prayers have been and ftill are of-
fered up for yoUj but alfo about fwek^e thoiifand
pounds contributed with the fame view. The
place of your deftination, confidered in a religious
light, is fallownefs itfelf, fallow ground untouched ;
and if you have the noble ambition of the apoftle
Paul,* '' To preach the gofpel in diftant regions,
'^ and not to boafi: in another man's line, of things
'^ made ready to your hand," you have, in pro-
fpe61:, an opportunity of having that ambition gra-
tified to the utmofi-.

Of the caufe itfelf, who can calculate the con-
fequences? Who can tell, but millions in fucceed-
ing ages may be everlaftingly benefited hj it ? The

* 2 Cur. X. 16.

D influence

34 A CHAi[lGE

influence of a parent on his poftcrity may be
great; the influence of a magiftratc on the circle
of hisjurifdi^lion greater; the influence of a chief
governor on his extenuve dominions frill greater;
but a minijier of God has an influence, good or
bad, on the minds of men, fiill greater than them
all, as he oflicially prepares, or ncgleds to prepare
them for happinefs in a never-ending ftate of ex-

This applies to every minifter of religion; but
to a Mijjionary more than any other. His name
may be emphatically called "^ legion," for the
happinefs or mifery of many thoufands appears pe-
culiarly connedVcd with him.

When, a few days ago, application was made to
me to perform this ofl^ce of addreflTmg you, many
difficulties arofe in my mind, but none greater
than the difficulty of entering fully into the real
fpirit of the ocealion ; I reflecSled, that without a
heart-felt flmplicity of dependence upon God,
without a ftcady regard for his glory, difregarding
the praifes or cenfures of men, without ardent love
to the Lord Jefus Chrifl:, and the fouls of men ; in
a word, without the true fpirit of a Millionary,
there would be a manifeft impropriety in my com-
pliance. Confcious weaknefs therefore urQ-ed mc
to decline the momentous taflv, but deference to
the judgm.ent of thofe whom I greatly refpedl, and
love in the truth, difpofed me to acquiefcence.
And now, O Lord God of truth and love, aflilt
both fpeaker and hearers, for thy mercy, for thy
Son, for thy precious promife' fake.

The Lloly Scriptures abound with profitable
ful)ic(^s and fuitable paflages as the grouiul of
fuch a difcourfe as this; manv things, addrcfled to
patriarchs, prophets, apoltles and evangelifls, arc
highly applicable to you on this occafion. Were
1 to addrefs you jnerely as miniflers, no words
could be more applicable than our Lord's con-


eluding charge to his difciples*, " Go ye therefore
*^ and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
*^ name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
" Holy Ghoft; teaching them to obferve all things
" whatfoevcr I have commanded you; and lo, I
" am with you alway, even unto the end of the
" world." Whence might be noticed^ the antho-
rity of Chrifl, as the ground of your IMiffion, Go
ye therefore — your primary aim, and principal I'corh,
to teach^ difciple, or evangelically to projelyte the
tiations to whom you ga — the mode of fctting them
apart, haptiz'mg them in the name of the Father,
and fo on — your conduct to the converted, teaching
them to obferve all things whatfoever I have com^
inarided yon — and, finally, the promifed^r^/^Tzrt^ and
aid of our divine Lord, and lo^ I am v:ithyou alway
even unto the end of the world,
. But as you are not all minifters in the ftri^left
fenfe, nor the greateft part of you, that fubjedl
would be too confined; I fhall therefore adopt, as
a motto to what I have further to fay, the words
you find in Gen. xvii. 1. the latter part. ^' I am
""^ the Almighty God; walk before me and be
" thou perfedl." — Or, I am God (as in the margin
and the old tranflation) all-sufficient, Vv'alk be-
fore me, and be thou perfect, that is, uprighty or

Thefe words, my dear brethren, were addreffed
to Abraham; to whom God had fpoken, fome
time before, on this wife : " Get thee out of thy

country, and from thy kindred, and from thy

father's houfe, unto a land that I will (liew thee.

And I v;ill make of thee a great nation, and I
'■^ will blcfs thee, and make thy name great ; and
'' thou flialt be ablefling. And I will blefs them
" that blefs thee, and curfc him that curfeth thee:
^^ and in thee ihall all families of the earth be

■'*" jMatth. xxviii. 19. 20,

D 2 ^' bleifed.



'^ blefled. So Abraham departed^ as the Lord
"^ had tpoken unto hmi*."

Thus, you fee God's call and Abraham's com-
pliance ; and your call fcems not much Icfs clear,
though fignified in a different way. I fecm to
view each Miflionary as an Abraham — a pilgrim^
going forth in the iTame of the Lord, excrcifiiig
firm faith in his promife: " By ///V/f Abraham,"
fays the Apoftle-J^, " when be was called to go out
^' into a place which he fhould after receive for an
" inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not
^^ knowing whither he w^ent" — not having a parti-
cular knowledge of the country to which he was
going. " By faith he fojourned in the land of
*' promife, as in a ftrange country, dwelling in ta-
^' bernaclcs with Ifaac and Jacob, the heirs with
^' him of the fame promife. For he looked for a
^^ city which hath foundations, whofe builder and
*^ maker is God."

I feem alfo to view each Miflionary as 2i father
of many faithful — and all of you collectively, the
fathers of many nations! — And to each of you are
thefe w^ords now addrefled, " / am God all-fuffi^
" cmit^ walk before me, and be thou tiprightT

Llereyou have, firft, a fummary diredion by
which to proceed in all your future attempts ; *' be
^' thou tiprightyOY iincerc;" — and, fecondly, the
grand fource of your encouragements in the dif-
charge of your arduous work; '^ lam God all-fiif-
''' Jicient.'" — Permit me now to attempt an imita-r
lion of this divine pattern, by

L Offering to your confidcration fuch direc-
tions and remarks as appear to me moft important
and ufeful to you as Chrillian Miflionaries. By

IL Propofmg to you fuch encouragements as
your arduous undertaking requires, ^nd which our
all'fufficient God affords you. May he allift us

•* Chap. xii. 1—4. t Heb. xi. 8—10.

L I am


I. I am to offer fome dire6lions and remarks.
As a fundamental general obfervation, I would
have you never to forget^ that " godUnefs is pro-
fitable for ^//things/' and that nothing can com-
penfate for the want of perfonal holinefs. I fo-
lemnly declare, I would prefer feeing one of you,
both deaf and dumb, embark, if under the influr-
ence of religion, than the mofl eloquent man in
iEurope, if not godly. Yet this godlinefs with its
life and power muft be fo cultivated and dire61ed
as to promote the caufe you have efpoufed. Suffer
therefore the word of exhortation :

1 . Maintain a conjiant^ lioly jealoufy over your
ends and motives, in every flep of your Millionary
walk. If thefe are indeed good, your only end
will not be your own reputatioji, whether of felf-
denial and mortification to the world, or your
Chriftian faith and courage, however great — nor
the glory of the Brltljh name, its riches, commerce,
arts and fciences, population and power — nor yet
the temporal happinefs of the heathen, though it
were great, and extended to millions yet unborn —
but an end far higher is full in your eye, a motive
much more powerful is operative in your foul, their
fpiritual and everlafling happinefs. This you will
daily keep in view, and dread the thought of it>
being eclipfed by any thing earthly, remembering
there is an end flill more glorious than this, to
which your hearts fhould be ftill more firmly at-
tached — the glory of God our Saviour.

To promote the glory of the God of grace, our
world flands, all the wheels of creation move ; to
this are dire61ed all the rays of providential wifdom,
all the difpenfations of religion, all the communi-
cations of grace to the foul, with all the fucceeding
influences of the Holy Spirit and the means of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15

Online LibraryLondon Missionary SocietySermons (1796) → online text (page 12 of 15)