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and 24th and 25th verfes. He enters ; he hears ;
but furely hears, not only Man fpeakingto the ear,
but God fpeaking to his inmoft foul. For " he is
convinced of atl : he is judged of all.'" He feels him-
felf fuddenly a Prifoner arraigned, tried, and con-
denn)cd. Every thing he hears and fees, flioots
tJie conviction into him of his own wrong ftate of
foul, and the fafe and happy one of the minillers
and peoj)le of Chrift. '' The fecrets of his heart are
made juanifcfl:'' that God rcquireth truth in the in-
ward parts, but there it is not, in him: that his
entire frame of delires and aims is all evil, none of
it godly and devoted: and that all the fnnulations
of his foul are out of courfe. What more ? The

* Rom. vii. 7th and 9th verfes.



illumination of his mind affeds his body. The
views are more than he can fuppoit. He is brought
wholly under the power of divine Truth, and can-
not lland upright literally. '' He falls down otihis,
face and worfJiips God:''' owns the Purity and Ma-
jefly of God, the pro[)ortional Evil of Sin, and the
Sovereignty, with which he may either confer Mercy
or conli<rn him to Punifliment. From that mo-
mcnt you have a Chrillian indeed, and one, who
(like this Adociation, which, having found eternal
life thcmfclves in Chriil Jefus,wii]) all others to par-
take oi it) '' reports'' abroad, to all within his fphere
of communication, " that God is hi this people of a
truthr He difcovercd that God had a Peoj)le upon
earth vaftly different from the reft of Mankind, and
much fuperior to them : of a truths beyond a doubt,
the very people of God: that this people had an in-
tercourfe with God in Prayer, and Grace and Com-
tort, unknown to others: that God by his Fear, by
his Love, by his Virtues, manifeftly dv/elt in them.

By the way; never enough to be valued is this
fpecimen, preferved to us by the Holy Ghoft, of
Saving Corwerfion under the Gofpel of Ch/ift in an^
cient times: becaufe it exactly correfponds to what
the people of God call converlion now, and there-
fore completely refutes the charge of Enthufiafm
on the one hand, and the allegation on the other,
that by converfion is merely meant " a Turning
'- from Judaifm or Paganifm to Chriftianity :" for
much more is here reprefented : particularly. The
Secrets of the Heart made manifefl.

Not unfitly, therefore, may this Catechifm go
round this building, and every one alk himfelf,
whether in the midft of Chriftianity he has been
converted to Chrift, like the model of converfion
here held up to view. For without it, periili h«
mufl cverlallingly*.

* John iii. Matth. xviii.j, &c.

E We


We fee the Grandeur of the Speaker indeed n\
thefe and all fimilar inftances. The voice of the
Lord is a glorious voice: the voice of the Lord ^d^
dreffcvl to the Heart is mighty in operation.

\\c\\\ let me remark txvo things. F'irfl : does the
ineiiable Jehovah himfelf promife to fpeak, and ,
to fpeak in this manner fo penetrating and com-
manding? then, let us not regret the vc ant of Mi^
racks to convert the Heathen. The promife of
the Text fuffices alone. Miracles indeed were
neeeflary, when our Lord appeared upon earth ; to
nfeertain,oncc for all, to the age then exilling, and,
upon the faith of hiftory, to all fuceeeding ages,
the divinity of his pcrfon and million. The fuf-
penfion of the Laws of Nature upon that oceaiion
was at leaft as fit, as their original conltitution :
inafmuch as Salvation is more important than Crea-
tion: but the end obtained^ the ufe of miiraclcs ceaf-
eth of courfe.

But have Miracles, MifTionary'; and what do
you gain ? If they hear not Mofes and the Prophets^
neither wdi they be perfuaded, though the miracle of
one rifmg from the dead w^txo, afforded. They can
etFe6l nothing, where the difpolition is fixed, not
to be convinced by any evidence whatever. Have
Miracles-, and they can be imputed, as thofc of
-our Lord were, to Illufions upon the Senfes, to
Coll all on with the Subjedls, and to Commerce
with the Devil. But go forth vv'ith the Promife in
the Text, of him vjho coninumdcd the Light to JJiinc
out of darkmfs,fhimng upon the hearers heayts, and
yoin* buiinefs is done.

What greater Miracle than Converlion itfelf?
Far greater the Miraele of Renewing the Soul,
than any which Jiciu:'^ Chrill wrouglit on the body:
as he himfelf fays. He that believe th on me greater
works thayi thefe Jh all he do: far greater in point of
worth, and greater in point of power: for Phylical


god's call, our directory. 51

I\^ature hath no refiftance to make to Deity, vvhile
a Moral Nature hath, alas ! how great a repug-
naiiec to the breaking up of all its old habits of
Thought, and Eafe, and Self-deeeit, and Enjoy-
ment of things prefent and fenfible, not of the in-
telleelual, and fpiritual, and remote in the world to.

Stand by a Thorn, and fuddenly fee its ftem
change, its leaves vary, its priekles fall, and inftead
ofthefean elegant, an odorous and a flowering
Myrtle ajDpear. A miracle this, I irow. See a
fierce and untameable wild beaft fuddenly lofe its
nature, and become docile and domeftic; a little
fh'tJd leading it. A miracle, I trow. Let an
^^thlopian whiten, and a Leopard fhcd his fpots.
Let a Man in the midft of exiftence be Regenerate.
Thefe events, and a Rejurredion from the Dead,
and 'd New- Creation, are of the nature o{ Miracles:
and they arc Images continually employed by the
Holy Ghoft to reprefent Converhon.

Be content with thefe miracles, and expe(ft them
from him who fays, " I will fay to South, Keep not
" hackr . ••

But fomething elfe. Secondly, does the fublime
and awful Speaker in the text, promife his Effici-
ency in converting the Heathen, on fuppohtion,
that we become his org an ^ Then let us no longer
blame our Maker for the partrnl communication of the
Gofpel. As was f:iid by the Ifraelites to the Egyp-
tian talk-mafters, " the fault is in thine ovm people''

Very civil and ingenious have been the Apolo-r
gies, invented by good and learned men for our
Maker; becaufe fo few are enlightened with the
Gofpel. 0/7^ tells you, that the illumination of
the zv'jrhJ, by flow degrees, is an-dagous to the me-.
Ihod of furnrfliing individuals witji knowledge: an
inferior m.eafure imparted in inf nicy, more in child-,
hood, more vet in youth, in niaturitv of years, and
^ E'2 old


old age: and others fnggcft other accounts of the
fame Myjlery of Vrcrc'idnwe^ as it is called: but the
fadt is; firfl,^ the Almighty from the beginning
made it the duty of Parents to teach the Gofpel to
their children to the end of time: aided by the
MiniHers and Offices of Religion. Where thcfc
means have failed by human negligence, and the
blending operation of vice and folly, God is blame-

Secondly, At the dehrre, provifion was made
again for enlightening all the world with divine
Truth, by the con flit ution of Noah, a preacher of
Bight eovfyiefsy to be the Refounder of Mankind. If
the Poflerity of Noah in their migrations any
where failed of their dut}^, in duly reprefenting the
future great Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, as the
only medium of Mercy, while they fcattered every
Avhere the Notion of Sacrifice as propitiatory for
Sin, God is blamelefs ftill. Men have been faith-
Icfs to their Trufl of communicating the Gofpel ;
God is not deficient in his Province.

At length, however, when Truth was ailmofl ex-
tinguifhed univerfally by the vices of men, it pleafcd
God, for its prefervation upon earth, to fet up the
Jezvijh Polity; and thence, in the various ditpcr-
fioDS of that people, to fend out important notiecs
preparatory all to the great EmifTion of Light on
the day of Pentccoil. Then the twelve Apoftles,
and the fevcnty Difciples, and the Converted, allem-
bled at that time fri)m all parts of the world, went
forth on all fides of the habitable globe, preaching
Jefts, Where the fe flopped, it was the duty of thoje
in that fpot to have proceeded further, and- every
'where. In one word, the Gofpel is committed to
Chrifticns by their God and Saviour in TRUST,
not onlv for their own private ufc, but for the
moft univerfal con:munication poflible: and Sin,
great Sin, lies at our door for unfaithfulnels to thi-s
moU important of all Depolils. *' Go ye into all the


god's gall, our directory. 53

worlJj' ie^ysJefus Chrift^ ^'' and preach the Go/pel to
every creature, a?id lo ! I am iv'ith you alway^ even
tmto the end of the JVorhiy If we have not done it,
let us not accufe Jefus Chrifi:, as though he had not
Uiadc it our duty.

You vvhiiper; But if Succefs is thus indefinitely
afiured to Gofpel Millions, none can fliil of ette6l.

I anfwer, firil, I believe none do, fail altogether
of effe6l. Sometliing, I believe, is always done,
preparatory to a future full converfion : as Light
^vas created on the fir(l day, but not collec^led into
a Sun's orb till the Iburth Ai\y. Timber muft be
felled, and ftones or brick brought together, for
the building of an houfe, and are not the lefs ne-
celiary, though the houfc be not built for months
afterwards. Secondly, the promile in the texi, and
every iimilar one, muH h^Juppoftd "to imply, that,
though God will command fuccefs, it Iball be
through ^ft 'vfjinmient. Where MilTionaries are
wicked, or ignorant, no one can imagine the Deity
will fpeed them. This Benefit bke moft others,
f.iils through lome fault in ourfelves, through none
in bur Blelled Mailer. Thirdly, God will work,
but, it miijl he. fuppofed, in a way worthy hlmjelf:
Tcorthy the extent and relations of his vaji tnoral
Government : that \^, in a v/ay worthy his infinite
AViSDOAi as wxll as Goodnefs. He therefore muft
judge, what places, what perfons, and at what pe-
riods, he will convert. Not to all places, and to
all individuals, and at one time, but to thoufands
in fome places; to not fo many in others, and in
others to none as yet, muit his Wifdom be fuppofed
to fee it fuitable to prcfent his Gofpel. Man is a
moral agent, and as fuch muit be treated; not as a
Block or Machine.

And this is eriough for our purpofe. T3uty \%
our Province; Events of Time, Ferfon, Number,
belong to our Maker. And that cxpe6tatio]i of
fucccis, which he raifcs in our performance of our


54 god's call, our directory,,

duty, is not only general, but "lv/j cwiph: '' hi I
am zvith you akiay^ even unto the end of the ivorld,'^
/ays our Maker, in the New Tejlament : '' I ijoill fay
to the South ^ Keep not hack,'' fays the fame divine
Perfonag-e in the Old.

Neither here nrisy be omitted, the very affeding
circumftance of the date, zvhen our Lord gave the
charge to his Followers to carry the Gofpel every
where, and to rely on his prefcnce in fo doing. It
was at the moment of his leaving our Earth for Hea-
ven. St. Matthew makes this Precept and Pro-
mife the very lalt thing which Chr'ijl fpake, before
the parting benediction; fignifying, how much the
Bufmefs lay on his heart, and that this was the
Heart he was carrying up into Heaven.

But come we

II. To the Fell city of the Vlace, -^ I will fay to
" the South, Keep not backr

True it is, 710 particidar country is fpecified in
the South. The Ifiands, to which you are lending,
are not named. And better fo than otherwife.
For were the deftination as precife as in the tenth
of A6ls, " Sejui 7nen to Joppa, and enquire fof one
" Simon, 'is^hofe funiavie is Peter: he Jodgeth with
" one Simon, a Tanner, hy the fca-fidc^' we might
fear that there the Golpel would ftop ; and fhould
ha\-e little heart to labour elfezvhcre, Particulavs
may exclude Generals, but Generals muft include
Particulars : and therefore when the South rcgioyi
of the Worhi is propofed to our Labours and
Prayers, no one fpot there is exempt from our
Duty and Hope of Succefs; conlcquentlv, not
thcfe very Iilands to which you are fending.

The South region of the Earth, indeed, is pro-
pofed to our Exertions and Expectations, awongji
the other cardinal points of the world, the Kafi^
Wefi., and North; but, beyond controvcrly, 7iot
the Lcfi for being in their conjpany. \\ each comes


god's call^ our directory. 55

within our duty and profpe61s, then at our peril
to omit any : therefore we may not omit the

Sou til.

Surely none of us, for the fake of the obje^l of
this million, could wifh the South to Hand /;7^/^
in the Commidion. You would not cafliier the
North, with the great work on the coaft of Labra-
dor, You would not cafhier the Eaji and TVefi^.
with the great work in either Indies. But are
happy, whUe one region and promife is for them,
another is for you.

Add to whi^ch, immenfely encouraging in thi«
million is the grand Promife of Universal Con-
version : that the "IGiovjJedge of the Lordjhall om
day cover the earth., as the v:aters cover thefeasT
and another, " that the fuhefs of the Gentiles Jli all
come in:'" and many like texts. For hence it is in-
ferable, that thefe very JJlands are dejlined to Con-
verfion. It is in the'flites, that Otaheits fhall be
called. Confequently, not the Place, only the
Time is uncertain. But, "- as of that day and hour'
(of the laft judgment.) '• kno'-joeth no man,"' ytt are we
all to a6t as if it were at hand; (behold I the Judge
ftandeth before the door!) — (o, here. It is always
to us the time to labour to fave immortal fouls-
Haggai finely reproves this ftrange impertinence
and wicked evafion, that the '' Lord's time was not
come."" " Is it time for ye to dwell in ceiled houfes^*
anfwers the Prophet rather quaintly, ^and to fuffer
the Lord's houfe to remain unbuilt ? W hen a thing
fuits our carnal humour, we lofe no time, but
think every moment a fit time; and the firil mo-
ment the titteft of all : but when our finful eafe
and indulgence be didurbed, and extraordinary,
holy exertions are called for, we ^prevaricate when
we fay, the Lord's time is not come. But very in-
ftrudfive and in point is the fequel oi this pro.
pheey. ^'Confider 7iowfroni this day a7iJ forward,frOj^
ths four and twentieth day of the firjl month, ev^^^

5(5 god's call, our directory.

from the day that the foundation of the Lord^s houfe
tvas laid — from this day vcill I hUfs you^'' As if
he had faid: Indul^je no vain t\c\x\cs o{ the Lord^ s
time not cnme% fet about the work; and from the
moment of beginning* it^ take notice^ if my blef-
fiae: be not upon you.

But, over and above thefe confiderations, there
are feveral reafons which induce me to think, that
th(^ pj'ef en t may be the Lord's time (if we have any
bufinefs with that quedion) as v/ell as the Plucey
the Lord's Place for converfion.

1 . As the inhabitants of the Polar regions, the
longer they have been deprived of the Sun, the
fooner cxpcdt it ; fo from the long darknefs of the
Iflands of the South Sea, for ages undifcovered as
they have been, and precluded, therefore, from all
opportunity of receiving or rejecting the Gofpel,
it is prefumable, that now at length they may bo
called, Efpecially if^ at the day of Pentecoji, thefe
Iflands being unknown, there w^as no natural pojjl-
I'llity of executing there the univerfal commifiion^
to preach the Gofpel to every creature. All foids are
wine, faith the ever blelled God. Therefore thofe
of the South Sea. Mine by Creation ; mine by
Providence; mine by Government; and mine, if
obedient to the Gofpel, for Eternal Life. They
have long been comparatively overlooked, in re-
fpe6l of an opportunity of the C-ofpel ; and there
is no reafon fo worthy the Deity for their recent
difcovcry, as that of introducing the Gofpel among
them. Which brings me to a fecond reafon for
thinking the Prefcnt to be the Time for their

2. The Almighty is bell pleafed with Parents,
and others, for beginning as early as pofjlhle to
endeavour the falvation of their Children. And
accordingly very ft r iking and very many have been
the inftaiidcs of children culled at an early period :


god's call^ our directory. 57

fome living thenceforward uniformly to mature
age in undoubted habits of grace, and fome dying
in all the triumphs of faith and of confcious and
almoft public affumption to heaven. By analogy,
therefore, we may be confident, that the Almighty
will* be befl pleafed with the firjl efforts 'uoe can
vmle^ after the difeovery, for theconverlion, of the
South Sea Ifles. " My foul hath dejtred the Jhjl
" ripe fruit ^'^ faith the Lord. . " The firji ripe in
" the fig tree, at herfirft timef-\ is remarkably pleaf-
ing to him : And therefore his bleiling and
fuccefs may be hoped for, at this time of the foonefl
poffible manifeftation of the Sun of Rightcoufnefs
to ripen them.

3. It is prefaged, and not without both proba*
bility and fcripture, as many conceive, that tlie
prefent remarkable sera, in which all the govern-
ments upon earth are fufFering one great pohtical
palfy, is prelufory to fome grand fpiritual revolu-
tion, cither millennial, or leading to it, The fun
of France is extindl. Spam, the fuperflitious and
haughty, hath been obliged to fell her very faints
of filver and gold, to fupport a tottering throne and
altar. Rome, with its pontiff, hath turned, pale,
and, with the Italian States, is flill fick with fear.
Germany hath fuffered various amputations of its
ijnperial domains ; and with an arn)y how multitu-
dinous, experienced, and brave, flill waves only a
doubtful fword in the field of battle. Holland is
at this hour without an head; and, cutting down
its own dikes, is inundated, with all her peace and
commerce, with foreign troops. The walls of
Sweden have rung with tlipe fhrieks of a dying
king, murdered in the adl of fraternizing with his
fabje6ls' focial pleafures. Folcmd is difmembered,
and. given to three great eagles to be devoured.
The Turkijh Crefcent, long in danger of being

* Micah vii. i . t Hofea ix. 10.

F driven


driven from its orbit into Afia^ hath been in recent-
danger cA falling, and drowning in its own Black
Sea. The Mijfrefs of the North herfelf hath felt
the political poifon of Gallic equality begin to work
in the limb of White Rujfta. What place is fe-
cure? Serpents have already in fin u at ed themfelves
into the cradle of the infant Weft em Republic,
and will not without difficulty be ftrangled by its
Hercidean Chief. The British Lion himfelfhas
been feen to lliudder: but colledling his ftrength,
and joining himfelf to the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
^' he couches^ he Ties dov:n as a llouy and as a great
" lion: ivho Jhall Jilr him iipr"^

In obferving thefe agitations and convulfions of
the earth, who can help thinking of the analogy in
Ha^^ai^ '^ IiviU JJiake all nations^ and the Dejire of
'^ all Nations Jliall come: and I will fill this houfe
*^ (the church) with my glory ^Jalth the Lord.'''' And
fo elfewhere it is faid, '^ Iwlll overturn, overturn,
" overturn-^' firft the Balylonlan, then the P erf an,
next the Grecian Empire, "^/W,'' under the fourth
great empire, " he Jhall come, whofe right It Is, and I
"- will give It him:'" then Jtfus Chrlft {haW be exhi-

I only add, that fhould thefe throes of kingdoms
and flatcs bring forth fome grand fpiritual event,
as the widcft propagation of chrifiianity, it wilLbe
uniform with the paft government of God, which
hath been already experienced. The prefcnt,
therefore, may be the i;^r>' time for a new chrifiian
world to rife up in ih^ S-ovth Sea. At leaft, at the
pre lent, above all times, every tiding fliould be tried,
that may extend the, Redeenver's kingdom.

By the way, the abundance of the Gofpel in our
our country, and the vaft number of righteoui
found in it, both In tlie ellablifhed church and out
of it, preclude the reafon for a revolution here;

* Numb. xxiv. 9.


god's call^ our directory. 56

and afHire iis^ that the holy feed Jhall he the fiih-
Jidiue and perpetuity of our noble tree of liberty,
bendinn- with the fruits of domeftic comfort, public
and private wealth, order, law and religion.

4. Another reafon why the prefent may be the
prerif time for the converfion of the heathen in the
Sou^h Sea, is the Jimultaneons hijliieyice (hed^ in
fo furprifing a way, on the minds of thoiifands
upon thoufands uniting for this blefTed enterprize.
In confrquence of this impreffion, more than teyi
thoiijand pounds have been fubfcribed prefently.
An amazing fpirit of prayer is diffufed. A prodi-
gious number of Minillers come forth on the occa-
fion. Miffionaries, feniible, godly and remarkably
fitted for the fervice, offer themfelves. Artifts, me-
dical men, failors^ a captain, all ferious, offer them-
felves. A wife and warm Dire6tory is formed.
The Providence of God, in an unufual manner,
fccms to confpire vilibly with the Spiiit of God ;
every thing favors, nothing impedes the delign. So
that we cannot but think that fcripture true on
this occalion, '^ Behold I have Jet before thee an
'^ open doorT

And leil Grangers fhould fufpedl this argument
of remarkable general mfliieyice allied to enthuii-
afra,. I beg leave to remind you of an event ftill
frefli in all your memories.

When our beloved Sovereign fuffered a tempo-
rary derangement, who did not obferve, who will
not acknowledge, the extraordinary influence llied
on the minds of all men to pray for his recovery.
Not a church, not a chapel, not a meeting, not a
fynagoguc, but was devout on the occafion. So-
cieties were formed, and regularly kept up, and
numeroufly attended, for fpccial prayer. The
court, the city, the bar, the camp, felt a momen-
tary piety. The infidel himfelf feemcd to cafl a
look towards Heaven. And was the univcrfal im-
prciiion in vain? The God, ^^ ivho heareth ami an-^
F 2 ''f^senth

6o god's call, our directory.

'^fwcreth p-ayer^' and who, ^vhcre he means to
give inlpires to afk, did appear. And when the
tirfi; medical talents in the world dcfpaired of fuc-
ccfs by all natural means long ufcd, and uled to
no purpofe, lo ! the blclled God hinilelf prelents
us uneypectedly with our common Roviii Father
in perfe6l fanity. And what marks the work, both
of devotion ana recovery, as God'? own adr, in an-
fwer to prayer, is, all ranks were as ready to be
thankful lor the mercy afterwards, as before they
had been importunate to lefeech it.

See then the hand of God. in the ftriking, fud-
den, extenfive, and holy mfluence, ft.ed on the
prefent occafion ; and go -forth, righteous people,
Contributors, Dire6lors, Miffionarics, alJ, in the fa-
cred undcrtiiking; and, at every ft cp you take, let
this fcripturc fmg in your ears and hearts, " / ivill
'^ Jay io the South, Keep not hackr

III. But not more the grandeur of the fpeaker,
and felicity of the place, meet and fill your wiibes,
than \h^ glory of the thing fpoken :." Keep not hack'''

] . W hat is it ? Som.ething divinely tender andaf-
fedling. " My poor pagan children in the South,
^' I am your Maker ; and, in my great pity to un-
^^ grateful and oiicnding tinners, am difpoted to re-
" cci\e, to pardon, to embrace and make you hap-
^^ pyi -By the facrifice which I have made of my
" coequal fon, and which he hath made of him.felf,
" it is "in my power to blefs the chief of JinnerSy
"without an impeachment of my juftice: nay,
*^ with the fujlcft proof, that, while I fpare the fm-
^^ ner, I I'pare not iin. The inomcnt you relent, lam
" all mercy In htm. No longer avoid me. I mean to
'^ do you goc.d, and only good. Senfible yourlclvcs
" of undutifuinefs and total dcpraviiy of nature,
" and wifliing to be reftored to juft fentiments of
** me, and to conform to the order of my family, I
'' forgive every things and will give every thing.
" Ihe vital blood oi my fon is flied for your par -


god's call, o^r diuectory, 6i

^^ don; his righteoufnefs Hiall be imputed to you;
" his Spirit fiiall be your animator^ and a perpetual
" fountain of truth, comfort, hdp, and all goodnefs.
" And when the habit o( being and doing good
*' hath been wrought into your nature, and exer-
" cifcd competently in your lives, I will not leave
^^you longer to Itruggle with temptation, trouble,
" fear, want, change, and the pains of mortality
" upon earth, but will take you from this to the
" beft of worlds pofixble: where, at the fource of
" ail virtue, blifs, immortality and glory, you fhall
" enjoy the perfection of your own natures, with
" the all-fufficiency of mine, without intermiffion,
" without remiffion, and without end. Keep not
" back, but fall into thefe arms of your Creator and

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Online LibraryLondon Missionary SocietySermons (1796) → online text (page 4 of 15)