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But let not the evangelical laborer be dejected or discouraged. Whatever
instrument God may employ, he will finish his work, — "for the mouth of the
Lord hath spoken it." A Christian soldier may die at his post, but God will
preserve his cause from ruin. The Christian missionary, with burdened and
burning soul, may die, exclaiming, " O the fate of the heatheii," as William Pitt
died, exclaiming, " O my country." But the God of missions holds tbe heathen,
and tbe missions, and the sacred truth in his hands. And at the tnoment of
deepest darkness, new light may be ready to break forth. God can spare us.
We are not essential to his cause. He can raise up other helpers, born for such
emergencies, and ordained to carry out the work we have begun. And when
the converts from paganism are gathered from the east and the west, the north
and the south, the fruits of the evangelical effort of successive ages, with the
missionaries who have taught them, and the Christians who have given of their
substance for tbe cause of Christ, and who have prayed for the prosperity of
Zion, then will the sower and the reaper rejoice together. *



ENLISTING THE YOUNG IN THE MISSIONARY CAUSE.

Whether for the present or the future, the touno, it is generally allowed,
constitute an element of power, and when wisely directed, an agency for good,
of unappreciable value. It follows, therefore, that one of the best methods by
which ministers may promote missions, is to create in this important class an
early and enlightened interest in the great work of the world's evangelization.
Now that this can be done is certain, fi-om the resistless evidence of numerous
facts: facts which clearly show that by means as simple as they are potent,
minister.^, whose i>ower8 and position are very various, may thus interest the
minds of their youthful hearers, and by so doin^ shape and determine their
future character. Indeed, we are assured that to this end their power is all but
absolute, — we had well nigh written, omnipotenL

Assuming, then, that ministers may interest the minds of the young in mis-
sions, it follows that they can enlist their active aid in promoting them. At that
unsophisticated period of life, the pleas of a self-indulgent disposition, the max-
ims of a false expediency, and the temptations to a course of truculent coufor-



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1849.] EnUtHng ik€ Young in the Misnanary OmcM. 319

mity to the world, which in after years operate so injuriously, are comparatively
powerless. These and other hindrances to useful effort do not dam up, and
cannot easily turn aside, the fresh, full, sparkling current of generous feeling
from its free and natural course. Then, its channel is seldom dry, or choked
up with the sedgy luxuriance which springs from, the mud and stagnation of a-
later period. As yet there are no artificial barriers between the first, best dictates
of the heart and the corresponding niovements of the hand. What, therefore,
the one desires, the other is prepared to do. Hence, if the affections of the young
are but engaged in missionary objects, their cooperation will follow. And in
them we have obtained an agency possessing many of the best working ele-
ments, — ardor, leisure, energy, and easy access to all classes;— an agency of
great efficiency, and that by which he may best accomplish the glorious design,
** One generation shall praise thy name to another, and shall show forth thy
mighty works!"

In proof of these assertions, we merely refer to the results of juvenile mission-
ary organizations. For it may be affirmed without hesitation, that these have,
in cases not a few, formed some of the most productive parts of our missionary
machinery. But how has this hapf»ened ? In almost every instance, it may be
traced to the influence and activity of the minister. For although it sometimes
occurs that devoted members of the church will supply their pastor's lack of
service in this important department of usefulness, and so direct and encourage
juvenile effort as to insure its success, the general rule is that such success will
be in proportion to his endeavors. If he be constantly seen and heard as the
patron of the youthful band ; if they are cheered on by his animating voice ; if
his radiant smiles and pleasant sentences fall upon their young hearts like sun-
shine, then he will not only attach them to himself, but still more strongly to the
obiect they are seeking to promote.

But the minister must not only coimtenance, he must also cooperate in these
labors. There must be plan as well as purpose, system as well as spirit. One of
his first objects should be, to combine the young in a compact missionary organ-
ization. Of this, however, we shall treat more fully in a subsequent paper. Here
we must assume that, either such an organization exists, or at least that each
congregation contains some who are engaged, or ready to engage in this good
work. Now, in all such cases, there is one means by which ministers may cer-
tainly and continuously operate through the young upon evangelical efforts, — it
is by meeting them periodically for missionary purposes. Such meetings, to say
the least, are indispensable. To expect their progress, of'even perseverance,
Hfiart from them, is to cherish a vain hope. Led to themselves, their hearts
will fail, and their efforts flag. But while none require more pastoral encour-
agement than the young, by none will such encouragement be more amply
repaid.

How oiien such meetings should be held cannot perhaps be determined, —
but certainly not less frequently than once in every quarter. And surely it is
not an unreasonable demand, wh^n we ask ministers to devote four evenings in
a year to so important an object as that of guiding this interesting class in the
walks of usefulness ; and thus promoting, by their agency, the salvation of the
world.

And such meetings will bring to all who engage in them a large return.
They will yield refreshment to the minister, and, by confirming his hold upon
the affections of his young people, will eminently conduce to his usefulness.
But upon them their power will be as great as it is good. His mere presence
in the midst of his youthful coadjutors will exert no slight influence U|M)n them.
Though he remain a silent spectator of their proceedings, it will be to them a
seen, a felt evidence of his interest in their persons, and his decided approval of
their proceedings. They will construe such visits as a testimony of his high
regard to the work in which they are employed, and an evidence of the pleas-
ure lie derives from watching their progress.

But on these occasions he will not, he cannot hold his peace. Were he dis-
posed to taciturnity, the sparkling eyes, and happy faces gleaming upon him,
would speedily cure him of^any such propensity, and constrain him to speak '*a
word in season." That word may be simple and short, but it is almost sure to
be <* good.'' Nor will it be in vain ; it will confirm, and probably quicken those
who hear it. And even if it be soon forgotten, the feelings thus fostered, and the
habits thus strengthened, will show that its influence is abiding. Nor will those

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320 EnUdwg <Ae Yintng in 0be MMm&ry Gnwe. [Ssrr.

who are ODce and again encouraged to ^ g<r forward,^ eoon grow weary in their
work. Every such meeting will be a new starting point in the career of useful-
ness. Nor will the opening prayer and the parting benediction be without their
influence. In such seasons, even apart from their immediate purpose, there is
a pleasure, and a power which language could but feebly describe. And little
does that pastor, who has not shared in these simple services, know how much
has been lost of sacred satisfaction to himself, and of solid advantage to others.

Though these periodical meetings between the minister and his young peo*
pie will he in part for business purposes, and should of course be conducted
with such seriousness as may comfiort with their religious design, they should
be divested of stiff formality. While order is maintained, they will be nx>re
attractive and influential, if they are cheerful. Some experienced pastors, in
whose congregations juvenile missionary associations flourish, full of sap aad
vigor, clothed in leafy verdure and bending with ripe fruit, connect a simple tea
service with the graver business of the evening, at which, supported by the
deacons and a few active members of the church, they find it both pleasant and
profitable to preside. And although some prudish people may deinur to the
tempered hilarity of such gatherings, and greatly prefer the set measures and
dull solemnity which they deem more decorous, there can surely be nothing
unsuitable, but the contrary, in an endeavor to render some of our best domestic
habits and associations subservient to a religious design ; to sanctify a cheerful
and refreshing repast to the benevolent purpose of providing a spirhual feast for
the furnishing heathen.

Sometimes, and with the happiest effect, these meetings are held at the pas*
tor's own house, or at that of one of his friends. But however the place and the
circumstances of the meeting may vary, the minister should regard it as an es-
tablished rule, a well-sustained fact, that juvenile efforts will fail without such
encouragement Meetings must be held, or all hope of interesting the young
in this service be abandoned. Whilst, on the other hand, by means of them, as
great things have been effected, and are being done continually, so may they be
accomplished, whenever with skill and earnestness this simple plan is steadily
pursued. .

But there are other seasons when the minister, in the discharge of his ordi<
nary duty, meets many of the young of his flock, which he may render subsidi-
ary to the cause of missions. In the Bible-class, for example, how frequently
and how fitly may this subject be introduced. Here the' occasions for its ad-
mission are so numerous and so favorable, that it is difficult to conceive how it
can be shunned or slighted. And, on the other hand, the facts connected with
the evangelical efforts of modern days are so adapted to illustrate great truths,
and to enforce important duty, that no minister, who would do justice to the
subjects which dome under his consideration, can consiittently avoid them.
Now in this way, with comparative ease, may a wise teacher train up many for
great useful uess. Much, indeed, may they be constrained to do even now ; but
present activity, however productive, will be chiefly valqable as a formative
power and process, fitting those who are subjected to it for the highest purposes
of existence in this world, and throughout eternity. Surely, then, the possi-
bility ofeffectiiig results like these should be to every faithful minister a stimu-
lus sufliciently strong and steady to induce him to think, and plan, and labor;
to devote time and skill, in no mean degree, to the noble purposes of fixing, in
the minds of his youthful charge, those convictions, and filling their hearts with
those desires and designs which, by making them benevolent and active now,
will prepare them to devote their riper years to the highest enda which crea-
tures can fulfil.

Nor can we pass, without remark, the Sabbath school. True, indeed, many
who attend these sacred seminaries cannot either contribute to the spread of the
gospel, nor collect for this end. They have neither means nor friends whence
to draw supplies. But this is their misfortune, — oAeo their grief, — not their
fault. And although it is a reason for their not giving, it is no reason for their
not hearing. Their pockets may be empty, while their hearts are full ; — ^their
perceptions clear and their prayers fervent, though their pence fail. We ought
not, then, to make the present pecuniary returns of the measures employed to
interest this class in missions, the test of their value, or the measure of their
success. It is true, indeed, that many Sunday schools contribute rouniflcently
to missions, and in numerous instances, the children of the poor give sums, not



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only proportionably, but literally larger than the families of the rich. And were
the total thua obtained abstracted from the income of the society, a chasm would
be formed which it would not be easy to fill. But although the money value
of Sabbath school missionary associations may be great, their moral value is far
greater. While, therefore, we ought not to neglect the one, but on the con-
trary to do whatever can be wisely done to draw from this source a yet fuller
stream, the other claims our highest regard. These schools are the true '* train-
ing-establishments." Here is many a mass, now rude, but yet ready to be
moulded into forms of goodness and truth, — to be made ** vessels of honor meet
for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good word and work." Here are
the now tangled warp and useless woof, capable of being woven into textures
of strength, too tenacious for man's hand to rend, and of beauty, — presenting, in
many a rich diversity of pattern and picture, the matchless workmanship of God !
Here, to change the figure, overlaid and deeply hidden beneath many a moun-
tain mass of ignorance and evil, are buried veins of precious ore, stores of bound-
less wealth, which, if once upheaved and laid bare by the divine sgency which
Christians can "command," will enrich the world. In Sabbath schools not a
few, some may be found who need but the quickening power which God has
connected with man's instrumentality, to make them the "spiritual heroes" of
a future age. Minds and hearts are there, shrouded it may be in opaque igno-
rance, and encrusted with evils early contracted and densely hardened ; but as
capable of the lolly thought, the generous purpose, the glorious deed, or the
noble daring, as those who have fought and fallen in the hi^h places of the field.
That shaggy-headed boy, with patched and many-colored jacket, who has just
laid down his well-thumbed Testament and is gathering himself up to listen,
"all eye, all ear" to the pastor, who has taken his stand at the superintendent's
desk to address the children about missions, is capable of being made a Mor-
rison, or a Milne, a Carey, or a Williams of a coming age. And that meek girl,
holding in her hand the Juvenile Missionary Magazine, which she has carefully
hoarded her halfpenny to purchase, may not attract greater attention than her
school-fellows, though there is something more than ordinarily expressive in
those speaking eyes, as they beam out intelligently upon the minister from be-
neath her soiled and shabby bonnet ; yet has she a heart as large as the world.
Let the Lord but open it to the wants of the heathen and the claims of the Sav-
ior, and she may become a Judson or a Newell.

Now these, of couree, are merely suppositions, but thev are possibilities; and
such possibilities should suffice to show to ministere the importance of this field
of labor, and to stimulate them to " sow beside all waters " the choicest seeds of
Christian truth and world-wide beneficence.

But though the prospective benefits of ministerial visits for missionary pur-
poses to Sunday schools may be great, the present results are not small. Many
there, both teachera and taught, are already " prepared of the Lord " to do some-
thing, possibly much, in his service. They await only the pastor's admonition
or encouragement, to make them to arise and gird themselves for the work, and
then to prosecute it with a warm heart and a willing hand. And be it remem-
bered, that each individual who drinks in the stirring words of the minister, as
he pleads the cause of missions, is the centre of a circle through which the
sentiments thus spoken, and the emotions thus stirred may be soon and widely
spread. Many a family, ere the Sabbath has closed, will listen to the rehearsal
of the school address. Some whom no pereuasives could have drawn to the
sanctuary to. hear for themselves, will learn from loquacious childhood the
wondere God hath wrought Seeds of things most precious may thus be widely
scattered, and efifects follow which the speaker did not seek or contemplate.
But whether such specific results spring from these services or not, few can
doubt that the occasional address on the great missionary enterprise, from the
minister to the Sunday school, will add a not unimportant item to the total of
sentiment and feeling in favor of efiforts for the evangelization of all nations.

Are we asking, then, from the servants of Christ too much for a perishing
world and a gracious Redeemer, when we solicit at their hands an occasional
visit and a short address to the Sunday school ? This is a light service, when
compared with its admitted value and probable effects. A single half-hour thus
spent thrice or four times a year, may suggest thoughts and originate actions,
may enlist agents, and bring support to missions, which, in the harvest of the
world, will cause him who sows and those who reap to rejoice together,

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But the subject of juvenile efibrt must not be disniisBecl without the reeoin*
mendation that, when practicable, either as a part of the anniversary arrange-
ments or at some other period, at least one service a year should be specially
adapted to the young. Were it desirable, it would be scarcely possible to ac-
commodate ordinary sermons and speeches to the juvenile taste and capacity.
If then they are to be duly instructed and deeply interested in missionary mat-
ters, it must be by a meeting of their own. Nor will the pastor, intent upon
forming the character of the rising race for future usefulness, fail to recommenii
and circulate those small but invaluable periodicals which are written for their
benefit These are already widely disseminated, and were they recommended
from the pulpit, and spread through each congregation by some simple organiza-
tion which he could easily construct, or others at his suggestion, these halfpen-
ny, but "priceless heralds of gospel truth and triumphs might command a far
larger sale, and exert a pro|)ortiooately beneficial influence.

It is possible that these simple suggestions may seem to some either too obvi-
ous, or too unimportant to be thus pressed upon the serious attention of Chris-
tian ministers. But those who have tried or traced the operation of such meth-
ods, will have reached a sounder conclusion. That they foster the spirit and
augment the resources upon which, under God, the missionary enterprise is
dependent, is certain ; and this single consequence should alone suffice to con-
strain ministers to employ them. And surely that pastor cannot be blameless^
who, possessing such a power, refuses or neglects to employ it. The gospel
with which he is entrusted, the wants and woes of misemble millions, the love
and last requirements of Jesus Christ, demand somethiag better at bis hands.

But, directly missionary purposes are not the only beneficial consequences of
such a course. By the same means, just views on many related and most im-
portant subjects are disseminated far beyond those whom the pastor is seeking
to interest. Let this class be well taught and suitably directed In the great
purposes and plans of the Redeemer, and it will tem^ in no slight degree, to
leaven the congregation with which they are connected with a spirit of zeal
and devotednesB. Many among the parents, families, and circles of friendship,
will thus be drawn to love and labor in the cause of Christ And in this way^
the moral health and permanent prosperity of a people will be promoted, while
he whose efforts gave the primary impulse to these generous feelings and
movements, will be among the first and chief to derive advantage from his own
wise course. — Limdon Evongelieal Magazimit,



CLAIMS OF MISSIONS.

Some indeed have asked, Why send the gospel to convert the heathen abroad,
when we have still so many unconverted heathen at home ? It were a suffi-
cient answer to this objection, to refer to the commission of our Savior, as repu-
diating all such limited views, and requiring a much larger plan of operations
for the diffusion of divine truth. But does it not occur to those objectors, that
if the apostles and first Christians had acted on the plan that they recommend,
the blessings of Christianity must have been confined to a comparatively small
portion of the earth, and all the rest of the world, including this country, would
have so far remained in heathenish darkness and superstition ? So far as we
can judge from past experience, though it is the will of God to save some of
every nation, it does not appear to be his will to save dU of any nation. If,
therefore, we are not to seek to extend the knowledge of the Redeemer beyond
the l)oundarie« of our own town, or neight>orhood, or country, till all within
those boundaries are converted, it is evident that the knowledge of salvation, so
far as any direct efforts are concerned, would have been confined within the
smallest imaginable space, and the wide world have been shut out still more
hopelessly, tf^possible, than under the Jewish economy, from the blessings of
revealed religion.

Such objections remind us of the woodman, who having mounted a tree for
the purpose of demolishing it, was so intent upon his design, that at length, un-
wittingly, he cut off the bough on which he was standing, and precipitated him-

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1849.] aam$ ^ M$iwu. d98

self to the earth. So it ii with thoee who argue agaiiwt Cbrlatian missiona.
They argue against that very iiind of operatiooa, to which they owe, under God,
their apiritual subsistence, and all their privileges and hopes as Christians, and
prescribe a line of conduct witli regard to others, which, if adopted towards
themselves, would have abandoned them to hopeless misery and niin !

Is it not, then, abundantly evident, that Uie cause of Christian missions is
indeed the cause of Christ — the cause of God ? Can any serious Christian
reflect on tlie commission of our Savior, and comprehend its true nature and
extent, without admitting that it is the plain and palpable duty of the church, to
seek to originate and sustain active efforts for promotins the kingdom of Christ,
by sending forth preachers of the gospel to evangelize the nations of the earth ?
Is it decorous for us to be wise above what is written, to pretend to pry into the
decrees of God, and to set them a^inst his plain and authoritative commands? .
Should we decline this great, this honorable, this glorious enterprise when
called to it, for reasons which have no foundation but in our own imperfect and
erroneous conceptions of things ? Should a mistaken zeal to preserve our repu-
tation for orthodoxy, prevent our coming forward to aid in the salvation of a lost
and nitoed world ? Should we veil our covetousness or indifierence to the
periehing millions of our fellow*men, and our deficiency in zeal for the glorv of
our adorable Redeemer under the excuse, the time is not vet come, the time
for the Lord's house to be built ? Should we stand by and witness, with demure
gravity and with a self-complacent smile, thousands of our fellow-men goins
down to perdition, whilst we have the means of salvation in our hands, and
make no effort for their rescue? Such was the too prevailing sentiment in our
churches at one time. But we rejoice that clearer and more comprehensive
views of Christian duty, and a ipore truly evangelical spirit, are obtaining among
them ; and we hope that the time is not far distant when every church, by what*
ever doctrinal peculiarities it may be distincuished, will be a missionary church,
such as was the church at Jerusalem, and the church at Antioch ; and when all
our ministers and deacons will render their hearty co-operation in this glorious
cause.

Jf we look further at the object of Christian missions, we must admit that
they have the strongest claim on our sympathy and co-operation. The object
of Christian missions is essentially, yea identically the same as that of Chris-
tianity itself. Their object is not merely to enlighten and civilize mankind, but
to convert sinners to Christ, and to save them from eternal perdition. True it
is, tiwt wherever Christianity has obtained an entrance among a people, it has
promoted civilization and learning; and in proportion as it lias gained a hold on
the public mind, it has removed very many of the disorders, improved the man-



Online LibraryMassachusetts Baptist ConventionThe Baptist missionary magazine → online text (page 51 of 72)