« ПредишнаНапред »
Extract from a Missionary Sermon delivered in New
York, Nov. 7, 1797, by Rev. John M. Mason, D. D.
IN a question of plain duty, Christians are not to be deterred by difficulties. THUS SAITH THE LORD, is his warrant : and as long as there is nothing too hard for Omnipotence, there is nothing to justify disobedience or demur. Unbelief looks at opposition, and faints. Faith looks at the promise of God, and conquers. In the strength of the promise, worm Jacob threshes the mountains, and beats them small as chaff. It is the way of the Holy One of Israel to order his servants on difficult duty, without showing them, immediately, how they are to succeed. Reserving to himself the manner and the praise of their victory, he lays upon them a necessity of trusting his faithfulness ; and they never did, and never shall trust in vain.
But why do I speak of difficulties? The most formidable ones which must be encountered in a mission to the Heathen, have been overcome, by the firmness and intrepidity of carnal men. They can visit the savage tribes, can cross their rivers, climb their mountains, traverse their forests ; can learn their language, conform to their manners, acquire their confidence; can patiently submit to hunger and cold, fatigue and peril :-For what? To decorate earthly science, or to collect the dust of land, or the vapours of fame. They pretend to no divine command; they think of no divine support. Yet we, who talk familiarly of both, turn pale at the mention of those obstacles which they continually surmount. Whence this resoluteness on the one side, and this timidity on the other! The uncourtly truth is, that the men of the world are in earnest, and we are not. And what must they, what can they, conclude from our supineness? Either that our religion is false, or that we do not believe it? How long ere this reproach be wiped away ? Duty urges : Misery implores! Thousands of precious souls are the depending stake, and not a moment is to be lost. In the work before us, in the immortal work of evangelizing the Heathen, let us rouse each latent energy, and brave opposition, like good soldiers of Jesus Christ. And cer
tainly the encouragement is as great, as the call is pressing. As far as man, with the lights of prophesy, can judge, the time is not very distant, when God shall arise, and have mercy upon Zion. What mean these dire convulsions ? This crash of kingdom? These tenants of blood ? He who can here discover only the shock of hu. man interests, or the madness of human passions, hath not penetrated beyond secondary and instrumental agencies. From the eminence of Scriptural prediction, a humble believer overlooks the molehill of worldly politics, and descries the moving power, and the necessary effect of the machinery of Providence. To him it is evident, that Jehovah “ shakes the nations," and is shaking them, that " the desire of all nations may come.” And hence his faith derives an establishment, and his hope an elevation, which earth is as unable to destroy as to create. Impending calamity, then, should stimulate and not dishearten, the disciples of Jesus. The walls of Jerusalem are commonly built in troublous times. Nor hath the career of the Gospel been ever more ample and brilliant, than in the days which were memorable for “ distress of nations, with perplexity ; the sea and the waves roaring ; men's hearts failing them for fear; and looking after those things which were coming upon the earth."* In these circumstances of disaster and dismay, the people of God are charged to look up, and lift up their heads, because their redemption draweth nigh, and the Son of Man is coming with great power and glory. If these are, in any degree, the signs of the times, then, now is the time for the armies of Israel to gird every man his sword on his thigh, and follow David, his king, to conquest and glory.
If from the sphere of politics we turn to that of religion, we shall behold events which ought to convert eve. ry doubt into proof, and every wish into a vow. While the spirit of discord rages in the world, the spirit of union and of love descends upon the Church. Beyond the waters of the Atlantic, our brethren in the faith and patience of Jesus, rejoice in his most benignant influences. Astonishing spectacles ! The spell of party is broken; the antipathies of the cradle expire ; the strife of ages
Luke, ch. 21. v. 25, 26.
ceases ; and a sweeter harmony of heart and of measures, among Christians of different name, is produced in an hour, than has been granted to the intreaties, the labours, the prayers, of the best of men, for centuries together!
Do you demand the cause of this gracious unanimity? It is the doing of the Lord. Its object? It is the extension of the Mediator's kingdom. Its fruits ? They are, already, embassies of peace to the Heathen. Great is the company, who have gone forth, with primitive zeal, to publish the word of life. The probability is, that Christ crucified, that Christ whom our souls love, is, at this moment, preached to the barbarians of the southern seas; and that an evangelical mission is on its way to the interior of Africa! Ye servants of the most high God, who show unto the Gentiles to way of salvation, all hail! May the Breaker go up before you ; even Jehovah on the head of you; may he cheer you with his presence, fill you with his Spirit, clothe you with his blessing! And what more auspicious omen, can we, my brethren, desire ? When the work is actually begun : when it has received the most unequivocal tokens of divine approbation, shall we still linger, and tempt the Lord by asking any further signs ? To him who is not blind, the finger of His Providence points ; to him who is not deaf, the voice of His Providence calls. Incitement of a more imperious kind would encroach on the province of miracle.
If to these encouragements we add the promise of our Master in Heaven, reluctance will be cut off from her last retreat. He hath said, that he will be with his people in their attempts to teach the nations. If, on a design so truly Christian, we go in His name, and in His strength, we have a right to expect his aid; nor is it possible that he should abandon us, or put us to shame. He hath bound himself, by the oath of his covenant, to beat down opposition before those, who, obedient to his authority, constrained by his love, and confiding in his truth, enter upon arduous duty; and the glory of his crown is staked on the issue. With the Lord of Hosts on our side, whom or what shall we fear? To Him all difficulties are alike. At His command the treasures of the earthling shall flow in the service of the Cross; and hundreds shall arise to solicit, as an enviable distinction,
the office of a Gospel-herald to the Savages. Clad in the armour of the sanctuary, and conducted by the “ Captain of salvation,” they shall go forth “conquering and to conquer.” Ere his promise fail, the mountains shall sink, the vallies rise, the rivers be driven back to their sources, and ocean again divide his waters. Who, then, are on the Lord's side? Who prefer the salvation of men above their chiefest joy? Who burns to hide the dishonour of the past in the glory of the future, and aspire to the dignity of being fellow-workers with God? Let them, with one heart and one soul, in the faith of the Gospel, in the good will of brethren, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, forthwith pledge themselves to each other, to those apostolical believers beyond the sea, to the Heathen, who are perishing for lack of vision, that they will unite their efforts to fill the dark places of the land with the light of God's salvation. Should we succeed in the conversion of a single Pagan, the acquisition would infinitely repay our expenditure and our toil. For our Lord himself hath pronounced the whole world, in comparison with one soul, to be a thing of naught. But O, my brethren, who shall count the number, or define the extent, or limit the duration, of those blessings which our exertions may be in. strumental in imparting to the Heathen? Who shall stop the river of life in its course through their parched soil? Most transporting thought ! That thousands of believers, whom we shall never see, in the flesh; and tens of thou. sands, who shall come into being when we are gathered unto our fathers, may trace their knowledge of the Saviour to the execution of that plan, in virtue of which, I address you this evening! And that its magnificent result may never be finally disclosed, till the mystery of Provi. dence be finished, the election of grace brought in, and the shout of final redemption thunder through the temple of God.
Character of Brutus, by Hon. FISHER Ames, L. L. D.
BRUTUS killed his benefactor and friend, Cæsar, because Cæsar had ușurped the sovereign power. Therefore, Brutus was a patriot, whose character is to be admired, and whose example should be imitated, as long as republican liberty shall have a friend or an enemy in the world.
This short argument seems to have, hitherto, vindi. cated the fame of Brutus from reproach and even from scrutiny; yet, perhaps no character has been more overrated, and no example worse applied. He was, no doubt, an excellent scholar, and a complete master, as well as faithful votary of philosophy ; but, in action, the impetuous Cassius greatly excelled him. Cassius alone, of all the conspirators, acted with promptness and energy in providing for the war, which, he foresaw, the death of Cæsar would kindle; Brutus spent his time in indolence and repining, the dupe of Anthony's arts, or of his own false estimate of Roman spirit and virtue. The people had lost a kind master, and they lamented him. Brutus summoned them to make efforts and sacrifices, and they viewed his cause with apathy, his crime with abhorrence.
Before the decisive battle of Philippi, Brutus seems, after the death of Cassius, to have sunk under the weight of the sole command. He still had many able officers left, and among them Messala, one of the first men of that age, so fruitful of great men ; but Brutus no longer maintained that ascendant over his army, which talents of the first order maintain every where, and most signally in the camp and field of battle. It is fairly, then, to be presumed, that his troops had discovered, that Brutus, whom they loved and esteemed, was destitute of those talents; for he was soon obliged by their clamours, much against his judgment, and against all prudence and good sense, to give battle. Thus ended the life of Brutus and the existence of the republic.