« PredošláPokračovať »
ye arc known out of your country, merely as a Commercial People. Even as a Commercial People, you are, at this moment, shut out of the countries of Europe. Obey then the present providence, and resort to the ports of distant lands; carrying the message of kindness to a people who “stretch forth their hands," and will receive your commerce, and the Gospel together. .,
It is not your duty to wait till the nation send forth messengers at the public expense. Perhaps that period may never come. It may be, that our Church knoweth not how to promote such an object, but by the instrumentality of subordinate societies: as the State sometimes administers the government of a remote, branch of the empire by the same means. Two such Societies were instituted about a hundred years ago; but the period for greate and successful exertion was evidently not then come. You are a Third Society, established in more auspicious times; and others
It is not your duty, I say, to wait till the Nations in its public capacity, begin to send førth preachers to the Gentiles. If that event should ever arrive, you prepare the way. If Individuals did not begin, the Universal, Church would not follow. What measure of great public utility was ever executed by
Church or State, which was not first proposed by Individuals ? - which was not first resisted by the greater body; and, perhaps, for a time, defeated ?
Consider, finally, the example of the Great Author of our Religion. Draw your light from him. At the first promulgation of his Gospel to the Heathen World, he gave his commission to individuals. During three hundred years, the Ministry of the Gospel was committed to individuals : I mean they were not associated by any authority of temporal empire : and by them the conversion of the na. tions was effected, under the spiritual direction of their respective Churches and Societies in Rome, Corinth, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.“ It may be the divine will that the promulgation of the Gospel at this time should be effected partly by the same means.
Your object and that of the Bible Society is the same. It is to give the Bible to the World." But, as that Sacred Volume cannot be given to men of different nations until it be translated into their respective languages, it is the province of your Institution to send forth proper instruments for this purpose. Your So. ciety is confined to Members of the Establish, ed Church. You do not interfere with the “ Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts," nor with that." for Pro.
moting Christian Knowledge :" for neither of these professes the precise objects to which you would confine yourselves. It does not seem to be possible to frame an objection to your establishment. When the design and the proceedings of your Institution shall have been fully made known, you may expect the support of the Episcopal Body, of the two Universities, and of every zealous Member of the Church of England.
It has been objected to that Grand Instit11tion to which we have alluded, the British and Foreign Bible Society, that it is in its character universal; that it embraces all, and acknowledges no cast in the Christian Religion : and it has been insinuated, that we ought not to be zealous even for the extension of Christ's Kingdom, if we must associate, in any degree, with men of all denominations. But, surely, there is an error in this judgment. We seek the aid of all descriptions of men in defending our country against the enemy. We love to see men of all descriptions shewing their allegiance to the King. Was it ever said to a poor man, « You are not qualified to shew your allegiance
to the King ? You must vot cast your mite “ into the treasury of your King.” My Brethren, let every man, who opposes these Institutions, examine his own heart, whether he be true in his allegiance to “ the King of Kings."
For myself, I hail the present unanimity of hitherto discordant bands, as a great event in the Churchi; and as marking à grand character of Christ's promised kingdom; when “ the “ leopard shall lie down with the kid ; and “ the calf and the young lion, and the fatling “ together, and a little child shall lead them.” I consider the extension 'and 'unity of that So. ciety as the best pledge of the continuance of the divine mercy to this land'; and I doubt not, the time will come when the nation will reckon the Bible Society a greater honour to her, as a Christian People, 'than any other institution of which she can boast.
We shall now conclude this discourse with stating to you the cause why so few comparatively co-operate in these sacred undertakings. Many, it is probable, are ignorant of their existence: some may be supposed, without' any culpable motives, to question their expediency: but the greater part, it is 'feared, are restrained by a state of mind, which we cannot sufficiently condemn and deplore. It is not because they do not believe in Christianity, generally; but because they are strangers to Christ's spiritual religion.
They have seen the light of civilization, but they have not seen the “ Light “ of Life;"_“ the light of the knowledge “ of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 66 Christ,"
do. And this is the great and important distinction on which the life of the soul depends. This was the great distinction in the time of the Apostle Paul; for even in the day of his ininistration, the Gospel was hid from some. "If our Gospel be hid,” saith hc, “it is hic " to them that are lost.” If then the light was hid from some when he preached, with a divine energy, and with the demonstration of miracles, shall we wonder that it is hid from some in our day? o There is nothing, my Brethren, worth living for, of equal importance with the diffusion of this light. Fulfil ye, then, the divine com
6. Let your light so shine before men, es that they may see your good works, and glo"tify your Father which is in Heaven," sigris 1. We must all meet again at 4, future day, in a larger Assembly than the present, when we shall behold HIM who hath said, “ I am the
Light of the world.” Let every one of us, then, at this time, bear witness to the light;" by contributing according to our ability to its extension throughout the world : for we know not how great a blessing may, “ through the
tender mercy of God,” result to ourselyes and others, from the circumstances of this service.