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tion of the service of the sanctuary.
And you cannot help dreading, lest these primary and indispensable objects might suffer by the introduction, or at any rate the frequent intrusion, of another call upon the purses of your people. But do you not forget, that if those who have the means neglect the duty of giving, it is because they have not acquired a habit of so doing? And this, in part at least, because Christian ministers, held back by very insufficient motives, of which false delicacy is often one of the most powerful, have not adequately impressed this duty upon them. Surely, this complaint would not be so frequently called forth if the true principles of Christian charity were more frequently instilled into men's minds; if they were warned that whatever they have is committed to them as stewards, to be used for their Master's service, and for which they will have to "give account;" and if they were affectionately persuaded, that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Dear brother, the dread of lessening the resources of your ill-supported schools, &c., is not unnatural, but I entreat you to consider if it do not spring from a want of faith, a distrust of Him, whose are the silver and the gold, and whose also are the hearts of men. And be assured, that that which is given to the heathen will never diminish the sums contributed to the important objects to which we have alluded.
* The allusion is to a place where the district church has ro claim upon the parochial rates, and periodical collections
made to defray the necessary expenses.
But you will remind me, that there are impediments which prevent you from adopting this plan, of a very different nature from those we have hitherto considered. To all the arguments I can advance, you answer, that, however efficacious this scheme may be in other places, yet, in your own case, sad experience has shown that no such blessed results can be expected from it. And this you prove, by pointing to the little effect produced by the exertions hitherto made on behalf of the heathen. Your thoughts, perhaps, will take some such form as this, “ When I preach, under the authority of the Queen's Letter, for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, (the very same object as is here referred to), not only are the sums collected pitiful in the extreme, but, so far as my observation has extended, no good result has ever followed, no home blessing has descended upon us. Nor, (you continue,) can I lay the blame entirely on my own indifferent advocacy; for, a short time ago, a clergyman of high and deserved popularity, preached on behalf of the Church Missionary Society, but we had scarcely a better collection; and though many were attracted to the church, yet my congregations have never been the larger; and if any effect were produced for the moment, I fear it has been as the “morning cloud and the early dew,"
Dear brother, it is here that so many of us fail. A single sermon, preached in every parish in the country under a Royal Letter, or the
oft-repeated exertions of such an individual as you have referred to, raising a small sum in many churches, may be the means of collecting that which, in the aggregate, swells up to an available, though very inadequate, amount. But so far
concerns my present point, and excepting only an individual here and there, whose heart may be smitten by the arrow shot at a venture, we have no right to look upon such occasional appeals as the means of calling forth a real love for the heathen, or of imbuing the mass of our people with the true Missionary spirit: and we have no right to do so, simply because God has provided us with other and far more suitable means for the attainment of this most desirable end. For though He often blesses us in a way we had no right to expect (being to us better than His word), yet, surely, we act a hypocritical and a presumptuous part, if we pray for and expect a blessing, whilst we leave untried those means of attaining it, which are put within our reach. In this case, the farther and more suitable means are evidently, the zealous, reiterated, persevering efforts of your own ministry, applied in the way at which I have already hinted. Nor can there be a stronger proof of the need of such personal exertion on your own part, than is afforded by the very facts, to which you yourself bear an unwilling testimony, if you adopt the arguments I have put into your mouth.
One objection to the position I have been endeavouring to establish still remains, which may, perhaps, be fairly stated as follows. It is only when we are awakened to a sense of the value of our own soul, that we
can feel any real concern for the souls of others; it is only the man, who has himself received the gift of true faith, who can enter into the spirit of his Saviour's last command; it is only the man, in whose heart the love of God reigns supreme, that can have true love to his fellow-creatures: in other words, it must be the gift of the Holy Ghost which enkindles the true Missionary spirit; and, therefore, before any man can exhibit it, he must be a temple of the Holy Ghost.” And from these undeniable premises, you will be inclined to reason thus : “In my own parish, the thing which grieves me is, that I fail to awaken my people to a sense of their own lost estate, and this is the reason why they show so little love to their Saviour, and are so loth to sacrifice their own wishes and feelings for the advantage of other men's souls. Hence, my strongest appeals meet with so little response, being addressed to men who are like the deaf-adder; and the cry of others for help falls powerless on their ears, because they themselves are spiritually dead. And, to say the truth,” you conclude, “the plan here proposed seems to me, to reverse the order we ought to pursue, as if one should tell us to put on the top stone, when, as yet, the foundation is unlaid."
I have purposely left this objection to the last, not only because it involves most important principles, but because it has often occasioned much practical difficulty.
Certainly, it is when we have been ourselves awakened to see the precipice, on the edge of which we have been slumbering, that we are animated to exert ourselves aright for the deliverance of others; and so far from denying that the true Missionary spirit must be wrought within us by the Holy Ghost, I would most strongly insist upon
the truth of such a statement. Still “ as the wind bloweth where it listeth," so the Spirit is not restrained to one invariable course of proceeding. One person may be brought to the knowledge of the truth in one way, and another by a very different (external) process. And why may not the contemplation of the depth of misery into which others have fallen, be the means by which the Spirit leads us to turn our eye inwards, and manifests to us our own actual condition? Or, again, may not the example of the converted heathen shame many a professing Christian into an examination of his own conduct?
Who can limit the blessed effect which the frequent recital of such passages as the following might have upon the negligent and slothful amongst our people ?
“ Be the weather what it may,” (writes a Missionary in North-West America), “rain or snow, storm or sunshine, frozen mercury or fever heat, the church is more than full. Many have to walk five or six miles each way, and that often, in winter, through two or three feet of
These facts, together with their deva