THE cause of Missions is not recommended to us, my brethren, merely on the principle of gratitude, and yet it has here a most powerful claim. If we are not grateful beyond expression for the gospel, we neither understand nor rightly believe it. If we do not express that gratitude by exerting ourselves to convey the blessing to others, its existence is more than doubtful.
The cause of Missions is not recommended to us merely on the principle of humanity, and yet we violate every dictate and feeling of humanity, if we neglect to disseminate the gospel. This cause is not recommended to us merely on the principle of justice, and yet we are most evidently unjust, if we withhold from others a blessing to which they have an equal right with ourselves.
The cause of Missions is further recommended to us on the principle of consistency and concern for our own best interests--as the best use we can make of our peculiar privileges and advantages as a nation, and the most hopeful means of securing a continuance of them. But not any one of these considerations, nor all of them put together, constitute the main strength of our obligation to carry the gospel to the idolatrous Pagan, the deluded Mohammedan, and the unbelieving Jew. To all of them we should be bound to carry it, although we had no other motive to constrain us, [3/4] no other consideration to warrant or influence us, than this, Christ has said "Go teach all nations"--"Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." These commands are our grand motive and warrant to attempt the conversion of the world, and not only so, but they give cogency, appropriateness and effect to all the reasons which can be adduced for zeal and perseverance in the glorious project. Without them, although the nature of the service would remain the same, and the humanity and benevolence of carrying the gospel to the heathen be unaltered, yet we should have no authority to call upon them to believe and obey it.
It is upon the authority of its Author that our obligation to preach the gospel to every creature must rest the motives to which I have alluded, and many others which might easily be set in array, have their own weight, and ought to have their own influence; but it should be in connection with the divine command, as deriving from it their chief value. Should the pleasing nature of the service, the gratifying prospect of success, and the great good likely to result from the enterprise, be presented as the chief inducements for sending the gospel to the heathen, the result would be, that while many would riot choose practically to feel the force of thebe reasons, others would not be able to trace their obedience to the only source that can render their conduct a proof of loyalty and love to their master, viz.: reverence for the authority of his command. The inference might be that our Saviour had not interposed his authority, or that it was not of itself sufficient to warrant or produce obedience. But, my brethren, the words of my text are very explicit. They do not leave us to derive a knowledge of our duty in this respect from inference. It is not left discretionary with us, whether we shall give the gospel to the heathen or not. "Go preach the gospel to every creature." This command is as positive and binding upon us, as any command which the Saviour has ever left us; just as obligatory as the command to love God himself or our neighbor: We will not then argue oh our obligation to propagate the gospel; for [4/5] Christ having commanded it, unless we question his authority; we have only to inquire, "What does it mean," that we may obey.
This command embraces every nation and constitutes the whole world the field for Christian exertion. The soldier of the cross has now a right to go to any nation under heaven and call upon them, by the authority of his master, to believe and obey. And every disciple of Jesus is bound to the very extent of his ability, and the opportunity afforded him in the providence of God, to send the gospel to every creature. However, therefore, we may differ as to the best mode of obeying this command, we must all acknowledge that it imposes upon us the obligation, and record this acknowledgment as the profession of our allegiance to the Saviour's authority. This the Church of which we are members has done, and in view of her duty to preach the gospel to every creature, both at home and abroad, she regards every one consecrated at her altar as baptized into the missionary cause; that is, as bound by his Christian profession to live for the propagation of the gospel. With this express command of her Saviour, the Church can never hesitate as to her right and duty to send his gospel to any nation. The political condition of some nations, however, may be such as to preclude our exertions for the present, and afford an indication that, in the providence of God, the time of their visitation has not arrived; and this consideration makes the condition of each heathen nation a matter of great interest. Accordingly, the Church has appointed a Board of Missions to be as it were upon the watch-tower--to have its eye upon the whole world, and to say where and how her energies shall be directed. This board has sent out Missionaries to China, among other places in heathen lands, and have recently added to the number of their Missionaries to that country, by the appointment of him who addresses you.
With the earnest desire of exciting your interest, sympathies, and prayers in behalf of this Mission, I will invite your attention, for a few moments, to such facts with reference to the Chinese nation, deemed interesting in connection with our [5/6] missionary exertions there, as may be mentioned in a discourse; and I would bespeak a patient and candid hearing, as I shall dwell at some length on these facts, because it is believed that there is a very general impression that China is at present excluded from all Christian exertion.
In many respects the Mission to China is perhaps, the most interesting one on earth. We have here under one government and reading the same language, between three and four hundred millions of men; at least one-third of the whole human race. Such a number of our fellow men, collected in one mass, let their state be what it may, cannot fail to excite our liveliest interest. But the Chinese claim our attention, not merely on the score of numbers, (an important consideration when our object is to save souls;) their political, intellectual, and moral condition are of themselves highly interesting; and these, if known, will instruct us as to the best means of effecting our object, and will also afford some indication of the success which our labors will most probably meet.
The Chinese, if we may rely upon the reports of the embassies which have, visited that country from England, and the testimony of individuals who have long resided there, are the most civilized and best governed nation out of the pale of christendom. Parental authority, we are told, is here the model or type of political rule. The emperor is the father of the empire--the viceroy, of the province over which lie presides--the mandarin, of the city which he governs; and the father of every family is the absolute and responsible ruler of his household. Social order and peace are deemed the one thing needful, and this object is steadily and consistently pursued. The patriarchal form of government seems to have been universal in the infancy of society; but the Chinese are the only people who have continued it, after the various tribes or families of which nations are formed, have been united under one government. The experiment of the continuance of the elementary form, seems not to have been a failure in a political point of view; for says a late writer from that country: "The great wealth of the empire--the cheerful and indefatigable industry of the people, and their unconquerable [6/7] attachment to their country, are all of them circumstances, which prove that if the government is jealous in guarding its rights, it is not altogether ignorant or unmindful of its duties. In practice there is, of course, (the government being a despotism,) a great deal of inevitable abuse; but upon the whole, and in relation to ultimate effects, the machine works well; and we repeat it, that the surest proofs of this are apparent on the very face of the most cheerfully industrious, orderly, and most wealthy nation of Asia."
The first circumstance which strikes every visitor of China, is the air of cheerful industry which pervades all ranks of society; and this is the surest proof in the world, that the people possess their full share of the results of their own labors; for men do not toil either willingly or effective]y for hard task-masters.
If these things are so, my brethren, China is surely, in a political point of view, the most desirable field in the world for the Church to enter in her missionary capacity. The gospel once fairly established in a nation where order, peace, and industry thus dwell, may be expected soon to extend over the whole empire; for we know that it is the orderly and industrious of every country who constitute the great class from which the Christian Church is filled, and these results have occurred in China as elsewhere, under the overruling providence of God.
The author of these favorable sentiments of the political institutions of the Chinese which I have presented, resided in China upwards of twenty years, and from his connection with the East India Company, and the high station which he afterwards held, (succeeding Lord Napier,) he enjoyed a fine opportunity, during his protracted residence, of informing himself of their state and condition. We are warned by him not to form our ideas of Chinese institutions and Chinese character from what is seen at Canton connected with the foreign trade. Nothing can be more unjust or iniquitous, he admits, than the conduct of the government towards foreigners. But we should be led into a great error, we are told by him, were we to argue from this, that the conduct of the [7/8] government towards its own citizens is at all similar. Their fundamental maxim for intercourse with foreigners is, "the barbarians are like beasts, and not to be ruled on the same principles as citizens." "Were any one," say they, "to attempt controlling them by the great maxims of reason, it would tend to nothing but confusion. The ancient kings well understood this, and accordingly ruled barbarians by misrule. Therefore, to rule barbarians by misrule, is the true and best way of ruling them." Governed by this maxim, they resort without scruple to the utmost extortion in their intercourse with foreigners; but this system of extortion is by no means practised where the natives are alone concerned and good security is afforded for the enjoyment of property.
These facts are of the greatest importance when contemplating the evangelization of China; for the further removed they are from savagism, the sooner shall we be able to make them acquainted with the gospel of Christ, and the greater prospect have we of an ample return for our labors.
Another important feature in the condition of China, viewed in connection with missionary operations, is the encouragement which the government gives to education; with the exception of the imperial descendants who have a titular rank but no power, they have no aristocracy but that created by learning and talents. The aristocracy of China (the government is so pure a despotism) is entirely official, and all the offices and magistracies are distributed without regard to birth and possessions, to those who give evidence of superior learning and talents. All rank being thus determined by talent, the government offers to each individual, every three years at the public examinations, an opportunity of displaying his attainments; and though it cannot give offices to all, it gives honors, and declares the successful candidate eligible to a situation either civil or military, and finally to the highest offices of the state if his merits shall entitle him thereto. In consequence of this system, education is universally pursued, except among those whose poverty is abject. Every town is provided with its place of public instruction, and wealthy families employ private tutors. So that among the countless [8/9] millions of the empire, there is scarcely an individual who cannot read sufficiently well for the ordinary purposes of life. To those who regard the word of God as the sword of the Spirit, and believe the Bible to be the exclusive standard of the Christian faith and practice, a fact more interesting or encouraging than this could not be mentioned, or one the knowledge of which could bring us under stronger obligations to supply, in the shortest time possible, these perishing millions with the bread of life.
It is an interesting question also to investigate how the Chinese are to be ranked with other nations in the comparative scale of civil society. Davis, the author already so frequently alluded to, says, "their superiority over the other nations of Asia is so decided as scarcely to need the institution of an elaborate comparison." All those who have had the opportunity of seeing them have readily admitted this, and none more so than the Right Honorable Henry Ellis, British Ambassador to Persia, whose intimate personal acquaintance with China and India, as well as with Persia, has peculiarly fitted him to form a just estimate. But whatever their present comparative standing may be, we cannot doubt that the first inventors of printing, gunpowder, and the mariner's compass, must possess sufficient natural mind, to make them, when this mind shall become enlightened and sanctified by the gospel, and consecrated to the service of God, prominent actors in the intellectual and moral, as well as the political revolutions of this world.
The conversion of such a nation as this from the service of dumb idols to that of the only true and living God, will be indeed, my brethren, an era in the moral history of the world; and happy, thrice happy will he be, who shall have contributed, even in the slightest degree, to the production of a result which will bring such a revenue of glory to God, and rescue from eternal death, so many millions of immortal beings. Who can for one moment contemplate such an object, without being fired with an ardent desire to become a co-worker with God, in rescuing from the shades of night and death, this mighty nation And if, my brethren, their political and [9/10] intellectual condition is such as should stimulate us to exertion in their behalf, their moral condition imperiously demands our immediate efforts. The Chinese are idolaters. They themselves say that their idols are more numerous than the sands of one of their great rivers. They have in the province of Canton alone, more than 1300 idol temples. Their prospects for eternity are therefore but too plainly revealed. They are idolaters, and "idolaters shall not inherit the kingdom of God." "Idolaters shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." They are ignorant of Jesus, and "there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." They are destitute of "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." God has provided no other means for their salvation than that revealed in the gospel of his Son, and that gospel he has committed to us, with the charge to preach it to every creature. But perhaps many of my hearers will say, what avails the claim made upon us by their character as a reading people, their immense numbers, their perishing condition, and even the command of Christ to leach all nations, when there is such a wall of proscription around them, that they are completely excluded from the approach of Christian missionaries? Should it appear, my brethren, that we can at present do nothing for China, then their condition must be regarded as a providential interpretation of Christ's command; but until this is made clear and certain, we are bound by the express letter and spirit of this command to send them the gospel. And here let me remark, that the burden of proof--the duty of showing that nothing can be done for the Chinese lies upon those who would limit the command and exclude them from a present participation of the privileges of the gospel.
I think however that it can on the contrary be shown, that there is a wide and effectual door now open for the gradual introduction of the gospel into China. It must however be frankly confessed, that the empire proper is at present inaccessible to the living teacher, for although there are now two Protestant Missionaries residing in Canton, they are so much [10/11] restricted that their situation is itself a proof that China is not open. The empire has been accessible to Missionaries, and the Jesuits entered in great numbers and met with great success. When their first Missionary Ricci died, although he lived but twenty-seven years, he left behind in the different provinces more than three hundred churches. What cannot one zealous man do, if his whole soul is devoted to a single object? What might Ricci have done, had he dedicated his labors to the blessed Redeemer? But the Jesuits committed one great error. They put their trust in princes, men of fickle passions like themselves. Their labors were traced in sand. They made no translations of the word of God, they educated no native ministry, and therefore, as soon as persecution arose, and they were expelled, their religion was banished with them. They left in the hands of their converts only a few rosaries and crucifixes. Had they given the word of God, and preached to them a crucified Saviour, our only hope in time and in eternity--had they put their sole confidence in the living God--had they preached only the pure gospel, the number of their converts might have been small, but the gates of hell would not have prevailed against Christ's Church.
They forgot that Christ's kingdom is not of this world, and prejudiced the Chinese against themselves by their intestine quarrels, until at length the emperor, disgusted with the pope's undertaking to exercise dominion in his territories, expelled them from the country. The grand injury which Christianity has sustained in China from their labors, is not from the number of converts to Romanism which they made; but their having caused the Chinese government to regard the Christian religion as a scheme of political intrigue. The Chinese government is tolerant on the subject of religion. It tolerates all sects within the empire, and no one is disqualified for office on account of his religious tenets. But the Christian religion is regarded as connected with a political scheme, and this is the cause of all the opposition of the government to its introduction, and the only cause, it is believed, of the decrees which have been passed against it. These decrees are against [11/12] the Romanist; but as the Chinese know no difference between Protestants and Romanists, the effect of them for the present is to exclude the one as well as the other from the empire.
But, my brethren, I think we can clearly see the hand of God working for the advancement of his cause in the exclusion for the present of all Missionaries from China. If the empire was thrown entirely open, such is the apathy on the subject of Missions in Protestant churches, that very few more Missionaries, perhaps, would be sent than are now going, whereas the Romanists would again overrun the whole country, and rear a structure far more difficult to overthrow than heathen idolatry. This consideration, connected with the fact that there is more work bearing on the evangelization of China, which can now be done, than the Church is at present willing to perform, may explain to us why it is, that in the providence of God, we are debarred from entering the empire itself; while we should not regard it as an indication, that we are to do nothing for its perishing millions. I will now speak of the modes by which the Christian Church can, at present, operate on China.
There are two modes, both of them indirect, but each of them capable of affording employment of the highest interest to many able and faithful laborers, whose exertions will assuredly be felt, at no distant day, in every part of the empire.
The first mode is that of sending Missionaries to the Chinese out of the empire. There are from six hundred thousand to one million of Chinese settled all around China, who are free from the proscription of which I have spoken. A large number of these are situated on the islands of the eastern Archipelago, which are under the government of the British, Dutch, and other European powers; and are as accessible to the Missionary, so far as relates to political hindrances, as the citizens of this town are accessible to their pastors. They present many favorable circumstances for preaching the gospel. They live together in communities, separate from all others on the different islands. There are [12/13] at Batavia, where our Missionaries (Messrs. Hanson and Lockwood) are now situated, about 20,000 in one body. At Singapore, where the Committee contemplate sending their Missionary lately appointed, 15,000. At Penang, 10,000. At Bianca, 10,000; and so on throughout all the islands. To all these there is free access, and the islands, being as I have said under the government of European powers, the Missionary enjoys complete freedom and protection in his work, and as soon as the language is acquired, he can commence to tell to thousands, who have never heard the sweet sound before, the story of redeeming love. Here, my brethren, is an extensive field of usefulness, but the attention of Christians having been called to China a year or two ago, as if access could be had to its 360,000,000, being now disappointed in the expectations then excited, they refuse to look at the field which is really open to them. Here are one million of men, equal to the population of this state, who are accessible; and regarding this state as affording an ample field for the labors of more than two hundred of our own ministers, (not to take into consideration the much greater number of ministers of other denominations,) we cannot consider this outside population as unimportant, although it is as nothing to the millions of China. But had this outside population no connection with China itself; they would not be, by any means, such an object of interest to us as they now are. All the emigrants are directly connected with the population at home. They hold constant communication by writing to their friends, and frequently return to the places from whence they came, for a Chinese never fails to visit the tomb of his ancestors, if able to do so. Now, as these emigrants come from all parts of the empire, they are for missionary purposes of more importance than an equal number would be, situated in any part of the empire itself. An impression made at any of these points, must shoot out and extend on every side, like radii from a centre. When, therefore, we reflect that in every thing we do for those on the islands, we are making a direct advance on China itself; we have every encouragement to go forward. But, a still more important object to be gained by the settlement of [13/14] Missionaries among this outside population, is the education and training up of a native ministry. The Church is becoming every day, more and, more convinced of the fact that the ministers of every country must be men of the soil. All the eastern states together cannot supply a single western state with a sufficient number of ministers, and hence the efforts for raising up a native ministry which have lately been made and are now making in our western valley. This being the case, how hopeless would be the undertaking to send out a sufficient number of ministers from this country to evangelize any heathen nation? If, then, in obedience to our Saviour's command, we are going to undertake, soberly and rationally, the conversion of the world, it is to this that the Church must, with humble reliance upon God, specially direct her attention. And the peculiar difficulties of the China Mission seem, in an especial manner, to call for an effort of this kind. Foreigners are excluded from the empire, but the Chinese must have the gospel, or perish for ever--therefore we must train up for them a native ministry. The difficulty of acquiring the language is another strong reason why speedy and strenuous efforts should be made to enlist the natives as ambassadors of the cross. Besides establishing schools, the Missionaries may each of them take a number of native youths into their families, before their minds have become corrupted with the idolatry of their parents, and educate them. in the principles of the Christian religion. By taking them young they might he taught the English language, and thus have access to all our theology and literature, which would be of incalculable importance. A knowledge of the English language would render the work of preparation for the ministry comparatively easy to any whose hearts the Lord might incline to preach his gospel to their countrymen whereas, the labor would be immense if the Missionaries were to undertake to translate into that language all the books which it would he desirable or even necessary for a candidate for orders to read.
By teaching the natives English, we should obtain also good translators for such works as the Missionaries might desire to lay before the Chinese, many of which, no doubt, [14/15] exist in our language. For all these purposes, my brethren; the Chinese without the empire afford the most ample field, and until we have fully occupied it, we cannot excuse ourselves while doing nothing for the millions of China, by saying "China is shut."
The other mode of operating at present on China, is by means of books. There are five nations that read this language, containing, as I have said, at least one third of the whole human race. These are China, Japan, Loochoo, Corea and Cochin-China. Of the reading character of the people I have already spoken, but there is one fact in regard to their history, lately stated, which if true, affords us the highest encouragement for the distribution of books among them. It is said that the religion of Buddha, was propagated in the empire entirely by books, without a living priesthood. If false religion, unblessed by any accompanying influence of the Holy Spirit, could, from the reading and inquiring character of the people, make such an impression as to become the most popular religion in the empire, what may we not expect from the distribution of the word of God, which is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword and which its divine author has promised shall not return unto him void? And in the good providence of God, the way is fully opened, any brethren, for us to send them this word. The entire Bible has been translated into this language, and may be distributed either in part, or as a whole. Millions of copies are now wanted for this purpose, when, alas only some four or five thousand of Dr. Morrison's translation are in circulation Several tracts have been written, and these the Missionaries will of course multiply, as they become better acquainted with the language and the modes of thinking among the people. Dr. Morrison translated also the book of Common Prayer, which may be made the companion of the Bible, and distributed along with it. But it may be asked, how are we to get them introduced into the empire, when it is in opposition to laws, made expressly against this, and even to an edict of the last year? This question, my brethren, is important, and should be fairly met. First then, in answer to it, we remark, [15/16] that it is the government, and not the people of China, who are opposed to receiving these publications. The present dynasty in China, is not native, but from Tartary. The emperor feels that the nation is jealous of foreign domination, and hence he is fearful of political changes, and puts every difficulty in the way of foreign intercourse. The voyages of Gutzlaff and others, along the coast, prove conclusively, that the people do not sympathize with their rulers on tins point. They are, on the contrary, very accessible, and receive with eagerness, and read with avidity, all the books that are given them. These excursions along the coast have also proved, that it is out of the power of the government to prevent the people from receiving and reading our books.
In the second place, we remark, that it is not to the introduction of a new religion that the government is opposed; but it prohibits these distributions from fear of political changes. It is not the religion of the barbarians they dread, but their foreign influence. Hence, as soon as they find that Protestant Missionaries have no political schemes--that they have no pope to lay claim to the whole country--the authorities will be less strict in executing the laws; and when they do execute them, the result will be, that some of our books will be burnt. So much for the difficulties created by the opposition of the government.
The ways in which our books may be introduced are various.
The emigrants to the islands will take them by thousands, when they return to visit their friends at home. An immense mass of the Chinese population are engaged in fishing, far out of sight of land. These can be supplied by small vessels sent from the Mission stations.
But the principal mode will be by vessels sent along the coast, with nothing but books and medicines. One or two physicians may accompany each vessel, and practice gratuitously on all within their reach. They, we are told, are welcome every where, and even the mandarins will not molest them.
It will be expensive thus to distribute books, but what is [16/17] the expense compared with the abject--the distribution of the bread of life to perishing millions of our fellow creatures?
The Mission to China s in its infancy, and all the plans for operating there are yet in an incipient state; but every year brings us some new discovery, which enables us to make our labors more efficient. One lately made at Paris is of the greatest importance, in connection with our present subject. At present the Missionaries are entirely dependent on the Chinese for all their printing, as the blocks used for this purpose can only be prepared by Chinese artists. In consequence of this dependence upon the natives, (as they are forbidden by law to assist a foreigner in printing their language,) difficulties have frequently arisen, but now this obstacle will soon be removed.
Dr. Marshman, more than thirty years ago, observed, that the Chinese language was formed, in a great measure, from what he called formatives and derivatives. Pursuing this idea, the Chinese scholars at Paris have discovered, that by reducing the characters of the language to their lowest elements, the whole 80,000 of which the language is composed can be printed from 9,000 type. This discovery, you will readily perceive, is of the utmost importance. The expense of preparing matrices for 30,000 type was so great, as formerly to preclude the hope of our ever being able to use moveable type. And besides, this 30,000 type in a printing office, would have been perfectly unmanageable. Both of these difficulties are removed by the discovery of the fact, that 9,000 type will answer to print all the characters. Even this number is very large and unwieldy, when compared with our twenty-four; but still, they can be so classified under the 214 radicals of this language, that a printer, it is said, will soon learn to set them up with despatch.
Thus we shall be able henceforth, not only to print tracts and works of temporary importance cheaper than they can now be done, but we shall be able also to stereotype the Bible, Prayer Book, and other standard works. One of the missionary societies in this country has ordered from Paris the matrices for casting Chinese type, which they intend [17/18] shall be at the use of all others, who have missionaries in that country. When these are received, Chinese type will cost no more than any other (the worth of the metal and labor of casting) and printing in that language will then, it is hoped, differ very little in expense from the cost in our own.
I have now, my brethren, instead of discussing our obligation to support this Mission, given you a plain narrative, by which I have shown that we have it in our power to do something for China. The sum of the facts are, that we have in China 360 millions of men, who are civilized and intelligent; reading to full as great an extent as we do, who are yet "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world," whose spiritual necessities demand from us obedience to our Saviour's command.
We have seen that although we cannot go directly to them, that indirectly we can set in motion powerful means for their evangelization; that we can reach one million of this race, and carry to them the word and ordinances of God, and that among them we can establish Christian schools and seminaries, with a view of raising up a native ministry, and that besides these means, (the importance of which who can estimate?) we have, from the intelligence of the people and their fondness for books, the greatest encouragement to distribute among them, to the very extent of our ability, the word of God and all other Christian books.
In view of these facts, I ask if any one can say that China is, by the providence of God, excluded from a place in his regards and christian sympathies? Can we plead inability in bar of our Saviour's command?
What an appeal, my brethren, do these facts make to our hearts! They present millions of perishing sinners calling upon us by their destitution to supply them with the bread of life. Surely it cannot require either the tongue of eloquence or the language of persuasion, to induce those for whom Christ died to feel for perishing millions.
Our Church, my brethren, has entered this field with a few [18/19] feeble instruments. By holding back we may and must weaken and retard her operations, but we cannot alter her policy. And if the whole Church holds back, God will send in others. The question for us to decide is no longer shall China have the gospel or not. God has decided that long ago. But shall we have any part in the glorious work of its regeneration. Some who hear me can, I have no doubt, go and preach with their own lips, the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Chinese. Others can support those who go, and supply them with Bibles, Prayer-Books and tracts for distribution, and all can pray for them, and for the Lord's Spirit to accompany them in their work. O let us not, my brethren, want the hearts to do good when the means are thus plainly set before us. Let us rather resolve that according to the ability which God giveth, and the opportunity afforded us in his providence, we will obey our blessed Saviour's command and preach his gospel to every creature.
Let me entreat you, my brethren, always henceforth to remember the 360,000,000 of China, as men to whom your Saviour has commanded you to preach his gospel. Remember them as without the ordinances of religion, and either go yourselves, or send them ministers of the word. Remember them as destitute of the word of God, and lay by according as God shall bless you that they may be supplied. Remember them as immortal beings, hastening on to judgment, and oh by your meeting them there, forget them not at a throne of grace. Remember them at the monthly meeting, at the family altar, in your private devotions. Sorely if we forget them at a throne of grace, we shall be without excuse. Duties may demand our stay at home. Our circumstances may be such as to prevent our contributing much to the missionary cause: but if we do not pray for the heathen, there can be but one solution of it, we do not love them--we do not care for their immortal souls.
As you regard then, dear brethren, your own peace and assurance in the faith, give, labor and pray for these poor heathens for "whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion [19/20] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" "And he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
And pray, also, my brethren, for the Missionaries you send to the heathen. They need your prayers. They have trials to encounter, under which nothing but almighty grace can sustain them. Situated as you are in a Christian land--surrounded with gospel privileges--what need have you to pray for each other, to lift tip the hands that hang down, and to Support the feeble knees but how much more need of the sustaining prayers of his brethren has the Missionary, who is cut off by his situation from all these, who has heard for the last time the sound of the church-going bell, and who is shut up in a land of no sabbaths, no prayer, no God.
The Missionary hears no Christian voice but his own, he sees no brother sent as the messenger of God to warn or reprove him. If he fall asleep on his post, the mercy of a crucified Redeemer alone, can make it other than the sleep of death. Brethren, I am not insensible to the ties of blood; but dearly and strongly as these bind me to my native land, I shrink not even from their severance for a season, as I do from my severance from the privileges of the Church of Christ. O then, brethren, pray for your missionaries. I repeat it, they need your prayers. They have spiritual trials and temptations to encounter, which the day of judgment alone can reveal. They go away from the hosts of Christ, to encamp in the midst of Satan's dominions. Nothing but almighty, free, sovereign grace can sustain them. That grace may be theirs through your prayers. Brethren, I am not ashamed to entreat them in my own behalf. The great Apostle to the Gentiles, while engaged in this very work, says, with peculiar emphasis in almost every epistle, "Brethren, pray for us."
Singular indeed is the tie by which the Christian religion binds its professors together. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it." What a bundle of sympathies is the real mystical body of Christ! They mutually rejoice in every joy, and weep in every wo, "for they are the body of Christ, and members in particular." Called by God to a [20/21] situation of peculiar temptations and trials, I prize, next to the consolations of his own holy Spirit, this claim which he has given me upon my Christian brethren, that they should sympathize with me and pray for me. I entreat you then, dear brethren, although a stranger, by the unity of the body of Christ, that when I am far, far away, and thousands of miles of water shall roll between us, I may not be forgotten. O when assembled in this holy temple, and you surround that sacred altar to commemorate a Saviour's precious love, sometimes, I beseech you, remember him who now addresses you, and then let a silent, fervent prayer, ascend to heaven, that God may bless your unworthy, but sincerely attached brother in the bonds of the Gospel, and prosper him in the work whereunto he hath sent him.
Note.--The Rev. F. H. Hanson, and the Rev. H. Lockwood, Missionaries of the Protestant Episcopal Church, U. S. A., to China, sailed from New-York in June 1835. In December they reached Batavia, where they have since been resident. The Rev. Mr. Boone, accompanied by Mrs. Boone, sailed from Boston on the 8th July, 1837, in the ship Louvre, for Batavia and Singapore.