Delivered before the Board of Missions, at its Fourteenth Triennial Meeting, in Trinity Church, Boston, Thursday Evening, October 4th, by the Rev. Noah Hunt Schenck, D.D., of Long Island. "And GOD said, Let there be night "--Gen. i. 3.
LIGHT is an eternal thing. It is GOD'S atmosphere. He, Who has His "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto," looked upon this chaotic planet, gloomed in the more than midnight blackness which preceded the dawn of time, rent in twain the curtain of the dark, and ushered illumination to the earth by the majestic mandate, "Let there be light."
Now another star is made to glitter with the radiance of GOD--another sparkling orb launched into space, and added to the splendors of creation. But before this world had its baptism of light the SPIRIT of GOD hovered over the awful chaos. This was the incubation of Love. Then came light. First, the moving breath, as a floating canopy of love over the void and formless matter. Then the myriad lances of light pierced the darkness, and the world was aglow with the glory of the Creator. This was the genesis. "GOD saw the light, that it was good." And when once light mantled the earth, creation began. It was continued through those great epochs which culminated in the making of man in the image of the Infinite GOD. Then the chorus of the skies waked the echoes of earth in the first adoring Te Deum, "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of GOD shouted for joy."
Bathed in this material radiance, the earth has rolled along the plane of its sphere during the revolving centuries, the gift of light never with drawn, but reassured to the race in the token of the gleaming arch set in the clouds, at once the pledge of a never-ending succession of harvests and the never-suspended influence of the great source of light under which they grow to golden maturity, praising GOD and preserving man. Thus we see that the light which began in love has always been the glory of the world and the power in Providence which has fostered and fed the human race. And thus it shall be to the end. But how direful the contrast when we come to speak of that other light which glittered through the Garden when the voice of GOD was heard walking in it! Scarcely was Eden flooded with this, before the awful satanic eclipse cast [3/4] its death-shade over meadow and orchard, and the stricken race to which we belong have ever since been cowering in the gloom, or groping their way back toward the light they lost when the gates of Paradise were closed behind them. As over the primeval Flood the love-breathings of GOD brooded until the fiat, "Let there be light," so over the moral chaos of earth hovers the divine afflatus of the SPIRIT of CHRIST awaiting the dawn of the Sun of Righteousness whose awaking illumination shall be as "the light of the morning" to "the nations sitting in darkness." In the horror of this great darkness we live; and ours it is to lift the pall. Prophets have foretold the great commission; priests have adumbrated the sacrifice of Atonement; kings have prefigured the Messianic office; divine spokesmen have told in advance the splendid achievements of the God-Man REDEEMER. The logic of the atonement, as harmonized through the whole revelation from the imprimatur of the divine Logos in the beginning to the colophon of the humanized Logos in the Apocalypse, all teach in crystal clearness, that, according to the eternal law of justice and adjustment, that what man disturbed, he must tranquilize; what he destroyed, he must restore; what criminal indebtedness he incurred, he must cancel by payment of penalty. This is the measure of human responsibility. Here is the moral problem of earth, and the Church's office is to work out its demonstration. Her great Head, the Second Adam, the representative of a redeemed race and the pioneer of its destiny, "with His own right hand and with His holy arm hath He gotten Himself the victory." It only remains that all the people of the world, sharers with CHRIST in humanity, should become sharers with Him in the sublime trophies of the conquest He has achieved over the enemies of that humanity. CHRIST has made the awful expiation. CHRIST has made the fullest obedience. CHRIST has declared the whole mind of GOD concerning the duty of man. As Captain of the Great Salvation He led on the front of the column of the Redeemed, until nearing the starry portals of the many-mansioned city, the cry went forth from the angel watchers, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength?" When myriad voices came answering back, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in." Thus culminated the effort of the Church's Head, the Eternal SON of GOD, to restore a ruined race. But when He passed through the everlasting doors they closed not after Him. As the gates of the temple of the fabled deity, Janus, were opened in war, so the portcullis of the heavenly city remains lifted until all the victorious followers of CHRIST shall have entered. But, meanwhile, back upon the glittering pathway of the Ascension, descends the HOLY GHOST, to carry on the holy war, and show to men the things of CHRIST--the sword that always cleaves a way, the shield which no missile of earth or [4/5] hell can break or pierce. Meantime the "Author and Finisher" lingers at the heavenly gates. His voice goes forth inciting the militant Church to battle on to the end. His hands are reached out in invitation. His eyes are kindled to love, and never weary is He of uttering that tenderest of overtures: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Thus it is, referring to the analogue of the material light--thus it is that the moral earth rolls on darkly, while there is a Sun of Righteousness, at the brightness of whose rising the world shall rejoice; but of which it has as yet but a few faint auroral fore-gleams. The SPIRIT of GOD is hovering in lambent canopies of love over our moral chaos. Nay, the decree has been trumpeted from Bethlehem and Calvary, and the unsealed sepulchre and the Mount of Ascension: "Let there be light." But not now, as in creation's dawn, spoken to dumb matter. The mandate now is to those who once imaged GOD in intellect, in innocency, and in immortality. The intellect has been perverted. Innocency is lost. Immortality is the stupendous issue upon which everything is staked. But alas, man, as a moral being, is like the midnight marauder, who prefers the darkness. Light cannot enter the mind when the ears are stopped and the eyes are closed. Light cannot enter the heart when its windows are blinded and its doors are barred. The great orb of spiritual light is only stayed below the horizon waiting the world's prayers for its rising. The "dark places" of the earth shall all see "the marvellous light," when once the Church can aggregate and administer spiritual forces adequate to clearing the way.
Right Reverend Fathers, Brethren of the Clergy and Laity, women and children--to all who have taken the sign of the Cross upon their foreheads (for the whole Christian Church is CHRIST'S Board of Missions), to all who by Baptism are citizens of the earthly and visible kingdom of our dear LORD, to each one I come with the burden of Dumab: "Watchman! What of the night?"
The Church of GOD, administered by the HOLY GHOST, and operating through human agency, exists by divine appointment that it may Christianize and reclaim to GOD this world full of sinners. This has been her time-long, earth-wide office, warring against the powers of darkness, the soul for its battling gage, and Heaven for its guerdon. In the procession of the ages we living men have now come to have place and part in this great struggle for GOD and humanity. That we act up to the sentiment of our legacy of labor, that our effort be even with the level of our opportunity, we come to such great conferences as this, to mingle in grateful and hopeful devotions, to reconsider the methods of our work, scan the ground and classify the forces anew, speculate upon ventures as yet untried, add stars to the flag as we learn of broad lands but just possessed; and so with newly born energies of faith, new sources of benevolence unsealed, and freshly consecrated zeal, we go forth again, as [5/6] went the disciples of old, and under the same Catholic commission, to drive the plough through fallow fields or strike the sickle where they are "white unto the harvest."
To either a philosophic or practical view of the Church's office and duty to the world, it would be necessary to regard in order the proper preparation for the work to be done, and then the wisest methods of adaptation in doing it.
If the preparation of those who engage in evangelical work in our day were to be measured by that of the Disciples of the early Church, the topic would scarcely admit of discussion. Theirs were the special inspiration of CHRIST, the gifts of "mouth and wisdom" and the endowment of moral intrepidity. But since the primitive age the Ministers of CHRIST have only the ordinary gifts of the SPIRIT. These, however, are susceptible of almost unlimited culture and development. And there must be no bounds to this effort. If special qualifications were given the first messengers of CHRIST that they might combat successfully the subtle scribe, the learned gnostic, and the polished pagan, and stand without intimidation before governors and rulers in all the wisdom and dignity of their inspired diplomacy, so should men earnestly covet the best gifts as in this age of advanced average intelligence they go on GOD'S errand to encounter the scholarly oriental heathen or the sharp-witted bordermen on the western outposts of the Church. Nay, either for the discomfiture of the infidel at the centres of our civilization, or the cunning savage in his native wilds, nothing less than the largest acquirement of knowledge, the loftiest elevation of piety, the broadest and profoundest sentiment of sacrifice, should constitute the equipment of the banner-bearers of CHRIST. The fisherman and the publican--even the scholar of Gamaliel--only become Apostles when they can vindicate their right to the title by speaking with tongues and doing wonderful things in the name of the LORD. I think we may claim that for the most part the methods of "milk for babes" must give way to the feeding with meat the strong men of this nineteenth century. Our gospel nuncios to the learned Mandarin, the courtly Daimio, and the princely Rajah, must mate them in intelligence, and surpass them in moral manhood. While the "common people," there, as elsewhere, "by Afric's sunny fountain," and even "unto the great sea westward," will only "hear gladly" those who pronounce and personate the truth of CHRIST with all the attractive adornments of the higher civilization, and all the logical demonstrations of the holier life. I can imagine no more blank and bitter disappointment than that of him who in the spring-tide fullness of Christian zeal, pours his whole soul into Missionary work, only to find when he reaches the theatre of effort, that his equipment is inadequate to the campaign, that his strength cannot cope with the difficulties he encounters, that the coveted prizes of his Mission are beyond the impassable mountain ranges, or [6/7] hidden away in the impenetrable jungle. Ropes and ladders to scale the snowy crags, axes and pontoons to penetrate and cross the dense morass, were unthought of in the faint and far-off survey which had been taken from the windows of the theological school. The history of Missions has many a sad page where zeal without knowledge is illustrated in the enthusiasm of Missionary ventures terminating in the mortification of failure. But shall experience be to us, as says Coleridge, "like the sternlight of a ship, only illuminating the track that is passed over?" or rather shall we not make it a headlight to our working Church, flashing radiance upon the course she is to pursue?
But let me not speak too long upon the preparation of the individual. I would rather, upon such an occasion, invite your consideration to the aggregate preparation of the Church, as year after year she makes solemn pause in deliberative assembly, before she freshly addresses herself to her noble task. Remember, brethren, that it is the Church, the Body of CHRIST, He being the Head and we the members; it is the Church, the earthly Repository of the Glory of the REDEEMER, to which is given the execution of this mandate of GOD to the moral world, "Let there be light." When matter heard the cry it woke at once and welcomed the glad illumination. For "GOD spake and it was done." The decree was direct. It was not transmitted through a faulty medium. But now the Church officered by fallible men, and having to do with a recusant race, receives the fiat and accepts the duty only to toil and struggle through long centuries in putting into execution the purpose of the Spiritual Creator, "the entrance of Whose word giveth light" to the soul--re-illumines the souls of the world.
And now what shall our Church, with growing responsibilities twining around her home altars, and with Macedonian responsibilities appealing in tempest-tones across the sea, under the pressure of freshly revealed necessities, and the impetus of a hotter zeal--what shall this stalwart American branch of the Church Catholic--now on this our first year of the second century of civil and religious freedom--what shall this Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States do by way of inaugurating a larger and more successful work for CHRIST than has heretofore marked and toned her history?
I propose, brethren, that we make this year of grace, 1877, forever memorable in the Church's Calendar as the epoch of The Great Enlistment. By this I mean that the prayers of all our people, and the gifts of all our people--in measure large or small, as grace and Providence may order--be recruited for the broader and fuller and faster prosecution of the imperative Gospel work CHRIST has given us to do. Granted that this great enlistment may, by GOD'S help, be had, what strong and steady pulse would be acquired to the vitality of Gospel enterprise at home and abroad, and what resistless power to its progress. We all felt the thrill [7/8] of that loving and opportune invitation, which came to us from the Church of England, but a few years since, to unite with Christian men and women throughout the world on St. Andrew's Day, in common prayer to CHRIST for the prosperity of Missions and the world's conversion. With the awakening Services of Advent "it is very meet, right, and our bounden duty," that we should invoke the potency of the SPIRIT of GOD to crown our weak endeavor to win the world to His service. But this watching unto prayer must be a ceaseless vigil. I would have the dawn of each LORD'S Day, which is our weekly festival of the resurrection, celebrating the triumph of the crucified One, and the new life of those who are "risen with Him"--I would have the Sunday morning of all "those who profess and call themselves Christians," old and young, male and female, begun with the deeply felt utterance of "Thy kingdom come." Oh, that we could but have world-wide concerted prayer saluting the great Easter Prince on the morning of each Christian Sabbath that celebrates His rising; calling upon Him to make bare His arm, reveal His face, set up His standard, and enthrone His love.
I deplore with many others the want of an office in our Common Prayer to direct the devotions of the people in behalf of Missions; not only for special Services in this great interest, but that Sunday after Sunday the minds of all should be recalled to this eminent obligation of the Christian. And more than this, in addition to the single suffrage found in evening prayer for families, may we not hope that in that appointed for use in the morning, we shall ere long have authorized an optional Collect, adapted to either the domestic altar or the closet devotions. Certain it is, that in a new and great enlistment of the energies of revival, every possible stimulation must be given and every possible facility afforded for regular, concerted, persistent, and faith-full prayer, to rise to CHRIST from every heart and every household and every congregation. But the scope of the great enlistment embraces the recruiting of another and yet unused element of power in the furtherance of Missions. This is second in importance only to that of prayer. There was a time in the history of the Hebrew people, when a voice from heaven called to their great leader, "Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward." And forward they went, moved on by their own material resources, escaping bondage and battle, and marching between the walls of waters to the shores of security beyond the sea. Effort ends not with praying. It is only when devotional sentiment demonstrates in practical realities that GOD sees the logic of our religion and man feels its beneficent and forceful purpose. Now it has been proposed to bring the whole population of the Church, from the little child just learning the solemn purport of its Baptism to the old man or woman about to tread the dark valley, into responsible relationship with Mission work. The theory is unquestionably sound that this work can never be [8/9] successfully done until all are brought to aid in it. Material resources are just as necessary to the operation of Missionary enterprise as they are to any other active charity. Whence shall these supplies be drawn? Must they continue to be wrung from the affluent minority in response to humiliating appeals? Must they be subject to the fluctuations of the fortunes of the few who give in noble measure? Must they flow in one direction or another as governed by the magnetism of the advocate of one department, or the want of it in another who sues for a different department? Must caprice, or prejudice, or worldly interest, or personal sympathy. have to do with regulating the measure of Missionary resources and directing their application? Alas, bow much of this have we had occasion to mourn over in the past. And then again, must the poor be prevented from "coming up to the help of the LORD," by reason of invidious contrasts, when CHRIST has only made immortal the humble heroine of the two mites? No, the time has come when a different exercise must obtain. There may be an occasional fracture or dislocation, but the average health and strength will be improved beyond the power of estimate. Every man, woman, and child must be enlisted in the behalf of Missions by having each and all become contributors, not by proxy, not once a year, not in irregular sums, but either by the half dime weekly offering, or according to a graduated plan. This has been before the Church for a year or two, and in many places put to practice with varying degrees of success. But I stand here and in the name of the Master invoke` the whole nominal membership of our Church to begin, in this year of our blessed LORD, and give to this project an exhaustive and patient, and persistent and prayerful experimenting and testing. To this end we must all become recruiting sergeants. The Board of Missions commending the plan in principle and practical detail, the General Convention indorsing it to the whole Church, Bishops and Conventions pressing it upon the attention of the several Dioceses; rectors urging it upon the congregations and preparing the facilities for putting the system to work among the people; parents putting it as a matter of conscience to children and servants; parish visitors going with the plan to neighbors who go not to church to get it; all parochial organizations carrying it into the ramifications of their work outside the parish proper, and so reaching the nomadic tribes which still dwell in tents--thus and thus only giving the system an universal application; less than which, it ceases to be a system, and fails of its great purpose. But let the pregnant plan be prospered in its way and you extend the Missionary franchise to every baptized citizen of the Commonwealth of Israel, and give to our part of Christendom, universal suffrage for CHRIST. Every soul in the Church becomes in this wise an active factor in the Missionary organization. Now that each one has an investment, so each one feels a personal interest. There is an appreciation of individual responsibility. There is a consequent [9/10] deepening of Missionary feeling and a heightening of religious sentiment. In fact the two are identical. And thus is the giver twice blessed. He renders incidental and almost involuntary tribute to the great cause, and is receiving in return the reflections of grace and heavenly benediction. The Church has new life by reason of the spiritual vigor which throbs in the breasts of her children. And, finally, when the aggregate of the little offerings of the many thousands is summed up in the grand total, we find that the Church has a royal revenue, gathered without begging and given without grudging, adequate to our Mission work on a largely widened scale, and endowing as well all the other general charities of the Church. Oh! who can picture the sublime results of such a splendid venture for CHRIST as this? And we are the more encouraged to hope for a success which land cannot limit or seas circumscribe, when we remember that the plan is CHRIST'S. He saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. He saw the widow deposit her two mites, and "She," said CHRIST, "cast in more than they all." Thus He commended the mite-gift to the Church, and by that token must the Church conquer the world for CHRIST.
But, though the armament be complete, success is still conditioned by the favoring winds of Heaven, by skilful navigation, by thorough knowledge of the fortress to be assailed, and by the prudent adaptation of resources when the engagement is actually begun. Above all, there mast be the most thoroughly disciplined unity of action. They who officer the vessels of the squadron must keep clearly in view the signals that float from the peak of the flagship. I deprecate, primarily, the discriminations which are made in our Mission work, not only in names, but in the varying methods. As it is, we have Missions Foreign and Missions Domestic, Diocesan, Parochial, and individual Missions--Mexican Missions and Missions for white men and for black men and for red men. Now, while I believe in the wisdom of specific Missions, in one sense, yet is it not possible sometimes in these "differences of administrations," and "these diversities of operations," to forget that it is the "same GOD which worketh all in all?" Do not these arbitrary discriminations occasionally breed prejudices and antagonisms? May not two lines of noble effort, under guidance equally ingenuous, so converge as to collide unhappily? One of the phenomena of optical science is that two rays of light may so inprnge together upon a common surface at such angles of junction as to extinguish each other. So we are told in the Olivet sermon of our LORD, that if the light that is in us be darkness, "how great is that darkness." The ideal of Mission work is unity in prayer, unity in offerings, unity in organization, and unity of sentiment in the practical details of administration.
Again, let us not be blind to certain very patent facts concerning the altered condition of those to whom we would adapt our Missionary [10/11] material. We have come at last to have such knowledge of the interior life of the Chinese and Japanese and Hindostanese, as would almost warrant us to change a line in Heber's famous hymn and read, "The Heathen with intelligence, bows down to wood and stone." It is true they have their ignorant classes, and so have we, American citizens, in numbers and in ratio less, yet still by thousands, who can neither read nor write, and who practice idolatrous rites with but little effort at concealment. But in the upper walks of life among the Orientals, there is an intellectual culture and a social refinement in almost everything, except the treatment of women, that challenges a higher appreciation than we have heretofore entertained. It is a significant fact in China, of all the nations of the earth, the only aristocracy is that of letters; the only official or social rank, that which has been won by the prowess of the mind. Now, to these Eastern lands we have sent our Missionaries, our war ships, our trading vessels, and our adventurers. The Missionary has preached in these coasts the Gospel theory of Christianity. Here and there among his fellow Anglo-Saxon Christians he may point proudly to some living illustrations. But for the most part he has had the logic of the Christian system fractured--nay, his whole Gospel belied by the adultery and blasphemy and drunkenness of scores and hundreds of sailors, and by not a few of Godless commercial adventurers--all of whom are nominally Christian, and all of whom scoff at CHRIST. Do you not suppose that the cunning, crafty Chinaman comprehends the grossness of this paradox? So well, you may be sure, that it becomes fuel for his burning prejudice and food for his malignant mirth. In such a condition of things the traditional methods seem a mere Missionary mockery to the common sense of the world. But the common sense of the world will yet see, through Faith's final illumination, how God will make even the wrath of man to praise Him. Meantime, it is our duty to serve the Master with the best member that we have, and not one alone, but every one. Therefore, I hold that in such lands as China and Japan we should missionate with our whole civilization. Let the ordained Ministry there, and everywhere, go first as torch-bearers, flashing the pure light of CHRIST into the thick religious gloom. Then let the doctrine of the Gospel be illustrated by the ministration of active charities, and the establishment of benevolent institutions. Then give them schools and colleges graduated up to the highest levels of culture. If our resources do not admit of attempting this upon a large scale, launch all the resources we. have upon one point. Make this a collegiate Mission, where, as at a focus, we shall have everything concentered for a time. A fire will kindle there which will circle out its radiations of light all over the land. And with these, should go the other chief tuitions and exhibitions of our civilization, such as the Sabbath separation of a portion of time for rest and worship, the organization of the Christian family, and the thousand [11/12] applications of science to the amelioration of the condition of the people, and the decoration of social life. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the effort now in hand by the Bishop-elect of China, looking to the establishment of an institution of learning in that land. It is my firm belief that such an agency would under Gov do more to further our Gospel enterprise amid the myriad Mongolians than twice the amount of Missionary material scattered in fragmentary efforts over the country. In fact, there must be an indigenous ministry reared for the work in each respective field. The mysterious laws of human magnetism and the sweet and swaying fusions of sympathy demand that those who are nearest akin in humanity should be related as agents and objects in Gospel-work. Only when we shall have educated men of each heathen race to teach CHRIST to their fellow, shall the aureola of the latter-day glory of Zion gather and glow about her walls and towers.
But we must hasten with the work, or it will all be taken out of our hands. We are now at the beginning of a great Mongolian invasion. The Mission evening schools for Chinese in San Francisco have an average attendance of 750 and the Sunday-school about 1,000. Hundreds of Japanese and Chinese are in schools and colleges in the United States, qualifying for almost every position of usefulness and influence both in letters and science among their own people. This has now become a systematic thing. Carrying home a knowledge of our lettered and material civilization, what may they not also involuntarily convey of our religious economy? And as with them, so in lesser degree with the representatives of many other nations who are coming here for purposes entirely secular, but who will take away ineffaceable impressions of our religion, our laws, and our social institutions. No mind can measure, no enthusiasm can exaggerate the vast product of this moral commerce which realizes the old prophecy that "many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased."
I come, finally, to speak of Missionary adaptation at home. Here, as well as abroad, there are new aspects to civilization arising from many causes, not the least of which is the heretofore unknown facility for rapid travel and the quick interchange of thought the world around. In consequence, the provincial is making way for a cosmopolitan civilization. Ere long, whatever any state or community has that is worth possessing, will be appropriated by every other, and so in the march of events we shall at a day not very remote, I trust, have the whole world participate in a common concordant and ennobling civilization. That our own American commonwealth is to have an important part in the production of this result seems clearly manifest. Our geographical position, our free civil institutions, our religious liberty, our system of common school education, our characteristic enterprise, are, one and all, marked indications of the great office to which we shall be called. The integral elements [12/13] of our population, moreover, gathered out of all lands, freely fused in social, civil, and religious life and recast in American moulds, are rapidly realizing a new and masculine civilization here. It would appear that a fresh human force was being developed and drilled upon our soil to cope with the many and mighty issues which the Church and the State will have to meet and master in the latter days, both in the religious and social world. In the immediate adaptation of Missionary effort let us clearly regard certain object points. We have now to deal with exceedingly subtle forms of infidelity among the more cultured classes, and with a broad, blaspheming infidelity among those who are comparatively or wholly unlettered. We have to encounter all the moral prejudices of the different nationalities here mingling freely together. We have the rough-fisted prairie and mountain men of our great Western domain, with their nomadic habits, their scorn of discipline, and horror of submission. There is the negro of the South, who, because of the feebleness of our effort in his behalf, is just now oscillating between relapse into heathenism or a plunge into Romanism. The Indian, whom we have treated with refined savagery, and whose possessions we have seized with vandal rapacity, is either in arms on the plains or pleading in Washington (as at this moment) for Christian teachers to come to them at once, and in numbers. The Mongolian invasion on the Pacific coast brings to us, in my judgment, one of the greatest Missionary responsibilities and one of the most splendid Missionary opportunities known in the history of evangelic effort. Beholding these thousands of Chinese and of Indians, and these millions of Africans circling around us, we have a realization never before dreamt of that "the Greeks are at our doors." How this confuses or obliterates the line between Foreign and Domestic Missions and indicates that the work is one. We do well, very well, in prosecuting our Missionary enterprises at home; to send out Bishops as pioneers. This has been abundantly demonstrated during the last ten years. Would to GOD we could only double the number. And as we select men with the greatest care for the responsible office of overseer in the great work-fields of the Church, so do I claim that the best talents, the highest character, the richest gifts should alone qualify those who are to have places along the skirmish lines and man the outposts. These are the places of greatest danger. They require the loftiest courage and the rarest, ripest skill. We must have our best men at the front, all along, from flank to flank, or we shall advance but slowly, or not at all. In adapting our Missionary force, then, we much match strength against strength, keep abreast of the intellect and in advance of the moral wants of the age, use our finest material in plans of greatest difficulty, and never despair of doing great things in the name of the LORD.
Thus, the mandate of Creation, "Let there be light," caught up and re-voiced by CHRIST, saying, "I am the Light of the World," has been the [13/14] law to His servants in all ages; and thus do we, standing in our lot, attempt to hasten the hour when "jocund day shall stand tiptoe on the misty mountain tops," when the hills of morning shall shine with the radiance of rubies, when the great Sun of Righteousness shall heave above the horizon in "sumptuous splendor and solemn repose," when our reconciled and glorified GOD shall look upon this CHRIST-lit earth, and beholding the light will see and say that "It is good."
While it is true that "the golden age lies onward," it shall be reached at last. At times the voice of weak faith sighs forth, "How long, O LORD, how long?" Then again there is a baring of the right arm and a stretching out of power and a revelation of the blessings of mercy and the splendors of grace. If at one time there is but delay and distraction and despair, oh, how at another there are such dazzling outbursts of the millenial light that one may say, "My soul hath seen the coming of the glory of the LORD." However this may be, the command of CHRIST is, "Go join thyself to this chariot," whether it is journeying to Ethiopia or Asia or through our western Gaza, which is desert. It is the Missionary car freighted with the glory of CHRIST and the hopes of much people, and the good of generations unborn. Whatever betide, let us build new altars ,of prayer, rekindle wasted fires of faith, and open up fresh fountains of love. Let us go back to our dear LORD'S ministry, and newly study His marvellous life. Let us catch a new inspiration from the contemplation of His works of power and mercy.
"Oh! where is He that trod the sea,
Oh! where is He that spake
And demons from their victims flee,
The dead their slumbers break;
The palsied rise in freedom strong,
The dumb men talk and sing,
And from blind eyes benighted long,
Bright beams of morning spring."
After the example, under the precept of CHRIST, according to our means, and guided by the HOLY GHOST, we desire to set forth again to do the will of the LORD and win souls for His kingdom and glory. It is the noblest purpose that ever fired a human heart. It is the grandest following that pilgrim foot ever pursued. It is the sublimest service ever rendered by creature to Creator. It is the shaping of a destiny which leads the soul along a starry pathway up to immortality and to GOD. Oh, is not this worth working for, praying for, giving for? Let us go forth dight in GOD's armor, and with the implements of labor in our hands. We may not have long to work before the breaking of the day. Let us go out and meet the coming light. The loftier our position [14/15] the sooner shall we see it. Praying men! working men! giving men! side by side come forth, making the rough places straight, leveling obstacles, throwing up highways, preparing fallow lands and seeding them, clearing out choked-up channels, and working up hills of difficulty the sooner to hail the sunrise of the Second Advent.
Men of prayer! be up and stirring
Night and day,
Sow the seed--withdraw the curtain
CLEAR THE WAY!
Men of action, aid and cheer them,
As ye may!
There's a fount about to stream,
There's a light about to beam,
There's a warmth about to glow,
There's a flower about to blow;
There's a midnight blackness changing
Men of prayer and men of action
CLEAR THE WAY.