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But we rejoice in the confidence that the benevolence of Christians is in some measure excited to this great object. They have begun to feel for a world lying in wickedness. Their hearts have begun to bleed for the debased millions, involved in misery and crime and who are constantly pouring into an awful eternity.
There is another class, however, who, it should seem, would feel interested in this subject, and for whose conduct it is difficult to account. They evidently possess strong feelings of humanity. They can sigh and weep over the woeful scenes and pages of a romance, and are not backward, in some respects to alleviate the distresses of real life. It may be they perform many charitable deeds; but their charities are limited to a very small circle. They mourn over the sufferings which are endured immediately around them, but have no sympathy for those in distant heathen lands. They cheerfully contribute to the erection of alms-houses, asylums, and hospitals, for the poor, the friendless, and insane; but have no bowels of compassion for the helpless infant sacrificed to idols, the decrepid father abandoned by his children, the widowed mother consuming on the funeral pile, or the deluded victims who are annually crushed to death under the wheels of " the modern Moloch." They hear of the horrible cruelties which are practised and endured in the dark places of the earth, but harden their hearts against them, and refuse to make any sacrifices or exertions for their alleviation and removal.-The conduct of such persons is palpably inconsistent, not only with the benevolence of a Christian, but with the common feelings of humanity. It is inconsistent with that humanity which they exhibit in respect to other things. Is not
human suffering the same in other regions and quar ters of the globe, as it is in our own? Is not life as valuable, and the soul as precious elsewhere, as here? Why then should we not extend our sympathies and charities to the utmost limit of the miseries of our race, and cheerfully engage in the great enterprize which has been undertaken for the conversion and renovation of a world ?-The spiritual privileges we enjoy we have no right to monopolize; and if we are Christians, we have no disposition to do it. Under a sense of their value, we should be in earnest to disseminate them, among all the benighted beings who now sit in darkness, and dwell in the habitations of cruelty. Thus may we enjoy the satisfaction of obeying and pleasing our Divine Redeemer, of following in the steps of his holy Apostles, and of evincing our attachment to him and his cause. We may have the satisfaction of bearing some humble part, in promoting the promised triumphs of the gospel, and in ter minating the cruelties and miseries of man.
THE ADVANTAGES OF ATTENDING TO MISSIONARY
Acts xv. 12.
Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them."
WHEN Paul and Barnabas bad returned from their first mission to the heathen, they "gathered the church of Antioch together, and rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles." Afterwards, when they were sent on a question of general interest and importance, to the apostles and elders, and to the church at Jerusalem; "the multitude here gave audience unto them, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them."-It will not be doubted, that Paul and Barnabas acted wisely, in making public the Missionary Intelligence which they communicated on these occasions. Nor will it be doubted, that, the multitude at Jerusalem, consisting of " the apostles and elders and the whole church," acted wisely, in "giving audience" and attention to this most gratifying intelligence. They must have considered it as not only important, but deeply and joyfully interesting, to listen to their beloved brethren, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles, and the wonderful works of God.
There are missions to the heathen, my brethren, in these days, as there were in those of the primitive saints; and Missionary Intelligence is published now, as truly as it was then. If therefore we would imitate the example of "the apostles, and elders, and the church at Jerusalem," who " gave audience to Barnabas and Paul;" we too must give audience and attention to the Missionary Intelligence which is published in our own times.
It will be my object in the ensuing discourse to exhibit the several advantages arising from an habitual and careful attention to Missionary Intelligence. And,
1. Those who keep up an acquaintance with this species of Intelligence will hereby increase their stock of general knowledge. This may be the least of the advantages resulting from the study here recommended; still this is of sufficient importance to be particularly mentioned.-Those who engage in the benevolent work of Missions, are usually men of cultivated minds. They visit the various regions of the globe; have ample opportunity to make discoveries and observations; and are capable of examining with faithfulness and accuracy whatever peculiar appearances nature, society, or art may present. Consequently their journals are in many instances instructive and interesting, to the philosopher and antiquary, as well as to the Christian. Through the instrumentality of Missionaries, more real knowledge has, I think, been gained, respecting the present condition of the Jews, the natives of North and South America, the Islanders of the Pacific Ocean, and many of the debased tribes of Africa and Asia, than has been gained by all other means. Several of the more important Missionary publications of the present day would be
worth more than the costs of them, were it only for the advantages they present of acquiring general knowledge.
2. An acquaintance with these publications necessarily promotes valuable religious knowledge.-Religious knowledge may be gained, not only by a direct attention to the Scriptures, but by comparing the representations of Scripture, with the various appearances of human nature, with the exercises of Christians, and the operations of the Divine hand, under different circumstances, and in different attitudes. On this account, the peculiar circumstances, feelings, and duties of the Missionary, will be likely to suggest to him new and interesting views of religious truth, which it will be his duty and his pleasure to communicate. What a confirmation, for example, we have of the Christian doctrine of the native and total depravity of our race, in the accounts of Missionaries, relative to the debasing and bloody superstitions of the heathen, and their rooted aversion to every thing good. Here we may see what man, left to himself, is; and to what our fallen natures are capable of descending. And the frequently detailed operations of the Holy Spirit, in enlightening the benighted understandings of the heathen, awakening their consciences, renewing their hearts, and forming their vacant minds to duty and to bliss, open new sources of inquiry and knowledge, on some of the most interesting points of Christian doctrine.-From the letters and journals of Missionaries, we also become acquainted with the past history and present state of Churches and Christians in other parts of the world; and may have the advantage of comparing their traditions, creeds, and observances, with those received and practised among ourselves.--But the most important