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quainted, would be little better on his part than throwing it away. It would be to dispense his favors in the dark, and where, for ought he knew, they might as probably promote evil as good.-There can be no true liberality in respect to Missions, without some previous acquaintance with the subject of Missions. And the more the sincerely benevolent become acquainted with this object, the more will they be disposed to contribute for its support. Besides, their contributions will, in this case, be wisely directed. They will know what part of the great system of charity, under existing circumstances, most needs support-will know where to place their helping hand-and will be, not only disposed to do all they consistently can, but enabled to direct and apply their charities in the wisest manner.
I only add,
9. The perusal of Missionary intelligence is a source of rational and high enjoyment to the people of God.-I know not how better to illustrate this idea, than by appealing directly to the experience of such persons on the subject. Have you never, my dear brethren, felt your souls refreshed, and your hearts dilated and filled with joy, when beholding, through the medium of some religious publication, the gradual undermining and overthrow of Satan's empire, and the mighty march of your Redeemer's kingdom? Have you ever been happier, than when contemplating the animating facts, and the still more animating prospects, presented before you by means of Missionary intelligence? In view of facts and prospects such as these, the very heavens rejoice; and it is reasonable, my brethren, that you should rejoice with them. It would be an impeachment of your piety and benevolence, were you capable of doing otherwise.
I would not be understood, by any thing here said, as recommending a perusal of Missionary intelligence, to the neglect of the Scriptures and other valuable religious books. I am aware that in the minds of some, there is danger of this. But the real Christian, I would confidently trust will suffer nothing to detract his frequent, studious, and solemn attention from the word of God. And the Christian who is wise will not allow his thirst after Missionary Intelligence to give him a disrelish for doctrinal discussions, and for religious studies of a severer nature. There is such a thing, as sustaining the Christian character in its due proportions. We may, I think, statedly peruse and wisely improve the interesting religious intelligence of the day, and still not neglect those other important studies and pursuits, which pertain to the Christian life.
It should excite our gratitude, after what has been said, that so much animating intelligence of a religious nature is furnished and published at the present time. Only a few years have elapsed, since this was not the case-since, instead of recounting spiritual victories, and celebrating the progress of a Redeemer's kingdom; the horrible sound of war, and the jarring notes of political strife, were emitted from a thousand presses, and echoed from every quarter of the globe. Little religious intelligence was published, and little in fact was to be published. But a new era in this respect appears to have commenced. Christians now have the privilege of hearing often respecting those things in which they are most deeply interested. Religious papers and pamphlets are circulating in almost every village and hamlet of our country-they are flying to the utmost regions of the world; while to have them in
possession, and to keep pace with their contents, are deemed essential to a religious education, and to an accomplished religious life,
In view of what has been said, let us, my brethren, duly appreciate the importance of giving a wise attention to Missionary intelligence. This, we have seen, will be conducive, not only to our general improvement, but to our religious knowledge, and growth in grace. Or if we have conceived objections to the Missionary cause, it is by this means Or if those they will best be obviated and removed. who love the kingdom of Christ have never yet felt interested and engaged on the subject of Missions, it must be because of their ignorance of facts; as a full knowledge of facts pertaining to this subject cannot fail to enlist every pious benevolent heart in its favor. By a proper attention to these facts, we shall also find encouragement to persevere in our devotedness to the cause of Missions; shall be excited to pray for it; shall know how to pray; and our prayers and alms will ascend up together, as a memorial of us before the throne of God. And by thus observing the movements and triumphs of the Redeemer's kingdom; the hearts of his people will rejoice and their tongues be glad; and they will be prepared to sing with the sweetest devotion, "Be thou exalted, O Lord, above the heavens; be thou exalted in thine own strength; and let the whole earth be filled with thy glory." Amen and Amen.
THE PROSPERITY OF THE CHURCHES ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF MISSIONS.
Acts xv. 35.
"Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord."
PAUL and Barnabas were distinguished among the primitive disciples, as Missionaries to the heathen. After they had accomplished their first Mission, we read of their returning to Antioch," whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled." Here, it is said, "they abode long time with the disciples." Their attention was occupied, during this interval, in discussing and settling the great question whether circumcision and the ceremonial law should be imposed upon the Gentile converts; in "teaching and preaching the word of the Lord;" and in promoting by all methods the peace, purity, and enlargement of the Church. Of this we have sufficient evidence in the chapter which contains the text, and in the text itself.
Possibly it may have been thought, that as Paul and Barnabas were Missionaries to the heathen, it was aside from their appropriate sphere to expend so much time and labor for the benefit of the Church at Antioch. They however judged differently, and doubtless correctly: For the same love of religion and concern for souls, which prompted them to go forth as Missionaries to the heathen, would prompt
them to labor, as occasion presented, for the benefit of the Churches they had left. And not only so, they must have felt deeply, that it was all-important and even essential to the success of their labors abroad, that the Churches at home should continue to prosper. This, my brethren, is the point suggested in the text, to which I would invite your attention at the present time;-the continued prosperity of the Churches at home is essential to the success of foreign Missions.
In illustrating this point, I shall,
I. Briefly inquire what is necessary in order to
the prosperity of the Churches at home. And,
II. Show how their prosperity stands connected with the success of foreign Missions.
That the Churches at home may continue to prosper, it is necessary that they be supplied with able and faithful Pastors. Without Pastors, they will have no spiritual watchmen or guides, none to feed them with knowledge and understanding, and none to break to them the bread of life. They will of course be scattered as sheep having no shepherd. And with any besides able and faithful Pastors, their situation might be even more pitiable, than though they were entirely destitute.
That the Churches may prosper, they must live in peace. Broils and dissensions are no where more destructive, or more to be deprecated, than in the Church of Christ. They are attended necessarily with a spirit of alienation, envy, and bitterness, which is directly contrary to the spirit of the gospel. In a season of contention respecting religion, and especially respecting its external appendages, the great substance of religion is sure to be lost, and the holy fire of love is extinguished. No instance, it is