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personal wants of those who have cast themselves upon our charities, and gone with the word of life to the perishing heathen-to procure for them the comforts, or even the necessaries of life-to support their dependent families and schools-to furnish them with the various means of doing good-and to send forth others, as fields of labor continue to open, and the Lord of the harvest in his Providence shall call,-to do all this, must necessarily be attended with a very considerable expense. And it must involve expense, not only at the first, but to be continued. There must be continued contributions towards this great object. The stream of Christian charity must be kept constantly flowing.-But how is all this to be done, unless the Churches at home continue to prosper? Suffer these Churches to diminish and decaylet their hedge be broken down, their Pastors be removed, their discipline relaxed, and their harmony disturbed-let the spirit of religion become cold and inconstant, and seasons of revival and refreshing cease; -and where are we to look for the fountain, from which the everflowing stream of religious charity is to take its rise? On what are the foreign establishments to depend for their necessary support?
3. The Missionaries abroad are dependent on the Churches at home for encouragement and counsel. Owing to the peculiarities of their situation, they not unfrequently find themselves in circumstances of trial and embarrassment, where they can scarcely determine what they ought to do. At such seasons, after imploring Divine light and direction, they will find a comfort in seeking the advice and counsel of their Fathers and brethren at home. And not only so, when their benevolent work is opposed, their motives impeached, and their characters vilified; or when
darkness and difficulties thicken round them, and they are ready to sink under the pressure of their cares ;—where shall they look for countenance and encouragement, except to the Churches and the dear Christian friends whom they have left behind? And with what confidence can they look to these, their last earthly resource, if they know that they have lost the spirit of the gospel, forfeited the favor of their Lord, and fallen into a declining and decaying state? With what confidence can they look to those for assistance of any kind, who it appears are not able to assist themselves ?-I add,
4. The Missionaries abroad are dependent on the Churches at home for their prayers.-Those who have devoted themselves to Missionary labors among the heathen, are probably more sensible than others can be of the inefficacy of mere human efforts, and that success must come from God alone. In the language of a distinguished Missionary,* they have had to grapple with the tremendous difficulties in the way of conversion among the heathen, in addition to those which exist in what is called a Christian country. The prejudices of the natives; their superstition, ignorance, levity, and multiplied errors; their slavish subjection to the priests; the difficulties of the languages; and the terrifick deprivations following a profession of Cristianity ;-these, and many other things, added to the natural enmity, hardness, and unbelief of the heart, all lead the mind of the Missionary to feel the need of Divine help." Others can scarcely participate in the deep anxiety felt by him, relative to those influences, which render the gospel the power of God." At the same time he knows it to be a standing ordinance of the Divine
* Dr. Ward.
administration, that God will be inquired of" to bestow his special blessings. It is his pleasure to "connect the prayers of his saints with the accomplishment of his purposes" of grace. Thus the faithful Missionary is prepared peculiarly to feel the worth of prayer; and to feel his dependence on the Churchies and brethren he has left behind to pray for him. Accordingly, there is scarce a letter comes to us from our Missionaries abroad, which does not contain this particular request, "Brethren, pray for us ;" and in some letters which have been received and published, this request is not only made, but urged, in the most importunate manner. But unless the life and spirit of religion is retained in the Churches, what will their prayers avail? With no heart to pray for themselves, to what purpose shall they attempt to pray for others? And with what confidence can the devoted Missionary look to the Churches for their prayers, if they become cold, formal, divided, corrupt, and comparatively a spiritual desert?
We may see then, my brethren, in view of these. remarks, the very intimate connexion subsisting between the cause of foreign Missions, and the well being of the Churches. We may see the dependence of the former upon the latter. Obviously it cannot be of greater importance to the animal system, that the pulse of life should beat strong at the heart, than it is to the whole system of Missions among the heathen, that the pulse of spiritual life, and of genuine Christian feeling, should beat firm and vigorous in the Churches at home.
We learn from our subject, and it is a very comforting conclusion to those of us who are prevented in Providence from engaging directly in the Missionary work, that every thing which is done to promote the
prosperity of the Churches at home, is tending strongly to encourage the progress and secure the ultimate success of the Missions abroad. Every Pastor, and every private Christian, who moves actively and faithfully in his own proper sphere, does his duty, and is instrumental of good at home, is aiding, and very efficiently aiding, the cause of Missions among the heathen. Every religious meeting which is attended and improved; every revival of religion which is experienced; every humble prayer which is offered up; indeed every thing which is done for the honor and advancement of true religion among ourselves, is not without its influence on the progress of that cause, which is ultimately to fill the earth with the Saviour's name and glory.
In view of the representations which have been made, it appears not without reason, that the most active friends of foreign. Missions, are among the most efficient promoters of religion in our own country. That this is in fact the case, no persons of intelligence and impartiality will doubt. If we look over the names of those Ministers and private Christians, who are doing most at the present time for the success of Missions among the heathen; we shall find, perhaps in all instances, that they stand preeminent in the number of those, who are laboring to instruct the rising generation, educate pious youth for the Ministry, raise the tone of Christian feeling, and promote the triumphs of the cross among ourselves. And if what has been said is true, there are good reasons why it should be so. The spirit required in both species of labor is the same; and besides, the two causes are most intimately connected, and are in fact but one cause. If the Churches at home fall or decay, the foreign establishments must
fall or decay with them. It would be as preposterous therefore in any one, to attempt raising foreign Missions upon the ruins of the Churches at home, as for the builders of a tower to undermine its deep foundations, with the hope of obtaining materials for carrying up its top.
Indeed, the grand system of religious effort in operation at the present day, though consisting of a variety of branches, is still a stupendous whole. Its dependencies are mutual; its connexions we trust indissoluble. May it continue in harmonious and vigorous movement, till the darkness of an hundred ages is dissipated, and the light of Divine truth has illumined the world.