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the missionary cause. These events are appointed as the means of improving their characters, of increasing their fitness for the great work, and so of leading on to greater success in the end. There is something very animating in that principle of God's providence, which makes great disappointments, adversities, and sufferings, events which try the souls of men,—the means of bringing about great results. We see that no enterprises of extraordinary moment are carried forward smoothly and easily. Nor is it in this manner that men are prepared for such enterprises. Greatness, whether in character or in the objects accomplished, is invariably associated with difficulties, and often with what the world calls disasters. May we not, then, be permitted to indulge the cheering thought, that the various adverse and painful events which have met us in the missionary enterprise, are in reality expressions of the divine favor, and are clear indications, that the work in which we are engaged is one of singular grandeur, and that our humble endeavors for the salvation of the heathen are to be crowned with ultimate and glorious success?
The present occasion leads us to contemplate a profound mystery of divine providence,-a mystery as great and unfathomable, as any of the doctrines of our religion. At the present day, almost two thousand years after Christ made propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and after so much has been done by apostles, and martyrs, and other servants of God, and so many prayers have been offered up for the spread of the gospel, and when we have been inclined to think that the darkness is almost past, and the universal reign of Christ near at hand,—there is still on the island of Sumatra a tribe of cannibals,-a million of human beings so savage and cruel, that they murder their fellow-men, even those who come to them on an errand of the purest love, and then, horrible thought! devour their mangled, liseless bodies.-Where now,—we might be ready to ask,—where is the God of infinite power and grace,—where is the God who has all hearts in his hand, and who has mercy on whom he will have mercy, --that men should any where be found possessed of a character so unutterably base and dreadful? Or if they are found, where is the God of justice, that they are not instantly cut off ?-But this mystery does not end with the cannibals existing in Sumatra, and in other parts of the earth. It extends, in all its unsearchableness, to the whole heathen world. Why is it,-(I do not utter the words irreverently, but to show that we are of yesterday and know nothing, and that God's ways are past finding out,)--why is it that even at this day three fourths of the human race are left in heathen darkness, having never known the name of the only Savior of lost men ? Why has not God caused them to hear the glad tidings, when at any time during the ages of darkness that are past, he could have raised up unnumbered ministers, and sent them forth into all lands, and could have made the gospel preached by them, effectual to their salvation; --yea, when he could have saved them with infinite ease, if he had seen fit, without the labor of any ministers? Why has he suffered so great a part of this world to remain a barren, frightful wilderness, when it has been in the power of his hand to make it a fruitful field?
It explains no part of this mystery to say, that the heathen are moral agents, and that God treats them as such. It is indeed very plain, and what no man ever doubted, that the heathen are moral
agents. But what if they are moral agents? They are no more so than our own forefathers were. But when God sent the gospel to our idolatrous forefathers, and converted them, he surely did it without injuring their moral agency. And if he had pleased, he could just as easily have converted any other part and every part of the heathen world. Who can suppose that any greater measure of divine influence, or any greater display of divine grace, is necessary to save those who are now pagans, than was necessary to save our pagan ancestors? There can be no doubt, that the Almighty God, had he chosen to do it, could long since—could at any time-have given to his Son the heathen for his inheritance, and brought the uttermost parts of the earth to submit to his peaceful reign. The question which involves the mystery is, why has not God chosen to do it, and why has he not put forth that act of his power and grace needful to bring it to pass ?
Nor does it clear up the mystery at all to say, that the Christian world has been in fault; that if they had been as benevolent and active and faithful, and as fervent in prayer, as they ought to have been; the sound of the gospel, accompanied with the power of the Holy Ghost, would long ago have reached all nations. I admit this. Still the great question remains: Why has not God made the Christian world thus benevolent, and active, and faithful, and fervent in prayer ? Why has he not actually raised up well qualified ministers in sufficient numbers to accomplish the mighty work of the world's conversion ? He raised up Paul and the other apostles; and he raised up Luther and Calvin, and a multitude more. And he could have raised up others in any numbers he chose, as easily as he raised up these. He could have raised up a hundred as easily as ten, and a thousand as easily as a hundred. God has had power to carry his word and his saving work long ago into the midst of China. He has had power to turn the heart of the Emperor and of all his officers to embrace the Christian religion, and to labor for its diffusion through the empire. He has had power to establish churches, schools, colleges, and seminaries there, which should long before this have raised up millions of devoted Christians, and educated thousands and thousands of faithful ministers,--.yea, enough to supply the whole empire, and to send the gospel to all the surrounding countries. The mystery of mysteries is, that God, with his infinite power and wisdom and love, has not done this. And the mystery of mysteries this will doubtless be to us, till we have minds large enough to comprehend the infinitude of God's attributes, and the whole system of his works through all past and all future time. The inspired writers do not answer, and do not attempt to answer, the questions which may be raised respecting this subject, or respecting the conversion of some sinners in Christian lands, while others are passed by. They attempt to solve no part of this great mystery. They teach us, what is highly important for us to know, that God, in all these things, acts "according to the counsel of his own will," and that his will is infinitely wise and good,-and there they leave the subject ;—and they leave it there, that the loftiness of man may be brought low, and that God alone may be exalted.
I shall touch upon one point more, and that is the true spirit of the Christian religion-so widely, so totally different from the spirit of the world. A tribe of cannibals in Sumatra have inhumanly killed and devoured our beloved brethren, who went there from the purest
benevolence. What now shall we do to avenge the innocent blood of these missionaries? Shall we petition our government to send forth an army to inflict signal punishment upon those monsters of cruelty, and to teach them, that American citizens cannot be injured with impunity ? Or shall we pray God to send down fire from heaven to destroy them? No, brethren. The God whom we worship, is the God of love. And our Savior, infinitely merciful himself, requires all his disciples to copy his example, and to cherish a benevolent, compassionate, forgiving temper towards the worst of the human race. And when, after his resurrection from the dead, he commissioned his apostles to go forth to preach the glad tidings of salvation to all the world, he directed them to begin at Jerusalem, where so many prophets and messengers of God had been killed,-yes, he directed them to begin the work of benevolence at Jerusalem, in the midst of those who hated him, and had shed his blood! Behold the true spirit of our religion! It is the spirit of meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness. It is the spirit of love-love to enemies, to persecutors, to murderers. Guided by this spirit, let us meditate no return to those who have massacred our beloved missionaries, but to labor and pray for their eternal welfare. Let the officers of our Missionary Board take special pains to send the precious blessings of the gospel to the island of Sumatra, and to the Batta territory in the interior of that island, the place where LYMAN and Munson were slain. And let the missionary, selected for the purpose, be solemnly instructed to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of Sumatra, beginning at Batta. With holy confidence in God, let that missionary go forward to his work of mercy among those poor, wretched cannibals
. And let him search out the very men who murdered our brethren,-yes, let him be sure to search them out, and begin with them. As they are first in guilt and wretchedness, let him first seek their good. With a heart that pities them, and longs for their salvation, let him proclaim to them the glorious gospel : Behold I bring you glad tidings. Open your ears to the message of divine love. Jesus died for sinners, for the chief of sinners ; and he is able to save to the uttermost.
I offer you pardon in his name ; pardon for blood-guiltiness, and for all your crimes. Those Christians who sent me to you, have no feeling of revenge. They ask nothing of you, but that you would look unto Jesus, and be happy for ever in his kingdom. Thus let him preach to those degraded, miserable heathen, the unsearchable riches of Christ. And if the grace of God should touch their hearts, and bring them to repentance, and if they should at length be seen at the feet of Jesus, weeping for their sins, and weeping too at the thought of his dying love, and devoting their whole souls to him, and then going about to tell their companions in guilt, that they had found the SAVIOR, and proclaiming his abounding grace to all around them ;Oh! this would be a spectacle, at the sight of which angels would rejoice, and the report of which would fill the hearts of ten thousand believers with holy gladness. And could those two missionaries, now we trust in heaven, hear the blessed tidings of the repentance of their murderers, how would they join with the angels in their rejoicing, while with a pure, Christ-like spirit, they would feel willing to go down again to earth, and hear the pains of a hundred deaths, for the joy of beholding such precious fruits of God's Spirit, and such glorious triumphs of his grace, in the salvation of sinners!
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE,
"Allow me to express my decided approbation of the object and plan of the National Preacher. It has opened a new channel for the religious influence of the press. It gives a durable form to a selection of able discourses ; and proba. bly gains for them a more attentive perusal, by distributing them, not in volumes, but in smaller portions, at regular intervals of time. The execution, so far as I have observed, is such as to satisfy the public expectation."
FROM THE REV. ASAHEL NETTLETON.
“I have read, as I have had opportunity, the Numbers of the National Preacher with great satisfaction. I regard it as a work peculiarly desirable to Clergymen, and at the same time, as worthy of a place in every intelligent family.”
FROM THE PRESIDENT AND PROFESSORS OF AMHERST COLLEGE.
“Mr. Dickinson has a clear and discriminating mind; and is himself at once an able writer and preacher. Having spent four years at the South and West, and become extensively acquainted with Ministers and Christians of different denominations'; and having at the same time, an intimate knowledge of the religious state and wants of New England; perhaps no man is better qualified to make a powerful and salutary impression on the public mind, by combining, (and in a sense directing) the talents of our most eminent divines in his Monthly Preacher.
“ Most sincerely do we wish him the co-operation of those whose name and influence may make the work a blessing to many thousands."
FROM PROFESSORS IN PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.
" The plan, proposed by the Rev. Austin Dickinson, of publishing a Monthly Series of Sermons, from the pens of respectable: ministers of different denomina. tions of Christians in the United States, is one, which, in our opinion, may be rendered highly interesting, and extensively useful. We do therefore willingly recommend the undertaking to the patronage of the Christian community.”
FROM THE QUARTERLY CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR.
“We do not hesitate to say, that Mr. Dickinson has adopted one of the happiest expedients hitherto devised, for eliciting that diversity of gifts,' in the Christian ministry, which infinite wisdom and benevolence have bestowed for the edification of the body of Christ, and for bringing sinners to the foot of the cross.”
The National Preacher, which has been published for eight years in New York, besides being widely circulated in our own country, and to some extent in England, is also read with interest in China, in India, in South America, and in the far distant isles of the Pacific. The following extract of a letter from the Sandwich Islands shows how the work is regarded on the other side of the globe :
" This plan of calling forth the varied talents and united energies of cotemporaneous preachers, and bringing their happiest efforts before millions of our fellow men, even while the authors, warmed by their own exertions, are still on their knees, imploring a blessing on the truths they have sent forth, appears admirably adapted to promote the strength and harmony of the churches, to facilitate their highest attainments in knowledge and piety, to excite them to that course of benevolent action which the present state of the world demands, and to supply, to some extent, the spiritual wants of multitudes who are not favored, statedly, with the pulpit and pastoral labors of any minister of Christ. The National Preacher deserves the confidence of the world. May this highcommissioned messenger of Christ be received with thankfulness and joy by tens of millions of our race. May the Divine Author of all the valuable gists in the church copiously shed down the graces of his Spirit upon the contributors to this evangelical publication, that their writings may be worthy of the enlightened age in which we live, and such as hundreds of millions may be edified to read, when the pens of the writers are exchanged for harps of gold."
From the New-York Observer.
This periodical has, from its commencement in 1826, been regarded as a standard work; and, afforded as it is, at the low price of one dollar a ycar, and sustained by some of the ablest writers of our country, we should expect it would continue to have an extensive and increasing circulation