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ON THE CULTIVATION
abiding the satisfaction which results frorn calling forth the intellectual and moral resources of your species, from giving the immortal mind of man a new consciousness of its powers and faculties, invigorating the judgment, regulating the will, and purifying the heart! Your vocation invests you with a power, which, wisely wielded, will shake and subvert all the despotic thrones and dominions of our world. Your position commands for you an awful and augmenting ascendancy in the sphere of human agency. You put forth your strength upon a nation's mind in the morning of its life, when all is young, and fresh, and tender.
The lessons you teach become part of the very instincts of opening life. The principles you implant are permanently incorporated with the elements of thought and being. It is not for nothing that you are objects of hatred to the foes of freedom and of human advancement.
In proportion to the greatness of a power are the necessity and importance of its right direction. The work of teaching well deserves the best talents ; but moral considerations are paramount to intellectual ; for it is your high province to produce not simply intellectual, but moral results, and the latter are inexpressibly the more important. Hence no degree of mental progress can compensate for deficiency in moral culture ; and the utmost measures of both are essential to complete success in the exercise of
functions. The scale of your competency is one of many gradations ; and he who approaches the highest point is entitled to rank with the most distinguished of his race.
The plain and simple apparatus of your rooms is but the index to your powers.
There is no limit to the richness and variety of your communications but that which is set by your own capabilities ; and there is scarcely any kind or degree of information which may not be brought to bear upon the interests of education. You may perform miracles in tuition, without book.
OF THE MISSIONARY SPIRIT.
Thus it was that Socrates and Plato taught the youth of Greece ; but you may infinitely excel both Socrates and Plato, not only in the matter, but in the manner of your communication. Amidst the multitude of subjects which lie before you, especial attention is due to those which are discussed in this volume- War and Missions. What may you not do towards teaching mankind to think aright on these mighty themes! They come legitimately before you in the two chief departments of history and geography; and, in able hands, they will never fail to contribute a freshness and an interest to the business of instruction, which nothing else can impart. But that you may teach, it is necessary that you should learn. Let your own minds therefore be thoroughly familiarised with these great subjects. Make an intense and patient study of them till you have mastered them in all their principles, and in all their details. What materials for moral instruction and pathetic exhortation ! On these weighty topics how much you may accomplish towards the reformation of the public taste, and the creation of a public conscience ! You may ultimately implant in the nation's heart an abhorrence of war which nothing can mitigate, and a zeal for missions which nothing can quench! Thus may you earn the gratitude of earth and the benediction of Heaven! In furtherance of this grand object of Christian philanthropy, let me introduce to your attention the Martyr of Erromanga, whose glorious career and cruel end will supply abundance of striking illustration,
Early in the year 1814, John Williams was aroused by the Rev. Timothy East, of Birmingham, from spiritual slumber, in the Tabernacle, Moorfields, London, From that memorable night, he was deeply convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; he saw that he had incurred the penalty of death, and he was filled with a trembling anxiety to escape the wrath to come.
He was soon enabled to understand, and led to believe and obey the gospel of Christ, and became a mem. ber of the church assembling in the Tabernacle, under the care of the late Rev. Matthew Wilks. The future Missionary, thus blessed with the hope of salvation, and filled with compassion for the souls of men still walking in the paths of perdition, offered himself as a teacher in the sabbath-schools, and was accepted. As he sat, amid his youthful class, on the free benches of the Tabernacle, initiating them in the elements of saving knowledge, his fellow-labourers little imagined how great a man he was one day to become, and how much he was destined to effect in diffusing the word of God among the heathen. The ways of the Lord are a great deep ; he has work, high and glorious, marked out for many of you, likewise, who are, at present, holy and zealous, though humble and obscure teachers of British and other schools.
Young Williams, delighting much in the business of a teacher, was industrious and exemplary in the discharge of his duties. As he advanced in the knowledge and love of Christ, his compassion deepened for the souls of men, and he strongly desired to be entirely devoted to their instruction. He saw multitudes in England pressing on in the broad way that leads to destruction, and his heart bled at the sight ; but, on reflection, he thought the state of the heathen still more lamentable, and such as more loudly called for commiseration. On this ground, therefore, after much prayer to God for direction, and asking counsel of wise men, he offered himself to the London Missionary Society, by whose Directors he was accepted, and sent to the South Seas. Such was the deliberate choice of Mr. Williams ; and although, alas! it issued in a violent death, it was a wise one. His dreadful end was an event of predestined honour, not of casual misfortune. Paul, the father of Gentile Missions, spent the
OF THE MISSIONARY SPIRIT.
whole of his laborious life in the spirit, if not even in the anticipation of martyrdom. He was always ready to die for the Lord Jesus." He cherished the most exalted conception of the apostolic office. He well knew that it was appointed inconceivably to enrich and bless the world. His estimate of its unparalleled iinportance was formed on this knowledge, and hence his noble-minded exclamation, “I magnify mine office !" He was at all times the subject of a deep, joyous, and exulting conviction, that his was incomparably the highest, the most beneficent, and the most honourable employment in the universe. That consideration formed a chief part of the moral means by which he was upheld under the pressure of overwhelming burdens, and emboldened to proceed amid appalling difficulties and inpending dangers.
In this great matter Paul is a pattern to all Christian missionaries. It is not enough, however, that siunilar views should possess and govern the souls of those who have entered the field of foreign labour ; they should also thoroughly pervade the hearts of the home churches, and form a prominent feature in the creed and the conscience of the rising race. Accurate conceptions, and appropriate feelings upon the subject of missions, aer the true basis of all successful evangelical effort; they constitute the life and power of the enterprise, and are, therefore, especially deserving of study and cultivation. Upon this head, we, your fathers, have still much to learn ; our vision is dim, and our views are narrow ; our emotions are comparatively cold and uninfluential. The business of gospel diffu*sion is still in many of our minds, very much an affair of pecuniary contribution. The supply of appropriate human agency, notwithstanding its acknowledged importance, is, with multitudes, not the first, but the second consideration. Both objects, however, thanks be to God! are advancing towards their true position
in the mind of the churches. We confidently anticipate the period when they will be transposed, when the first question will be men, and the second, the means of their support. The time is doubtless drawing nigh, when all the churches of the saints will consider it a culpable neglect of duty, a stain upon their profession, a disgrace upon their character, not to share, in some shape, in missionary contributions; and, when their gifts will bear a proportion to their numbers and their means. With this conviction of duty, will necessarily be blended the further conviction, that gold and silver, great and pressing as is their importance, are not the prime consideration.
The high question of human agency will then take precedence of that and of every other. The great principle will at length be fully acknowledged, that it is the province of the “ Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers ;" and that constant prayer to this effect is the paramount duty of all Christians and of all churches. The strong and persevering spirit of united prayer for this object will be accompanied by a deep and growing sense of personal duty, with respect to the employment of all other appropriate and appointed means. The people of God will be animated by a holy desire to appear in the foreign field, either in person, or by deputy, to publish the mercy of Heaven to a rebel world. They will consider this to be the highest honour they can enjoy on earth ; and, in the absence of this, whatever may be their numbers and wealth, or pecuniary assistance to spread the Gospel, they will feel their rank to be one of only secondary importance. So long as they send none of their members abroad “ to the help of the Lord,” they will consider themselves denied a precious privilege, and a high distinction. There is reason to fear, that, at present, this feeling, where it is not dead, is yet dormant among the bulk of the British Churches ; there is reason to fear that it is not very generally and