Imatges de pÓgina
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though his own as it respects other men, is yet not his own as it respects God. Giving by Will is not properly, giving. It is only saying when the property cannot be held longer by the testator, that he had rather the Lord and his cause should have it, than that it should fall into other hands. Besides, testamentary charities though useful, are often suspicious as to the motive accompanying them. Then let not the man who intends to give any thing to the Lord, defer the execution of his benevolent design. Does any one ask himself how much shall I give?--can I give?ought I to give? To such I would reply, look at heaven and see its blessedness; look at hell and see its wretchedness; and then look at Christ and see what he has done to rescue man from eternal perdition, and say what you ought to. give! And let him remember too that “ he which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.” What you do. you must do quickly. While you delay multitudes are going down to eternal death. These alms are asked in the name of God, in the name of Christ, in the name of the Holy Ghost, in the name of angels, in the name of the church militant and triumphant, in the name of a perishing world. *

* Appendix N.

DISSERTATION XY.

BENEVOLENT AGENCIES.

The kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is sustained and carried forward by the instrumentality of means. This ever has been, and ever will be the case. was thus ordained in the counsels of eternity, and the purposes of God are every day fulfilling in the benevolent efforts of Christians for the salvation of men. Says the Apostle, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” In order then to the prevalence of faith the Sacred Scriptures must be disseminated among all people. Here is the warrant for the Bible Society. “How then shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher.” Preachers of righteousness and salvation for the whole world must be raised. up. Here is the warrant for the Education Society. “ And how shall they preach except they be sent.” Ministers must be sent forth to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven. Here is the warrant for the Missionary Societies. Such is the system of means to be adopted for the salvation of men, authorized by the Apostle.

1. It is most evident that the present system of benevolent enterprizes among Christians, is absolutely necessary to the conversion of the world. Before this glorious event

shall take place, the Bible must be translated into all languages, tongues, and dialects under heaven, and be distributed to all who are destitute of it. But how can this be done? Can it be done in any other way than by the establishment of Bible Societies? If it can be done by individuals, as such, or by churches, as such, will it be done in this way? Does not the experience of eighteen centuries prove that it will not? Besides, are there not inherent difficulties in this method of operation? It is a trae maxim, "What is every one's business, is no one's business." This work, unless committed into the hands of particular individuals, as the principal object of their pursuit, will never be performed. The responsibility of carrying forward and accomplishing the work, mušt rest upon some specified individuals. In order then, to the general diffusion of the Scriptures throughout the earth, Bible Societies must be formed and sustained. This fact will no doubt be conceded by all who have duly .contemplated this subject. The same principle obtains in every department of Christian enterprize. Missionaries must be sent to the heathen, before they will be converted to Christianity. Shall this work of faith be done by the churches? Yes; all will say. But how? Through organized missionary bodies? There will be no efficiency without this mode of operation. Churches, as such, were not organized for this purpose ; and were they, they could not in the nature of things, accomplish it. For individual churches to attempt it, would be utterly vain. Their efforts would be feeble or wholly abortive. This may be seen by a moment's reflection. For the church of Christ as one body, to attempt it, is totally impracticable. The different denominations, (though lamentable the fact,) will not unite in this labor of love. 'Imperfection and schism remain, and will remain. Christians will never be suffi .

ciently harmonious to engage, as a body, with united energy, in the accomplishment of this work, until the Latterday-glory shall rise upon the world, in all its splendor: Then these united and special efforts will not be needed. . Besides, were the Churches, as a body, to do this work, they would virtually do it, as a society; and then they must have their officers, and these must be set apart to this business, and consequently the evil would not be remedied. No way ever has been, and no way, probably, eyer will be, devised to carry forward the Christian enterprizes of the present day, so well as Voluntary Associations, formed expressly for these purposes. Efforts must be made, and these efforts must be systeinatic, and they cannot be such, but through organized Societies. This is evidently so in theory and practice. What is true in relation to Bible and Missionary Societies, is true, also, in relatlon to all other Societies. Is not the matter then fixed-fixed beyond all controversy, that the benevolent objects of Christians—must be sustained by societies, fornied expressly for these purposes, and does it not appear, that no better way bas yet been devised than Voluntary Associations, such as now exist in this land of religious liberty and enterprize ?

Says a venerable and judicious Father in the ministry, in respect to this subject, “ I know of no better way than the one which is adopted, though it gives rise to objections in some minds, on account of the expense incurred. There must be system to secure any permanent aid. I am decidedly of opinion, that there must be societies formed, embracing the different religious objects, and these Societies must have Secretaries, Treasurers, Publications, and Anniversaries, in order that the work be carried forward. The Churches will never do this work of benevolence alone.” Societies, therefore, must be formed, and

each must have its appropriate sphere of action, and press onward its object to its full accomplishment.

II. Assuming my first position, as established, agencies are indispensably necessary. The benevolent operations of the present day eannot be carried forward without them. Their necessity arises from the nature of the case. There must be some specified individual, or individuals, to manage every concern. It is so in agricultural affairs, in manufacturing business, in commercial, or mercantile pursuits ; in Colleges and Seminaries of learning. · Every establishment, or business, however large, or småll, or of whatever nature, must have its agent or agents. This, it would seem, cannot be questioned. The only question which can be agitated, is, how much agency shall be employed? The amount of agency, necessary. to be employed will depend altogether upon the magnitude of the concern, and the business to be performed. It may require that one, two, or ten men should be engaged in it. Whatever it be, if it must be carried forward, a sufficient number of men to do it must be employed. It requires more laborers to cultivate a farm of a hundred acres, than one of fifty. A factory of ten thousand spindles requires moré agency, than a factory of one thousand. So a commercial house of á million of dollars in capital, requires more men to superintend and manage its concerns, than a . shop whose stock is worth only a thousand dollars. A literary institution of three hundred students, demands the labor of more instructers than an institution of one hundred. A Home Missionary Society, which has in view the supply of all the destitute feeble Churches in the nation, requires more agency than one formed merely for the supply of a single State.' So it is in respect to other religious Societies. The quantum of labor needed to man-. age them, will be according to the magnitude of the con

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