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vanced. The same grand designs are now, as they were then, the moving purposes of the church, namely, the glory of God in the salvation of the heathen ; and, incidentally, the amelioration of their temporal condition. The latter is held entirely subordinate to the former. This was so much the case in the labors of the early missionaries, that we can but saintly discern any efforts on their part to advance the knowledge of the natural sciences or the useful arts. Is there not too great a tendency on the part of modern missionaries to give an undue prominence to things temporal, as a means of evangelizing and blessing the heathen ?
It is easy to see how the train of thought contained in this chapter might be extended. What has been said may serve as hints, leading the mind to expatiate in the wide field to which they invite.
Our conclusion is this, that a striking similarity of circumstances obtains between the former and the latter missionaries, in so far as regards the identity of their office, the amount of obstacles presented to each, and the seeming inadequacy of the means of each, successfully to encounter them; and the entire unity of their purposes.
The missionary commission, as given by the Saviour to the Twelve,
and to the Seventy-two.
It is now in order to notice the plan to which allusion has been so often made, as recorded on the pages of the New Testament.
This mode of procedure was selected, be it remembered, amid the most appalling obstacles, the practical bearing of which, upon the attempt to spread the gospel, the Saviour well knew. He had experienced it in his own person. His body bore the marks of the lash; and his followers were calumniated, scourged, and put to death. Poverty was their portion. Persecuted in one city, they filed to another. The powers of the nethermost hell seemed to combine, for once at least, all their direst energies and agencies. To be a follower of the despised Nazarene was, indeed, to be “crucified to the the world.”
In addition to the trials which came upon the church, while as yet the Saviour had not put off his earthly tabernacle, there were others of a more dreadful nature yet to come, which his omniscient ken distinctly perceived. Well did he know the disappointment his disciples would experience, when the scenes of Calvary should have passed away ; and, when he whom they “trusted would have redeemed Israel," should be laid within the Arimathean's tomb. This was a trial peculiarly their own. In it Christians of a later day cannot fully sympathize. Although, after the day of Pentecost a new spirit of hope and boldness seemed to possess the leading actors in the little band, we may conclude, on the principles of human nature, that the disappointed hope of seeing the Messiah a glorious temporal sovereign, conveyed some sadness to the bosoms of the mass of that generation of believers and militated against their efficiency in the work left to them to do.
Of the little flock that surrounded him, there were those who would live to see the fires of persecution lit up by the demon Nero. Some of the faithful women, perhaps, of the lowly band, were to utter their dying wail in that tyrant's ear, while, round his palace gardens at midnight, a thousand burning christian corses should throw their unnatural light. His eye glanced onward still, and in the vista of the first three centuries that succeeded his death he saw flowing the martyr-blood of as many millions of his loved ones. In fact, from Nero to Diocletian the smoke of their funeral pyres hung over the church, a dark and saddening cloud !
All this, and more than this, the Lord of missions knew. And under such circumstances and such prospects he traced the following general plan, marked, it may be said, by the plain, and perhaps homely features of com
The first missionary commission that will be here quoted, is recorded in the tenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. As follows:
1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these : The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother ; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother :
3. Philip, and Bartholomew ; Thomas, and Matthew the publican ; James the son of Alpheus; and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.
4. Simon the Canaanite ; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not :
6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7. And, as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, etc. etc.
St. Mark alludes to the same transaction in the following words. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils." Mark 4: 14,15.
In the gospel by St. Luke a more detailed record is found, as well of the ordination of the Seventy as of the Twelve.
Chapter 9: 1,2. “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Chapter 10: 1–9. After these things the Lord appointed other Seventy also, and sent them two and two
before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
Therefore said he unto them, the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
And into whatever house ye enter, first say, peace be to this house.
And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give : for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before
you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
That more convenient reference may be made to this missionary model, it may be well that it occupy a chapter by itself.