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If the writer may be allowed to engage the attention of his readers for a moment before they enter on the perusal of the following pages, his only aim in so doing will be to facilitate that perusal.
Of course, his first object in preparing this Essay has been to comply with the requirements of the advertisement, which has, indirectly at least, occasioned its existence. His compliance with these, however, has not prevented him from aiming at a point higher still; rather, it has formed the proper and natural ascent to it.
he trusts, has imprinted its character, more or less visibly, on every portion of his work. He would briefly describe it as threefold an endeavor to show that the church of Christ is aggressive and missionary in its very constitution and design : its“ field is the world;" that it is to look on the whole of this field as one; not regarding the claims of any particular portion as inimical to the interests of any other;
but viewing the Divine command which obliges it to seek the salvation of any one individual, or the evangelization of any one country, as binding it to attempt the recovery of the whole world: but that, in order to the accomplishment of this high design, more is necessary than mere activity — that the entire consecration of all its resources is, for obvious reasons, made indispensable to success.
With this view, he has attempted to fill up the following outline. In the First Part, consisting of three chapters, his object has been to state and explain the Scripture Theory of Christian instrumentality; to show, by a general examination of the Word of God, that this theory is there prescribed and made imperative; and that the same Divine authority predicts and promises its triumph in the conversion of the world. Thus, if the first chapter states the plan by which all the holy influences of the past should have been collected, multiplied, and combined; the second exhibits and enforces the obligation of the present to that entire consecration which the plan supposes; and the third engages that such consecration shall certainly issue in the future and universal erection of the kingdom of Christ. Having thus, in the First Part, viewed the Missionary Enterprise, generally, in its relations to the Word of God, the writer has proceeded, in the Second Part, to exhibit the benefits arising from Christian Missions, with the view of still farther illustrating and enforcing their claims. This he has done in four chapters; the first of which contains an historical sketch of the diffusion of Christianity, and of the rise and progress of modern Missions, with a statistical summary of their present state :* the second enumerates the leading temporal and spiritual benefits accruing to the heathen from Missionary operations; the third describes their reflex advantages, temporal and spiritual; and the fourth shows that the History and Effects of the Missionary Enterprise illustrate every view of the Theory of Christian influence contained in the First Part; and supply a powerful inducement to the increase of Missionary zeal. The Third Part exhibits the various sources of encouragement — historical, and political, moral, ecclesiastical, and evangelical - which urge and animate Christians to advance in their Missionary career. In the Fourth Part, he has endeavored to show that every objection to their course becomes, when rightly considered, an argument to redouble their efforts. But the Fifth Part ascertains the existence of a great defect of the want of that entireness of consecration to their Missionary office which is indispensable to complete success; and points out the various requisites which such consecration includes, and would infallibly supply. While the Sixth Part enforces the principal Motives which should induce their entire devotedness to the great objects of the Missionary Enterprise.
* Perhaps the reader, unacquainted with the fact, ought to be informed that the “ Evidence on the Aborigines,” which is frequently appealed to in this part of the work, was given before a Committee of the House of Commons, by the Secretaries of the Church Missionary Society, the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and London Missionary Society, and by other competent witnesses.
Such, indeed, is the surpassing grandeur of the object of Christian Missions, as to render any thing like justice to its merits impossible. Yet the writer feels humbled that the present contribution should fall so far short, even of his own conception, of what such a work might and ought to be. He is proportionally delighted, therefore, that since it was submitted for competent adjudication, so many able works on Missions should have issued from the press as to render specification difficult; and, especially, that, besides having for its precursor the very seasonable and powerful production of the Rev. Dr. John CAMPBELL, it should be accompanied, or speedily followed, by the publications of his well known, able, and beloved friend, the Rev. R. W. HAMILTON, of Leeds; and of the Rev. Joan M‘FARLANE.
Evident as it is that a crisis in the Missionary Enterprise approaches - a crisis created partly by its successes
a abroad, and by its reflex operation in calling into existence other societies at home, which divide with it the contributions of the faithful- - his earnest prayer to God is, that this Essay, in connexion with those of his Christian brethren referred to, may be among the means employed to convert that crisis into a blessing — the commencement of a new era of Missionary prosperity:
Feb. 12th, 1842.
THIS THEORY ILLUSTRATED AND ENFORCED FROM THE PRECEPTS
AND EXAMPLES OF THE WORD OF GOD.
1. From the paternal character of the antediluvian economy-2. The migratory
character of the Abrahamic-3. The national and stationary character of the