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The office, which has now been committed to you, by prayer, and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, involves the most sacred duties, and the most solemn responsibilities. The glorious Redeemer, who has purchased the church with his own most precious blood, has constituted you messengers of the Lord of Hosts, and heralds of mercy, to a world lying in sin. The office which you have received, attaches to it consequences, which will extend to the judgment of the great day, and reach through interminable ages. We doubt not, but the work to which you have now been separated, has been the subject of your serious consideration and earnest prayer. You have contemplated its arduous and difficult duties, and we trust have looked forward to that day, when you must give an account of your stewardship. Still, on this occasion, which, to us, and to you, is most deeply interesting, we feel ourselves bound, as an Ecclesiastical Council, to present afresh to your minds, some of the duties of the Christian ministry, and to exhort you faithfully to perform them.
Though the work to which you are called, is, in many respects different from that of stated pastors, yet we believe that the exhortation of the inspired apostle is applicable to you, no less than to us; and, in language dictated by the Spirit of inspiration,
we do, therefore, “Charge you, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine.” That you may be enabled rightly to preach the word, give yourselves to study, meditation and prayer. Labor to furnish your minds with all that knowledge, wbich your peculiar circumstances shall render necessary; but especially with a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Let that sacred volume be the subject of your prayerful meditation. Uofold its sublime and heavenly doctrines, and urge on the consciences of men its pure and holy precepts. Exhibit the tremendous sanctions, and the consoling and precious promises, of the gospel. Proclaim that suffering, and that glorified Saviour, of whom prophets and apostles spake; proclaim him, in the infinite excellence of his character, in the glory of his divine perfections. Preach those doctrines, which stain the pride of human glory, and which lead depraved and rebellious men to hope for pardon only through the rich mercy of God in a bleeding Saviour; and for sanctification only through the operations of the Holy Ghost.
The work, to which you are called, is in many respects peculiarly arduous and difficult, and though we have confidence in you, yet we feel, dear Brethren, that, with peculiar propriety, we may charge you, in the name of the Great Head of the church, Take heed to yourselves. The ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ must love him. Those who go forth to publish terms of reconciliation, must themselves be reconciled to God. When far from your dear country and friends, surrounded by heathen, or the worshippers of Mahomet, enduring privations, and worn down with labors and cares, cheerless will be your state, unless sustained by the love of Christ, glowing in your hearts. And without this, you will not be likely to maintain that sacred character, which will honor the office with wbich you are invested. Take heed, then, to yourselves; and let all your conduct testify, that you believe and love the holy doctrines and precepts which you teach.
Take beed also to the ministry. Receive the word at God's mouth. Let not the doctrines you teach be corrupted, by the theories and speculations of any modern metaphysicians, nor by
the more flattering and more fatal theories of those, who would pluck the crown from Emmanuel's head, and degrade the Lord our Righteousness to the rank of a fallible man.
We charge you to admister the ordinances of the Gospel. To the professed friends and followers of Christ, dispense the memorials of his body and blood; and baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. When called to invest others with the same sacred office, which you now sustain, lay hands suddenly on no man. The things which ye have now received, commit to faithful men, that they may teach others also.
Dear Brethren, you are not only ministers of the Gospel, but are destined, in the providence of God, to a peculiar work. Your labors are to be directed to the immediate benefit of those, who are in the dark parts of the earth, degraded with ignorance, and debased with sin. The Board of Commissioners, under whose immediate direction you act, will address: to you those instructions which are specially applicable to your respective circumstances. The wisdom and experience of that Board entitle them to the confidence of the Christian public, and their persevering exertions to diffuse, as extensively as in their power, the blessings of the gospel, demand our gratitude. To their more special instructions, we therefore commend you.
But to us, as a Council, it pertains to impress, if possible, very deeply on your minds, that the great work to which you are called, the work to which every thing you do should be subservient, is to publish the gospel; the pure gospel, in its glorious simplicity; those precious doctrines of the cross, by which men are sanctified and saved. lo connection with this, much is to be done in imparting the rudiments of literary instruction, and to this no small share of your labor will probably be directed. But wherever you may go, and with whatever nation or tribe of idolaters you may fix your residence, whether among heathen, or Jews, or the worshippers of the Beast, or of the False Prophet; we charge you to resolve, as Paul the Missionary did, to know nothing among them but Jesus Christ, and bim crucitied. Think not of gaining loyal subjects to the King of Zion, and spreading the triumphs of the cross, by accommodating the gospel to the feelings, and mixing it with the superstitions, of men. The
simple gospel is the instrument wbich God has appointed to elevate the character of man on earth, and to bring him to mansions of eternal glory. This is the instrument, which God has appointed, for pulling down the strong holds of sin, and bringing into subjection every thought to the obedience of Christ. It is this, which has civilized the Hottentot, tamed the savage, made the fruits of righteousness to grow on the dreary coasts of Greenland, and on the islands of the western ocean.
To one of you, although, with the others, devoted to the missionary work, an important station is, for the present, assigned in our own country, as an officer, and an agent of the Board. You cannot expect, Sir, that we, as a Council, should 50 minutely understand the duties to which you are called, as to render it suitable for us to address to you specific instructions. We cannot, however, but know, that the duties devolving on you, are arduous, and perplexing, and of high importance. The disposition in the Christian community to support missions, and the success of missionary operations, must, under God, depend much on the wisdom and fidelity of those, who superintend and direct them. On this day of your consecration to the work of the ministry, we charge you, that, in all your correspondence, in all your business at the Missionary Rooms, where so many the friends of missions call, in all your journeys on the business of the Board, and in all your intercourse with men, you set the Lord before you; look to Him for wisdom to guide you, and exbibit the character of a meek, and faithful, and devoted minister of Christ.
To you, dear Brethren, who are about to depart to the distant shores of India and Palestine, and to us who are called to act on this solemn occasion, the thought is an affecting one, that we shall probably see each other's faces no more. We say again to you, take heed to yourselves, and to the ministry which you have now received, that ye fulfil it. Devote your souls and bodies, and all your faculties, to the Lord Jesus. How consoling is his promise, Lo, I am with you alway. The circumstances of your life and death are at his disposal. If to his infinite wisdom it seem best, you will be sustained in hardships, and defended in
dangers, and rejoice for many years in beholding the fruit of your labors, in turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. And if, in his mysterious providence, you should, like Martyn, and Parsons, and Fisk, and Richards, and others, at an early age be removed from this world of trial and toil, he can soften your dying pillow, and make death your gain.
To the great Lord of Missions, who has commanded us to preach his gospel to every creature; to the exalted Redeemer, who is made Head orer all things to the church, we commit you. May his providence direct you, his grace sustain you, and his blessing attend you. Be faithful voto death, and he will give you a crown of life. Amen.