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In the name of Christ, ARISE. Let the dead bury their dead; go ye, and preach the kingdom of God.
Fathers and mothers, we commend these thoughts to you. Your affections are centered on your sons and daughters, growing up in strength and beauty, and your highest ambition is that their powers may be utilized in the utmost possible degree. Draw their attention to this land, so vast and varied, so rich and populous, in which the people are just beginning to arise from the ashes of the dead past, and, instead of restraining them, rather rejoice if God inclines the hearts of your children to bring to this people that light and guidance which they so urgently need, and which Christianity alone can impart.
Pastors of churches, heads of schools and colleges, and all in charge of the young, we appeal also to you. We are in dead earnest. We do not know what to do for lack of men. The country opens; the work grows.
Think of stations with only one man to hold his own against the surging tide of heathenism! We are ready to be overwhelmed by the vastness of the work. Many among us are tempted to undertake too many duties. Hence the broken health and early death of not a few of our best men. We beseech you, therefore, to place this matter before the minds of the young Show especially to students that the completion of their curriculum synchronizes with China's need, and that they are therefore under the most solemn obligations to give the claims of this empire their earnest, unbiassed, and prayerful consideration.
We want China emancipated from the thraldom of sin in this generation. It is possible. Our Lord has said,
Our Lord has said, “ According to your faith be it unto you." The church of God can do it, if she be only faithful to her great commission. When will young men press into the mission field as they struggle for positions of worldly honour and affluence? When will parents consecrate their sons and daughters to missionary work as they search for rare openings of worldly influence and honour ? When will Christians give for missions as they give for luxuries and amusements? When will they learn to deny themselves for the work of God as they deny themselves for such earthly objects as are dear to their hearts ? Or, rather, when will they count it no self-denial, but the highest joy and privilege, to give with the utmost liberality for the spread of the Gospel among the heathen ?
Standing on the borders of this vast empire, we, therefore-one hundred and twenty missionaries, from almost every evangelical religious denomination in Europe and America, assembled in General Conference at Shanghai, and representing the whole body of Protestant Missionaries in China, -feeling our utter insufficiency in the great work so rapidly expanding, do most earnestly plead, with one voice, calling upon the whole church of God for more labourers. will as earnestly and unitedly plead at the Throne of Grace that the spirit of God may move the hearts of all, to whom this appeal comes, to cry,-"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?”
And may this
spirit be communicated from heart to heart, from church to church, froin continent to continent, until the whole Christian world shall be aroused, and every soldier of the cross shall come to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.
of truth.” The significance of the term used by the Apostle
will instantly present itself to your mind, as you remember that it was ordinarily used in such familiar matters as road-making and ploughing. He who would make the best possible road will cut a straight line, and omit all curves as wasteful and injurious to his design. He who would plough his field to the best advantage would cut a straight furrow across it; for every one would think zigzags to be proof of unskilful ploughing. In like manner the “word of truth” is to be divided by the Christian teacher, so that all men may instantly perceive the ability which God hath given him for that purpose, and that he may also “present himself unto God” as a workman that needeth not to to be ashamed." The idea, therefore, which is suggested by this term, is, that the truth of God admits of as clear and exact exposition in all its parts as a field does of straight furrows; and the use of the ordinary form ('Opdorojéw) of the word in the only two passages in which it is found in the LXX, is confirmatory of this interpretation : "In all thy ways acknowledge her [i.e. Wisdom) that she may make straight thy paths.” (Prov. iii
. 6) and “Righteousness makes straight irreproachable paths : (Prov. xi. 5). A man undertaking a new business, or occupation, was said by the Greeks to cut a new road; and a man who wrought by a straight line, of which others could judge as well as himself, was commended for rightly dividing the ground before him. So that we arrive at the meaning of the Apostle, and understand him to say, that a skilled workman in the ministry will present every portion of the word of truth to his hearers with exactness and precision, and free from every thing which is not pertinent to it. He will take care that nothing shall be cut out of the line by which his work is to be judged; and that on the other hand, he does not cut into adjacent matters so as to destroy the accuracy of the work which he has to do. In short, he will neither mutilate, nor add to, nor twist "the word of truth."
* Extracted from a charge delivered at the ordination of Rev. J. Pearce Clark, M.A., at St. Andrew's, N.B. By the Rov. G. Gould, of Norwich. Fletcher & Son, Norwich.
Of course such workmanship is not to be performed at haphazard, or at will ; it is the result of study—of earnest, prolonged, and diligent thought. You can no more hope to set forth, with the divine precision which is called for, any doctrine of “the word of truth apart from study, than a sculptor could hope to evoke a statue from a blook of marble without using his mallet and chisel. Nor can you reasonably expect that the most vigorous thinking at intervals will secure the masterly skill which you ought always to display in making full proof of your ministry. The entire force of your mind must be continuously engaged upon that book which you are dealing with, in order that you may understand the mutual relations of its several parts, and may become skilful in detaching each truth in turn from all its surroundings—from whatever would mar its symmetry, or injure its outline, so that it might be seen at its own true form-or your failure in particular cases will become conspicuous to your hearers, and you will be as a man, that leaves his plough midway in the furrow which he ought to complete. The necessity of labour to health of body, and activity of thought, is the only mitigation of the curse entailed upon us by sin, save the love wherewith God ministers to the wants of all men, and even to the unthankful and the disobedient; but “this grace” has been "given” to you of “labouring in word and doctrine" as a good minister of Jesus Christ, that you might be as robust in knowledge, and as skilful in teaching, as the ploughman is usually strong in muscle, and adroit in keeping the line in his furrows, when he keeps steadily at his work. There neither is nor can be any exemption from this strenuous toil, if a man wishes to approve himself to God.
It is necessary, therefore, that you be not only conversant, but familiar with the Scriptures of truth. You ought to know more about these true sayings of God than of any thing besides. In fact all knowledge which you may acquire, all the results of observation which you may accumulate, all the experience of your coming days should be prized, and cared for, only as being subservient to your more vivid apprehension of the truth, or to your fitness to expound it to others. The tendency of our times is to dabble with many subjects of varying interest and importance; and the demands of social life are frequently as unreasonable, as they are inimical to the acquisition of sound knowledge in any department of science and art. Be not carried away by this current, but from the first, breast it and struggle beyond its reach. Be content to know one" book well, and you will find yourself in possession of riches which the cursory readers of whatever comes in their way can never obtain-riches which will enlarge and multiply your facilities for gaining more, and which will never be exhausted by the demands that life can make upon you. The student who is ever intermeddling with all the knowledge contained in the Scriptures finds himself surprised from time to time by the suggestiveness of facts which he had formerly passed by, as well as by the side-lights thrown upon particular doctrines by the context
in which they stand. Beyond all controversy the Bible is the grandest and most marvellous collection of literary treatises in the world. How small in size, yet how comprehensive in its teaching ! History here dates its first lines at the throne of the Creator of heaven and earth, and then with easy steps passes along the highway of civilization and empire, until it announces the formation of a kingdom that cannot be moved. When its pen is dropped, prophecy which had kept alive the hopes of past generations by sketching an outline of the things which were shortly to come to pass, continues its own beneficient course, and, amidst what would otherwise have been an impenetrable darkness, shines as a welcome lamp," until the morning star arise in our hearts, and the day dawn'—the day which will never end, and in whose radiant beauty all things will be revealed to the glory of our God, and to our everlasting joy. If the philosophy of history can interest a thoughtful man, where is it so succinctly, yet withal so clearly taught as by the “men” sent “from God," who “spake being borne along”-as vessels before the wind—“by the Holy Ghost?" What means the rise or fall of empires; what the choice of an individual, of a nation, to witness to a living and personal and Almighty God, the ruler of all men? In vain can the question be raised elsewhere, for apart from the scheme of Divine Revelation it cannot be fully answered ! But here we can trace a Divine purpose running through the ceaseless complications of human affairs, until at last-the series of human efforts to devise some method of salvation from sin having been worked out and unveiled as a series of failures, whilst the mystery of God's design to save the guilty was being gradually disclosed by typical rites, and by promises which, like the dawn, became brighter as the day of grace drew on—"at the junction of the ages”-at the very point in which the symmetry and effectiveness of such a design could best be seen—"Christ hath been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. ix. 26). And starting again from the cross, under the guidance of “the sure word of prophecy,” we move with eager steps through coming ages until the mystery of God itself is finished; and, then, amidst the rapturous songs of the redeemed, and the symphonies of angels, and principalities, and dominions, and powers, gathered together into one in Christ Jesus our Lord, we gaze, at last, upon the fair vision of “the city which hath the foundation that shall never be shaken, within whose walls the nations of the saved shall find ample space to dwell, and over whose peerless beauty no sun shall pour down his fierce and burning rays, for the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Within the compass of this Book, too, are Biographies that have never been equalled for truthfulness, and justice, and usefulness. Poetry has never sung so sweetly, or soared so high as in these wondrous pages ; and, to this hour, Science with all its acquisitions, and all its pretensions, is unable to solve the problems which with inimitable precision, and equal brevity, are here stated and settled for ever.
To your Bible, then—the most fascinating of all books, and the most instructive—to your Bible, in which God speaks to every listening student “in many ways"-now by the voices of the Prophets, presently by His Son, last of all by Evangelists and Apostles—and let that be your field of study! Give yourself wholly to it, with the earnestness of a man who knows that it is the very Word of God which worketh effectually in them that believe, and, for the sake of becoming mighty in the Scriptures, be content, if need be, to be regarded as weak in all other branches of knowledge. And remember that you have an immense advautage over students in other matters, because your Divine teacher is always at hand to help them who seek assistance in the mastery of His revelation! Student life is ordinarily but a short preparation for independent researches, and active work ; but the faithful minister of Christ never ceases to be a student at the feet of the only wise God. The ploughman who is adept in his work gives hints, and sets an example for the youth who aspires to equal him in skill, and then leaves him to learn all else from actual experience in the field. Not so our God! He will ever wait to welcome thee, my brother, into thy study, and day by day will gladly hear thee pray to Him—“Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold the wondrous things out of Thy law;” and, then, with a loving tenderness which they appreciate best who most constantly and for the longest period enjoy it, He will annoint thine eyes with eye-salve that in His light thou mayest see light. Research is pleasant under the guidance of such a Teacher; and, however prolonged it be, the spirit of a devout student is conscious of an unflagging interest in maintaining it. Day by day seek wisdom from God, and you will secure such a fellowship with Him, that He will teach thee the hidden things of His wisdom, and, at the same time, make thee feel that thy richest gains are but as stray pearls drawn from an infinite and an exhaustless deep!