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for my sake and the gospel, but he shall receive an hun. dred fold now in this present time, and in the world to come, eternal life.'
We are not to expose ourselves needlessly to temptation, nor to place ourselves in a situation which forbids our moral improvement and growth in grâce; on the contrary, our improvement is necessary to our highest usefulness. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification. It is never to be forgotten, that all our success in doing good must ultimately depend
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.' This dependence, however, does not exclude the necessity of efficient action. « Faith without works is dead.' A holy heart and a flourishing state of religion in the soul, is an excellent help in discovering the will of God concerning our duty. • What man is he that feareth the Lord ? Him shall he teach the way that he shall choose.' • If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.' The ordinary maxims of prudence are not to be overlooked, in seeking the wisdom which is from above. “I wisdom dwell with prudence.' In forming opinions, we are to guard against superficial and limited views of character and duty. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.' Deliberation is necessary to safe judgments. • Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.' Heavenly wisdom is known by its fruits. “The wisdom which is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.' Sincerity and great openness of character are to be faithfully cultivated, in opposition to all duplicity, art, and cunning. It is of great importance to do no violence to conscience. herein do I exercise myself, to have a conscience void of offence, towards God and towards men.' Our decision,
on all questions of duty, should be made with direct and solemn reference to our final account. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.' Any lower standard than this, or any course of conduct, which conscience cannot take and carry before God, with the hope of his approbation and blessing, is to be rejected. It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment.' 'He that judgeth me, is the Lord.' Such is the interest which God has in all works of Christian benevolence; and so intimately connected is their prosperity with his glory, that the humble inquirer, who is seeking the path of his duty in regard to them, has special reason to hope for divine guidance. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 'O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake.'
“When we have, in the fear of God, and in the exercise of holy confidence in him, sought the path of our duty, and according to our best means of ascertaining the will of our Divine Master have come to a decision, we may go forward, undisturbed by fear of consequences. Thou
wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon thee, because he trusteth in thee.' Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.' Jesus saith,
« If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.' · For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted, according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.'
“In a case of so much importance,” he remarks, “I may well tremble at every step, and renew my supplications, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' The heart is deceitful. The judgment is liable to be strongly biassed by corrupt affections, and by antecedent opinions or inclinations. No one can foresee all the consequences of his decisions; much less can I in the present case. Never have I felt more deeply my need of divine guidance, and of that unerring wisdom, which cometh from above. I have tried to pray much and often on the subject, and have taken special pains to induce my Christian friends to pray for me. At the same time, I have regarded it as a sacred duty, to hold my mind in a state of complete suspense respecting the final issue of the investigation, insomuch that I have been very unwilling to say, even to my nearest friends, or to anticipate myself, how it was probable the question would be decided."
In a conversation with a friend, he remarked with uncommon seriousness, “ that it was a grief to him that there was so much urgency on the one side and the other, as though a great deal depended on human aid. He said it appeared very likely to him that God would show the churches, that such trust was vain; and that, ere long, he would remove him by death, and thus they will see in whose arm their strength lies.”
The letters here inserted, relate to the same subject.
“ New York, Dec. 7, 1831. “My dear Brother, -I am at last shut up with influenza, and know better how to sympathize with you in your affliction. My family have generally had it, and have not yet recovered. I received your letter, written the week after I left you, and read it, as you may suppose,
with lively interest. I am now actually engaged in deciding the question which has for two months oppressed my mind. I shall, if the Lord will, forward my answer early next week. May it be such as I shall review with satisfaction in my dying hour; and as the Judge of all the earth will approve, when I am put on my trial at the judgment day! The deep and fraternal interest which you, my dear friend, have taken in the subject, has created a new tie of affection, which I trust will grow stronger and stronger, forever. I have seldom been brought to feel, with a livelier sensibility, that my life is short, and that my only object should be to spend it entirely for Christ, let the field of labor be where it may.
We shall soon, very soon, have finished our race, and then nothing will satisfy us but the consciousness of having lived for Christ, and for him only. I pray God that we may both live in such a manner, as ultimately to attain to that blessedness.”
“ New York, Dec. 19, 1831. “ Last week was such a week as I never before spent. I was oppressed with anxiety, lest I should mistake the mind of Christ; but blessed be his name, the steps pursued, conducted me at last to a decision, which my covenant vows to him approved. My guide was his most precious and unerring word, drawn out in distinct principles of action, applicable to the case. Psalm cxix. 105,
. never appeared so precious. And now, if I have been governed by the will of Christ, I cannot doubt that he will still prosper the education society. He, and he only, can render it a blessing under any circumstances.”
On the 19th of December he communicated the following letter to the prudential committee of the board.
Respected and dear Brethren,-—The question presented for my consideration, by the appointment which I have received as corresponding secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, has received my most solemn and anxious consideration. The relation which I hold to a kindred society, whose success is intimately connected with the prosperity of the missionary cause, and whose claims upon my services at the present time, are great, have demanded mature and devout delib eration, before I could venture to form an opinion of my duty. Regarding myself as the servant of Christ, having no right to be governed by any will but his, my single object has been to know what he would have me to do. After long and careful investigation of the reasons both for, and against, accepting the appointment, and after frequently and earnestly looking to God for divine teaching and direction, I have come to the conclusion ;—That in view of the light afforded me by the word and providence of God, whether I consider my relation to the church, or to the world, I may reasonably hope, by the blessing of God, without which I can do nothing, to promote the interests of Christ's kingdom to a greater extent, in the station to which I am called, than in that which I now occupy.
eel bound, therefore, by my obligations to Christ, to accept the appointment, and I do accordingly accept it, with fervent prayer to God for all needed grace and strength to perform its duties. To this new field of labor, once occupied by men whose praise is in all the churches of Christ, and the last, perhaps, which I am to cultivate in this world, I advance with trembling steps. My decision is with the Lord, and my work is with my God.' Henceforth, if it please him, I am to consecrate myself, my soul and body, and all I have, to a direct effort to execute, in union with others, the last command of the ascended Saviour. May his promised presence and grace sustain us in every time of need! May the spirit of the primitive ministers and martyrs of Jesus, be ours ! and may our aim, like theirs, be to publish as far, and as fast, as possible, the gospel to every creature. I have attended with care to the arrangements which the committee propose for performing the duties of the secretary's department. The judgment, the experience, and the prudent zeal, of the committee, excite my full confidence,