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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
From The Baptist Missionary Magazine, April 1875, No. 4, Vol. 55
When Adoniram Judson was about to embark the last time for Burmah in 1846, he spoke at the concert of prayer, in which all the Baptist churches in Boston united, on Sunday evening, July 5. The veteran missionary addressed the large audience with the following earnest and stirring words. They have been published perhaps many times before, but words so golden can never become cheap. Do read and feel them:
“It is the most momentous question we can put to our own souls, whether we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, or not; for, as that question is answered in the affirmative or negative, our hope of heaven grows bright or dark. If we take the right way to ascertain, there is no question that can be more easily answered. It is the nature of true love to seek the pleasure and happiness of the person beloved. We no sooner ascertain the object on which his heart is set, than we lend all our efforts to secure that object. What is the object on which the heart of the Saviour is set?
“For what purpose did he leave the bosom of the Father, the throne of eternal glory, to come down to sojourn and suffer and die in this fallen, rebellious world? For what purpose does he now sit on the mediatorial throne, and exert the power with which he is invested? To restore the ruins of paradise, to redeem his chosen people from death and hell, to extend and establish his kingdom throughout the habitable globe. This is evident from his whole course on earth, from his promises to the Church, and especially from his parting command, `Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
"The means which he has appointed for the accomplishment of the purpose nearest his heart is the universal preaching of the gospel. Do you, a professor of religion, love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity? Have you set your heart on that object which is dearest to his heart? Are you endeavoring to obey his great parting command? But perhaps you will say, 'This command is not binding on me. It is impossible for me to obey, and God never commands an impossibility.’
“ And saying thus you disclose the real reason why men do little or nothing for missions, that while they feel under obligation to endeavor to keep the commands which require them to love God supremely, and to love others as themselves, and feel guilty when conscious of neglecting or transgressing those commands, they never make an effort to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, never think of feeling guilty for having neglected and transgressed that command all their lives long.
"But let me now submit, that the command can be obeyed by every believer, that it is of universal obligation, and that no profession ought to be regarded as sincere, no love to the Saviour genuine, unless it be attended with a sincere endeavor to obey. But you will reply, 'How can I, unqualified and encumbered as I am, arise and go forth into the wide world, and proclaim the gospel?'
“Please do remember that all great public undertakings are accomplished by a combination of various agencies. In commerce and in war, for instance, some agents are necessarily employed at home, and some abroad; some at the headquarters, and some on distant expeditions; but however differently employed, and in whatever places, they are all interested, and all share the glory and the gain.
“So, in the missionary enterprise, the work to be accomplished is the universal preaching of the gospel, and the conversion of the whole world to the Christian faith; and, in order to do this, some must go, and some must send and sustain them that go. 'How can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach except they be sent?' Those who remain at home, and labor to send and sustain those that go, are as really employed in the work, and do as really obey the Saviour's command, as those who go in their own persons.
"See you not, then, that the great command can be obeyed, and is actually binding on every soul? Feel you not that you are under obligation to do your utmost to secure that object at which the Saviour aimed when he gave that command? It is possible there is someone in this assembly to whom it may be said, 'You will find, on examination, that you have not done your utmost; that, indeed, you have never laid this command to heart, or made any very serious effort to obey it.
“If so, how can you hope that your love to the Saviour is anything more than an empty profession? How is it possible that you love the Saviour, and yet feel no interest in that object on which his heart is set? What! love the Saviour, who bled and died for this cause, and yet spend your whole existence on earth in toiling for your personal sustenance and gratification and vain glory? Oh that dread tribunal to which we are hastening! Souls stripped of all disguise there; the final judge a consuming fire. 'Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.'"