WE ARE VERILY GUILTY CO CER I G OUR BROTHER. BY REV. JOH SUMMERFIELD, A.M.

A MISSIO ARY DISCOURSE. Genesis, xlii., 21. — We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear ; therefore is this distress come upon us. This subject affords a fine opportunity to discourse on the nature and power of conscience — the candle of the Lord. — It is not necessary to inquire whether it be ever altogether silenced. * * * Sleep and death, however, are two things. See the frozen snake — bring it to the fire ! " There is no peace to the wicked ;¦" they are always subject to bondage through fear of death. Johnson said, infidels are of two classes, fools and wretches ; if they refuse to think, it is madness ; if they do think, it is misery ! Why did Felix tremble ? Why were " the joints of Belshazzar's loins loosed," and why " smote his knees one against the other ?" Why not interpret the handwriting favourably — as the record of his greatness ? # # # Herod, though a Sadducee, thought that John the Baptist was risen again ; his conscience was too much for his creed. — The light will break in through some chink or other. M. de Stael said " it was in the power of adversity to make every man superstitious in spite of himself;" rather say, revive the conviction of a Deity. See the text — comment on it. — What similarity of circumstances was there in the situation of these men that brought Joseph to mind ? — famine ! — strange land ! — governor treated them roughly ! — put three days in hold ! — they feel they need pity ! — Conscience says, " You cannot

look for it, for you showed none." " Blessed are the merciful." — We only knew the fact before, but now we hear of the entreaties which Joseph

CO CER I G OUR BROTHER. 107 made — his tears '.—his cry, O Judah, O Ruben, waxed fainter and fainter, till it died on the ear — and they sat down to eat and drink. — Wretches ! You, my friends, are now indulging vengeance on them : in their situation — but expend it not all on them ! Some nearer you — I mean not your neighbours, but you. Have you never enjoyed yourselves when the cry of distress has been heard ? * * Yet I mean something higher than this ! — While you sit down to eat and drink in spiritual privileges, what millions are in more pitiable circumstances ? " We are verily guilty concerning our brother ;" and I hope to bring this matter home and convict every one of you! (Thank God, " The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans," is not a text often preached on in modern times. Bunyan said, " Master Prejudice fell down and broke his leg ;" I would, said he, that he had broken his neck too. % % % Enlarge on the Wesleyan Missions.) Mr. Ward said, " I have attended many missionary meetings in England, yet in all you indulge too much in congratulation ; if you had seen the wide-spread fields of heathenism as I have seen, &c. * * * nothing- comparatively is done ; not enough to wipe off the reproach for long neglect." " We are verily guilty concerning our brother." We proceed, then, to notice, I. The sources from whence these convictions are to be derived.

II. What influence this ought to have on us. I. The sources from whence these convictions are to be derived. We cannot condemn a criminal till we convict him. I arraign this whole audience ! I charge them with guilt. Consider, then, 1. The relation of the sufferers * * * our brethren ! This was the sting in the text — our brother : not a stranger, though then our conduct was merciless ! — abal. — I hope there are

108 WE ARE VERILY GUILTY none of his descendants here this morning ; you cannot use his words in reference to any of the human race. God has made all of one blood ; all are your brethren. See the Hindoo, African, Esquimaux : each says, " Am not I thy brother ?" I catechise thee, " Art not thou his brother by infirmities ?" # # * His follies and his crimes have stamped him man ! 2. The wretchedness of their state. Joseph's state was nothing compared with those who address us. You say, however, " Joseph besought them; but the heathen do not beseech us ; they are satisfied with their condition." The more pitiable ! See the maniac : in his wild ravings he fancies himself a king : is he therefore to be less compassionated ? I have seen the infant play with the ensigns of its mother's death. "Precious babe!" said I, "ignorant of thy loss !" So here : their lack of knowledge prevents them from being sensible to their condition. But you say, Joseph's brethren saw " the anguish of his soul." True : and here I feel the disadvantage of my position. If you could but see what a missionary sees ! Could

I but lead you, not to their sensualities — to name which would be a shame — but to their cruelties ! Could I show you the devotee lying on sharp spikes, or casting himself under the ponderous car of Juggernaut ; could I fix your eyes on children leaving their aged parents to expire on the damp banks of their idol river, or parents casting their children to the crocodiles of the Ganges, or sons lighting the funeral pile of their mothers, you would not keep from me even a ring on your finger. Philosophers sneer when we talk of the dreadful state of the East ; and many Christians concede too much to them. I do not say God cannot save a heathen ; the influence of the fact of the Gospel extends farther than the Revelation. In reference to infants, this is certain, and Scripture itself assures us that " In every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him." Yet, after all, without a preparedness there can be no heaven, and Ward said he had not found anything resembling real holiness among all the heathen with whom he had been conversant. Idolatry

CO CER I G OUR BROTHER. 109 is not merely a weakness, as some say ; it is a regular system of sensuality and crime. It originates in the vices men love, and hates the virtues which God approves. Do the Scriptures talk lightly of it ? It not only tolerates vices, but hallows them ; cruelties and crimes are sanctified. It is iniquity personified ; yea, the devil deified and hell incarnated ! You inquire, " May there not be with God a secret method of saving the heathen ?" I answer, if secret, we know nothing about it, and have nothing to do with it. If revealed, where ? The Scriptures say, " There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus." The heathen feel their guilt ; yet they know nothing of the fountain opened in the house of David for sin and uncleanness. But we shall discover still farther evidences of our guilt by considering,

3. Our orders to succour them. This succour is not optional with us. It is commanded in every injunction to benevolence and beneficence ; and this must, of course, include the highest kinds of them. " Freely ye have received, freely give," is the Divine requisition. The goodness of the Master is often impugned because of the wickedness of those servants who neglect or violate the command. (The brute on the seventh day.) One is rich and the other poor. Does God love the rich more ? o ; but makes him his almoner : but if the rich hoard it up, shall the Master be condemned ? ow our Saviour said, " Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." Had the command been acted on ever since it was given, the earth would now be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. But " if the Gospel be so valuable," say some, " why has it spread so little ?" I reply by another interrogatory, Has God no attribute but his power ? We know that God will be able to justify himself, but we never shall be able to justify ourselves. " We are verily guilty concerning our brother." Another evidence of our guilt will appear when we consider, 4. The possibility of affording them succour. " Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it." Our duty to the heathen is 10

110 WE ARE VERILY GUILTY based on no impossibilities. Our inability is moral, yea, iw7faL We make a difference between the means and the end ; the end is his, the means are ours. There is a difference also between means and miracles. Miracles have ceased, because they are no longer necessary. Without them the Indian castes have been broken. Without them

the Hottentot has been elevated and Christianized, though some said the swine would receive the Gospel as soon. Look, too, at the South Sea islands : long we endured sneers, but now behold language and laws, schools and churches, virtue and piety, rising on the ruins of barbarism. If miracles were necessary, we should not have been so guilty; for we could not have furnished the gift of tongues. Yet we could teach them their native language. I repeat, then, that means are ours and results are God's. If you knew a village perishing by a disease, and you had an infallible remedy, and yet should withold it, would you not be " verily guilty concerning your brethren ?" If you see the unsuspecting traveller crossing a rotten bridge, and you warn him not, can you be innocent ? 5. Consider the facilities we have in this cause of compassion. "If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it?" how much more when he simply says, " Wash and be clean." Our duty is to commence missionary exertions, whatever might be the peril. # # # But have you gone forth at a peradventure if the heathen were salvable ! o; you knew God's word; you knew " God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." You knew his intention was that "all should know him, from the least to the greatest." Have we then ever done anything magnificent enough to do justice to the declarations of his word ? o ! Providence has favoured us also. Governments have been favourable to civil liberty. Thus missionaries have not met with the sufferings we might have reckoned on. ot one out of the whole has been put to death ! The grace of God has been with us also. If no result had

CO CER I G OUR BROTHER. Ill

taken place, still our duty would have been to go. But God has blessed. See the number of converts ; your missions, though once feeble, have become strong, which leads me to observe, 6. That even the efforts we have made in this work furnish evidence of our guilt. What is our zeal ? what the number of missionary societies ! what think you of one preacher for a whole county ? But see : All missionary societies furnish six hundred,* and there are six hundred millions perishing. Are you now convicted ? Is there no heart here that says, " I ought to have gone out in this work." Does not another exclaim, " I have not preached often enough on the subject ;" and is it not the language of a third, " I have prayed too little." And methinks I hear from a fourth, " I have given nothing as I ought ! so little:" and a fifth confesses, " I could have influenced others, though I could not do much myself." Ah ! my brethren, " we are all guilty — verily guilty concerning our brother." II. "What influence should these convictions produce ? If sincere, they will produce four results : 1. The depravity of human nature will be acknowledged. This is denied by many, but there is no need now to go to ewgate to prove it. If man were not alienated from the life of God, he could not be thus alienated from his brother. You are proof of this degeneracy — the royal law has been broken. 2. Deep and Godly sorrow will be felt. As in the valley of Hadadrimmon, you will retire in secret and mourn apart. Ah ! brethren, we cannot mourn too deeply over this fatal negligence. 3. It will lead us to apply to the mercy of God. " De-

liver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation ; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness." The encouragement is, " With him there is mercy and plenteous redemption :" " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." * In the year 1821.

112 WE ARE VERILY GUILTY CO CER I G OUR BROTHER, 4. It will awaken zeal. A sense of Divine forgiveness will not make you forgive yourselves ; you will be up and doing. It will operate, not as an opiate, but as a cordial. The inquiry will be, " What wouldst thou have me to do ?" But if this effect be not produced, I say, as Mordecai to Esther, " If thou altogether hold thy peace, deliverance shall arise from another quarter, but thou and thy father's house shall be consumed.' ' So here — if you will not labour, the work will go on still, but you will be cursed ! Saurin would finish every sermon with reference to death, and Jesus said, " I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day ; the night cometh, when no man can work." Life, then, is the only season in which you- can serve your generation. — Wesley would be willing to come down again, be despised again, and persecuted again, for the opportunities you now possess of making known the Saviour ! This may be the last collection — a dying grant. What says your own welfare ? I am ashamed to call on selfishness, yet Cfod himself meets our weakness. The ark with Obed — Edom. * * * Contrast this with the conduct of the Jews when they returned from Babylon and neglected to build the house of the Lord. The penury they dreaded

came on like an armed man. Hear the reproving language of the prophet to these idle professors: "Ye have sown much, and bring in little : ye eat, but ye have not enough : ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink ; ye clothe you, but there is none warm ; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little ; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why ? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.!' Public-spirited men, though not the richest, are generally the most successful. At least, " When the eye sees them it blesses them, and when the ear hears them it gives witness to them." Yea, and "devout men carry them like Stephen to their burial, and make great lamentation over them." What says your own experience ? Have you lost by anything done for God? (Anecdote.) It has been said there are three principles in religion : fear, hope, love, and love the strongest ! True, and no love like that a sinner feels to a redeeming God ! What encouragement more than from past success ! even one sinner ! # . # # # # I am not sorry that these applications are so frequent — these Godly vexations. Do you wish exemption from them ? Would you bring back the olden times before Methodism, when the Church was sleeping in the dark and the Dissenters sleeping in the light ? Are you now complaining that God is answering the prayer you have so often offered, " Thy kingdom come ?"

Determine what to give with reference to a Conscience near you ; Eternal judgment before you ; Grace of Him who, "though he was rich, yet for your sakes became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

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