Missionary Enterprise At Home -- By: B. B. Edwards

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 101:401 (Jan 1944)
Article: Missionary Enterprise At Home
Author: B. B. Edwards

Missionary Enterprise At Home

B. B. Edwards1

The reflecting Christian, as he surveys the condition of our country, will be the subject of various and conflicting emotions. There are lines of light bordered by the deepest darkness. While we seem to hear encouraging voices, there are other sounds which whisper that there is little hope. As we are reading the plain language on one leaf of God’s providence, another is turned whose hieroglyphic we cannot decipher. It is somewhat like standing on an eminence a few miles from a great city. We can catch the hum of its mighty population. But the murmur is distant and indistinct. It may be labor awaking to its daily toil, the tokens of a peaceful and prosperous commerce, or it may be that hurrying to and fro which precedes some deciding battle, some anticipated dire calamity.

We sometimes exultingly say that our territory extends from sea to sea. But in passing from East to West, shall we not find the poor remnants of once powerful tribes, far away from the graves of their fathers, and now congregated together as if to come more surely within the grasp of the Shylocks around them? We speak of thirteen feeble Colonies grown into twenty-eight sovereign states, extending across the temperate zone and embracing the products of almost every clime. But may not all this be inherent weakness, presaging that the country, like Rome, will fall by its own weight? We also boast of the federal constitution, simple in its forms, admirably adjusted in its various provisions. Yet does not our short history prove how easy it is to nullify

that sacred instrument? We have in the bosom of our soil, it has been lately said, that dust which is immortality... We may suggest that there is much which is encouraging in the decided testimony which is borne by men in our national councils, high in public life, in favor of the principles of morality and religion. But may not this testimony be utterly weak or positively pernicious when it is not carried out and affirmed in the morals of the private life?

We are also accustomed to trust in the hopeful prospect which attends the various efforts for the diffusion of the gospel, at home and abroad. But is it not with the extremest difficulty that the churches can retain the ground on which they stood six years since? How much actual progress is made towards the perfect consummation of our hopes?

Finally, we point to the revivals of religion, which have for many years gladdened the American churches, and on them place our sure confidence. These have been, indeed, the means of inestimable good on earth, and they have filled heaven with joy. Still, do th...

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