On the evening of Thursday April 16 1868, the famous Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon delivered the annual sermon of the Young Men’s Association in aid of the Baptist Missionary Society, entitled “A Young Man’s Vision”.
It’s interesting to read this sermon with the added perspective of hindsight. Even in 1868 Spurgeon senses a flagging desire for missions, and so encourages the church to maintain its passion for spreading the gospel by presenting a clear missionary vision. London is very much the center of Spurgeon’s world, and England the base from which the gospel is sent.
In justifying his vision, Spurgeon remarks:
Depend upon it, that the flagging of zeal at home acts like a canker abroad, and when the heart of Christianity in England does not throb vigorously, every single limb of the missionary body feels the decline, and there is not a missionary anywhere, from the snows of Labrador to the burning heats of Africa, who is not enervated and injured when the Christian public at home begin to weary in well doing. It needs then, it imperatively needs, that our vision should be made a fact.
Now I’m not from Labrador, but I do come from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is amazing to consider that over the past 150 years the mission of the Church has grown such that missionaries can now come from the snows of Labrador and go to the burning heats of Africa – and vice versa!