Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen your cords…
I. THE MAGNITUDE AND SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF OUR OBJECT. The conversion of the world. We know that the conversion of the world is not our work, but God's. But we also know that the Lord works with suitable instruments, and that the degree of our success may be influenced by our devotedness, and the skill with which we adapt our efforts to our end. The conversion of the world! Who can realize what that means? I think of one soul living and dying in rebellion against God — of its possibilities for misery and for mischief — how much it may itself endure, how much injury it may inflict, how much grief occasion, throughout God's holy universe? I think of that soul as converted! of the blessedness it may experience, the beneficent influence it may exert, the joy its conversion will diffuse throughout the ranks of sinless intelligences. Of the sublime satisfaction with which He will regard it, who for its sake endured the Cross and despised the shame, when it becomes a jewel in His crown, a trophy of His saving love and power, fruit of His soul's travail. Then I extend the thought to the countless myriads of the human race whom that soul represents, and of whom the same thing may be predicated. The thought is to me absolutely overpowering. "Oh, the magnitude — the momentous importance of the object at which we aim! Oh, the miserable smallness of the means we use for such a purpose.
III. THE VASTNESS OR THE FIELD NOW OPEN TO US; With more force than at any previous period of the world's history we can say if missions, "The field is the world."
III. THE FACILITIES WE NOW HAVE FOR CARRYING ON OUR WORK. The Lord in His high providence has furnished the Church with most favourable opportunities of conducting her great enterprise in all parts of the earth.
IV. THE MISERABLE CONDITION AND URGENT CLAIMS OF THE HEATHEN.
V. THE DIVINE INTEREST IN THIS GREAT ENTERPRISE.
VI. THE OBLIGATIONS UNDER WHICH WE ARE LAID BECAUSE OF THE FAVOURS WE HAVE RECEIVED. Forgiven rebels as we are, our forgiveness having been procured for us by the sufferings and death of our Lord, and granted to us as the gift of His grace; redeemed by His blood as we are from the destruction which was pending over us; admitted as we are to all the privileges of loyal and obedient subjects, free access into the Divine presence, not only permission, but encouragement to make known to God the desire of our hearts, with the assurance that He hears us always; born as we are of the Spirit into the Divine family, made children and heirs of God, entitled to call God Father; delivered as we are from the fear of hell, and animated by the hope of a glorious immortality; indebted as we are to the influence of the Gospel even for those temporal blessings which are so conducive to our comfort and enjoyment during the present life, and in respect of which we can truly say, "The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage;" honoured by God in being called as we are to share in His great work of winning the world to Himself, by which He shows how completely He has forgiven us, and what confidence He places in us; assured, too, that "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" — is not ours confessedly a position of unspeakable privilege? What are we doing? Compare our actions with our object and our obligations.
(W. Landels, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;