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had more sages sprung up amongst them in this thy native and heaven-favoured land, than all the Europeans from whence this new religion came."
The young man, however, who was situated, in respect of Judea, at the ends of the earth, was convinced that his father, and his father's fathers, had for many centuries inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit, and he remained firm to his Christianity, and was kind to his aged father, and contributed to the old man's comfort and ease, mourning only for the hardness of his heart, that would not, whilst advocating the rights of a father on earth, submit to our Almighty Father in heaven. The prophesy of our text was fulfilled, as it had been in millions of instances before, and as it will continue to be till the end of time. For, as we observed in the second place, it is certain, because,
II. God has said it-or as the scripture phrase is, He hath promised it. The nations shall abandon their dumb idols, their lies, vanities, and useless superstitions. This prophesy has been gradually fulfilling in every age since Jeremiah lived. Nations the most powerful, and amongst the most ancient, have relinquished their beloved idols, and abandoned their priests and their sorcerers, and the religion of their fathers; and why may not those that yet remain idolatrous be hereafter converted? Has the Gospel lost its power? is the Lord's arm shortened, that he cannot save? Cannot the Holy Spirit of God quicken those that are dead in trespasses and sins? These questions we put to the Christians. To the sceptic, we maintain that the nature of man is substantially the same all over the world; and since revealed religion has produced certain effects, wherever it has been made fully known, it is fair to expect similar effects from it in future. But to the Christian, we adhere to the ground given us in our text; the divine promise.
By the mouth of his holy prophet here, and by various prophets in other parts of the Sacred Pages, we are assured
the Gentiles shall come from the ends of the earth, and renounce their idols, which their fathers had worshipped, and the lies and the vanities to which they had devoted themselves. Men may bring forward, in proud array, a thousand difficulties, and scare us with tales of Indian caste, and Asiatic unchangeableness, and magnify a million-fold, the real difficulties. The Christian knows that God is almighty, and possesses infinite resources; and human beings all round the world are his creatures, and his word is faithful and true, and never has, nor ever will fail of being accomplished; and therefore the nations shall come from the ends of the earth, and abandon their idols. The Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and his kingdom ruleth over all. His almighty power can change the hearts of kings and rulers, can level mountains and raise vallies; can make all his mountains a way, and cause his high ways to be exalted. And then willing converts shall come from far; and lo! these from the north and from the west, and those from "the land of Sinim," which last name some interpret of Sina, or China.
'But if the Almighty has promised the consummation you anticipate, (says an objector,) no doubt he will himself accomplish it; he does not require man's help. We know well that Heaven can, by a miracle, convert the nations, and it will never be done till he does effect it in a miraculous manner.'
To this we answer, that if by a "miraculous manner,' be intended a change of sentiment and heart, effected without divine truth being conveyed to the understanding and conscience; we deny that such has heretofore been the proceeding of Divine Providence, and therefore it is not to be expected in time future. And we affirm, that in time past, individuals and nations have been turned from their lying vanities, by the truths of Christ's Gospel, addressed in various ways to the understanding and affections of men; and that there is a standing order given by the Redeemer, to continue such means, till all the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ. We
argue, that the intimation of Heaven's final intention, is a reason why Christian churches should use means; for God is pleased, in the general government of the world, both physical and moral, to use means to effect the thing finally intended. If Heaven had not revealed that the nations should abandon, at some period, the lies and vanities of their fathers; the language of adversaries, who affirm, that Heaven is pleased with all the various forms of idolworship, and that the uncalled for interference of the busy Christian zealots, is a nuisance in the earth, would have had a specious appearance of truth. And certainly there would be little encouragement to use means to effect a change, which, perhaps, Heaven never intended should take place. But as the matter now stands, we know God designs, that eventually the Gentiles from the ends of the earth shall come to him, and shall say-Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall man make gods? they shall be astonished at the absurdity, and reject the idols with scorn and abhorrence, in spite of prejudice and caste, and the ancient veneration of their sires. Let the Christian churches, therefore, use diligently scriptural means to convey Christ's Gospel to the Gentiles, even to the ends of the earth.
III. Now, as the church is the human agent in this great work, and must employ the means we were to speak of in the third place, I will give my sentiments concerning it. The church of our Lord Jesus Christ is one to him, and he knows every member of it; but to the human eye, it is made up of many parts. And in this church, this ecclesia, or assembly, as visible to the human eye, there are, it is to be feared, many persons not true members of it; and who can be distinguished, certainly, only by the divine eye of our Redeemer, who is the Head, the President, (if I may so speak,) of this assembly or church. Like a field of corn, it contains good grain, and here and there, mixed among the good grain, some noxious or useless weeds, which the discerning eye of the husbandman can easily distinguish. It is not expedient, whilst growing up, to separate them,
multiplication of appropriate Christian books, afford facilities of conveying divine truth to men, which cannot be employed amongst many of the people of Africa and other regions where letters are not known.
Thus it will appear, that male and female schools, catechists, collegiate institutions, preachers, translators, the writers of good books, may all, under different circumstances, be employed and co-operate in evangelizing the world. In this great harvest there are, as yet, but few labourers; and it is incumbent on the churches, to pray the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth labourers into the harvest; and, with their prayers, to join their efforts to qualify fit agents, to afford them the means of going to distant regions, and assist them when there, till in each country the inhabitants themselves shall be able to teach each other, and not require foreign supplies: when the period which prophecy authorizes us to hope for shall have arrived, when it shall be no longer necessary to say to each other, Know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least even to the greatest.
Of those who desire the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom, a much larger proportion should devote themselves to those regions of the world which are, as yet, so ill supplied, both amongst the uncivilized and the cultivated nations of men; and this will require proportionably greater effort amongst the Christians who remain at home; not only in contributing of their property, but also in associating for direct encouragement of the several missions, as circumstances may lead their attention to one or another of them. But this will not be done till Christians see it to be a more serious duty than they do at present-a duty, for the performance or omission of which they must be accountable at the great day of judgment. At present, Christians view it more as matter of taste than of duty. If they take a fancy to assist missions, well; if they do not feel so inclined, they think it also well.
But seeing all mankind are related to each other, not only neighbours, but brethren; may the divine precept, to love our neighbour and our brother, be violated and disre
garded without guilt? Is it an innocent thing to render void the commandments of God? or attend to them, or neglect them, as may suit our taste and fancy? Let us endeavour to view affairs of duty, with that seriousness of mind that we shall see to be right, when we endeavour to realize our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ. The present life is a period of labour and of service; and if our duties be slurred over now in a spirit of carelessness and indifference, instead of being honestly and faithfully performed to our fellow creatures, how can we expect that the Omniscient Judge will say to us-Well done good and faithful servant? Many persons, who seem very pious people, spend too much on the comforts and elegancies of life, and too little on their Saviour's cause. I am not endeavouring to inculcate any thing extravagant and outrageous; but a plain, palpable, common-sense Christian duty, manifestly deduced from all our Christian principles, and the generally acknowledged truths of our holy religion. I inculcate universal philanthropy, not existing as a merely visionary sentiment, but embodied in real acts of substantial good; and the good to which we now allude, as you Christians know, is above all price, for the redemption of the soul is infinitely precious; and if a soul die in its iniquity, through the neglect of Christian churches, it, indeed, because of its iniquity, suffers death justly; but still, in another respect, its blood is chargeable on them.
These, my brethren, are awful considerations, arising out of the scriptural doctrine of the kindredship, or consanguinity of mankind, and other collateral truths of divine revelation. A flippant spirit of selfishness, or laboured dissertations about the locality of Christian effort, may deride doctrines which impose duties that bear upon all mankind; but with the Bible in our hands, and sound ratiocination founded on the Bible, I see no ground for derision, when the welfare of mankind is the subject of conference, or of expostulation. Some good people like not the generality of our views, and would confine us at home entirely; not only to the British dominions, but almost to the very street in which we happen to dwell. Now, if there were Chris