Billeder på siden

use. But we have good reason to believe, that he will yet bring light out of their darkness, holiness out of their blindness, and happiness out of their misery.

7. This subject shows the great reason that christians have to expect, desire and pray for a better state of things in the world. They know that God has promised to give the Gentiles, as well as the Jews to Christ, for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession. They have reason to expect, therefore, that God will fulfil his promises to his Son, and bring all nations into cordial subjection to him. They have the same reason to desire, as to expect, that Christ will reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. For there is nothing but his reign or the prevalence of his religion, that can remove the natural and moral evils, which abound, depress and destroy the great majority of the human

Neither civilization, nor learning nor the arts of living, can meliorate the moral state of the world. These means have been tried in the most enlightened and refined parts of Europe and America, and failed of success. As nations have increased in these things, 80 they have sinned. Tyranny and oppression, wars and bloodshed, have prevailed as much in civilized, as in uncivilized nations, and produced as great natural and moralevils. Nothing but the pure gospelof Christ, has been an effectual remedy to reform, purify, and save any of the children of men. But so far as the gospel has had its genuine influence upon the hearts of men, it has never failed to transform them into the moral image of God, and prepared them to promote peace, liberty, holiness and happiness, to the extent of their power. There is reason to expect that the gospel will sooner


or later spread over all the earth, remove all tyranny and and oppression, idolatry and delusions, and every species of vice and immorality, and cause this dark, depraved world to become holy, peaceful and happy. And is not this as much to be desired, as expected ? And if to be desired and expected, is it not to be prayed for? Christ has taught all his disciples to pray for it daily, by sincerely praying to his Father, “ Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But what will expectations, desires and prayers do, without correspondent exertions ? All christians in every part of the world ought to exert themselves, to promote the melioration of the natural, evil, and religious state of the ignorant, and deluded, and miserable nations, with whom they are surrounded and connected.

Our free, civilized, and gospelized nation has unhappily and sinfully been connected with the nations of Africa. We have in violation of every humane and religious principle, traded in the souls of men, bought thousands and thousands of Africans, brought them from their native country to this, and here subjected them to the hardest labor, the meanest drudgery, and most absolute slavery. Their sighs and groans have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and cried for mercy

and deliverance to themselves, if not for vengeance on their oppressors. Though none of us, perhaps, have been personally concerned in this great iniquity, yet our nation has been and is concerned in it.--We cannot excuse ourselves, if we do not openly disapprove of it, condemn it, and use all proper means to put an end to it. A scheme has been devised and a **society formed, gradually to emancipate those who have been held in bondage, but have been freed, and are desirous of being transported back to their native country, relatives, and friends, with a view to enlighten and civilize others, and to put a final stop to the slave trade on the African coast. This is a most humane and benevolent design, and it is hoped it will be approved and promoted by individuals at present, and soon by the national legislature. Realizing the freedom, the civilization, and the blessings of the gospel, which we have long and fully enjoyed, can we forbear to throw in our mite, to promote such a humane, important, and benevolent purpose ? If the design be accomplished, it will give the fairest opening and prospect of not only breaking the rod of oppressors, but of spreading the glorious gospel among a large portion of the human race, who are perishing in their ignorance and guilt, while it will wipe off a foul blot from our national honor, humanity, and religion. These are motives, which must sink deeply in every benevolent heart.



PSALU IX. 17.-The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God,

The time was, when all the nations of the earth knew and acknowledged the only living and true God. This time, however was of short duration. The na. tions were soon divided and scattered over the four quarters of the globe. Soon after their separation from each other, they lost their religious traditions, grew vain in their imaginations, and degenerated into all kinds of idolatry. The true religion would have become entirely extinct, had not God selected one nation from all the rest, and given them a written and standing revelation, Of this nation David was both a king and a prophet. As the king of God's peculiar people, he viewed all the heathen nations as his personal enemies ; and as a prophet of the true church, he view. ed all the heathen nations as enemies to the true God and the true religion. Hence it is, that he so often blends his enemies with the enemies of God, and speaks of both as exposed to both temporal and eternal ruin. This mode of speaking runs through this psalm. He begins with praising God for the overthrow of his enemies. “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart ; Į will show forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee ; Į will sing praise to


thy name, 0 thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back they shall fall and perish at thy pres.

For thou hast maintained my right and my cause : thou sattest in the throne judging right. Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked. From God's past conduct, he proceeds, under the influence of a true prophetic spirit, to foretel his future conduct towards the wicked, and especially the heathen, whom he considered as such. «The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made : in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.” It follows in the next verse but one, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” This is not a mere threatening, but a plain prediction ; and therefore the veracity of God stands pledged to fulfil it. The prediction is, that all the finally wicked shall be destroyed, and among these, all nations that forget God. This is a description of all the heathen world, who are destitute of divine revelation. For it was common among the Jews, as well as among us, to call all nations heathens, who were left to the mere light of nature. It is true, that in David's day all nations were heathens except the Jews; but now by the heathens we mean only those nations, who never enjoyed the gospel, To these nations the prediction in the text still extends, and assures us that it is God's fixed determination to destroy them, as well as the unbelievers of the gospel. The text contains this solemn truth,

That all the heathens will finally perish,

Since this is a subject, upon which both the learned and unlearned differ in their opinions, I shall endeavar to treat it as thoroughly and plainly as I can. Te

« ForrigeFortsæt »