« PreviousContinue »
by making the ignorant wise and the miserable happy ; 40 —by breaking the fetters of the slave, and, teaching
“the babe and the suckling” those simple and sublime truths, which give to life its dignity and virtue, and fill immortality with hope ?—To whom do owe all this?
Doubtless to the Plymouth Pilgrims !--Happily did one 45 of those fearless exiles exclaim, in view of all that was
past, and of the blessing, and honour, and glory that was yet to come,
“God hath sifted three kingdoms, that he might gather the choice grain, and plant it in the wilderness !”
"Tis done! dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends 5 His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictur'd life : pass some few years,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last, 10 And shuts the scene.
Ah! whither now are fed
Those gay-spent, festive nights ? those veering thoughts 15 Lost between good and ill, that shar’d thy life?
All now are vanish’d! Virtue sole survives,
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth 20 Of heav'n and earth! awak’ning Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole 25 Uniting as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'd, clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous ! now,
And Wisdom oft arraign'd; see now the cause 30 Why unassuming worth in secret liv’d,
And died neglected : why the good man's share
In starving solitude ; while luxury,
To form unreal wants; why heaven-born truth,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom’d foe,
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
A little part, deem'd evil, is no more;
And one unbounded Spring encircle all. Thomson. 95. Present facilities for evangelizing the world compared
with those of Primitive times. The means of extending knowledge, and influencing the human mind by argument and moral power, are multiplied a thousand fold. The Lancasterian mode of
instruction renders the instruction of the world cheap 5 and easy. The improvements of the press have re
duced immensely, and will reduce yet more, the price of books, bringing not only Tracts and Bibles, but even libraries within the reach of every man and every child.
But in the primitive age, the light of science beamed 10 only on a small portion of mankind. The mass of man
kind were not, and could not be, instructed to read. Every thing was transient and fluctuating, because so little was made permanent in books, and general knowl.
edge, and so much depended on the character, the life 15 and energy of the living teacher. The press, that leve
er of Archimedes, which now moves the world, was unknown.
It was the extinction of science by the invasion of the northern barbarians, which threw back the world ten 20 centuries; and this it effected through the want of per
manent instruction, and the omnipotent control of opinion which is exerted by the press. Could Paul have put in requisition the press, as it is now put in requisition
by Christianity, and have availed himself of literary so25 cieties, and Bible societies, and Lancasterian schools
to teach the entire population to read, and of Bibles, and Libraries and Tracts, Mahomet had never opened the bottomless pit, and the Pope had never set his foot
upon the neck of kings, nor deluged Europe with the 30 blood of the saints.
Should any be still disposed to insist, that our advantages for evangelizing the world, are not to be compared with those of the apostolic age, let them reverse the
scene, and roll back the wheels of time, and obliterate 35 the improvements in science and commerce and arts,
which now facilitate the spread of the Gospel. Let them throw into darkness all the known portions of the earth, which were then unknown. Let them throw into dis
tance the propinquity of nations: and exchange their 40 rapid intercourse for cheerless, insulated existence.
Let the magnetic power be forgotten, and the timid navigator creep along the coasts of the Mediterranean, and tremble and cling to the shore when he looks
out upon the loud waves of the Atlantic. Inspire 45 idolatry with the vigor of meridian manhood, and arm
in its defence, and against Christianity, all the civilization, and science, and mental power of the world. Give back to the implacable Jew his inveterate unbelief, and
his vantage ground, and disposition to oppose Christian50 ity in every place of his dispersion, from Jerusalem to
every extremity of the Roman Empire. Blot out the means of extending knowledge and exerting influence upon the human mind. Destroy the Lancasterian sys
tem of instruction, and throw back the mass of men into 55 a state of unreading, unreflecting ignorance. Blot out
libraries, and 'Tracts; abolish Bible and Education and Tract and Missionary Societies ; and send the nations for knowledge parchinent, and the slow and limited pro
ductions of the pen. Let all the improvements in civil 60 government be obliterated, and the world be driven from
the happy arts of self government to the guardianship of dungeons and chains. Let liberty of conscience expire, and the church, now emancipated, and walking
forth in her unsullied loveliness, return to the guidance 65 of secular policy, and the perversions and corruptions
of an unholy priesthood. And now reduce the 200, 000,000 of nominal, and the 10,000,000 of real Christians, spread over the earth, to 500 disciples, and to
twelve apostles, assembled, for fear of the Jews, in an 70 upper chamber to enjoy the blessings of a secret prayer
meeting. And give them the power of miracles, and the gift of tongues, and send them out into all the earth, to preach the gospel to every creature.
Is this the apostolic advantage for propagating Chris75 tianity, which throws into discouragement and hopeless
imbecility all our present means of enlightening and disenthralling the world? They, comparatively, had nothing to begin with, and every thing to oppose them;
and yet, in three hundred years, the whole civilized, and 80 much of the barbarous, world, was brought under the
dominion of Christianity. And shall we with the advantage of all their labors, and of our numbers, and a thousand fold increase of opportunity, and moral power,
stand halting in unbelief, while the Lord Jesus, is still 85 repeating the injunction, Go ye out into all the world,
and preach the Gospel to every creature: and repeating the assurance, Lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the world ? Shame on our sloth! Shame upon our unbelief!
96. Civilization merely ineffectual to convert the world.
Suppose that, out of compliment to the mockers of Missionary zeal, we relinquished its highest, and indeed its identifying object : suppose we confined our efforts
exclusively to civilization, and consented to send the 5 plough and the loom instead of the cross : and admitting
that upon this reduced scale of operation, we were as successful as could be desired, till we had even raised
ancasterna mass oi mesin rance. But 1 Educatiei end the name and limites si
the man of the woods into the man of the city, and ele
vated the savage into the sage, what, I ask, have we ef10 fected, viewing man, as we with the New Testament in
our hands must view him, in the whole range of his existence? We have poured the light of science on his path, and strewed it with the flowers of literature, but if
we leave him to the dominion of his vices, it is still the 15 path to perdition. We have taught him to fare sumptu
ously every day ; but alas ! this, in his case, is only like offering viands to the wretch who is on his way to the place of execution. We have stripped off his sheep-skin
kaross, and clothed him with purple and fine linen, but 20 it is only to aid him, like Dives, to move in state to the
torments of the damned. We may raise the sculptured monument upon his bones, in place of the earthly hillock in the wilderness, but while his ashes repose in gran
deur, the worm that never dies devours his soul, and 25 the flame that can never be extinguished consumes his
peace. We confer a boon, which is valuable, it is true, while it lasts, but it is a boon which the soul drops as she steps across the confines of the unseen world, and
then passes on to wander through eternity, "wretched, 30 and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” But
let us aim first to save the soul, by bringing it under the influence of Christianity, and then as we advance to the ultimate end of our exertions, we shall not fail to scatter
along the path of our benevolence all the seeds of civili35 zation and social order.
What is it which, at this moment; is kindling the intellect, softening the manners, sanctifying the hearts, and purifying the lives of the numerous tribes of the degrad
ed sons of Flam? It is the faithful saying, that Christ 40 Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
It is this, poured in artless strains from the lips of our Missionaries, and set home upon the soul, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is more than realizing the fable of
Amphion's lyre, and raising up the stones of African 45 deserts, into the walls of the church of God.
O, had the cannibal inhabitants of Taheite been persuaded to renounce their wretched superstition and cru