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devised by Omniscience to effect a purpose so glorious. This world is to be restored to more than it lost by the fall, by the simple annunciation of the love of God in Christ Jesus. Here we behold means apparently the weakest, employed to effect the most magnificent of purposes. And how plainly does this bespeak the agency of the omnipotent God! The means which effect his greatest purposes in the kingdom of nature, are simple and unostentatious; while those which man employs are complicated and tumultuous. How many intellects are tasked, how many hands are wearied, how many arts exhausted, in preparing for the event of a single battle; and how great is the tumult of the moment of decision! In all this, man only imitates the inferior agents of nature. The autumnal tempest, whose sphere of action is limited to a little spot upon our little world, comes forth attended by the roar of thunder and the flash of lightning; while the attraction of gravitation, that stupendous force which binds together the mighty masses of the material universe, acts silently. In the sublimest of natural transactions, the greatest result is ascribed to the simplest of causes. He spake, and it was done: he commanded, and it stood fast.
Contemplate the benevolence of these means. In practice, the precepts of the Gospel may be summed up in the single command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself." We expect to teach one man obedience to this command, and that he will feel obliged to teach his neighbour, who will feel obliged to teach others, who are again to become teachers, until the whole world shall be peopled with one family of brethren. Animosity is to be done away, by inculcating universally the obligation of love. In this manner we expect to teach rulers justice, and subjects submission; to open the heart of the miser, and unloose the grasp of the oppressor. It is thus we expect the time to be hastened onward, when men shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; when nation shall no more lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
With this process, contrast the means by which men, on the principles of this world, effect a melioration in the condition of their species. Their almost universal agent is threatened or inflicted misery; and, from the nature of the case, it cannot be otherwise. Without altering the disposition of the heart, they only attempt to control its exercise. And they must control it, by showing their
power to make the indulgence of that disposition the source of more misery than happiness. Hence, when men confer a benefit upon a portion of their brethren, it is generally preceded by a protracted struggle to decide which can inflict most, or which can suffer longest. Hence, the arm of the patriot is generally, and of necessity, bathed in blood. Hence, with the shouts of victory from the nation he has delivered, there arise also the sigh of the widow, and the weeping of the orphan. Man produces good by the apprehension, or the infliction of evil. The Gospel produces good by the universal diffusion of the principles of benevolence. In the former case, one party must generally suffer; in the latter, all parties are certainly more happy. The one, like the mountain torrent, may fertilize, now and then, a valley beneath, but not until it has wildly swept away the forest above, and disfigured the lovely landscape with many an unseemly scar. Not so the other;
"It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, Upon the place beneath; it is twice bless'd It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes." Consider the efficacy of these means. The reasons which teach us to rely upon them with confidence, may be thus briefly stated.
1. We see that all which is really terrific in the misery of man, results from the disease of his moral nature. If this can be healed, man may be restored to happiness. Now the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the remedy devised by Omniscience, specifically for this purpose, and therefore we do certainly know that it will inevitably succeed.
2. It is easy to be seen, that the universal obedience to the command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself," would make this world a heaven. But nothing other than the Gospel of Christ can persuade men to this obedience. Reason cannot do it; philosophy cannot do it; civilization cannot do it. The cross of Christ alone has power to bend the stubborn will to obedience, and melt the frozen heart to love. For, said one who had experienced its efficacy, the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, should not live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again.
3. The preaching of the cross of Christ is a remedy for the miseries of the fall, which has been tested by the experience of eighteen hundred years; and has never, in a
MORAL DIGNITY OF THE MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE.
single instance, failed. Its efficacy has been proved by human beings of all ages, from the lisping infant to the sinner a hundred years old. All climates have witnessed its power. From the ice-bound cliffs of Greenland to the banks of the voluptuous Ganges, the simple story of Christ crucified has turned men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.
4 And lastly, we know from the word of the living God, that it will be successful, until this whole world has been redeemed from the effects of man's first disobedience. As truly as I live, saith Jehovah, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Ask of me, saith he to his Son, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. In the revelation which he gave to his servant John, of things which should shortly come to pass; I heard," said the apostle, "great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." Here, then, is the ground of our unwavering confidence. "Heaven and
earth shall pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the word of God, until all be fulfilled." Such, then, are the means on which we rely for the accomplishment of our object, and such the grounds upon which we rest our confidence of success.
And now, deliberately consider the nature of the missionary enterprise. Reflect upon the dignity of its object; the high moral and intellectual powers which are to be called forth in its execution; the simplicity, benevolence, and efficacy of the means by which all this is to be achieved; and we ask you, does not every other enterprise to which man ever put forth his strength, dwindle into insignificance, before that of preaching Christ crucified to a lost and perishing world?
Reader! allow me to inquire, are you identified with this man-ennobling and God-glorifying work? If so, let prayer abound; let personal effort increase; and let the property entrusted to you as a steward, be faithfully and abundantly employed in forwarding it.
May God of his grace enable us to receive his truth as it is in Jesus, and so to act as will meet his approval when he cometh.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE,
J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS OF SOCIETY
VIEWED IN CONNEXION WITH
WE necessarily presume, that any system which should heal the moral diseases of the human family, and restore its hopes, would be equally adapted to the common nature, and to all the variety of circumstances in which that nature may be placed. This presun.ption too is strengthened, when it is remembered, that the promulgation of this system, and the administration of its advantages, are intrusted to unskilful hands; the remedy, to be a catholicon, must in itself be adapted to every disorder. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." The revelation of mercy, the gospel of our salvation, though always essentially the same, admitting of no accommodation in its grand principles to human prejudices, is, nevertheless, wisdom so condensed, as to be capable of expansion to any extent; and so elastic, as to be applicable to all the circumstances of the freeman and the slave, of the Greek and the barbarian, the sage and the savage. It could quench the cherubic sword to the faithful, before the flood; it could render the ark a floating church; it could speak an intelligible language amidst the confusion of Babel, and make the patriarchal tent a Bethel; it could mix up itself with the independent governments of the judges and the kings, and soothe the captive and the tributary; it could dwell either in Cæsar's prison or in Cæsar's palace, and wear either the confessor's bonds or the imperial purple.
Christianity is only a form of gracious revelation, more visible, and rich, and attractive indeed, than those which have preceded it, yet essentially the same; for Abel and Abraham were justified by faith, as well as Simeon and Paul. Christianity, therefore, has an aspect of benignity on human society, in what condition soever it may be placed; and she has already attended man, inviting him to blessing, in almost every possible state of social degradation, and of social eminence.
To exhibit the phenomena of mind, is one great office of history, and to deduce principles from these exhibitions, is the business of philosophy; but the moral of the phenomena can only be interpreted by revelation, and essentially improved by the gospel," the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, and which hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
We cannot subscribe to that philosophy, which tells us that the original state of man was not only barbarous, but also half brutal-that he was an ape without a tail; because the only book which is of sacred origin, asserts, that man was created in the intellectual and moral image of God, a fact perfectly agreeing with the heathenish mythology of the Saturnian age. The ignorance subsequent, is accounted for by the fall-by the daring impiety consequent on the fall— by the dispersion, and by the pressure of animal wants-and above all, by the apostolic statement,-" Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Man's ignorance of all the arts necessary to a state of simplicity, and of all the science which perceives and recognizes God in his works, is the consequence of his alienation from his Creator. He paints the glass till he excludes the light.
The little correct knowledge seen in heathenish mythology and philosophy, may be chiefly traced, if not entirely, to traditions originating in revelation; and though mind has at times exhibited phenomena, which, like the fragments of art in Greece and Rome, prove its ancient grandeur; yet the general scenery has been desolation, and the few lights which have glimmered in the gloomy expanse, have only rendered the darkness visible, and shed a melancholy gleam on the contemplative eye. The bulk of mankind, even amidst the intellectual splendour of antiquity, was ignorant; and if a few master minds possessed the ideal of virtue, and could express the image of their souls in the numbers of poetry, and the flow of eloquence, they were yet unable to embody their thoughts in the practical moralities of life--to produce animated virtue, and living piety.
Rome, when she extinguished the liberty, destroyed the