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would be restrained from them, which they had imagined to do.'
The history of Voltaire and his associates and atheistical disciples, furnishes another example, though of a very different kind, of the almost incredible effects of combined and persevering exertions. Correctly appreciating the importance of system and concert, they entered into a solemn league, the object of which was, to change the established order of things, over the whole face of Europe. Never, probably, did men pursue any bad design, with greater ardor, or consummate worldly wisdom.
As their plan was to demolish the whole existing fabric of society, they struck secretly, but with terrible force, at the deep foundations. It was by gaining the ascendency in the cabinets of kings; by sowing the seeds of jealousy and discord among the people; by converting the press into an engine of anarchy and corruption ; by procuring the advancement of their own creatures to the highest, as well as the lowest offices in the state, and even filling the church with them; by obtaining the management of common schools, and by poisoning the colleges and universities; that they severed the strongest bonds of political union, and hastened that tremendous explosion, which shivered to atoms the throne of a great nation, together with all its temples and palaces, and shook the civilized world to its centre. Had the object of the conspirators, in this case, been as good, as it certainly was wicked ; had they employed the inAluence which they gained over rulers and people, over schools and colleges, over printers and booksellers, to promote the highest and best interests of mankind, there is no calculating the advantages, which might have resulted from their active and persevering exertions.
Again; the history of Europe, for the last twenty years, written as it is, in tears and blood, exhibits more than one striking example, on a great scale, of what wonders may be effected, by combined and resolute human efforts. Within this period, we have seen a strange and portentous comet, flaming through the heavens, and not merely shedding disastrous twilight on half the nations, but blasting their happiness, withering their strength, drying up all the sources of their prosperity, scorching their green fields, and spreading pestilence tlırough their cities.
We have seen France united under the guidance of this . wandering star,' pushing, like the ram in prophetic vision, westward, and northward, and eastward, and southward.' We have seen coalition after coalition, formed to oppose this terrible nation, melt away, like the last snow of spring. We have seen whole kingdoms overrun; and subjugated in a month. For a long time, no successful resistance could be made to Napoleon and his armies, because they were one; and those who attempted to resist, were weakened and scattered, by discordant and conflicting interests.
At length, however, the enı pire of the Czars was inva ded. The spirit of the north was roused. The proud and ruthless spoiler of so many nations, found to his surprise and cost, that the Russians also were one. Eagerly hastening to the point of danger, they opposed a wall of hearts, to his hitherto invincible legions. They soon brought his towering eagles to the ground, and cut off the right arm of his power. They compelled him to fly. They pursued. They persevered. Austria, Prussia, Sweden,
, joined them. The coalition was strong.
The contract ing powers were sincere. They became one, and there
fore it was, 'that nothing could be restrained from them, which they had imagined to do.' They passed the Elbe -overleaped the iron frontier of the Rhine-entered Paris in triumph, and compelled the Usurper to abdicate the throne of the Bourbons.
Thus have we seen that baleful star, which so lately terrified the world, partly quenched in the snows of the north, and partly wasted by the fierceness of its own fires ; and, as we anxiously watched its faint and expiring coruscations, it seemed to fall, glimmering and harmless, into the midst of the sea. We have also, (to adopt the symbolical language of the Apocalypse,) nearly at the same time, witnessed the sudden fall of a whole new created constellation from heaven, to make room for the return of older luminaries, which by a rude and resistless impulse, had been driven from their orbits.
The hand of God is certainly conspicuous, in these amazing changes. But he has wrought no miracle. Human instrumentality has effected everything. . What, then, let me ask, is there, which may not be accomplished, by such combined, well directed, and persevering exertions, as men are capable of making!
Again; I cannot forbear just to mention the union, activity, and patient continuance of the Moravians, in the work of evangelizing the heathen, as worthy of the highest admiration, and as strikingly illustrative of my general proposition. Those pious men have made it a principle, from the commencement of their labors of love,' to visit, rather than any other, the most dreary and desolate regions of the earth.
No nation or tribe has been found so stupid, or so barbarous, as to discourage their benevolent attempts. No climate so cold, where a human being can exist, as to abate their holy ardor. No place so sultry, or sickly, as to deter them from visiting it. Nor have they labored and suffered in vain. In the north, they have effected settlements on the utmost verge of the habitable globe. In the south, on the burning plains and islands of the torrid zone. Numerous 'trees of righteousness' have sprung up and brought forth fruit, even amid the ice of Greenland. Many thousand of the heathen have been civilized, and hopefully brought to a saving acquaintance with the divine Redeemer.
And how has all this been accoinplished ? By the blessing of God upon union, piety, and perseverance. The Moravians are one : they are United Brethren,' and therefore it is, that hardly anything has been restrained from them, which they had imagined to do.'
Permit me, in passing, just to call your attention for one moment, to the British and Foreign Bible Society. See it, rising at first from a small and feeble stem, but rapidly gaining strength, in spite of all the efforts which have been made to check its growth; extending its fruitful branches, to every distant extremity of the empire, nay, to the very ends of the earth, and towering, already, to the skies. Read the annual Reports of that illustrious and heaven-born institution. Behold how much has been done in a few years, and consider how it has been accomplished. Not by the independent exertions of benevolent individuals. Such exertions, however vigorous, would have effected little. Not by subscribing the constitution. Not by mere good wishes, warmly and eloquently expressed, at the annual meeting of the society. No; but by united and persevering action. By liberal contributions poured into one common treasury; by the appointment of active and trusty agents; by prompt and liberal appropriations : by encouraging the formation of auxiliary societies at home, and assisting similar institutions abroad. Already has the British and Foreign Bible Society, become the wonder and glory of the nineteenth century; and it may be confidently predicted, that should it proceed, as it has begun, 'nothing will be restrained from it, which it has imagined to do.'
I shall only add, that the comeliness and strength of the Church militant, greatly consist in its unity. "Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together. As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. It is in virtue of this spiritual union, that the Church in its purest and most prosperous state, on this side of heaven, will look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.'
Having taken this general view of the mighty effects of combined and 'persevering action, it is time, now, to give an appropriate turn to the subject, by pointing out,
II. The necessity and admirable use of united, active, and persevering efforts, for the promotion of good morals. It is no more to be expected, that those who are (accustomed to do evil,' will, of their own accord, learn to do well,' than, that the Ethiopian will change his skin or the leopard his spots.' Every course of sin is a downward course. To wax worse and
deceiving and being deceived,' is natural. To leave the 'broad way,' is extremely difficult. Thousands of sober persons, have imperceptibly to themselves, first become tipplers and then drunkards; but not one drunkard in a thousand, has ever had the resolution to forsake his cups and become a sober man. So if a person swears