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against the Lord and his anointed, but in the errors and corruptions of Christianity itself, and the false purposes to which it has been perverted. The strongholds of error and iniquity which are erected on the territory of nominal christendom, are those from which the greatest danger is to be expected. It has been the policy of the great enemy of the truth and of the happiness of man, not only to fortify his own acknowledged region, but to strengthen his cause, by encroaching, and establishing his places of defence, on the ground which had been wrested from him. In this he has been but too successful. The institutions of christianity have been corrupted by being blended with the inventions of men; and its doctrines have been supplanted by a spurious and false philosophy. Thus have whole countries where the
doctrines of the gospel had spread, become overrun with error; and churches once pure, retaining the Christian name, have preserved scarcely a trace of the simplicity and purity of spiritual christianity.
But we also behold the singular spectacle of a gigantic structure, made up of ignorance, imposition, pollution and superstition, over which the banner of Christ waves, and claiming to be the only defence of his cause; and yet itself the strongest fortress of the enemy. The pure religion of the gospel has not only been corrupted, for the purpose of aiding the despotic power of civil governments in enforcing oppression; but it has been perverted to the establishment of system of spiritual despotism over the consciences and souls of men, requiring the most abject and degrading surrender of intellectual independence. Papal superstition presents a stronger front against the
pure and undefiled religion, than that of Paganism; and it will require a harder conflict to destroy the lodgments of error from the bosom of the church itself, and purify its corruptions, than to overcome the opposition of open and declared hostility.
Infidelity—claiming for its advocates, superior light, and freedom from the shackles of superstition, and bigotry, and despising all religion, as the effect of tame submission, or base hypocrisy, is another stronghold which is raised by the adversary, to retain his power over his willing subjects, and to impede the conquest of the world to its rightful Lord.
Speculative infidelity is comparatively a new fortress of the enemy of truth. It is erected in the very face of revealed religion, and with the declared design to subvert and destroy it. Founded on the assumed insufficiency of the evidences of religion, it enlists all the pride of human reason in its cause.
The old systems of error which have grown up in ages of ignorance, without symmetry or consistency, and composed of ill-assorted materials, are exposed, in all their folly and absurdity, wherever the minds of men become enlightened. Already, in some parts of the world, Paganism begins to totter under the decay of age; and the impression seems to be entertained of its approaching downfall by those who have heretofore placed their confidence in it.
Not so with infidelity. It is just in its youthful vigor. It has enlisted in its support some of the loftiest intellects, and those of high cultivation. It erects the standard of reason, and boasts of its perfection. It exalts the human understanding against the revelation of God. It enlists the pride and self-suffi
ciency of men. It will be the rallying point of the enemies of the truth, when they shall be dislodged from the refuges of false religion, and when the institutions of superstition shall be subverted; and around its walls, and in its trenches, will the last battle be fought, when the shout of victory shall sound over the earth, in the celebration of the universal triumph of the Redeemer.
We notice but one other obstacle to the universal dominion of Christ in the world. The continued unbelief and obduracy of the Jews. For eighteen centuries has this strong-hold stood unmoved by all the assaults which have been made upon it; while it has only become more firm, and increased in strength, by the lapse of time which has passed over it, and the attacks which it has endured. Their continued rejection of the gospel of Christ, has retarded its progress in those parts of the world where they have been dispersed. In no department of opposition to the church of Christ has it been carried on with more bitterness, than in that which is composed of the descendants of those who brought down upon themselves the dreadful imprecation, "his blood be on us and on our children."
But whatever may be the order of events, we know that the conversion of the Jews is inseparably connected with the universal gathering in of the Gentiles. When their hearts shall be subdued by grace—when they shall look on him whom they have pierced, the curse under which they have groaned shall be removed; and the blood which they impiously shed shall wash away the deep stains of their guilt. And it shall come to pass, in that day, (saith the Prophet,)
the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come, which were ready to perish, in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord, in the holy mount, at Jerusalem. Whether this and similar prophecies, shall have their literal accomplishment, in the return of the people of Israel to their ancient land and city, or not, it is certain, that in the general subjugation of the nations to Christ, their restoration to the favor of God, and their recovery from their long-cherished unbelief, will bear a conspicuous part. Their hitherto invincible prejudice must fall, before the triumphant march of Him to whom the nations belong, when he shall go forth, asserting his rights, conquering and to conquer.
When we survey these strong defences, still standing in their strength, and extending over the globe, nothing but the positive assurance of the word of · God could excite the expectation that they shall ever be subdued. But thus assured, we know that they are all destined to be demolished, and that they will all crumble into ruins under the weapons of the church's warfare, and of God's mighty power. Thrones of iniquity shall be subverted. Spiritual wickedness, in his high places, shall be brought down. The world shall be emancipated from the usurpation of Satan. And to Him, to whom the earth belongs, by the two-fold claim of rightful sovereignty and redemption, shall every knee bow, and every tongue confess.
It remains to consider the weapons by which this mighty conquest is to be effected.
The weapons of the church's warfare, in subduing the world to the kingdom of Christ, are first described
negatively. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. The cause of Christ is to be advanced by a different class of means from those which are employed by men, in their contests for the establishment or subversion of temporal dominions, or for the carrying into execution of any object of human enterprise. God has been pleased to employ in this warfare the instrumentality of men; but the success of the war depends neither on their numbers nor physical strength, but on the nature of the weapons furnished.
The conversion of the world is not to be effected by military conquest. Instead of employing such means to propagate Christianity, its primitive advocates had
forward, few, feeble, and unaided by an arm of flesh, against all the power of persecution and opposition arrayed against them. By military power such a religion as that of Mohammed may be extended, which is designed to enslave both the body and the mind, and is destitute of spiritual life. And in such manner might the name, and some of the forms, of the Christian religion be imposed upon a people conquered, and reduced 10 vassalage, by a superior power. But the holy religion of Christ erects its dominion in the hearts of men. It consists, not merely in profession and form, but in the renovation of man as a moral being. It can be imparted by no other power than that which has access to the fountains of the heart, and can turn them as the streams of water, as he pleaseth.
External power may subdue the body, and cause the mind, through fear, to dissemble submission; but it can never secure the homage and devotion of the