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sake,” it diminishes the number of crimes, softens the rigor of primitive justice, and renders a high degree of personal freedom consistent with general peace and safety. Christianity, therefore, exalts the character and promotes the happiness of mankind, by giving, at once, the blessings of social order and civil liberty. Standing on the history of the world, I can establish this position. Nothing like civil liberty, united with social order and security, now exists in any country beyond the limits of Christian influence. And within these limits, the degree of settled liberty, enjoyed in any Christian country, may be pretty accurately measured by the purity and extent of this influence. The ancient republics could not long exist, even in name, for the want of virtue and intelligence in the people. And all attempts, in modern time, to establish free civil institutions, where Christianity did not exist, or where it existed in a corrupt state, have utterly failed; and they will for ever fail in any country, till the influential members of the community are made free by the enlightening and purifying influence of Christian truth. The States of South America may secure their independence from European bondage; but genuine freedom and equal rights they cannot enjoy, nor will they long preserve even the forms of civil liberty; unless, as recent events lead us to hope, the papal yoke be broken from their necks; and the clouds of ignorance, bigotry and vice, which hang over them, be dissipated by the piercing rays of the sun of righteousness. If, therefore, you wish mankind to be free and happy, send them the Bible, preach to them the Gospel of Christ, give them Christianity in its purity and simplicity.
It is greatly to be lamented, that Christian maxims have had so little direct influence on the counsels even
of Christian nations. But, small as this influence has been, compared with what it should have been, and with what, we hope, it soon will be, it has not been without its beneficial effects. It has gradually modified and improved the law of nations, teaching them to admit in theory, and begin to feel in practice, that they are moral persons, bound, by moral obligation, to observe in their intercourse with each other, the great Christian law of love. Especially, has it improved that portion of international law, which relates to war; softening its rigors, mitigating its horrors, and thus preparing the way for that mighty and glorious change, which it is destined to effect, “when nation shall no more rise up against nation, nor kingdom against kingdom-when men shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and shall learn war no more."
It is altogether unnecessary, and the time already occupied by this discourse forbids, that I should attempt a further illustration of the subject, by taking another distinct view of man, as a dying, yet immortal being—as placed here, in a state of probation—as living in time, but forming a character for eternity. For although this is the most important, and most interesting view, which could be taken of him; yet it is so familiar to the mind of every Christian, that I need not detain you, a moment, on this topic. Let it be simply remembered, that “without holiness no one can see the Lord,” that "except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven;" and let it not be forgotten how insufficient to produce this renovation, with the exception of Christianity, is every system of religion, which the world has known; -let the express testimony of inspiration on this subject be called to mind, that all, who are redeemed
from iniquity, are redeemed by the blood of Christ that all, who are saved, are saved by grace through faith—that all, who are born again, are born of the Spirit by the word of God—that all, who are sanctified unto eternal life, are sanctified through the truth, applied by the Holy Ghost;—let this recollection be had; and the importance, the moinentous, the indispensable importance of Christianity, in forming the permanent character and securing the highest happiness of mankind, will be at once perceived and felt. To the true believer, how great are the consolations of the Gospel, in seasons of trial and affliction; and especially in the hour of death! It has taught him, in whatsoever state he is, therewith to be content. He knows in whom he has believed; and he is assured, that all things shall work together for his good. He can pass through the dark valley of the shadow of death without fear of evil. In view of his approaching dissolution he can say; "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I bave fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me, at that day; and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing."-But without the enlightening and comforting influence of Christian faith and hope, "shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon” the grave. Without the support of this hope, men must remain "all their lifetime subject to bondage through fear of death.” Without the light of this faith they must behold the approaches of this great and last enemy, under the agonizing horrors of despair. How appropriate to the dying sceptic, if capable of reflection, is the language of the poet:
“Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
In making an application of the subject of this discourse, I have little to say: For the lessons of gratitude, and consolation, and duty, which it suggests, are exceedingly obvious; and they must already have been presented to every reflecting mind, and impressed on every pious and benevolent heart.
How obvious, my Christian brethren, is the inference, that we are under peculiar obligations of gratitude, to our God and Redeemer, for our distinguished Christian privileges! We live in Immanuel's land. To us Christianity has come, in all her simplicity and splendor—in all her beauty and glory. We have the Bible in our hands; and may learn its truths, and obey its injunctions without fear or restraint. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."
Again, how obvious is the lesson of consolation and joy, which flows from our subject, in connexion with the prophetic assurance of the future triumphs of the Gospel! If Christianity, in its limited operations, has done so much to. meliorate the condition of mankind; what must be its effects, when its influence shall have become universal and unrestrained; reach
ing all lands, purifying all hearts, and controlling the counsels of all nations;--when "at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess him to be Lord, to the glory of God, the Father;"_when “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High!"
Finally; how obvious is the inference from our doctrine, that it is the duty of every Christian to aid the cause of Christian Missions. The wretched state of the Heathen, of Jews, of Mahomedans, and even of multitudes, nominally Christians, must awaken the tenderest sympathies excite the most ardent and importunate prayers, and rouse all the energies of the renewed soul. My brethren, we have placed before us the strongest motives to induce us vigorously to engage in this work of love.
The sublimity of the enterprise, the certainty of ultimate success, the signs of the times, and, what is paramount to all other considerations, the command, the last command of our blessed Redeemer, urge us to active exertion and persevering effort, in this cause. Do
any object? Will any withhold their hand or restrain their prayers? They are not Christians—certainly not active and well informed Christians. All the objections, which I have heard alleged against the missionary enterprises of the day, are objections, either of ignorance, or infidelity, or avarice. It will invariably be found, that men opposed to the benevolent operations for the spread of the Gospel, are either ignorant of the nature and design of these operations, or they have no established belief in the truth and efficacy of Christianity, or they possess a sordid spirit, which hardens their hearts against the convictions of their understandings, or they are excited by the combined influence of all