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them? My supposition is a fact. Jesus opened his generous soul to twelve first, then to seventy, and last to innumerable multitudes. They all drank into his spirit; as many as were able went forth, and preached every where, to the wise and to the unwise ; to them there was neither Jezo nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female; Romans, Barbarians, and Scythians were all one to them in Christ Jesus, anid, had their influence been equal to their wishes, they would have persuaded every knee in heaven and earth to bow, and every tongue to confess that Jesus Christ was Lord to the glory of God the Father.
All this proceeded from their principles. A savage rises in value along with the evidences of his immortality. The doctrine, that dooms him to everlasting woe, renders him a greater object of pity than ever to those, who believe it. The
possibility of recovering him to the image of God fires the breast of him, who admits it. The love, that Christ expressed by living and dying for all, constrains each one to live, and labour, and die for another. The serenity of a christian mind, and the peace of a converted bosom powerfully and perpetually preach, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. The principles of christianity itself, then, are the noblest principles of civilization.
It may be asked, perhaps, what can mere principles, even these, what can they effect without civil power? Must not the magistrate accompany the missionary, or, if the preacher can do something, cannot the prince enable him to do more? To this we answer, we respect magistracy, and, in all civil affairs, in cases that affect life, liberty, and property, wę allow the utility and necessity of
civil government: but in this case of religion and conscience there is nothing for the magistrate to do. We want to reform the life of a savage by sanctifying his heart, and to sanctify his heart by fixing principles in his mind; now nothing is necessary to form principles in the mind except evidence, and christianity is so amply supplied with means of obtaining evidence, that it neither requires nor needs exterior aid. We have demonstrations arising from all parts, from prophecies and miracles, from the goodness of the doctrine, and the lives of the founders. Every christian carries evidence along with him. The spirit of Jesus inhabits every good man, weeps in his eye, smiles in his features, expands in his hand, and speaks, in a thousand significant actions of beneficence, a language, that every barbarian understands. A savage thus taught would soon perform acts of piety to God, and benevolence to his fellow creatures; and a whole tribe, going into this divine systein of religion, would naturally become industrious, temperate, chaste, punctual, faithful, and social; this holy leaven would produce personal excellencies, social duties, the trade virtues of a merchant, the cool equity of a judge, and the liberal sentiments of a senator; in a word, it would produce in time a civil constitution truly British,
à constitution in which the happiness of the people would be the supreme law,
It will be objected, christianity possesses no other advantage on this article than paganism had. Cæsars and Alexanders civilized mankind. Alas! what civilizers were they! Their priests had nothing to teach, and, for their own parts, they butchered ninety of each hundred for the benefit of the surviving ten. Reformed christianity triumphs over paganism and popery too on this head. The papal community adopts the bloody methods of pagan government, applies them to religion and adds the senseless superstitions of modern apostates, so that nothing is more common in the journals of their missionaries than savages converted without light in the mind, or sanctity in the heart. Turn the heathen into a hypocrite, and the work is done. But ye, brethren, have not so learned Christ. Ye spy the nakedness of a land: but it is to cultivate and improve it. Into your sentiments, which are those of the twenty fifth of Matthew, multitudes have in all ages gone, and this school, founded by your ancestors, published to the whole world, that they apprehended, their religion taught them to humanize mankind, or, to use the language of the text, to clothe the naked image of the Son of God.
II. Let us consider men in a second point of light, as creatures in a state of distress. People in trouble lay aside ornaments, and hence one sense of the word naked, I will wail and howl, I will go
stript and naked, that is to say, being in distress I will lay aside usual ornaments, I will appear in public undressed, comparatively naked. Hence the prophet says, strip ye, make ye bare, tremble, be troubled, lament for the pleasant fields, and
Who can count the miseries of mankind ? Here sits one frozen with poverty, there lies another pining under sickness, a third is soured with disappointments in all his pursuits, a fourth is unhappy in his connections, à fifth is sinking under the weight of age and infirmities, and uttering these lamentable complaints, “ Alas! how miserable an “ old age is mine! I took some heedless steps in
my youth, my mind was blind, my heart depra4. ved. I have endeavoured all my life since to “avoid myself, and to flee from the misery of re“flection. A while I succeeded, business and “ amusements served to conceal the horrid void : “ but now I am awake to reflection, all the powers of
my mind seem dead except that of recollec“ tion, my memory alone lives, and lives only to
haunt and torment me. I cannot recall the past, “I dare not face the future, annihilation shocks “ me, and immortal misery is even more frightful " than that! I know I am rational and under a “law: but if there be a law there is a judge, if there “be a judge there are rewards, to which I have no “ claim, and punishments, which I know I ought
to suffer. Would I were innocent, or would I 6 had never been !"
In this condition man becomes indifferent to
every thing. Take Absalom from David, take from Rachel her children, and life itself has no charms for them. Put a sense of sini and an apprehension of wrath into the bosom, let conscience boldly do its office in the decline of a mis-spent life, and lo! the lord of the creation strips himself of ornaments, wraps himself in sackcloth, and rolls himself in the dust. Business is a burthen, and a party for pleasure is in his account a company run, mad. In vain he retires, and travels out of one great room into another, his pain is perpetual, his wound incurable, he hates to live, and he dares not die. What an object, what a pitiable object, my brethren, is this old man!
Will the Saviour of the world condescend to speak to this miserable wretch? He will, his gospel is his voice, the voice of a good shepherd sounding through all the wilderness, and seeking the ear of this lost sheep. Christians, reflect a moment, you have made the trial. Have
forgotten the day, when all trembling and afraid you followed the call, and found yourselves at the foot of the throne of grace. There he sat, the father and the friend, thence he reached his tender arms of mercy, and, with a voice sweeter than honey and the honey comb, said, I am come to bring life and immortality to light by the gospel I came that
you might have life—The spirit of the Lord sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,