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have just considered. He has removed every yoke from our necks, separated us from every restraining influence ; and given us the fullest opportunity, ever enjoyed by any people, to put forth all our strength, to show the entire power of religion, regulated by nothing but divine truth. The gospel finds us in circumstances more happy, in these respects, than those of any other people, from the time when the heavenly hosts sang
of glory and of peace, at the advent of the Messiah, to this day. And we owe it all to God. The Head of the Church has ordered it so.
Now, according to the religion of Christ, every opportunity of doing good, brings with it a corresponding obligation. And as our opportunities are peculiarly favourable, so our obligations are peculiarly weighty. We are more bound than any other people on the face of the earth, to advance the cause of the Redeemer, in proportion to our means and numbers. Heavy, indeed, will be our reckoning, and terrible the visitations of justice, should we fail-great our glory and felicity, should we feel the extent of our obligations, and bring our conduct up to the measure of duty.
2. We owe it to our country, to make her a blessing among the nations of the earth.— The world has seen enough of the glory of war, and the honour of warriors. The desideratum in the great community of nations is one people which, without ambition and the pride of conquest, shall stand forth an example of the mild virtues of justice, mercy, and piety. Mankind have suffered enough from “ wars and fighting." Smitten with unnumbered evils, the human race is sighing for the reign of peace. The world needs the moral influence of a great nation, where public sentiment is sanctified ; and whence shall emanate a blessing, to be felt wherever the winds of heaven and the waves of ocean can bear its inhabitants. This will weave a garland of higher fragrance, and more unfading colours, than any which the warrior or the statesman can wreathe round the brow of his country. It will do more, too, for national secu. rity, than any thing else which the wit of man can devise. For every thing depends on national character. To this, free institutions communicate energy, activity, versatility, and great richness of resources; but nothing can purify it, and raise it to a lofty tone, and sustain it, except true religion. When an individual, under the influence of Christianity, is brought up to the determination that he will be a benefactor to his fellow-men, his character is formed according to a high standard, and is fixed on a sure foundation. So with a nation : let the great body of the people in a free Christian country resolve that they will bless the whole world that their liberality shall send the pure gospel to all the henighted tribes of men--and the national character is elevated ; a spec
tacle of moral grandeur is exhibited, which angels must contemplate with rapture.
3. We owe it to the nations of the earth, to send them, the blessings of salvation.-Religion teaches that the human race constitutes one family. God hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on the face of the whole earth. And Christianity obliges us to recognize this common brotherhood; “ to do good, and to communicate.”
Among pagan nations, alien and enemy are synonymouş terms. But the religion revealed by the common Father of men, acknowledges all as his children; and enforces, by all the sanctions of eternal love and justice, the duty of doing all the good we can, to every part of the human family. No matter what curse of colour or condition has been inflicted ; no matter what form of misery weighs down the sufferer ; no matter how low he is sunk in the scale of wretchedness; the only question we have to ask is, Can we do good to him without injury to another? And the answer determines the measure of our duty.
But if we cannot, separately, do the good which the Bible tells us must be done ; we can do it collectively. According to the gospel rule, this is enough to show that it is our duty to unite for that purpose. And all the knowledge, the wisdom, the energy of our best men, ought to bear on this mighty subject of co-operation, among American Christians, for evangelizing the world. I do not presume to undertake so great a theme. I only throw out a few hints, to show the incalculable importance of the object.
The moral power of a people is in the compound ratio of their liberty, intelligence, and virtue. Of this England affords striking evidence. She is inferior, in population and territory, to many other countries : but not so in influence on the affairs of the world. The United States present another instance. Our remote situation from other civilized nations, and the greenness of our youth being considered, the influence of our country, on the public sentiment of the world, is truly astonishing. Spain began her work of colonizing the Southern Continent, before England planted settlements in North America. Yet, now, the United States exert greater moral influence on the world, than all of Spanish name or blood in Europe and America. The reason is, we have liberty ; we have the religion of the Bible ; we have general education.
But the influence of our country rapidly increases. Our population grows at the rate of more than a thousand a day. With this, there is an equally rapid increase in the facilities of intercourse, between the nations of the earth. Half the distance between this country and Europe has been annihilated, within the last five and twenty years. During
that period, our population has risen from six to twelve millions. Look forward twenty-five, fifty, a hundred years. When the population of our country shall equal that of all Europe, who can calculate the extent of her influence? It will emanate from the intellectual and moral character of the people. It will take its colouring from our religion. According to the principles of obligation laid down in the gospel, this country does indeed owe, and long will owe, a deep debt to mankind. Its amount must be determined by our moral power, as a people, of affecting their interests. And verily it is not small. Free, educated, with the Bible in our hands, and nothing to prevent its full influence on our hearts; at perfect liberty to meet in any numbers, and consult on any measures ; there is nothing here to hinder the entire concentration of all the resources of the church. And I cannot help repeating, that American Christians are in the best possible condition to do good, precisely in the way in which most good can be done ; to use just the weapons of warfare which apostles found to be mighty ; to go in the simplicity of the gospel, with the single-heartedness of truth and love, and carry to our perishing fellow-men, the blessings of salvation. Indeed we are debtors to the world. The Head of the church has brought this great debt upon us, and it must be paid. Now, how shall we pay it ? This is the question for most solemn consideration; and let none put it off; for the debt must be paid.
4. We owe it to the universal church of Christ, to do our part in carrying forward his cause, and accomplishing his purposes of mercy in the world.
As there is but one true religion, so there is but one church of the Lord Jesus Christ among men. The obligation to send the gospel to every creature rests on the whole body of the faithful. They must see to it, that the messages of mercy are sent to the ends of the earth. All must do their part of this work of love. But as God has placed us in a situation peculiarly favourable to our feeling the full power of religious truth, and so of being peculiarly holy, and peculiarly devoted to the cause of our gracious Redeemer ; so the church at large, and the world, ought to be made to see and feel our warmer piety, our higher and holier zeal, our more expansive benevolence.
For ages, the true method of promoting religion had been sadly misunderstood. And when Providence placed the church in America on its own resources, the general expectation was, that we should become a nation of infidels. And even now, thousands in the world imagine that religion cannot live and flourish without the fostering care of civil government. America, therefore, owes it to the universal interests of the church, and to that method of promoting religion, which must be every where adopted, before religion can have universal sway, to be very holy, very zealous, very benevolent-to undertake enterprises on a scale which measures the earth, and to demonstrate that they can be accomplished by the power of truth and love. The church in this country must not only sustain herself, and purify the nation, but she must stretch out her arms, and make the whole world feel the strong embrace of her benevolence.
There are Christians enough now in the United States—if they will only throw aside every carnal weapon, and take the whole armour of God, and go forth in their strength-to subvert all the ancient foundations of error; and pull down all the strong holds of sin ; and erect the standard of the cross over every demolished temple of idolatry; and pour the light of life into every dark habitation of cruelty, in the whole world.
“ These weapons of our holy war,
of what almighty force they are !" The world does not know it yet :-the church does not fully understand it. The omniscience of God's word, the omnipotence of God's truth, only need be fully appreciated, to show that the church has resources, which render the evangelizing the world a reasonable enterprize.
III. THE VIEWS WHICH HAVE BEEN TAKEN OF OUR SUBJECT, SHOW HOW UNFOUNDED ARE THE SUSPICIONS AND JEALOUSIES WHICH ARE ENTERTAINED OF THE MISSIONARY CAUSE, AND HOW UNWARRANTABLE IS
THE OPPOSITION MADE TO IT.
They who are engaged in this cause, declare in presence of their Maker, and before the world, that they renounce the use of all carnal weapons : that they acknowledge the lawfulness of no measures, but such as Christ and his apostles approved. A single sentence expresses their means and measures--they speak the truth in love. They, indeed, feel horror at opposition made to the pure and benevolent religion of the gospel ; but they are entirely willing—nay, earnestly desirous, that the use of any means or methods of extending its influence, different from those appointed in the Bible, may be denounced, and exposed. And the more clearly, the better. For they wish only to know what God teaches, and to do what God commands.
That perfect religious liberty, too, which is secured to Christians of this country, is regarded by them as all-important, nay, necessary to the success of their enterprise. The full and free use of their weapons requires it: deprived of it, indeed, they could not put forth half their strength. Indeed, should revivals of religion proceed as they lately
have done ; and the church go forward as she has gone; it is a thousand times more probable, that the enemies of religion will endeavour to lay restraints on conscience, than that her friends in this country will seek an alliance with the ruling powers. And truly the indications are already such, as may well rouse up Christian jealousy. Let the church be awake, and watchful of the liberty with which God has blessed her. Many already show that they want nothing but power, to break up every plan of religious benevolence which Christians have formed, and scatter their resources to the winds of heaven. But, brethren, stand fast, and fear not. The God of benevolence is with us the Lord of hosts is our refuge, and our weapons are of everlasting strength. We will hope by well-doing to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and allay all evil suspicion of our designs. But should opposition increase, sooner will we part with all that we hold dear in life, and with life itself, than relinquish the privilege of labouring without hinderance, in our Lord's vineyard; of pursuing our efforts to glorify God, and bless mankind, in the way pointed out in the Bible.
Opposition is altogether unreasonable. Express its true character; and it amounts to this :-"You shall not, if it can be prevented, carry the truths of the gospel to the heathen. You shall not turn them from their base and foul idolatry to the living God. You shall not convert them from their impure and bloody rites, to the pure and spiritual worship of the Holy One. Their licentiousness, their dark fanaticism, their human sacrifices, and all their hopelessness shall continue. The morality, the doctrine, the hope of the gospel shall not be made known to them. They shall never hear the voice of mercy, nor see the light of life. But the unabated curse shall rest on them, and they shall wither and die under it for ever.' Redeemer of men! why should the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take council together against thee, the Lord's Anointed? What spirit possesses the enemies of thy cause—the cause of truth ; of love ; of heaven?
But let us pause a moment, to look at the subject a little more minutely. See one of our villages-not that one, where an infidel lawyer and physician have stationed themselves, to live on the vices, and (the proper
fruits of vice,) the diseases of their fellow-men ; where gambling, and the tricks of gamblers, are made to supply the place of knowledge and industry; and where ardent spirit brings in its legion of devils to possess and to destroy. Alas! the faithful missionary is needed there, as much as in the islands of the sea ! But turn from this odious place, to that, where the people, appreciating the value of religion, have chosen for themselves, a pious, learned, and faithful minister, to teach them and their children, the doctrine of Christ and the way to heaven ; where grandsires, just