Imatges de pÓgina

Philip has seen many such cases, and this is his brief sketch of their history. They deliver letters of introduction on their arrival, and he sees no more of them : finding wines ard ardent spirits to be so very cheap, compared with English prices, they drink, stand it at first, the third year they are ruined, the fourth in the hospital, and the fifth they are dead.

VI. The letter next proceeded to discuss the qualifications requisite in Missionaries to South Africa.

1. And first, that universal and hateful error was attacked which has been the bane and the blasting of Missionary operations, ever since they were undertaken on a large scale in modern days, that any one is good enough for the heathen, and that instead of sending out Paul and Barnabas, the chief of Apostles, to this work, as was done in primitive times, it is more desirable to keep such at home, and to send abroad only those whom the church at home scarcely wishes to retain.

2. As to the nature of the work, they have not only to evangelize the people, but to civilize them ; not only to be ministers of the Gospel, but teachers of trades and agriculture, and for the most part, the civil advisers and legislators of the community.

3. The introduction into this work of any but men of strong, natural good sense and piety, was strongly deprecated, inasmuch as from past experience, it has been found, that pious, well-meaning but wrong-headed men will often do harm in a very short time, to such an extent, as may require the whole life of another and a different missionary to remove.

4. As to learning, the more of it a man has, even in such a country as South Africa, the better it is both for himself and the Mission; but the grand qualification is the spirit and conduct of his Divine Master living and breathing in his whole life, and next to this the possession of sound, practical, improvable sense.

VII. As to the success of Missions, it depends not on the names, and schemes, and plans, whether of the Society itself, or the managers, but wholly on God, and under him on the character of the agency employed, as to piety and sense; believing that good sense is necessary to keep a man from error, and to assist him to make the best use of his time and opportunities, and that eminent piety is absolutely essential to eminent usefulness.

VIII. As to the manner of the Gospel's progressing, it has been in the general gradual. The grand thing is, first, to make a deep impression, and the rest will soon be done. To build a model, and to build it well, and the machine will be executed. To accomplish this is the great labour, for let it only be ascertained how, by what means, and in what way, one soul was brought to the knowledge of the truth, and we have only to pursue that way to accomplish the salvation of all. The spirit of Missions is the very spirit of Christianity; diffusion, and not hoarding up, is its charac

teristic: and let its native tendency only be brought into full play, and it will spread itself; it will find out the suitable materials on which to act, and it will leaven the lump.

I send you the above, imperfect as it is, because I esteem the original a very valuable document, of which even the sketch is calculated to cheer and refresh our hearts, to instruct us as to our duty and course of procedure here, and to give us new warrants to expect success.

I am, your's sincerely,

R. C. M.

III.-Our Saviour': Prophecy respecting the Universal Spread

of the Gospel, viewed in connection with Present Events and Future Prospects.

“ This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world." The remarkable and extensive fulfilment which this highly interesting prediction received in the Apostolic age has been considered in a former essay, and we now proceed to redeem the pledge which we then gave, to view it in connection with the existing circumstances of the present day-the various means by which it is now fulfilling, and the sources from which we draw our conclusions, that it will yet be far more extensively fulfilled in future ages of the world.

It is scarcely possible for a man of intelligence and observation to cast his eye around him, and survey the present aspect of the world's affairs, without being impressed with the conviction that we do not live in ordinary times. Several of the late movements of Providence have been of a very remarkable character. The moral, the religious, and especially the political world have all of late years been shaken, and we trust, animated by some quickening principles. The germ of something noble and good is beginning to develope itself, and we are impressed with the full belief of the fact that a great and happy era is struggling in the birth. Our blessed Redeemer when on earth censured the Scribes and Pharisees for not understanding, that is, for not being observant of the signs of the times; Matt. xvi. 13; and the Christian, who like them is inattentive to what is passing around him, neglects a most important source of information, and must unavoidably remain unwise, “not understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Eph. v. 17.

In the cathedral church of St. Paul's in London, there is a tablet erected to the memory of Sir Christopher Wren (the architect under whose superintendence that splendid edifice was reared) ; at the foot of this memento of mortality is the following significant inscription, Look around.” The meaning of which is obvious, that the whole building is his monument, and will remain through future ages a lasting evidence of his genius and his powers. And



I not take up these words as a motto applicable to the subject we are investigating, and say to the unobservant Christian, “ Look around.. Look around upon the world in which you dwell, and say, whether the present state of society, the present aspect of the world's affairs, and the general movements of Providence, do not all bear us on to the conclusion, that we are on the eve of a mighty moral revolution—that we are rapidly approaching the period when an extensive transformation may be expected, or in other words, that a vivifying wind is now passing over the face of chaos, preparatory to that promised new creation when the people, who have hitherto sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death, shall feel the enlivening beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and catch the healing virtues which he sheds from the golden plumage of his wings.

The last half century has been prolific with events bearing upon the accomplishment of this great object of our wishes and our hopes; that is, it has in the various Bible, Missionary, Tract, School, and other public institutions of a similar character, called into existence and put into operation a vast moral apparatus, which is steadily undermining the long-established Babel of idolatry and popular superstition, and which will no doubt ere long succeed in bringing it down a headless trunk, like Dagon before the ark of the God of Israel. 1 Sam. v. 4. It is very much to be questioned, whether this subject is viewed in a true light even by the best friends of the Redeemer's cause ; that is, whether the vast amount of means now in operation is not by too many of them considerably under-rated. God we are sure does nothing in vain, and if His hand is to be acknowledged (as it certainly ought to be) in disturbing the stagnancy of past ages, and in exciting his church thus to bestir herself, we may then be quite sure that he will not suffer these means to evaporate in empty air, or explode in useless sound.

It is true that our success in the cause of Christian Missions, as far as instances of individual conversion are concerned, has not hitherto been proportionate to the means employed, but it is equally true that we have not been without success; and although this success has been chiefly of a general character, it is all tending, and that most decidedly, to one great point, viz. the subversion of falsehood, and the establishment of righteousness and truth throughout the earth. A period of 38 or 40 years has now elapsed since the first formation of Missionary and Bible Societies, and the other noble institutions of a similar nature referred to above. About the same period transpired, from the offering of the great expiatory sacrifice on Mount Calvary to the destruction of Jerusalem : in that interval the triumphs of the Gospel, the extent of its conquests, and the victories which it achieved, were most astonishing ; but great as its victories, and wonderful as its achievments were, we have every reason to believe, that what has been accomplished in the first-men

tioned period, is scarcely inferior in extent. It is not we admit equally brilliant in all its immediate results; but this we shall perceive is more than counterbalanced when we recollect, that it is more diffusive in its character, more diversified in its nature, and that it indicates more extended and permanent effects.

There is also another fact connected with the history of modern times, which ought to be viewed in relation to this great subject, and which is worthy of more than ordinary attention. The fact to which I refer is, the present political ascendency of nations professing Christianity, over every other. And in this observation I do not include Popery ; Popery is not Christianity, it is unworthy of the name, it is nothing but a modification of idolatry, or in other words, it is the idolatry of ancient Greece and Rome, grafted on a Christian stock; it is consequently viewed by the sacred writers as a system hostile to the faith of Christ, and its complete ruin is frequently the subject of their prophetic announcements. By Christianity, taking the term in its general acceptation, I mean the various sections of the Christian church which make the Bible the only ground of their faith, whatever may be their views on minor points of doctrine, or on the much-controverted subject of ecclesiastical polity. It is a remarkable fact that the situation of those countries where the religion of the Bible is thus professed and adhered to, is decidedly superior in the present day to what it was a few centuries ago ; this no intelligent observer of modern times can possibly fail to perceive. At that and at various other periods in the past history of the church there has alternately existed either Popish, Pagan, or Mahomedan nations, which were very powerful, and whose influence was so extensive, that the nations which adhered to pure Christianity could scarcely maintain their standing amongst them. But now the scene in this respect is completely reversed; they who were once viewed as the head have now become “ the tail” of political influence and power, or rather they have ceased to exert any influence at all. The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, is in the present day, as described by the Prophet Daniel, given to the people of the saints of the Most High ; Dan. xxvii. 7 ; that is, it is given to nations which profess the faith of the Gospel according to the definition given of it above. The powerful opposing systems that once existed have all been swept away : potent heathen monarchs, such as formerly existed, have all been deprived of their sceptres—Popery is a mere shadow compared with what it once was -Mahomedanism, like her own crescent, is waning to a total eclipse, and Christianity stands forth the unrivalled sovereign over all : she occupies the vantage ground over her adversaries, and in her present political relation towards them, is placed precisely in that attitude, which

this prophet describes as antecedent to the period when her march to universal conquest would commence.

The assertion that the triumphs of the Gospel will be absolutely universal, and its benignant influence be felt through every corner of our guilty globe, may perhaps by some persons be considered a little too bold, and the truth and propriety of it will probably be called in question. It is however on this elevated position that we take our stand, and we do it without fear, being fully convinced that we have sufficient authority in the word of God to warrant these high expectations.

This is in fact the very point we are endeavoring to prove ; and not only so, but to prove at the same time that the passing events of modern times are all most conspicuously leading us on to the full realization of this great desideratum.

It is true that the work which yet remains to be achieved, ere this object of our wishes and our hopes can be fully realized, is of no ordinary character ; but if God be for us, who can be against us ? let his hand only be kept in view, and then it will be found that we have every reason to anticipate the most extended success -but if this is lost sight of, unbelief may, and undoubtedly will, in such a moment prevail, and even the most exalted Christian may then, under the influence of his incorrect and limited views, be ready to ask, “ How can these things be ?” and to suppose that the predicted transformation is too wonderful and too glorious ever to be realized.

In reference to feelings of despondency like these, we unhesitatingly say, they are unscriptural, and ought not to be encouraged. Let the individual, therefore, who is inclined to indulge in them bear in mind that “ nothing is too hard for the Lord;" and let him also remember that every event which transpires, however wonderful it may be in itself, ceases to be so when it is brought into comparison with the intercession and sufferings of the Son of God. “The great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh,” is paramount to all other wonders ; and after this, nothing is comparatively wonderful ; after this, nothing is too much, too great, or too glorious to be expected.

The universal renovation of the world, it must be acknowledged, will be a most astonishing occurrence, whenever it takes place ; and were all the great, the wise, and the good men now upon the face of the earth, combined to effect it, in their own strength, we might well despair of a successful result : but it is said that the God of Heaven will do it, Dan. ii. 24 ; and if he undertake the work, it must be accomplished; “ he has a mighty arm, strong is his hand, and high is his right hand.” Psalm xxxix. 10.

On his single arm therefore we may confidently rely, being assured that the omnipotence of his power, and the faithfulness of

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