Imatges de pÓgina

in me beholding the end of the world, with all her vanities.' As he had been, during his life, beloved, admired, and almost idolized by all ranks of men, so was his death most deeply lamented. He was the fairest flower of chivalry, the bright jewel of an illustrious court, and a pattern of superior excellence, even in an age of heroes *."


Nor let it for a moment be forgotten, that every nation, and every age, has presented those, who have most appropriately borne the honourable, but abused, name of Christian. Let any one attentively read Dean Milner's Church History, and doubt respecting the accuracy of this statement will not remain on his mind. character of the Christian missionary, as portrayed by the Bishop of Worcester, may not be here improperly introduced. He is speaking of charity, when he adds, "Indeed, the difficulties, the dangers, the distresses, of all sorts, which must be encountered by the Christian missionary, require a more than ordinary degree of that virtue, and will only be sustained by him, whom a fervent love of Christ, and the quickening graces of his Spirit, have anointed, as it were, and consecrated to this arduous service. Then it is that we have seen the faithful minister of the word go forth with the zeal of an apostle, aud the constancy of a martyr. We have seen him forsake ease and affluence, a competency, at least, and the ordinary comforts of society; and with the Gospel in his hand, and his Saviour in his heart, make his way through burning deserts and the howling wilderness, braving the change of climates, and all the incon

* Lord Lyttelton's Life of Henry the Second, vol. iii. p. $4. Biographia Britannica, article Sidney, &c.

veniences of long and perilous voyages; submitting to the drudgery of learning barbarous languages, and to the disgust of complying with barbarous manners; watching the dark suspicions, and exposed to the capricious fury of savages; courting their offensive society, adopting their loathsome customs, and assimilating his very nature, almost to theirs; in a word, enduring all things, becoming all things,' in the patient hope of finding the way to their good opinion, and of succeeding finally, in his unwearied endeavours to make the word of life and salvation not unacceptable to them. I confess, when I reflect on all these things, I humble myself before such heroic virtue or rather, I adore the grace of God in Jesus Christ, which is able to produce such examples of it, in our degenerate world."

Could the Bishop thus have spoken, if the world had not presented heroic worthies, which nothing short of the Christian religion could have furnished?

Read of the patience and the tenderness, the zeal and the wisdom of a Ziegenbalg, a Swartz, a Gericke, an Eliot, a Brainerd, a Buchanan; and say, if, while it reproves the low standard of piety prevalent among us, it does not also evince, what will be the result of the general diffusion of this knowledge among the rising ge


NOTE IV.—Page 342.

That the religion of the blessed Jesus has not taken the sweep of a larger circle, seems but in unison with the majestic march of our God, throughout all the steps of

man's restoration to bliss; and from this we may argue, how malignant is the offence, and how deep is the wound of man's rebellion. Nearly two thousand years* revolved, with only one reviving promise, on which expectation could repose; and during that interval the deluge descended, which swept the descendants of the first transgressors from the earth. More than nine additional centuries + revolved, before a copious supply of prophecies imparted an idea of the nature, the character, or the offices, of the Redeemer. Four more centuries slowly crept away, before Isaiah's harp struck its melodious accents. And when the last blast of the prophetic trumpet was blown, did our Restorer to bliss immediately appear? No—four hundred years elapsed, and not one ray of light gilded the dark horizon.

Those best acquainted with the history of the church, and of the world, know, that, though society has not yet allowed the full developement of the benign and heavenly influences of the Christian religion, it has at least sufficiently operated to show, that a grand scheme is carrying on, the parts of which have a mutual reference, the one to the other.

The Christian religion has triumphed over those practices, customs, and institutions, which, before its light arose, darkened the character of man. It has softened the horrors of war, and has alleviated the treatment of prisoners. The severe and marked degradation, stamped on the tender sex, because "Eve was first in the transgression," is removed by virtue of the Redeemer, who has appeared to restore her to pristine purity; and

From the fall to the time of Abraham.
From Abraham to David.

[merged small][ocr errors]

that religion, which thus smiles upon her, shelters her offspring by abolishing the cruel practice of exposing infants. It has put a stop to the combat of gladiators, the favourite and barbarous amusement of the Romans. It has banished the impure customs, that disgraced the worship of the pagan deities, as well as totally extinguished the worship itself. It has abridged the labours of the mass of mankind, and procured for them one happy day in seven for the enjoyment of repose, and attention to the exercises of public devotion. It has occasioned establishments for the relief of sickness and poverty, and the maintenance of helpless infancy and decrepit old age.

It has triumphed over the slavery, that prevailed in every part of the Roman empire, and pursues its glorious progress in the diminution of misery and oppression throughout the world.

In Hindostan, the native begins to be ashamed of his superstition, and the mild influences of the Christian religion, shine on the temple of Mecca.

In Persia also, and in China, the knowledge of the Bible is spreading. In Ceylon, and Travancore, in New Holland, in New Zealand, and in Africa, Christian teachers are encouraged. And it is well known, how long and how sincerely the Christian religion has shed its benign and heavenly influence in America. Those, who are dissatisfied, or astonished at the slow progress of pure and vital Christianity, certainly take a partial view of the operations of the Deity. As there is space enough in creation for the developement of that grand exhibition of creative energy, which it has been one object of this work to present to the youthful mind; so there is time enough in duration, for the developement of that glorious

plan which the Bible exhibits to our view. Therefore, on the one hand, I would urge to increasing activity, and, on the other, I would supplicate a patient surrender of our opinions, to the superior views and plans of the Deity.


S. Gosnell, Printer, Little Queen Street, London.

« AnteriorContinua »