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and favor are enjoyed. Learning too has taken the place of ignorance; wealth of poverty; social refinement of barbarian rudeness; rational liberty of lawless domination; and, in short, all the charities and joys of Christian society, of the multiform horrors of untutored heathenism. The change which has been produced is so obvious and great, that its reality cannot for a moment be questioned.-But what, my friends, has done it? To what, as a leading cause, may this change be traced? I hazard nothing in asserting that it is the gospel. The religious change of which I have spoken has been produced directly by the gospel; and the change in other things has been effected by Christian influence. Without the gospel,
we had lived and died in all the wretchedness of our
pagan fathers. Without the gospel, this world had been destitute of every thing spiritually desirable, and had been little if at all better than the world below. How deeply then we are indebted to the gospel. And how highly we should value it. Whatever else we underrate and despise, let us cling, my brethren, to our Christian privileges, as being necessarily connected with every thing desirable in this life, and the foundation of all our hopes for the life to come. 3. In view of what has been said, we should learn
our great obligations to the cause of Missions.-It is not uncommon for persons in this enlightened age and country, to despise and oppose the cause of Missions. They represent the Missionary work as needless and useless, and omit no opportunity of embarrassing and reproaching it. But what had been the condition even of such persons themselves, had it not been for the work of missions? And what had now been the condition of the world, had it not been for this work? The gospel was once confined to Palestine,
and to a small part of the Jewish nation. it never had extended farther. Suppose no pains had been taken to extend it farther. Or, in other words, suppose nothing had ever been done in the work of Missions. What had been the present deplorable condition of the nations? What had been the situation of our race, in time and for eternity?-We have seen that our ancestors were brought to a knowledge of Christianity, by the labor of Missionaries. Suppose then that this labor had been withheld, and our fathers had been left to their idols, their Druids, and their murderous rites. What, in that case, had been the situation of us, their children, at the present hour? O my brethren, how much we are indebted, and how deeply we ought to feel our obligations, to the cause of Missions? Those who oppose this cause are opposing that, without which themselves had been savages and heathens-without which the fairest, happiest portions of our globe had now been filled with idols, and covered with pollution and blood.
4. If we are thus deeply indebted to the cause of Missions, then we are under strong obligations to support this cause. If the gospel has done so much for us, we should be engaged to extend its blessings to others. Every consideration which could have induced Christians more than a thousand years ago to send the gospel to our heathen fathers, and thus snatch them and us from the horrors of a bloody and idolatrous superstition, are now urging us to send the same gospel, and perform the same friendly office, to those who dwell in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death. Indeed, considerations more powerful are urging us to this duty, growing out of the clearer light, and the superior facilities and privileges which we now enjoy. And on the other hand, every
objection which can be arrayed against the cause of Missions now, might with equal if not greater propriety have been insisted on then. If it be objected, for instance, that the work of Missions is great and expensive; so it was then: Nor had Christians then perhaps an hundredth part of the ability to bear this expence, which they have at present. Or if it be objected, that we have heathens enough among ourselves; the same remark, in a stricter sense, and to a much greater extent, was true then. Or if it be objected farther, that Christ can take care of his cause, and spread his gospel, without human aid; so he could then. But if objections like these had prevailed with Christians formerly, and prevented them from sending the gospel to the benighted abodes of our Pagan ancestors; what had become of them-and what had become of us?—Our indebtedness to Missions is certainly a powerful reason, and one suited to come home to every bosom, why we should lay aside all vain excuses and objections, and engage in the work of spreading the gospel, with perseverance and zeal.
The remarks which have been made shew how reasonable and important it is, that all who possess the gospel should embrace it without delay. It is a price put into our hands to get wisdom; but unless we have hearts to improve it, it can do us no permanent good. So far from this, it must, as a slighted abused privilege, become a means indirectly of increasing our guilt, and aggravating our eternal doom. "He that chastiseth the heathen," who have not the word of life; will he not with a sorer hand correct and punish us, if we reject this heavenly word and go down to death? Let us then be spiritually
By an immediate compliance with the offers of mercy, let us avert the impending wrath of heaven, and secure for ourselves a portion which will never fail. Amen.
THE CRUELTIES OF THE HEATHEN.
Psalm lxxiv. 20.
"The dark places of the earth are full of the habita tions of cruelty.
BY"the dark places of the earth," the Psalmist intends those regions which are covered with moral and spiritual darkness. He refers to those lands which are more or less destitute of the light of truth and revealed religion. There were many such dark places in the days of the Psalmist, and there have been many such in all periods since. But though the inhabitants of these benighted regions know not God, he knows them. He is witness of all the cruelties and abominations they practise; and he has been pleased in the text to furnish information, relative to this affecting subject. "The dark places of the earth," says he, "are full of the habitations of cruelty," Their wretched inhabitants have so stifled: and blunted the common feelings of nature, that they can perpetrate the greatest cruelties, without com-punction or remorse. In attending to this subject, I propose,
I. To particularize some dark divisions of the carth. And,
II. To mention several species of cruelty which are practised in them.
Under the first of these divisions, I may direct your attention, in the first place, to those portions of