« НазадПродовжити »
munion of its ordinances? You think it would ; and that your Christian communion, in such a case as this, ought not to be dependent upon uniformity in opinion or observance. It is well, your principle is liberal and good ; but it needs not be laid asleep until an opportunity such as has now been supposed shall occur; there is work for it here. We have Christian churches variously constituted: and we have many classes of sectaries and dissenters, fincere and honeft Christians, who do not by any means differ so widely from our notions of doctrine, worship and government, as a new church might. Go then, and respect now in Europe what you own would form a Christian obligation in Afia.
It were to be wished, that men of talents, whose engagements lead them to refide among the other nations who are yet strangers to Christianity, would turn their attention to the subject of introducing Christian knowledge, and communicate their thoughts upon the means of making a proper impression upon the countries with which they are connected. It is pofble that by resorting to plans hitherto unthought of, adapted respectively to different countries,
many of the difficulties which have hitherto 0perated fatally in this service may be avoided.
These things however are hypothetical. The general reformation of the Christians is the great object, which when accomplished will operate the certain success of the religion of our Lord. Every undertaking which contributes to this end, performs its part in the plan of providence, by which Christianity shall become universal. To take charge of the youth in a Christian land, and in those remote districts where the means of instruction are few, to train them to knowledge and to sound principles, is not only in itself a good work, but may produce effects in distant times, such as cannot at present be the subjects of calculation. This work in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, though not the only, is the principal object of the respectable Society to which I have addressed these obfervations. It is a work of wisdom, of piety, and of charity.
Now we see not yet all things put under him. Christians, let not the partial success which the cause of truth has as yet obtained, disquiet your minds. It was intended to be a work of ages in its progress, and like the other works of God,
to proceed gradually to the consummation. The loftiest trees of the forest have sprung up from small seeds, and have borne the strife of the elements through many winters before they have come to their perfection : So the tree which the Lord hath planted must encounter the tempest during its growth, and suffer many chilling blasts, which may arrest its progress in their seasons; but it shall at last send forth its boughs on every side, and its shade shall be for the refreihing of the nations.
It is not yet eighteen hundred years since the introduction of Christianity. In the plan of God, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, eighteen centuries may form but a small part of the duration of the kingdom of Christ in this scene of things. The prophets have given notice of a scheme of immense extent, and only a small part of it is as yet filled up. God will be glorified in its real and durable success. The Chriftian churches Thall be purified and united in affection; the gospel shall be seen in its moral character and its attractive power; every false religion shall give way, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in Jesus, and call him blessed; infidelity shall disappear, war Mall cease, and Navery shall be heard of no more. H
The actual effects of the great interpofition shall then be displayed, through long periods of time, which are indefinitely expressed in prophecy by the term of a thousand years. For how many thousand years in eventual nu- . meration the promised state of things may endure, it is impossible to tell; but, it is consolą. tory to the human mind, amidst the sorrows and anxieties with which many of the events in the history of mankind are viewed; to reflect that the Lord reigneth, and that under his providence the preparations are making in secret for the manifestation of his universal kingdom, in the recovery of the nations to virtue, piety, and peace. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid ; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the fucking child fall play on the bole of the asp, and the weaned child pall pui his hand on the den of the viper. Tbey pall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth Mall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Amen, Even so, Come Lord Jesus,