O'er the gloomy hills of darkness,
Look my soul, be still and gaze;
All the promises do travail
With a glorious day of grace.
Blessed Jubilee,
Let thy glorious morning dawn.

Philadelphia: PRINTED BY STEPHEN C. USTICK, 1798.



ISAIAH LV. Ver. 12.

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

WHEN ancient predictions of glory to the righteous are contemplated, the habit of beholding the impiety and infamy of the world, greatly diminishes the rapture they are designed to inspire. We regard the excellent events they foretel, as objects of desire, rather than objects of expectation; and, though the faithfulness of the divine testimonies suffer not our languishing faith to expire, when we contrast times with prophecies, we are led to place the period of blessedness at a distance far remote.

But let us hope that more diligent attention will furnish ideas more encouraging.

It is true, that though the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, men are perishing for lack of knowledge: having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.

It is true, the depraved passions of the human soul are every where revealed. Iniquitous policy and mad ambition controul the actions of nations. The banners of war are unfurled;—fleets on the ocean, armies on the shores are meditating and at each other projecting destruction. In the private circles [Page 6] of life, uncleanness and inebriation prevail. The God of heaven is blasphemed, his servants are pitied or despised, his holy oracle is trampled under foot, and the great principles of piety, like tares in the harvest field, are declared pernicious, and industriously rooted up.

It is true, misery is every where discernible. Diseases generated by crimes are consuming the bodies of thousands, and a convicted conscience chastising their spirits. The depopulations of pesti­lence are seen, are heard of, and widows and orphans, moving over fields of slaughter or to dwellings of poverty, are raising their piteous lamentations.

It is true,—but, why should we amplify this afflicting detail? Though we continue to shroud mankind in darkness and guilt till destruction and death say "it is enough," we must even then remember, that the measures of Providence are not controllable by the offences and calamities of men; that the lustre of prophetic truth cannot be concealed, and that in the fulfilment of prophecy, the grossest darkness has frequently preceded the most marvellous light.

Under these impressions we are about illustrating this animating prediction, ‘Ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.’

This passage appears to have been written about the close of the reign of Hezekiah. Prophecies had been delivered foretelling the certain and impending dissolution of the house of David and the captivity of the people. After Hezekiah's recovery from sickness, the king of Babylon sent to him letters and a present.—Letters perhaps to make the king of Judah his ally in his meditated revolt from the king of Assyria, and a present or offering expressive of his veneration for a person, the sign of whose recovery was the going backward of that sun, he [Page 7] had been accustomed to adore as the sovereign deity! Hezekiah, left of his God to the vanity of his heart, as though eager to prove himself a desirable confederate and a proper subject of the honours he had received from the heavens, shews to the messengers of the son of Baladan ‘the house of his precious things, the silver, the gold and the spices, and the ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah shewed them not.’

But immediately after this circumstance Jehovah made manifest the folly of the prince, by foretelling the fate of the people. Then said Isaiah to Heze­kiah, ‘Behold the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.’ To Manasseh the successor of Hezekiah the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, ‘I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies.’

But in wrath he remembers mercy. Not more clearly is the captivity of Judah foretold than her glorious deliverance; not more, her sin than her repentance, her transient disgrace than her perma­nent honour. Yes, ye children of Judah, from Jerusalem, ye shall go out with weeping and be led forth as prisoners of war; the mountains shall mourn, the hills shall tremble, and the trees of the forest shall howl in sympathetic woe; but, yet, from Babylon, ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

The prophet foretels a variety of events which were to attend Judah's restoration, well calculated to [Page 8] awaken transport. See yonder the welcome ambas­sador! How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;—that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth! Hark! The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a high-way for our God.

Hear the language of Jehovah, he speaks to the deep—"Be dry, and I will dry up the rivers to Cyrus. I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: and I will break in pieces the gates of brass and cut asunder the bars of iron. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have called thee by thy name.

To the heavens and earth. "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteous­ness; let the earth open and let them bring forth salvation."

To Zion in affliction. "Awake, awake; put on thy strength O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem; shake thyself from the dust, arise, loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn."

But is this word of Jehovah firm? It is firm as the ordinances of heaven, it is firmer than the moun­tains of the earth. "For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee."

Are the expectations of so great a deliverance reasonable? They are reasonable as the expectation of the rising of vegetation under the influence of protecting snows and refreshing rains. "For as the [Page 9] rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

It is generally confessed that the prophecies of the Bible allude to distinct and distant periods of time. That while a prophet announces the ruin of the enemies of Jerusalem, the deliverance of Judah, and the blessings she should enjoy, he frequently carries forward our reflections to the destruction of every antichrist, the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah, and the evangelical and immortal happiness of his subjects *. Lest the propriety of such a mode of illustration should be disputed, a few ideas shall be suggested in its vindication.

The error of restricting predictions to their imme­diate subjects, may be proved from their superiority to the capacity of such subjects. For example, of Solomon his inspired parent said, "In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the Moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. All nations shall serve him. His name shall be continued as long as the sun."

To assert that the dominion of Solomon extended from the lake of Sodom to the Mediterranean sea, [Page 10] from the river Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, is to assign but a mean fulfilment to so grand a prophesy. But what mean these expressions, "abun­dance of peace so long as the moon endureth—a name continued as long as the sun." Solomon, alas! has slept with his fathers and his very sepulchre is no more. At midnight the moon still walks in her brightness, but war, captivity, and penal retribution have demolished the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In the morning, the sun still comes forth as a bride­groom, but the name of the son of Bathsheba is not known by a thousandth part of the human beings it enlightens. The prophecy must be fulfilled—In Solomon, with all his glory, it cannot. Behold then a greater than Solomon here. It is Jesus only, whose name shall endure forever, and whom all nations shall serve; whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. What flattery declared of Caesar, truth asserts of the Messiah. It is he ‘who shall terminate his authority by the ocean, his fame by the stars *.’

The scriptural application of some prophesies to different events and periods, induces us to contem­plate others in the same light. Of such an application take the following instance from Hosea xi. 1. "Out of Egypt have I called my Son." This text certainly refers to the days of Moses, when Israel by a succes­cession of miracles was delivered from the tyranny of Pharaoh. It has an allusion to the days of Hosea, and seems designed as a preface to a prediction in in the 5th verse of the chapter. It alludes to the days of Christ. ‘The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream saying; Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for [Page 11] Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.’ Joseph was there until the death of Herod: ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called my son.’ Nor should I conceive the words at all misapplied, were they produced as illustrative of the calling of sinners from the power of Satan to God, or of the church from obscurity to noon-day.

Predictions of this capacious nature are proper both as parts and proofs of a divine revelation. The fulness they disover, while it astonishes the faculties, invites the investigation of mortals, and proves the pages the production of a mind capable of comprehending at a glance the past, the present, and the future.

Such predictions are accommodated to the dispositions of men. Does an infidel question the fulfilment of a prophecy? For his plenary conviction, or that he may be left without excuse, its accom­plishment shall be repeated. Is the impression of the importance of a prediction weak on the mind of a Christian, because fulfilled at a distant period, or at a distant place? He shall feel its grandeur, blush at his error, and give glory to his God, while he beholds it performed in the presence of all the nations of the earth. If the prophetic morning star be discredited, or the day be declared far distant, the majestic sun shall diffuse universal conviction and reproof.

In the government of the world, in the progress of redemption, Jehovah has been passing from strength to strength. As the ritual dispensation was an emblem of evangelical glory, so Jewish predictions embrace the salvation of Gentiles. The polity of the Jews must necessarily have been demolished, because of its carnality, because of its restriction. But how admirable are the measures of heaven! Hebrew prophets have been inspired [Page 12] to foretel that the abundance of the seas should be converted, and that the forces of the Gentiles should come. They have been employed to prophecy down the prejudices of their nation, and prepare the way for that glorious ministration under which there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncir­cumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all and in all.

These observations justify the application of our text to the times of the gospel, and such an application may lead us to explain it as illustrative of the influence of Christianity.

I. On Missionaries themselves, and

II. On the people to whom their mission is directed.

The selected passage may represent the influence of the gospel, in producing in the heart of a Missionary zeal, transport, and tranquillity. "They shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace."

Superstition may send her votaries inactive to her cells; avarice may sit in wretched concealment, idly pondering over perishing bags; indolence and insensibility may fold the arms for slumber, but Christianity is the parent of action. Listen to its precepts—"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end." Did competitors at Olympic festivals, fight, run, wrestle, with all that agony the dread of infamy and the love of renown could inspire? Rival their ardour, fight the good fight of faith, run the race set before you, wrestle with principalities and powers. The world is your theatre of action.

Diminish its miseries. Be eyes to the blind, be feet to the lame, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, that the blessing of him that is ready to perish may come upon you.

Diminish its crimes, ye preachers in the sanctuary! Ye messengers to the heathen! Prophecy asserts, [Page 13] ye shall go out with joy, and he, to whom prophets gave witness, commands your zeal. Our text fore­tels your successes, a preceding verse contains your message. Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters: and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. The great supper is prepared. Go out ye ministers into the streets and lanes of the city. Go out, ye Missionaries, into the high-ways and hedges and compel to come in that the house may be filled. Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature. A man qualified for the sphere at a missionary looks forth on the sea of the world; notwithstanding his fears, and disappointments, at the word of his saviour, he casts his net and becomes a fisher of men. He is led forth by a conviction of the value of a soul, by the attractions of divine love, by the openings of divine providence and by the hand of his fellow Christians. Are missionary societies established? he hearkens to their instructions, enjoys their patronage, and shares in their addresses to the heavenly throne. Clad with zeal as with a cloak, his faith substantiating the hoped for blessing, the fearing of the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; he cries, I will go in the strength of the Lord God, I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

Christianity produces in the hearts of its ministers or missionaries the emotions of joy. They who bear the vessels of the sanctuary with joy, may draw water from the wells of salvation.

The faithful Missionary possesses the joy which springs from conscious integrity. Rectitude and pleasure are associates. In the transgressions of an evil man there is a snare, but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. We acknowledge the purest conduct may be ascribed to the basest motives. Though a Missionary, sired with love to God and to [Page 14] man, subject himself to perils by sea and perils by land. Though he pass over toilsome hills and gloomy desarts, his only sustenance the berries of the forest and the waters of the brook. Though he be wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. Though like Jacob when the sun is set, he have only the stones of the place for his pillow, and his life be endangered from wild beasts or wilder men: neither his piety, his fortitude, nor his sufferings can secure him from the imputations of calumny. But let calumny prepare its bitterest accusations. Term him, ye children of the wicked one, a deceiver, a fanatic, or let him suffer reproaches from false or mistaken brethren; he approves himself a minister of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses; by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness. He is as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing. Perceiving that primitive mission­aries who were in perils by the sea and in perils by the heathen, in weariness and painfulness, in cold and nakedness, suffered the most cruel reproaches, as their follower, with them he cries, our rejoicing is this, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world. He is a good man and is satisfied from himself.

But not more does he rejoice in the purity of his motives, than in the excellency of his cause. It is truth and must prevail. Jesuits have endured excessive fatigue, and have exposed themselves to dangers and deaths for the dissemination of their erroneous sentiments; but the missionaries we contemplate labour not, suffer not, that ecclesiastical thunders may terrify the heathen, that human creeds may be imposed by civil force, that a cross may be worn, that a host may be worshipped. They acknowledge no sovereign over conscience but him whom winds and sea obey; no system of saith, no [Page 15] rules of conduct inconsistent with his holy oracles. They go out with joy while they reflect, that though superstitious zeal and literary artifice, the malice of individuals and the persecutions of empire have been employed for its destruction, the Gospel they deliver, stands like an awful column firm proof against the winds, the lightnings, the earthquakes of envious ages.—They address themselves to their work animated by a conviction, that the word of the Lord abideth for ever.

The gospel missionary goes out with the joy which springs from benevolence. Good will towards men, enters into the soul of the gospel. Through all the word of God a selfish temper is forbidden—We must do good and communicate. None of us liveth to himself, none of us dieth to himself. Missionaries are commonly sent among nations who have changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things. His spirit, like the apostle's is stirred up within him, while he perceives cities and kingdoms wholly given to idolatry. There he views a fellow creature doing homage to a tree, and yonder another stands adoring a river. In one place, fifties are assembled to worship a rat, a hawk, a crocodile, or a beetle. In another, hundreds are venerating a cow, a frog, a serpent, or a stone. Does the good man go out in the evening, his eye affecteth his heart while he sees multitudes blessing the moon as the queen of heaven, and the stars as her attending armies. In the morning, not like Ezekiel, only in vision, he beholds men with their faces toward the east worshipping the sun. He finds himself among a people, who, as the natural consequence of their depraved conceptions of the deity, are full of unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, Rom. i. 29.

[Page 16]Nor does he in the affliction of his soul behold only the crimes of heathen nations, he hath seen and can bear witness that their sorrows are multiplied that seek after another God. The sword, the pestilence, the noisome beast, and the famine, frequently spread desolation over an idolatrous land. Heathens, conscious of guilt, apprehensive of danger, and ignorant of the way in which sin can be removed, seek mental ease in corporal torture. It is from hence, the horrible practices of torturing, burning, drowning, and sacrificing human beings have taken their rise.—Though enormities so gross as these we have named do not obtain among American Indians, yet there are evils among them, some of which we shall name before we close our discourse, which loudly call for our pity and zeal.

But O how delightful the work to suppress these sins and calamities! How suited to the feelings of the heart in which the love of God is shed abroad! Is ‘joy a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good?’ The missionary of Jesus then goes out with joy. He rejoices in present good—Such is the possession of the grace of God in his own heart, the being invested with the office of a teacher of the ignorant, and the share he enjoys in the prayers of his fellow Christians. But his heart is inspired with a sacred enthusiasm while he contemplates the good, of the approach of which he is so well assured. He goes out with promises of support. I, the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee. I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff, and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord and shalt glory in the God of Israel. I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto [Page 17] Zion, thou art my people—Lo I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.

He goes out with prospects of success. Whatever degree of blessing may attend particular missions, it is certain that the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. The Messiah has asked and has received the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. The heroes of antiquity were filled with transport at the ambiguous answers of the oracle of Delphos. Favourable responses from the gloomy cavern of Trophonius, would render the credulous Grecian fearless in the midst of the most dreadful danger. An American Indian, relying on the friendly dreams of a sooth-sayer, goes forth to war with all the confidence of success. But how infinitely greater is the encourage­ment of a man of God. He credits no dreamer of dreams. He believes in the Lord his God and is established. I have not spoken, saith Jehovah, in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I the Lord speak righteousness: I give direct answers.—The promises in Christ are yea and amen. When Jesus was about to be separated from his disciples, and was commissioning them to publish his gospel, having given them promises of support and prospects of success, he said, these things have I spoken that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace. The disciples of Jesus possess peaceful dispositions. Pride, obstinacy, and severity, are frequently charged on the professors of Christianity. If the charge be true, the guilt is wholly their own. Ignorance may be proud, bigotry may be obstinate, and malice may be severe; but the gospel is designed to make the ignorant wise, and the ill-natured gentle. It teaches us to put off as a shameful [Page 18] covering, all anger, wrath, and malice, and to put on, as our fairest dress, bowels of mercies, kindness, longsuffering.

Missionaries go forth with peaceful messages. With angels their proclaim, on earth peace. Theirs is the word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.

Mahomet, for the propagation of his religion, encouraged his followers to make proselytes by force of arms. These are his words in the Koran, ‘When ye encounter unbelievers strike off their heads.’‘As for those who fight in the service of God's true religion, God will not suffer their work to perish, he will lead them into paradise.’ How different the words of the Prince of Peace! Put thy sword into the sheath, said he to Peter, and imme­diately touched and healed the man whose ear Peter had cut off. Jesus answered to Pilate, If my king­dom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Of such who deviate from the Arabian religion, the false prophet says, ‘kill them wherever ye find them;’ but when our Lord first shewed himself after his resurrection to the disciples who in the hour of darkness had all forsook him and fled, he said, Peace be unto you; as my father hath sent me so send I you.

But peaceful as are the dispositions and messages of the propagators of the gospel, they have often been charged with seditious designs. Guilt has turned the moral world upside down. It resembles an inverted pyramid, which only the longsuffering hand of God prevents from falling into awful ruin. When the apostles by manifestation of the truth, by revealing one mighty to save, were desirous of placing the fearful pyramid on its basis, the Jews of Thessalonica cried, these that have turned the [Page 19] world upside down are come hither also, these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar.*

There is a sense in which Christ himself came not to send peace, but a sword; the disciples are imitators of him. They go forth armed to destroy that peace of the world, by which men engage not to disturb each others quiet in the way to hell. Peace without righteousness is but a dead calm, before a desolating tornado. Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, saith the Lord, and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. Tremble ye Herods of the earth; vociferate ye Demetriuses; your thrones, your shrines are in danger. Not because shrines and thrones are desired by the servants of the most high God, but because your thrones are founded in blood; your shrines are but polished blasphemy. Jehovah appears as the God of peace, when he bruises Satan beneath the Christian's feet. Believers appear still as the sons of peace, when their preaching produces rage and tumult. Angry effects may follow; but the true end of the spread of the gospel, is the establishment of joy and tranquillity. This will be fully demonstrated as we proceed to display its influence.

II. On the people to whom a christian mission is directed.

While Missionaries go out with joy and are led forth with peace, mountains and hills break forth before them into singing, and all the trees of the field clap their hands. In the Old Testament, allusions to hills and mountains are very frequent. The land of Judah is called the country of the hills. Josh. x. 40. Prophets derived their emblems from [Page 20] surrounding objects. Would they give dying mortals a strong idea of the eternity of God? They cry before his footstool, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations, before the mountains were brought forth, from everlasting to everlasting thou art God. Is a sense of the majesty of Jehovah to be impressed on the hearts of the people? Hills are seen smoking at his touch. They reveal him weighing mountains in scales and hills in balances. Would they express abundance of temporal good? Hills flow with milk and mountains drop down sweet wine, for the cattle and the vines are there. Have they to represent a state of tremendous despair? Wretches are heard crying, Rocks! fall on us, mountains! cover us. Would they exhibit the end of all things? Hills are departing, mountains are not found. Does a jealous God draw near to judgment? Who can stand before his indignation? His way is in the whirlwind and in the storm, clouds are the dust of his feet; the mountains quake at him and the hills melt; but when prophets display the God of salvation, the deliverer of his people, mountains and hills break forth before them into singing.

There is a strange power in the human mind of converting every thing, in imagination, to the likeness of itself. The mind seems as capable of acting on external objects, as external objects are of acting on the mind. Does an individual mourn? To him all nature appears to partake his sorrows. Does he rejoice? Mountains and hills seem to feel his raptures, and trees of the field to clap their hands.

When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, the people were like them that dream. Their mouths were filled with laughter, and their tongues with singing. But there was still greater occasion for triumph, than their release from Babylon.

The Hebrews often asked, and God often granted signs from heaven. When our Lord was working [Page 21] the mightiest miracles among the Jews, they were impatient for a sign. They had conceived the Messiah was to rescue them from Roman servitude. False Christs had persuaded the people to follow them, promising them miracles and signs of liberty. Unless the dead were raised, or the ocean calmed as pledges of approaching victory over Rome, they were considered as inadequate proofs that Jesus was both Lord and Christ. To the Jews no sign but the prophet Jonas was given. No other was needed. But when an event seemed remote from the promise or the threatening, signs the most striking ensued. Eli! this shall be a sign unto thee, that there shall not be an old man in thy house forever, Hophni and Phineas shall die both in one day. Hezekiah! this sign shalt thou have that the Lord will heal thee, the sun shall go backward ten degrees on the dial of thy father. Ahaz! the Lord himself will give thee a sign, that the counsels of Rezin and Pekah shall not stand: Behold! a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel. Shepherds! this shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapt in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. O Judah! thy deliverance from captivity is a token of future, greater blessings: it shall be for an everlasting sign, that shall not he cut off, v. 13. Let us not suppose ourselves, brethren, uninterested in the restoration of the Jews from Babylon. We have already justified the application of ancient predictions to the dispensation of the gospel; while we perceive that their primary fulfilment is only a pledge of their re-accomplishment in the latter days, let our faith be strong and our joy be full.

Wherever the glorious gospel of the blessed God is circulated, there are glad tidings of great joy; and they, whose hearts receive it in its power, are excited to sing aloud of the great salvation it brings. There are a variety of senses in which christianity may be viewed as tending to promote the happiness [Page 22] of any people. Let us contemplate its effects, first, on men in general; and secondly, on believers in particular.

We know that to an unbelieving world, the publishing of the gospel is folly and madness. Far from rejoicing, modern infidels, like infidels of old, are grieved at the preaching of Jesus and the resurrection. The carnal mind is enmity against God; but yet carnal minds derive many temporal advantages from the very system they abhor. The destruction of the tares is delayed, because the wheat is yet in the field.

The diffusion of Christianity is a most joyful event in regard of the restraints it imposes on vice. It lessens the number of vicious examples. It sets iniquity before men in the most hateful light. Conviction glares on the guilty mind, sudden, awful, unexpected as the lightning, and the sinner trembles in spite of himself.

Contemplate its influence on idolatry. Wherever the christian standard has been planted, idols have been broken and confounded. Where are the deities of Greece and Rome? Who now adores the divinity of Juno, or as a suppliant, places a sacrifice on her altars? Aeolus and Neptune cease to be venerated, since he hath appeared who holds the winds in his fist, and the waters in the hollow of his hand. Pluto and Proserpine are worshipped no more; the astonished idolater perceives, that he who was dead and is alive again, hath the keys of hell and death. Venus the adulteress and Jove the whoremonger *, have fled before a religion which declares, that whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Their names are yet known, because heathen authors are still read in christian schools; [Page 23] but their worship is abolished for ever; their temples exhibit only broken arches and prostrate columns. The Dagons are fallen, because the ark of truth has been brought near them. Once he who would commit incest, he who would indulge intoxication, might gratify his vicious desires in adoration of a god or a goddess, but this pretence for the propriety of vice is urged no longer.

The holy scriptures provide a perpetual preventive against idolatry, in the appointment of one day in seven for religious instruction and worship *.

Contemplate the influence of Christianity on nations at war with each other. Since it is the tendency of the gospel to establish peace; since, when the latter days come, in which the christian religion shall be universal, the people shall learn war no more; it may reasonably be expected, that the horrors of hostility, in proportion as it prevails, will be diminished. Formerly, the laws of war were rigorous in the extreme; Christianity has ameliorated them. Formerly, confident that vassalage or death must be the fate of the vanquished, men fought with a ferocity approaching to madness; but, Christianity has taught the shewing of mercy, has established a habit of exchanging prisoners, and rendered war less destructive, by making captivity less dreadful. In the present day, through countries where the gospel is not known, prisoners of war are victims devoted [Page 24] to torture and death. The Indians, among whom you, my friends, are desirous of diffusing the light of life, afford a most painful proof of this truth *. May this reflection fire your zeal.

Contemplate the influence of christianity on civil government. There have heen and are bad govern­ments where our holy religion has been professed; but were it absent, such governments would be far worse. The evils that have attended political administration in Europe, since the reign of Constan­tine, have arisen from the monstrous association of the church and state. Ambition for the sceptre gave rise to the mitre, and transformed the pretended descendants of humble fishermen into haughty pontiffs. Christianity, itself, an angel of light, has been pressed into services suited to a daemon of darkness. But as this age of revolutions advances, the vile absurdity of being vicious for virtue's sake is exposed, and the political union of the kingdom of heaven with the government of the world is generally condemned; for what concord hath Christ with Belial?

Yet even in countries, where this unnatural connexion subsists, when the Bible has been free, for the perusal of the people in their native language, governments have witnessed the value of the christian [Page 25] system. A member* of a national church thus expresses himself. "The effects of Christianity have been important. It has softened the administration of despotic, or of nominally despotic governments. It has abolished polygamy. It has restrained the licentiousness of divorces. It has put an end to the exposure of children, and the immolation of slaves. It has suppressed the combats of gladiators, and the impurities of religious rites. It has banished if not unnatural vices, at least the toleration of them. It has greatly meliorated the condition of the laborious poor, that is to say, of the great mass of every community, by procuring for them a day of weekly rest. In all countries in which it is professed, it has produced numerous establishments for the relief of sickness and poverty, and in some a regular and general provision by law. It has triumphed over the slavery established in the Roman empire: it is contending and I trust will one day prevail against the worse slavery of the West-Indies."

The same divine system commands and teaches magistrates to be ministers of God for good. It enjoins on men a faithful regard to the just laws of their country. It exposes and condemns the sins which are a disgrace to any people, and enforces the righteousness which exalteth a nation. The correct ideas of liberty and equality, America possesses, have been drawn from this source. It eclipses that splendour of the rich and the mighty, before which the vulgar shrink into veneration and servility. It regards all men as sinners, and proclaims a common salvation. It directs men of every class to assemble for worship together, and foretels their general meeting around the throne of the Judge of all. It is now renovating the civil institutions of the earth, and presaging the period, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.

[Page 26]Contemplate its influence on agriculture. It beats swords into plough-shares, and spears into pruning-hooks. It cherishes the social temper: as naturally as streams flow together into the ocean, real christians seek the communion of saints. Instead of roving far distant, each one, with pious ardour says to his friend, where thou lodgest I will lodge, thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried. With this fervour of spirit it combines diligence in business, and excites that contemplation of the works and character of God, with which the culture of the earth is so congenial.

To the absence of these we must ascribe the appearance of prodigious forests in the interior of this country, with scarce a spot devoted to tillage. Indians are so frequently sending the red hatchet from nation to nation, their passion for hunting which separates them from their villages and connexions is so powerful, and so great is their aversion to labour and contemplation, that husband­dery, the most essential support of animal life, is little regarded. But, brethren, circulate the gospel among them; then, instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; then shall the wilderness and solitary place be glad, and the desart shall blossom as the rose.

Contemplate the influence of Christianity on literature. We are ready to acknowledge that learning contrasted with piety is trifling, and that God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the wise; but we believe that while religion prostrates the pride of pedantry, it promotes solid literary information.

What is literature? Is it knowledge in languages? Only the volume of inspiration teaches us the origin of their confusion. To be able to receive and convey ideas in several languages is so far from being [Page 27] contrary to the religion of Jesus, that one important evidence of its truth is the gift of tongues. Is it acquaintance with history? The Bible is the most ancient history, and is so full of allusions to the customs of different nations, that an able expositor must be a historian. Is it the knowledge of the hea­vens? The man after God's own heart was a devout astronomer. Bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, loose the bands Orion, and then prove that the contemplation of the stars does not influence to humility and devotion. Does it consist in researches into nature? The wisest of men spake of trees; from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall. He spake also of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes. Our divine Lord refers us to the lilies of the field, and to the birds of the air, for lessons of wisdom. Is it acquaintance with moral philosophy? The New Testament contains a system of morals, general as the connexions of man, and pure as the character of its author. Is it the know­ledge of the belles-lettres? Where are the human compositions which equal the song of Moses, the psalms of David, the prophecies of Nahum, the prayer of Habakkuk, the revelation of John, the sermons of Jesus?

In that sublime specimen of ancient composition the xxviiith chapter of the book of Job, the patriarch represents the miner as setting an end to darkness, overturning mountains by their roots, and searching out all perfection; the stones of darkness and the shadow of death. The subterranean cavity he forms is termed a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen. The providence of Jehovah is an obscure profound.

Deep in unfathomable mines,
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.

[Page 28]There is in them a way which no mortal knows, which angelic penetration hath not seen. A proof of this we may derive from the manner in which the literature of the ancients and the New Testament itself were preserved, when the barbarous nations laid waste the whole empire of Rome, Constantinople excepted.

Christianity is native wisdom; superstition is imitative folly. Divine providence had prepared the cloister of the monastery, a way the vultures eye had not seen, for the security of monuments so valuable. But it was the superstition of monks which gave being to monastic institutions; it was superstition in the barbarians which made them venerate the cell and the temple. More than seven successive centuries were ancient writings sacred and prophane thus astonishingly preserved.

In the seventh century, Anglo Saxons were as illiterate as American Indians, but their conversion enlightened their minds and promoted the interests of literature. Before that event there was no such thing as learning nor the means of obtaining it, in that part of Britain which they inhabited. Their ancient religion had a tendency to inspire them with nothing but a brutal contempt of death and a savage delight in war. As long, therefore, as they continued in the belief and in the practice of that wretched superstition, they seem to have been incapable either of science or civility, but by their conversion to Christianity they became accessible to both.* You know the application I wish to make of this circumstance to the people whose conversion is the object of your exertions and prayers.

Soon as the gospel at the Reformation began to spread; soon as the chains of superstition were broken, science came forth from her cave bound hand and foot with the grave clothes which the rude manners of ages had cast around her. Then the [Page 29] voice of prevailing truth said, Loose her, and let her go! In the same proportion as the light of the gospel increased, the province of learning was irradiated, and the same valuable effect will follow on its propagation to the end of time. These are blessings which men in general enjoy from the diffusion of the word of life, but there are blessings infinitely superior which abound to believers in particular.

But O how great, how numerous are they! Born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The joyful Christian looks up to the ruler of heaven and cries, abba, father! Behold, says Jesus, I make all things new; the believer feels his creating power. Old things pass away; his hopes, his fears, his joys, his sorrows, his companions, his prospects, all things become new. He looks over the list of his offences, and his heart is filled with confusion and deep repentance; he looks to his suffering Redeemer, and rejoices with joy unspeakable, while he hears him say, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. He is blest with access by the new and living way to the heavenly throne. While a believer is liftinq his cry and looking up, Jehovah is bowing the heavens and coming down. He draws nigh to God; God draws nigh to him. God contemplates and is delighted with his own perfections; the believer contemplates in his humble measure, and is delighted with the perfections of his God. A Christian holds communion with the supreme majesty. Laugh ye prophane! employ your railings against the good man's experience; he minds it not. If we say we have no fellowship with him we lie, for truly our fellowship is with the father and with his Son Jesus Christ. "So the moon holds bright communion with the sun the sovereign planet; so she receives and reflects his beams, the shines gloriously in a dark hemisphere and moves onward, sublime in her heavenly course, [Page 30] regardless of all the barking animals which betray their senseless malice."

The servant of Christ possesses the pleasures of a good conscience. Why did Cain exclaim, every one that findeth me shall slay me? Why smote the knees of Belshazzar together? why were the joints of his loins loosed? Because a hand wrote he knew not what upon a wall. Why did Herod or hearing the fame of Jesus cry, John Baptist is risen from the dead. Why? because the horrors of a guilty conscience terrified and confounded them. But believers, exercising themselves in the work of faith and labour of love, have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.

The day glides sweetly o'er their heads,
Made up of innocence and love;
And soft, and silent as the shades,
Their nightly minutes gently move.

Undisturbed by the accusations of guilt in his own conscience, he anticipates with calm delight the solemnities of the final judgment. Justified by faith in Christ freely from all things, his fears vanish; For who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? God that justifieth? Who is he that con­demneth? Christ that died? He is risen again and is at the right hand of God making intercession!

When afflictions come upon a Christian, he can perceive they are intended for his good, and that they are imposed by the hand of his best friend. He regards himself as a fellow sufferer with the long train of Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs. He knows his afflictions work out his glory, his light afflictions, a weight of glory, afflictions which are but for a moment end in a weight of glory, far more exceeding and eternal.

He overcomes the false maxims, the hard speeches, and fierce resentments of an evil world, and has a right to the tree of life. The hopeless physician, the throbbing pulse, the filmed eye, the [Page 31] measured grave, the descending coffin, to a believing mind are not horrible, they are divinely pleasing. Sin, the sting of death, the worm of hell, is destroyed. Let worms riot on this body, this corruptible shall put on incorruption. This earthly house may now be demolished, and it may lie for ages uninhabited and desolate, but it shall become a temple incon­ceivably glorious. When the trumpet sounds, on the resurrection morning, believers shall spring from their tombs, shake themselves from their dust, trample on the broken powers of the grave, put on their beautiful garments, and rise in a cloud to meet their coming Lord. They shall pass the gate into the Holy City, receive the crown of life and the palm of victory, and join with the harpers on the sea of glass in an everlasting anthem of praise.

These are glories which are reserved for believers above; but there are glories, which are foretold and shall be enjoyed here below. He is looking for what is termed the latter-day of glory, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the place of the sea; when, before the ministry of the gospel, mountains and hills shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the forest shall clap their hands.

But may we hope this blessed period is nigh at hand? We may. Are our reasons asked for our indulging so pleasing an expectation? They are such as the following.

First, the rapid fulfilment of ancient prophecies. There is a general correspondence between the writings of one prophet, and those of another; but the book of Daniel, and the Revelations of John are peculiarly harmonious. Daniel exhibits strong outlines; John a more finished likeness; but the object is the same. Their predictions are singularly explicit on the future state of the christian church. —Perilous times and times of refreshing are foretold. Though of the day and the hour of their arrival [Page 32] no man knoweth, so as to be able to speak with justifiable confidence, yet there are such allusions* to the period in both John and Daniel, as must powerfully strike, while they seriously employ the pious mind. The time when the powers of the earth shall be shaken, may he known in some measure by the great and visible suppression of Papal Power. Rome at the Reformation received a blow, she has never recovered; but, lately her plagues have come upon her with dreadful violence. The event which has engaged the prayers of saints on earth, and of martyrs at the foot of the altar, is now accomplishing. Arrayed in purple and scarlet, Rome, the mother of harlots, shall be drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, no more. The angel has dashed the millstone into the waters. The beast is exiled; Babylon is falling; the horns are broken; the merchants are weeping; all heaven is rejoicing. Why should the christian world be silent as midnight, when the rays of the morning are beaming upon them? Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. Rejoice over her, ye inhabitants of the [Page 33] earth, join with the people in heaven in saying, Alleluia, salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God.

Old Babylon, after the conquests of Cyrus, continued gradually to decay. In the same pro­portion as the Israelites were loosened from their captivity and re-instated the goodly land, the pride of nations became a desolation. So we may expect that as the church of Rome the mystical Babylon declines, the church of Christ the true Israel will rise. The ebbing of the tide produces a flood on opposite shores.

The eastern as well as the western Antichrist is evidently declining; the great river Euphrates is drying up, and a way being made for the kings of the east; the sovereigns probably of Persia and Tartary. Enfeebled by Russia on the north, and above all by its internal corruptions, the Turkish empire is tumbling into ruin. The signs of the times inspire a vigorous hope, that the follies of the Koran will soon be forgotten, and the mosque and the brothel be known no more.

Our expectations are strengthened, secondly, by observing what we suppose to be the harbingers of the day, when mountains and hills shall break forth into song.

Perhaps the predicted events that attended the destruction of Jerusalem, are emblems of the general destruction of vice: it is certain much of our Saviour's language in the xxivth of Matthew, carries our views beyond the then, coming catastrophe. Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. If similar events to those which preceded the ruin of the Jewish polity shall precede the overthrow of the anti-christian governments of the earth, their end is assuredly not distant. The trees now shoot forth, and we see and know, that summer is now nigh at hand.

[Page 34]Wars and commotions introduced the final victory of Titus over Jerusalem*; but at what time has war prevailed more destructively than at the present? Nation is rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There is NOW upon the earth the distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring. Men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. The ocean is burdened with fleets and the shores all noisy with warlike preparations. The object of modern wars is not the acquisition of lost territory, the reparation of injuries, or the punishment of insult; it is the entire destruction of the opposing power. When these things begin to come to pass, then, saith our Lord, look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh.

Did pestilences precede Jerusalem's visitation? How much are they now prevailing! We need not cross the Atlantic for proofs. The wasting that destroys at noon-day, has in this city slain its hundreds. There is scarcely a principal town in the United States, in which men have not fallen victims to pestilential fever.

Were many deceived in Judea by false prophets? Men of this description are to be found both in America and Europe, and their numbers are increasing.

Did the slaughter of the Jews follow the preva­lence of gross infidelity among them? When did infidelity ever raise the head of opposition against the truth, so vigorously as in the present day? It was common with the Jews just before their over­throw, to make a jest of divine things, and to deride as so many senseless tales and juggling impostures, the sacred oracles of their prophets! Such is the testimony of Josephus. Who cannot bear testimony that at the present time, divine subjects are held up [Page 35] to public derision; that Christianity is termed a juggle; that its defenders are pronounced impostors; its prophecies absurd, and that in the view of thousands it merits the contempt of every philosophic mind? It deserves to be well considered, that since the gospel system has been introduced, there never was a time when infidels were so numerous. Eccle­siastical History informs us of the various opposition it has suffered. At one time it was opposed by attempts to reconcile it with heathen philosophy, at another by clothing it with the trappings of super­stition. With a sickleness resembling king Nebu­chadnezzar's, men have at one season declared its enemies ought to be put to death, and at another have martyred millions of its friends: but infidelity like the present is no where recorded.

Until within these few years, infidels were few as serpent in a cultivated country. Their characters were concealed under the name of christians, and their sentiments when published, occasionally and cautiously introduced in the midst of a relation of historical facts*. But now restraints are shaken off, and men glory in their unbelief. The hoary sinner and the deluded youth unite to assert that the religion of Jesus is folly; while hand in hand they practice the vices it condemns.

But what means this mighty revolution in the world of seeming christians? Are ye at a loss, my hearers, to form a judgement on what you daily see and hear? Let Jude instruct you: "Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that there should be mockers in the LAST TIME, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts." Jesus hath told us that God will avenge his own elect, he will avenge them speedily. "Nevertheless, when the Son [Page 36] of Man cometh shall he find FAITH on the earth?" Shall he not rather find infidel infatuation? Peter tell us, that "there shall come in the LAST DAYS, scoffers walking after their own lusts and saying, where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Indeed, while we indulge all that diffidence, which the nature of prophecy and our subjection to mistake require, there is such general, such great, such novel and such various opposition now made against the Lord and his Christ, that we feel little difficulty in saying, Little children, it is the LAST TIME: and, as ye have heard that Anti-christ shall come, even now there are many Anti-christ's, whereby we know it is the LAST TIME.

In conjunction with these remarks, we may observe that the important improvements which of late years have been made in science, seem to be opening the way for the introduction of the latter days.

The art of printing has contributed greatly to the illumination of the minds of men *. Books, the grand medium of information, are now widely circulated and easily obtained. The labour of transcribing is no longer requisite. In each quarter of the world the Press is in motion, and will, we trust, under the divine hand, prove an auxiliary mean of causing the earth soon to be full of the knowledge of the Lord. Improvements in natural philosophy have of late been great and rapid. Numerous machines are invented which lessen manual labour. The tilling of the ground is better understood, easier effected, and far more advanta­geous. The properties of vegetables are better known, and more generally appropriated. The science of medicine has undergone an amazing [Page 37] revolution. The diseases of the animal system are classed with greater perspicuity and removed with increasing facility. Improvements in navigation have been equally great. The confident seaman now crosses an ocean of a thousand leagues with more safety, than men anciently passed a river of a thousand yards. Guided by his faithful compass, he ventures on the pathless deep, bids adieu to joyful shores, and through awful billows in company with the dolphin, the shark, the whale, and the sea-snake, searches for lands on the other side of the globe. By ingenious traversings, the opposition of the winds is overcome and the same blast is made to drive along vessels in every direction. It is from hence that lands separated from each other by wide and turbulent waters are united in manners, in interest, and in prosperity. It is by means of navi­gation we look for the establishment of the gospel in the islands of the earth. Surely, Great Redeemer! the isles, wait for thee, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far. Missionaries upon the ocean shall go out with joy, waves like mountains shall break forth before them into singing, and as they approach the remotest shores, the trees of the forests shall clap their hands.

The natural rights of men here been more clearly ascertained and more confidently asserted than in ages past, and a revolutionary spirit is now gaining ground through the whole province of civil and ecclesiastical institution. Wickedness is employed by Providence in ruining wickedness. Among the powers of the earth as in the army of the Midianites, the Lord seems to be setting every man's hand against his fellow. Infidelity demolishes superstition, and impatience of every restraint is the ruin of tyranny.

For several years past, how has the mind of man been agitated! Events which anciently occupied an age, are now accomplished in a day. Political [Page 38] calculation is altogether defeated, and men stand wondering what will be the issue of the extraordinary process. As an accelerated velocity in matter implies an approximation to the point of attraction, so the increasing rapidity in the motions of the governments of the earth, intimates their nearness to that state of rest, when the Prince of Peace shall sway an universal sceptre. The four grand monarchies are destroyed, in the latter of which the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never he destroyed. The stone, which brake in pieces the image, composed of the gold of Assyria, the silver of Persia, the brass of Greece, and the iron of Rome, has swelled into a mountain and is filling the earth. Its progress many of the offended sons of men are striving to retard; but the effort is as foolish and useless as the conduct of the Thracians in discharging arrows at the heavens, because angry at unseasonable showers. Stop the revolution of the earth, arrest time in its flight, and then try to hinder the advance of the Redeemer's kingdom. Hush the roaring of summer thunders, and then silence the deepening groans of creation, waiting for the adoption.

It is a pleasing presage that a MISSIONARY SPIRIT has gone forth in the world. Among the rivers in Asia, in the wilds of Africa, and on the mountains of America, publishers of salvation are to be found. The firmament of the church is widening and new stars are displaying the new creation's glory. Hindoos are ceasing to worship their Ganges, and idols are famished. The Ethiopian is chilled with the view of his crimes, and the Greenlander warmed with redeeming love. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even, glory to the righteous.


In the interior of the country we inhabit, there are thousand of Indians who are covered with gross darkness. We have brought our families and our [Page 39] manners to their shores, let us shew them, that we have brought with us a volume which may prove a light unto their feet and a lamp to their paths. Let us point them to the mark of the prize of the high calling of christians, a mark by which they may "steer" with confidence through "the wilderness" of this perplexing world.

Let neither their imagined virtues* nor their real vices prevent your exertions.

Are Indians unclean? Send the gospel among them. This will teach every one how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. It will shew to them that marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but that whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Are they filthy in their manners and persons? Send them the gospel. They will learn from it to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, their bodies will be washed as with pure water. The body will be respected when regarded as a temple for the Holy Ghost. Health and clean­liness follow the pious observance of the Lord's day.

Are Indians drunkards? Send the gospel among them. Let Missionaries cry at the door of their tents, Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness! Wo unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink, that [Page 40] continue unto night, until wine (or rum) enflame them. When they know that drunkenness at last biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder, and that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God, we may expect that by this vice, whole tribes will be no more destroyed, and that Indians will cease to glory in their shame.

Are they gluttonous? Send them the gospel, and their belly will soon cease to be their God. The body will be kept under, and be brought into subjection. Assisted to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, provision will not be made for the flesh to fulfil its lusts. They will use the world as not abusing it.

Are Indians treacherous? Send the gospel among them, that they may have their conversation in simplicity and godly sincerity. It is only by this means that with respect to public treaties, or private dealings, you will be prevented from saying their tongue is an arrow shot out, it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably with his mouth, but in heart he layeth wait. Embracing the religion of the king of truth, they will become true men.

Are they cruel? Send them the gospel! Instead of regarding compassion as effeminacy, they will con­sider it as a mark of human greatness. Instruments of cruelty shall be sought for in vain, in their habi­tations. Under the influence of Christianity the scalping knife and the hatchet will become useless, and the war-hoop and death-song be forgotten. The lion and the wolf shall become gentle as the kid or the lamb. That heart cannot be cruel in which the love of God is shed abroad.

Are Indians idle? * Send the gospel among them. We commmanded you, say the apostles, that if any [Page 41] would not work, neither should he eat. We beseech you that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, that ye may walk honestly.

Are they dishonest? Send them the gospel. Let them know, that this is the will of God that no man go beyond or defraud his brother in any matter, because that the Lord is the avenger of all such. Let him that stole, steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good. Let none suffer as a thief.

Are Indians fond of gaming? Send the gospel among them! By teaching its converts to come out from ungodly company, to care for them of their own houshold, and to shun deceit and lying, it destroys the injurious practice. Such who beguile unstable souls, having hearts exercised with covetous practices are cursed children. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings, who shall receive the reward of unrighte­ousness.

Are they in the habit of degrading their women? Send them the gospel, which says, Let the husband render to the wife due benevolence, giving honour to her as the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life. Let every one of you love his wife even as himself.

The gospel is suited to the removal of the vices which disgrace the Indian tribes; and where it is received in power, instead of the brier, will come up the fir-tree, and instead of the thorn, the myrtle tree. Instead of uncleanness, there will be purity; instead of drunkenness, sobriety; instead of treachery, integrity; instead of cruelty, mercy; instead of indolence, industry; instead of theft, honesty; and instead of contempt for females; the mother, the wife, the daughter, and the sister will be loved and respected as tender, faithful friends.

[Page 42]This conviction, united with an ardent desire to glorify God in the exercise of Christian benevolence towards the heathen, gave birth to the PHILADEL­PHIA MISSIONARY SOCIETY*. This Society, while it is anxious that the heathen may hear the faithful saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; is desirous of introducing among the Indians some of those arts which lead the way to civilization, ignorance of which is an indirect auxiliary to the commission of various crimes. The introduction of the loom, the forge, and the plough, of tame animals, and of useful metals is contemplated; that by the increase of civil information, the wall of partition [Page 43] between Indians and the United States may be broken down, and the tomahawk and the bayonet become useless.

Every institution of this nature merits patronage; and it becomes each individual to exercise his influence for the advancement of so pious a design. Shall I attempt to produce farther arguments to excite you to fulfil the good pleasure of God? Shall I remind you of the prodigious numbers of our fellow men who are yet involved in ignorance and misery? Shall I press on you the value of the gospel, that it consists of glad tidings to perishing sinners? Shall I remind you of the example of Jesus who went about doing good, and whose zeal for the house of God consumed him? Shall I refer you to the holy apostles, who counted not their lives dear, so they might fulfil their ministerial course? Shall I press on you, that zeal for the Lord of hosts has lately given rise to many missionary societies, and refer you to Scotland, to Germany, to England and to New-York? Need I tell you that carelessness is guilt, and indolence ignoble? Shall I point you to nature, full of labour all around you, and invite restless winds, rolling tides, rising vegetables, and revolving orbs to put your inactivity to the blush? Shall I exhibit the encouragements to sending missionaries among the Indians, derivable from an Indian's believing in the Great Spirit and in a future state; from the peace now subsisting between them and us, and from their proximity to us? Shall I assert the honor of being fellow-workers with God, the pleasure that springs from fulfilling our duty and doing good, and the probability of success deducible from the signs of the times? I persuade myself the task is unnecessary. I persuade myself that you are ready to cry out, How shall we begin to testify our zeal? what immediate measure shall we adopt for aiding so benevolent a design? I congratulate myself on being able to assist your pleasures, in hopes of [Page 44] seeing this evening a fulfilment of that animating prophecy. They shall bring their silver and their gold with them unto the name of the Lord thy God. At the close of this service your liberality will have a fair opportunity for its exertion. The society, for which I have this evening the honour to plead, is weak; it has implored the fatherly care of Heaven, and now would welcome assistance from you. As yet 'tis a little one, but we trust the little one will become a thousand. In the exercise of that generous zeal which will give pleasure in death, and expecting the Master's blessing, we hope to see mountains and hills, the Andes and the Alleghany break forth into singing, and the trees of the wilder­ness clap their hands in gospel harmony. The Lord will hasten it in his time.


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