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have on the surface of this globe a population almost infinitely diversified: the polished European, and his descendants not less elevated, in almost every land ; the wild Arab, the wandering Tartar, the inert southern Asiatic, the bigoted Jew, the proud and self-confident Turk, the fierce cannibal of Australia, the debased Hottentot, the ignorant Greenlander, and the rude and savage tenant of our own native forests :-and these furnish but a mere specimen of the human race. Nations differ in almost every thing—in their modes of obtaining a livelihood, in civilization and intellectual culture, in moral habits and religious rites.
But the Gospel makes an appeal which men, in all these diversified national circumstances, are capable of feeling. This appeal they have felt. In the days of the apostles, the truth of God overleaped the frame-work of national caste, and evinced, in every land where its truths were announced, its power to save. And facts of the same character are interwoven with the whole history of modern missions. Such have been the triumphs of the Gospel in our day, that the foolishness of infidelity, which has loudly asserted that Christianity cannot be propagated among the nations who differ in their habits and religions from those who have long been under the influence of this system, has been rebuked and put to silence. The religion of the Bible is just such a scheme as
is demanded, in order to accomplish the great objects which it proposes. As it is designed for a world, so it is suited to the exigencies of a world. It has a universality of purpose, and a universality of character, in order to carry out and perfect that purpose. It takes the world as it is, and goes about the work of making it better. It can reach men just where they are, notwithstanding their national peculiarities, and make them the friends of God and the heirs of heaven. It needs no pioneer. It asks for no herald to invoke other agencies to prepare the way for its coming and reception. It is itself the pioneer of Jehovahthe herald of the great King.
These things can be affirmed only of the Gospel. Were we to examine all the systems of ancient and modern philosophy which have proposed to make men wise and happy, and submit them to a critical analysis, we should perceive that they are all strongly tinged with the spirit of the age and nation in which they originated ; and were, at the same time, capable only of a limited application. Carry these systems across a few lines of latitude or longitude, and they become exotics in an ungenial clime and perish of themselves. Protract their existence a single century, upon the very soil which gave them birth, and among the very people who originated and cherished their dogmas, and they become superannuated and die of old age. The same is true of
the religions of the world. They are all local and temporary, and well they may be, for they are dependent on circumstances for their very exist
It would be a thing next to impossible to bring the Turks and the Greenlanders to exchange religions; and yet Turkey and Greenland may be made to feel the truth of God, and submit to its power. No system of false philosophy has ever been universal—no single form of paganism has established its dominion over the nations of the earth. But the Gospel is indigenous in every soil where it is planted. It is at home in every land. . It accomplishes its own appropriate work wherever it goes,
for God is in it. I would not intimate in these remarks, that different states of society may not be more or less favorable to the propagation of the Gospel; nor deny that auxiliary agencies may be employed to unfold, diffuse, and enforce the truth of God; and least of all would I affirm that the Gospel will leave a nation as it finds it. Civilization and the useful arts of life, letters and refinement, in one word, all that can elevate man in the scale of being, promote his happiness, or adorn and beautify his social character, have never failed, other things being favorable, to follow in the footsteps of this revelation from heaven.
2. The Gospel is suited to the common wants of man.
This system was not contrived to relieve us from some factitious evils, nor to minister to our artificial wants; but it contemplates the world in its true light, and undertakes at once to mitigate, and ultimately to root out, all suffering from the kingdom of Christ.
And here we may see the difference between the Gospel and every antagonist and conflicting system. It is the difference between what is particular and what is general-between what is limited to individuals, and what is common to all men-between what is restricted to one country or one age, and what may be applied with equal propriety and practical effect to every country of the globe, or to every period from the beginning to the end of time. The Gospel overlooks, as unworthy of its high and heavenly aims, that which is circumstantial, local, and temporary; and selects, as the object of its benevolence, that which is essential, unlimited, and enduring.
Among the pagans, many a deity has derived his existence from a mountain, stream, or forest. Altars and forms of worship have been called into being to avert some impending calamity, to stay
ity, to stay the ravages of famine, to mitigate the rage of pestilence, or to turn aside the bloody scourge of war.
The form and productions of a country, the customs of domestic and social life, the prevalence of certain types of disease, the peaceful or warlike habits of a people, and an endless catalogue of like circum
stances, have not only shaped and modified, but have actually created systems of religious belief and practice.
But the Gospel is constructed upon another principle. It professes to supply what is most needful for man, upon a nobler and more magnificent scale. It never attempts, as most false religions do, to remove the trivial and incidental evils of life; to guard men against the disabilities which belong to their specific circumstances; nor to ward off disease or death by charms or talismanic power; but regarding all these as light afflictions which endure but for a moment, it settles down at once upon the common wants of men, as pilgrims on the earth and the heirs of eternity.
A few of the common wants of our dying world, for which the Gospel effectually provides, may very properly be enumerated in this place.
Man, in relation to all kinds of knowledge, is the subject of instruction; and in nothing does he more imperatively demand it than in religion. The lights of this world have become so dimmed, that he never clearly sees, nor fully performs his duties to God or his fellows, till a purer and brighter orb in heaven shines upon him. Sin has well nigh obliterated the perceptions of God and duty from the human mind. The world is perishing for the want of spiritual knowledge. This is seen and felt every where. Not a soul on earth can find the way to heaven without the special