« VorigeDoorgaan »
friends and zealous promoters of it. Christ taught the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins, of the resurrection, and future rewards and punishments, to a people who knew God, but who had corrupted the truth, and degenerated into opinions and practices altogether inconsistent with it. Christians of this country are offering the Bible, and teaching the truths of it, to nations who never heard of it before. The two cases differ very widely, and seem to require different treatment and management.
When God was graciously pleased to make himself known, and to reveal his will to the house of Israel, he promised a land flowing with milk and honey, and abounding with every thing necessary for their comfort and happiness, as an encouragement for their obedience to his righteous laws and commandments. And, beyond a doubt, the prospect of great temporal good, would operate very powerfully upon the minds of people deprived of, and strangers to, all the blessings of life, in the house of bondage in Egypt, and exposed to dangers and difficulties in the wilderness for forty years. Wherever the Bible is carried, there, a picture of England's happiness and prosperity may be, and I think should be drawn, for the purpose of exciting admiration, and curiosity. And, if heathens could be made to understand, that England was once in the same state of ignorance and barbarism that they are now in, and only emerged from it, when her people were acquainted with the truths and religion of the Bible,-if they could be made to understand, that the same cause would produce the same effect,—that the knowledge of God, followed by the practice of righteousness, is sure to “exalt any nation,”—and if they could be convinced, from the gentle, affectionate, virtuous conduct of their Christian instructors, who travel or live amongst them, that they had no other object in view than their real welfare, and the raising them to the same state of happiness with themselves and their countrymen, powerful motive would be created, to induce them to receive, examine, and understand a Book that had produced such extraordinary consequences,—such wonderful civilization, and knowledge, and happiness. If the Deity in this manner awakened the attention of Israel in Egypt, and kept it alive in the
desert,—why should not Christians try to fix the attention of people, still in darkness, ignorance, superstition, and slavery, on the happiness of England ?-a happiness, which they may attain without the dangers and difficulties that Israel encountered, before he entered the promised land? The report of England's glory has long excited the curiosity of foreigners ; -- and people, from the remote uncivilized islands of the Pacific Ocean, as well as kings, princes, and nobles from the polished courts of Europe, have visited this country, to witness its grandeur, and to see a people, who, in obedience to the commands of their Divine Master, are ever ready to relieve the distressed, to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked. If the minds of people who never heard of the true God were
thus awakened, would not religious instruction, - would not the religion that came from heaven,—the more easily and quickly enter into them, and make a deeper impression upon their hearts ?
It seems also to me, notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary, that the cause of truth would be promoted amongst heathen nations, and amongst the unlettered of every nation, by circulating everywhere a compendium, in the words of the Bible, of the laws and precepts relating to the duty of men to God and each other, - together with the important doctrine of the resurrection, and future rewards and punishments. Such a selection would occupy but little time in reading; — neither would it require any particular