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and often distorted masses, while many dreary corners and recesses are left to utter darkness and desolation. Hence, it becomes more decided ly the duty of the Christian in such an age, than in times of greater 'simplicity, and less pretension, to provide that the knowledge of Gospel truth should at least be fairly represented, and be made to keep pace with every other, that it should be diligently preached and explained to the poor, not merely as an antidote against spiritual ignorance, but against the perversions of unbelief and vulgar presumption, and that it should be carefully conveyed into those cheerless dwellings of neglected wretchedness and sin, which no light from Heaven has ever visited. There is, moreover, an elevated sentiment inseparable from the Christian heart, especially when society is advancing in every direction, and knowledge is expanding without any limit, to be zealous that the Faith which is dear to it should ever retain in the world its true attitude of superiority; that the seed which a Divine Hand sowed, should not seem to be lost among the weeds of human neglect, or the herbs of mere human cultivation ; but that the tree which has sprung from it, should distinctly rise above all others, and should visibly extend its branches more and more, to the most distant regions of the earth. If this is our noble and Christian ambition, if we are eager that, in the great march of moral and intellectual improvement, the Gospel may ever appear with its genuine authority and precedence,-0! let it then not be seen in any lower aspect of unsound or unsocial enthusiasm, of worldly accommodation, of cold formality or infirm fluctuation of opinion, of superstitious delusion, or “ profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science, falsely so called,”—but let it invariably come forward in all its serene and simple majesty, its pure and practical wisdom, its universal sympathy and benevolence, while it steadily points out alike to the high and to the low, to the learned and to the ignorant, to the poor and to the affluent,-that divine and compassionate Saviour, who came to visit us in great humility, and who, for our sakes, became poor,--the Father of Mercy, from whom He came, and whom he came to reveal,—the gracious words of instruction which he uttered, the toils of duty which he patiently bore, the perpetual kindness and humanity of his holy and perfect example, the Sacred Cross
on which he died, to give life to the world, the glory and immortality to which he rose to raise us, the high character of virtue to which we are consequently called, that “ they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again,”— and all the fair gifts of increasing good and improvement, which his Spirit is from time to time distributing to gladden and adorn the path of present existence !-How should the simplicity of such views fail to find a place in the least instructed mind? or how should not their dignity and wisdom be congenial to the highest and most cultivated ? How should they not hold their ground against the illusions of worldly selfishness, or turbulent discontent, orinfidel mockery ? Or can we doubt of their finally converting the world,—of all the superstitions of the nations falling down abashed, or silently vanishing in their presence,-while they come attended with the train of every good and perfect gift, and are uttered in no strain of harsh or uncharitable stricture, but in the words of Divine Compassion, which call alike to all the wanderers of the human race-"Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"
It is to these labours of wide and universal charity, and to the prospect of this glorious consummation, that the exertions of the Christian World have in our time been sedulously directed. There is no church nor sect which has not its schools of instruction for the poor, and its missionaries for the Heathen; and if, in this vast field of enterprise, and multiplicity of plans and labourers, errors have been committed, they may surely be forgiven, in consideration of the generous and indefatigable spirit which has every where been displayed, and the good which, I doubt not, has very generally been effected. It is grateful to know, that the Church of England, with which our humble Church is so happily connected, has long taken the precedence in these labours of Christian love. For more than a century the Venerable Society for which I now plead has been formed, and during that long period, has faithfully prosecuted its great design in every direction which opened to its efforts. It
It is a Society quite consistent in its character with that of the wise and temperate Church to which it is attached ; full of Faith as to the ultimate object of its endeavours-patient in watching the course of Divine Provi
dence, and never daunted by the temporary obstructions thrown in its way-quietly turning to some near and attainable object, when those that are less within its reach, seem, for a time, to be precluded and bringing into its most public exertions the simple and unostentatious form of a kindly and domestic piety. With an eye that never forsakes the most distant bearings of the Gospel in every quarter of the globe, and with a readiness to assist in every effort of Missionary zeal, where the door seems to have been distinctly opened into which the commissioned foot of man may enter; the SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE has yet wisely bestowed her chief care on the neglected or corrupt part of the population of her own land. She collects the children of its poor into schools, and while she trains them in the great truths of salvation, places them likewise in the road of virtuous industry; her noiseless and unobtrusive step is to be met in every parish of that well-ordered Land, where she appears in the humble but honourable character of Hand-maid to its National Church, and supplies the poorest of its people with the bread of life, by placing within their reach the Holy Scriptures, and the