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duced in health and strength that he is obliged to pass the ensuing winter in the mild climate of Italy, and whom divine providence thus brought to see, with deep emotion, this much revered person who, while among us, expressed himself of our mutual friend with earnest reverence and love-soon after this remarkable interview, the Hindoo sage, himself revered and beloved, departed from the habitation of friendship where, for nearly two years preceding, he had found, in every sense, a home, purposing to spend his winter in Devonshire, and to fulfil in his way his promise of visiting us here ;* thus authorizing those to expect renewed and frequent intercourse who already knew him, and giving to others the reasonable hope that they should know him for themselves, and perhaps find some means of testifying their respect and admiration.
The affecting termination is known to all. In this house of prayer he worshiped on two successive Lord's-days. On the second, my colleague officiated. On the first I addressed this Congregregation from words in the xviiith chapter of the First Book of Kings; where, after the solemn sacrifice on Mount Carmel, and the proof from heaven that Jehovah is God alone, the Prophet of the Lord, after sending for six times in vain, received at the seventh, the report of his servant, There ariseth a little cloud out of the sea like a man's hand.' In that discourse I adverted, with earnest respect, to the recent death of Mr. Wilberforce, who had lived to see the seal put to the accomplishment of purposes to which the greatest labours of his life had
* He had, from soon after his arrival in England, engaged to take up his residence at Stapleton Grove when he visited Bristol,
been directed ;* and it was my intention, when I again preached in the morning, to continue the subject, by adverting to various other facts in the divine government, where great and effectual and lasting good was begun in circumstances which called for the faith as well as the hopefulness of the servants of God; in some of which it seemed as if nothing were achieved or even effectually commenced ;-all contributing to cheer the wearied disappointed heart under difficulties and opposition, and affording abundant encouragement to "the patience of hope and the labour of love." But when the expected time arrived, my revered friend had been for some days confined to the chamber of sickness which proved the chamber of death. I was myself kept at home by indisposition ; and I was unable to go to see him till my presence was likely to prove injurious. From the morning preceding his illness, therefore, I saw him no more, till the rest of death had ended all suffering, and, as respects personal intercourse, all earthly hope : but then, with his more privileged friends who had attended him to the last, I witnessed the benignant expression, still surviving, which had so often given a charm to his noble countenance, and which those who shared his intimacy can never have effaced from their recollection.
I have passed the bounds which I had in purpose; and may have appeared to some to associate myself too much with the honoured dead : but what I have said may serve to explain the depth and strength of that personal attachment which I entertained towards him ; and, at the same time, be no inappropriate introduction, and in some cases present a reasonable ground, for those statements which, after observations of a more general nature respecting the diffusion of the Gospel among the Heathen, I may have the power to lay before this assembly. These observations. I shall introduce with the words of the Prophet DANIEL, which we find in the viith chapter of his prophecy, the 13th and 14th verses.
* See Appendix (B).
I SAW IN THE NIGHT VISIONS, AND, BEHOLD, ONE LIKE THE SON OF MAN CAME WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN, AND CAME TO THE ANCIENT OF DAYS; AND THEY BROUGHT HIM NEAR BEFORE HIM: AND THERE WAS GIVEN HIM DOMINION, AND GLORY, AND A KINGDOM, THAT ALL PEOPLE, NATIONS, AND LANGUAGES SHOULD SERVE HIM: HIS DOMINION IS AN EVERLASTING DOMINION, WHICH SHALL NOT PASS AWAY; AND HIS KINGDOM THAT WHICH SHALL NOT
This sublime declaration of the prophetic spirit cannot be fulfilled till all the nations of the earth shall form a part of the kingdom of the Messiah ; and it will be fulfilled in its completest extent, for it proceeded from him who is almighty, eternal, and unchangeable. The christian believer who has cordial faith in this and other related prophecies, must have the settled unwavering conviction, that the day will come when the knowledge which is 'life eternal' shall be diffused into every region, and received into the heart of every rational being, on the face of the earth.
No one who has a just sense of the value of the Gospel, can be indifferent to the spread of its divine truths, or to the increase of their influence where they are already received. Let the question be fairly put to any who have imbibed its sacred principles ; who have seen how it communicates light and guidance, how it raises and refines the purposes and desires, strengthens in weakness, supports in sorrow, heals the contrite heart, cherishes the best affections, is continually expanding, invigorating, and elevating the understanding, and directing the soul heavenward ;--whether they can conceive a more inestimable treasure, or can think it a matter of no moment whether or not others share it with them. He who prays that the kingdom of God may come, and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven, must, if he pray with the spirit and with the understanding, be solicitous to promote the practical reception of the Gospel ; and if, in any good degree, he bear the image of his Lord, he will decline no exertion, nor shun any difficulty or sacrifice, where he has a reasonable prospect that he may thereby promote the great end of God's moral government, the virtue and happiness of his rational offspring. From him whom he views with gratitude as his benefactor, and reverences as his sovereign and judge, he has learnt, that to know, with the knowledge of the heart, 'the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent' is life eternal': and if he have himself, as a sinful, dying, accountable creature, experienced, in godly sorrow, its precious promises of divine mercy, its strength in temptation, its guidance in spiritual perplexity, its consolations, its warnings, and its hopes—hopes full of immortality-he will love much ; and grateful to him who suffered and died to extend and assure the gracious blessings of the
Gospel, and to him from whose tender mercy they sprang, he will deem it an imperative duty to do what in him lies, to enable others to share in those privileges and blessings, and to become faithful subjects of the Messiah's kingdom.
True it is, he that hath apportioned to his rational offspring their various degrees of light, will not expect from them equal degrees of spiritual excellence. The improvement of ten talents will not be expected from him who hath but one assigned to him. And what is plainly taught by revelation of the character and dealings of the Universal Father, affords no support to those gloomy and agonizing apprehensions respecting the final condition of such as have not had the Gospel proposed to them, which have led many of our christian brethren, from the most honourable motives, to forced, premature, and often useless exertions to spread the knowledge of Christ among the Heathen. But because these are in the hands of a merciful Father, and because their doom will be decided by a Judge whom his wisdom and love as well as justice will guide, shall we therefore be indifferent to the diffusion among them of that knowledge which will enlighten their consciences, expand their understanding, and refine their hearts, and which will improve their condition in this state of being, as well as prepare them for higher and yet higher measures of holiness and happiness in a state of perfect light and blessedness ? No one thinks himself justified in leaving his children uninstructed, because, if they grow up in ignorance, less improvement will be required from them: very few would, from such partial and narrow sentiments, leave the poor around them in ignorance, when they