Sidor som bilder

hinges the emancipation of his heart from a | as ever, that wealth which grows by comthraldom which represses all the spiritual petition, instead of being exhausted, this is energies of those who live without hope, what, we trust, she will ever be ready to and, therefore, live without God in the bestow on all her people. Silver and gold world. It is guilt-it is the sense of his she may have none-but such as she has 'awakened and unexpiated guilt; which she will give-she will send them to school. keeps man at so wide a distance from the She cannot make pensioners of them, but God whom he has offended. Could some will, if they like, make scholars of them. method be devised, by which God, jealous She will give them of that food by which of his honour, and man jealous of his safe-she nurses and sustains all her offspringty, might be brought together on a firm by which she renders wise the very poorest ground of reconciliation---it would trans- of her children--by which, if there be truth late the sinner under a new moral influence, in our text, she puts into many a simple to the power of which, and the charm of cottager, a glory surpassing that of the which he, before, was utterly impractica-mightiest potentates in our world. To hold ble. Jesus Christ died, the just for the un-out any other boon, is to hold out a projust, to bring us unto God. This is a truth, mise which she and no country in the uniwhich, when all the world shall receive it, verse, can ever realize-it is to decoy, and all the world will be renovated. Many do then most wretchedly to deceive--it is to not see how a principle, so mighty in ope- put on a front of invitation, by which numration, should be enveloped in a proposi-bers are allured to hunger, and nakedness, tion so simple of utterance. But let a man, and contempt. It is to spread a table, and by his faith in this utterance, come to know to hang out such signals of hospitality, as that God is his friend, and that heaven is draw around it a multitude expecting to be the home of his fondest expectation; and fed, and who find that they must famish in contact with such new elements as these, over a scanty entertainment. A system he will evince the reach, and the habit, and replete with practical mischief can put on the desire of a new creature. It is this the semblance of charity, even as Satan, doctrine which is the alone instrument of the father of all lying and deceitful proGod for the moral transformation of our mises, can put on the semblance of an anspecies. When every demonstration from gel of light. But we trust, that the country the chair of philosophy shall fail, this will in which we live will ever be preserved achieve its miracles of light and virtue from the cruelty of its tender mercies-among the people---and however infidelity that she will keep by her schools, and her may now deride---or profaneness may now Scriptures, and her moralizing process; and lift her appalling voice upon our streets---that, instead of vainly attempting so to or licentiousness may now offer her sicken-force the exuberance of Nature, as to meet ing spectacles--or moral worthlessness may and satisfy the demands of a population have now deeply tainted the families of whom she has led astray, she will make it our outcast and long-neglected population, her constant aim so to exalt her population, ---however unequal may appear the con- as to establish every interest that belongs test with the powers and the principles of to them, on the foundation of their own darkness---yet let not the teachers of righ-worth and their own capabilities---that teousness abandon it in despair; God will taunted, as she has been, by her contempbring forth judgment unto victory, and on tuous neighbour, for the poverty of her the triumphs of the word of his own testi- soil, she will at least prove, by deed and by mony, will he usher in the glory of the lat-example, that it is fitted to sustain an erect, ter days.

and honorable, and high-minded peasantry; There is one kind of institution that and leaving England to enjoy the fatness never has been set up in a country, with- of her own fields, and a complacency with out deceiving and degrading its people; and her own institutions, that we shall make a another kind of institution that never has clean escape from her error, and never been set up in a country, without raising again be entangled therein-that unseduced both the comfort and the character of its by the false lights of a mistaken philanthrofamilies. We leave it to the policy of ourpy, and mistaken patriotism, we shall be sister kingdom, by the pomp and the pretension of her charities, to disguise the wretchedness which she cannot do away. The glory of Scotland lies in her schools. Out of the abundance of her moral and literary wealth, that wealth which communication cannot dissipate--that wealth, which its possessor may spread and multiply among thousands, and yet be as affluent

enabled to hold on in the way of our ancestors; to ward off every near and threatening blight from the character of our beloved people; and so to labour with the manhood of the present, and the boyhood of the coming generation, as to enrich our land with that wisdom which is more precious than gold, and that righteousness which exalteth a kingdom.


On the Duty and the Means of Christianizing our Home Population.

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."-Mark xvi. 15.

CHRISTIANITY proceeds upon the native Now, those very principles which were indisposition of the human heart to its truths so obviously acted on at the beginning, are and its lessons-and all its attempts for the also the very principles that, in all ages of establishment of itself in the world are made the church, have characterized its evangelupon this principle. It never expects that izing processes. The Bible Society is now men will, of their own accord, originate that doing, by ordinary means, what was done movement by which they are to come in by the miracle of tongues, in the days of contact with the faith of the Gospel; and, the Apostles-enabling the people of all natherefore, instead of waiting till they shall tions to read, each in their own tongue, the move toward the Gospel, it has been pro- wonderful works of God. And the Misvided, from the first, that the Gospel shall sionary Societies are sending forth, not inmove towards them. The Apostles did not spired Apostles, gifted with tongues, but the set up their stationary college at Jerusalem, | expounders of apostolical doctrine, learned in the hope of embassies from a distance in tongues, over the face of the globe. They to inquire after the recent and wondrous do not presume upon such a taste for the revelation that had broke upon the world. But they had to go forth, and to preach among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And, in like manner, it never was looked for, that men, in the ardour of their curiosity, or desire after the way of salvation, were to learn the language of the Apostles, that they might come and hear of it at their mouth. But the Apostles were miraculously gifted with the power of addressing all in their own native language-and when thus furnished, they went actively and aggressively about among them. It is no where supposed that the demand for Christianity is spontaneously, and in the first instance, to arise among those who are not Christians; but it is laid upon those who are Christians, to go abroad, and, if possible, to awaken out of their spiritual lethargy, those who are fast asleep in that worldliness, which they love, and from which, without some external application, there is no rational prospect of ever arousing them. The dead mass will not quicken into sensibility of itself; and, therefore, unless some cause of fermentation be brought to it from without, will it remain in all the sluggishness of its original nature. For there is an utter diversity between the article of Christian instruction, and the articles of ordinary merchandise. For the latter there is a demand, to which men are natively and originally urged by hunger or by thirst, or by the other physical sensations and appetites of their constitution. For the former there is no natural appetite. It is just as necessary to create a spiritual hunger, as it is to afford a spiritual refreshment; and so from the very first, do we find, that for the spread of Christianity in the world, there had to be not an itinerancy on the part of inquirers, but a busy, active, and extended itinerancy on the part of its advocates and its friends.

Gospel in heathen lands, as that the people there shall traverse seas and continents, or shall set themselves down to the laborious acquisition of some Christian language, that they might either have access to Scripture, or the ability of converse with men that are skilled in the mysteries of the faith. But this taste which they do not find, they expect to create; and for this purpose, is there now an incessant application to Pagan countries, of means and instruments from without, and many are the lengthened and the hazardous journies which have been undertaken-and voyages of splendid enterprise have recently been crowned with splendid moral achievements; insomuch, that even the ferocity and licentiousness of the savage character have given way under the power of the truth; and lands, that within the remembrance of many now alive, rankled with the worst abominations of idolatry, have now exchanged them for the arts and the decencies of civilization; for village schools, and Christian Sabbaths, and venerable pastors, who first went forth as missionaries, and, as the fruits of their apostolic labour, among these outcast wanderers, can now rejoice over holy grandsires, and duteous children, and all that can gladden the philanthropic eye, in the peace, and purity, and comfort of pious families.

Now, amid the splendour and the interest of these more conspicuous operations, it is often not adverted to, how much work of a missionary character is indispensable for perpetuating, and still more for extending Christianity at home-how families, within the distance of half a mile, may lapse, without observation or sympathy on our part, into a state of practical heathenism-how, within less than an hour's walk, hundreds may be found, who morally and spiritually live at as wide a separation from the Gospel

and all its ordinances, as do the barbarians the missionary vessel, and go in quest of of another continent-how, in many of our untaught humanity at a distance, and hold crowded recesses, the families, which, out of converse with the men of other climes, and sight, and out of Christian sympathy, have of other tongues, and rear on some barbaaccumulated there, might, at length, sink rous shore, the Christianized village, as an and settle down into a listless, and lethar- outpost in that spiritual warfare, by which gic, and to all appearance, impracticable we hope, at length, to banish depravity and population-leaving the Christian teacher guilt, even from the farthest extremities of as much to do with them as has the first our species. These are noble efforts, and missionary when he touches on a yet un- altogether worthy of being extended and broken shore. It is vain to expect, that multiplied a hundred fold. But they are not by a proper and primary impulse originat- the only efforts of Christian philanthropy; ing with themselves, those aliens from nor can they be sustained as a complete Christianity will go forth on the inquiry discharge from the obligation of preaching after it. The messengers of Christianity the Gospel to every creature under heaven. must go forth upon them. Many must go For the accomplishment of this, there must to and fro amongst the streets, and the lanes, not only be a going forth on the vast and and those deep intricacies that teem with untrodden spaces that are without; there human life, to an extent far beyond the eye must be a filling up of the numerous and or imagination of the unobservant passen- peopled vacancies that are within-a busy, ger, if we are to look for the increase either internal locomotion, that might circulate, of a spiritual taste, or of scriptural know- and disperse, and branch off to the right and ledge among the families. That mass which to the left, among the many thousand famiis so dense of mind, and, therefore, so dense of immortality, must be penetrated in the length and in the breadth of it; and then many will be found, who, however small their physical distance from the sound of the Gospel, stand at as wide a moral distance therefrom, as do the children of the desert, and to overpass this barrier, to send out upon this outfield, such ministrations as might reclaim its occupiers to the habits and the observations of a Christian land, to urge and obtrude, as it were, upon the notice of thousands, what, without such an "How can they believe," says Paul, advancement, not one of them might have "without a preacher," and "how can they moved a footstep in quest of- these are so preach, except they be sent ?" To make many approximations, that, to all intents sure this process, there must be a juxtapoand purposes, have in them the charac-sition between him who declares the word, ter, and might, with the blessing of God, have also the effect of a missionary enterprise.

lies which are at hand: And thoroughly to pervade these families; to make good a lodgment in the midst of them, for the nearer or the more frequent ministrations of Christianity than before; to have gained welcome for the Gospel testimony into their houses, and, in return, to have drawn any of them forth to attendance on the place of Sabbath and of solemn services; this, also, is to act upon our text, this is to do the part, and to render one of the best achievements of a missionary.

and them who are addressed by it; but to make good this juxtaposition, the Apostle never imagines that alienated man is, of his own accord, to move towards the preacher

When we are commanded to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every--and therefore, that the preacher must be creature, our imagination stretches forth be- sent, or must move towards him. And, peryond the limits of Christendom; and we haps, it has not been adverted to, that in advert not to the millions who are within the very first steps of this approximation, these limits, nay, within the sight of Chris- there is an encouragement for going ontian temples, and the sound of Sabbath bells, ward, and for plying the families of a city yet who never heard the Gospel of Jesus population with still nearer and more beChrist. They live to manhood, and to old setting urgencies than before. It is not age, deplorably ignorant of the way of sal-known how much the very juxtaposition of vation, and in ignorance, too, not the less deplorable than it is wilful. It is this which so fearfully aggravates their guilt, that on the very confines of light, they remain in darkness: and thereby prove, that it is a darkness which they love, and which they choose to persist in. Thus it will be found more tolerable for the heathen abroad, than for the heathen at home; and therefore it is, that for the duty of our text, the wilds of Pagan idolatry, or of Mahometan delusion, are not the only theatres-that for its full performance, it is not enough that we equip

an edifice for worship, tells upon the churchgoing habit of the contiguous householders; how many there are who will not move at the sound of a distant bell, that with almost mechanical sureness, will go forth and mingle with the stream of passengers who are crowding the way to a place that is at hand ---how children, lured, perhaps, at the first, by curiosity, are led so to reiterate their attendance, as to be landed in a most precious habit for youth and for manhood---how this tendency spreads by talk, and sympathy, and imitation, through each little vicinity;

and thus, in groups, or in clusters, right adjoining families be gained over to the ordinances of religion---how the leaven, when once set a-going, might spread by the fermentation of converse, and mutual sentiment, through the whole lump; till over the face of a whole city department, the Christian fabric, which stands conspicuously in the midst of it, and whither its people are rung every Sabbath, to the ministrations of the Gospel, might come to be its place of general repair; and attendance there be at length proceeded on as one of the decencies of its established observation. Some of the influences in this process may appear slight or fanciful to the superficial eye; and yet they are known and familiarly known, to be of powerful operation.

thy with itself through the hearts of a listening congregation-unless, acquitting himself as an upright minister of the New Testament, he expound with faithfulness and some degree of energy, those truths which are unto salvation; and so distribute among his fellow-sinners, the alone substantial and satisfying food of the soul-unless such a demonstration be given of the awful realities in which we deal, as to awaken in many bosoms the realizing sense of death, and of the judgment-seat-and above all, unless the demands of the law, with its accompanying severities and terrors, be so urged on the conviction of guilty man, as to make it fall with welcome upon his ear, when told, that unto him a Saviour has been born. These are the alone elements of a You must surely be aware, that it makes rightful and well-earned popularity. Eloall the practical difference in the world, to quence may dazzle-and argument may the retail and custom even of an ordinary compel the homage of its intellectual admirshop, should it deviate, by a very small ers-and fashion may even, when these are hairbreadth, from the minutest convenience wanting, sustain through its little hour of of the public-should it retire, by ever so smile and sunshine, a complacent attendlittle from the busy pavement, or have to be ance on the reigning idol of the neighbourascended by two or three steps, or require hood-but it is only if armed with the panthe slightest turn and change of direction oply of Scriptural truth, that there will from the beaten path which passengers do gather and adhere to him a people who inveterately walk in. And human nature hunger for the bread of life, and who make on a week-day, is human nature on the a business of their eternity. To fill the Sabbath. There is no saying on how slight church well, we must fill the pulpit well, or trivial a circumstance it may be made to and see that the articles of the peace-speakturn; and odd as the illustration may ap- ing blood, and the sanctifying Spirit, are pear, we feel confident that we have not, at the topics that be dearest to the audience, present, either a profound or a pious hearer, and on which the Christian orator who adwho will undervalue one single stepping- dresses them most loves to expatiate. These stone, by which a hearer more might be form the only enduring staple of good and brought to the house of God---who will de- vigorous preaching; and unless they have spise any of the means, however humble, a breadth, and a prominency, and a fond that bring a human creature within the reiteration in the sermons that shall be dereach of that word, which is able to sanc-livered from the place where we now tify and save him--who will forget the stand,* they either will not, or ought not wonted style of God's administrations, by to be listened to. which, on these minutest incidents of life, Yet grieved and disappointed should we the greatest events of history are oft sus- be, did he confine himself to Sabbath minispended---or, who will deny that the same trations-did he not go forth, and become Being, who, by the flight of a single bird, the friend and the Christian adviser of all turned the pursuers of Mahomet away from who dwell within the limits of his vineyard him, and so spared the instrument by which-did he not act the part of an Apostle a gross and grievous superstition hath found an ascendency over millions of immortal spirits, that he can enlist in the cause of his own Son, even the least and slightest familiarities of human practice; and with links, which in themselves are exceeding small, can fasten and uphold the chain, which runs through the earthly pilgrimage of man, and reaches to his eternity.

But after all, though local conveniency may allure, in the first instance, to the house of God, local conveniency will not detain the attendance of multitudes, unless there be a worth and a power in the services which are rendered there---unless there be a moral earnestness in the heart of the preacher, which may pour forth a sympa

among you, from house to house, and vary the fatigue of his preparations for the pul pit, by a daily walk amongst the ignorant, or the sick, or the sorrowful, or the dying. It is your part to respect, as you would a sanctuary, that solitude to which, for hours together, he should commit himself, in the work of meditating the truths of salvation; and it is his part to return your delicacy by his labours of love, by the greetings of his cordial fellowship, by his visits of kindness. It is a wrong imagination on the side of a

This Sermon was preached at the opening of a city chapel, which has a local district assigned to it, and whose rule of seat-letting is on the territorial principle.

people, when they look on the Sabbath for | have a warm and a willing reception upon a vigorous exposition of duty or doctrine, yours. It is utterly a mistake, that any from him whom they tease, and interrupt, population, whatever be their present habits, and annoy, through the week; and it is a will discourage the approaches of a Chriswrong imagination on the side of a pastor, tian minister to their families. It is a parwhen looking on the church as the sole ticularly wrong imagination, that in cities arena of his usefulness, he does not relax there is a hard or an insolent defiance the labour of a spirit that has been much among the labouring classes, which no asexercised on the great topics of the Chris-siduities of service or of good-will on the tian ministry, by frequent and familiar in- part of their clergyman can possibly overtercourse among those, whom, perhaps, he come. Let him but try what their tem has touched or arrested by his Sabbath de- perament is in this matter, and he will find monstrations. You ought to intrude not it in every way as courteous and inviting, upon his arrangements, and his studies; as among the most primitive of our Scottish but he ought, in these arrangements, to peasantry. Let him be but alert to every call provide the opportunities of ample con- of threatening disease among his people, verse with every spiritual patient, with and the ready attendant upon every deathevery honest inquirer. You should be bed-let him ply not his fatiguing, but his aware of the distinction that he makes be- easy and most practicable rounds of visitatween that season of the day which is set tion in the midst of them-let him be zealapart for retirement, and that season of the ous for their best interests, and not in the day which lies open to the duty of holding spirit of a fawning obsequiousness, but in courteous fellowship with all; and of hiding that of a manly, intelligent, and honest not himself from his own flesh. It is the friendship, let him stand forth as the guargross insensibility which obtains to the pri-dian of the poor, the guide and the counselvileges both of a sacred and literary order-lor of their children; it is positively not in it is the disturbance of a perpetual inroad human nature to withstand the charm and on that prophet's chamber, which ought, at all times, to be a safe retreat of contemplation-it is the incessant struggle that must be made for a professional existence, with irksome application, and idle ceremony, and even the urgencies of friendship; these are sufficient to explain those pulpit imbecilities, of which many are heard to complain, while themselves they help to create them. And, therefore, if you want to foster the energies of your future clergyman; if you would co-operate with him in those mental labours, by which he provides through the week for the repast of your Sabbath festival; if it is your desire that an unction and a power shall be felt in all his pulpit minis-outset, from the district which has been astrations; if here you would like to catch a signed to it, we have no expectation. But glow of heaven's sacredness, and receive we do fondly hope, as the fruit of his unthat fresh and forcible impulse upon your wearied services, that its minister will draw spirits, which might send you forth again the kind regards of the people after him; with a redoubled ardour of holy affection that an impression will be made by his and zeal on the business of life, and make powerful and reiterated addresses in the you look and long for the coming Sabbath, bosom of their families, which may not as another delightful resting-place on your stop there; that the man who prays at every journey towards Zion-then suffer him to funeral, and sits by every dying bed, and breathe, without molestation, in that pure seizes every opening for Christian usefuland lofty region, where he might inhale a ness that is afforded to him by the visitaseraphic fervency, by which to kindle among tions of Providence on the houses of the his hearers his own celestial fire, his own surrounding neighbourhood, and who, while noble enthusiasm. If it be this, and not the a fit companion for the great in his vineglee of companionship, or the drudgeries yard, is a ready, and ever accessible friend of ordinary clerkship that you want from to the poorest of them all; it is utterly imyour minister, then leave, I beseech you, possible, that such a man, after his work of his time in his own hand, and hold his asy-varied and active benevolence, will have lum to be inviolable.

But, we trust, that from this asylum his excursions will be frequent; and sure we are, that nought but an affectionate forthgoing is necessary on his part, that he may

the power which lie in such unwearied ministrations; and if visibly prompted by the affinity that there is in the man's heart for his fellows of the species, there will, by a law of the human constitution, be an affinity in theirs towards him, which they cannot stifle, though they would; and they will have no wish to stifle it.

It is to this principle, little as it has been recognised, and still less as it has been proceeded on, it is to this that we confide the gathering at length of a congregation within these walls, and that too from the vicinities by which we are immediately surrounded. That the chapel will be filled at the very

nought to address on the Sabbath but empty walls. After being the eye-witness of what he does, there will spring up a most natural desire, and that cannot be resisted, to hear what he says. It is not yet known how

« FöregåendeFortsätt »