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till we meet our brethren in other fields and unite with them in completing the harvest of the world.
We owe the sincerest gratitude to God for giving us our existence in such a day as this. Many prophets and kings desired to see this day and saw it not. One spirit has seized the Christian world to send the Gospel, with a great company of its publishers, to all the nations of the earth. Missionary and Bible societies, those stupendous monuments of Christian charity, have risen so rapidly and in so great numbers throughout Europe and America, that in contemplating them, we are "like them that dream." These societies have already accomplished wonders, and are constantly stretching forward to future achievements beyond the reach of imagination. On the burning sands of Africa, where Christian feet never before trod, there is the holy band of missionaries, strug. gling, amidst dangers and deaths, to lead the sable tribes of Ethiopia to stretch forth their hands to God. On the plains of Hindostan, a “consecrated host" are translating the Scriptures into more than thirty different languages, spoken by a population greater than that of all Europe. On the borders of China they have produced a version which will give the oracles of God to one quarter of the population of the globe. In the southern islands a nation is born in a day. From the bill of Zion, from the top of Calvary,—they are freighting every caravan of pilgrims with Bibles for all the countries of the east. Certainly the angel has begun his flight through the midst of heaven," having the everlasting Gospel to preach—to every nation and kindred, and tongue and people."*
My soul is enlarged and stands erect as I look down the declivity of years and see the changes which these young Davids, under God, will make in all the earth. Countless millions are shortly to awake from the sleep and darkness of a hundred ages to hail the day that will never go down. I see the darkness rolling upon itself and passing away from a thousand lands. I see a cloudless day following and laying itself over all the earth. I see the nations coming up from the neighbourhood of the brutes to the dignity of the sons of God, from the stye in which they had wallowed to the purity of the divine image. I see the meekness of the Gospel assuaging their ferocious passions, melting down a million contending units into one, silencing the clangour of arms, and
Rev. xiv. 6.
swelling into life a thousand budding charities which had died under the long winter. I hear the voice of their joy. It swells from the valleys and echoes from the hills. I already hear on the eastern breeze the songs of new-born nations. I already catch from the western gale the praise of a thousand islands. I ascend the Alps and see the darkness retiring from the papal world. I ascend the Andes and see South America and all the islands of the Pacific one altar. I ascend the mountains of Thibet, and hear from the plains of China and from every jungle and pagoda of Hindostan the praises of the living God. I see all Asia bowing before him who eighteen centuries ago hung in the midst of them on Calvary. I traverse oceans and hear from every floating Bethel the songs of the redeemed.
« The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Come that blessed day. Let my eyes once behold the sight, and then give this worthless body to the worms.
PSALK cxxx. 2.- Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
It is no uncommon thing for men in Christian lands to profess a belief in divine revelation merely from habit and example Men who from their infancy have been instructed in the principles and duties of christianity, never sink to the degradation of paganism, and it is hard for them to descend to the reproaches of infidelity; though their religion may be only hereditary, and their belief in revelation fortified more by the traditions of their fathers than by any rational and sound conviction. Far be it from me to intimate that this prepossession exerts no benignant influence, or that it is not an influence of the most enviable kind. But this is not the reception which the Bible demands. The credentials of its high-born origin are of such unquestionable force and authority, that it solemnly and fearlessly invites a judgment which is the result of thorough investigation. Such an investigation is demanded, as the only course of safety to the sinner, of strong consolation to the christian, and of due respect to the Great Author of revelation
In examining the question, Whether the Bible is the word of God, we should expect to find in the Book itself decisive marks of its di. vine origin. Nor is this expectation defeated. God has magnified his word above all his name. There are no such illustrations of the Deity No. 5.
as are found in his word. Do the heavens and the earth declare the glory of God? Do the works of creation and the administration of providence disclose his divine nature, develope his love and wisdom and power, and all his essential greatness and goodness? and do they bear the impress of his hand ? Much more do we see the hand and character of God in the Bible, and read his name, written as with sun-beams, on every page of this holy book.
Were there no other evidence, one would think that the attentive perusal of the sacred pages would be enough to convince any impartial mind that they are not of human invention. I say, an attentive perusal of the sacred pages; for no man ought to consider himself qualified to sit in judgment on the internal evidences of divine inspiration, who is not familiar with the Sacred Volume : And the more familiar be is, the more competent is he to scrutinize and weigh the testimony. The Abbé Winklemann, perhaps the most classical writer upon the fine arts, after descanting with great zeal and eloquence upon the perfection of the art of sculpture, as exhibited in the Apollo Belvidere, observes, with great enthusiasm, in recommending it to the admiration of those who would become eminent artists-Go and study it; and if you see no peculiar beauty in it to captivate you, go again; and if you still discern nothing, go again, and again, and again, until you feel it; for be assured it is there. To every lover of moral science we would say of the Bible, If he does not see the evidence of its divinity, at the first glance, let him look again; and if he does not see it at the second or third perusal, let him look again; and if he fails to see it even then, lethim still examine --for he may be most confidently assured, that the evidence is there to be found.
It is this internal evidence, to which we would direct your attention in the present discourse. And we remark,
I. From a careful inspection of the Bible, we find that this Book ALONE ANSWERS ALL THE PURPOSES OF A SUPERNATURAL REVELATION.
When we advert to the different systems of religion, which either have obtained, or now obtain, we see they are radically defective, and fail of their object. The systems of natural religion are to a great extent unintelligible, and therefore never have reached the exigencies of the mass of mankind. They are all confused, uncertain, and contradictory; and have never been satisfactorily understood, even by the most reflecting men. On many, and most important points of faith, and duty, and salvation, they furnish no instruction whatever. Every system of human philosophy, or of ancient or modern Paganism, has been complained of by its own votaries; and its best instructed disci
ples have seen and felt its utter insufficiency to the great purpose of a satisfacto ry religion.
The religion of the Bible, the more it is examined, will be fouod adapted to all the purposes for which a revelation could be given. The intellectual, moral, and physical constitution of men, in all the varieties of human ignorance, pollution, want, and misery; in all that is interesting in their hopes, or fearful in their apprehensions,—whether they respect a present or future state of being -is so kindly and fully consulted by the principles of this revelation, that it must be seen and acknow. ledged to be without a defect. The Bible instructs men in all they need to know. It proclaims the character of that Infinite Being with whom men have to do : It informs us how this world came into existence, and how, and for what end it is governed : It reveals whatever is necessary for the glory of the Creator, and the happiness of the creature, and discloses the perfect harmony between the honour of the Great Supreme, and the best good of his subjects. It discovers the sinfulness and condemnation of men, and the method of their recovery: It reveals promises that are worthy of God, and threatenings that are required by the character and condition of men: It proclaims pardon, peace, and eternal life to the holy; and disaster, ruin, and death to the unholy: It reveals the object and end of whatever appears unseemly and untoward in creation and providence; and proclaims the design which the Mighty Governor of the world aims at in the whole series of events and revolutions which have taken place from the beginning, or will take place to the end of time: And it brings to our view the close of this earthly system, the day of final account, and the New Earth and New Heavens that shall never pass away. On all these topics, so infinitely interesting to men,-its instructions are clear, full, certain, authoritative. And all this is what a revelation must disclose, to answer the great purposes of religion for a race of fallen beings.
Where is the revelation that makes these disclosures except in the Bible? What other religion informs the world, or pretends to inform it on subjects of such high moment? From what other source can the mind of man receive satisfaction on every point of duty and of hope? Where shall we look for a system of instruction that meets every exigency, and answers all the purposes of a religion, except to the Holy Scriptures? If then it is reasonable to expect a revelation that is intelligible and full—that in all its essential principles is equally adapted to the wise and the unwise that answers all the
for which we can conceive a revelation should be given ; and if this revelation is found alone in the Sacred Scriptures, are not these Scriptures a revelation from God? We remark,