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deference to the teachers of the religion, the only religion, of civilization.
2. The present state of commerce affords a ready access to, and an easy correspondence with, all parts of the world. Wherever you choose to commence a missionary work, thither you can send missionaries, at a coinparatively trifling expense, by the ordinary conveyances of commerce; and you can hear from then frequently, of their successes and their wants, after they reach there; and thither you can send them, at your pleasure or their need, supplies and helpers, and all that is required for the successful prosecution of their Jabors. Your missionaries too, can no where feel themselves beyond the reach of the sympathy and aid of the churches. Every impulse that is given to the cause at home, is felt by the remotest laborer abroad. Every excitement which stimulates the followers of the Lamb in other lands to new zeal and enterprise, to new faith, love, and joy, travels round the earth's circunference, till it warms the heart of the Moravian, amid the snows of Labrador, or refreshes the soul of bin who toils in the service of Immanuel, under the burning sky of the equator.
3. Another effect of the present state of commerce is, that it brings in great wealth upon christian nations, and gives to christians,-to those who profess themselves and feel themselves to be the stewards of God, -all the means necessary to furnish, equip, and supply the armament, that shall subdue the world.
It may be thought strange, that, in this connection, we call our readers next to notice the growing and prospective predominancy of the English language. Ere the close of the present century, the English language will be spoken in North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lake of the Woods to the gulf of Mexico. It will be spoken not only in this land of the Pilgrims, the land of our children, and in the land of Milton, and Newton, and Baxter, its native seat; but it will be the vernacular tongue of great and growing nations in Western and Southern Africa ; it will be spoken by millions in New-Holland; it will have been learned by many a now barbarous tribe, as the medium of civilization and of knowledge; it will have become to India like another Sanscrit. Why is this important, do you ask? Because the English is the language of protestant christianity, -richer in evangelical writings and evangelical influences, than any other living language on the earth. Because, too, it is the language of the two nations, Britain and America, from which, more than from all christendom besides, must go forth the light and power that shall regenerate the world.
Again, it is important to look at the facilities for effort, that grow out of the improved state of science and the arts, and especially, of the means of communicating knowledge.
To state a few particulars :
1. We know more about the various nations of the world, their history, their opinions, their religions, their prejudices, than ever was known before. We know better than was ever known before, where and how to operate, so as to expend our efforts with the best economy.
2. The art of printing, including all the processes in the manufacture of books, from the toil of the paper-maker to the last stroke of the binder, has been carried to an unexampled and unexpected degree of perfection. Indeed it seems difficult to suppose, that any considerable improvement remains to be made in this department of human ingenuity and skill. And what a power is the power of the press, in its present state of perfection! It is of more value, in respect to the instruction of the world, than the apostolic power of working miracles in attestation of the gospel. It was well said, (by the Rev. D. L. Carroll,) in a public meeting at New-York, not long since, “Suppose that the apostle, instead of having to authenticate his letters, The salutation of Paul, with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle ; so I write,'—could have inscribed at the bottom, 'Stereotype edition, one hundred thousand copies printed,'—would it not have given Paul new ideas about the conversion of the world ?”
3. The art and science of education, too, has been carried to that pitch of improvement, which makes it such an auxiliary to christian effort, as the apostles would have given their lives to purchase. Look at our schools, from the infant school to the university ; compare them with the privileges of our fathers. Go wherever there is a missionary station ; see the apparatus of instruction, the schools in which heathen children, and heathen adults too, are taught the principles and duties of christianity,—the Lancasterian school, the high-school, the college, where they are trained for the various stalions of a civilized and christian community, and all at a comparatively slight expense of means and labor: look at these things, and say, if here is not an instrument of incalculable power.
We can only mention here, as another topic of argument, the fact, that all the false religions of the world are losing their hold upon the minds of men. What is Mohammedanisin now, compared with that fierce eruption which, in the seventh century, devastated the shores of the Mediterranean, and threatened to cover the world with its fiery billows? The entire religion of the false prophet has become inert and sluggish. A similar decrepitude has overtaken the vast and once mighty system of Hindoo idolatry; it is decaying and wasting away. So, into whatever country we may travel, where men think at all, we shall find, that the ancient superstitions are beginning to lose their energy. The foundations of belief seem to be shaken ; and the popular mind seems to be preparing, every where, for a great moral revolution.
It will hardly be strange, if ere long such events are repeated, as were witnessed a few years ago at the Sandwich Islands, where, ere a missionary had landed on its shores, a whole nation, with their king at their head, cast away their idols, and stood waiting for the law of God. Not only does this state of things exist in pagan and Mohammedan countries; it is even more obvious in the Roman Catholic nations. There, the intellectual classes have long despised the prevailing superstitions; and the same contempt is now spreading through society, and preparing the common people either to follow the proud into a cheerless infidelity, or to receive the truth as it is in Jesus.
Moreover, while false religions are thus waring old, and ready to vanish_away, christianity is reviving, and manifesting new power. Few men, who have not made the subject a matter of particular study, are at all aware, what a revival and increase of religious feeling, and religious zeal, has taken place throughout protestant christendom within the last half-century. To an unbeliever in christianity, who will thoroughly examine the subject, it will seem almost like a miracle, that this religion has now any footing on the earth. Fifty years ago was the very date of, perhaps, the most extended, combined, and formidable attack, which the chrislian religion has ever encountered. A crisis then occurred in the history of christianity, such as had never been before known. In the language of another,—(Nat. Hist. of Enthusiasm, pp. 255, 257,)— It remained to be seen, whether, when the season of slumber and exhaustion, consequent upon the great agitations of the reformation, had come on, and when human reason, polished and tempered by physical science and elegant literature, had become fully awake to the consciousness of its own powers,—whether then the religion of the bible could retain its hold of the nations,' and that in spite of a concerted and organized attack on the part of those who were then chiess and giants in every department of intellectual action. And what were the omens under which it entered
upon that new trial of its strength ? Were the friends of christianity, at that moment of portentous conflict, awake, and vigilant, and stout-hearted, and thoroughly armed to repel assaults ? The very reverse was the fact; for, at the instant when the atheistical conspiracy made its long-concerted attack, there was scarcely a pulse of life left in the christian body, in any of the Protestant states.'
Meanwhile, the infidel machinators had chosen their ground at leisure, and were wrought to the highest pitch of energy, by a confident hope of success, and felt themselves sustained by the secret wishes or the undissembled cheerings of the almost entire body of educated men throughout Europe.' 'At the portentous moment of onset, the shocks of political commotion opened a thousand fissures in the ancient structure of moral and religious sentiment, and the enemies of christianity rushed forward to achieve an easy triumph. Such was the crisis, such the actual condition, such, to human calculation, were the prospects of christianity, within the memory of living men. And what has been the issue ? We will not be so sanguine as to say, that infidelity has been vanquished and driven from the field. Unhappily, evidence to the contrary is found in every direction. But this we may say confidently,infidelity, so far from having achieved the triumph which it anticipated, is baffled, and shorn of its strength. The infidelity which now sheds its spirit to so disastrous an extent over the literature of Europe, and which nutters its fiendish malignity around us here in America, is hardly to be thought of as a source of danger to the religion of the bible. It is as nothing in comparison with that infidelity, which, under the captainship of Voltaire and his great associates, -great in power as well as great in guilt,-confidently threatened the speedy extinction of the gospel. We may go farther, and say, that at the signal of that attack, the power of christianity in every part of Protestant christendom, began to rally and revive, and from that era has been rapidly advancing. Not only have the churches of Great Britain, and of the United States, received a great addition of strength in respect to numbers and resources, and a great increase of the spirit of self-denial, and of active enterprise ; but even the dead dry bones' of protestantism on the continent of Europe, have begun to be joined bone to his bone,' and to be clothed with sinews and with flesh,' and to be informed with the spirit of life, and to stand upon their feet, an army for the Lord. A devout and eloquent Frenchman,* himself once a partaker in the prevalent infidelity of his country, but now lately, after years of faith, and hope, and patience, gone to the rest of the saints, thus testifies, as the result of a widely-extended observation : "Every where, living christianity revives; every where, infidelity finds herself defeated by an invisible band; the frail weapons on which it relies to overthrow the kingdom of Christ, are turned against itself. It is impossible not to acknowledge, that in Europe, and over the whole globe, for some years, a supernatural and spiritual influence has existed, the more extraordinary, as it appears wholly independent of human will and human wisdom.” Does not such a revival of the life and power of true religion, taken in connection with all the other aspects of the times, indicate the approach of a wide and mighty revolution in the moral world ?
One leading characteristic of this revival of the power of christianity, is so peculiarly important in its bearings on the subject before us, that it demands a distinct consideration.
* Rev. Casimir Rostan.--See New-York Observer, Nov. 8, 1834.
The work of converting the world has been begun ; and experiment has demonstrated its practicability.
1. It has been shown to be practicable, to organize the christian community throughout the world, and to call out its entire strength, for the work of propagating the gospel. Nay, we should hardly exceed the limits of the most frigid accuracy, were we to say, that the entire christian community has been organized for this work. Where are the churches, recognized as belonging to the great sellowship of Christ's disciples, which do not acknowledge, that they hold their very charter from their king, on the express condition of co-operating for the extension of his kingdom; or to whose solemn assemblies the missionary agent does not come, in one way or another, asking, for this work, their contributions and their prayers ? Where is the individual disciple, to whom the annual, the monthly, or the weekly appeal does not come, demanding of him, in the name of his Redeemer, his portion of time, of money, of thought, of effort, for the conversion of the world? The christian world is organized for action in this work. It is up, not yet indeed in all its strength, nor with all the self-devotion which so vast an enterprise demands; still, it is up, and in array for aggression on all the intrenchments and domains of darkness.
Nor is this a mere gust of sudden, and therefore transient excitement. How calm, how deliberate, how intellectual, how conscientious, is the conviction in respect to this subject, which has been fastened upon all the churches ! There is nothing sudden or enthusiastic about it. How gradually has this vast organization been effected! How steadily, and with how many tokens of an ethereal and irrepressible energy, has this mighty impulse extended itself, till it now connects, with a stronger sympathy than ever, all the kindreds of the redeemed! The spirit of propagandism is an essential element of christianity; and the development of that spirit in this age, is only the necessary result of the opportunites for christian effort, which the present aspect of the world spreads out to the eye of reviving faith. See how that spirit pervades the christian literature of the age; how it mingles itself with the very elements of religious instruction in the sabbath-school, and by the fire-side; how it thunders from the pulpit, in the voice of every minister of the word; how it breathes in the prayers of myriads who pray without ceasing ; how it gives to the hymns of Žion a sweeter and more thrilling melody: see how that spirit is showing itself, every where and in every form, to be not an accidental impulse, but an essential characteristic of a pure and living christianity; and then say, whether experiment has not demonstrated the practicability of calling out in behalf of the world's conversion, the entire strength of the whole christian community.
2. It has been shown to be practicable, to christianize all naVOL. VII.