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ledge of the human race over the world; namely, that the human nature is miserably and horribly perverted and depraved.
In one or two instances, a little secluded portion of mankind has been found, much less glaringly the subject of this deformity—from very explicable causes in some of the cases.
But look at the general condition of the race! All over the globe the interests of the soul are sacrificed to those of the body. Justice, both in feeling and practice, is triumphed over by wrong; by selfishness, acting in ten thousand modes of fraud and violence. In what part of the world, with little exception, have not our explorers found traces of " the first born Cain?"
What graphical illustrations of their books of travels do not exhibit the shapes of deadly weapons, and instruments of war?
Where is it that the chief glory is not, as here, placed in excelling prowess for slaughter? or is it yet expected to find in any region remaining to be explored (Central Africa, say), a section of our race where men are not afraid of one anotherand with good cause?
No; it is regarded as quite certain that additional testimonies are, some time or other, to be brought from the tracts still un. known, that man is a wretched and depraved creature! The most recent and the furthest penetration toward the region just named, has furnished nothing so remarkable as some novelties of infernal malignity and cruelty-to be added to those reported from other quarters of the same continent.
To all this is to be added that every extension of our geo. graphical knowledge has enlarged and aggravated the hideous account of what we are to call RELIGION among the human
Novelties of Pagan superstition-besides further illustrations, by so many describers, of the Popery and Mohammedanism which we seemed to know so well before.
All this displays what man is; that is, if what he does over the wide world is to be any evidence of what he is; and if there were a theory which, after all this, should deny the essential, radical depravity of human nature, that would be just another item to be added to the account, to show that his reason may be as perverted as his moral dispositions.
On the topic of false religions we should observe that our augmented knowledge gained from the numerous traversers of the earth, is not alone a larger account of what they are, as a catalogue of notions and rites—but also a much improved information of their tendency and effect.
To cite but one instance:-Less than half a century since, it was very generally believed in this country that the Hindoos were about the most innocent, gentle, kindly disposed beings on the face of the earth.
Nay, not half that time since, it was by some in this country represented and asseverated that their religion made them such that it was not desirable to introduce among them another religion for the purpose of altering them. But now, we need not say how all this delusion is exploded-how irresistibly demonstrated that their false religion has a most hateful practical effect—and that it has so consistently and naturally.
It is pleasing to follow such gloomy statements with the observation that our increased knowledge of different portions of mankind furnishes illustrations, also, of the tendency and influence of Christianity. GENUINE Christianity evinces its tendency and efficiency to purify-to raise-to impart noble motives—to inspire consolation to dispose to duty and good order ; Greenland, Labrador, Negroes in the West Indies, some Islands of the South Sea—a spot or two of Africa—the Christian communities on the Malabar coast-the converts gained in Bengal
And it is peculiarly striking to observe one CIRCUMSTANCE, namely, the SAMENESS in all parts of the world of the operation in the mind of the converting Christian truth. Every where it impresses a deep sense of guilt-a profound, humiliating conviction of the wretched, depraved, ruined condition of mankind, and of the absolute necessity of such a resource and remedy as that manifested in Jesus Christ; that is to say, a sacrifice of atonement, a pardon through that medium, an influence of a Divine Spirit.
If any one should choose to say That is because they are taught so ?" we may be content to say, “ Show us any converts, worth the name, that have been obtained in any other way of teaching" -any that have become deeply in earnest about their salvation-have risen victorious over their former inveterate vices-become zealously and actively devoted to the cause of God-been willing to suffer persecution for his sake. Show us any such converts in Pagan lands; show us any such in
The slight observations we have been attempting may a little serve to suggest, how we should turn to improvement the increased knowledge gained through the propensity in our times to wandering over the earth. There is much interest felt in reading and hearing the accounts of such excursions and enterprises. In indulging this interest we should aim at something beyond mere amusement, or the simple gratification of curiosity.
Efforts of thought and reflection, and especially with a religious direction, are required, in order that our increasing knowledge of this wide world may render us more fit to live to good purpose in it, and at length to leave it.
XVI. PLAN OF A SERMON ON THE UNSUCCESSFUL AND
LUKE V. 5.
MASTER, WE HAVE TOILED ALL THE NIGHT, AND HAVE
I. THE METAPHORICAL REPRESENTATION OF A GOSPEL MI.
1. The world is a sea; full of fishes-turbulent-large: multudes of sinners.
2. The gospel is a net to be used to catch them.
3. Ministers are to use the net, with this design-even to entangle a great multitude.
4. It is a work of labour, not as some suppose, a life of idle
We have TOILED—ALL THE NIGHT. “Toil”-of mind; study; reasoning with sinners; desire; prayer.
II. The DISCOURAGEMENTS OF GOSPEL MINISTERS REPRESENTED BY A PROVIDENTIAL CIRCUMSTANCE.
Master, we have caught nothing. Human feelings and reasonings operate as discouragements in the ministerial work.
1. They have not success equal to their expectations—they expect a multitude.
2. They think they do not succeed according to their toil. Hence disgust with their employment.
3. They feel a greater disgust still at the idea of persons of less skill, and with their nets in worse order, having greater success.
4. The greatest cause of depression to their spirits is, to have to say, from their own apprehension, “We have caught nothing.” What complaints ! But they may be mis
in heaven that they had enclosed a multitude of fishes.
III. THE AUTHORITATIVE ORDER OF JESUS CHRIST UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES.
1. It runs counter to their apprehensions and intentions. “Let down your net;” say not, it is of no use: it is vain. Illustrate this by Jonah and Nineveh; ministers plead various discouragements. Jesus saith, “Let down," &c.
2. It must be obeyed : even in opposition to inferences drawn from providential appearances.
Human reason says, nothing will be done ; Jesus says, “let down your net.” This will apply to heads of families and all who have influence over others.
IV. THE SUCCESS OF SUBMISSIVE OBEDIENCE TO DIVINE COM
1. If nothing now be gained, it is gratifying to do as Jesus bids.
2. The success by his influence may be far greater than our expectation. He delights to work unexpectedly.
3. The success may be astonishing, humbling, v. 8, 9; and such as amply to repay all toil.
4. While acting in obedience to his will, let us wait patiently the event. He will glorify himself even in an unsuccessful ministry. His justice shines in the righteous condemnation of disobedient hearers of the gospel.
The faithful minister, in that case, misses not his reward. We are to God a sweet-smell
. ing savour in them that perish.
But fidelity in the ministry is never without some good results. The gospel preached by ministers may be found, after their death, to have enclosed not a few who will be their crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus.