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Truth of Christianity, and truly animated by its sublime Spirit, may perhaps, through the power of the Living God, at some future period, be rendered an Apostle to the rest, and an instrument of turning thousands from the ways of darkness and the “ power of Satan, to the marvellous light of Christ, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Him*."
Innumerable methods, besides this, are in the Providence of that God, whose power who shall tell? And it is impossible but, in his own appointed time, He must give the promised blessing to the pious endeavours which are continually used for the propagation of His Gospel in this western world.
Many obstacles, which formerly lay in the way of this great work, seem now to be almost entirely removed. We were, heretofore, but a small people, possessing an inconsiderable spot of this Continent. Our access to the Heathen nations was difficult and dangerous. Our knowlege of their country was but very limited; and the arts of our busy enemies had sown many prejudices among them to our disadvantage.
But now the case is much altered. We are become a great and growing people; extending, and likely to extend, our empire far over this continent. The present war, which we short-sighted mortals considered as one of the greatest evils, is like to be productive of the best of consequences. With the
† Acts, Chap. XXVI. 18.
deepest adoration, we behold the hand of Providence in it. A series of unlooked-for successes has bles. sed our arms, for which we and our posterity, throughout all generations, ought to offer up continual hymns of gratitude and praise to the Giver of all vic. tory. The Protestant interest in America has now received such signal advantages, and obtained such sure footing, that we trust neither the machinations of its inveterate enemies, nor even the gates of hell itself, shall ever prevail against it. Our credit with the Indian natives begins to stand in a high point of light. A more thorough knowledge of their country and manners is obtained than ever we had before. Strong fortifications are fixed, which will always facilitate our access to them. The attention of all ranks of men is now more turned to the prosecution of our interests on this continent, than ever was known at any former period; and if it shall please God to direct the hearts of our Rulers to a Peace which may in any degree be answerable to our former successes, then will be the time when we may expect to see Christianity propagated to advantage.
By our connections with our Mother-country and the productions of our own happy climate, we are the only people of all the European nations, settled in America, that are able to feed the hungry and cloath the naked. When our enemies shall be confined within their due bounds, we shall thus have obtained a more natural and lasting dominion over the Heathen natives of this continent by our arts and manufactures, than the Romans did over the old world by the terror of their arms. Every river,
ereek, inlet, lake and settlement, will be open to our Commerce; and when we stretch forth food and raiment, and practise the other arts of humanity, to the glad inhabitants, it is hoped that we shall not be wanting to stretch forth also the bread* of life to their famished souls. The present spirit and disposition of our nation give us a well-grounded assurance that the means will never be wanting for carrying on such benevolent purposes; and when all these things shall conspire, we may trust that the promised period, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and the nations be converted, “even to these remotest parts of the earth,” cannot be far off.
One circumstance more, which bears the most favourable aspect towards the accomplishment of this event, ought not to escape our notice. It is the spirit which now displays itself, through these American colonies, for the founding seminaries of Learning and the advancement of useful Science. Such pious designs as these, aided and improved by a preached Gospel and the divine blessing, cannot fail of spreading the rays of heavenly knowledge far over this un
Old Hakluyt, in his dedication to Sir Francis Walsingham, has à fine thought to this purpose; which shews that our endeavours for the propagation of Christianity in these parts, are only a necessary result of our first plan in making new discoveries; and that our public faith, in conjunction with our duty to our God, engages us to the continuance of these endeavours.
“ For mine own part I take our traffic with the borne naturalles, (mr.ean. ing the Indians) as a pledge of God's further favour, both unto us and them; but to them especially, unto whose doors, I doubt not, in time shall be by us carried the incomparable Treasure of the truth of Christianity and of the Gospel, while we use and exercise common trade with their merchants.
tutored continent. The consideration of this hath ever been an interesting topic with me; and, therefore, I have thought it worthy of being separately handled*. In the mean time, the bare mention of this circumstance, added to the arguments already laid before you, will be sufficient to establish the “probability of a speedy accomplishment of the prophecies which relate to the final conversion of the nations;" which was the Second head of my discourse.
I proceed, therefore, in the last place, “ from this view of things, to offer an humble address to you, my brethren, who are employed as instruments in the hand of God, for carrying on this great work of conversion, by the preaching of the Gospel in these remote and heretofore untutored regions; whither its joyful sound hath so lately reached.”
And this part of my subject I enter upon with that diffidence and humiliation of heart, which become one who is speaking to men of known capacities and integrity; and among whom are sundry of my seniors in the sacred office of the ministry. Added to this, a series of necessary avocations hath, for some years past, drawn a considerable part of my attention from the immediate study of that Divine Science, which both duty and inclination would induce me chiefly to cultivate; and nothing but your express injunctions, joined to a persuasion that it will not be necessary for me to say much on this subject, could give me the freedom to proceed,
Is it so, then, my brethren, that God hath chosen the British nation, above all others, to settle the most
• See the next Sermon.
important part of this continent? hath he prospered their arms, and extended their empire in the most signal manner, through a series of hazardous events? Doth he seem to have purposed through us the extension of his everlasting Gospel to the ends of the world, and are you charged with the ministration of that blessed Gospel, and severally capable of contributing somewhat, under divine assistance, to the hastening of that happy period, wherein “ the Knowledge of the Lord shall cover the whole earth as the waters cover the sea?” Are these things so; and can we ever be without the most animating motives to support and encourage us in so noble an undertaking, how inconsiderable soever the temporal advantages may be, which are annexed to it? Considered in this light, how divinely important does your Mission appear? You may look upon yourselves as fellow-Labourers with the best and greatest men of every age, in that glorious work for which the prophets prophesied; for which the Lord Jesus descended from Heaven-for which he toiled, and for which he bled-even the great work of propagating Wisdom and saving Knowledge, to the very ends of the habitable world! Every advantage you gain this way, you may consider as an enlargement of your Master's kingdom, and a glory far superior to that of temporal conquests and foundations!
In so noble a work, therefore, the conduct of that first of Missionaries, the great Apostle of the Gentiles, our illustrious predecessor in the business of preaching the Gospel among uncultivated nations, ought to be our rule and model. « When it pleased