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tian men resident in every street in the world, we could see a propriety in every one confining his attention to his own street; but this is not the case, and therefore we must remind the Christians, that God has made of one blood all nations of men; and that, therefore, all the duties arising out of kindredship or brotherhood, are binding upon them. Say not then with the sullen frown and rebellious mood of murderous Cain, “Am I my brother's keeper?” for this speech breathes, at the same moment, cruelty and impiety: rather say, I will love him as myself, and strain every nerve to do him good, for his own sake, for our heavenly Father's sake, and for God our Saviour's sake. Amen! Be it so!
“Behold the mountain of the Lord
In latter days shall rise
On mountain tops above the hills,
To this the joyful nations round,
Up to the hill of God, they'll say,
“The beam that shines from Sion hill
Shall lighten every land;
The King who reigns in Salem's tow’rs
Among the nations he shall judge;
His sceptre shall protect the just,
“No strife shall rage, nor hostile feuds
Disturb those peaceful years;
To ploughshares men shall beat their swords,
No longer hosts encountering hosts
They hang the trumpet in the hall,
“Come then, O house of Jacob! come
[My Christian Friends, your preacher for this evening is not, in ordinary cases, fond of apologies, and should not now make any, did he not think that justice to you and to himself required it. It is generally known, by those who attend meetings like the present, that he has been long in a distant country, occupied chiefly in philological labours, and the exceptions are so few, he may say he never preached. That your edification may not be hindered by disappointment this evening, he states the fact. Beside, on this anniversary, the subject of missions has been thrice advocated, and the claims thereof so powerfully argued; and the difficulties" thereof so well illustrated; and the final success thereof so scripturally exhibited, that nothing remains to be said. All that preachers on this occasion can now do is, but to reiterate truths similar to those which have already been addressed to you.]
THE NATIONS SHALL RENOUNCE LIES AND VANITIES.
JEREMIAH, xvi. 19.
“O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge, in the day of affliction. The Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.”
Without a minute enquiry, on this occasion, into the connection in which this passage of Sacred Writ stands, we deduce from it the three following propositions:—
First. That the idols of the nations, are false, vain, and useless. Secondly. That the most remote nations shall eventually be convinced that the idols of their fathers are false, and shall abandon them: and Thirdly. That the worshippers of the true God have, therefore, every encouragement to use diligently, suitable means to turn the nations from their idolatry, looking to God as their strength.
The first of these propositions requires not here any laboured proof. Amongst us it is now universally acknowledged, that our fathers, who in former ages worshipped idols, inherited only lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. But there are hundreds of millions of our fellow creatures, who follow implicitly their idolatrous fathers, and are not convinced of the vanity of idols, in the literal sense of the expression; and of the manifold superstitious, foolish, and sometimes cruel usages, connected with them. The idols of ancient Greece, and Rome, and Britain, have perished from under the heavens, and have been swept from the face of the earth; but in various other parts of the world idols still remain in unnumbered multitudes; not only amongst tribes of men, who may with truth be called uncivilized and savage, but also among hundreds of millions to whom these terms cannot with truth be applied; for it is a misuse of terms to call the inhabitants of India and China uncivilized. Their difference from civilized Europe, consists wholly in their being unchristianized. To civilize people, is, (according to authorities,) to reclaim them from savageness and brutality; from what is coarse and rude, to polish their manners, and so forth. Now the fact is, that in China, for example, there is quite as much mildness and civility in the intercourse of human beings, as in Europe, and sometimes more. And men's actions are as much regulated by law and by etiquette, and so are as much polished, as in any nation they can be, till Christianity regenerates and purifies the heart, and fills it with love to God and man, and diffuses abroad, amongst all ranks, something more humane than human nature ever attains to, without Christianity. Were Greece and Rome civilized before they were christianized? It is the universal opinion that they were. But did their civilization elevate them even to pure deism, as it is called, and drive away their dumb idols I believe there is no evidence that it did; nor has civilization done so in India or China; nor does past experience authorize the hope that civilization will ever overthrow idolatry, or turn men from Satan and demons, and lying vanities, and foolish superstitions, to the living and true God. It is idle in some advocates of Missions, and others, not altogether hostile to them, to cry out, “First civilize, and then christianize; for civilization may, and does exist without Christianity;” it has existed, and does at this day exist, with the most gross and vulgar idolatry. It is revealed religion alone, whether as in the Jewish dispensation, or under the Christian system, or that partly derived from both, viz. Mahomedanism, that has ever overthrown idolatry. Art, and science, and civilization, never have, by themselves, turned men from superstitious idolatry to the worship of God. Not to refer to the overthrow of idolatry in the ancient European pagan world, which was effected by Christianity; the existing case of the uncivilized, illiterate, South Sea Islands, having cast their idols to the moles and the bats, whilst civilized China, with all its ancient and modern literature, retains them, is very strongly in point to prove our doctrine. In China, there is not a street, nor a shop, nor a palace, nor a hovel, nor a college, nor a poor fisherman's boat, that has not an idol; a carved image of wood, or a porcelain goddess, or a molten divinity of clay, or a literary god of bronze, or a stone idol cut by the mason, or a rude unfashioned piece of rock. The literary disciples of Confucius, who doubt the existence of demons, and who deny a future state in which the human spirit either enjoys or suffers, still kneel down to the image of their master, or worship a scroll with the shadow of a man, and so seem, however paradoxical it may appear, a sort of idolatrous atheists; but to the most High God, who created the universe, the Lord of heaven and earth, so partial is the exception, it may safely be affirmed, no altar is erected in China or in Corea, in Japan or Cochinchina. And together with their false gods, there goes along an immense host of superstitious usages, and vain conceits, and false hopes, and false fears; and to support the one, and to allay the other, an innumerable multitude of things that cannot profit, are invented and practised. The minute detail of these fooleries may amuse curiosity, but cannot be of any material use. It is a condition of human nature to be deeply lamented, and the more that man is restored to the knowledge and the image of God, the more he will lament it. Men who possess the Christian soul of Paul, will feel their spirits stirred in them, when they behold cities and nations wholly given to idolatry; but the mere man of this world, or the well-educated and scientific sceptic, in India or China, sees nothing to lament in it; nor, to remove this idolatry, or elevate the condition of the human soul, does he consider an object worthy of his attention or care. For it is not the idolaters alone who inherit from their fathers lies, vanity, and opinions which cannot profit; these are often found even after idolatry has been thrown aside. False opinions concerning the Divine Being and his moral government assume, by the influence of the spirit of delusion, an endless variety of forms, which, if left to themselves, become, in every succeeding generation, more rivetted in the human mind, by the veneration which we are taught to have for our fathers. That we should follow our fathers, is a doctrine sometimes inculcated by Christian advocates; but when transported to the Missionary in Pagan lands, where it is also inculcated, it makes directly against his Christianity. “You conceited young man,” said an aged Chinese father, to his now Christian son, “do you think yourself wiser than your father, and wiser than the emperor, and all the mandarins? Begone, thou fool, and adhere to the religion of thy fathers, who were wiser and more ancient, and