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sions, forming the life and soul, the philosophy and stimulus of the whole enterprise. The Christian world is now moving forward under its impulse, seeking to make it historically real; and whether it be a mere fancy of moral sentiment, or sober and rational expectation, is, as I judge, an inquiry that well befits this occasion.
I. A very strong presumption bearing upon this point, is furnished by the DIVINE ORIGIN of Christianity. Conceding, as all Christians do, the divinity of the Gospel, they can not fail also to observe that it purports to be God's religion for the race; containing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, in respect to the spiritual duties, interests, and destinies of men; assuming a common necessity in the fallen condition of humanity, and pledging itself to a common service without any limitations of age or country. Hence the faith which traces the Gospel to God, logically presumes its triumph, identifying its success with the credibility of its divine claim. Though that success has not yet been attained in the fullest possible measure, still I am disposed to admit that if such a system as Christianity professes to be, were, in the ultimate issue, to prove a failure, having its day and then expiring, giving place to some better light, or yielding to some stronger power, it would be difficult to maintain one's faith in the doctrine of its divine origin. The supposition would put the theory of the system in conflict with its positive history, which is not admissible in a case where the power and the purposes of God are involved. Notwithstanding what men may perhaps deem its delays, the Gospel can not fail of its own destiny unless the God of heaven himself shall fail. Its theory must in some way and at some time become a fact. Ages may be occupied with the process; the exact order of events, whether as past or future, we may not be able perfectly to trace; still the presumption of success remains unshaken. Earthly empires may fail; false religions may become obsolete; but God's kingdom, never. We can not thus reason in regard to the local, temporary, and national system of Judaism as instituted by Moses, since upon its very face this system bore the stamp of limitation, being but a preliminary to that which was to be permanent and universal. The presumption alleged in behalf of the Gospel, applies only to the Gospel; and here, if I mistake not, it must come home to the convictions of a believer with a comforting and inspiring power. Believing that the God of heaven has set up the Gospel kingdom, he also believes that this kingdom will never be destroyed.
II. The faith now stated to you as a strong presumption, is confirmed by the positive assurance of PROPHETIC PROMISE. After the most careful exploration of the Bible by critics and commentators, theologians and common Christians, the conclusion has been reached, and is now accepted with great unanimity, that, ac
cording to the testimony of the Book itself, the religion which it proffers to the race, will endure, and finally spread itself over the entire world. God himself has declared that the Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. He informed Abraham, that in his Seed, which is Christ, all nations of the earth should be blessed. By the pen of the Psalmist we are told, that he has given the heathen to his Son for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. The oracle of which Isaiah was the honored instrument, is specially charged with this thought. "It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it," beating their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning-hooks." The stem of Jesse was to furnish the branch that would teach men justice and judgment, salvation and grace, thus causing the earth to be "full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." The little stone of Nebuchadnezzar's dream was the symbol of a kingdom that should never be destroyed. The conception which Christ had of his own system, was always hopeful. He lived and died, arose from the dead and ascended into heaven, the assured expectant of ultimate triumph. The same conception glowed in the bosoms of the apostles, inspired their hopes and nerved their hearts to deeds of Christian valor. In the apocalyptic visions we hear the seventh angel sounding his trumpet: "And there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." A jubilee in the skies celebrates the grand event, when, after the struggle of ages, earth bows to the sceptre of one Saviour, and all the kingdoms of this world submit to his sway.
Blessed be God that we have some historic and prophetic waymarks in the Bible, not only going back to the beginning, but also reaching forward to the end-blending the antiquities and futurities of providence into a combined radiance, and thereby informing us, as a race, not only whence we came and where we are, but also whither we are going. By its historic power the Bible keeps alive the memory of providence past, and by its prophetic power initiates thought into the mysteries of providence yet to come. So far as the simple question of faith is concerned, no matter which way events seem to be moving. Often the apparent direction is not the real one. He who built the hills, for whom nothing is too hard, the God of one mind, has predestinated the ultimate victory of the Gospel. The heathen may rage, and the people imagine vain things; the kings of the earth may set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed; yet, in spite of the rage and opposition of men, the divine purpose will be accomplished. The Gospel will
enthrone itself upon the knowledge and confidence of the world, scattering away the shades of Pagan night, and blessing mankind with its saving power. This, I believe, not simply or mainly on the credit of missionary statistics, but on the authority of God himself. He settled this question in heaven before Christ became incarnate, or a mortal tongue moved to speak his name. Here the cause of Christian Missions must look for the right arm of its strength. Interesting as may be its accumulating facts, forget not that there is a grander fact in heaven, of which they are but the sign.
III. The view thus reduced to a certainty, commends itself to reason by the INHERENT FORCE OF VICTORY with which the Gospel is clothed. Judging from the analogies of divine providence, we should presume that the Gospel would be adapted to the realization of its own destiny. God's plan in the government of the world is to connect results with causes, augmenting the power of the latter in proportion to the greatness of the effect which they have to accomplish. The entire system of nature embodies and illustrates this law; and the presumption is, that the Gospel will be no exception to it.
What then are the facts? Is Christianity suited to be a victorious, and finally a prevalent religion? It is exceedingly difficult to do any justice to so large a question within the limits ordinarily assigned to a sermon. We might dwell upon the power of the Bible as derived from the fact that it is a book-a written record of the Gospel; and here show that the Christianity of which we are speaking, lives not in isolated impressions or traditionary beliefs, but in the undecaying temple of language-the very form of life best suited to the integrity of the substance and the perpetuity of its power. We might dwell, too,.upon the character of the evidence, showing it to be of the same kind that presides over faith in all the ordinary matters of this life, and hence inferring its adaptation to the fundamental principles that regulate the believing faculty. We might also consider the relation of Christianity to the intellectual and scientific progress of the race, showing that while it is not a science or a philosophy, it is nevertheless a powerful stimulus to both, never losing any thing, but always gaining much by the growth of human thought. So, too, the positive institutions of the Gospel-its rites, its consecrated day, its organized church, and its living ministry-withdraw it from the region of mere abstraction, and bring it out into salient and vigorous contact with human nature, giving form to its facts, and operating power to its principles. The essential simplicity of the system, while suiting it to all the demands and exigencies of migration, fits it to find a home wherever the foot of man has gone. The state of spiritual feeling which it begets-a feeling of tender sympathy
with Christ, and tender sympathy for man-is in perfect harmony with the command to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. This simple yet earnest instinct of piety, more powerful in some than in others, stronger in some ages than in others, is the silent, secret, ever-present force that has worked in the heart of the Church in all time past, and will continue to work till time itself shall be longer.
These outer elements of power to which we have referred, and upon which it would be interesting to descant, inclose and apply an inner force springing from the direct adaptation of Christianity to the nature and condition of man. Let us pause a moment upon this thought.
By the very terms of his nature, intellectual, moral, and emotional, in virtue of the very capacities which attend his existence, and that too irrespectively of all questions pertaining to his character, man needs the presence and power of some religious system as the anchorage-ground of thought, and not less as the basis of feeling and hope. He is made as if there were a God who made him; and hence the idea of atheism is outlawed by the most elementary utterances of the human soul. "Give me God!" is among the earliest, the latest, the longest, the loudest cries of humanitythe universal shout of thought lifting itself above the clamors of passion, and proving man to be more or less a theological pupil in spite of his sensualism and depravity. Now, need I say that to this urgent want Christianity responds with its revelation of God as the pure and perfect One, the Creator and Preserver of the universe, the ultimate seat and centre of all law and order, himself displaying such attributes, and existing in such relations to his dependent creatures, as deservedly to command their confidence, their affection, their homage? From the dark and dubious reserve of nature, made darker by the perversions of reason, it calls forth the Infinite Absolute, and places him upon a social firmament glowing with the signs of his presence. A new light falls on the path of reason; a new theology illumines her sky; what was hitherto but a wandering segment of thought, finds its position in the great circle of truth; the heart is in awe, and affection burns. All the streams of devotional existence become confluent in the God of Christianity. All the higher elements of human nature take on the form of the grand idea, and run in channels as pure as they are divine. The discovery of the Bible God is equivalent to a resurrection of reason from the dead, charming that reason with the magic of truth, and soothing the heart with the balm of life.
So, too, the condition of man in the three-fold aspect of a sinner, a sufferer, and a victim of death, is such that he wants relief, not amusement, not dissipation, but relief-the kind which is best expressed by the term salvation. Though he may not always feel
the want, the grounds of it are in him; and sooner or later he will feel it. He can neither think nor die without feeling it. His condition is a reality, too real and awful to be always forgotten. Perfectly conversant with all the facts in the moral pathology of man, Christianity gently approaches him as a sinner, a sufferer, and a victim of death; in the first aspect proposing to him the doctrine of pardon through a redeeming Saviour; in the second, encouraging him to be patient, and inspiring him with hope; in the third, revealing heaven as the possible, and where faith is present, the sure and happy sequel of dying. What a system to break the gloom of life, to cancel the prophecies of guilt, to hush the thundering of Sinai, to chase away the shades of death, and shed its light along the corridors of the eternal future! See why universal human nature in all its races and forms of conscious life, may be drawn to the cross, and live forever! How perfectly adapted is the system to the historic condition of that nature! Fitting was it that angels should sing its inaugural when its author was born, and as fitting that the sun should be dressed in mourning when he was expiring.
This, my hearers, is but a meagre sketch of a great thought, rendered, I fear, almost obscure by the necessary brevity of the sketch. I wish to impress you with the idea, that there are inherent powers in the Gospel, which, contemplated in relation to man, become prophetic of triumph. Such a cause-yea, such a theory, if you choose thus to name it-ought to create a new material, intellectual, moral, spiritual destiny for the race, leaving its indelible mark upon the face of the world; and that such is the fact, whether you take man in the rudest form of savage life, or in the best condition of refinement and civilization that the chisel of mere nature ever produced, is a proposition which not even the infidel will dispute. We are in the habit of glorying in the superiority of the Teutonic race, especially the Anglo-Saxon branch, now so palpably asserting its mastery over the world, apparently commissioned to scatter the superstitions of earth, and determine the ultimate philosophy and religion of mankind; but let us not forget that the aboriginal elements of this race were once as rude as man can well be. The training which the God of the Bible has given to it, and not its northern latitude, or the compo sition of its blood, is the grand secret of its present and prospective condition. Not in the rocks that form the strata of the sea-girt isle, not in the waters that lash its shores, not in its geographical position, not in the sun which shines upon it, but in the religion which for centuries has there made its home, must the philosopher seek the causes of England's greatness. Christianity, no matter where it finds him, makes man in the moral and effective sense, doing no more than it ought to do, no more than it is fitted to do; and having made him, it then sends him forth with the creative wand in