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and the slave? Now, when schools rise in every village, and the Bible travels into every cottage; when the principles of civil and religious liberty are better understood than ever, useful information is more widely diffused, and a more general, practical conviction prevails that man should be universally the friend of man? Bold must he be who can look round him, and assert that the present, with all its just subjects of complaint, is not a season of rapid advancement. · The invention of printing, with its accompaniments and results in the increased communication of countries with each other, the prevalence of discussion, especially of religious truth, the diffusion of information, and the approaching universality of education, preclude for ever the recurrence of some of those vicissitudes by which the world has apparently been thrown back and darkened for ages. We cannot again tread that dreary road. No powers of evil can revive its horrors. Before that can be accomplished, the human mind must be brutalized by ages of degradation; all records of the past must be annihilated; books must be destroyed, and printing forgotten; all our rich heritage of freedom and wisdom alienated; and an universal combination formed to blindfold posterity. But into this no priestcraft can cajole, no tyranny compel mankind. It would be a miracle of omnipotent malignity. Here, then, we may look boldly on

to the future, and reply to the demand for further resources for improvement; we find them in the gigantic strides of science, especially as connected with the mind of man;-in a pure philosophy, which develops the laws and instructs us in the formation and regulation of that mind; in the prospect of useful information becoming the portion of mankind;-in the civilization of the barbarous, and the improvement of political institutions, which, yielding to increased knowledge, become in turn the causes of greater increase ; and, above all, in the mighty word of God, which, shaking off the corruptions that enveloped it, has begun its career of triumph, and shall “ go forth conquering and to conquer.” These are engines of wondrous force. Who shall calculate their powers ?. Who shall limit their results ? Is it enthusiasm to expect that to them shall yield the passions and prejudices of mankind? Is it folly to think that by them shall be realized those bright visions which hope suggests, benevolence cherishes, experience confirms, and · which are sanctioned by the certain declarations of the immutable God? If this be enthusiasm, she wears the garb of truth, rests on the rock of ages, and is crowned with the rainbow of heavenly promise! Ever be she the inmate of my bosom! Let present comforts fade away,-let transitory

- M

vicissitude make life the sport of fortune,-let adversity and depression cloud my horizon,

.“ Cease every joy to glimmer on the mind,

But leave, Oh! leave the light of hope behind;"

that hope which breathes no selfish wish, but longs for the universal brotherhood of man, the coming of the kingdom of the God of love. - With regard to mere physical science, it is admitted that knowledge once gained is never lost, and must go on to an indefinite increase. The discoveries of Kepler, Newton, Franklin, Davy, once made, are made for all nations, and all posterity : but it has been contended that in whatever relates to the duties, passions, and happiness of man, there is not the same progress; the greatest mischiefs that the world has endured, have been deliberately inflicted by men of such acquirements as can scarcely be expected to become universal. Profound wisdom and the strongest talent have been united with ambition, or envy, or bigotry; and have served the cause of war, persecution, or slavery. Some higher power than these is therefore requisite, and that is, religion-Christianity. The gospel is not true, or it is fully able to controul and purify the most potent passions, and to direct the highest energies of intellect to the promotion of the general good;

it is not of God, or it shall be the universal religion of man; inspiration, prophecy, providence, must be subverted and falsified, or the hopes which we have shewn they dictate, will surely be realized; Jesus is not the anointed Son of God, or the period will arrive when his second coming, the establishment of his spiritual dominion, shall present the accomplishment of the text, and “ the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and

ever."

From the Christian this argument admits of no reply. His religion is the authoritative assertor of its own destiny to universal empire over the faith and hearts of men ; and of their consequent knowledge, piety, and mutual kindness. The proof of human perfectibility, as we have explained it, is involved in the proof that Christianity is of God, and can only be destroyed in the destruction of revelation. The unbeliever, indeed, may say, how is it that Christianity has not produced these effects already, where it has prevailed ? Rome is Christian, and Rome persecuted; Britain is Christian, and Britain is warlike; Spain is Christian, and Spain groans in despotism. We recur to that distinction which Christianity itself marks in its prophecies, and which we have all along endeavoured to shew, between real and nominal Christianity. The corrupt system which has

claimed that name, neutralizes most of the benignant tendencies of the gospel, while its own malignant powers have full and deadly play. But to all the desolating evils of society, Christianity is directly opposed, and to their downfall is fully adequate. - This we have already shewn in the case of war. Were governments Christian, they would not violate the repose of countries. Were people Christian, they would not hire themselves out to kill without knowing why: the military profession would be at an end. There would not be less courage in the world. The first Christians dared die, but not fight. They would not kill at Cæsar's command, but they submitted to be killed, and, dying, overthrew the altars of his gods. But this part of our subject is already discussed. What other evils are there, too strong for Christianity? The sufferings of society may be chiefly attributed to the abuse of power by those whose authority should only be used for the general good; to the great inequalities of property and privilege which commonly obtain and the vice and misery flowing from the poverty and ignorance to which this inequality consigns numbers; and to establishments and institutions which impede inquiry, knowledge, and pure religion. These are the great elements of evil, forming various combinations in different

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