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crown placed on the head of Immanuel, the heart is constrained to love him, and the knee bows before bim. Tbe universal shout from the redeemed among men is, "To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, to Him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever. Thus is Jesus most highly exalted ; and this is, surely, an all-important object.
3. Missions secure everlasting interests, and thus are momentous.
A great painter, when observed to draw every line upon his canvass with the utmost care, was asked why he was so particular. His answer was, “I am painting for Eternity.”This boasting was vain, for moth and rust have long since consumed his laboure. But the man who promotes Missions, max in the strictest sense be said to labour for eternity. A glorious eternity of happiness, or an awful eternity of pain and torment await those who are the objects of his attention, They are soon to be landed, unchangeably, in the one or the other. As much, therefore, as Eternity outvalues Time, so much does the object of Missions outweigh the most important objects, of a mere temporary character.
4. Missions are important, for they tend to keep the piety of the people of God in lively exercise. What is the principle of true piety ? “ It is the love of Christ constraining us. What affords one of the finest fields for its exercise ? It is when, weeping over a lost world, and praying, “thy kingdom come,” the holy man of God tries to do what he can to carry the departing command of his Lord into effect, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Here is a field wide enough for Christian benevolence," the whole world,”-here is a practical instrument for its regeneration, the Gospel,-here is a bigh authority under which to act, “Go,' says the King of kings,-here is encouragement the most cheering, "lo, I am with you." Faith, love, patience, perseverance, and prayer, are all here called into ballowed exercise; and the Christian who gives himself to such an object, will find, that “ the liberal soul devises liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand.” He will find, that in watering others, he shall be watered bimself; for God will make all grace to abound toward him, that having all sufficiency in all things, he may abound in every good work.
5. Missions are important, for "hey tend to improve Christian Churches that take a lively interest in them. Often has it been found, that where Churcbes of Christ have had no such grand enterprize as Missions in hand, member has contended with member, individuals have found fault with minis. ters, brotherly love has discontinued, and coolness, instead of kind affection, has prevailed. But where the noble enterprize of Missions has been entered on, such bickerings have
ceased. Prayer for one object, and pursuit of one end, bave produced unanimity, and God, even our own God, has blessed the Gospel amongst such a people; so that the conversion of sin. ners at home, as well as the conversion of heathens abroad, has been promoted. And Zion, at home, has thus prospered in the very act of lengthening her cords and strengthening her stakes in foreign lands. The history of late years has abundantly proved, that one of the most powerful causes of the revival of religion, in these lands, has been the endeavour made that God's way might be known on earth, and his saring health to all people.
Finally,-Missions are important, for they tend to promote the highest improvement of the whole earth.
Heathen nations are, confessedly, in an evil case. Various are the instruments which have been put into operation to improve them :- Instruments of agriculture have been sent by some to improve their ground,-mechanical arts have been employed to increase their comforts,-commerce has spread its sails to bring them the produce of every clime,--and poli. ticians have planned modes of government to ameliorate their case; and yet what have they all effected ?-Almost nothing, in the course of centuries. Two or three Missionaries,-landed in Africa, India, or the South Seas, for a few years, with no other instrument but the Bible, and no other prince but the Spirit of God, have done more thau all the other instruments put together. The wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad, and the desert has rejoiced and blossomed as the rose, both temporally and spiritually. Let the enemies of Missions, then, be confounded;-let their friends rejoice and persevere. They shall rejoice, in time and eternity, that they have not run in vain, nor laboured in vain.
AUGUSTINE'S CONFESSIONS ABRIDGED.
And now the older I grew, the more defiled was I with vanity, still destitute of the spiritual idea of God; not conceiving, however, of thee, O Lord, as existing in human form; an error of which, I now saw, I had unjustly accused the Catholic Cburch, but still viewing thee as an object of sense, however refined; and when I removed the ideas of space and quantity, thou seemedst to be nothing at all. For thou hadet not yet illuminated my darkness. The arguments of my friend Nebridius, appeared to me conclusive against the Manichean idea of an independent evil principle in nature. I was grown firm in the belief, that in the Lord is nothing corruptible,
mutable, or, in any sense, imperfect: that evil must not be imputed to him, in order that we may clear ourselves of blame with the Manichees. Still, however, a question distressed me, how came evil into being at all? admitting that it lies in the will of man, that the distinction between a natural and moral inability is real and just, and that the former is not the proper subject of blame as the latter is; still I inquired, who inserted in me this bitter plant, when I was made by my God of infinite sweetness ? I inquired, whence came evil, and I saw not the evil which was in my investigations. I stated the great difficulty in various lights, and it still appeared as inexplicable as ever. Tbe faith, however, of Christ our Lord and Saviour remained firm with me, rude and unformed, indeed; yet my mind forsook it not, and was imbibing it daily more and more.*
From the vain science of astrology, also, which I bad cul. tivated with obstinacy, I was delivered, partly by the reasonings of my excellent friend Nebridius, and partly by a story which I heard of a master and slave born at the same point of time, whose different fortunes in life appeared to be a sufficient confutation of all predictions by the stars ;t and the case of Esau and Jacob, in holy writ, illustrated the same thing. But it was thou, and thou only, who recalledst me from the death of all error, O thou life that knowest not death, and thou wisdom who illuminatest indigent minds. Thou brakest this bond for me; still was I seeking w.hence comes evil ? Yet, by all the fluctuations of thought, thou didst not suffer me to be seduced from the faith of thy existence, of thy perfections, of thy providence, or to doubt that in Cbrist thy Son, and in the Scriptures, thou hast laid down the way of human salvation. What were the groanings, the labours of my heart! While I silently inquired, distressed and confounded, thou knewest the whole, thou knewest what I suffered, and no man whatever, not my most intimate friends,
I have endeavoured to compress the author's accounts of his difficulty in these two questions, of the substance of God, and of the origin of evil, into a small compass, not thinking it needful to translate them at large. Manicheism was the cause of his trouble, in regard to the former. The latter is, in all ages, a natural temptation to our proud minds, and we are slow to learn to answer it with St. Paul, Nay but, () man, who art thou that repliest against God ? Rom. ix. Humility will end the subject there, and pride is not to be satisfied by any investigations.
+ Few men have candour enough to put themselves in the places and scenes of others. Nothing is more certain than this, that Augustine and Melancthon were men of extraordinary understanding ; both, however, were addicted to astrology, an absurdity which even the weakest in our age escape. Such is the difference of the times.
could know, by any relation which I could give, the bitterness of my soul. My folly was, to look for a local external happiness. No such was found to receive me. By the original dignity of my nature, I was above all sensual objects, inferior to thee; and thou, my true joy, madest me subject to thyself, and subjectedst me to the work of thy hands. This was the middle region of health, in which I might serve thee and rule the body. But I proudly rose up against thee, and was justly punished, by being enslaved to those things wbich should have been my subjects; they gave me no respite nor rest. My pride separated me from thee, and closed my eyes with its own tumour. But thou, Lord, remainest for ever, and retainest not anger for ever, thou pitiest us, and rememberest that we are dust and ashes. It pleased thee to remove my deformities, and, by internal ipcentives, thou agitatedst me, that I might be impatient till thou madest thyself assuredly known to me by internal illumination. The morbid tumours of my mind were gradually lessening under thy secret medicinal band, and the eyes of my understanding, darkened and confounded as they were, by the sharp eye-salve of salutary pains, were healing day by day.
At first, as thou wouldest shew me how tbou resistest the proud, and givest grace to the humble; and how great thy mercy is sbewn to be in the way of bumility; thou procuredst for me, by means of a person highly inflated with philosophical pride, some of the books of Plato translated into Latin, in which I read passages concerning the Divine Word, similar to those in the first chapter of St. John's Gospel ; in which his eternal divinity was exhibited, but not his incarnation, bis atonement, bis humiliation, and glorification of his buman nature. For thou hast bid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them to babes; that men might come to thee weary and heavy, laden, and that thou mightest refresh them; thou who art meek and lowly in heart, who directest the meek iu judgment, and teachest the gentle thy ways, seeing our low estate, and forgiving all our sins. This is a knowledge not to be attained, while men are lifted up by the pomp and grandeur of wbat appears to them a sublimer doctrine. Thus did I begin to form better views of the divine nature, even from Plato's writings, as thy people of old spoiled the Egyptians of their gold, because, whatever good there is in any thing, is all thy own; and, at the same time, I was enabled to escape the evil which was in those books, and not to attend to the idols of Egypt.
However, I was hence admonished to retire into myself under thy guidance, and I was enabled to do it, because thou art my helper. I entered, and saw with the eye of my mind the immutable light of the Lord, perfectly distinct from sensible light, not only in degree, but in kind. Nor was it in the
same manner above my mind, that oil is above water, or as heaven is above earth, but superior, because he made me, and I was inferior, because made by him.* He who knows truth, knows this light, and he who knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. O eternal truth, true love, and loving eternity! Thou art my God, I pant after thee day and night. And when I first knew thee, thou tookest me that I might see that “to be” which I saw, and that I who saw, as yet was not.” Thou impressedst repeatedly my infirm sight, thou sbinedst on me vehemently, and I trembled with love and horror, and I found that I was far from thee in a region of dissimiltude, as if I heard thy voice from on bigh, “I am the food of those that are of full age, grow, and thou shalt eat me." Nor shalt thou change me into thyself, but shalt thyself be changed into
And I said, can God be nothing, since he is neither dif. fused through finite nor infinite space ? and thou criedst from afar, “I am that I am,”+ and I heard with my heart, and could not doubt. Nay, I should sooner doubt my own existence, than that that is not truth which is understood by the things that were made.
I now began to understand, that every creature of thy hand is in its nature good, and that universal nature is justly called on to praise the Lord for his goodness. I The evil which I sought after has no positive existence; were it a substance, it would be good, because every thing individually, as well as all things collectively, are good. Evil appeared to be a want of agreement in some parts to others. My opinion of the two independent principles, in order to account for the origin of evil, was without foundation. Evil is not a thing to be created ; let good things only forsake their just place, office, and order; and then, though all be good in their nature, evil, which is only a privative, abounds, and produces positive misery. I asked what was iniquity, and I found it to be no substance, but a perversity of the will which declines from thee, the Supreme Substance, to lower things, and casts away its interual excellencies, and swells with pride externally.g
* He had been long corrupted by the Atheistic views which he had learned from the Manichees, and no wonder that be now found it so difficult to conceive aright of God. There appears some thing divinely spiritual in the manner of his deliverance. That the Platonic books, also, should give the first occasion, is very remarkable; though I apprehend the Latin translation which he saw had improved on Plato, by the mixture of some thing scriptural, according to the manners of the Ammonian philosophers.' + Exodus iii.
Psalm cxlviii. Ś Perhaps a more just account of the manner in which evil is produced, can scarce be given: it is certainly well calculated to confute the principles of Manicheism,