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IN BARBARISM? the preaching of the Gospel is the main spring in civilization; it is the grand civilizer of the savage. In proportion as it prevails, it gradually removes ferocious and cruel practices, and in their place infuses kindness, urbanity, and suavity. Is A NATION ENVELOPED IN IDOLATRY? it is the appointed means of turning them from dumb idols to serve the living God, and a means that has never been perseveringly tried without success. IS A NATION ILLITERATE, AND IGNORANT? it promotes every kind of valuable knowledge. There is so much of antiquity and history, of geography and chronology, of learned languages, and of arts and sciences, embodied in the Bible, and it goes so directly to the origin, and leads to the result of all things, that scriptural knowledge eminently tends to advance the general cultivation of the great mass of mankind. IS A NATION PERFIDIOUS AND UNWORTHY OF CONFIDENCE? the preaching of the Gospel diffuses a spirit that leads to faithfulness in treaties and peace among nations, and that promotes those commercial virtues by which coufidence is secured, and commerce extended. Jovian, perhaps the first really Christian Emperor, under many temptations to a contrary course, executed with the utmost fidelity a disadvantageous treaty. HAS A NATION FALLEN INTO
respects as any which we now contemplate? To reclaim our ancestors from their idolatrous and cruel superstitions, was apparently as difficult and certainly as benign a task as any which the church would now accomplish. And thus it is throughout the world: nations become enlightened and happy in proportion to their Christian knowledge, and to the purity in which they have received and maintained the faith of Christ; or in the words of my text, in proportion as the Church has made known to them the manifold wisdom of God.”
See his Sermons and Charges, p. 123, 124.
GREAT PROFLIGACY AND WICKEDNESS? let the gospel be fully preached, and it will raise the standard of public morals; many will become real Christians, and the whole community will more or less be influenced by their example to turn from open sin; vice will be discountenanced, and true morality extended: and what greater national benefit can be conferred? righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Again, HAS A
NATION BEEN GROANING
UNDER CRUEL AND OPPRESSIVE LAWS? the healing and salutary principles of the gospel, when fully preached, make their way, through various channels, and almost imperceptibly, into the minds of those who frame and pass the laws of a country; they enter into legislative enactments; they influence those who execute them"; they regulate courts of justice; they spread sentiments of sympathy, tenderness, and compassion, even for the guilty, and diffuse universal love and kindness. Or is a nation still ENVELOPED IN THE DELUSIONS OF ANTICHRIST? the word of God dispels those delusions. Bishop Jewell, on 2 Thess. ii, 8, says, "The Apostle speaks of the preaching of the Gospel which is mighty to do all that whereunto he appoints it, shall make his (Antichrist's) doings manifest, and let all the world see that he was not sent of God; that he did never set forth the glory of God; that he has not sought the salvation of his people; that, in matters of faith and all his life, he is adversary to Christ.-Princes make their conquests by power and strength, by fire and sword, and engines of war; but God shall beat down his adversaries with the rod of his mouth, by the true preaching of his word." Once more: Do EVILS
COMMON TO OUR FALLEN NATURE PREVAIL IN
EVERY NATION? the preaching of the gospel suggests
thoughts of mercy to provide against them all. This has filled our own happy land with charitable institutions, alleviating woe of every character, and meeting the wants of man in every variety of form that sin has introduced. What institution of this kind may not be traced to the gospel! And, very generally, the ministers of the gospel are the first spring, the most constant supporters, the most effective advocates, and the great stay of such institutions. In short, by the full diffusion of the gospel, war, where not prevented, is ameliorated; slavery, where not removed, is softened; the female character, instead of being degraded, is elevated; and universal peace and justice, truth and righteousness, contentment, holiness, and happiness, are established and flourish.* Happy is the people that is in such a case; yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord!
Again, ONE OF GOD'S GREATEST CURSES UPON
A COUNTRY IS TO REMOVE THE MINISTRY OF
THE WORD. If the absence of preaching be the greatest national evil, how great a blessing is it to have the constant privilege of hearing his word! The Scriptures put the national evil of not having an opportunity to hear the word in the strongest light; (Amos viii, 11,
Apparent exceptions, such as the divisions of professing Christians, their eager strifes, fierce contentions, and bloody persecutions, form no just objection to this statement. Those who live godly in Christ Jesus, must expect, and will indeed, from the corruption of man, meet with opposition; but the prineiples of the Gospel dispose REAL Christians to return not railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing; meekness, forbearance, forgiving of injuries, fervent and universal love, endurance and not infliction of persecutions, especially mark their character. The faults of NOMINAL Christians, and the inconsistencies of any Christians, are not to be charged on Christianity, but on the want of it.
12.) Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water; but of hearing the word of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north, even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. Realise the case of a famine of bread. What distress it spreads over a country, and how it alarms aud agitates every individual! In the famine of seven years, recorded in the history of Jacob, they hastened from all lands to Egypt to buy food; and Jacob, in this grievous need, was obliged to part with his beloved Benjamin. Then realise that of a thirst for water. What will not men do to satisfy their thirst? What distress was there in the want of rain for three years and a half in the time of Ahab? Then unite these two evils together at one time. Then, let them not only come in one particular place, but through the whole country. If one part only is in want, and another has abundance, there may be relief afforded; but here the famine is general, from one end of the country to the other. Such is the figure by which the Scriptures represent the want of a preached word; and the want thus typified is manifestly the greater as the soul is more important than the body, and eternity of higher magnitude than the life now present. Isaiah shews that the bread of adversity and the water of affliction are far less evils than the removal of teachers from a country. Isa. xxx, 20.
It has been remarked, that "spiritual judgments are the worst, as men are senseless of them, and they are tokens of God's heaviest displeasure; and of them, the famine of the word is the most dangerous. Ignorance, blindness, hardness of heart, impenitence, and infidelity, are lamentable plagues; but by the preaching of the
word, they may be removed or subdued; but, where vision fails, people must perish; for the absence of the word locks and rivets men into their sins, and the judgments of them."
The history of those on whom this threatening was denounced, illustrates these observations. Look at the Jews since they rejected the word; for nearly two thousand years, how affecting the lesson which their history teaches! Scattered over the earth, they are now a proverb and a bye word; a nation meted out, and trodden under foot. They are enveloped in the midst of Talmudical and Rabbinical rites and superstitions. They have, it is true, the Scriptures; but there is a famine of hearing the word. They want living preachers, declaring scriptural truth. From the days of the Apostles till now, when God's promised time of mercy to this once favoured people seems to be arriving, we find not a faithful ministry of God's word among them. They have Jacob's well, but the stone is upon it, unrolled away, so that there is none to draw water for them from the life-giving fountain.
But not to confine our views to one example, let us regard the GENERAL HISTORY of the church and of the world. We have noticed, that spiritual prosperity is greatly connected with hearing; and the important principle on which we are insisting, that those countries flourish most in TEMPORAL PROSPERITY, where the Gospel is most fully preached and heard, may, we apprehend, be fully established by FACTS. To enter into this minutely, would require lengthened discussion; but the general result will be sufficiently obvious from a cursory review of the world.
Look at the kingdoms of the world, as it regards national prosperity; view the Heathen, and the Mabo