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sessed. Upon China, that vast world of souls, no permanent impression has ever yet been made. Further west and south, very extensive and populous regions are still in the hands of the enemy. Even in Hindoostan, a few out-posts only have been gained, while "the strong man armed keepeth his palace" in the heart of the country, surrounded and defended, by Cast and Vedas and Shasters and Brahmins; those dread and mighty munitions of a lewd and sanguinary despotism. The spiritual conquest of Persia is scarcely begun, and very little progress has yet been made, in reducing the wandering hordes of Tartary to the obedience of Christ. The unnumbered Islands that cluster around the shores of the eastern continent, are held in quiet subjection by the god of this world;—and so, with barely enough of missionary influence to constitute a slight exception, are New Holland, New Zealand, and the Friendly Isles:—and so is Owhyhee, lifting its hoary head above the clouds from a fathomless abyss of waters.
The great continent of Africa, also, remaineth yet to be possessed. The interior has not to this day been explored by civilized man; while those parts most accessible to Europeans, instead of receiving from them the light and freedom of the Gospel, have for ages resounded with the stripes and waitings of a most accursed traffic in human blood. Once, indeed, Abyssinia and tho region round about, were blessed with Churches and Pastors, walking together in faith and love; but it is long since the glory departed. The true light has ceased to shine, and centuries have rolled away since the prince of darkness re-established his empire. We must not indeed forget to acknowledge, with thankfulness, the distinguished zeal and perseverance of the Moravians and others, both in the south and west of Africa. They have done more, perhaps, than could have been expected from their numbers and the wild and savage character of the inhabitants. But after all, there is only here and there a glimmering of light in a dark place. What comparison do a few thousand natives rescued from idolatry bear to hundreds of millions, who still, sit in pagan darkness. The ground, which it has cost the missionaries so many years and so much toil to gain, is scarcely sufficient to afford them even a precarious resting place for the soles of their feet. It is almost nothing, compared with what remaincth yet to be possessed.
A very large part of the American continent, k in nearly the same deplorable state of moral degradation. Even within our own limits, the savage still lights his death fires, to appease the wrath of an idol. On the north, there is an immense region of palpable darkness. From our western frontier to the Pacific Ocean, nothing has yet been done, to enlighten and save the wandering and suffering nations of the wilderness. The whole of South America, also, presents a most interesting field for protestant missions, which is yet unoccupied. Nor must it be forgotten, that most of the Mediterranean Isles, together with trackless deserts of ice and snow in the north of Europe, and other considerable portions of the globe, which have not been particularly mentioned, remain yet to be possessed.
But let not the Church despair. Let not missionaries be disheartened. Let Zion trust in her God, and she shall never be ashamed. For,
II. The ultimate conquest and possession of all the heathen lands is certain. The heathen themselves may rage—Satan may come down with great wrath, and in his convulsive struggles for empire, may yet shake the foundations of the earth; but the promise cannot fail. In spite of all his efforts to prevent it, Zion will arise and shine, her light being come, and the glory of the Lord being risen upon her. How animating to the Church in her darkest hours and most oppressive despondency, must be the encouragements, which are poured into her ear by the evangelical Prophet "The Lord shall rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see and flow together, and thine heart shall fear and be enlarged, because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee; the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.— And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee, shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.—Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever.—A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." Thus shall Zion at length be put in possession of the whole earth. Thus will Jehovah make her an ''eternal excellency, a joy of many generations."
The darkness of a hundred ages is to be pierced and scattered, by the all pervading light of the Sun of Righteousness. "The strong man armed" is to be ejected as a cruel usurper. Unnumbered millions of captives are to be set free. Jerusalem and the holy city are to be rescued from the hands of the infidels, "not by might, nor power, but by the Spirit of the Lord." The river of the water of life is to flow in a thousand new channels, bearing upon its unruffled current, the blessings and the triumphs of the Cross. Those who are scorched in equatorial deserts will "sit down under the shadow of Christ with great delight," while all, who shiver amid the ice of the poles, will be warmed into spiritual life. The effeminate Hindoo and the degraded African will be raised to the dignity of men and of Christians. The habitations of cruelty, in far distant continents and islands, will be enlightened by the Gospel and possessed by the church. The wild men of the American forests will be tamed, and all the wilderness will become the heritage of Zion.
III. Although the excellency of the power is of God, this great work is to be accomplished by human instrumentality.
It might be effected by a miracle in a single day. Or angels might be employed instead of men. As the sun shines and the planets roll without human agency, so might the boundaries of the Church be extended, "from sea to sea and from shore to shore." But not so is the will of her King. As well might the Israelites have waited in the wilderness for the conquest of Canaan. God had promised to drive out the nations; but he thought fit to employ his people to effect it, instead of doing it by his own immediate power. They had actually to go up and take possession. They had to buckle on their armor and meet the enemy, and if they had not done so the land would never have been subdued. Thus it is that the church must inherit the gentiles. There is a great work to be done, and she must not look for miracles, or angels to accomplish it.
How was the Gospel first propagated, even in an age of miracles? By toil, by perseverance, by encountering a thousand dangers:—by assailing the strong holds of Jewish infidelity and'Pagan idolatry. Had the Apostles shut themselves up in Jerusalem, what would have been the consequence? In vain would they have waited for the conversion of the heathen. Their commission was, "Go and teach all nations;" and with what zeal did they engage in the perilous undertaking! How great was their selfdenial! What inhospitable regions did they visit: how diligently did they plant and water, how skilfully did they wield "the weapons of their warfare, and how mighty Were they through God, to the pulling down of strong holds!" It was thus that the spiritual conquest of extensive and populous regions was achieved by the first missionaries; and it was by human instrumentality, in a subsequent age, that the immense fabric of Paganism was