Page images

necessary, through the power of long custom, whilst other most immoral actions assumed the title of sacred, being performed with religious rites, and believed to be acceptable sacrifices to their gods.

The man who feels as he ought to feel for these unhappy beings, will not fail to encourage and support the great efforts that are now making for their conversion. I allude to the religious societies, long established in our church, to the Bible Society, and to the Missionary Societies generally, all of which are making gratifying progress in this truly religious work. Neither let any one forbear to assist in this important undertaking, through fear that the unenlightened heathen are incapable of imbibing the rudiments, and entertaining the principles of our holy religion; for we have undoubted evidence, putting these points out of the question, that the Southsea islanders, to whom I have chiefly alluded, have given up their profane, cruel, and impure rites, and have become professing Christians. Like the early converts to Christianity, who were called upon to repent and embrace the gospel, the missionaries could not but have told these

erring heathens that they could not be capable of learning, nor fit to receive a pure religion, before they had renounced their impious customs and vicious practices. If they have acted thus, at least a great point is gained in morality ; and it must be acknowledged by all that it is a first step towards the reception of our holy religion in sincerity, and to their becoming Christians both in heart and life.

I conclude this chapter with some gratifying and consoling reports, which our hardy voyagers and our indefatigable travellers have given us.

It has been long known that the Arabs possess the virtue of hospitality in a high degree, although they have an extraordinary mode of exercising it. Notwithstanding they will often rob helpless travellers, and sometimes, I fear, take their lives if resisted, yet they are never known to deceive, or surrender to an enemy, any man in their power who has placed himself under their protection, or who has ate or drank with them.

Modern voyagers and travellers relate that they have found savage nations so strictly honest, that they were not afraid to leave every thing belonging to a ship unprotected, depend

ing on the forbearance of the natives, although the temptation held out to them from the various articles for the first time submitted to their attention must have been almost irresistible. Others have discovered a people so rigorously chaste, that no instance was met with of the smallest deviation from the exact line of purity. With respect to the virtue of kind-heartedness and the most consummate charity, which in every land pervade the whole female sex generally, one traveller has summed up the history of his travels with paying the sex, not the compliment, but the due meed of praise, by declaring that in every country through which he passed, in every difficulty and in every distress, he had ever found a woman ready to afford him her best assistance. What

shall we say to these things? Shall we consign these amiable children of nature to everlasting perdition, when that God has made them whose "tender mercies are over all his works, and who is kind to the unthankful and the disobedient?" Does God take care for oxen, and does a sparrow fall to the ground without him? And are not these helpless children of our common Father of more value than many sparrows? and

will their virtues be passed by unregarded? Instead, therefore, of usurping God's prerogative by passing judgment upon them, let us use our utmost endeavours to enlighten them with the knowledge of the pure religion graciously revealed to us, who once lay in equal darkness, from which we were extricated by the preaching of the gospel. Let every man, according to the opportunities offered him, stretch forth his hand to lead his benighted brother into the light of the truth, either by personal exertions, if in his power, or by aiding those who are most forward in the exercise of this highest of the graces which fill up the measure of Christian charity.




THE prophecies that I have first quoted from the ancient Prophets, and from Christ himself, were accomplished by his appearance on earth, by his crucifixion, and his resurrection. Those which related particularly to the Jewish nation were in part fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem, not long after our Saviour's death, and are now fulfilling in the continued dispersion and separation of that singular people, but will not be completed until their final restoration shall have taken place, which, throughout the whole of the scriptures, we are taught confidently to expect.

The prophecies which I am about to bring forward, will relate to what St. Paul calls

« PreviousContinue »