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If there be any thing certain in prophecy, it is that Christianity is intended to be a universal religion. If there is any thing certain in philosophy, it is that Christianity is calculated to be a universal religion. If there be any thing true in history, it is that Christianity is hastening onward to become a universal religion. Nothing could be more improbable than that this great process should be broken off in the midst. A period must certainly elapse equal
to the time which has already passed since the * ministry of Christ before his religion can be universal. The millennium, even according to the wildest speculators, whatever it may mean, can not take place previous to this consummation. Then the world must last a thousand years longer at least, after all the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of Christ. And if these modern prophets will be true to their own principles of interpretation, and make a day stand for a year, the thousand years of the millennium must represent three hundred and sixty-five millions of years, which are to elapse after the whole world becomes Christian, before it is ultimately destroyed.
For my own part, the world seems to me to be yet in its infancy. Most of it has as yet seen nothing but barbarism. The continent on which we live is but just now being occupied with civilized inhabitants, its vast plains are now for
the first time being subjugated by the plough and waving with the harvest, since the morning of creation; and therefore this whole western hemisphere is just beginning to answer the purposes for which it was created. There is much of Europe which has hardly felt the blessings of civilization. Africa has never emerged from a state of brutal and savage ignorance. Printing and the mariner's compass, the great instruments in the progress of humanity, are but a few centuries old. The human race are just starting on a career of illimitable improvement. What more improbable, than that their career is to be terminated so soon and so suddenly ?
"If any man shall say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or Lo there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect. Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth, behold, he is in the secret chambers, BELIEVE IT NOT." ;
A DISCOURSE ON CHURCH AND STATE.*
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love
thee.-Psalm cxxii, 6.
RELIGION and politics, church and state, our God and our country, these have been the subjects which have created the deepest interest in the mind and heart of man ever since the race began to be separated into families, communities, nations; and will continue to be the leading matters of thought, communication, and feeling, till society itself shall be dissolved in the final wreck of all things. Religion and attachment to our native soil, piety and patriotism, were the deep foundations upon which the legislators of old erected the pillars of society, and raised the fair proportions of states, kingdoms, and empires. In the first ages with which history makes us acquainted, church and state were identical, the patriarch was at the same time priest and king, and civil obedience was secured by religious veneration.
* Delivered on Thanksgiving Day, 1844.
Abraham and Melchizedek ministered at the altar at the same time that they reigned over their respective people. In Egypt, at the same period, as we learn incidentally from the Bible, the same amalgamation of church and state prevailed, for Joseph, as soon as he rose to be first minister of state, was incorporated in the sacerdotal family, by receiving in marriage the daughter of the priest of On. This was the natural order of things, church and state were both weak, and could stand only by holding up each other. But this consolidated power, combining the forces of both worlds, necessarily, as kingdoms became larger, hardened into a crushing despotism, impregnable to change, and incapable of amelioration; and in all probability the pyramids themselves are the monuments of the first experiment in human government, of a state, the balance of which was destroyed from the beginning, by amalgamating the civil and ecclesiastical power.
In the Jewish commonwealth, the attempt was made to remedy this hopeless despotism, by the severance of the royal and sacerdotal offices. Moses contented himself with being the military leader and civil magistrate of the Israelites. All priestly functions were given over to the family of Aaron. When the nation
was settled in the promised land, this distribution of powers was scrupulously preserved, till they were once more accidentally united in the family of Judas Maccabeus, a few generations before Christ. This partial separation of church and state in the Hebrew commonwealth was a great reform on every thing that had gone before; and to those who have carefully studied the history of that remarkable people, it is wonderful with what jealousy God watched over this feature in their political constitution. Twice the attempt was made to unite the royal and sacerdotal offices, and each time the attempt was effectually rebuked by God. This usurpation cost Saul his throne. We read that on a certain occasion, when he was in great distress, he ventured on an invasion of the priestly office. "And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed, and Samuel came not to Gilgal, and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold Samuel came. And Samuel said to Saul, thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee; for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel