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And here let me remind Females, how much they owe in society to the diffusion of gospel light; and let me thereby attempt to stimulate them, to employ their influence in diffusing its healing beams.
Could you behold the cruel slavery and degradation of your sex in Heathen nations, I should scarcely need any other argument with you.
When a Missionary, in South America, was reproving a married woman of good character for following the custom of destroying female infants, she answered with tears, “I wish to God, Father, I wish to God, that my mother had by my death prevented the distresses which I endure, and have yet to endure as long as I live. Consider, Father, our deplorable condition. Our husbands go to hunt, and trouble themselves no further. We are dragged along with one infant at the breast, and another in a basket. They return, in the evening, without any burden: we return, with the burden of our children ; and, though tired with a long march, are not permitted to sleep; but must labour the whole night in grinding maize to make chica for them. They get drunk; and, in their drunkenness, beat us; draw us by the hair of the head, and tread us under foot. And what have we to comfort us for slavery that has no end? A young wife is brought in upon us, who is permitted to abuse us and our children because we are no longer regarded. Can human nature endure such tyranny ? What kindness can we show to our female children, equal to that of relieving them from such oppression, more bitter a thousand times than death? I say again, would to God that my mother had put me under ground the moment I was born !"
Observe, this was not a peculiar case, but a national custom. Ah ! how remote from that recommended by
the benevolent and sympathizing genius of that Gospel which we would introduce among them!
Look again at another national custom, which, to this day, brings a widow, after having just closed the eyes of her husband, to be burnt to asbes at his side :30,000 say some, 50,000 say others, of such victims perish annually in the East Indies.
You may, perhaps, be willing to hope that the moral state of the Heathen, indicated by these features, must be confined to a few remote parts of the earth. Alas! it is comparatively but a small part of the earth, wbere, in a greater or less degree, such superstition does not still prevail.
Mahometanism has, indeed, removed some of its grosser features; but what has this imposture introduced in their place?
Infidels, perhaps, have told you that the moral virtues, at least, may be found in some parts of the world, where the Christian Faith is unknown: but representations of this kind have been proved, again and again, to be absolute falsehoods: and even allowing that any degree of truth attaches to such accounts, nothing more is to be inferred than that 'the strong man' uses specious methods to keep his goods in peace: Luke xi. 21. The affected solemnity of one lunatic as fully discovers his actual condition, as the extravagant pranks of his fellow.
But, still, you may be ready to ask, “Has not even Christianity itself exhibited scenes, at which humanity shudders ?" I answer, No: in no instance. Christianity is one thing: Popery, another. Christianity must no more be made answerable for its counterfeits, than its emblem Gold. It is one of the arts of hell to confound truth with hypocrisy. Real Christianity is that wisdom from above, which, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy
and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy: James iii. 17. But if, under this holy name, a bold Harlot comes forward in heathen attire, affecting the pomp, secularity, tyranny, and idolatry of Pagan Superstition, what wonder, if she adopts its cruelty also !
Let God, however, be true : and every man, opposing his declarations, a liar. He has described, by existing facts, and by every figure of speech, the blindness, depravity, and helplessness of fallen nature in the Gentile World : and, were it not that we are apt to read accounts till we forget their meaning, I need only to read the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans to show more fully the moral state of the Heathen. He, who cannot deceive or be deceived, hath assured us, that the darkness of the Heathen is so connected with wickedness, that, besides those crimes,* for which it is said the land itself vomited out her inhabitants,' it is added, 'Every abomination to the Lord which he hateth have they done: for even their sons and their daughters they burnt in the fire to their Gods: Deut. xii. 3.
Add to these more conspicuous instances, the innumerable tribes which rove the vast deserts of Asia, Africa, and America-millions, who scarcely ever rise to an idea above the dictates of a corrupt nature. Scarcely excelling their cattle in intelligence, they sink far below brutes by their vices : and, yet, is there one of these less capable of rising, under the means of grace, to 'glory and honour, immortality and eternal life,' Rom. ii. 7, than ourselves ?
See then the wretched state of those, to whom our labours are directed. Of God, of their moral state, and of futurity they know comparatively nothing. And their condition is the more deplorable, because man is
* See Lev. xviii.
obstinate in proportion as he is ignorant: the grosser his superstition, the more will he cleave to it, till God sends out his light and his truth. Prepare ye, there fore, the way of the Lord;' for till 'the Sun of Righteousness' arise on these nations 'with healing in his wings,' notwithstanding all the endeavours of Legislators and Philosophers, .darkness' must 'cover the earth and gross darkness the people :' Isa. Ix. 2.
This leads me to make an observation or two on, II. THE MEANS OF THEIR RECOVERY.
One cannot help remarking here, on the confused and fruitless views of some pious persons. They are indeed struck with horror when the state of the Heathen is recollected. Like persons walking through a lazarhouse, they pity from their hearts the different stages
of malady which lie before them, but see no present remedy. They wait for some tide or motion, they know not what. Centuries have elapsed, and hundreds of millions of souls have passed into eternity-still they wait!
But it might be of use for such persons to inquire, “Does not God work by means? Does he not command them to be used, in preparing his way?' Has He not promised his blessing, in the use of them? How was the way of the Lord prepared among those Gentiles, now brought to the faith of Christ ?
Was not our own highly favoured nation as far from God as that of any other Gentiles ? and is there not reason to think we should have remained Heathens to this day had the first Missionaries thus waited, or required some perceivable shaking among the dry bones before they prophesied in this our desert ?"
I know of no difficulty now before a Missionary to the Heathen, that did not meet the first Missionary to this nation. We had our human sacrifices, as well as
others. Our hearts were as hard, and our prejudices as great, as those of others; and our situation more insulated and unapproachable than most of theirs.
The ablest means, however, and the best concerted plans, can, of themselves, do nothing. The glory of the Lord must be revealed,' in his mighty power, as well as in his saving truth, 'before all flesh can see the salvation of our God. But, as the labour of the Husbandman is connected with the influences of Heaven in producing the harvest, so, in all other respects, it has been justly remarked that it is the fool only who expects the end without the means, since it is only in the use of appointed means that desirable ends are promised.
This Society, I can safely assert, mean to prepare the way of the Lord' by exhibiting the only reinedy for fallen nature; the cross of Christ, and the regenerating influence of his Spirit; and that in the most simple and unequivocal manner possible. They have seen folly and disappointment inscribed on every other remedy, and on all unscriptural modifications of the true remedy ; and that, in every age and in every place; and they depend alone, under God, upon the truth as it is in Jesus.'
To accomplish their end, it is evident that Missionaries must be employed among the Heathen: for how shall they hear without a preacher ?' Rom. x. 14. But it may be necessary, perhaps, to admonish a sanguine and inexperienced zeal, to pay more attention than is usually paid at this day, to the words which follow, “How shall they preach except they be sent ?' i. e. How can it be expected that they should succeed in such a work, tili God has called and qualified them for it? The work of a Missionary is as arduous as it is honourable: he is, in an eminent degree, a living sac