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imparted to them, which neither they would have been so apt to learn, nor we so earnest to teach, if they had stayed at home.
When they become fellow-citizens with us, we must instruct them. The penalty of neglect is our own ruin. Either we must give the truth to them, or we must lose it ourselves. Thus to all the other motives impelling us to seek their enlightenment and conversion there is superadded the powerful one of self-interest.
But we believe that Providence has a higher end in view than the benefit which these emigrants receive here. There is an incident in the early history of the Church which is highly instructive in this connexion. At the wonderful effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, there were present, and among the converts, persons from all parts of the civilized world. These, when they returned to their respective homes, carried the story of the cross to the ends of the earth. So it may be, so it probably will be, in this case. God has sent these "sons of the stranger" to school in this western hemisphere, to learn our religion, laws, and institutions; that, when the door is opened in providence, they may carry these blessings back to their father-lands.
We observe, thirdly, that the signs of the times call for a higher type of Christian character, for a more active, stirring, laborious piety, than the exigencies of the Church have heretofore demanded. The essentials of personal religion must ever be the same; but they will manifest themselves variously, according to the varying circumstances in which they may be placed. When war is at our doors, when pestilence is marching through the land, when famine is piling its dead in our streets, when the fires of persecution are raging, when death is in the dwelling, the behaviour of a Christian is different, and ought to be different, from what it is under circumstances the reverse of all this. So the aspect of the times will modify the bearing of the Christian. The colour of the age, so to speak, will tinge the piety of the age. The Puritans of the age of Baxter were men of deep religious feeling, and acted up to their convictions, as much as men ever did. But we must not ask how much the Christians of that age gave for the conversion of the heathen, in order to judge how much the Christians of this age ought to give; for the conversion of the heathen was then scarcely thought of. Two thousand godly ministers were then driven from their pulpits, and they retired to their closets to write books; for which God be praised. If the same thing should happen to-morrow, the sun does not shine upon the regions which would not resound with their voices, before he had completed another annual revolution.
To know, then, what is the particular phase of Christian character
which God would have us wear, it is only necessary to inquire, “What are the signs of the times? What is the spirit of the age ? What do passing events foretoken ?" If, then, it should now be asked, in the words of the prophet, "Watchman, what of the night?” The answer is furnished by the same divine book, “ The morning cometh.” Yes, the time of rest, the promised Sabbath, is approaching. The millennial era is casting its goodly shadow before. And no other times have ever portended the millennium. The apostolic age, glorious as its signs were, did not. That age could not give the Bible to the whole world; and without a general diffusion of the word of God, as experience has shown, there cannot be much stability of religious doctrine. Hence the ten centuries of darkness which afflicted the Church-a darkness nearly as deep as that of the paganism out of which she had emerged. The signs of the Reformation times did not promise. the millennium. The idolatries in the Church gave the reformers too much trouble to leave them much time to think of the idolatries out of it. The
world was then almost as much unknown as if it had belonged to another planet. The Scriptures had been translated into but few of the languages of earth. The means of intercourse between distant places were limited. Conveyance was slow, cumbrous, expensive, and perilous. There were no facilities for multiplying Bibles, tracts, and religious books. Indeed, few had then been written, except by monks and schoolmen; the former, silly legends of pretended saints; the latter, finespun and ponderous metaphysical treatises. Nobly, and with unrivalled ability, did the reformers do battle against the errors and absurdities of popery; but to usher in the millennium was not their mission. That is an honour reserved for our times; a laurel, with which the Church of the nineteenth century shall encircle her brow, if she do not prove recreant to herself and her God.
It is a blessed privilege to live in this age,--an age of such high and glorious promise. Better to live now than to have been attendants upon the personal ministry of Christ. Better to live now than in the millennium itself; since we may share in the glory of hastening its approach. But the spirit of the millennium must breathe upon us, or we shall do little towards promoting the coming of the millennium. The piety of the Puritans, the piety of the reformers, the piety even of the apostolic age, is not the piety which the present times demand. We want a giving piety; a missionary piety; a piety that feels as Christ felt, and acts as Christ acted, and prays as Christ prayed; a piety that is ready to forsake kindred, home, and country, and go far hence among the Gentiles. We want missionary merchants, missionary farmers, missionary mechanics, missionary lawyers, and missionary physicians, as well as missionary preachers. We do not mean simply men of these callings to go to heathen lands; but men in all the walks of life, who, here at home, will plan, and work, and live, with the sole end in view of accumulating means to carry forward the benevolent operations of the day. There are some such. But the number ought to be greatly increased. Increased did we say? The Church of Christ, in these days, should contain none who do not act on this principle. A Christian ought to be a follower of Christ; and for what end did Jesus live but the salvation of the world? The furtherance of the gospel, the conversion of the world,—this is the one grand pursuit, which all Christians ought now to propose to themselves. Behold the spirit, the manner of life, and the end, which become the Church of the living God in the present age. Behold the spirit, and imbibe it. Behold the manner of life, and conform to it. Behold the end, and pursue it.
There is, indeed, a constant demand upon Christians to live for the promotion of His cause who redeemed them with his blood. But as surely as the heavens do rule in the affairs of men, this claim presses at the present day, with redoubled force, upon the conscience of the Church, enforced by those signal operations of the divine hand which mark the current century. Let this consideration stir us up to an equally signal exemplification of the power of godli
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Faith enables us to devote our life to the good of those whom we know only as redeemed by the blood of Christ. Faith emboldens us to assail forms of error and of sin, hoary with age, and entrenched in prejudices firm as the lasting hills. Faith gives us heart to toil on, and die in hope, even with the darkness of midnight still resting on the mountains; how much more, when the golden light of the millennial morn is seen shooting above the spiritual horizon. Faith has a might which is infinite, for the strength of omnipotence is hers; and eternity will vindicate her claim to it.
The most exalted and animating hopes are inspired by a survey of the signs of the times. We do but give utterance to the honest conviction of our judgment in expressing the opinion, that, if the whole Christian Church would come up to the mark of duty, if Christendom itself were thoroughly christianized, there is talent enough, wealth enough, and numbers enough, to accomplish the evangelization of the globe within the present century. We cannot but give a momentary indulgence to the pleasing dream that all Christians will open their hearts fully to the influence of the signs
of the times. Assuming that this will be so, our thoughts bound forward to meet the men who shall stand in the pulpits of the earth on the first Sabbath of the next century. What a vision of glory bursts upon our eye, and ravishes our soul ! The light that shines from Zion's hill is streaming all around. The dominion of Buddha, throughout all the wide realms where his sceptre once bore sway, has been superseded by the dominion of the Prince of peace. The shasters of Brahminism have been exchanged for the oracles of the true God. The hundred thousand deities of the Hindoo pantheon, with all the other idols of the nations, have been banished from under the heavens; their temples are fallen; and their worship is perished. The vision that filled the prophetic eye of the psalmist, when he saw Ethiopia stretching out her hands unto God, is accomplished; and the breathings of a new and higher life stir the soul of the whole African continent. The horrors of the middle passage are known only in history. The thousand islands of the Pacific have heard and embraced the news of a crucified Redeemer. The false prophet of the Moslem faith has fled abashed before the true prophet of the Christian faith. The man of sin has filled up the measure of his iniquities, and has sunk beneath the floods of divine wrath, to appear no more forever. The blindness of the Jews is ended in their cordial reception of Jesus of Nazareth. The eyes of a pantheistic philosophy, and an infidel science, have been couched; and they now see and own their God. The crimson banner of war is furled; his bloody footprints are erased; the trumpet of carnage is hushed; and the chariot of conquest is burnt in the fire. The abundance of the sea—not only the isles which gem its shining bosom, but the riches, power, and glory of commerce-have been converted unto God. In every region of the globe the spires of Christian temples leap exulting to the skies. The worship of this Sabbath--the first in the year 1900—begins on the shores of eastern Asia in the crowded cities of China, Japan, and Australia. The strain, swelled by hundreds of millions of voices, traverses the broad expanse of the eastern hemisphere; leaps across the Atlantic wave; rolls onward, as the hours advance, till it mingles with the murmurs of the Pacific Ocean; is caught and repeated by the dwellers in the sea; and is prolonged from isle to isle, and from group to group, till it fairly completes the circuit of the globe; and the sublime words of the Christian poet are fulfilled, that
“Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round.” To this consummation all prophecy points; to this all things are now visibly tending. The glorious jubilee may not be so near at hand as we have supposed; but it will surely come. The future is full of sublime promise;—to the Father of all ages we may commit that future with a serene and unfaltering courage. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine; and the Redeemer, appearing in his glory to reign over a ransomed world, shall wear the crown of his millennial kingdom. When the Judge of quick and dead shall sit upon the great white throne, and reality shall have taken the place of seeming, to have contributed but a single prayer to that result, to have swelled by the addition of two mites the charity which has borne the lifeboat of the cross to the stranded and perishing nations, to have bestowed a draught of cold water upon a weary missionary panting at his work beneath an equatorial sun, will be accounted a higher honour, and will meet a better reward, than to have returned from the conquest of a world with garments rolled in blood, and followed by the shouts of applauding millions.
ART. VIII.-FATHER REEVES.
Father Reeves, the Methodist Class-Leader: a Brief Account of Mr. William Reeves,
Thirty-four Years a Class-Leader in the Wesleyan Methodist Society, Lambeth. By EDWARD CORDEROY. 18mo., pp. 160. New-York: Carlton & Phillips. 1863.
In the winter of 1808, a poor young countryman found his way to Lambeth Chapel, London. He listened to the message to the Church of Laodicea, opened his heart to the word, and determined to lead a new life. The record of that life is given in the book named at the head of this article,—one of the richest of those “annals of the poor” which illustrate so beautifully the history of Methodism as of Christianity. The story of his early life and conversion is told in a simple autobiography, which forms the second chapter of the volume; and much of what follows is made up from manuscript records left behind him by the good old man. The whole history shows how a single aim can give energy and even glory to the humblest life; how a determination to do the nearest duty can make out of an artisan, toiling for his daily bread from youth to hoary age, an apostolic missionary of religion. Mr. Reeves was, through life, a journeyman coach-maker, who probably never earned more than eight dollars a week-in most of his best days rarely more than seven-and who yet “always maintained a comfortable though frugal home; always sustained according to his ability the institutions of Methodism; saved a trifle for old