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whole heathen world to the obedience of Christ, the combined energies of all the christians in the world are equal to the maintenance of an army of five or six hundred men. No wonder that they
burden of supporting
are ready to sink under the this immense body of forces. It is some comfort to think, however, that the enemy must soon be overpowered by such a host, and therefore the oppressive duty of maintaining it is but for a short season! I feel that this is not a subject for irony, but I know not in what way I can better express the feeling of shame and sorrow which the contemplation of this subject excites. It is indeed mortifying to think that the christian world can do so little, if it can do no more than has been done; and it is not less mortifying, if it can do more, that it does it not.
I will not repeat the humbling comparisons that have been made between the amount of the annual receipts of our benevolent societies, and the receipts of one of our London theatres for a short season;
* It is true that the separate societies which devote their funds to the translating, printing and distributing of the scriptures, and other societies, not strictly missionary, are supported by the christian public. These furnish the missionary (to carry on the figure) with arms and ammunition--and may be supposed included in the view we are taking of the hostile operations now going on against the prince of this world. Let therefore the whole accumulation of means be kept in view. There is, alas, no need to hide some part of the means used in order to make the amount appear small.
the outfit and provisioning for a few months of one of our ships of war, or the equipment of a small armament for the protection or conquest of some insignificant island; but one thing I will say, if we improve not the present advantages which the favourable situation of political affairs, the flourishing state of our commerce, and the extent and credit of our foreign relations, put within our reach, God in his righteous providence may soon deprive us of them all; and the news from England and India that have just reached us, put a new emphasis on this consideration.
To conclude then, what if the directors of our missionary societies should make a demand for supplies adequate to the equipment and maintenance of four times the number of missionaries at present in actual service, would the demand meet with a refusal as a thing impossible? or, might it be accomplished? By a determined renunciation of a few superfluities-by retrenching a few fashionable luxuries-by the sacrifice of a little taste and a little empty pleasure, it might. This must be obvious to any one who chooses to reflect upon the subject, and that not to four times but to ten times the amount of the present scale of operation?
Then why is the thing not done? Either because the object is not of sufficient importance to justify such sacrifices—or▬▬
I leave you to supply the rest.
I am yours, &c.
THE difficulty of proving to the heathen the truth of christianity is a subject which has often engaged my thoughts. I have also endeavoured to elicit the sentiments of others as to the best method of setting the evidences of the truth before the mind of an unbeliever, but hitherto have met with nothing altogether satisfactory. I now offer you a few observations on the subject, more for the purpose of setting the difficulties connected with it in their true light than as containing a complete solution of them.
The evidences of the truth of the christian religion are various and abundant; they are sufficient to carry full conviction to the mind of any one capable of appreciating the force of them. But the historical evidences are from their very nature ill adapted for popular conviction; they are beyond the reach of the great mass of the people; and the internal evidences cannot be felt or understood by those who have no personal experience of the
power of the truth on their own hearts, and who have no living examples of it before their eyes. The evidence from miracles (now that miraculous powers have ceased) resolves itself into the testimony borne to the miracles of the first age of christianity, but the truth of that testimony the heathen may be supposed to have no means of ascertaining.
Thus the great mass of evidence comprehended under these three divisions is almost wholly inaccessible to the heathen world. That christianity was attested by miracles-that the commencement of the christian dispensation was the close and the fulfilment of a prior economy of miracles that had subsisted from the very infancy of the world-that the success of christianity by such instruments as its first disciples, and in such circumstances as characterized that era, is itself a most stupendous miracle-that the concurrent voice of ancient history, the testimony of enemies as well as friends, confirm the truth of the principal facts recorded in our scriptures-that these scriptures, as we now have them, are the genuine and unadulterated records of divine revelation, handed down to us through a long succession of ages-that the character christianity claims is established by the effects it has produced in millions of instances, in turning sinners from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God-that this evidence is continually accumulating by the additions making to the number of its believers who "have
the witness in themselves"-that the purity of its
precepts, the sublimity of its spirit it breathes, the evils it
doctrines, the holy
cures, the joy and
peace it bestows, the glory it reveals, the consistency of all its parts, its being so worthy of God, and so suitable to the state of man, all, all bear witness for it as a revelation not of earthly originthat it comes from God and is "truth and no lie." This, and much more than all this, the heathen in the first instance can neither appreciate nor believe; they may have the bare testimony of the missionary who addresses them on such subjects that christianity is supported "by many infallible proofs," but they labour under a total incapacity of examining them. It is true that much of the character here given to christianity might be learned from an attentive and intelligent perusal of its sacred records; but this is supposing a degree of candour of mind and interest in the subject which it is too much to suppose the heathen to possess. They have a religion of their own, and they demand at the very outset some proof of the truth of the new system proposed to them before they will think it worth their while to give it any farther attention.
Missionaries, when they begin to address themselves to a heathen population on the subject of religion, are often called upon to give some visible sign or demonstration of the truth, as the only condition upon which they can expect to be listened to and believed. Could the missionary perform