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Arminians can be evangelical, and for Arminians almost to ques tion the existence of a moral Calvinist. Such misapprehensions we have always set ourselves anxiously to resist; and if we are not mistaken, a milder spirit now generally prevails. Each party is beginning to learn that the system of his rival has more correctives than he could have conceived; and that God may be glorified, and souls rescued, by the pious and temperate exhibition of either. We rejoice also to believe that the real character of that part of the Clergy to which we allude is better known, and their excellence more generally acknowledged, than it was at the time we commenced our labours..
Another end proposed by the CHRISTIÁN OBSERVEK, was to supply a sort of stage, on which the productions of pious and cultivated minds might be displayed to the public. And it will not be de nied, we think, that in the pages of our several volumes (which we acknowledge, with gratitude to our Correspondents), some striking proofs have been given that there is no hostility between serious Religion and Elegant Literature; and that Philosophy and Genius rejoice to take up their cross and follow CHKIST.
If we descend from general, objects, to such as are more specific, the same train of remark may be pursued.
The Slave Trade, for instance, was one of the first specific objects to which the labours of this work were consecrated. In the first stage of our career, its accursed fires blazed in almost every quarter of the world. We are now, thank God, occupied in quenching its few and dying embers. Great Britain has endeavoured, by a public act, to redeem the national character from its foul disgrace
"To teach the world, that, while she rules the waves,
Her soil is freedom to the feet of slaves"
to avow her former violation of the laws of justice and humanity; to wipe out the blood with which her hands were dyed; and to establish throughout the universe those grand principles of freedom which, under God, are the best ramparts of the throne, the very ark of her own national happiness and virtue.
Another specific end of this work was to erect some barrier to the unwarranted attacks of a body of men, invested with the armour of supposed local knowledge, upon the Missionaries of
Christianity in the East. We saw that the small opening, by which the Day-spring from on high began to break in upon sixty millions of people, was in danger of being darkened. Such a cause compelled our interference. And such has been the mercy of Providence, that these anti-missionary clamours have subsided; that India continues to drink in by drops, as it were, the waters of life; and that the seed is cast into the ground, which may spring up to shelter that vast population from the consuming fires of a superstition, of which their own scorching sun is but a faint emblem.,
No sooner was India established in her rights of hearing the Gospel salvation, than the attempt was revived to check that institution which is designed to naturalize Christianity, not only in India, but in the four quarters of the globe. In the controversy which the Bible Society has had to maintain with some distinguished individuals of the Establishment, we find ourselves still engaged. But though the strife is protracted, the victory is, we conceive, by no means dubious, That society, while it continues true to the, principles and to the cause in which it is embarked, seems to be placed above the need of defence, and beyond the reach of danger. The cords of its tent are stretched, and its stakes are fixed in almost every point of the compass. Like the electric fire, its influence darts through every intervening obstacle. Continents are quickening into life:-from the very stones children are raised up unto Abraham :-and we trust soon to see nations arising and shaking themselves from the dust of idolatry or indifference, and putting on the garments of holiness and joy. Feeble, indeed, has been the aid which our arm has lent to this glorious institution; but may that arm wither when it betrays the cause it has more than once been raised to defend !
Now let us not, in tracing this history of events, be misunderstood as stating them to follow from our interference. Many and powerful have been the engines at work. But we desire to attribute these results to more than human instruments, and to call them nothing less than monuments of Divine Power. In recapitulating them, therefore, we design not to direct the attention of our readers to our own achievements or to those of our fellowlabourers in the same field of service; but to lead them, if they will, to lament with us our incompetence to these high enterprizes, and to commemorate the bounty of Almighty God.
Ascribing however, as we do, these events to Heaven, it is certainly no small consolation to us to see so many of the objects which we had it at heart to promote, thus stamped with the seal of
But our readers will scarcely rest satisfied, unless, in addition to this review of the past, we make some pledge for the time to come. We will say, then, with a due regard to the awful uncertainty of the future, that we design, under God, to pursue the path we originally chose. We hope to improve by discipline and experience; to forsake no post which we conceive it our duty to maintain; and to meet vigorously whatever new assaults may threaten our Zion. Some of our objects can never be accomplished but by the regeneration of the world: these, therefore, will never suffer our weapons to rust in their scabbards. New evils will be continually springing up, which we shall always endeavour to stand ready to combat. A peculiar direction also is likely to be given to our labours: a new course of political administration may possibly bring before us many questions, with which the interests of Religion are too intimately bound up not to demand discussion. Should this be the case, we shall not, we trust, shrink from our duty, but shall feel it right to state the general principles of politics (with parties we can have nothing to do), which, however unpopular they may happen to be, are the natural produce of Christianity. Other unexpected topics of inquiry will probably present themselves. In every emergency we shall content ourselves with continuing to aim at the approbation, while we request the aid and countenance, of the wise and good; and, above all, earnestly to implore His favour and blessing,
"Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain,
Let the ransomed of Jehovah speak,
Whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the foe;
From the east, and from the west; from the north, and from the sea.
They wandered in the desert, in the pathless waste,
A city of habitation they did not find;
Famished with hunger, parched with thirst,
Their souls within them fainted.
Then they cried unto JEHOVAH in their trouble;
He led them forth by the right way,
And his wonders wrought in favour of men;
And the famished soul, he hath filled with goodness!
The dwellers in darkness, and the shadow of death,
Because they rebelled against the words of God,
They fell down-and there was not a helper!
Out of their afflictions, he delivereth them;
He led them forth from darkness and the shadow of death,
Let them praise Jehovah for his mercy,
And his wonders wrought in favour of men ; 1
And the bars of iron hath smitten asunder!