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cogent, on which time does not permit me to insist, that he should be a man of general knowledge, and of a cultivated mind, capable of observing and reporting on these as well as on more sacred subjects, and of promoting the temporal as well as the spiritual interests of men. But still, every thing secular, every thing temporal, must be secondary and subordinate; one thing must be highest, one thing firstfirst in his observation, first in his desires, first in his prayers, first in his efforts, first in his reports. He must be a man, who, at Athens, would have felt as Paul felt, and acted as Paul acted, when "his spirit was stirred in him, on seeing the city wholly given to idolatry."

I shall not enlarge on the matter of fact here stated, with regard to Athens. It was full of gods. Every object of worship in almost every known nation had a niche in its pantheon; so that in this renowned city there are said to have been more images and statues than in all the rest of Greece together; which gave occasion to the humorous. saying of one of their satirists, that in Athens a god was more easily found than a man.

Brethren, in the revolutions of empires, Athens has long been no more. And, had Athens, as an idolatrous city,' stood alone, a solitary instance of defection in the midst of a loyal world, when this ancient seat of polytheism became extinct, no scene would have remained for the exercise of the feelings described in the text. But, oh! how opposite is the fact! Athens stood pre-eminent, indeed, for the multitude of its deities; but, alas! it stood not alone. It was not a city merely that Paul had to contemplate as given to idolatry; but, with the exception of one little spot favoured of heaven, as "the place which Jehovah had chosen, to put his name there," it was a whole world. And now, when eighteen centuries have passed away, does not the same heart-moving spectacle still, to a vast extent, present itself to the view? How very few, comparatively, of the tribes of our fallen and revolted race, have as yet "turned from their idols, to serve the living and true God?" How immense the proportion of them that are still "going astray after their dumb idols, even as they are




led!" It is true, and let us record it with the liveliest feelings of delight and adoration, the proportion is lessening. The true God is making his name glorious among the heathen. The idols he is abolishing. "The gods that made not the heavens and the earth, are perishing from off the earth, and from under these heavens." And, ere we advance one step further in our discourse, may we not be permitted to pause for a moment, and to sound the notes of triumphant gladness over the ruined morais and the outcast idols of Taheite? My brethren, give God the glory. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. If you presume to take the praise to yourselves; if you cherish the presumptuous feelings of self-complacency and selfgratulation;-your triumphs shall cease. "The Lord your God is a jealous God, he will not give his glory to another;" not to men, any more than to graven images. Say, then, with hearts prostrate in bumility, yet rising to heaven in exulting praise, "Thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place!"*

The new scene that presents itself in these distant isles of the ocean is delightful to every Christian feeling. Breaking on the sacred stillness of the sabbath morning, fancy seems now to hear, amidst the groves of Otaheite, "the sound of the church-going bell," and to see the brown inhabitants with mild benignity and serious but animated joy in their looks, hasting along, not to the temple of an idol, but to the house of the Lord of Hosts, the God of their salvation; there to join in his simple but solemn, his pure and peaceful and spiritual worship:

"While each full heart with holy wonder glows,

And bright from every eye the tear of transport flows!"

The ships that approach the island wonder at the unwonted stillness and seeming solitude of the scene-no natives appearing on the beach, no canoes putting off from the shore -and they feel a rising dread, lest war and famine should have swept the population away.

* 2 Cor. ii. 14.

But, oh! my brethren, how do our spirits sink within us, when we turn our eyes away from this delightful vision, to larger islands and extensive continents, peopled by millions on milions of our fellow-creatures, who are still "given up to idolatry?" To these we wish now to direct your attention; not in the way of describing to you the varieties of their polytheistic superstitions, or of the rites of their infatuated worship,-(although, perhaps, as it was the sight that agitated the bosom of Paul, the hearing of such a detail might have a more powerfully moving and spiritstirring influence on my auditory, than any reasonings or illustrations of mine,)-but with the view of considering, what are the sentiments, and feelings, and desires, which the contemplation of the idolatries of the heathen world is fitted to awaken and to cherish.

The object of these annual meetings is to keep alive the Missionary spirit, and to rouse it to still warmer and more active energy. It will not be found, I trust, unsuitable to this design, if we endeavour to show, with humble dependance on the divine blessing, how the survey of these idolatries is calculated to produce indignant grief for the dishonour done by them to God; amazement at human weakness and folly; abhorrence of human impiety; and compassion for human wretchedness.

I. The contemplation of heathen idolatries should excite indignant grief for the dishonour done to God.

This, I have no doubt, was the feeling that first stirred the spirit of the devout Apostle of the Gentiles, when, looking around him, he contemplated the endless multiplicity of false deities," the gods many and lords many" of the Athenians, and, as he himself afterwards expresses it, beheld their devotions." In the altar inscribed " TO THE UNKNOWN GOD," he had seen a melancholy acknowledgement of their ignorance. The only true God was the only God unknown. All the fabled deities were there, of heaven, and earth, and hell; but the one living God, whose peculiar honours were thus usurped and alienated and abused, was not to be found! Not that Paul could have been

gratified by his having a place amidst such a collection of falsehood, impurity, and folly. It would have been a vilo affront to his infinite Majesty, to have been so associated; even if he had been placed at the head of their pantheon, and made their JUPITER OLYMPICUS. For, indeed, this Olympian Jove, the mighty "thunderer," the "father of gods and men," "the best and the greatest," was, in the actions ascribed to him by his deluded worshippers, the foulest and most infamous of the whole fabled fraternity.

No: JEHOVAH must stand alone. He admits of no compeers, of no sharers, superior or subordinate, of his divine honours. His essential glory and blessedness are infinite and eternal. Before the commencement of time, before his power was put forth in creation, he existed alone; and he was then the same infinitely glorious and happy being that he is now, when space is crowded with the manifestations of his goodness, and wisdom, and might. But, while his essential glory is immutably the same, unsusceptible of diminution or of increase, his manifestative glory is necessarily proportioned in its extent to two circumstances: to the number of objects in which his perfections are displayed; and the number of intelligent creatures that exist, to witness, and admire, and adore. And, if we believe the glory of his own name to have been the first end of creation, this presents, amongst others, a most satisfactory evidence, that the unnumbered suns and systems, with which we are surrounded, do not shine and roll in an unpeopled vacancy, but " declare the glory of God" to countless multitudes of intelligent, and admiring, and adoring spectators.

There are two classes of apostate creatures known to us; ourselves, and fallen spirits. Both have, by their rebellion, dishonoured God; but in hell and on earth he is dishonoured in different ways. In hell, the knowledge of God has not been lost. Devils know him, and their knowledge is their misery. "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and TREMBLE!" There he is known, and there he is hated with all the rancour of malignant despair. In no form is he

worshipped in hell.-On earth, the case is widely different. When wicked men, indeed, dying in their sins, go to join the spirits of darkness in the place of woe, a perfect knowledge of the character of God will form, 1 presume, no small part of their punishment. A clear and strong conception of that love and mercy which they have irrecoverably slighted and lost, and a vivid and ever-present impression of that holy and immutable justice, which maintains its dreadful purity "without variableness or shadow of turning," will be the very life of "the worm that dieth not," the fuel of the "fire that never shall be quenched."

There is no idolatry in hell. There, indeed, as well as here, they "do not like to retain God in their knowledge;" and to be able to banish him from their minds, would, in a manner, take the sting out of their torments. But there they cannot forget him; they cannot deceive themselves into false conceptions of him. There, there is the clearness of intellectual light, associated with the most hardened moral disaffection; a perfect conviction of truth in the understanding, with a proud, unmitigated, furious detestation of it in the heart; a conflict of indescribable agony, which shall form a large proportion of the misery of the damned.

The dishonour done to God on earth is of a quite different description. "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." I take it for granted that man knew this originally. The fancy of sceptical philosophy, that polytheism was the first religion of mankind, is as opposite to reason, and as inconsistent with facts, as it is contrary to the express dictates of the Bible. From this book we learn (what every right conception of the divine goodness should have led us to expect) that in paradise God was known in his true character, and was worshipped "in spirit and in truth." But soon, alas! the scene was changed. Soon, when our first father had sinned, the sons of men became "vain in their reasonings; their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds and

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