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true religion was extended to other people and nations. Another portion of the Divine plan was dispensed. Another dispensation was introduced. The glad tidings of salvation by the long predicted seed of the woman, were preached to the Greeks and Romans, and other heathen nations, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ: and then it seemed as though the whole of the great promises made to Adam and Abraham, and repeated by all the prophets, were about to be fulfilled: the head of the serpent bruised; all the families of the earth blessed; and the whole world. covered with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea!

But experience should teach us, that God's mode of proceeding is not to be judged of by what seems right to us. We see that the antediluvian dispensation held out a prospect of the glorious promise of universal blessedness being fulfilled, the serpent's head being bruised. (Some of our most learned critical commentators have given it as their opinion, from the language used by Eve when Cain was born, that she thought she had gotten the man, the Lord, who was to be the deliverer.) They were right in expecting this-but wrong as to the time.

Their dispensation fell short of the accomplishment. We see that the patriarchal and Levitical dispensations held out with increasing clearness, a prospect of the great promise being fulfilled. They were right in expecting itbut wrong as to the time. Their dispensation fell short of it. Now we see this dispensation holding out a still more animating prospect of the final promise being fulfilled. We are right in expecting it—but we may be wrong as to the time. Our dispensation may fall short of the glorious consummation; and another change may take place, similar to the destruction of the old world—similar to the rejection of the Jews.

This is possible, to say no more and whether it will really be the case or not, deserves at least a fair enquiry. Is this dispensation under which we are living, the final dispensation, which will issue in the full performance of the divine plan of mercy to the whole world? or, is it another introductory dispensation, such as those which have preceded it?

The more common opinion is, that this is the final dispensation; and that, by a more copious outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it will magnify itself, and swell into the universal blessedness predicted by the prophets, carrying with it

Jews and Gentiles, even the whole world, in one glorious flock, under one shepherd, Jesus Christ the Lord. This is reiterated from pulpit, press, and platform. It is the usual climax of missionary exhortation, or rather missionary prophecy.

On the supposition that this is the truth, it must be admitted, that the accomplishment of the promise has advanced, and is still advancing, very slowly; and that even now in the nineteenth century of its working, comparatively little has been done; for, although Christianity established itself on the downfall of the most cultivated Paganism, with sufficient rapidity to convince every candid mind, that it was from God yet in reference to the great promise affecting the whole world, its progress has hitherto been slow indeed. This, however, would of itself be no argument against our dispensation being the final one; because slowness in the eye of man, is not necessarily slowness in the proceedings of God.

But supposing this to be the final dispensation, the dawn of the day of universal blessedness, we might expect to find the light, though slow, yet progressive. Now it must in fairness be admitted, that the history of the Church of Christ does not answer to this expectation. Christianity has not been holding her ground in

the world while she advanced to further conquests. Her course resembles the emigrations of a pilgrim, rather than the triumphant establishments of a conqueror. From many places, where once she presided in her beauty, she has departed without leaving even her name behind her from others all that was valuable about her is gone, and only a name remains. For look along her wake! Where is the apos

tolical church of Jerusalem over which James presided in the sober dignity of inspired wisdom? Gone! The holy city is trodden down of the Gentiles. The crescent of the false prophet of Arabia waves over its walls. Where are the churches of Ephesus, of Smyrna, of Pergamos, of Thyatira, of Sardis, of Philadelphia, of Laodicea, to whom the Spirit spake by the beloved disciple? Gone! all gone! The name of Christian is indeed retained in some of those districts, but it is an empty name. Where are the churches of Carthage and Hippo Regius? Gone! The voices of Cyprian and Augustin find no kindred spirit to prolong their echos on the shores of north-eastern Africa: even the very name of Jesus has been eradicated from the barbarous soil. Where is the fair daughter of heaven, who appearing in the hired lodging of Saul of Tarsus, and making her way into Cæsar's household, shone so long with simple beauty in imperial

Rome? She retains indeed the name of Christian, and usurps the name of Catholic; but, alas! how grievously is she defiled by the fornication of the kings of the earth! her native purity is gone, and abomination, yea, Mother of Abominations is written upon her forehead. Where are the churches of Wittemburg and Geneva, those lights from the Lord which burst upon the darkness of Europe by the instrumentality of Luther and Calvin? Gone! Reasoning infidelity, under various well-sounding names, presides over the fountains of instruction, poisoning the streams, while darkness has again covered the land, and gross darkness the people. In our own favoured country what has been the progress of Christianity? Thanks be unto God, the candlestick has not been removed from the churches established in these islands. We have and hold in our articles of faith a true scriptural creed but it is painful to ask and answer the question, has true scriptural religion increased among us? For omitting that portion of our population which is infidel in creed, or openly ungodly in practice, or both, (a portion of fearful magnitude,) and confining our observation to the more regular, formal, and apparently Christian members of our community, what shall we say? Information has indeed increased

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