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place, we are not told, and therefore are not authorized to conjecture: whether the conversion of the Jews shall be previous or subsequent to the conversion of those other nations who still refuse the yoke of Jesus. Whether they shall be brought in by degrees separately and individually, or at once in one great body, and with the consent of the whole nation, are points which no man can, with certainty, determine. Their opinion is the most probable in itself, and most consonant to the
prophesies on this subject, who suppose, that, after they have endured the various curses pronounced on their infidelity, the Lord, in his own time and way, will gather them, as their great Legislator predicts, from among the na.tions whither he had scattered them, and with an outstretched arm will lead them in triumph to take possession of the land of their fathers. This will be an event of such magnitude and splendour, it will be so decided a proof of the truth of Christianity, that none can possibly avoid conviction-all the nations of the earth, shall hasten into the Redemer's fold—the sheep of Jesus shall be brought from afar; they shall fly as a cloud driven by the wind, and flock together as doves to their windows.
The conversion of the followers of Mohammed to the Christain faith is also an event which, though not in particular and express, yet in general language, we are taught by the sacred oracles to expect. As I had occasion to observe and illustrate in a former discourse, though we may justly lament that Christianity has not been equally successful, yet the extensive propagation of Mahommedan faith ought not to excite much regret; because in many respects it is a proper forerunner to the gospel, and well calculated to pave the way for its introduction. By means which Christianity does not allow its professors to employ, Mohammed diffused knowledge and civilization among nations formerly rude and barbarous. He taught, together with an excellent system of morals, the belief of one God, and of a future state of rewards and punishments, which are the necessary foundations of every system of religion. The Mohammedans are fettered with fewer prejudices than the Jews. They have a high respect for Jesus, and believe his divine mission; and should the time arrive when, delivered from the shackles of despot
ism, they shall enjoy the privilege of calm discussion and free inquiry, errour and imposture will speedily disappear before the light of truth. This period, moreover, appears to be at no great distance. The general weakness and decay which are apparent in all Mohammedan States; the rapid progress which a Christian Princess, seconded by the hardy sons of the north, has lately made towards the universal empire of Asia; the extensive settlements made by another great commercial nation in an op posite quarter of that populous and extensive country, all indicate the speedy overthrow of the temporal power of Mohammed; and with this the spiritual dominion will fall of course. Christianity was propagated by argument, its evidence rests on sound and immutable reason; and, therefore, it cannot fall as long as human nature continues the same. But the religion of Mohammed was propagated by the sword ; it is still interwoven with the political constitution; and, therefore, when the power of the sword shall, with whatever views of ambition or of policy, be wrested from its professors, it will have no support, the whole system will tumble into ruins, like a building whose foundation is removed. There is no religion but
the Gospel that can bear the fiery trial of persecution and affliction.
But not only do we expect that the Jews and Mahometans shall hear Christ's voice, and be brought into his fold, the Sacred Oracles mention other sheep besides these which shall also be brought in. , They predict an era when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the whole earth; when the heathen and unenlightened nations shall enjoy with us the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion. To an event so wonderful and so glorious, we dare scarcely lift our imagination, much less can we pretend to point out the means by which it may be accomplished. We rest with confidence in this, that he who hath foretold it is able to bring it to pass, and we believe that the Lord will hasten it in his good time. At the time when our Lord uttered the sentiment in the text, the conversion of the Gentiles was an event equally as improbable as the farther propagation of the Gospel is, in the present days, to nations barbarous and uncivilized, whom the foot of the traveller has never visited; on whom the day of science and religion has not yet dawned.
Who could have supposed that Jesus, addressing a company of Jews in the
land of Judea, alluded even to a country which was then undiscovered, and meant that he had sheep on these distant shores, who, eighteen hundred years after his crucifixion should hear his voice and be brought into his fold? The numerous discoveries which of late years have been made ; the regular and easy intercourse which by means of navigation may be carried on between the most distant regions; the spirit of adventure which, in this commercial age, prevails in many Christian countries; furnish advantages which could not have been found in any preceding period. To the honour of the British nation and of human nature I mention, that the most strenuous exertions are making among that people to improve the present favourable circumstances; that many, animated with a noble zeal for the cause of truth and of Christianity, have formed themselves into societies for the propagation of the Gospel ; and that missions are actually instituted for the conversion of the South-Sea Islanders, of the Hindoos, and of the American Indians.
It is our duty to co-operate with them, as far as lies in our power in advancing the common cause of Christianity. It is our duty, and it is also in our power, to recommend religion by