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gion of the Bible ? No : it is impossible ; and herein consists the difference between the worst person in Chris: tendom, and, perhaps, the best among the heathen. The positions granted by the former that, there is one God, just and holy: and one Saviour, Jesus Christ : and which it is necessary should be appreciated in a greater or less degree in order to successful teaching ; are doctrines new and startling to the poor heathen. From the earliest buddings of mind, and with all the teachings of his cradle hours, and thence to manhood and old age, he has been led to seek a Saviour in human merit and personal inflictions; and as countless as the waving palm-trees of the forest have been his gods.
The preacher in a land of christian light, howsoever dimly that light may have shone, is in comparatively little danger of being misunderstood when he states religious propositions ; and he is signally aided in the presentation of truth, by the intuitive perception, on the part of his hearers, of his nicer shades of meaning. This advantage, of such paramount importance, the missionary possesses
On the contrary, the minds he would affect are not the “blank sheets of ignorance, simply, but scribbled over with error."
From what has been said, it is not denied that the heathen have a moral sense : and that, strictly speaking, they have the power to make moral distinctions and weigh moral claiins. All that is meant is, that, they are so debased by sin, and so blinded by a bad education, that it is next to impossible for them, on the principles of mental philosophy, to appreciate the common and simple axioms of the gospel.
This leads us to notice the intrinsic adaptation to these difficulties, of the plan indicated by the Saviour, namely, that of healing the sick, conjointly with preaching the gospel.
“It is not exegesis," says a missionary who has toiled for many years in a foreign field," it is not exegesis, it is not theology, it is not divinity, it is not law, it is not precept or command, which the heathen need, but it is the gospel, the pure gospel, which they want all day long. It is Christianity embodied, acted out, living, breathing.'
This short extract, coming as it evidently does, warm from the heart of a toil-worn laborer, speaks a world of meaning. With an anxious impatience, as it were, he runs over the catalogue of topics that are within the ministerial province ; but sums up all that it is, desirable to exert, in behalf of the wretched heathen, by saying, that, to them, Christianity embodied is the one needful thing.
Now, it may be apposite to ask,-can there be a more beautiful and obvious" embodying” of Christianity, than that of a missionary, coming from a distant land, to administer to the corporeal and spiritual maladies of the heathen ? It is true, there would be no greater benevolence, strictly considered, in such a course, than in that pursued by the simple teacher or preacher ; and both would be equally entitled to approbation. But in the case of the medico-theologico missionary, a part of his labors are such as to be appreciable by the heathen. Good done to their bodies they cannot fail of understanding. In the case of the simple preacher, those only can prize his course and the spirit whence it emanated, who somewhat understand and value Christianity; and who have confidence in the existence of disinterested benevolence. To gain its wished for influence over the heathen, true religion must walk forth in the persons of her representatives, doing those things which are not only intrinsically lovely and excellent, but those which shall be appreciable by their habits of reasoning, and by the universal laws of common sense.
Vivid illustrations of the precepts and genius of the gospel must everywhere appear ; so vivid that even the besotted Sanyasi shall not mistake it's true nature.
This is a point of fundamental importance, and may be pursued a little further.
" Love, esteem, and sincere respect arise,” says Combe, “by the Creator's laws, from contemplating the display of benevolence.” This remark is philosophically just, founded upon the constitution of man's moral nature. It is true of all men in every land. Of the heathen as well as of the evangelized, this is affirmable. Go where we may, the exhibition of benevolence will make its way to the heart of the many ; at least it will to their honest convictions. This exhibition, be it borne in mind, must be made in a manner capable of being understood. Maxims and precepts, however excellent, impress not the mind at all, compared with the living, breathing personification of them. The Sermon on the Mount, as it is called, might have been pronounced from heaven with all the imposing circumstances that attended the giving of Sinai's law; and, upon the page of inspiration it would appear of surpassing excellence ; but, it is clothed with tenfold interest when by faith we see it embodied in the daily conduct of the Redeemer. Its incarnation gives to it a controlling energy. “In many ways,” says Jacob Abbott,
* “ Jesus Christ plainly showed how much he expected would be accomplished by the moral power of the mere presence and manifestations of piety in the midst of a world lying in sin. He ordained many other modes of exerting influence to spread his kingdom. But they all depended for their success, in a great measure, on being connected with this. The gospel was to be preached every where, but its practical effects upon the lives of those who embraced it, were to give power to this preaching." ... "It has been the same in principle ever since those days. The efforts which have been most successful in bringing men to repentance and salvation have been, not those connected with the most powerful arguing, the most distinguished eloquence, or the most adroit manoeuvres ; but those which have originated in, and have been sustained by, the warmest and most devoted piety.” ... The same author in another connexion remarks - “ Our means of promoting the spread of Christianity, is not to effect triumphs for it in debate, but to spread its gentle and noiseless influence. We are to exhibit it in our lives, we are to explain, and enforce, and exemplify its duties. We are to express (embody ?) its principles, and gain, by every means in our power, an influence for them among our fellow-men. Thus the rigidity of argumentative disputation will be relaxed, and the moral influence of an alluring exhibition of the principles and duties of piety, will find an easy way where the most severe and scientific theological arguments for the truth, and refutations the most triumphant of error, would find every access barred and impregnable."
* The Way to do Good, pp. 138, 139.
ť p. 337.
These remarks are in harmony with the principle we wish to impress, namely, that embodied Christianity is to conquer the prejudices, secure the good will, and, by the blessing of God, lead to the salvation of the heathen. This principle, we may reverently say, had great weight in bringing the blessed Saviour to tabernacle for so many wearisome years with man. His example, far more than his precepts, all glorious and divine as they are have power over the human mind.
Obvious benevolence disarms prejudice, it throws a celestial halo around its author, and from the natural constitution of the mind it must win its way where profound reasoning might fail of securing even the attention.
It is believed that in no way could the first missionaries have so manifestly embodied the benevolent nature of the religion of Jesus Christ, as by a resort to the bedside of the sick and neglected. This presented a vivid and practical contrast to the conduct of the unsympathizing teachers of false religions. It was an argument irresistible and controlling. And it is not inconsistent with the laws of the mind, and with the testimony of experience, as we have shown, to suppose that a similar course introduced by modern missionaries among the heathen, would lead to results measurably approaching to those which marked the foreign labors of the infant church. Would it not, from the nature of the case, necessarily command great confidence in the religion whence it sprung? And if it be evident, that healing the sick was resorted to by