- F ^MjP *i«^A«yAA^»ivw»^vs<Wvwyv» ciplined mind; he had stores of varied, im portant, and useful learning. Commis sioned by the great Head of the church, andVnimated by the spirit of his Master, he went forth bearing his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. He labored in this cause with Unremitting diligence and untiring zeal for the space of thirty years; exhibiting a firmness of purpose which neither diffi culties nor dangers could shake, and a pu rity of life the breath of calumny could not tarnish. During this short space of time, he visited all the principal countries of the old world, and proclaimed to them the gospel of the Son of God. And how brilliant and how triumphant was his course from city to, city, and from pro vince to province! And why did Divine wisdom enlist those gigantic powers, cul tivated, enlarged, and disciplined at the feet of Gamaliel, in the work of the minis try? Why, but that the work called for a powerful instrumentality! Another period of the gospel history has also been marked by its wonderful achievements; the reformation from papal corruptions.' And who were the men first to discover, refute, and demolish the pal errors and papal tyranny? W1 men of die most vigorous minds, cul ed and enlarged by sound learning, and deep piety? This event gave immortality to the names of Wickliffe, Huss, Jerome of Prague, Luther, Melanctbon, Calvin, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, Knox, and a hundred others as eminent for literature as for religion, for integrity and courage as for zeal and ardor in the cause of truth. They seem to have been eminently fitted for the accomplishment of the great work assigned them by Divine Providence. Men of less learning, talent, wisdom, and courage, eould hardly have accomplished what they effected. Think of the torrent jpf wickedness which had nearly deluged the Christian world, and nearly buried in ruins the whole Christian fabric; think of •the ignorance and prejudice which had Abound the multitude with the chain of su perstition for ages; think of a domination over reason and conscience, supported by the combined energies of church and state, ~ throughout pi entire'continent; think that every stir for freedom, every movement , for the acquisition of knowledge, was watched with a jealous eye by prelates --:-_ - and emperors; think that the church had slept for centimes, had nearly become ex tinct, and that pomp, show, and the mum mery of pagan, rites and superstitious cer emonies, ha& superceded almost every vestige of piety. What must have been the inflexibility of character, the moral coinage, the intellectual strength, the rich resources, the bold daring, that could suc cessfully engage in an onset against such am array of sin and despotism? The con flict came, the powers of darkness were scattered, and nations were emancipated from the yoke of ignorance and supersti tion, and brought into the possession and enjoyment of religious and civil freedom. But the great work of reformation did not stop here; at/a later period, another emergency brought up a WeslCy, a Whit field, a Penn, the immortal Edwards, and a host of others, to emancipate the world from the thraldom of spiritual bondage, and to reinstamp upon the heart of man the image of his God; to rescue the church from worldliness, formality, and the most fatal errors. From the days of these emi nent and demoted servants of God, the great work of spiritual reform has been gradually and steadily advancing, ihe church has been roused from that deadly stupidity ind lethargy into which she had been sunk for ages, and measurably wak ed up to a sense of her duty; the most ac tive and eflieientmeasures have been Re vised and put in operation for the conver sion of the workCfooth at home and abroad. And who does not know that the pioneers and chief actors in these greatmovertients, have been men of vigorous intellects and accomplished scholars, as well as of deep piety and expansive benevolence? And the work still dfejnands, for its advance ment and final success, a ministry of equal C* sty, talents, and learning, to that which mmenced its operations. Finally, the sanctified learning and ta lent of the church, is the source from whence we derive the principal means of religious instruction. Who wrote the commentaries, the church histories, and the valuable sermons whili have been Banded down to us? Who have transia* d ted the Scriptures into the various lan guages of the earth? Who arethegpthers of the yarious hooks that enrich odrUhris tian libraries? Who have furnished us ! with the evidences of Christianity? Who

Page Text

This is the computer-generated OCR text representation of this newspaper page. It may be empty, if no text could be automatically recognized. This data is also available in Plain Text and XML formats.

Return to page view