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obeyed. What minister could go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature ?
In its application to the church at large, it can receive only a gradual accomplishment. If all who professed to love Christ, obeyed his laws, the gospel might be preached with nearly a consentaneous effort in every part of the world. But this is by no means the case. There is only a small proportion of nominal Christians, who manifest a becoming zeal for the Saviour's glory, and these few feel it their duty to exercise discretion in selecting such spheres of labour as promise the greatest results.
With a very few exceptions, the ministers in my country believe themselves bound to occupy the important stations at home. No other country appears to us to hold so prominent a place among the nations of the earth. Her name, her wealth, her science, her boundless influence, her numberless resources, give Great Britain a commanding superiority over the whole world ; while her fo. reign colonies, her naval forces, and her extensive commerce, open channels of communication to every part of the globe.
Where, then, can the servants of Christ exercise their functions with such prospects of unlimited success as in this country? If they can preach only in one place at a time, what place could they
select of equal promise ? Bring Great Britain under the influence of Christian principles, and the world would soon receive the gospel at her hands. For these reasons we cannot admit that the religion of Christ is powerless, or that his commands are neglected, merely because we have not abandoned our own country, and gone to preach the gospel to the heathen.
A CITIZEN of the United States of America was the next speaker. As the remarks of our venerable friend, said he, apply exclusively to the British isles, it devolves upon me to show the views which my countrymen and myself take of the particular passage under consideration.
As to its interpretation we are all agreed. We consider it our duty to make the conversion of the world the ultimate end of all our plans; but our views of the relative influence of countries by no means accord with those which have been advocated. It is our decided conviction that there is no country in which the gospel can be preached with such infallible prospects of benefit to the world as America.
Look, for instance, at the vast extent and surpassing capabilities of territory included within the limits of these states. Consider the unequalled increase of their population. Contemplate the exhaustless resources of national and individual wealth, which every year developes and amplifies.
What has ever equalled the progress of internal improvement which America exhibits ? Who can foresee her unparalled destination? Who can calculate the influence which she must one day exert upon the nations of the earth? Already is her fame extolled, and her power felt in distant lands, through the energy and enterprise of her inhabitants. She has become a commercial na- . tion, and her ships are found in every port, and her merchants in every mart of the world.
But there are elements at work within this nation which must be counteracted, or her own advancing greatness, and the benefits she is destined to confer upon others, will alike be frustrated. The “ Man of Sin,” is aiming at the subjugation of this fair portion of the world to his iron yoke. Infidelity is lifting its head proudly, and levelling its shafts fearlessly at every form of religion. Mammon has raised his standard in the very church, and decoyed to his service thousands who profess to serve God alone. There is no other portion of the globe which holds out such allure. ments to worldly aggrandizement - none to which such a vast and mingled tide of emigration is sweeping. What agency is not required in meeting all the exigencies which the peculiar circumstances of this country are constantly creating! Convert America and enlist her in the cause of Christ, and the conversion of the world is practicable and easy.
These are the reasons for which we believe we are fulfilling the design of the Saviour, by concentrating our principal forces upon the favoured land of our nativity. What we have already done for the heathen world is, at least in my judgement, quite as much as the urgent de. mands of our own country justify.