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happiness. No matter where, or on whom its blessings descend, its legitimate influence is to make men happy.
Wherever it finds him on this vast sea of trouble, however far from land, however shattered by the storm, it fills the torn sails of the tempest-tost, and wafts him to the shore. Nay, it calms the tempest. The voice of the waves is hushed by its power and the heaving ocean is stilled into a peaceful haven.
“What an admirable thing," exclaims the great Montesquieu, " is the religion of Christ, which while it seems to have no other object than the happiness of the other life, constitutes all our happiness in this. Higher authority has said, “Godliness is profitable for all things; having the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come. " There are few errors more to be regretted than that the religion of the Bible is not adapted to promote human happiness. Its very sacri. fices have more than an adequate compensation. If it commands us to give up self, it is only for the love of God; if it teaches us to give up time, it gives us eternity in return; and in doing this, it does not even diminish our happiness in time. It is a reproach to Christianity that its disciples are not more uniformly cheerful and happy. The religion of the Bible is not a cheerless religion. Unhappy Christians there are, but unhappy religion there is none.
God grant, my young friends, that you may possess an humble piety, à seif-denying, laborious piety, a piety that lives above the world and walks with God, but at the same time, a cheerful, happy piety.
We have been considering in the preceding lectures some of the particulars in which the world is under obligations to the Bible. I would cheerfully extend this discussion, did I not believe that a more protracted illustration would be an unseasonable demand upon the patience of my audience. It was my design to have detained you by the consideration of one other topic, and to have shown the obligations of men to the Bible for a religion that satisfies the conscience when it is roused to that great inquiry, “ How shall man be juist with God ?” But as this topic has more than once been incidentally alluded to, and to some extent illustrated, I pass this evening to the concluding lecture.
The design of this exercise is to request you, without any particular recapitulation on my part, to review the ground we have gone over, and in this review, to institute the following inquiries :
IS NOT THE RELIGION OF THE BIBLE UNIVERSALLY ADAPTED TO THE CHARACTER AND CONDITION OF OUR RACE? Whatever may be the varieties of his locality and condition, every individual of the human family is by nature, ignorant, depraved, subject to infirmities and sorrows, destined to the grave, and the heir of immortality. The religion which he needs, and which alone is adapted to all the varieties of his species, and all the peculiarities of his condition, is one that meets the exigencies of his condition for both worlds. It is one which, while it appreciates the importance of the life which is to come, does not depreciate the true interests of the life that now is. It is one which, while it does not overlook his intellectual worth, and his social and public relatious; his freedom, his dignity, his happiness, his usefulness, as a citizen of this world; provides mainly for his moral purity, and the glory and immortality that await him at the termination of his earthly career. It is one which consults the claims, not of one class of human society merely, but of all classes ; not of one period of time merely, but of all periods; not of one clime merely, but of all climes; not of one form of government merely, but of all forms of government; not of one locality, or a limited circle, but of all localities, and the most enlarged circle ; not of one particular nation, or people, but of all nations, languages, and men, under the face of the whole heaven. We do not ask for a religion that is fitted for the arctic, and yet has no fitness for the antarctic circle; a religion that is adapted to the language and manners of the east, and yet has no adaptation to those of the west ; but one that has in it nothing local, nothing restrictive, whose principles are applicable every where, and whose institutions may every where be practised. We are mainly thankful for a religion that consults our interests for eternity ; while, at the same time we need one that consults our true and per manent interests for time. We need one, too, tha consults all the peculiarities and variety of humai condition; one that is fitted to satisfy all the faculties of the soul; one which, instead of retarding, advances the progress of the human mind, satisfies the conscience, encourages the imagination, and ennobles all the natural and moral affections. Every faculty of the soul, as well as every individual of the race, is diseased and infirm, and needs some catholicon, some universal remedy, some specific that can operate on every malady, and that proves itself worthy of confidence by its actual and well attested results.
Have we not seen that such a religion is found in the Bible, and only there ? Just in proportion to the degree of practical influence which the Bible has exerted on the more limited or more enlarged circles of human society, on the intellectual, political and moral condition of men, on their inquiries and motives, on their principles and conduct, and on their enjoyments and expectations, may we discover its universal adaptation to the great family of man. No where are its effects confined to time, or place, or age, or sex, or condition. No climate, no degree of intellectual culture, no form of government, however despotic or however free, is above, beneath, or beyond its power. No physical or moral constitution has proved a barrier to its access. The civilized European, and the savage Hottentot, have alike found its “yoke easy and its burden light." Every where and at all times, it has found minds to whom its regeneration was necessary and its Redeemer precious. Its followers are found in the camp and in the forum, among the rich and the poor, among the learned and the ignorant. It has found its way to the shop of the artisan, the prison of criminals, the tribunals of justice, and the thrones of kings.* It is a religion that is never insipid and dull, never grows old, or vanishes away. It is a religion
* For the illustrations on this page, and for some of the phraseology, the author is indebted to a discourse of A. Vinet, Professor of Theology, in Lausanne.
that is never behind the spirit of the age, but always in advance of it, leading it onward, and inscribing on all its improvements, “ Holiness to the Lord.” Other things may change; but the religion of the Bible never changes. What it was in the day of Christ and his apostles, it is now, and always will be. It has nothing pliable and temporizing in its principles, and yet is it alike adapted to all. Every where its effects are the same. These things can be affirmed of no other religion, and of no system of philosophy. Other religions have been instituted, and flourished, and died, because they were adapted to the times and the spirit of the age. Neither paganism nor Mohammedanism can ever become the religion of the world. Nor can the religion of Zoroaster, destined as it is, to live only under its own native skies, and that, no longer than the gospel has an opportunity of superseding it. The Bible alone can ever become the religion of the world, because this alone corresponds to the universal exigencies of men, to the constantly recurring wants of humanity independent of accidental circumstances, and irrespective of place and time. Some of my most adıniring views of the Bible arise from contemplating its wonderful adaptation to all times and places, and to every variety of character which this fallen world presents. The enlightened and the ignorant, the lofty as well as the abject, the meanest as well as the most splendid forms of human sin and misery, the living and the dying, ignorance, wickedness, sorrows and helplessness, which no other counsels of love and tenderness can reach, are all accessible to its transforming influence and precious consolations, and while convinced, rebuked and humbled by its censures, are comforted by its hopes.
But there is another inquiry : IS NOT THE RELIGION OF THE BIBLE A BENEVOLENT RELIGION? Is not the