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Here ONLY can you have any tolerable security that your work shall last; and that as one generation after another of your converts dies off, they will leave to their posterity the churches and the religion you have given them. Here, in your own land, there is nothing to fear from the government. The government is your own. You mould it by your own will. You demand of it to mind its own business, and let religion alone. The churches that you plant in your wide field are just as safe as you choose to make them. There is no probability that political power in this land will ever attempt to interfere with the freedom of religion. It never has done it since we were free. And if it should ever try, it will soon quail before the indignant rebuke of the ballot-box of freemen.
If, then, you would look ahead, and not labor for merely a day -if you would send the gospel and plant churches where their influence and existence have most prospect of security from one generation to another—the ONE SPOT to which you may most hopefully direct your efforts is the country you call your own. Here religion is untrammeled. Here the Bible is free—the church is free-the tongue of the missionary is free. He can talk of the rights of man—if he pleases—while, in the name of his Lord and Master, he calls sinners into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
7. The same amount of expense and labor will bring the gospel into contact with more souls in your own settlements, than in any other destitute region. We are in want of means of men to convert the world. Economy is certainly no crime, and we have a right to think of it in religion. You can reach the field of Home Missions without crossing the ocean. Your Missionary needs but a little time to get to his work. The people to whom he preaches partially support him. One Missionary in service costs you but about a hundred and fifty dollars a year. For that little sum he preaches the gospel to those, who, without your liberality, could not hear it; and reaches more souls with the offers of salvation, than the like expense and time could so well reach, any where else. When means are limited, and we cannot do every. thing at once, we know of no reason why we should not labor most and first, where we may expect most and speediest and best fruits of our labor. We know of no reason why men should refuse a hundred and fifty dollars a year to bring the gospel in contact with a thousand souls in Wisconsin or lowa; and appropriate sir hundred to bring it into similar contact with half that number in Africa or Asia. For neither Asia nor Africa have we done too much ; but, for riper fields and readier souls at home we have done too little, If anywhere souls must be neglected, economy, common-sense, duty, tells you not to neglect those most easily aided.
Finally, There is a peculiarity in the field where your Home Missionaries are laboring, which deserves your deepest reflection. There, society is rising-character is forming, to give impress, not merely to an equal number, who, in a coming generation, shall rise up on the same field when the present generation is dead; but to give impress, and transmit their religion or their impiety to a vastly greater number. A little done now is worth more than a great deal done a little while hence.
It is a very different thing to pour the gospel and its good influ. ences into a region where society is forming, manners and principles taking their direction, foundations and habits just assuming their shape, and the population vastly increasing; from what it is to do the same thing under entirely opposite circumstances. Among the dense population of India and China, for example ; if you convert a hundred souls, their influence is not going to be the same on the coming generation, as the influence of a hundred souls converted in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minesota, or Oregon. Society is formed and habits fixed, and population is dense, as it is likely to be, in those old countries. A region evangelized there now, will only be about the same region evangelized a century hence. It can hold and feed no miore ; and the present genera. tion will transmit their religion to just about as numerous a gene. ration to come after them. Not so in your infant and growing West. There population increases to out-strip the calculations of the most enthusiastic, and stagger even credulity itself. And it extends, too, onwards into new States and Territories, in a manner that the most profound of your statesmen never anticipated. Twenty-four years since, President Monroe, desirous to have the Indians as separate as could well be from the whites, proposed to colonize those north of the Ohio and east of the Missisippi, in the wilderness region, now called Wisconsin. He deemed that region so remote, that it could not be wanted for the occupation of the white man, for a long time to come. But now that, and another Territory beyond it, Iowa, also, are among the sister States of the Union. Other States will come in. Minesota will soon join the sisterhood. Our territory has recently been vastly increased. Texas
contains · · 325,520 square miles; Oregon
- 341,463 New Mexico , .
77,387 Upper California , · 448,691
These acquisitions, amounting to 1,193,061 constitute a territory more than half as large as all that was held by the United States before-a Territory that would make twenty-three States, each as large as the State of New York. Our country has now a Territory of 3,252,574 square miles, nearly equal in extent to the whole of Europe. We have space enough to work in. If the field is the WORLD, no small portion of it lies within the scope of our Home Missions. Europe is sending her population here by hundreds of thousands-much faster than we can give them Ministers. Our foreign work now
lies at our own doors. We must do more at HOME. Nothing else can save us from being over-borne and run down by an irreligious, ignorant, and vicious population. In all the States and Territories north of the Ohio and west of the Missisippi, in the year 1830, there was a population of 1,840,000; in 1840, there was a population of 3,450,000. Almost doubled in ten years! Fifty-five years ago, if you had drawn a line through Pittsburgh, north to lake Erie, and south along the Allegary and Cumberland mountains, down to the Gulf of Mexico, all the white population west of that line, would not have equalled 250,000. More than 10,000,000 are there now! An increase of forty fold in fifty-five years!
The number of souls in your nation, your home, increases beyond all example. The population doubles in about twentythree years. That population was in 1840, . . . 17,000,000. If it continues to increase as formerly, it will be in 1850,
22,000,000 ; in 1860,
30,200,000 ; in 1870, . . . 40,300,000 ; At the close of this century it will become .. 95,500,000 ; A hundred years from this time, about. . 276,000,000. -The mind salters! we are lost in this ocean of numbers! We cannot tell where this increase shall stop. It must stop somewhere. But we see no barrier to stop it. Already it has overpassed the Rocky Mountains, and gone down to the Pacific.
When we are solicited in behalf of the old countries of the East, desirous to understand our work, we open the map of nations. Land after land comes up before us, and the population is millions piled on millions. We are astounded at the magnitude of the appeal. We feel called upon, (as far as we can,) to let our liberality be measured by the numbers that call for it. So we ought to feel. But let us not feel the Eastern argument alone. It EQUALLY comes from the West.-We say equally. We mean so. It may be very pleasant to speak of giving a preached gospel to all the present generation of the world ; but it is not very truthful. It will not be. It cannot be. Miracles alone could do it. And as we can only make a beginning now, and expect thereby to benefit the future millions which shall rise, when the present generation is gone; therefore, the mighty cry of these ocean millions comes as deep and loud and astounding from our own land, as from any other the sun shines on! AS FAST as we can reach them, we have millions at home. Oh! that we had more means, and more grace, and more self-denial to respond to the arithmetic of their plea !
We have done. We leave these arguments to your own mind -to your more mature consideration and your prayers. While the Holy Ghost is descending upon your Zion, and your own
children are converted, remember the children of the wide West, who have no man to preach unto them “ Jesus Christ and him crucified.” “ Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me ?-feed my lambs.”
Have we not good reason for maintaining, that there is no other land the sun visits, to which it is so important to give the gospel and its good influences NOW; as it is to give them to the growing and wondrous region, for which you contribute this morning? Millions of the Pagan nations can grow no worseyour own unevangelized millions may. Most solemnly we be... lieve, that the cause of Home Missions is more neglected, according to the just principles which should guide us, than any other of the prominent objects which come before us. Aid it, as God has given you ability.
All the interests of our country call on us to aid powerfully the object before us. Our only hope is in the gospel and its influ. ences. The resources of this wonderful land may yet be its curse. Virtue, and freedom, and religion have sometimes been obliged to flee from the riches of the plains, and hide themselves in the poverty and munition of rocks. It may be so again ; and the very soil we boast, trodden by an ungodly generation, may fall under the vengeful chastisements of an insulted God. It remains to be seen, whether this great nation shall be great in grace or great in wickedness. One or the other it will be. Our condition and resources will have their effect. Our agriculture and commerce, our science and literature, our enterprise, skill, arts, freedom and trade will get rear to giant growth, the worst passions of our fallen nature; or, sanctified by the gospel, help on the kingdom of God. If this shall be an impious land, where violence and lawlessness and indolence and dishonesty shall prevail, its blessings will be turned into curses it will be blasted with the judgments of the Most High God! If the gospel shall triumph, and the Holy Spirit descend upon its borders, no heart can measure the felicity of its coming generations. God will dwell here. And its future millions, as they rise, will transmit their blessings to their posterity, and extend to every land the sun shines on, the virtue, the liberty, the intelligence, peace and immortal hope of the kingdom of God.
As you pray, “thy kingdom come," as you aim to speed its coming, forget not your own country. Waiting multitudes look eagerly for help. Your Christian bounty may cheer many a sad heart; and many a grateful prayer may be lifted to the Most High, to call down blessings on your heads, and the heads of your children after you. God grant that you may yet meet in the high fellowship of heaven, redeemed souls, aided by this morning's bounty, to that blissful and everlasting abode.-Amen.
BY REV. HENRY T. CHEEVER, Pastor of Chrystie-street Congregational Church, New York.
GOD'S MEANING IN MEN'S SUFFERING.
** It is good for me that I have been aMicted; that I might learn thy
statutes.”--Psalms 119: 71.
This is the logic of experience, the reasoning of one that knew, having learned it experimentally. It is a conclusion arrived at, in the mind of the Psalmist, from deep personal acquaintance with the discipline of God's kingdom. It is what a review of his Christian life taught him, and it has been verified by every real Christian since : so that it has the force of an old ascertained principle, THAT AFFLICTIONS ARE GOOD FOR THOSE EXERCISED THEREBY.
Our design is, for the purpose of instruction, to develop the proof of this position, and in so doing, to glance at the different modes in which men experience the discipline of affliction, to trace the ways in which it does them good, and to find out some of God's statutes that are thereby learned.
1.-The different forms under which men are called to endure the discipline of affliction. Man is born to trouble. Suffering in some shape, though in widely different degrees, is, sooner or later, the lot of all. Bereavement of friends dear as life; loss of property; loss of health ; infirmities and disease of body, with anguish of mind; the woes of the spirit of which the suffering heart alone knows its own bitterness, and the more appreciable maladies of the material frame, as sickness and decay of the active powers; calamities that afflict the inner and the outer man; personal afflictions, and afflictions in the persons of one's friends; disappointments heavy and hard to bear; perplexity and reverses ; trials bitter and sharp and long, both from within and withoutthese are all, at some time or other, the portion of almost every man living, as they have been of all the dead. Few or none can