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as regards society collectively, its operation is injurious, being calculated for tyranny and slavery rather than a just and rational freedom. Pride and contempt of other nations spring naturally from the constitution of Mohammedanism, and interminable war with unbelievers.
The Christian religion has benefited mankind by diffusing more widely the spirit of benevolence; under its mild influence, slavery and persecution are gradually receding in Christian states. The asperities between rival countries are mitigated: though they have not yet turned their
spears into plough-shares or their swords into pruning-hooks, yet it may be reasonably anticipated, in proportion as the spirit of Christianity becomes more and more influential in the world, that there will be a diminution of the evils of this scourge, until prophecy shall be fulfilled, and the nations learn war no more.
History and experience concur in establish
ing the fact, that states can be happy only in proportion as they are virtuous; and whatever imposes a restraint on private life contributes to the general welfare. Here Christianity has decidedly the advantage over all systems. The perfect code of morals, and the selfdenying virtues inculcated by it, act as a noble check on the irregular passions of mankind, and form the best safeguard of virtue and happiness. Besides laying the only sure foundation, it asserts dominion over the thoughts and intents of the heart, a spiritual sovereignty, beneath whose silent, yet irresistible, influence moral evils are gradually receding, and the earnest or dawn of a bright day is opening to the benighted regions of the earth.
But, lastly, apart from other considerations, Christianity is entitled to the lasting gratitude of the world by propounding and enforcing moral and political duties, without alarming jealousy by interfering with merely secular institutions. The legislator and statesman must on political grounds reverence and esteem Christianity: not that we would lay any undue stress on this argument, or view it in
any other light than “one of the incidental blessings :” without servility to any, it consults the good of all; for while it strongly inculcates obedience to authorities, on sound principles, not merely for wrath but for conscience sake; it reminds those who possess power of the solemn account which they must one day give; thus tending both among
rulers and their subjects, to cement more closely the bonds of civil society, and promote private and public happiness. Christianity has now existed more than eighteen centuries, and its practical operation or tendency has been sensibly felt and acknowledged. Experience is a test of truth, and in ascertaining the most happy and flourishing empires, we should not search amongst the abodes of
ganism, under its various appellations ; nor should we fix. on Turkey, Persia, or the empire of the great Mogul, but where Christianity, by diffusing its light and blessings, has given birth to a well-ordered state of things, utterly unknown in the despotic dynasties of the East. And these blessings are likely to prove permanent; because if society be as happy as the nature of things will allow in this probationary state, there can be no desire of change, or fear of revolution : for in proportion to the increase of knowledge and spread of information, so much the greater will be the attachment and harmony of the different members who compose the body politic, and consequently every prospect of security and permanence which can be obtained " amidst the changes and chances of this transitory life.”
MOHAMMEDAN APOSTACY, URGED AS AN ENCOURAGE-
AND THE PROBABLE
WHICH IT WILL BE EFFECTED.
WHILE the Christian reflects with exultation on the superiority of his faith, as regards its evidence, doctrines, precepts, and tendency to promote the present and future happiness of mankind, he feels painful sensations of regret, that such extensive and populous countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, including some of the finest provinces in the terraqueous globe, should now, by an awful reverse, be subjected to such a degrading and pernicious