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ACTS XX, 22. And now, behold, I go
bound in the Spirit unt Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal
You are aware, my hearers, that the determination was some time since formed to attempt a mission to Jerusalem and the surrounding country. You are also aware, that he who now addresses you, expects soon to embark, with a colleague, on the proposed mission. You will not, therefore, deem it unsuitable, that on this occasion, I should endeavor to explain the design, and the nature, of the contemplated undertaking.
The mission is destined to an interesting land.
Important advantages to the Church might be expected from the revival of pure Christianity there.
Many difficulties lie in the way.
The proposal is now distinctly made to the American churches for their approbation, their patronage, and their
I. The mission is destined to an interesting land. It is destined to Judea, having at the same time particular reference to Asia Minor on the north west, where were the seven churches addressed in the Revelation, and also to Armenia on the north. In ancient days, it was 'a land flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands. With a temperate and salubrious climate, with a soil naturally luxuriant, producing in the greatest abundance the means of support for man and beast, this country is capable of supporting, under a favorable government, and with favorable customs and laws, a very numerous population. This was the spot selected from all the surface of the earth by the Creator, to be the residence of that people, whom he loved above all other people. Here the Lord their God
gave them “a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of vallies and hills; a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of oil olive and honey; a land, wherein they might eat bread without scarceness and not lack any thing, a land, in which they might build goodly houses and dwell therein, and in which their herds and flocks and gold and silver might be multiplied, that they might bless the Lord God for the good land which he had given them.' It would seem, that the country was originally a favored pora tion of the earth; or else that a peculiar blessing was granted, that it might be a suitable dwelling for the people of God. This land is rendered almost sacred in the eyes
of every Christian, by a thousand religious associations. Near this place, probably, was the first residence of man,-Paradise with all its innocence and all its bliss.
Here, certainly, was the scene of almost all that is interesting in sacred story. On one of these moumtains, Abraham manifested his faith: here Jacob wrestled with God; and here the Israelites found liberty and rest after all their cruel bondage and perilous journeyings. Here David breathed forth those pious sentiments, which have so much assisted, purified, and exalted, the devotions of millions; and here Solomon prepared for the world those wise sayings, which have so enlightened and guided millions in seasons of darkness and doubt.
. It was here, that Isaiah triumphed in such enrapturing visions of future holiness and peace for the people of God; that Jeremiah poured forth his pious lamentations, on account of prevailing wickedness and the prospect of national ruin; that Nehemiah, and his faithful associates, manifested such undaunted courage, religious hardihood, and persevering industry, in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;—that all the prophets taught, and labored, and bore reproach. It was in the wilderness of Judea, that John came to announce the Savior's approach and prepare
before him. In one of these villages Jesus was born; on one of these plains the shepherds were watching their flocks, when a choir of angels came from heaven and sung in their hearing, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men. In the waters of one of these streams our Redeemer was baptised; and it was in these villages that he went about teaching and preaching, healing the sick and raising the dead. On this ground was the garden which witnessed his agony, the stupidity of his faithful followers, and the treachery of the apostate; and on one of these hills stood his cross, the wonder of the
universe, the only hope of a ruined world. This ground has been enriched with the blood of injumerable martyrs, and is the repository of unnumbered bodies, which are to be revived in the form of the Savior's glorious body. This is the spot, from which burst forth that heavenly light, that is to illumine every corner of the earth, and guide to glory all the elect of the Messiah.
But though all these associations may awaken, curious inquiry, and inspire the imagination, yet the heart of piety will be more deeply affected by considering the character and condition of the people, who dwell in this land. II. Judea is inhabited by several interesting classes
The principal of these are Mahommedans, and Jews; and Roman Catholic, Greek, Armenian and Syrian Christians.
The Mahommedans, who are masters of the country, who possess most of its wealth, and who have the exclusive management of political concerns, are, as you well know, the followers of that artfal impostor, who arose in Arabia, about the commencement of the seventh century. Their religion was first propagated, and is still defended, by the sword. Cruelty and blood are among its most prominent characteristics, Mahommedan piety consists very much in fasts, ablutions, pilgrimages to Mecca, and the persecution of infidels and heretics. Mahommedans believe, that Moses and Jesus were true prophets; that Jesus was the greatest of prophets except Mahommed; that the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Gospels were revelations from God, but have been so much corrupted by Jews and Christians, as to deserye but