The Advancement Of Society In Knowledge And Virtue -- By: B. B. Edwards
BSac 5:18 (May 1848) p. 358
The Advancement Of Society In Knowledge And Virtue
The Christian philanthropist, when he casts his eye on the history of the world, or on its present condition, is apt to be despondent. If he be not conscious of this feeling on a cursory view, he may awake to the sad reality on a further examination. In proportion, indeed, as he is a true man, cordially devoted to the best interests of his fellow creatures, he will be sustained by the goodness of his cause. The arm of the faithful soldier is nerved mainly by the justice of his cause. In the darkest hours, he is cheered by the consciousness that he is contending for the true interests of his country. Still, the moral strength of an army consists very much in the degree in which they expect success. Sometimes victory is taken for granted. All the previous arrangements are made with a distinct understanding that there will be a favorable result. To each division of the host is assigned the duty of following up the victory and of reaping all its possible fruits. In such cases a defeat is nearly impossible. A triumph is generally certain where it is confidently expected. So in the spiritual warfare. The Christian philanthropist, who commences his work with the cheerful anticipation of success, will commonly win his object. A hopeful frame of spirit is one of God’s best gifts to man. A morbid anticipation of defeat, or of small Access, is followed almost always by the expected result.
But in proportion as one is fitted to his particular work by an enlightened education, by enlarged views of the dispensation of grace which is committed to him, by a fraternal interest for his brethren elsewhere, by compassion for a world which must perish without the light of revelation, he will derive encouragement from the general spread of Christianity, or become faint-hearted from the prevalence of sin and error. His success as an individual will be very much in proportion to his expectation of the universal triumph of the Redeemer. If animated by the great hopes which should fill his bosom, he will perform his work with an energy and authority which is possible in no other circumstances. If he looks with a despairing or indifferent eye on the mass of mankind, he will be apt to do so on the
BSac 5:18 (May 1848) p. 359
members of his own little circle. If he has made up his mind to surrender the race to irreversible destruction, he will be likely to show little energy in his own sphere of duty. In other words, one of the principal elements of success in individual effort anywhere, is the expectation that there will be progress everywhere. The personal aim, the individual, local hope, are linked invincibly with the great final result. What are the grounds for hope that the cause in which the tru...
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