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ting to such objects, would feel a pleasure in beholding such results, far surpassing what can ever be experienced in indulging in the pride of life, and in chiming in with the fashion of the world which passeth away." And, we have already proved, in the preceding chapter, that it is in the power of thousands, to be inštrumental in bringing about "a consummation, so devoutly to be wished;" and, it is to be hoped, that with the power, the will will not be wanting, and that, ere long, they will “ shake themselves from the dust," and arise to vigorous exertion in the cause of God, and in promoting the bests interests of men,
2. The subversion of covetousness would prepare the way for remedying many physical evils, and promoting improvements for the convenience and comfort of general society.
To some of these improvements, I have alluded above; but it may not be inexpedient to enter a little more particularly into the consideration of this topic. :
This world, when it was first arranged by the hand of the Almighty, was completely adapted as a habitation for a creature formed after his image. Its arrangement was the result of Infinite wisdom and goodness; and, therefore, must have presented to view every thing that was harmonious, beautiful to the eye, and adapted to the sensitive and intellectual enjoyment of man.
Hence we are told, that, upon a survey of all his works, in this lower creation, “God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good." This beautiful arrangement of the face of nature, in all probability, continued during the greater part of the period which intervened between the creation and the deluge. But, when the flood came, “the fountains of the great deep were broken up,"—the interior stratą of the earth were disrupted, mountains and rocks were hurled into the midst of the sea,” and rolled from one continent to another; the whole solid crust of the globe appears to have been shattered, and thrown into confusion, and its surface transformed into one wide and
boundless océan. After the waters of the deluge had abated, the earth was left to Noah and his descendants, as one vast and frightful ruin, overspread with immense deserts and marshes, and rugged mountains disrobed of their verdure. For, we have reason to believe, that the greater part of the dry land which existed before the food, now forms the bed of the ocean. This ruin of a former beautiful world, since that period, has been, in many of its parts, brought into a certain state of cultivation, in proportion as its inhabitants have risen from barbarism to civilization. But a great portion of the globe, is still covered with immense deserts, and almost interminable forests, fit only for the habitation of the beasts of
prey; and even those countries which have been partially cultivated by the more civilized class of human beings, are far short of that improvement of which they are susceptible; or, of what must have been their appearance, when the earth was fresh from the hands of its Creator, and smiled with all the beauties of Eden:
The sin of man was the cause of the original structure of the earth being deranged, and its beauty defaced; and, in proportion as man advances to a conformity to the Divine image, after which he was originally created, will his habitation approximate to the beauty and order which appeared in the first creation. But, “this sore travail hath God given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith,” that they must now exert their own genius and physical energies, in beautifying their habitations, and reducing the globe to an approximation to its original state. And, in proportion as Christianity and civilization have prevailed, such objects have been partially accomplished. But the greater part of the world still remains as a desolate waste, or a majestiç ruin; and, even where the hand of civilization has began to operate, little comparatively has been effected; for the fields are scarcely half cultivated, and there is not the fifth part of the conveniences and comforts provided for the great mass of the world's inhabitants which they ought to enjoy. It is possible to transform the earth into a terrestrial paradise, or at least into
something approaching it. What has already been done is an earnest, and prelude of what may still be achieved, were wealth applied in accordance with the intention of God, and were all the physical and intellectual energies of man concentrated upon such an object. Let us look at New England, which, only about two centuries ago, was one immense forest, without the least cultivation, inhabited by a few savą. ges. From a small colony of only a hundred individuals, these states have increased to two millions of souls. Most of the forests have been cut down, the fields cultivated and adorned, and hundreds of towns, temples, seminaries, and splendid public buildings now diversify and adorn a scene of activity which was formerly “a vast howling wilderness," where none but rude Indians and the beasts of the forests roamed for their prey. Even in our own country, in the days of Julius Cæsar, the inhabitants were rude and barbarous ; they painted their bodies ; they were clothed in the skins of beasts ; they dwelt in huts and caves in the forests and marshes; the land was overspread with thickets and barren wastes, and no towns, cities, or splendid edifices, such as we now hehold, were to be found in any quarter of Britain, which now stands in the first rank of Christian and civilized nations. It only requires a little more beneficent exertion, and the whole British Islands might be changed into a scene of beauty and fertility little inferior to that of Eden. Nay, in a very short period, all the uncultivated wastes of the globe might be adorned with every rural beauty and every wilderness made to bud and blossom as the rose. The money which has been spent in warfare, during the last century, by Great Britain alone, amounting to nearly two thousand millions of pounds, would have gone a great way towards defraying the expense of every thing requisite for transforming almost all the desolate wastes of the globe into scenes of beauty and vegetation. And, it is in the power of the European nations—nay, almost in the power of Britain herself were wealth directed into its proper channels, to accomplish nearly all that is now stated, during the next
half century, if they would at this moment shake off the trammels of ambition and avarice, and arise to holy and beneficent exertions. If ever such a period as the scripture-millennium arrives, it will be ushered in by such physical improvements, in simultaneous combination with the instruction of all ranks, , the energetic preaching of the gospel, and the universal extension of the revelation of God among all nations.
Let us now consider for a moment, some of the evils of the social state which should be remedied, and the improvements which should be carried into effect.
If we look into our cities and towns we shall find them abounding with many nuisances and inconveniences-narrow streets, dirty lanes, wretched cellars, and hovels crowded with human beings, whole families with their miserable shreds of furniture cooped up in one narrow apartment, amidst gloom, filth, and disorder-no conveniences for washing, bleaching, or for enjoying the cheerful light of heaven and the refreshing breeze. , In such situations, numerous diseases are engendered, the true enjoyment of life prevented, and the period of human existence cut short, by nearly the one-half of its average duration. If we inspect many of our villages, we shall find similar evils tending to
. human wretchedness and debasement. And, if we cast our eyes over the country, we shall find a glaring deficiency of comfortable roads, and foot paths, and of comfortable dwellings for the industrious poor, a want of bridges for regular intercourse between villages, and a want of bowers or places of shelter to the weary traveller, either from the heat of the sun, or from rains and storms, besides marshes that might be drained, moors that might be cultivated, and many desoļate wastes that might be turned into fertility and verdure, and become the seats of an industrious and happy population.
Now, all these and similar evils might be removed, and the requisite improvements carried forward, were the principle of avarice undermined, and a noble generosity to pervade the minds of the opulent and influential class of the community. Were societies formed for promoting such objects—not for the purpose of gain or the mere employment of superfluous capital, but for the purpose of general improvement, and affording employment to the industrious laborer, we might have roads and foot paths intersecting the country in every direction, broad, smooth, and cleanly, and adapted for comfortable travelling and pleasure walks, at all seasons of the year—cottages and garden-plots, furnished with every requisite convenience for the accommodation of the industrious classes-our marshes drained and covered with corn-our heath-clad hills adorned with ever-greens and fruitful trees-our narrow dirty lanes, where men are huddled together like rabbits in their cells, completely demolished-our confined streets expanding into cresents and spacious squares--new towns and villages arising on ample and improved plans-canals and rail-ways intersecting the country, in every direction, where they are required schools and seminaries of all descriptions, churches, lecture rooms, work shops, manufactories, and asylums for the aged and infirm-diversifying the rural landscape--and the once barren desert rejoicing amidst luxuriant verdure, and with the hum of human voices and of ceaseless activity.
That such improvements will be carried forward in the days of the millennium, or prior to its commencement, appears from certain predictions which have a reference to that period." In those days," says the prophet Isaiah," they shall build houses and inhabit them, and plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit ; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and they shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble ; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them."* “ Then shall the earth yield her increase, and" God, even our own God, shall bless us." “ Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground
* Isaiah lxv,