Heathen Darkness and Gospel Light
Isaiah 21:11-12
The burden of Dumah. He calls to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?…

1. There is something to encourage us in the interest now taken in missions as compared with a century ago. We can fairly point to what is done for missions as a proof of the vitality and the power of Christian principles, evidence at once of the influence which Christianity exerts on its disciples, and earnest of its ultimate triumph.

2. But looking at the dark night of heathendom in answer to the question, What of the night? it is scarcely possible to present its condition in colours that are too dark. We speak of the wickedness of our home population, and bad enough it is; but if you remember how much is done to discourage it; how a healthy public opinion rebukes it; how Christianity grapples with it, and creates an atmosphere which is inimical to its existence, so that those who practise it are made to feel ashamed; and when you consider, on the other hand, how in many parts of heathendom wickedness is actually deified, how the very gods they worship are incarnations of vice, and personifications of every evil passion; how in many instances licentiousness and cruelty are enjoined as part of their religious rites, — when you think of all that, you can understand that the wickedness at home is nothing compared with that which exists in heathen lands. To some minds the most affecting consideration of all is the dishonour done to the Almighty by their religious beliefs and ceremonies.

3. But is the Gospel an appropriate remedy for the evils of which we speak? You want the world to be brought back to God, and nothing but the Gospel of Christ will suffice for that. Let men say what they will, the world is not today what it was when Christianity dawned upon it. Then it was wrapt in total darkness — a darkness that might be felt. Now the light of the Gospel is penetrating the darkest parts of the earth, and many nations of the world are being permeated with and moulded by the influence which it exerts. Moreover, it is advancing.

4. When the Church enters on her work with the zeal and enthusiasm which it ought to excite; when she drains her resources, and strains every nerve to secure success; when she prays, and labours, and toils for it; when she gives the bulk of her property to it; when she sends out her noblest sons, and puts forth her best energies, then, perhaps, she may begin to talk about expecting the conversion of the world! Think of what Christ has done for you, and then bestir yourselves to take an active interest in this stupendous work, and to make some sacrifices for its extension.

(W. Landels, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

WEB: The burden of Dumah. One calls to me out of Seir, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?"

Edomites and Jews: a Hostile World Attacking the Church
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