« PreviousContinue »
Heathenish darkness. Great part of America is now full of Bibles, and full of at least the form of the worship of the true God, and Jesus Christ, where the name of Christ before had not been heard of for many ages, if at all. And though there has been but a small propagation of the gospel among the Heathen here, in comparison of what were to be wished for ; yet there has been something worthy to be taken notice of..... There was something remarkable in the first times of New Fugland, and something remarkable has appeared of late here, and in other parts of America among many Indians, of an inclination to be instructed in the Christian religion.
And however small the propagation of the gospel among the Heathen here in America has been hitherto, yet I think we may well look upon the discovery of so great a part of the world as America, and bringing the gospel into it, as one thing by which divine providence is preparing the way for the future glorious times of the church ; when Satan's kingdom shall be overthrown, not only throughout the Roman empire, but throughout the whole habitable globe, on every side, and on all its continents. When those times come, then doubtless the gospel, which is already brought over into A.merica, shall have glorious success, and all the inhabitants of this new discovered world, shall become subjects of the kingdom of Christ, as well as all the other ends of the earth ; and in all probability providence has so ordered it, that the mariner's compass, which is an invention of later times, whereby men are enabled to sail over the widest ocean, when before they durst not venture far from land, should prove a preparation for what God intends to bring to pass in the glorious times of the church, viz. the sending forth the gospel wherever any of the children of men dwell, how far soever off, and however separated by wide oceans-from those parts of the world which are already Christianized.
(2) There has of late years been a very considerable propagation of the gospel among the Heathen in the dominions of Muscovy. I have already observed the reformation which there has lately been among those who are called Christians there : But I now speak of the Heathen. Great part of the
vast dominions of the Emperor of Muscovy are gross Heath
The greater part of Great Tartary, a Heathen country, has in later times been brought under the Muscovite government ; and there have been of late great numbers of those Heathen who have renounced their Heathenism, and have embraced the Christian religion.
 There has been lately a very considerable propagation of the Christian religion among the Heathen in the East Indies ; particularly, many, in a country in the East Indies called Malabar, have been brought over to the Christian Protestant religion, chiefly by the labors of certain missionaries sent thither to instruct them by the King of Denmark, who have brought over many Heathens to the Christian faith, and have set up schools among them, and a printing press, to print Bibles and other books for their instruction, in their own language,
great success.. (3) The last kind of success which there has lately been of the gospel, which I shall take notice of, is the revivals of the power and practice of religion which have lately been. And here I shall take notice of but two instances.
 There has not long since been a remarkable revival of the power and practice of religion in Saxony in Germany, through the endeavors of an eminent divine there, whose name was August Herman Frank, professor of divinity at Hall in Saxony, who, being a person of eminent charity, the great work that God wrought by him, began with his setting on foot a charitable design. It began only with his placing an alms box at his study door, into which some poor mites were thrown, whereby books were bought for the instruction of the poor. And God was pleased so wonderfully to smile on his design, and so to pour out a spirit of charity on people there on that occasion, that with their charity he was enabled in a little time to erect public schools for the instruction of poor children, and an orphan house for the supply and instruction of the poor ; so that at last it came to that, that near five hundred children were maintained and instructed in learning and piety by the charity of others; and the number continued to increase more and more for many years, and till the
Fast account I have seen. This was accompanied with a wonderful reformation and revival of religion, and a spirit of piety, in the city and university of Hall ; and thus it continued. Which also had great influence in many other places in Germany. Their example seemed remarkably to stir up multitudes to their imitation.
 Another thing, which it would be ungrateful in us not to take notice of, is that remarkable pouring out of the Spirit of God which has been of late in this part of New England, of which we, in this town, have had such a share. But it is needless for me particularly to describe it, it being what you have so lately been eye witnesses to, and I hope multitudes of you sensible of the benefit of.
Thus I have mentioned the more remarkable instances of the success which the gospel has latély had in the world.
4. I proceed now to the last thing that was proposed to be considered relating to the success of Christ's redemption dur. ing this space, viz. what the state of things is now in the world with regard to the church of Christ, and the success of Christ's purchase. And this I would do, by showing how things are now, compared with the first times of the Reformation. And, 1. I would show wherein the state of things is altered for the worse ; and, 2. How it is altered for the better.
(1) I would show wherein the state of things is altered from what it was in the beginning of the Reformation, for the worse ; and it is so especially in these three respects.
 The reformed church is much diminished. The Re. formation in the former times of it, as was observed before, was supposed to take place through one half of Christendom, excepting the Greek church, or that there were as many Protestants as Papists. But now it is not so ; the Protestant church is much diminished. Heretofore there have been multitudes of Protestants in France ; many famous Protestant churches were all over that country, who used to meet together in synods, and maintain a very regular discipline; and gréat part of that kingdom were Protestants. The Protestant church of France was a great part of the glory of the Reformation. But now it is far otherwise : Thi schurch is all broken to
pari pieces and scattered.' The Protestant religion is almost whol
ly rooted out of that kingdom by the cruel persecutions which huir
have been there, and there are now but very few Protestant assemblies in all that kingdom. The Protestant interest is also greatly diminished in Germany. There were several soy. ereign princes there formerly who were Protestants, whose successors are now Papists ; as particularly, the Elector Pal. atine, and the Elector of Saxony. The kingdom of Bohe
mia was formerly a Protestant kingdom, but is now in the Ext: hands of the Papists : And so Hungary was formerly a Pro
testant country ; but the Protestants there have been greatly reduced, and in a great measure subdued, by the persecutions that have been there. And the Protestant interest has no way remarkably gained ground of late of the church of Rome.
 Another thing wherein the state of things is altered for the worse from what was in the former times of the Reformation, is the prevailing of licentiousness in principles and opinions. There is not now that spirit of orthodoxy which there was then : There is very little appearance of zeal for the mysterious and spiritual doctrines of Christianty ; and they never were so ridiculed, and had in contempt, as they are in the present age ; and especially in England, the principal kingdom of the Reformation. In this kingdom, those principles, on which the power of godliness depends, are in a great measure exploded ; and Arianism, and Socinianism, and Arminianism, and Deism, are the things which prevail, and carry almost all before them. And particularly history gives no account of any age wherein there was so great an apostacy of those who had been brought up under the light of the gospel, to infidelity ; never was there such a casting off of the Christian, and all revealed religion ; never any age wherein was, so much scoffing at, and ridiculing the gospelo f Christ, by those who have been brought up under gospel light, nor any thing like it, as there is at this day.
 Another thing wherein things are altered for the worse, is, that there is much less of the prevalency of the power of godliness, than there was at the beginning of the Reformation. There was a glorious outpouring of the Spirit of God
that accompanied the first Reformation, not only to convert multitudes in so short a time from Popery to the true religion, but to turn many to God and true godliness. Religion gloriously flourished in one country and another, as most remarkably appeared in those times of terrible persecution, which have already been spoken of. But now there is an exceeding great decay of vital piety ; yea, it seems to be despised, called enthusiasm, whimsy, and fanaticism. Those who are truly religious, are commonly looked upon to be crack brained, and beside their right mind; and vice and profaneness dreadfully prevail, like a food which threatens to bear down all before it.......But I proceed now to show,
(2) In what respect things are altered for the better from what they were in the first Reformation.
 The power and influence of the Pope is much diminished. Although, since the former times of the Reformation, he has gained ground in extent of dominion ; yet he has lost in degree of influence. The vial which, in the beginning of the Reformation was poured out on the throne of the beast, to the great diminishing of his power and authority in the world, has continued running ever since. The Pope, soon after the Reformation, became less regarded by the princes of Europe than he had been before ; and so he has been since; less and less. Many of the Popish princes themselves seem now to regard him very little more than they think will serve their own designs ; of which there have been several remarkable proofs and instances of late.
 There is far less persecution now than there was in the first times of the Reformation. You have heard already how dreadfully persecution raged in the former times of the Reformation ; and there is something of it still. Some parts of the Protestant church are at this day under persecution, and so probably will be till the day of the church's suffering and travail is at an end, which will not be till the fall of Antichrist. But it is now in no measure as it was heretofore. There does not seem to be the same spirit of persecution prevailing ; it is become more out of fashion even among the Popish princes. The wickedness of the enemies of Christ, and the