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ipis unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day
nwn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. 1 Pet. i, 19.
say the most important, because we can have no kertain knowledge of future events, but as it pleases
god to reveal them to us, and had he not led us to xrxpect at a particnlar period the blessing which we are considering, we should bave no sufficient ground of
assurance that we might confidently look for it. We share the
do not speak of a precise year, or many years, more or
Him; He has shewn us that it shall be proclaimed, The saiki kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our
God and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever. Rev.
to do sad
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undoubtedly be looked for;* but all will be well righteous, and glorious and happy will be tbe et the church. Though there may be differences or if points, the great body of learned Protestant tors, as Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishops Net Halifax, Hurd, and Horsley, Mr. Seett, Mr. Faber many others, agree in their sentiments respectiu: speedy approach of those three leading events w: eminently mark the period of the conversion o world, viz.—the downfall of popery, the destructie: the Mabomedan imposture, and the conversion of Is and Judah.t
The SiGN OF PROVIDENCE corresponds with a of prophecy. There have, it is true, at differ: periods, been bright hopes of this blessed day. It apostolic age, when the gift of tongues, and the pe of miracles were bestowed on the church, Christiae
See Cooper's Crisis, the 3d Edition, a work justly claici: serious attentiov ; for whatever difference of opinion ihereby bee the interpretation of the specific prophecy expla ned, to practical tendency of the work, as it respects the duties of te present times, makes it peculiarly edifying and seasovable.
Mr. Douglas speaks thus with reference to prophecy** Praspreis the most cheering may be overcast, and the progres or improvenient at once arrested by on' of those sudilen revoluSons which mock all calculation, both in their arrival, and in their resalis ; but though in matters merely political, sad changes in the state may baffle the fairest conjectures which pewa apon the supposition of the continuance of national spority, yet, in the expectation of religious improvement, we Sare mere certain ground to rest upou.
We know not whether word intends the siability of particular nations; but we know that he makes all revolutions subservient to the introduction of Nis een dingdom, that the appointed years of delay are now Miepsing and that the time to favour the Gentiles is at hand." He wterwards says, “ According to the sure word of Prophecy, slowing for the variety of interpretation, before the oak which was planted yesterday shall have reached its full maturity, the *Adle earth shall have become the garden of the Lord.”
aire, and the me
eneste je in such rapid progress, that the blessing then began s expected. In the time of Constantine, when the
er of the Roman empire was given to the cause of o camist, then it seemed not unlikely that his religion
ld be every where received. And at the reformaar la tra
when the pure light of truth again burst forth with aitive splendour, and rapidly spread throughout ope, there seemed another hope that it might reach
farthest limits of the earth. But the fulness of time 3 not come. The period foretold by Daniel and St. in had not been completed, and the present era preits far more solid and scriptural reasons why we
Ly hope that this event is not far distant. PEVCE CONTENT
The heathen world, in all its vast extent, is more and e, it is inte
pre opening to the efforts of Christians, preparing to "this bless Icome, and in many parts earnestly desiring Christongues, a
an Jabourers; and those in authority in heathen lands se church,
'ave greatly promoted missionary undertakings. Chrisian nations have every where a growing intercourse
vith, and a preponderating influence over, heathen ce of opisaations. To Christian countries God has given vast rophet political power, and most power to those nations, such aweias Britain and America, where his religion is purest,*and ence to whom he has at the same time given zeal to labour distiuct religious institutions, chiefly within the last thirty years, raising nearly £500,000 a year for diffusing divine knowledge.
in his service. This zeal has been manifested in the ir aris Protestant Church by the formation of about forty
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* Strong marks of the purity of a Church are-its bigh reverence for the Holy Scriptures; its close adherence and unqualified
submission to the word of God; and its zeal to spread the inrobé Gospel. Cecils says, “Take the Church of Rome:
--what a glorious church was the Church of Rome! but when? when it followed human imaginations in religion? No! it was a glorious church when the Apostle wrote his Epistle to the Romans : its faith sounded throughout the world. Thus was it,
too, among Protestants, when they frst separated from the
e auto aturing
God has also given to Christian nations new facilities to communicate his truth. While the principle # general education has been recognized, the new syste of mutual instruction, with its ramifications, in infas: and adult schools, first spreading in our own county is now diffusing itself with extended blessings througt the heathen world. The printing press now seems i some degree, to meet the want of that which distiguished the apostolic age, the gift of tongues, and ner improvements give to that vast engine for diffusing divine truth an increasing power of immeuse advantage Modern inventions come in to aid intercourse among the natious, and the progress of the Gospel. Each fresh discovery in arts and in science pays tribute to the Saviour, and facilitates his work.
A state of general peace, almost through the world, and of outward rest from its various enemies, gives the church every advantage for exertion.
superstition of Rome, and followed the word of God instead of human imaginations; in purity and zeal they walked with God, and glorified him on the earth; they trinmphed not in their lives only, but in their deaths at the stake: but see them following vain imaginations, and however they might reflect on the Papist's superstition, the Papist might pity them for denying the Lord that bought them.” See his Sermons.
* Fox in his Acts and Monuments, dwells at some length on the importance of printing, ---" hereby tongues are known, knowledge groweth, judgment increaseth, books are dispersed, the Scripture is seen, &c. &c. By this printing, as by the gift of tongues, and as by the singular organ of the Holy Ghost, the doctrine of the Gospel soundeth to all nations and countries under heaven: and what God revealetu to one man is dispersed to many, and what is known in one nation is opened to all." Page 650, edition 1610.
If we take also a very cursory review of the progress of missionary efforts, it may well lead us to lively hope. Remember the torpor and death on this subject fifty years back; remember the accounts formerly given of the innocence and happiness of various heathen countries, and observe the change of feeling pow!
The actual state of the heathen is so generally known among Christians, as to refute all that infidels and others have alleged, of the simplicity, excellence, and purity of man without the Gospel, and to excite greatlyenlarged feelings of sympathy and compassion for their real darkness, and wickedness, and misery. The cause of missions now excites an interest among all those who have any pretentions to the name of Christian. Such a missionary feeling has been roused, that several hundreds of Christians have in the last thirty years rejoiced to leave their country, and have devoted their lives to labour for the conversion of the heathen.
The means employed by the societies which have been formed are various and extended-such as the preaching of the Gospel in heathen languages; the translating, printing, or circulating of the Scriptures, in one hundred and fortytwo different tongues or dialects; the instruction of many tens of thousands of heathen children; the introduction of female education; the forming of many seminaries and colleges for training up native teachers; the calling forth from obscurity of numbers of estima. ble men, qualified by eminent and peculiar gifts, and employing them in a high and holy work, each in spheres suited to his talents. Never before could that promise, Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased, (Dan. xii, 4.) be said to be so amply and extensively realized as it is in the present day. It is peculiarly verifying by events continually taking place.
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