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testant churches. Thus it was given to the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.
There was also a terrible persecution in England in Queen Mary's time, wherein great numbers in all parts of the kingdom were burnt alive. And after this, though the Protestant religion has been for the most part established by law in England, yet there have been very severe persecutions by the high churchmen, who symbolize in many things with the Papists. Such was that which occasioned our forefathers to flee from their native country, and to come and settle in this land, which was then a hideous howling wilderness. And these persecutions were continued with little intermission till King William came to the throne.
Scotland has also been the scene, for many years together, of cruelties and blood by the bands of high churchmen, such
came very little short of the Popish persecution in Queen Mary's days, and in many things much exceeded it, which continued till they were delivered by King William.
Ireland also has been, as it were, overwhelmed with Protestant blood. In the days of King Charles I. of England, above two hundred thousand Protestants were cruelly murdered in that kingdom in a few days; the Papists, by a secret agreement, rising at an appointed time, intending to kill every Protestant in the kingdoin at once.
Besides these, there have been very cruel persecutions in Italy and Spain, and other places, which I shall not stand to relate. Thus did the devil, and his great minister, Antichrist, rage with such violence and cruelty against the church of Christ! and thus did the whore of Babylon make herself drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus! By these persecutions the Protestant church has been much diminished: Yet have they not been able to prevail; but still the Protestant church is upheld, and Christ fulfils his promise, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
5. The last kind of opposition that Satan has made to the Reformation is by corrupt opinions. The first opposition of this kind was by the sect of the Anabaptists, which began about four or five years after the Reformation itself. This sect, as it first appeared in Germany, were vastly more extravagant than the present Anabaptists are in England. They held a great many exceeding corrupt opinions. One tenet of theirs was, That there ought to be no civil authority, and that it was lawful to rebel against it. And on this principle they refused to submit to magistrates, or any human laws; and gathered together in vast armies, to defend themselves against their civil rulers, and put all Germany into an aproar, and so kept it for some time.
The next opposition of this kind to the Reformation was that which was made by enthusiasts. Those are called enthusiasts who falsely pretend to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, as the prophets were. These began in Germany about ten years atter Luther began the Reformation ; and there arose various sects of them, who were exceeding wild and extravagant. The followers of these are the Quakers in England, and other parts of the British dominions.
The next to these were the Socinians, who had their beginning chiefly in Poland, by the teaching of Lælius Socinus and Faustus Socinus. They held, that Christ was a mere man, and denied Christ's satisfaction and most of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion. Their heresy has since been greatly propagated among Protestants in Poland, Germany, Holland, England, and other places.
After these arose the Arminians. They take their name from a Dutchman, whose name was Jacobus Van Harmin, which, turned into Latin, is called Jacobus Arminius; and from his name the whole sect are called Arminians. This Jacobus Arminius was first a minister at Amsterdam, and then a professor of divinity in the university of Leyden. He had many followers in Holland. There was upon this a synod of all the reformed churches called together, who met at Dort in Holland. The synod of Dort condemned them; but yet they spread and prevailed. They began to prevail in England in the reign of Charles I. especially in the church of England. The church of England divines before that were almost universally Calvinists : but since that, Arminianism has gradually more and more prevailed, till they are become almost universally Arminians. And not only so, but Arminianism has greatly prevailed among the Dissenters, and has spread greatly in New England, as well as Old.
Since this, Arianism has been revived. Arianism, a little after Constantine's time, almost swallowed up the Christian world, like a flood out of the mouth of the serpent which threatened to swallow up the woman. And of late years, this heresy bas been revived in England, and greatly prevails there, both in the church of England, and among Dissenters. These hold, that Christ is but a mere creature, though they grant that he is the greatest of all creatures.
Another thing which bas of late exceedingly prevailed among Protestants, and especially in England, is Deism. The Deists wbolly cast off the Christian religion, and are professed infidels. Indeed, they own the being of God, but deny any revealed religion, or any word of God at all; and say, that God bas giyen mankind no other light to walk by but their own reason. With these opinions our nation, which is the principal nation of the Reformation, is very much over-run, and they prevail more and more. Thus much concerning the opposition that Satan has made against the Reformation.
III. I proceed now to show what success the gospel has had in these later times of the Reformed church.
This success may be reduced to three heads: 1. Reformation in doctrine and worship in countries called Christian ; 2. Propagation of the gospel among the Heathen ; 3. Revival of religion in the power and practice of it.
1. As to the first, viz. reformation in doctrine, the most considerable success of late has been in the empire of Muscovy, wbich is a country of vast extent. The people of this country, so many of them as call themselves Christians, professed to be of the Greek church; but were barbarously ignorant, and very superstitious, till of late years. Their late Emperor Peter the Great, set hiinself to reform bis dominions, took great pains to bring them out of their darkness, and to have them instructed in religion. To that end, he set up schools of learning, ordered the Bible to be printed in the language of the country, made a law that every family should keep the holy scriptures in their houses, that every person should be able to read the same, and that no person should be allowed to marry till they were able to read the scriptures. He also reformed the churches of his country of many of their superstitions, whereby the religion professed and practised in Muscovy is much nearer to that of the Protestants than formerly it used to be. This emperor gave great encouragement to the exercise of the Protestant religion in his dominions. And since that, Muscovy is become a land of light, in comparison of wbat it was fifty years past.
2. As to the second kind of success which the gospel has lately had, viz. its propagation among the Heathen, I would take notice of three things.
(1.) The propagation of the gospel among the Heathen here in America. This American continent, which is a very great part of the world, and, together with its neighbouring seas adjoining, takes up one side of the globe, was wholly unknown to all Christian nations till these latter times. not known that there was any such part of the world, though it was very full of people; and therefore the devil bad this part of the world as it were secure to bimself, out of the reach of the light of the gospel, and so out of the way of molestation in his dominion over them. Here the many nations of Indians worshipped him as God from age to age, while the gospel was confined to the opposite side of the globe. It is probably supposed, from some remaining accounts, that the occasion of first peopling America was this: that the devil, being alarmed and surprised by the wonderful success of the
gospel the first three hundred years after Christ, and by the downfal of the Heathen empire in the time of Constantineand seeing the gospel spread so fast, and fearing that his Heathenish kingdom would be wholly overthrown through the world—led away a people from the other continent into America, that they might be quite out of the reach of the gospel, that here le might quietly possess them, and reign over them as their god.-Many writers intimate, that some of the Indian nations, when the Europeans first came into America, had a tradition among them, that their god first led them into this continent, and went before them in an ark.
However, it is certain that the devil did here quietly enjoy his dominion over the poor Indians for many ages. But in later times God has sent the gospel into these parts, and now the Christian church is set up here in New England, and in other parts of America, where before had been nothing but the grossest 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 of notice, There was something remarkablc in New England, both at first and of late, and in other parts of America, among many Indians, of an inclination to be instructed in the Christian religion.
However small the propagation of the gospel aniong 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, 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 throughout the whole habitable globe, on every side, and on all its continents. When those times come, then doubtless the gospel 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. 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 wbat 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 bas of late years been a very considerable propagation of the gospel among the Heathen in the dominions of Muscovy. I bave already observed the reformation wbich 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 Heathens. 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 who have renounced their Heathenism, and have embraced the Christian religion.
(3.) There has been lately a very considerable propagation of the Christian religion among the Heathen in the East Indies; particularly, many in Malabar bave been brought over to the Christian Protestant religion, chiefly by the labours 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, with great success.
3. The last kind of success which I shall notice, is the revival of the power and practice of religion. And here I shall take notice of but two instances.
(1.) There has been not long since a remarkable revival of the power and practice of religion in Germany, through the endeavours of an eminent divine there, August Herman Frank, professor of divinity at Halle in Saxony. 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 that occasion, that he was enabled in a little time to erect public schools for the instruction of poor children, and an orphan-house for their supply and instruction. At last, 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. This was accompanied with a wonderful reformation and revival of religion, and a spirit of piety, in the city and university of Halle; 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.
(2.) Another thing, which it would be ungrateful in us not to notice, 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, bave had such a share. But it is needless for me particularly to describe it, seeing you haye so