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force, against which they can make no resistance.Whatever else may be the consequence of this terrible conflict; the Romish empire is ruined. We máy, I think, fairly consider the great Voice as already uttered out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 66 It is done.” The Hierarchy is ruined.Nothing remains of the system but fragments : and these, in the ordinary course of Providence, can never be gathered up.
In the mean time, Christ has come to this work of judgment as a thief ; in a manner, the most sudden, the most astonishing, the most terrible. The most sanguine mind, the merest enthusiast, could not in the year 1790 have dreamed, that such a revolution in the Romish empire could have been accomplished within 22 years.
6thly. As this great work is in substance done; the Vials, if they are to be poured out hereafter, will have no object, on which their force may be employed.
Almost all that now remains of this work, according to the language of these prophecies, is the infliction of those additional judgments, which they include, upon the guilty nations, inhabiting its extensive dominions. All these vials are poured out upon the Hierarchy. Of course, this dominion must exist, in order to make the fulfilment of these prophecies possible. But its existence has substantially gone; and the remaining contents of the seventh vial, which I consider as now in effusion, will be amply sufficient to finish its destruction.
This long discussion, which I consider as essentially involved in the answer to the question, in the text, I have made as summary as I could. I hope it
will be found not destiiute of instruction to those who hear me.
The next great division of this answer, respects the state of that religion which has been so wonderfully assailed, and which, like the burning bush, has never yet been consumed. Here it is to be observed,
1st. That religion has, in several parts of the Christian Norld, unusually prevailed.
This observation is very extensively applicable to our own country. Sixteen years since, a revival of religion commenced in the neighbouring town of Milford; and spread throughout a considerable portion of its inhabitants. This, so far as my knowledge extends, was the first instance of the same nature in NewEngland, for many years, which was considerable enough to attract the public attention. About the year 1752, a powerful prevalence of vital piety, which had existed for 12 or 15 years, and during which converts had been wonderfully multiplied, both here and in many other countries, appeared so far to declinė, that the accessions, gained by the Church, were in a great measure single, and scarcely observed.In the year 1755, the last Canadian war broke out; and continued eight years. In 1764, that which followed the peace of Paris, our political disputes with Great-Britain began; and the turmoil, which they occasioned, increased almost regularly till it terminated in the Revolutionary war.
This began in 1775, and continued till 1783. The next 5 years the inhabitants of the United States were in continual agitation concerning their government. At length, in 1788, the present Constitution, having been adopted, the present system commenced its operations ; and in a good degree restored order, and stability,
to the public affairs of our country. The great prina ciples, upon which we were to act as a nation, were, however, to be settled ; and the minds of men were to a great extent engrossed by them ; partly on account of their novelty, and partly on account of their importance. War is not less ruinous to the morals of a community, than to property and life. The effects of both the wars, which have been mentioned, were in this respect eminently malignant. Peculiarly is this true of the last. It unhinged the principles, the morality, and the religion, of this country, more than could have been done by a peace of 40 years. The political disputes, which followed it, had also a very unfavourable aspect on the moral interests of the nation. The minds of men were engrossed by them; and their hearts drawn away from their religion, and their God. The comparative importance of politics was swollen beyond all bounds : and it seemed as if men had forgotten, in many instances, that they were not to live here for ever, or that there was beyond the grave a world either of happiness or misery. At the close of this bustling period, however, Religion began to come in for some share of human attention ; and GOD, in his boundless mercy, was pleased to remember those with compassion, who to a great extent had forgotten Him.
The flame, once kindled, soon spread through a considerable part of the land. Intidelity began to stop her mouth, and licentiousness to exhibit a blush, to which she had been long a stranger. Christians awaked; ministers were invigorated; the house of GOD was extensively filled ; and the ways of Zion, in a great measure, ceased to mourn, because few came to her solemn feasts. In Vew-England, and in several oiher countries on this side of the
Atlantic, times of refreshing came from the presence of the Lord.
From the date above mentioned to the present hour, the blessing has never been withdrawn. In two remarkable instances it has visited this Seminary, in which about 120 of the youths, who had come to it for education, entered the Church of Christ; almost all of whom, there is good reason to believe, are now vessels of' honour, and usefulness, in his house. The same work is still going on prosperously in several parts of the county of Litchfield, in this State, and in several others of Massachusetts and New-Hampshire: It is also extending itself elsewhere, particularly in the State of New-Yorki
What has been so happily begun, here, has been extensively realized, also, in Great Britain. T'he friends of religion in that island, exult in a very important change in their moral circumstances; and, while they mention many things to be lamented, congratulate themselves, and the public, on many other things, as solid foundations of rejoicing. The enemies, also, of vital piety complain of this fact in the same direct manner; and the evidence derived from both, is decisive. The change, there, is widely extended; and is continually spreading to a still greater, and greater extent. The best hopes may, therefore, be entertained concerning it, by all who love the Gospel.
In the year 1792, was formed in England, a Society styled the Baptist Missiowary Society; and in the year 1795, another Society of the same nature; comprising Christians of various denominations, and styled the London Missionary Society : both intended for the purpose of Christianizing the Heathen. Soon after, several others were formed also ; particularly
the Edinburgh Missionary Society, and the Society for Missions to Africa and the East. In this honourable train our own country soon followed ; and raised up a numerous succession of Missionary societies, for the purpose of supplying the wants of our brethren in the new-settlements, and christianizing the Indians on our borders. To these have been lately added a considerable number of Societies, established for the purpose of sending Missionaries to foreign countries ; and this number is continually increasing.
In the year 1804, a society was formed in London, for the purpose of sending the Bible, in the different languages of mankind, into the countries where those languages are spoken, named the British and Foreign Bible Society. To this have been added auxiliary societies in many parts of Great-Britain, in Ireland, and in several countries of Europe: and seventeen such societies have been formed in the American States. . One also has risen up at Calcuttao.
The exertions, made by these Missionary and Bible Societies, form a new æra in the history of Christianity. It will be remembered, that four years before the first distinguished revival of religion commenced in this state, the first of these Missionary Societies was formed; and, eight years afterwards, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the parent of all the rest. Within these 20 years, more has been done to spread the Gospel among those, who did not enjoy its blessings, than has probably been done in the two preceding centuries; more, unless we are to except the times of the Reformation, than has been done since the early ages of Christianity. Missions have been formed in the isles of the Southern Ocean, in New-Holland, in China, in the Birman Empire ; in