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and it has been incurred by the blind policy which induced its rulers to resist the progress of the Reformation, and to crush by a long series of oppreslion those Huguenots, who by reasoning and good sense alone would have supplanted the superstition by degrees, and gained over the people to a purer faith and better principles. But the Catholic religion, the great engine which operated destruction on the moral character of the people, was supported exclusively by the secular power, and the necessary consequence was, that its fall was delayed for a time, only that it might become more dreadful. The philosophers, confounding Christianity with its corruptions, drew their premises from the lat. ter to discredit both. The French people, not knowing what religion in its fimplicity was, felt the force of the arguments which exposed the national superstition, and were convinced that its principles were absurd, its service trifling, and its arrangements priestcraft. They thought that this was religion which had been refuted, and they threw the whole away. It was then that God Almighty was renounced in the National Affembly, that civil blood streamed without remorse, and that the poignard became the law of the people. The judicial principle of provi.

dence

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dence enters into the connection of cause and effect in the fate of nations. The maslacre of St Bartholomew, and the revocation of the edict of Nantes, were deeds of enormous sacrilege ; they are in the book of remembrance, and in the series of causation; they crushed the regenerating influence of spiritual freedom, they added ferocity to the national character, and taught the people the lessons of murder and extermination, as the treatment of the weaker party: and dreadful has the application been. The heavens still lour over the scene; the end is not yet. To a thinking Chriftian there remains only this confolation, that all things shall work together for good ; that the overruling providence of God makes the wrath of man to praise him; and that in his own unsearchable ways he will accomplish his preparations for the reign of virtue in the ages of peace.

In the present aspect of the Chriftian world, we see many circumstances which have a visible tendency to facilitate the progress of the gospel in some future period; and other circumItances which obstruct its advancement at prefent, and may continue to do so until they are

removed,

removed. The want of success in time past is no reason for the friends of religion to defift from all attempts in future; it is only a reason for trying the effects of some different modes from those which have always failed, and for proceeding upon a full knowledge of the case, with wisdom and discretion, as well as with zeal. What the modes are which may be adopted in the foreign service with any prospect of success it is not easy to say; perhaps they ought to be as various as are the characters of the nations. With regard to one great nation, the Hindoos, where the leading casts are composed of men of study, and habituated to profound reflection; it has been suggested by the President of the Afiatic Society in Calcutta *, of all men the most competent judge on this subject, that there occurs only one mode in which an impres. sion may be posible. Let no millionaries be employed, let a book be prepared consisting of the clearest prophecies of the Old Testament which relate to the Christian dispensation, accompanied with historical proofs that these prophecies existed before the Christian æra. Let it next contain one of the four gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles,-accompanied simply with proofs of the authenticity of the writings; but let no commentary nor reflections be admitted. The copies of this book in the languages of the country might be placed within the reach of the reading men all over India : it is necessary that Europeans should take no farther charge of it; let it be found as the treasure which has been hid in a field, let it work its way in silence upon the Asiatic mind. If this beginning should be prosperous, it would be easy to introduce in due season the other books of scripture to a willing people.

contain

* Sir William Jenes.

This proposal, which carries with it the strong characters of genius, suggests to the mind some topics of important reflection. If Chriftianity Mould thus be sown rather than planted in a new land, without any thing which has been derived through the ecclefiaftical or civil literature of the western nations, but the scriptures and the ancient history which is collateral with the fcriptures; and if in this state of total and eflential detachment from any traditions or usages later than the apostolic age, it should become the predominant religion ; what wouid be the form

of

of the Christian church in that land ? how would its divines reason and decide in speculative questions ? What regulations in the conduct of worfhip would they embrace? what ceremonies or plans of church government would they adopt? To a philosophical divine nothing could be more curious and interesting than a new church, formed in the circumstances now supposed. In whatever country this should take place, the new fyftem might no doubt be expected to bear in fome degree the character of the soil; yet much might be learned from examining a scene so peculiar. Although the specific arrangements which a church in such circumstances might a. dopt, cannot be antecedently known, the mind may dwell on a topic like this with edification. It may at least throw us out of the line of our prejudices and habits for a moment, and teach us to bear with one another. The Chriftian communities now mentioned, might in many particular articles of opinion, worship and government, exhibit very different features from any or all of the churches of the West, yet hold the essential characters of Christianity as truly as they. Would it not then be our duty to receive them as brethren, and to meet them in the fellowship of the gospel, and in the com

munion

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