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* II. The doctrines of Christianity have been proconcerning pagated in Asia, Africa, and America, with equal

the prosp rous state

Zeal, both by the Protestant and Popish missionaries.

the church. But we cannot say the same thing of the true spirit

in general and bf the Romish

church in particular.

of the Gospel, or of the religious discipline and insti-
tutions which it recommends to the observance of
Christians; for it is an undeniable fact, that many of
those whom the Romish missionaries have persuaded
to renounce their false gods, are Christians only as
far as an external profession and certain religious
ceremonies go; and that, instead of departing from
the superstitions of their ancestors, they observe them.
still, though under a different form. We have,
indeed, pompous accounts of the mighty success with
which the Jesuitical ministry has been attended
among the barbarous and unenlightened nations; and
the French Jesuits, in particular, are said to have
converted innumerable multitudes in the course of
their missions. This perhaps cannot be altogether
denied, if we are to call those converts to Christianity
who have received some faint and superficial notions
of the doctrines of the Gospel; for it is well known,
that several congregations of such Christians have
been formed by the Jesuits in the East-Indies, and
more especially in the Carnatic, the kingdoms of
Madura and Marava, some territories on the coast
of Malabar, in the kingdom of Tonquin, the Chinese
empire, and also in certain provinces of America.
These conversions have, in outward appearance, been
carried on with particular success, since Antony Veri
has had the direction of the foreign missions, and has
taken such especial care, that neither hands should
fail for this spiritual harvest, nor any expences be
spared that might be necessary to the execution of
such an arduous and important undertaking. But
these pretended conversions, instead of effacing the
infamy under which the Jesuits labor in consequence
of the iniquitous conduct of their missionaries in
former ages, have only served to augment it, and to
shew their designs and practices in a still more odious

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point of view; for they are known to be much more conroviii. zealous in satisfying the demands of their avarice and T ambition, than in promoting the cause of Christ, and are said to corrupt and modify, by a variety of inventions, the pure doctrine of the Gospel, in order to render it more generally palatable, and to increase the number of their ambiguous converts. III. A famous question arose in this century, The contest relating to the conduct of the Jesuits in China, and . their manner of promoting the cause of the Gospel, ness of by permitting the new converts to observe the reli-o.:* gious rites and customs of their ancestors. This Christians question was decided to the disadvantage of the mis- to: sionaries, in 1704, by Clement XI. who, by a solemn rites. edict, forbade the Chinese Christians to practise the religious rites of their ancestors, and more especially those which are celebrated by the Chinese in honor of their deceased parents, and of their great lawgiver Confucius. This severe edict was, nevertheless, considerably mitigated in 1715, in order to appease, no doubt, the resentment of the Jesuits, whom it exasperated in the highest degree; for the pontiff allowed the missionaries to make use of the word tien, to express the divine nature, with the addition of the word tehu, to remove its ambiguity, and make it evident, that it was not the heaven, but the Lord of heaven, that the Christian doctors worshiped": he also permitted the observance of those ceremonies which had so highly offended the adversaries of the Jesuits, on condition that they should be considered merely as marks of respect to their parents, and as tokens of civil homage to their lawgivers, without being abused to the purposes of superstition, or even being viewed in a religious point of light. In consequence of this second papal edict, considerable indulgence is granted to the Chinese converts: among other things, they have in their houses tablets, on which the names of their ancestors, and particularly of Confucius, are

* The phrase Tien Tchu signifies the Lord of heaven.

***** written in golden letters; they are allowed to light -->

candles before these tablets, to make offerings to them
of rich perfumes, victuals, fruits, and other delica-
cies, and even to prostrate the body before them
until the head touches the ground. The same cere-
mony of prostration is performed by the Chinese
Christians at the tombs of their ancestors.
The former edict, which was designed to prevent
the motley mixture of Chinese superstition with the
institutions of Christianity, was conveyed into China,
in 1705, by cardinal Tournon, the pope's legate; and
the second, which was of a more indulgent nature,
was sent, in 1721, with Mezzabarba, who went to
China with the same character. Neither the emperor
nor the Jesuits were satisfied with these edicts.
Tournon, who executed the orders of his spiritual
employer with more zeal than prudence, was, by the
express command of the emperor, thrown into prison,
where he died in 1710. Mezzabarba, though more
cautious and prudent, yet returned home without
having succeeded in his negotiation; nor could the
emperor be engaged, either by arguments or entrea-
ties, to make any alteration in the institutions and
customs of his ancestors". At present the state of
Christianity in China being extremely precarious and
uncertain, this famous controversy is entirely sus-
pended; and many reasons induce us to think, that
both the pontiffs and the enemies of the Jesuits will
unite in permitting the latter to depart from the
rigor of the papal edicts, and to follow their own
artful, and insinuating methods of conversion; for
they will both esteem it expedient and lawful to

(or " Tournon had been made, by the pope, patriarch of Antioch; and Mezzabarba, to add a certain degree of weight to his mission, was created patriarch of .. A.; return, the latter was promoted to the bishopric of Lodi, a preferment which, no inferior in point of station to his imaginary patriarchate, was far more valuable in point of ease and K. See a more ample account of this mission in Dr. Mosheim's Memoirs of the Christian Church in China,

submit to many inconveniences and abuses, rather cenroviii. than to risque the entire suppression of popery in China.

IV. The attempts made since the commencement Protestant of the present century, by the English and Dutch," and more especially by the former, to diffuse the light of Christianity through the benighted regions of Asia and America, have been carried on with more assiduity and zeal than in the preceding age. That the Lutherans have borne their part in this salutary work appears abundantly from the Danish mission, planned with such piety in 1706 by Frederic IV. for the conversion of the Indians who inhabit the coast of Malabar, and attended with such remarkable success. This noble establishment, which surpasses all that have been yet erected for the propagation of the Gospel, not only subsists still in a flourishing state, but progressively acquires new degrees of perfection under the auspicious and munificent patronage of that excellent monarch Christian VI. We will, indeed, readily grant, that the converts to Christianity, made by the Danish missionaries, are less numerous than those which we find in the lists of the popish legates; but it may be affirmed, that they are much better Christians, and far excel the latter in sincerity and zeal. There is a great difference between Christians in reality, and Christians in appearance; and it is very certain, that the popish missionaries are much more ready than the protestant doctors, to admit into their communion proselytes, who have nothing of Christianity but the name.

We have very imperfect accounts of the labors of the Russian clergy, the greatest part of whom are still involved in that gross ignorance which covered the most unenlightened ages of the church; but we learn, from the modern records of that nation, that some of their doctors have employed, with a certain degree of success, their zeal and industry in spreading the light of the Gospel in those provinces which border upon Siberia.

errovin. W. While the missionaries now mentioned exposed

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themselves to the greatest dangers and sufferings, in

mies of the order to diffuse the light of divine truth among these

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remote and darkened nations, there arose in Europe, where the Gospel had obtained a firm footing, a multitude of adversaries, who shut their eyes upon its excellence, and endeavoured to eclipse its immortal lustre. There is no country in Europe where infidelity has not exhaled its poison; and scarcely any denomination of Christians among whom we may not find several persons, who either aim at the extinction of all religion, or at least endeavour to invalidate the authority of the Christian system. Some carry on these unhappy attempts in an open manner, others under the mask of a Christian profession; but no where have these enemies of the purest religion, and consequently of mankind, whom it was designed to render wise and happy, appeared with more effrontery and insolence, than under the free governments of Great-Britain and the United Provinces. In England, more especially, it is not uncommon to meet with books, in which, not only the doctrines of the Gospel, but also the perfections of the Deity, and the solemn obligations of piety and virtue, are impudently called in question, and turned into derision". Such impious productions have cast a deserved

(or “ This observation, and the examples by which it is supported in the following sentence, stand in need of some correction. Many books have, indeed, been published in England against the divinity both of the Jewish and Christian dispensations; and it is justly to be lamented, that the inestimable blessing of religious liberty, which the wise and good have improved to the glory of Christianity, by setting its doctrines and precepts in a rational light, and bringing them back to their primitive simplicity, has been so far abused by the pride of some, and the ignorance and licentiousness of others, as to excite an opposition to the Christian system, which is both designed and adapted to lead men, through the paths of wisdom and virtue, to happiness and perfection. It is, nevertheless, carefully to be observed, that the most eminent of the English unbelievers were far from renouncing, at least in their writings and profession, the truths of what they call natural religion, or denying the

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