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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-
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
(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
themselves to the greatest dangers and sufferings, in
mies of the order to diffuse the light of divine truth among these
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