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the predictions of this event, there will be universally an astonishing degree of knowledge, combined with a delightful purity of morals. The civil government will then be christian; the manners will be formed
upon the model of the gospel ; and the physical advantages of nations will be greatly increased. Perhaps the population of the world during the thousand years' reign of the Lord Jesus, will equal the whole population of the world previously?.
. Before we proceed to the last head of this discourse, justice requires that some prominent objections to the position laid down in the text, should be stated and obviated.
The first objection is that which the state of Europe presents to our view, from the time when the Bishop of Rome began his career to universal dominion, until the Reformation took place. During this period, although Christianity was the nominal religion of the nations, yet it is a mournful fact, that they were grossly ignorant, immoral, and debased. Their history for the greatest part of this time is nothing more than a detail of atrocious crimes, of incessant bloody
y See Sermon iv.
wars, of social impurity, and ecclesiastical profligacy. The Christianity which was professed, however, it must be acknowledged even by those who reject the Scriptures, was very unlike to the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of its great characteristic features, was a contravention to the very essence of the plan of redemption. In the words of inspiration, we are taught that “ without
shedding of blood there is no remission?;" but the man of sin, the son of perdition, maintained, that the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass was truly propitiatory“. With this he connected the intercession of saints, and justification by works, both of which derogate directly from the honour of the Redeemer, and in a most unblushing manner give the lie to the scriptural doctrine of righteousness. This corruption of what is the very marrow of revealed religion, constitutes the man of sin to be Antichrist, denying both the Father and the Son; for when taken in connexion with all its legitimate consequences, it goes to the full extent of
% Heb. ix. 22.
a The doctrine of the Mass is fairly unfolded in the 2211 session of the Council of Trent, chap. 2. Dupin's Eccles. Hist. of the 16th century, b. 3. ch. 18.
substituting another God as the object of adoration and obedience than the Jehovah of the Scriptures. Though this corruption did not reach its highest degree until the thirteenth century, yet its foundation was early laid by the unscriptural views which were entertained of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The mere participation of these crdinances were considered as procuring the pardon of sin. From the close of the fifth century, superstition and will-worship rapidly gained ground, and with their growth detached the attention and affections of men from the Redeemer, and salvation through his blood. No wonder then that society at large exhibited so sad, debased, and horrible a scene, as the writers of the middle ages describe. Yet even in the midst of this darkness, the reign of Charlemagne and Alfred afford strong and irrefutable evidence of the truth of the text. Whoever reads the capitularies of the former', and the history and character of the latter', will see what efforts were
b Dupio’s Eccles. Hist. vol. 6. cent. 8. gives a summary of these Capitularies. Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. vol. 2. p. 270.
C A full account of Alfred's character, laws, and reign, will be found in Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. 2. 8vo, Lond. ed. Milper's Church Hist. chap. 1. cent. 9.
made to stem the torrent of corruption, which was desolating the church.
The second objection arises from the prosperity and grandeur of the Saracen empires in Asia and Spain. It is hardly possible to form an adequate conception of the magnificence of the Caliphs, their immense wealth, and the profusion with which they expended it for personal gratification. The prodigality of sovereigns, however, as it can only be supported by their subjects, must in the end oppress and ruin them. Amidst all the glare which history casts around the Moslems in the zenith of their power, we find no vestige of rational liberty among the people; no real enjoyment in domestic life; no substantial benefits springing from social intercourse. The
government was an absolute despotism; females were considered as the mere instruments of promoting sensual pleasure; and men, instead of attending as a duty to that which is good, wasted their intellectual faculties and bodily powers in the gratification of dark and revengeful, or of voluptuous and effeminate passions. The arts and sciences, it must however be granted, were cultivat
ed by these followers of Mahomet with great assiduity and success.
And it is worthy of our notice, that the age of Arabian learning, “ was coeval with the darkest and “ most slothful period of European annals?.” As the religion of Mahomet utterly excludes the doctrine of righteousness by a Redeemer, this fact seems to contradict the position we have assumed. But the following remarks will show the real nature and extent of the pretensions of the Moslems to literary reputation.
They paid no attention to learning, until after they had become acquainted with the Roman Empire, by their wars with the emperors of Constantinople in the first instance, and afterwards with the Christians of Spain. It was Christianity, though greatly corrupted, that excited in them a thirst for intellectual improvement.
This improvement, however great or small, was of brief duration, and preceded, as well as followed, by most deplorable ignorance and stupidity. It was merely the result of the exertions made by a few of their enlightened Caliphs, which exertions