Sivut kuvina

men; and from the present fluctuations of religious opinion in Arabia, he is sanguine in his hopes of success. His first work is entitled, (Neama Besharatin lil Arabi,) "Happy News for Arabia;" written in the Nabotte, or common dialect of the country. It contains an elegant and argumentative elusidation of the truth of the gospel, with copious authorities admitted by the Mahometans themselves, and particularly by the Wahabians. And prefixed to it, is an account of the conversion of the author, and an appeal to the members of his well-known family in Arabia, for the truth of the facts. *

The following circumstance in the history of Sahat ought not to have been omitted. When his family in Arabia had heard that he had followed the example of Abdallah, and become a Christian, they dispatched his brother to India, (a voyage of two months,) to assassinate him. While Sabat was sitting in his house at Visagapatam, his brother presented himself in the disguise of a faqueer, or beggar, have ing a dagger concealed under his mantle. He rushon Sabat and wounded him. But Sabat seized his arm,

and his servants came to his assistance. He then recognized his brother. The assassin would have become the victim of public justice, but Sabat interceded for his brother, and sent him home in peace, with letters and presents to his mother's house in Arabia.

And these, my brethren, are the instances I wished to lay before you, of the divine power of the Christian religion recently exemplified in the east.

Sabat is now at Dinapore, in Bengal, with the rev. Mr. Martyn, Fellow of St. John's college, Cainbribge, chaplain to the East-India company, who is well qualified, by his knowledge of the Arabic and Persian languages, to superintend his labors. Mizra Fitrut, another celebrated Persian scholar, who visited England some years ago, is engaged as the coadjutor of Sabat in his translations. Mr. Martyn himseli is translating the scriptures into the Hindostanee language. Sabat, soon after his arrival in Bengal visited the Baptist missionaries at Serampore, and remained there for two months and a hall, that is, from August to October, 1807. Ever since that period he has been at Dinaporc. Mr. Martyn, in his letters, speaks of his friend Sabat in terins of affection and admiration. Sabat accounted himself, at one time, the best mathematician and logician in Arabia. Mr. Martyn was senior Wrangler in mathematics at Cambridge, in the year 1801.

The conversions of Abdallah and Sabat seem to have been as evidently produced by the spirit of God, as any conversion in the primitive church. Other instances have occurred in Arabia of a similar kind, and on the very borders of Palestine itself. These are like the solitary notices which in other nations, have announced the approach of general illumination.John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, were not, perhaps, more talked of in Europe, than Abdallah and Sabat are at this day, in Bochara and Arabia.

What conclusion, then, shall we draw from these facts? It is this: that the time for diffusing our religion in the east is come. We shall notice some other particulars which encourage us to think that the time is come.

1. The minds of good men seem every where to be impressed with the duty of making the attempt. Nearly fifteen years have elapsed since it began, and their ardor is not abated. On the contrary, they gather strength as they proceed; new instruments are found, and liberal contributions are made by the people. Indeed the consciences of men seem to bear witness that the work is of God.

The rapid success of this undertaking must appear almost incredible to those who are not acquainted with the fact. Translations of the scriptures are carried on, not only in the languages of India, Persia, and Arabia, but in those also of Burmah and China. Mount Caucasus, in the interior of Asia, is another centre of translation for the east, particularly for the numerous nations of the Tartar

The scriptures are preparing for the Malayan isles, and for the isles of the Pacific Sea. The great continent of Africa has become the scene of different missions and translations. North and south America are sending forth the scriptures. They are sent to the uttermost parts of the earth. They have been sent to Greenland, Labrador, and Aus



tral Asia. We might almost say, “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.”

And this spirit for the diffusion of the truth, is not confined to Britain. It is found among good men of every Christian nation. Perhaps on this day prayers are offered up in behalf of the work, in Eu. rope, Asia, Africa, and America. We are encouraged, then, to believe, that the time is come, in the first place, by the consent of good men.

When I say good men, I mean religious and devout men, whose minds are not entirely occupied with the politics and affairs of this world, but who are “looking for the consolation of Israel;” as it is expressed in these words, “Thy kingdom come.”

2. Another circumstance indicating that the time is at hand, is the general contemplation of the prophecies. The prophecies of scriptures are at this time pondered as seriously in Asia as in Europe. Even the Jews in the east, begin to study the oracles of the prophet Isaiah. And, what is more important, the prophecies begin to be published among heathen nations; and we may expect that every nation will soon be able to read the divine decree concerning it. self.

3. The holy seriptures are translating into various languages.

When the gospel was first to be preached to all nations, it was necessary to give a diversity of tongues; a tongue for each nation; and this was done by the Divine power. But in this second promulgation, as it were, of the gospel, the work will probably be carried on by a diversity of translations, a diversity of scriptures; a translation for each nation. Instead of the gift of tongues, God, by his providence, is giving to mankind a gift of scriptures.

4. Another circumstance, which seems to testify that this work is of God, is the commotion in the bands of infidelity against it. "Herod is troubled,

and all Jerusalem with him.” Aspirit hath issued from the mouth of infidelity, which rageth against Him whose Star appeared in the East, and would destroy the work in its infancy. It rageth not against the Romish church in the east, though that be Christian; nor against the Armenian church in the east, though that be Christian; nor against the Greek church in the east, though that be Christian; but it rageth against the religion of the New Testament, that vital religion which aims at the conversion of the hearts of men.

Our Saviour hath said, “The gospel shall be published among all nations." But these resist the Divine word, and say it cannot be published in all nations. Our Lord hath said, “Go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." But these allege the gospel cannot be preached to every creature, for that "the bond of superstition is too strong, or that the influence of christianity is too weak.”

These are unguarded words, and ought not to be heard in a Christian country. These are presumptuous words, arraigning the dispensation of the most high. Such words as these were once spoken by the philosophers of Greece and Rome, but the gospel prevailed, and first erected its dominion among them. In process of time the barbarous nations of Europe yielded to its sway, of which we are evidences at this day. And the nations of Asia will yield to the same power, and the truth will prevail, and the gospel shall be preached over the whole world.

5. The last circumstance which we shall mention, as indicating that the period is come for diffusing the light of revelation, is the revolution of nations, and the signs of the times.”

Men of serious minds, who are erudite in holy scripture, and in the history of the world, look forward to great events. They judge of the future

from the past. They have seen great events; events which, twenty years ago, would have appeared as incredible as the conversion of the whole world to christianity.

At no former period have the judgments of heaven been so evidently directed against the nations which are called Christian, as at this day. It is manifest that God hath a controversy with his people, whatever be the cause. The heathen world enjoys a comparitive tranquillity. But Christian nations are visited in quick succession by his awful judg. ments. What, then, is the cause of the judgments of God on his Christian people?

If we believe the declarations of God, in his holy word, we shall ascribe the judgment of Christian nations, at this day, to their rejecting, so generally the testimony of Christ. That nation which first "denied his name before men," was first given up to suffer terrible judgments itself, and is now permitted to become the instrument of inflicting judgments on others. And this is agreeable to the ordinary course of God's just and retributive providence. That kingdom which first seduced others by its infidelity, is now become the instrument of their punishment. The same retributive providence is making inquisition for the blood of the saints." The massacres, fires, and enathemas of a former day, filled the minds of men with dismay. We forget these scenes, but all things are present with God. And as a nation cannot be punished as a nation in the next world for its iniquity, it must be punished in this world; and its "sins will be visited to the third and fourth generations." For a long time, (as men count time,) God kept silence; but the day of retribution is come at last, and the seats of the inquisition must be purged with blood.

From the fury of these desolating judgments we have hitherto been preserved. “Righteousness exalteth a pation." (Prov. xvi. 24.) It would appear

« EdellinenJatka »