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of swords, gulfs and dungeons, a world of deceit and wickedness, urged its gentle way: though enemies more to be dreaded than these, and of a subtlier kind, have assailed the blessed Gospel, yet have they not prevailed. Though a Voltaire has said that he was weary of hearing that twelve men had propagated the Gospel, yet he presumptuously and arrogantly boasted, that he would show to the world that he could destroy the whole alone. But his death was marked with dreadful horrors; his pitiful cryings and cowardly behaviour at that extremity, showed him but poorly qualified to conquer the Son of God, or to put to flight the least of his disciples. Though with him a host of infidels, in every age, have assailed the Gospel with all the powers of their pandaemonian compact, and have poured upon it a flood of scorn and contempt, yet the Gospel shines in all its glory of simplicity and truth.
Although a Constantine thoughtto add to its strength by his feeble prop of law, because he knew not its nature, yet it stood on its own foundation, gloriously independent.
I would here remark, that the manner of Constantino's conversion to Christianity, does not carry with it any convincing proof, that he was regenerated by the grace of God, at that time.
The manner of his conversion.was as follows: When Constantine the great was in Gaul, A. D. 312, there appeared in ihe sky, a little after noon day, above the sun, a splendid luminous cross, with this inscription on it: "By this conquer;" in consequence of which, he was convinced that if he espoused the Christian cause, he should conquer his enemies, and win the whole empire to himself.
Accordingly, in A. D. 324, he totally defeated Licinus, who had shared the empire with him, and became sole emperor, which was the summit of his ambition.—See Clark, on Daniel.
Though the Popes of the Roman Church have wrested, from age to age, the salutary words of the Gospel, and have, since the time they became antichristian, supported their doctrines and power, by keeping their adherents in total ignorance the most pitiful, and by coersion the most cruel; yet there has been, and still are millions who dare .confess Him, in the very face of death, " of whom Moses and the prophets did write."
But the preaching and writings of eminent and holy men, in various nations, from the time of the great reformation in the days of Luther till now, have, by the providence of God, been sapping the foundation of that enormous BoHON Upas, the Roman Papal Church in Italy: and ere long its trunk will fall, and the region where it grows, and has for ages poisoned with its effluvia distant nations, shall be destroyed and not healed, but shall be given to salt, the salt of eternal burning.
The great means by which God has, and is effecting the emancipation of those who are bound in darkness and ignorance, is by the scriptures of truth being put into the hands of every man. Yet many have been the attempts to suppress this most holy book, but still it prevails, and will prevail. The union and zeal which is now manifest among all the evangelical sects, to send this book to all nations, is a notable sign, in this our day, that the time is not very far off, when a universal and individual knowledge of the Bible shall he possessed by every bosom.
The monsters, bigotry and prejudice, are passing away like the shades of night before the rising sun, and a union of energy among the Churches is taking their place, of whom there is forming a vast army, who shall press onward to certain victory. Worldly grandeur and a religious monopoly is not their object: but to send the Scriptures to all nations, tongues and languages, and to instruct the ignorant, are their highest and only aim.
There are, at the present time, three thousand Bible Societies in the world, and all formed within twenty years. The annual income of these is about four millions five hundred thousand dollars, which will naturally increase from year to year. This vast annual sum, without any additional increase,will amount, in twenty years more, to the immense sum of ninety millions of doldars. It is easy, therefore, to see, that in a hundred years, if God continues to bless this means, there will be put into the hands of all heathen nations, the holy Scriptures, the words of life; yes, and it is probable this will be done much sooner than a hundred years.
More than three millions of Bibles have already been distributed among these nations, who are the objects of commiseration, and are read in a hundred and forty different languages, at the present time. And in addition to this, the Missionaries of all the evangelical Churches, are flying upon the wings of the wind, to the very ends of creation, not to build up sectarianism, but to inform them of the way of life and salvation, in the most simple and easy manner. This is benevolence indeed.
Already the following countries are visited by the angel, whom John saw flying through the midst ot heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth :—Western Africa, South Africa, African Islands, Mediterranean, Black and Caspian seas, Siberia, China, India beyond the Ganges, and India within the Ganges; Ceylon, Indian Archipelago, Australasia, Asia and Polynesia; South American States, Guiana, West Indies, North American Indians, Labrador and Greenland. In those countries, in 1825, there were 283 stations, 585 Missionaries, 394 native assistants, and 37,919 communicants; all snatched from the gulf of heathenism, by that angel of mercy and light, the Gospel.
Sunday Schools, too, follow in the hallowed train, which gracious and glorious plan strikes at the root of the matter, takes the infant from the parents' heathen bosom, and informs the tender mind, and rears it up for God.
The tract societies too, for the distribution of free and candid thoughts upon all sorts of vice, and the easy way of reformation and happiness pointed out, and the horrors which absolutely await the impenitent, in a future life, plainly shown.
The Bible in its free circulation—the Missionary to inforce and explain it—the Sunday Schools and Tract Societies, are the mighty bolts of Heaven, with winch he is smiting the nations, and breaking in pieces all the strong holds of Satan—all combinations of wicked men, till all enemies shall be subdued and saved by grace, or destroyed from the earth by judgments from Heaven. .
Such then, are the signs of our own times, which streak the horizon of our world with spiritual light, like the bright lights of the night that illume the northern skies, when the Aurora Borealis flashes there.; or such light as the sun affords before his rising, when his beams shoot athwart the Atlantic sea, and tip with gold die Rocky Mountains. Such are the certain tokens, that a brighter sun will soon arise to set no more, till a thousand years of holy rest to the saints shall complete the great week of time.
But we are too apt to let pass the notable signs of Heaven, without bestowing upon them that pious at tention they demand. The antediluvians thought nothing of the signs of their times, but were heedless, until the flood came and took them all away.
The signs of the times which went before the birth of Christ, were not sufficiently looked into; otherwise the Jews would have known the Messiah, by the tokens foretold by the prophets.
But let it not be the guilt of this nation, to be blind to the signs of the times, nor of the Churches; but to look, expect and pray, for the coming in of the great sabbatical year and jubilee of Heaven, the Millennium