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Book of the Chriftian Religion had been tranflated into the Greek and Perfian Tongues, in his Life-time. The Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles, translated into the Malayan Tongue, were reprinted at Mr. Boyle's Charge, at Oxford, MDCLXXVII. In America, it is notorious, that the Chriftians are fufficiently numerous, and have fufficient Opportunities to inftruct the Natives, if they were but as careful to improve them to fo good an end, rather than in purfuit of their own Gain. The whole Bible tranflated into the Indian Language, was order'd to be Printed, by the Commiffioners of the United Colonies in New-England. And at the Charge, and with the Confent of the Corporation in England for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New-England, was Printed at Cambridge, A. D. MDCLXIII, and dedicated to King Charles II, by the Commiffioners of the United Colonies. The Proceedings and Succefs of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was incorporated A. D. MDCCI, are to be feen in the Books publish'd by Order of that Society.
The Sum of all is this: Before the Flood, Revela tions were fo frequent, and the Lives of Men fo long, that no Man could be ignorant of the Creation, and of the Providence of God in the Government of the World, and the Duties requir'd towards Him. And in the firft Ages after the Flood, God's Will reveal'd to Noah, and the Precepts given to him at his coming out of the Ark, must be well known to all the furviving World; and as foon as the remembrance of them began to decay, and Men to fall into Idolatry, Abraham and the other Patriarchs were fent into divers Countries, to proclaim God's Commandments, and to teftifie against the Impiety of Idolaters, whereever they came. For, to publifh the Reveal'd Will of God, and make it generally known in the World, God was pleas'd to chufe to himself a pecular People, and to fend them firft out of Mefopotamia into Canaan,
and, upon occafion, back again into Mefopotamia; and then several times into Egypt; and from thence, after they had dwelt there fome Hundreds of Years, into Canaan again; at what time he appointed them Laws, admirably fitted and contriv'd for the receiving of Strangers and Profelytes. After many fignal Victories, and after other Captivities, they were carry'd away Captive to Babylon, and were ftill deliver'd and reftor'd by a wonderful and miraculous Providence, and had vaft Numbers of Profelytes in all Parts of the known World, and many Footsteps and Remainders of the true Religion are found in the remotest Parts of the Earth. And when, by the juft Judgment of God upon the Jews, for their Sin, in rejecting the Meffias, they were rejected by Him, from being his People, they were difpers'd throughout the World, for a Teftimony to all Nations that Mofes and the Prophets deliver'd no other thing than what God had reveal'd to them; fince they continue to maintain and affert those very Books which plainly foretel all that Ruin and Deftruction that has befallen them for their Infidelity and Difobedience; and still remain a diftinct Nation, according to an exprefs Prophecy, (Jer. xxxi. 36.) notwithstanding their many Difperfions for fo many Ages. They are a ftanding Evidence, in all Parts of the World, of the Truth of the Chriftian Reli gion, bearing that Curfe which their Fore-fathers fo many Ages ago imprecated upon themfelves and their Pofterity, when they caus'd Chrift to be crucified. And the Gospel has, by its own Power and Evidence, manifested it self to all People difpers'd over the face of the whole Earth. To which might be added, That the Mahometans owning fo much of the Religioni reveal'd both in the Old and New Teftament, afford fome kind of Teftimony to the Truth of it, in those vaft Dominions of which they are poflefs'd. the most remarkable Difpenfations of Providence, in the feveral Changes in the World, have had a parti
cular Influence in the Propagation of the True Religion Cyrus, Alexander the Great, divers of the Roman Emperors, and of latter Times, Tamerlain, and feveral other Princes, were great Favourers of it; and the worft of Men, and the most unlikely Accidents, have contributed towards the Promotion of it.
If it be objected, That notwithstanding all which has been faid, great part of the World are Unbelievers. Let it be confider'd,
That there is no Nation but has great Opportunities of being Converted; and it is evident, from what has been produc'd concerning the Chinese and the Americans themfelves, that the Christian Religion had been preach'd among them; tho' the Knowledge of it was loft, through their own fault, before the late Dif coveries of thofe Parts of the World. And as Chrift came into the World in the fulness of time; fo, in the fulness of time, that is, at the moft fitting Seafon, he reveal'd himself to the feveral Nations of it. God, who is infinitely gracious to all, and knows the Hearts and Difpofitions of all Men, might defer the Refto+ ring his Gospel to the Chinefe, for inftance, till that very time when he faw them beft prepared for it: And it is remarkable, That the Discovery of the Indies happen'd about the time of the Reformation; that those poor People might have the Purity, as well as the Truth of Religion, if Chriftians had been as little wanting to them in their Charity, as God has been in the Difpofals of his Providence. He ftays 'till they have filled up the measure of their iniquities, before he punishes a People: And for the fame Reasons, of Mercy and Goodness, he waits for the most proper Seasons to impart his Reveal'd Will to them; and to have it preach'd to them before, would be only to encrease their Condemnation. And it is not only Juft, but Merciful, for him to with-hold the Knowledge of his Revealed Will from thofe who he forefees would rejec it, and abuse the Opportunities which fhould be
offer'd them, to the Aggravation of their own Guilt and Punishment. Efpecially if it be observed,
2. That as to particular Perfons, we have reafon to believe, that God, who by fo wonderful a Providence has taken care that every Nation under Heaven might have the True Religion preach'd in it, and who has the whole World at his difpofal, and orders all things with great regard to the Salvation of Men; we have abundant cause to think, that he would, by fome of the various Methods of his Providence, or even by Miracle, bring fuch Men to the Knowledge of the Truth, who live according to their prefent Knowledge, with a fincere and honest endeavour to improve it. When St. Peter was by Revelation fent to Corne lius, he made this Inference from it, of a truth I perceive that God is no refpecter of perfons: but in every na tion, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him, A&t. x. 34, 35. From whence, what lefs can we conclude, than that every Man, in any part of the World, who is fincerely good and pious in the Practice of his Duty, fo far as it is known to him, fhall rather, by an exprefs Revelation, have the reft discover'd to him, as in the Inftance of Corne lius, which gave occafion to thefe Words of St. Peter; than he fhall be fuffer'd to perifh, for want of a true Faith, and fufficient Knowledge of his Duty? And it is Juft with God, to punish thofe Heathens who fin without any Revealed Law, for their Sins against Natural Reafon and Confcience, and for neglecting to use and improve their Reason, and to embrace the Opportunities afforded them of becoming Chriftians. We may likewise be certain, that befides Natural Reafon and Confcience, God, in his Goodness, is not wanting to afford fuch Inward Motions and Convi&tions of Mind to fuch of the Heathen as are not wilfully blind and ftupified by their Vices, as may prepare them for the reception of the Gofpel, which, by his Providence, he gives them fo many Opportunities of becoming
becoming acquainted withal: And if once they do difcern the Defects and Faults of their own Religions, which are fo grofly against Natural Reafon and Conscience, they may make enquiry of Chriftians, concerning their Religion, as fome of the Americans did of Cortes's; and the Chriftians (fome of them at least) however negligent they be in propagating it, would never refufe to inftruct them in it. And it must be remembred, that among those who have not received the True Religion, yet many Points are taught and believed which had their Original from Revelation, as is evident, not only of the Mahometans, but of feveral Hea then Nations; which Points are fo many Steps and Preparatives towards the reception of the whole Truth, if they be not wanting to themselves in purfaing them in their immediate Tendency and Confequences.
I fhall not fay, that the Merits of Chrift, and the Salvation of the Gospel, do extend to thofe who die under invincible Ignorance of it, having in the Integrity of their Hearts, lived according to the beft of their Knowledge: I believe rather, that God fuffers no Man fo qualified and difpofed, to remain in invincible Ignorance. But it is fufficient to vindicate God's Juftice and Goodness, that all Nations have had fuch Opportunities of coming to the Knowledge of the Truth; and great Allowances may be made at the Laft Day, for the Ignorance and unhappy Circumstances of particular Men. It was well faid, That when God hath not thought fit to tell us how he will be pleafed to deal with fuch Perfons, it is not fit for us to tell him how he ought to deal with them. But if it be difficult for us now, to think how it will pleafe God to deal with the Heathen; it would be a thousand times more difficult to conceive how the gracious and merciful God could Govern and Judge the World, if all Mankind were in the state of Heathens, without any Divine Revelation.
What will become of the Heathen, as to their Eternal State, is not the Subject of this Difcourfe, nor