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"God from idols, to serve the living and the true "God;" (p. 27-1. 33;) whose pious, holy, and useful lives rendered them as "lights" among their heathen neighbours. And, not to be prolix, the sacred leaven of the Christian doctrine, diffused its influence so rapidly among the nations, notwithstanding fierce and bloody persecution, that Christians abounded in all parts of the Roman empire: they soon were found in all their cities, and even in their courts and camps; millions were doubtless thus converted to ' the true 'worship' and a. holy life; and at length, in about 300 years, Christianity became the established religion of all the nations which had formed the idolatrous Roman empire: and it so continues in most parts even to this day; besides its extension far beyond the utmost boundaries of that empire, to the east, and west, and north, and south.
There always, indeed, have been far more nominal Christians than real ones; as well as far more Jews and Israelites, than genuine children and imitators of Abraham and Israel: but who can deny that, after every reasonable reduction has been made, immense multitudes have become in all successive generations, the spiritual worshippers and servants of God, " they and their children with "them?" Will even a Jew deny, that everlasting salvation was the consequence of this conversion from idolatry and wickedness, to God and holiness? If he do, let him state the grounds on which he denies it. And is the everlasting salvation of millions ' of no use?' Is the introduction of so many hundreds of thousands, nay, millions, of families, into the company of the true worshippers of God, which in many cases ensures "the oracles of God" and the means of grace to succeeding generations, ' of' no use ?'—Even among those who we fear are only nominal Christians, Christianity has in every way produced most salutary and important effects. It has fixed the standard and tone of morals far higher, than it ever was in the Pagan nations of old, or than it is among modern idolaters. It has terminated gladiatorial shews, the allowed and sanctioned murder of infants, and various other murders, such as those of slaves, females, and old persons; with many more cruel and detestable practices and customs: or it has driven them, like wild beasts, into deserts and secret lurking places. Christianity has mitigated the horrors even of war: it is undermining slavery and mitigating its horrors. Christianity alone has built hospitals^ and provided asylums for the aged and destitute. We might easily enlarge, but a hint must here suffice.— Mr. C. allows, that the Jews receive better treatment in this country than in others: but he is not perhaps aware, that this is the effect of the superior knowledge of Christian principles and duties, which prevails in this favoured land, more than in most others in the world. Were these still more fully understood and practised, the Jews would meet with proportionably a more candid, equitable, and benevolent treatment, from the inhabitants in general; not affected, or as deeming their religious difference from us of subordinate consequence; but as springing from our principles and heart, and as the means of conciliating themto our holy and loving religion. Ere long, I trust, the Jews will more effectually know the use of the coming of Jesus, and of his having been "preached to the gentiles," by means of such institutions as 'the London Society,' and by the blessing of God, on our endeavours to communicate our holy religion to Israel, and being instrumental to their expected conversion and restoration. In short all the true religion, which has been for successive ages in the whole world, or which exists at this day on earth, and we trust will soon diffuse its sacred influence among all nations, is the effect of the coming of Christ. If the Jews plead that their nation, or part of it, is at least an exception; without examining the validity of the plea, it must be allowed to be a solitary exception, and comprises a very small portion indeed of the whole human species.
But the meaning of Mr. C.'s question and objection is evident: he judges nothing of use, so long as his own nation is excluded from the desired dominion over other nations. In every other view, the advantages of Christianity to mankind, even as to morals and temporal good, have been incalculable: and millions, yea, probably hundreds of millions, have through it obtained " salvation with "eternal glory." Surely, then, Mr. C.'s objection is satisfactorily answered.
P. 29. 1. 19. 'A man arose by the name of Mo- 'hammed.' Leaving the discussion of several things advanced on this topic till afterwards, I will here take occasion to consider a subject of the highest importance in the controversy; namely,
VOL. IX. Q
THE TRIUMPHS OF JESUS AS COMPARED, AND
I am not competent to decide whether 'Mo'hammed has now many more followers than 'Christ.' (p. 29. 1. 21.) Mohammed has comparatively but few followers in Europe, probably none in America. We know very little of the interior of Africa ; but it is probable that that continent has far more Mohammedan than Christian inhabitants. China, Japan, and many of the northern parts of Asia, contain few either Christians or Mohammedans. But, however that may be, the followers of Mohammed are doubtless very numerous; and the success of that impostor has been exceedingly extensive and permanent. But three things should be considered, in comparing his success with that of Jesus. 1. The state of those regions in which the success of each was at first obtained: 2. The nature of the religion which each propagated: and 3. The means by which the triumphs of each were acquired.
1. The state of those regions in which the success of each was at the first obtained.
When our Lord entered on his ministry in Judea and Galilee, the inhabitants though hypocritical, or immoral, to a very great degree, were not illiterate or uncivilized. Most of them could read, and were acquainted with the Old Testament, and there were many learned scribes among them. They were also extremely attached to the forms of religion, and to " the traditions of the elders," on the knowledge of which they highly valued themselves.
The gentiles also, among whom the most signal and illustrious triumphs of Christianity were obtained, constituted in many respects the most civilized and learned part of the world, as known at that time: and the gospel began its course, when learning had but little declined from its highest celebrity, immediately after the Augustan age. The Greeks and Romans, who called the rest of the world barbarians, were the very people among whom the gospel obtained a vast proportion of its success, both at first and in subsequent ages. In the Roman colonies, and in the Grecian cities, in Egypt and the northern coast of Africa, in Syria, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece, and even Rome itself; the first Christian churches, out of Judea, were planted. In the heart of those renowned countries, not only addicted in a most haughty manner to their own customs and superstitions, and despising others, especially the Jews; but also comprising almost all the learning which was then known in the world; Christianity, preached by converted Jews, acquired such a firm establishment, as to undermine both pagan idolatry and pagan philosophy, and erect her throne on their ruins? and the effects continue to this day. This was accomplished, amidst the persecuting rage and cruelty of the Roman emperors and other princes; and amidst the scorn and vain reasoning of the philosophers, of every sect and name!
No doubt Christianity triumphed also, in uncivilized and illiterate regions; and at an early period it was established in Britain, then the abode of rude and almost naked savages. But a veil seems purposely to have been cast over the history