Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

others are said to worship a sheep-skin; yet there are some who pretend to some kind of Christianity, which no doubt must be that of a miserable fort. South to the nations of the Oftiacks, is that of the Burates; but are said to be totally ignorant of letters and religion, or civil policy; the most easterly nation on that fide, is that of Kamschatkees, they have some notion that they descended from a being which they call Kouthan, but pay no kind of worfhip to him ; and in knowledge and manners resemble the nations already described. Such then is the state of a region of some thousand leagues extent, on the northeast of the old Roman empire; and here we may fuppose the prince of darkness reigns in triumph. Here the strong man armed, keeps poffefiion in his wretched abode.

6. Then on the southern fide of the empire broke out the Arabian impostor, and carried blood and Naughter, ruin and lefolation to all that "pposed him, compelli g all to submit to the dogmas contained in his Koran, vilely pretended to be delivered to him by an an angel from Heaven. Here again the small remains of Christianity were swept away. Thus where Christ had been preached, he was forgit; and where they pretended to keep up the name of christianity, it chiefly consisted of a few trilling ceremonies; and fo ignorant were the clergy that the bishops could not write their own name, but in signing any thing set their mark to it, as several poor ignorant country people do now; so that there is a dreadful chasm from the end of the fifth century, until the happy reformation broke out; all christendom seemed wrapped up in profound darkness; it being the prevailing opinion that ignorance was the mother of devotion, that is, it answered the end

of

1

[ocr errors]

of the designing priests to have people wholly dependant upon them, so that they might have a better opportunity to feece the filly sheep, and also lord it over their consciences.

7. But here Satan overshot himself; fur the unholy lives of many of those wretched ecclefiaftical hirelings, was a means of opening the eyes of numbers, and led them. to examine the nature of things for themselves, and they discovered how wretchedly they were imposed upon; but this

gave the alarm, and they were foon made to feel the vengeance of the incensed priests; for they perfecuted them without mercy, with all the

rage

of men who feared their wealth and honour were at stake. But to return. If we consider the vast regions of Perfia, China, and the immense tract which goes under the name of the East-Indies, all professed idolaters ; and if we may credit report, some of a very cruel, stupid and irrational kind, I say, if we have any knowledge of the state of things there, we fee how the grand Abaddon triumphs in the deplorable fituation of mankind.

8. If we turn sound to Africa, we see the case very little better. As for the interior parts, they are as yet unknown; or but little known ; and perhaps they may be the haunts of wild beasts, and few of the human race can dwell there. But if there be any confiderable number of the human species, we may judge their state extremely favage, or we should have heard of them ; we may therefore judge they are indeed in a deplorable state of ignorance and barbarity, and strangers to every thing which

is

is civil or sacred, and therefore in darkness, and the regi. on of the shadow of death.

As for the kingdoms which lie upon the coast, though several of them pretend the mahometan religion, yet in fact are a cruel banditti of plunderers, who are constantly infesting the seas, and robbing and carrying into a dreadfol captivity all they can meet with and conquor; and further west on that continent, is. Negreland and Guinea, we may form a little notion of their state, by the numbers who are sold every year to the American plantations ; one can scarcely tell whether they have any idea of religion at all, and I fear the numbers which are constantiy dragged into captivity, by those called chriltians, have not mended the matter, but rather given them a prejudice to the name of christianity itfelf. As for those who inhabit near the Cape of Good-Hope, commonly called Hottentots, it is thought they have not the least idea of any kind of religion, and what is still amazing, though the Dutch live near them, they ftill retain their original dirty, nasty, lazy way of living, and are no more humanized than they were.

As for the islands which lie on the south of Africa, their ftate in civil and religious matters, is pretty much like the places already mentioned, and though by reason of trade and commerce, those called chrisians are mingled among them; yet as trade and money-getting are the ci jef objects, the state of religion is rather injured than helped by them. Indeed thai is too general a cale in moít places where those called christianis come; and I doubt ii is not peculiar to any one nation, or denomination alone; we blame the Spaniards for thcir cruelties in Mex.

ico

ico and Peru; we blame the Dutch for their practices in the Eait-Indies, and other places, where they had power; and I fear the accusations are too juft; but are the English clear in this matter ? By no means. I fear the blood of the flain, both in the East and the Weft-Indies, cries out for vengeance. I fear the great day will exhi. bit a moft dreadful scene of violence and oppression, murder and bloodshed, committed by the wretched christians, who have got the upper hand in those remote parts, and that it may be said of many of the great ones in our land, Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that frall come upon you, your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.

Your gold and filver is cankered, and the ruft of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your fiefie as with fire. *

9. Very probable the prejudices will remain untill kind Providence sends some among them who are christians indeed ; by which means, they shall fee a happy difference; they will see that such come among thém not to kill and to defroy, but that they may have eternal life. Hail happy day! may the dawn thereof soon appear.

But to return from this digression. If we turn our eyes to the vast continent of America, we find no knowledge of God, or rrue religion among the natives; and some appear destitute of any sort of religion. Their Pawaws, or pretended priets, or conjurers, tell them something of a good being whom they call Kitchton, who is the author of all good, and of another whom they call Hobba.n.ccho, whom they suppose to be the author of all evil;

P

the

* Jam, v. 1, 2

[ocr errors]

the former they pay but little attention to, because he cannot or will not do them any harm; but the latter, to wit, Hobbamocho, they endeavour to appease by facrifices and prayers, and the like. It is said they pay some kind of adoration to fire, water, thunder, lightening, or in short, any thing which they think can in any wise hurt them. This, as far as I can learn, is the chief of their theology. In the mean time they are a cruel, pilfering race; often torturing and burning their captives, and, if we may credit what is said, often devouring them. Often killing their own parents, because they are helpless, and the women murdering their children, because they will follow their husbands, if husbands they may be called, who take the women as wives and abandon them at pleafure ; and when any do so, the occasional wife it may

be destroys all the children, she had by her paramour in revenge to him. All this is certainly a melancholy history, and is there not tco much of it nearer home ? nay, even in our own country? What kind of profanity is not practiced amongst us? What kind of lewdness are we free from?

10. We have light, that is, the gospel is clearly preached; but who hath believed the report? Or who are truly acquainted with the joyful found ? Few, very few, so that even among us, straight is the gate and narrow is the way

which leadeth to life, ard few there be which are going therein; even our nation abounds with baptized infidels. Thus whether we look abroad or at home, we fee darkness hath covered the earth and gross darkness the people who dwell therein.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »