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off from God, perishing for lack of knowledge, and bound down by the great enemy of souls, in a state of spiritual misery. Wherever he turns his eyes, in foreign lands, * he finds the word of truth awfully verified : “ darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.” While he feels deeply interested for the state of the world, he is naturally led to enquire whether it has always been thus ? Here a wide field opens before him, and a painful answer meets his question; for alas ! many of the nations now in the region of the shadow of death, once saw a great light, and were once blessed with the knowledge of the true God; but not continuing to
* North America is of course excepted. In that country the Lord is doing great things, " whereof we are glad.”
regard the things belonging to their peace, a long-suffering God thought proper to leave them to the bitter consequences of their apostacy, while he was graciously pleased to shed upon other countries the beams of that gracious system, which has for its object, the present and eternal welfare of Adam's fallen race.
In pursuing our enquiries as to the former spiritual condition of different parts of the world, we are not left to derive our information from the uncertain details of tradition, or the proud conjectures of man; for it is our happiness to possess the infallible
of divine history, and the faithful records of holy and devoted servants of the Lord. From these unquestionable sources we learn, that some of the countries at this time presenting the
most deplorable pictures of spiritual blindness, were ages back the places where religion reigned, and the cause of God triumphed.
Asia, Africa, and Europe, have all witnessed great things. In Asia God planted the garden of Eden, and created our first parents. In that country he first made known his righteous will, and gave to his people the peaceful Canaan. Asia was the birth-place of the prophets, and the scene of their labours. There dwelt a righteous Lot, a faithful Abraham, an afflicted Job, and a wise Solomon. It was there God wrought mighty wonders, effected great deliverances, and manifested unbounded goodness. It was in fact the country which experienced the highest gifts of mercy, and beheld the noblest displays of love. Asia was the land
privileged to witness the appearance of our adorable Redeemer, and to hear him promulgate the blessed scheme of salvation. It was there also the Apostles, though men of no repute in the world, contended with the learned, set at nought the power of the strong, and triumphed over the mighty; and it was there the rich truths of the gospel were proclaimed, and where thousands were brought to acknowledge their practical efficacy, and rejoice in their saving power.
It was in Asia the Christian churches were planted, and where numbers of all ranks and orders of men were associated together in holy fellowship, and where a glorious army of martyrs sealed their faith with their blood.
In Africa lived for many years the lovely Joseph, who instructed the
Egyptians in the ways of God. There dwelt the children of Israel serving the only wise, and true God, and there the meek man Moses preached righteousness before Pharaoh and his hosts. Besides which, Africa was blessed with a more sure word of prophecy, for there the Apostles preached Christ crucified, and were instrumental in converting many souls unto the Lord, who rejoiced to be counted worthy to suffer for his sake.
The glorious gospel not only flourished in Asia, and Africa, but it spread over a large part of Europe, and it was there preached with great power. Thousands of souls became converted unto Jesus; and at Rome, the mistress of the world, the truth greatly prevailed.
These few particulars show us, that