CHAP VII. Fifth Conjecture.
THE people that have not yet received the Gospell of Jesus Christ are Jewes, but the A∣mericans have not yet been gospelized; and here three things come to consideration.
- 1. All other nations at first received the Gospell.
- 2. The Jewes before the end of the world shall be converted.
- 3. These Indians have not yet heard of Christ.
1. As the Scripture foreseeing that God would ju∣stifie the Gentiles through faith, preached before the Gospell unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all the Gen∣tiles be blessed, Gal. 3, 8. Gen. 12. 2, 3. 18. 8. In like manner the glorious Gospell was soon conveyed to them, soon after the comming of Christ, even before the death of the Apostles; holy David spake of this promulgation, when he said, Psal. 19. 1. The Heavens, i. e. the Apostles did declare the glory of God, &c. For the fourth, Their line is gone out into all Lands, and their words into the end of the world, is applied by Saint Paul to this very purpose, Rom. 10. 18. It was the command of their Master, Goe teach all Nations, &c. Mat. 28. 19. and preach the Gospell to every creature, Mar. 16. 15. and they gave hereto most willing obe∣dience, which we must have believed, though it had not bin so exactly recorded in undoubted ecclesiasticall Hi∣stories. Page 21 There we read often a that they divided the world into 12 parts, every Apostle accepting that which fell to his lot; but first they compiled the Creed, called therefore 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or Collation, saith Cassian,b who was Chrysostomes Scholar; because that which was at large expressed in the severall volumes of the Bible, was by them briefly contracted into that forme; and to this he applieth that of the Apostle, Rom. 9. 28. a short worke we read it now, but of old it was rendred, verbum abbreviatum a short word, a short rule, to which all of them were to conforme their doctrine, and the fifteenth of Iuly was afterwards, and is still celebrated by c some Christians, in memory of their thus going to Gospellize the world; and it is called Festum divi∣sionis Apostolorum: yea and the place is yet shewed to Travellers at this day, d where they are said to assem∣ble upon this occasion. Very e many ancient writers, historicall and others, f agreeing with Vigilius in this, Authenticum symbolum quod Apostoli tradiderunt; and a little before he blameth some for venting such doctrines, as were neither g delivered by the Prophets, nor had the authentique authority of the Apostles Creed, and yet suppose it dubious whether that Symboll be indeed of Apostolicall constitution; and that they did not so divide the world to further their worke, which is so confidently avouched by the ancient, together with the Countries where each of them had their portion; yet we are sufficiently assured such was their commission, which they pursued with exactnesse and successe; so that in their life time by their diligence the whole earth was enlightned: Thus Saint Paul tell his Romans, 1. 8. Their faith was published through the whole world; the same is said to the Collossians also, 1. 6. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Page 22 is used in neither place, lest curiosity should restraine it to the Roman World, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is the former expression, and the latter is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the whole and every part of the world; and is it not con∣siderable, as the injunction was, preach the Gospell to every creature, as was before remembred from Saint Marke, 16. 5. So Saint Paul avoweth that in his time it was preached to every creature, Col. 1. 23. such was then the use of that word; the name creature was es∣pecially given to man, the chiefe of all creatures be∣low.
And this is unanimously acknowledged by the next writers, Ignatiush thought to be that little child called by Christ Mat. 18. 1. hath this expression 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, There i is one Church which the Apostles set∣led from one end of the earth to another in the bloud of Christ, by their sweat and labour. Tertulliank in the following Century affirmes that the Gospel in those very first times went beyond the Roman Monarchy, even to us Britons; and lEusebius sheweth how the doctrine of salvation by divine power and cooperation, was carried into all the world: and Iulius Firmicus Maturnusm professeth that in his time 1300 yeeres since, there was no Nation under Heaven, East, West, North, or South, unto whom the Sunne of the Gospel had not shined; and not onely in all the Continent, but in every Island saith Greg. Nissene; Thus nBernard also, and others; for when the Jewish fleece was dried up, all the world saith Ieromeo was sprinkled with that heavenly dew.
2. The Jewes before the end of the world shall be converted to Christianity; this truth is to be found in the Old and New Testament, and hath bin the con∣stant Page 23 beliefe of the faithfull in every age. The children of Israell shall remaine many daies without a King, and without a Prince, &c. Hos. 3. 4. yet Ver. 5. afterward they shall convert, and seeke the Lord their God, and David their King, i. e. Christ the Sonne of David the King of his Church, thus Zephan. 3. 8, 9, 10, 11. Zach. 12. 10, 11, &c. and some predictions in that Evange∣licall Prophet Esay. Saint Paul applies to this very pur∣pose, Rom. 11. 26, 27. from Esa. 59. 20. & 27. 9. yea and our common Master Christ telleth us, Ierusalem shall be trodden under foot of the Gentiles, untill the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, Luke 21. 24. So Saint Paul, when the fulnesse of the Gentiles is come in, all Israell shall be saved, Rom. 11. 25. Some by Israell here would understand, Israell according to the spirit, that is, the Elect from all the Nations: but all along the Jewes and Gentiles are spoken of as di∣stinct people according to the flesh, so all Israell shall be saved, that is, p a very great and numerous company, or many from every tribe, as we use to say genera singulorum, not singuli generum, or all the elect of them; for when their heart shall be turned to the Lord, the veile shall be taken away, 2 Cor. 3. 16. Ancient Christians have subscribed to this; In the end of the world saith Ieromeq the Jewes receiving the Gospel, shall be enlightned, thus Augustiner, Gregorys, Bernardt, Primasiusu, this was, this is the com∣mon opinion of Christians.
3. The third consideration hath a twofold branch.
1. The Americans have not, but 2. shall be ac∣quainted with Christianity: and to the first all are not of this mind that the Indians have not heard of the Gos∣pell: for xOsiander speaking of Vilagagno, and his planting there in Brasil, writes confidently, without doubt those people received the Gospel of Christ by the preaching of the Apostles 1500 yeeres since, but they lost it againe by their unthankfulnesse; and Mal∣venday allegeth some conjectures that Christiani∣ty might have been among them, but these are so few, and so forced, that himselfe supposeth them rather sa∣tanicall suggestions, illusions, and imitations, than remembrances indeed of the Gospell.
There be z some records where every one of the Apostles planted the faith of Christ, in what Nations and Kingdomes, but they are all silent touching this part of the world, which indeed was not knowne till of late; yea some a conceive, they had no being at all in former ages, and that there was not so much as land or earth in those places; however questionlesse they be but of late discovery; for though some b will have America to be those Atlantique Islands mentioned by Plato, others that the Phaenicians arived thither more than 2000 yeeres since, and some further improbable conjectures there be, 'tis concluded neverthelesse by many judicious and observant men, that it was never Page 25 heard of in this world, till cChristopher Columbus of Genoa brought newes thereof about 1590. when then, or by whom should they be made Christians? is it cre∣dible there should be no records thereof in the Annalls of any Nation? Could so great a part of the world be∣come Christians, without any whispering thereof to any other; is it likely that all Gospel impressions should be utterly obliterate among them? all the light thereof quite extinguished? and not so much as the least glimpse thereof remaine? as is also acknowledged by him d that hath written and observed so much of these nations.
2. Seeing they were never yet enlightned, without question they shall be, for the Gospell of the Kingdome must be preached every where for a witnesse to all Nations, Mat. 24. 14. Surely so large a part of the world shall not alwaies be forgotten: Is it imaginable that the God of mercy, who is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a lover of soules, Wisd. 11. 23. should suffer so great a portion of mankind everto re∣maine in darknesse, and in the shadow of death? Is it credible or fit to be believed, that the wisdome of the Father who taketh his solace in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delight is to be with the children of men, Prov. 8. 31. should have no compassion of such an in∣numerable multitude of soules? The earth was inha∣bited e by degrees, from the place where Noahs Ark rested they went as the Sunne, from the East, and so planted themselves forward; and the progresse of the Gospell saith fEusebius, was in the same manner, and for this there is more than allusion in Psal. 19. 5. compared with Rom. 10. 18. That Westerne part of the world was last inhabited, and it shall heare of Christ also in due time, as certainely as there be people to re∣ceive Page 26 him, for he shall be salvation〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉to the last end of the earth, Act. 13. 47. And the Americans have a tradition among themselves, g that white and bearded Nations shall subdue their Countries, abolish all their rites and ceremonies, and introduce a new re∣ligion.