The New Zealand Evangelist
Prospects of Evangelism on the Continent
Prospects of Evangelism on the Continent.
The French Revolution flashed forth with all the suddenness of a gleam of lightening, the report of it fell upon the ear of Europe like a clap of thunder, and the spirit of revolution spread as if conveyed by eletric telegraphs. The danger is that reforms so sudden may not be permanent; what comes forth in a day may perish in a night; the frosts of selfishness may nip the fair blossoms of opening liberty; the friends of freedom should rejoice with trembling. Nations may however be born in a day, both politically and spiritually, and never so often as at present were great and unexpected openings made for the gospel. The wall of China fell down as suddenly as those of Jericho, and the third part of the globe was at once open to the messengers of the cross. The continent of Europe is opening up with amazing rapidity, and to an unprecedented extent. From the Black Forest to the Baltic Sea, the German people are calling with a voice that brooks no denial for “Representative Government, Freedom of the Press, and Religious Toleration.”
In Italy the same spirit is awakened. Although, according to the newly published Constitution of Naples, the religion established in the state is the Roman Catholic, and “no other religion is to be tolerated therein;” yet in the Sardinian Constitution, while the Roman Catholic is recognized as the only established religion, all other religions are to be "tolerated according to the laws.” although the laws stand much in need of improvement; and in Tuscany the new constitution is more liberal still; the Roman Catholic is to be the only established religion, but “all other modes of worship at present existing, are tolerated according to the laws,” “All Tuscans, whetever be the religion they profess, are equal in the eye of the laws, and are all equally eligible to the employments of the state, civil and military.”
In France the different Evangelical Societies are in active operation and whole villages in some instances are becoming protestant. In Belgium, the most popish country on the Contiment, Italy excepted, the prospects of the Evangelical Society have been particlarly encouraging for the last two years. While there is much to cause anxiety, and much to depress there is much to cheer and animate. The fields are fast becoming white for the harvest, What calls and encouragement for prayer that God may arise and reign; that events may be over-ruled, and agents raised up and qualified to direct these movements for great and permanent good!