Full Title: Two Discourses, I. On the Commencement of a New Year; II. On the Completion of The Eighteenth Century; Delivered in New Haven: The former, January 4th, The latter, January 11th, 1801. By James Dana. New Haven : Printed by William W. Morse, 1801.
ON THE COMPETION OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
ECCLESIASTES, I. 4.
One generation passeth awary, and another generation cometh: But the earth abideth for ever.
WE have taken a concise view of the vicissitudes of thw world, and vanity of human pursuits. We have discoursed on the faithfulness of God as a foundation of trust, while terrestrial expectations are vain.
As further exemplification of the general subject, the commencement of a new CENTURY leads to a rehearsal of some distinguished events of the last. With this rehearsal a few seasonable reflections will be interspersed, and other subjoined as the conclusion of the discourse.
INTRODUCTORY to my design, it may not be amiss to remark, that the progress of science favored the cause of the reformation, which commenced under Luther 1517. Later improvements have been as the shining light, which shineth more and more. Whatever modifications the Romish faith has undergone in modern times; however the cruelty, impiety and profigacy of Rome may have faded, from well known causes, her religion is substantially the same as in the darkest ages. The reformers, warned of God, renounced her communion, at a time when the pontiff was in all his glory. The powers who agreed to lay their honor and wealth at his feet, have agreed to hate him, and strip him of his dominions. The nation, whose monarch first recognized him as a temporal prince, and placed the triple crown upon his head, with the cession of three kingdoms, is now the most forward instrument in his desolation. He has been invested in Rome itself, sent into banishment, and the city delivered to spoil.
Had the principles of the reformation and of liberty been understood, either in the old or new world, through the greater part of the 17th century, its history would not have been stained with perfection for the exercise of the unalienable right of private judgment; or with judiciary trials and decisions in violation of the principles of evidence. Our ancestors, persecuted in their native country, sought a path through the sea, to a land that was not sown, that they might freely worship God according to their own conscience. The spirit of popery was retained for a consderable time after its other errors were abjured. As good men may not know what spirit they are of, we do not pretend but our ancestors retained a portion of the error and bigory, which, at that day, adhered to all protestant communions. any instances of exterminating zeal in them, which were not according to knowledge, were no other than dishonored the English church, which has been considered as the bulwark of reformation. . . .