The Christian Foundations of Australia

Wrote the Protestant Tasman in his diary before leaving his old Holland for 'New Holland' alias Australia: "May God Almighty vouchsafe His blessing on this work!" Later, after departing from off the coast of Tasmania, he further wrote: "God be praised and thanked for His happy voyage!"5

About a century later, the great American Puritan Rev. Professor Dr. Jonathan Edwards (Sr.) — later to become the Founder and first President of Princeton University — had already waxed lyrical about Britain, Ireland and the great Southern Continent of Australasia. Fascinating indeed are his many predictions concerning what he himself called "Hollandia Nova Incognita" (or 'Unknown New Holland' alias Australia) and "Terra Australis" (or what we now call Australasia). Uncanny too are his predictions about the year A.D. 2000. For in his Apocalyptic Writings, the A.D. 1703-58 Jonathan Edwards proclaimed:6 "There are three Continents of the Earth: the Old Continent [alias the land-mass of Europe-Africa-Asia], America [North-Central-South], and Terra Australis [or Australasia]…. The Mediterranean Sea…opens the way from Canaan…straight to Terra Australis the Third Continent" — which is also located "to the West side of America through…the great South Sea into Terra Australis by the Indian Ocean….

"What advantage has it been to America, that the Mediterranean Sea opens from them to us; or what advantage has Hollandia Nova [alias Australia] or Terra Australis Incognita [or unknown Australasia], from the Indian Ocean's reaching from them even to this land? Wherefore, we do believe that the most glorious part of the Church will

                                               

5 Ib., pp. 29 & 34. 6 J. Edwards: Apocalyptic Writings, ed. Stein, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1977, pp. 133-35, 143 & 411. See too F.D. White's M.Th. dissertation The Reformation Roots and Edwardsean Fruits of the Missiology of Jonathan Edwards' Interleaved Bible, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 59f.

THE CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS OF AUSTRALIA

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hereafter be there, at the centre of the Kingdom of Christ, communicating influences to all other parts….

"There are these remarkable periods of time: when Abraham was called, in the year of the World 2000; Solomon's glorious Kingdom settled, and temple finished, in the year of the world 3000; Christ born, in the year 4000; and the Millennium to begin, in the year 6000." By the latter, Dr. Edwards meant: 2000 A.D. That means this year — the year of the Third Millennium!

Very significant is Edwards's understanding of "Isaiah 42:4" — in which God predicted, around B.C. 740, that "the isles shall wait for His Law. This and such prophecies of the gospelizing of islands [cf. too Genesis 9:27 and 10:2-5]" — explains Edwards — "I believe to have a threefold accomplishment, to each of which the prophecies had an eye.

"By 'isles' is meant…particularly Europe…. The conversion of that, is principally aimed at in these prophecies…. Then they have a glorious accomplishment in the gospelizing the isles of Britain and Ireland, and making of them so glorious a part of the Church [cf. Isaiah 49:1-6 & 49:12]….

"But by these glorious times they speak of, is intended also the times of the Church's triumph at the Millennium — and the times immediately foregoing, wherein these prophecies will be much the most notably accomplished. And what is peculiarly glorious…is the gospelizing the new and before unknown world — that which is so remote, so unknown, where the devil had reigned quietly from the beginning of the World, which is larger — taking in America, Terra Australis Incognita [or unknown Australasia], Hollandia Nova [alias Australia], and all those yet undiscovered tracts of land….

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