"better contrivances for assisting one another through the whole earth by more expedite, easy, and safe communication between distant regions than now. The invention of the mariner’s compass is a thing discovered by God to the world to that end. And how exceedingly has that one thing enlarged and facilitated communication. And who can doubt but that yet God will make it more perfect, so that there need not be such a tedious voyage in order to hear from the other hemisphere? And so the country about the poles need no longer be hid to us, but the whole earth may be as one community, one body in Christ".
This has not quite come to pass yet, but the word wide web is a wonderful example of of an "expedite, easy and safe communication between distant regions". Even on my little, blog I have frequent visitors from all round the world. Last week I received an e-mail from a pastor in the Philippines. Like me, he serves two churches. He had read an article of mine on justification by faith in the Protestant Truth magazine. Questions about the role of Christ's active obedience in justification had recently been raised in his churches. The pastor asked me to elaborate a little on what I had said in the article and to respond to some of his people's concerns. We exchanged several e-mails and I suggested that he try and get hold of John Murray's Redemption Accomplished and Applied. The thought crossed my mind that a well known Reformed publisher has a Book Fund. They send out parcels of free books to pastors whose libraries could do with a boost. I e-mailed the publisher who said that they would be willing to help my friend. A package, including Murray's Redemption has been made up and is on its way to him right now. The pastor e-mailed me this morning to say that he was looking forward to receiving the books. He asked for prayer for a conference that he will be organising in his area on the subject of the imputation of Christ's righteousness. Isn't that amazing? I the providence of God, the Internet has enabled a Wiltshire pastor and a UK-based publisher to have meaningful fellowship with a preacher from the Philippines.