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THANKS be to God! we, the sons and daughters of Columbia, have hitherto been in a good degree preserved from these calamities ! yet, we have reason to fear, and it evidently appears, that the same spirit of antichrist, which persecuted the primitive christians,reigneth too much among us. It creepeth into religious societies, maketh divisions, and disturbeth the peace thereof; and therefore ought to be suppressed by every true follower of CHRIST. The same spirit that hanged the Friends (called Quakers) in New England, would now hang a Universal ist, if the civil authority did not prevent it.
But, blessed be God! we have reason to believe, that this “ Man of sin" will be destroyed. The time is fast approaching when the kingdom of CHRIST shall cover the whole earth as the waters cover the seas. " For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD."). Hab. ii. 14. 6 As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD." Numb. xiv. 21. - For from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles ; and in every place incense shall be offer.. ed unto my name, and a pure offering ; for my name shall be great among the Heathen, saith the LORD of Hosts.” Mal. i. 11. " They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more." Jer. xxxi. 34.
These passages, with many others that might be mentioned, sufficiently prove that the knowledge of God shall be universal, and as this time has never been since the creation of man (or at least since the fall) we have abundant reason to believe that it yet remains to be fulfilled. And a glorious and blessed time it will.be : When all shall be harmony and love : No contention, no contradiction in the public instructions :: “ Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice ; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord. shall bring again Zion.” Isa. lii. 8.
My youth and inexperience forbid my making any attempt to confute any false ideas about religion ;, yet I am determined to hold up the light of the gospel in as plain terms as I possibly can, according to my understanding and the best of my abilities; and proclaim the glad new's of salvation in and thro’ JESUS CHRIST,as it becometh all those who follow him and love his appearing. “For there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved," but in and through the name of JE. sus CHRIST, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Acts iv. 12. 1 Tim. ii. 6.
I say therefore, with the Apostle, “ I am determined not to be ashamed of the gospel of CHRIST.; for it is the power of God unto salva. tion, to every one that believeth.” Rom. i.16.
CHRIST commanded his disciples to 6 Preachi the gospel to every creature." Mark xvi. 15.. Instead of which, do not many go about at this day, preaching their own sentiments about the gospel, while they neglect the gospel itself? The gospel knows of no sentiment but one, which is, “ Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Cor. ii. 2. “ Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus CHRISTI Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubi ble : Every man's work shall be made mani. fest : for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire ; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereup. on, he shall receive a reward ; if any man's work shall be burnt he shall suffer loss; but he hinself shall be saved ; yet so as by fire." I Cor. iii. 11-15. Now to build upon the foundation of CHRIST, is, not only to hear his word, and to attend to the outward ordinances and ex: ternals of religion ; but to do his work, that is, to have religion internally, and from the heart, to yield obedience to all the commandments of CHRIST, and imitate him in all his imitable perfections. .
Christ, at the conclusion of his sermon on the mount, saith, “ Whoever heareth these sayings of mine, and cloeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand." Mat. vii. 24, 26. The house, which was built upon the rock (or CHRIS1) stood all the tempests of the storm ; while the one, which was built upon the sand (or the vanities of this. world) fell, and Great was the fall of it.” Thus we may see the importance of building our faith upon a good foundation ; and the folly of eontending about the form of religion, whilst we neglect the power. The foolish virgins had lamps as well as the wise, but being destitute of oil (or grace in their hearts) their lamps (or outward forms of religion), could do them no good.
It cannot be expected, at this day, while so much darkness, superstition and tradition pre. vail in the land, that all will be brought to think exactly alike, in regard to matters of religion ; yet I cannot see why we may not have the freedom, to enjoy our own opinions, and worship. God according to the dictates of our own con. sciences, with a free volition to believe the scrip. tures, according as we may understand them, from time to time,and also to alter our opinions, whenever light makes it manifest to our understandings, that we have embraced an error, respecting things past, present,or to come. I would not be understood, that by this freedom, any one ought to be allowed, under a notion of re. ligion, to disturb the peace of society, violate the laws of the land, or in any way molest anoth. er, in his person or property ; for, “ A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things." Mat. xii. 35. And if a man's conduct is evil, we have a right to believe, that his heart is so too; for,.“ The tree is known by its fruit ;') and, " Out of the
abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh."" ... VARIOUS have been the ideas, in regard !
to a future state ; some have denied its existence; and have supposed that the soul is be... gotten or created with the body, and as the box dy increases in strength, the powers and facul, ties of the soul, or those intellectual faculties, are similar, until they come to maturity ; then, as the body grows weak and feeble, the intel. lectual faculties decline, until both go to disso. lution together, the one to corruption, and the other to annihilation : But this i lea is not very prevalent. The greater part of mankind believe in a future state of existence, and a state of rewards and punishments. This appears to be a general idea, even among the Heathens, or those who have nothing but the dim light of nature (as some term it, but rather the secret whisperings of the Spirit of Truth), to direct them.. - But notwithstanding this being a general idea, that the righteous shall be rewarded,or sa-. ved, and the wicked punished, or condemned; yet alas ! how many different opinions there are respecting the glorious plan of salvation, and the extensibility and duration of the sufferings of the wicked ;. even among those who live under the light of the gospel, and profess to be christians. Yet they all profess to believe the scriptures, and will appeal to CHRIST, as the only foundation and chief corner stone, on which they place all their hopes of salvation.
I MIGHT here go.on to speak more particular. larly of some of the different sentiments and de