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goodness of God to the sinner. A moment's attention will show us how unfounded in reason it is. Suppose, reader, you had an earthly friend, who is particularly anxious for your welfare, and who embraces every opportunity to do you all the good in his power,-what would you think, should any one attempt to persuade you, that a knowledge of your friend's disposition and good wishes, would tend to alienate your affec tions from him? Would you not think, and think rightly too, that he knows but little of human nature, and the tendency of human actions? Does not every days experience and observation teach us that we love, and cannot but love, those, whom we believe to be our friends, and interested in our welfare. How certain it is, then, that if the Deity were rep. resented as our friend and delighting to do us good, we should cease to be opposed to him, and to his moral government! His friendship for us, so far from estranging our affections from him, would beget in us a similar disposition, and we should endeavor, on all occasions, to do that which is well pleasing in his sight. We certainly speak, when we say this, what every candid, intelligent man, will readily admit as truth.
"There is no possibility of being likeminded with Christ, in any thing that he taught, or having the truth of one Christian virtue, but by the nature and Spirit of Christ, become essentially living in us. Read all our Saviour's divine sermon on the mount, consent to the goodness of every part of it, yet the time of practising it will never come, till you have a new nature from Christ, and are as vitally in him, and he in you, as the vine in the branch, and the branch in the vine. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, is a divine truth, but will do us no divine good, unless we receive it, as saying neither more nor less than, Blessed are they that are born again of the Spirit, for they alone can see God. For no blessedness, either of truth or life, can be found either in men or angels, but where the Spirit and life of God is essentially born within them, And all men or churches, not placing all in the life, light, and guidance of the holy Spirit of Christ, but pretending to act in the name, and for the glory of God, from opinions which their logic and learning have collected from scripture words, or from what a Calvin, an Arminius, a Socinus, or some smaller name, has told them to be right or wrong; all such are but where the Apostles were, when by the way there was a strife amongst them, who should be the greatest. And how much soever they may say, and boast of their great zeal for truth, and the only glory of God, yet their own open, notorious behaviour towards one another, is proof enough, that the greatest strife amongst them is, which shall be the greatest sect, or have the largest number of followers. A strife from the same root, and just as useful to christianity, as that of the Apostles, who should be greatest. For not numbers of men, or of kingdoms professing christianity, but numbers redeemed from the death of Adam to the life of Christ, are the glory of the christian church."
True and False Teachers.
"By their fruits ye shall know them."
THESE words were spoken by the Son of God in that excellent and comprehensive sermon recorded by Matthew. Jesus had been warning his disciples to beware of false prophets, or false teachers of his doctrine and holy religion, and gave this as a test by which they should be known-Ye shall know them by their fruits"-by their conduct and conversation; by an observance of his laws. The Saviour then asked, "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them." This test and unerring rule, will assist us in the examination of systems of divinity, as well as the deportment and conduct of their respective advocates. If their doctrine is false we shall find nothing but thorns and thistles-mystery, perplexity and darkness. It surely then. becomes every man and every woman to know for certainty whether their opinions are grounded in reality on divine truth. Because men think they are correct in their sentiments it by no means follows that they are so. Perhaps there is no subject on which men pay so little attention as the doctrines of the Son of God. Is it an uncommon thing to see and hear people at the present day when a religious doctrine or error is opposed, come forward with these wordsJudge not that ye be not judged"-as though Christ meant to forbid investigation and enquiry by this text. Such individuals forget the example of Jesus and the Apostles; they
were constantly reproving and correcting the errors of the people. We find the Saviour addressing men in the most severe and direct manner, calling them hypocrites, serpents, and deceivers; and the Apostles done the same; and we need such preachers. Human nature has not changed; men are as fond of error now as they were in the days when Messiah was on earth. Shall we therefore refuse all inquiry, disputation and controversy, because men are now divided into sects -and all claim to be right? This would be virtually saying there is no difference between truth and error.
It is an undeniable fact that too many men of sound minds, good taste, and correct morals, refuse to examine the Gospel for themselves, as though none but ministers were capable of understanding its wholesome and saving truth. This is a common and astonishing error. Men do not act thus on other subjects. Because some are thus willing to leave all their duties to their ministers, they seem to have no minds of their own, but are in search of something imaginary. This indifference among men to search after the truth, has led some ministers to enter the pulpit, and with all due sanctity and arrogance, pronounce their hearers to be totally depraved!
There are others who are some what zealous in spreading their sentiments, and do not scruple about publishing and sending their opinions in the form of tracts, among their neighbors, who are obliged to be thus continually insulted and imposed upon. If any object against this measure and refuse to accept these tracts, the poisoned tongue of slander is immediately set on foot and the individual is regarded and spoken of as a reviler of God's word and exposed to eternal damnation. These men, who are thus obtruding themselves upon the good sense and forbearance of their neighbors, will not accept or read any thing which may be offered to them in return for their kindness; more especially if the offering is in any manner opposed to their orthodox tricks and deception. These people really seem to think they are doing God's service-and will not be persuaded to the contrary. They are deluded and led on by others who remain in the back ground to watch the movements and success of their runners. Other cases of the gross impositions of Orthodoxy will be offered in their proper place. In writing and selecting the contents of this volume I have made it my aim to present to the public the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; of which, however, I leave the world to decide. I am not carrying on a controversy with an individual-but opposing the iron yoke of Orthodoxy and its kindred allies. I am opposing spiritual tyrranny and wickedness in high places. If any
who may read this book, find their sensibilities wounded, it will not be done through malice, and must not be laid to my charge, but attributed to the monstrous dogmas I oppose.
I feel grateful to our common Father that I am at liberty to freely speak and publish my sentiments, and expose and oppose, the unwarranted and unaccountable arrogance of my opponents. And it is a source of devout thankfulness that I see around me gentlemen of profound science and wisdom, who are heart and hand agreed in throwing off the mask from - Orthodoxy and presenting its hideous and deadly form naked to the world. Unitarians are not alone in this work. I am happy in owning and acknowledging the great and efficient aid of our Universalist brethren, though I cannot agree with them in all things; especially in confining all punishment to this life; and my reasons for this difference will be found in another place.
It is, I presume, well known to the enlightened and inquiring part of community, that the Calvinists and Orthodox, as a part of society is called, have for many years been numerous; and it is equally well known that some of the leaders in this party have desired the entire control and sway over the country, and have for this purpose adopted and put in operation, a grand system of Exclusion against all who will not acknowledge their power, and refuse to bow down to the idols which they have endeavored to establish and confirm, under the name of doctrines taught in the Bible. Their success has been so great that some appear to arrogate infallibility; and through this vain confidence and presumption, have become so conceited and puffed up, as to pass the sentence of condemnation on all who see cause to oppose their unholy work. Who does not know that the Calvinist Baptists and Orthodox and Presbyterians, exclude from the rights and privileges of Christianity all those who object to their system of doctrines? Indeed, the audacity of some of these self-styled Orthodox has been so great, that they have refused (and continue to do it) to admit other gentlemen of different sentiments into their pulpits, even when a majority of their society have requested this privilege; thus depriving an otherwise free and independent people, of one of the first and great blessings guaranteed to the whole people by the Constitution of the United States, and secured to them by the excellent and wholesome Constitution and laws of the several States. If this act of exclusion is not a great violation of the rights and privileges of the common people, and a gross imposition upon the public, I will thank any gentleman to tell me what it is. Under the iron hand of this usurped authority and exclusion, our fellow citi
zens are driven to the necessity of building different houses for worship, and to pay high taxes in support of their privileges. In large cities and towns this exclusive system operates very differently in its effects on the people than is to be found or expected in smaller towns and villages. In the former, it is a source of wealth and great speculation-while to the latter it is spiritual tyrranny, depriving our fellow citizens of their rights and privileges, or subjecting them to pay high taxes, or not attend public worship. These are great and crying exils, imposed upon us by Triaitarians. In Massachusetts the evil is greater, in one sense, than in NewHampshire; in that State the people are required by law, to pay taxes in support of ministers; and men are obliged to pay for preaching which contradicts their senses, and support a system which deprives them of the greatest hopes and consolations of the Gospel. This exclusiveness of Trinitarianism, must be abolished, and not suffered to be palmed upon a free people by the advocates of its horrid and shocking doctrines, who tell us none but the elect are saved; that all men are totally depraved, and that our Father in heaven is partial.
I lament my inability to do justice to this subject; and shall therefore bring to my assistance the wisdom and superior knowledge of more able writers. A learned and highly esteemed author, thus speaks:
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.” 2 Cor. iv. 5. The text supposes that there were those who preached themselves, in room of preaching Christ Jesus the Lord; for if there had been none of this description, there would have been no necessity of the Apostle's declaration, that he and his brethren in the ministry were not such. If there were such preachers in the first age of Christianity, it is not unreasonable to suppose there may be such in later times, and even in our own. If it be a fact that all who do not preach the truth, as revealed in Christ, preach themselves, there can remain no doubt that we have such preachers not a few." *
"We have now arrived at a query, in the discussion of which, much caution as well as candor is required. The question is, by what rule, or by what means are hearers to judge and determine who preach themselves, and who preach, not themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord? It is very evident that it is unsafe to take the preacher's word in this case, for the two following reasons-first, he may be a dishonest, crafty deceiver. Such impostors have been, in days of old,