Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

*And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads, and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.'

We see something of this in the treatment which we receive at the hands of christian professors, particularly if any one ventures to leave their societies after having joined them.

I do not deny that many, perhaps most people who are duped by religious managers, are well meaning people. The prophesy does not say that they will knowingly blaspheme God, but that they would be deceived. The religion of this world every where, in all ages, and in all countries, is the same, it is the spirit of a ravenous beast, cunning, deceitful, and revengeful. The same spirit which ·moved people to take each others lives in past ages, moves them to preach the cruel doctrine of endless torment at the present day. And until this doctrine is banished from the world, the condition of the people will not be much the better for all the preaching there is in it.

The following extract from the address of Mr. Pitt, Earl of Chatham, to the people of England, is full of sober truth, and is peculiarly appropriate to our present subject.

“Whoever takes a view of the world, will find that what the greatest part of mankind have agreed to call religion has been only some outward exercise, esteemed sufficient to work a reconciliation with God. It has moved them to build temples, slay victims, to fast and feast, to petition and thank, to laugh and cry, to sing and sigh by turns; but it has not yet been found sufficient to induce them to break off an error, to make restitution of ill golten wealth, or to bring the passions and appetites to a reasonable subjection.

Differ as much as they may in opinion concerning what they ought to believe; or after what manner they are to serve God as they call it, yet they all agree in gratifying their appetites. The same passion reigns eternally in all ages, Jew and Mehometan, the Christian and Pagan, the Tartar and Indian, all kinds of men who differ in almost every thing else, universally agree with regard to their passions; if there be any difference among them it is this, that the more superstitious, they are always the more vicious, and the more they believe the less they practice. This is a melancholy consideration to a good mind; it is a truth, and certainly above all things, worth our while to enquire into. We will therefore,probe the wound, and search to the bottom; we will lay the axe to the root of the tree; and show you the true reason why men go on sinning and repenting and sinning again through the whole course of their lives; and the reason is, because they have been taught, most wickedly taught,that religion and virtue are two things absolutely distinct; that the deficiency of the one might be supplied by the sufficiency of the other; and that what you want in virtue, you must make up in religion. But this religion, so dishonorable to God, and so pernicious to men, is worse than Atheism, for Atheism, though it takes away one great motive to support virtue in distress, yet it furnishes no man with arguments to be vicious; but superstition or what the world means by religion, is the greatest possible encouragement to vice by setting up something as religion which shall atone or commute for the want of virtue.”

It is too true, that 'the same passion reigns in all countries and in all ages, Jew and Mahometan, the Christian and pagan, the Tartar and the Indian.' All which goes by the name of religion pow, is the same in all counties, mand has been, ever since the name Christian has been

[ocr errors]

fashionable. The spirit of Christianity is nearly lost ;but very little is left but the name.

But this state of things, is not always, and I think not a great while longer, to continue. Rev xiv, 6, 7. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.' This prophesy has not, as I believe, been yet fulfilled. It could not be the gospel which was preached by the apostles, which is here meant, for there would be no propriety in prophesying concerning an event which was then past. And I am certain as I am of any thing, that the gospel of 'God our Saviour,' has never been preached in its purity since it was preached by the apostles.

The promise of God to Abraham, that in Christ should all nations be blessed, is called the gospel. And all limitarians not only do not preach this gospel, but charge the only people who do preach it, with preaching the doctrine of the serpent. Undoubtedly the sentiments preached by Universalists, approximate much nearer the gospel, than the doctrine of other sects. But I have no doubt but when this prophesy is fulfilled, the gospel will be preached with divine power, unmixed with error.

When the gospel was preached by Jesus and the apostles, great and important events followed in rapid succession. So we may judge by what follows the passage under consideration, will be the case when it is preached on the earth again. Babylon that great city, which has so long ruled over the nations of the earth, shall fall like a mill stone in the sea, to be found no more.

Then will be seen who it is that trusts in a "refuge of

lies." The mark in the forehead, or in the right hand, will avail us nothing; all will be judged according to their works. High sounding professions, and long prayers, while the heart is full of wickedness and deceit, will be of as little avail, as it was to the unbelieving Jews when the time was come that there should be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Concerning what we read in the 20th chapter of Rev., about the devil being bound a thousand years, I see no reason why it should not be understood to mean that there will be a thousand years of peace, and rest in this world. Some understand it to mean the same

as in the 11th chapter of Isaiah ; but this cannot be, for after the thousand years have expired, satan shall be loosed out of his prison. Many suppose that it will commence at the expiration of six thousand years from the creation, corresponding with the seven days of the week. This appears to me to be a very reasonable conjecture, though I could never find any thing in the Bible that proves it. And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them : and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished, this is the first resurrection. This prores, if words prove any thing, that some will be raised at the commencement of this thousand years, to reign with Christ, until the thousand years are finished; and that the rest of the dead will not be raised till after that time. Whether there are any on earth at the present day which will have part in the first resurrection, we do not koow. If there are any, they are not the ones who wora..

ship the beast, and have received his mark in their forehead, or in their hands.

Reader,-think on these things. Search the scriptures to know God's will concerning us ;-follow the dictates of your conscience through life in all your relations with your fellow man, and your reward will not be small.

'Call no man master on earth,' though he be your preacher, the pastor of the church to which you belong; even if to save you the trouble of reading and thinking for yourself, he should kindly volunteer to take your understanding and your conscience, into his own hands for safe keeping, demanding nothing in return but your money, and your obsequiousness in all things through the short journey of your life, to his will and dictation.

THE END.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »