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obedience. That freedom of will, which is the quintessence of our natural and moral powers, is perverted and corrupted by our perverseness, and misery is the necessary result. God is not, nor indeed can he be, the author of evil. Could I believe this of him, the supposition would not only shake my confidence, but annihilate my love, though not my fear.
Alas! how has religion been dishonoured by blind and bloody zealots, and fanatics, by whom the source of benevolence has been metamorphosed to a blood thirsty monster. O, conscience, thou vicegerent of Heaven! assume thy legal prerogatives, vindicate the honour of the eternal, and let loose thy tenfold vengeance upon such enthusiastic and impious calumniators. To be blinded by such fanaticism, I might say heresy; and of course, to be ignorent of the simple religion of Christ; i. e. repentance towards God, and faith in our dear Redeemer, is the greatest curse that can befal a human being. Reader, may the good God open your eyes to see the truth, as it is in Jesus, before you sleep the sleep of death. The most refined pleasure results from the candid investigation of sacred truths. For instance, when I find that God not only loves the whole human family collectively but myself as an individual, surely this sentiment will create love in mine or any generous breast. Gratitude will revive, and tears of penitential sorrow will begin to flow; that is, when we readily see, feel, and believe this truth. One expression of gratitude from such a person, will be more acceptable than a thousand volumes of formal declamatory and systematical prayers. One sincere penitential sigh is more efficacious than all the wicked prayers carried by proud, perverse, and petulent devotees to the church militant for a thousand years.
How many make a pompous profession of reli
gion, and implicitly depend on forms and ceremo nies for salvation, while they are utterly destitute of that christian philanthropy which is the nerve of religion, and without which it is an empty name. Woe be to such professors, if God shows them no more compassion than they show to their brethren.
Before I conclude, I must inform the reader, that I have for many months past been occasionally preparing a manuscript work on christian perfection, for the press. What induced me to compose this work, was a happy deliverance I experienced from the manacle of the guilt and power of in-dwelling sin some years ago; and I may add, the false notions I entertained of the severity of God, which kept me unutterably wretched; though I had been seeking sincerely and striving to serve affectionately my Maker from my minor state. Alas! by looking too much to the ceremonies of men. I neglected to descry the sympathy of God. While listening to the controversial lecture of men, I forgot to listen to his small still voice, who often cried in reason's ear, "this is the way, walk ye in it." In short, I rushed upon the immediate performance of the whole moral law, without previously taking Christ and his righteousness for my guide and help therein, and of consequence found both wind and tide were against me. I never considered the due place of holiness in the mystery of salvation: nor the impossibility of bringing forth the fruit of the spirit without its aid. I knew that holiness was absolutely necessary to salvation, as the means to the end; but never recollected that it was part of the end itself. Such was the madness of my folly that I believed I was saved by good works, as the procuring cause of my salvation; and forgot that we are saved from bad to good works, as the fruits and effects of grace, to which alone praise should redound, and not to the miserable creature.
Now, blessed be God, I see that holiness is not
only a distinguished, but a central part of our salvation, where all the means of grace, and ordinances of religion terminate. To be saved from the bondage of sin and misery here, is synonimous with being saved from the punishment of sin hereafter.
Attend with scrupulosity to these important truths my amiable readers, and your persons or minds, will not be subject to the usurpation of temporal or spiritual invaders. Pardon me for enlarg ing these strictures, such is the solicitude I feel for your present and eternal welfare, that when I be gin to write, I know not when to conclude.