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PART IV.

The fall, loss and depravity of man, including God's progressive

work, and his dealings with mun in his fallen state.

CAAP.

PAGE.

I. The cause, nature and effects of man's loss from God,

129

II. Objections agaiirst the preceding doctrines stated and an-

swered,

143

III. The subject continued, in which further objections are stated

and answered, and the doctrine of continence and celibacy

confirmed,

155

IV. The figurative import of circumcision and other ceremonies

under the law,

164

V. A few remarks on the nature and typical design of the Jewish

wars, showing that the law could not decide the future state

of the soul,

168

VI. An illustration of the progressive increase of the work of God

from the creation to the present time,

173

VII. A few remarks upon the witnesses of truth, including a brief

calculation of prophetic scriptures alluding to the period of

Antichrist's reign, and the second coming of Christ, 184

PART V.

The second appearing of Christ.

CHAP.

Page.

I. Various opinions concerning the manner of Christ's second

appearing,

195

II. The second coming of Christ not the appearance of the same

personal Being, but a manifestation of the same Spirit.-

This illustrated by various similitudes. which also point out

the increasing work of his Kingdom,

201

III. The second manifestation of Christ not instantly universal,

but gradual and progressive, like the rising of the sun, 207

IV. The Manifestation of Christ in the Female,

213

V. Spiritual Regeneration and the New Birth,

VI. Concerning Baptism and the Lord's Supper,

235

PART VI.

The Faith and Principles of the New Creation.

СпAP.

Page.

1. The twelve Foundations of the law of Christ, exemplified in

the twelve christian virtues,

245

II. The seven moral principles of the Church of Christ, as re-

duced to practice in the United Society,

258

II. Concerning Obedience,

284

IV. The Confession of sin,

290

V. The Resurrection,

302

VI. Day of Judgment,

313

VII. A few Remarks concerning the true nature of perfection, 319

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RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE UNITED Society, INCLUD

ING SOME ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST WITNESSES.

CHAPTER 1. Introductory Remarks, comprising a short sketch of the state of

Religion, and the operations of the Spirit of God which led to the rise of the Society, and to the commencement of the present testimony of the Gospel of Christ's Second Appearing

During the ministration of Jesus Christ upon earth, his life and doctrines were in direct opposition to all the inclinations of the fallen nature of man, He revealed the Will of his heavenly Father, and this Will was the very essence of the gospel. After his ascension, a church was formed and established according to the genuine operations of his divine Spirit. This was accomplished by the agency of the Holy Spirit, through the ministry of the apostles, and was a pattern of the true order of the church of Christ, and “a kind of first-fruits” of the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth. But that order was of short duration. By a declension of the true spirit of christianity it gradually fell away, until the spirit of Antichrist, through the influence of false teachers, under the christian name, gained the ascendency, and began his dark and deplorable reign, which continued for the space of twelve hundred and sixty years.

During this long and gloomy period, “ darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people :” so that there was not found upon earth a church which stood in the true order and power of the primitive church of Christ. For altho there were many bright and powerful witnesses of the truth, during the whole of that period, who testified against the growing corruptions of the times; yet in consequence of the tyrannical dominion assumed over the consciences of men, these witnesses were not suffered to build in the true order of the church of Christ. This dominion, which originated in the spirit of Antichrist, was strengthened and supported by the combination of the civil and ecclesiastical powers which were concentrated in their own established churches. Hence these churches became the churches of Antichrist, and under the name of Christ, assumed the authority of persecuting the true witnesses of God wherever they could be found; because the testimony of these witnesses stood in opposition to their antichristian dominion, and was a testimony of condemnation to their false religion; and thus the power of the holy people was scattered. But when the persecuting power of Antichrist began to be weak

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ened by that memorable division in his kingdom, occasioned by what is called The Reformation, then a way was opened for man to contend for his long lost liberty. From that period many men of rational and discerning minds began to assert the rights of conscience, and to contend for civil and religious liberty; and henceforth liberty of conscience continued to gain ground until the latter part of the seventeenth century, when it was so far understood and acknowledged, that the witnesses of God began to live and stand up in the life and power of their testimony.

About this time, many religious revivals broke out in various parts of Europe, particularly in France and Germany, and continued, with different degrees of light and power, for many years. Liberty of conscience was proclaimed in England about the year 1689, and the subject excited public attention, and gained considerable influence in many other parts of Europe. This was an event highly favorable to those honest souls who were hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and who had hitherto groaned under the despotic and persecuting power of ecclesiastical tyranny, while they earnestly sought the pure and undefiled religion of the Prince of Peace.

The remarkable revival which happened about this time, in the province of Dauphiny and Vivarais, in France, excited great attention. The subjects of this work were wrought upon in a very extraordinary manner, both in body and mind; nor could the violent agitations of their bodies, nor the powerful operations of their spirits, which appeared in the flaming and irresistable energy of their testimony, be imputed to any thing short of the mighty power of God, with which they were evidently inspired. Persons of both sexes and all ages, were the subjects of these divine inspirations. Men, women, and even little childen, were wrought upon in a manner which struck the spectators with wonder and astonishment; and their powerful admonitions and prophetic warnings “were heard and received with reverence and awe.”

They testified that the end of all things drew nigh, and admonished the people to repent and amend their lives. They gave warning of the near aproach of the Kingdom of God, the acceptable year of the Lord; and in many prophetic messages, declared to the world, that those numerous scripture prophecies concerning the new heavens and the new earth; the kingdom of the Mesiah; the marriage of the Lamb; the first resurrection, and the new Jerusalem descending from above, were near at hand, and would shortly be accomplished.

They also testified, with great power and energy of spirit, against those false systems of religion, and that antichristian dominion, which had borne such extensive sway among mankind,

and predicted their certain downfall and destruction. They also declared that when all these false systems of human invention, and all the deceitful and abominable works of man should be pulled down and destroyed, there would be but one Lord, one faith, one heart and one voice among mankind. And they also declared that these things would be wrought upon man by spiritual arms, proceeding from the mouths of living witnesses who, by the inspiration of the spirit, should be sent forth as laborers in the vineyard.

These people, like all other true witnesses of God, were rejected by the unbelieving world as false prophets, and their testimony greatly perverted and misrepresented. And probably too, as often happens in times of great outpourings of the divine Spirit, there were individuals found among them into whose hearts Satan found means to insuse a false testimony, with a view to dishonor the true testimony of faithful witnesses, by. associating with it the dictates of his own lying spirit.*

Unbelievers, who slight every manifestation of true light, will often take occasion by the false predictions of such individuals, to reject and misrepresent the whole as unworthy of credit. Hence it was said, they predicted the immediate fulfilment of their prophecy, and stated the precise time of its accomplishment, which was evidently not given them to understand. But the candid believer will readily discern between truth and falsehood, and pay that respect to the true manifestations of the Spirit of God which their importance deserves.

But even admitting that those who were in the genuine spirit of that work, did state the time for the accomplishment of these predictions at three years, as has been frequently asserted, what conclusion can be drawn from thence to falsify these predictions ? It is well known that St. John stated the time for the reign of antichrist at forty and two months, which, according to the usual calculation of expositors, is now generally supposed to mean 1260 years, taking each prophetic day for a year, as is usual in explaining the language of prophecy.

Calculating then by this rule, their three years, or thirty-six months, allowing but thirty days to the month, amount to 1080 prophetic days; but allowing 365 days to the year, they make 1095 days, or so many natural years. And if these prophets did, in truth, state the time for the full accomplishment of all their predictions at three years, can any one deny that this is the true calculation? Or dare any one affirm that all these things will not be accomplished in 1080 or 1095 years from the date of their prophecy? It is the divine spirit of their testimony, and the real accom

* So it was of old “When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them ” Job ii. 1.

See Bey, xi. 2. and xiii. 5.

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plishment of their predictions at which we look; not at the false coloring and evident misrepresentations which have been put upon them by the unbelievers of their times. That the work has already commenced, we ourselves are witnesses; but how long before it will be fully accomplished, must rest with that Almighty Being who has already begun the work, and will complete it in his own due time.

Notwithstanding these witnesses of God met with much opposition from the unbelieving world, and were continually persecuted by the wicked; yet they greatly increased in numbers, and boldly continued their testimony for many years; so that their prophetic warnings extended over the greatest part of Europe.

About the year 1706, a few of them went over to England, where they renewed their testimony; and through the ministration of the same spirit to others, many were united to them; so that in a short time they became very numerous, and their testimony became extensive and powerful. Being commissioned by the Divine Spirit, and sent only as witnesses to warn a sinful world of approaching events, they formed no regular societies, and established no churches; but faithfully executed their office and delivered the messages which were given them, and thus finished their work and left the event to God. And tho the greater part, after having fins ished their testimony, soon died away; yet many of them maintained their confidence through life, and a portion of them, who still retained the power of their testimony, in a greater or less degree, and having full faith in its accomplishment, stood as living witnesses of God, and, like faithful watchmen of the night, waited the approaching dawn.

About the year 1747, a small number who were endowed with the spirit of tirese witnesses, were led by the influence of the Divine Spirit to unite themselves into a small society, in the neighborhood of Manchester, under the ministry of James and Jane Wardley. These were both sincerely devoted to the cause of God, and were blest with great manifestations of divine light. James was greatly gifted in public speaking; and was remarkably clear, solid and powerful in his testimony against sin. Both he and his wife possessed great meekness and humility, were very plain and decent in their dress and deportment, and unassuming in their manners.

This infant society practiced no forms, and adopted no creeds as rules of faith or worship; but gave themselves up to be led and guided entirely by the operations of the Spirit of God. Their ineetings were powerful and animated, attended with remarkable signs and operations, and with the spirit of prophecy and divine revelation. The manifestations of divine light in visions and revelations, raised in them the warning voice of God against all sin and every evil work. They boldly testified, that the second ap

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