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St. Peter also declares that Christ was elected or fore-ordained before the foundation of the world.
“ And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear : forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot : Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." 1 Pet. i. 17-20.
I could adduce many more collateral texts from Scripture, in support of my doctrine, but must here close my argumentation, with an humble and earnest request, that the reader would not condemn the work, on account of an unguarded expression, or even sentiment; but rather judge from the whole tenor of the doctrine, with candour and impartiality.
TO THE READER.
A new edition, with additions, of the “ Rights of God,” consisting of 1500 copies, was published about three months ago : it having met with the most distinguished patronage, and selling off with great rapidity, I have published another improved edition of that work, of 1500 copies more. To the former edition (from motives of delicacy) I refused to subjoin my name : but, as a number of my friends, and strangers have asserted, that a man should not publish what he was ashamed to acknowledge himself the author of, I have concluded to subjoin my name to the présent edition.
I must confess, I am pointed in my animadversions, but they are only applicable to political and clerical impostors : and those who are offended with me for exposing the villany of kingcraft and priest-craft, are their advocates, and of course enemies of man: and virtually infringe the rights of God. I do not exhibit any honest man, or set
of men, to popular animadversion and contempt; I only exhibit criminals : let not the innocent, therefore, think that I implicate them; I do not, I dare not do it. I believe there are good minis. ters and good people in every denomination, as well as bad ones. I need not, I do not expect either affection or favour from lordly and lazy priests, or tyrannical and treacherous kings, or from their father the devil; and much less from priest-ridden, king-ridden, or devil-ridden people: but I greatly lament to find, that there are intelligent, and in other respects independent people, who now reiterate the exclamation which the intolerant priests formerly used, when they kindled the fires in which the martyrs were consumed; namely, “THE CHURCH IS IN DANGER, because the holy priesthood is, calumniated." They remember to forget what I have so repeatedly and pointedly declared, to wit, “ that no true minister of Christ, directly or indirectly, has any connection with my animadversions :"indeed, no people on
earth do I so much love, admire, and venerate as them. But because I'admire virtue, must I be calumniated because I expose villany? Who but a thief in his heart, will condemn me for exposing à den of thieves ? Who but a servile, priest-ridden animal, will abuse me for exposing the avarice, the hypocrisy, the duplicity of clerical impostors ? Surely if it is commendable to expose a den of thieves, it is doubly so, to point out a phalanx of ungodly clergymen: because, the latter is a hundred times more injurious to the human family than the former. The most superficial view of their cruelty, is enough to force a curse from holiness itself: is enough to pull down the reluctant vengeance of heaven. We need not view the book of martyrs to ascertain the deleterious horrors of priest-craft, or recount the millions of innocent people, who have been slaughtered by armies under the banners of the cross, stimulated thereunto by bloody priests and bigoted potentates : suffice it to review the annals of the state of Massachusetts,
for a specimen ; where innocent and pious Quakers have been cruelly and publicly whipped and hanged merely for their religious sentiments. And to the eternal shame of the perpetrators of such barbarity, be it spoken; even the soft, the beautiful sex, have not escaped the bloody power of priest-craft: for amiable and eloquent female Quaker preachers have suffered the above punishment, for preaching the gospel without money and without price, through the medium of avaricious priests, who at the same time made merchandise of the gospel, and stimulated their bewitched, be-fooled, priest-ridden ad. mirers to commit this great wickedness, even in America. I therefore feel it my duty to entreat my readers, to beware of the modern Scribes and Pharisees; I mean ungodly avoricious clergymen, who love to go in long rustling silk gowns, and strut through the streets with a proud pre-eminence; and who 6 love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at