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I know not how the strife to end,
In vindicating Truth:
That truth I mean, these books contain,
Let all my former friends arise!
I'll own "The Truth" with all my heart,
While love inflames my breast.
And down I'll look, with just contempt,
But stop!-methinks I boast too much;
Yet still of firmness I'm possess'd
I long to vindicate "The Truth,"
Till then, if I your priest can aid,
But still in this I wish it known,
The New Church Faith, I now adopt,
By which to live I would;
I've weigh'd, impartial, all its parts,
Your humble servant I remain,
And ever shall subscribe the same,
NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE,
ON THE PERNICIOUS TENDENCY OF FALSE DOC. TRINES.
WHERE is the man whose heart has been expanded by a principle and feeling of charity, but must lament and deplore the desolating influence of those absurd and irrational dogmas which at this eventful period are ascendantly operating on men's minds, and leading them unconsciously to the very vortex of irretrievable ruin. In the existence of so dangerous an innovation, (and its existence is far too obvious to admit of a doubt) it surely calls loudly on every friend to humanity to lift up his voice with strength, unalarmed by the stigmas and reproaches inflicted on him by the immoral and profane, to warn his fellow pilgrims of that tremendous gulph which idolatry and superstition have opened to allure them to their destruction, and by timely argument and persuasion, endeavour to snatch the devoted victims of deception and fanaticism, 66 as brands from the burning."
Reflections of this sort will not fail to arise in the mind of the true Christian when he is called on to notice the delusive security into which men of the most atrocious and abandoned characters are led as it were, hood-winked, by the inculcation of those blas phemous sentiments which are gradually undermining the bulwarks of christianity, extinguishing every noble and generous feeling of our nature, and paralyzing every effort at moral improvement, and the cultivation of religious knowledge and virtue. Prior to the total corruption of genuine christianity, delinquents, the inmates of our prisons, were for the most part committed to a spiritual adviser of sound orthodox principles, whose duty it was to reform the vicious, correct the impenitent, and to pour the healing balm of religious consolation into the bosoms of those who had No. 12.-1826.
forfeited their lives to the outraged laws of civil society. Under this salutary system the public execution of criminals, which was intended rather as an example to the wicked and licentious than a vindictive punishment of the transgressor, was attended with the most beneficial results; for by a visible exemplification of the solemn truth, that "the wages of sin are death," many a hardened and deliberate offender has been thereby arrested in his guilty career, reclaimed from the paths of error and sin, and ultimately trained to a course of sobriety and moral rectitude.
With "the march of intellect," the boast of the present age of refinement, the march of religious ignorance and intolerance have unquestionably kept equal pace. If in the course of his official duties a minister is led to advocate the necessity of that "holiness without which no man can see the Lord," he is as certainly stigmatized as a formalist or a legalist; he has the mortification of seeing his church deserted for some conventicle sprung up in its neighbourhood, where the more palatable doctrines of unconditional election and irresistible grace are thundered in men's ears; where the hardened culprit is taught to believe that Jesus hath suffered and died expressly for the salvation of such malefactors; that the commission of crime is no impediment to his future welfare, and that in the appropriation of the Redeemer's imputed Righteousness by faith, he is as effectually absolved from all responsibility of his guilt, as though he had never sinned, and as fully entitled to the joys of the heavenly state, as the most pure and perfect saint in existence.
Under such a dense cloud of darkness, can it be a matter of surprise, that the burglar, the highwayman, or the murderer should meet death rather as a martyr than as a criminal? Can the increase of crime with its awful consequences excite astonishment, when the day of public ignominy is hailed as a day of all other the most replete with delight and transport? when the wretch, who to a long catalogue of delinquencies, at last fills up the measure of them by imbruing his hands in the blood of his unsuspecting neighbour; and having so done, can obtain a perfect remission of his guilt at the hand of some self deputed ecclesiastic? For how frequently do we behold the cold blooded murderer, the midnight assassin bolstered up by the emissaries of blasphemy and cant, declaring his most decided conviction of final acceptance with God, and that in language which the most pious Christian, who after a long life of virtue and goodness dies in peace with all mankind upon his quiet bed, would consider as the very climax of presumption. Upon society in general, and on the lower orders in particular, what must be the probable effects of such conduct, but a persuasion that the greater
the sinner the greater the saint? what, in short, but the excitement of sympathy, nay even of horror on witnessing such heroic fortitude and magnanimity in the lamented malefactor, who, in a few short days, has most effectually completed the important work of repentance; complacent under absolution granted him by his misguided pastor, which alone is attainable through the abounding mercy and goodness of the Most High God.
It is really appaling as well as disgusting to be apprized of such palpable perversions of religious truth, and to the man of christian benevolence the subject makes a most solemn appeal, that his energies may be called forth in behalf of the unfortunate victims of such delusion and fraud. In the development of any established error, fraught with the most dangerous consequences to mankind at large; in attempting the application of a remedy commensurate with the malignity of the disease, we can only consult the records inscribed on the pages of inspiration, and modify our opinions and operations according to this infallible rule, all human resources being inefficient and destitute of spiritual life.
Far, very far be it from me to narrow the boundaries of the divine mercy, or to damp the Christian's hope in the hour when his extreme sorrow most needs it; equally far be it removed from my mind to substitute a pharisaical self righteousness for that sincere repentance, by which, and which only our blessed Lord hath given us any well founded reason to cherish a hope of his divine mercy and forgiveness; well aware, that after all we can do, even the very best of us, we are but " unprofitable servants." This then brings us to the important inquiry, what do we really understand by this familiar term " repentance!" Is it, think we, an oral confession of our sins simply, extorted perhaps with the gallows in perspective? is it an excitement produced on the feelings by the wild incoherent fantasies of enthusiam, or the feverish ebullitions of an over heated imagination? The prompt reply, is, nothing of the sort; for the original Greek word universally rendered repentance, by the translators of the New Testament, most evidently imports a change in the subject of it, even a thorough change of mind, from an approbation of evil, to an aversion from it; or a conversion of men's evil ways to their opposite, which is good. Again, repentance implies the taking an impartial retrospect of our past deviations from original righteousness, by secret self examination, to regard them with internal sorrow and grief of soul, accompanied with a determined resolution to forsake them, as being obnoxious in the sight of God, and of consequence, subversive of our present peace and future happiness. But I would ask, are these triumphant sallies of lawless depredators already hinted at, the harbingers
of this christian grace of repentance, that preparation insisted on by the baptist for the Redeemer's advent? or would this repentance be in exercise in a state of perfect freedom, unshackled with fear and terror? I fear that for the most part, the reply must be in the negative; for how many examples present themselves, where the royal prerogative of mercy has interposed to preserve the sinner from a violent death, who after all his professions of penitence has scarcely o'erstept his gloomy cell, than, like the sow washed from the mire, he has again resumed his wicked course of life, till at last the public executioner has released the world from his farther depredations? These are humiliating facts to the man of serious sensibility, and such are the progressive but fatal effects of "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men," instead of resorting to the pure and unadulterated Word of God.
But how opposed to this dreadful delusion is the conduct of that man, who, deaf to the clamors of all sects and parties, deduces his instruction and consolation from the wells of eternal life and salvation, and regulates his conduct by the unerring principles of the gospel, which inculcate a uniform obedience to its divine precepts; a compliance with which communicates strength to the inner man, and insures his full victory over his last enemy, preparatory to his taking possession of his heavenly inheritance. What was it, let us inquire, that supported the Patriarch and Prophets, the Evangelists and Apostles, under the most cruel persecutions and death? what was it that upheld a Latimer, a Ridley, or a Hooker, when dragged by infuriated bigots to the stake and the fire? not surely a momentary excitement of fanaticism; not surely a vain and empty persuasion, that Jesus by his blood shedding and death had cancelled their debt independent of their own co-operation, but that with holy joy and complacency they would look back on a well spent life, and exclaim with their suffering brothers in affliction, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid me a crown of eternal life in the heavens."
Here then permit me to request the serious attention of your numerous readers to the exalted privileges they enjoy, in the possession of the doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church, doctrines which it is our mutual duty to extend to the utmost of our power, because the Divine Word of truth is the rock on which they are erected, which men nor devils can never overthrow. In the concluding portion of Divine Revelation, our Lord positively assures us, that no murderer can have any part or lot in the kingdom of heaven, and that without genuine repentance, as the tree falls, so will it remain unchanged for ever. Such also are the declarations