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church-man has a right to call upon the minister of his own parish for an antidote against this deadly poison; and accordingly, I hereby call upon mine, who, though I am absent from him, will, I am sure, not think me out of the pale of his care, especially when he considers that I am, here, in the very focus, as it were, of these dreadful publications. But in making this call upon my pastor, I beg leave to apprize him, that I shall be convinced by nothing short of a confutation arising out of fair reasoning, or clearly established facts.
I approve thus far of Mr. Cobbett's call upon the clergy; as it is the duty of every minister to do all in his power to stop the torrent of this growing evil; but to call them to confute these writers against the Bible, by clearly established facts, is out of the power of man to do, unless he had lived through every age of the world, to be a witness of the prophecies, how they were given to the prophets, and when they were fulfilled ; and even then his testimony would not be believed in the minds of those who are so hardened in unbelief, like Paine, who declares “The Old and New Testament to be impositions, fables, and forgeries.”
Then how can the clergy convince such men, that are so hardened in unbelief? It is out of their power. If they are convinced, it must be by the wisdom of the Lord, by giving prophecies in ths present day, and fulfilling them, to convince them of their unbelief; and even then those that are hardened will not believe, when the truth can be proved before them, which I know by experience. When I was at Stockton-lipon-Tees, in December 1803, and men were disputing that my visitation was not from the Lord, I told them of the events that had taken place, which I had put into the hands of the ministers, from 1796, to the year 1800; three methodist preachers were present, who had the confidence to say, I told them nothing but lies; and when I assured them I could bring proof, by the friends who copied the letters that were sent to the ministers, and that the fulfilment took place, they said they would neither believe me nor my friends. I then told them what was published in the beginning of 1801, of the three good harvests promised, and which had been fulfilled according to the prediction; but they still persisted in their unbelief, and said they did not believe the book was in print in 1801; but that it was published after the three harvests had taken place, and that I had dated it 1801 ; and would not be convinced until Mr. Mackey assured them he had the book in his possession in 1801, before the harvest took place; and I told them that my books were entered at Stationer's Hall; therefore there could be no imposition.
Another instance of unbelief, where the truth could be proveri hefore them, was, the fall of Medina, which was foretold and published in 1803, in a book entitled A Word in Season ; and this was fulfilled in 1805. When an unbeliever saw it in the book, where it was sold, he said, “Well done, Tozer! you have heard of the fall of Medina, and have got this book published, and want to put it off as a prophecy.”
When the late Mr. Roberts pointed it out, they told him, that probably myself and friends had extensive correspondence to give the most early information of events, that they might be made known to the public, and passed off as prophecies, before any others could receive the intelligence; forgetting that this prophecy was published in 1803, and not fulfilled until 1805.
This sheweth the inventions of men : they will believe a thing that is impossible; but things that are possible and plain before them, they will not believe. Now, if unbelief is so blind and hardened, to deny the truth that can be proved before them, how will such men be but hardened against the scriptures, to call them inventions and priestcraft, when the living cannot prove they were in the days of the prophets or apostles, to witness the events that then took place ?-
Now, if men will deny the one that can be proved, how will they but deny the other, that can only be proved by faith, believing the word of God as standing on record, which hath been from one age to the other? Therefore the ministers cannot convince an unbelieving mind, by their faith, any more than the believers in the visitation of the Lord to me can convince the unbelievers, by their faith, without being enabled to prove the truth of the prophecies before them: and there. fore it is the wisdom of the Lord to convince mankind of their unbelief by the visitation of his Spirit, that they may know there is a God who reveals his will to man, by the truth that follows his words, and which is out of the power of all the men upon the earth to do, by the faith that they profess, without being able to prove they have a knowledge of a visitation from the Lord.
Now let us observe amidst all the preachers in this place, of different sects and parties of men; yet they have not been able to convince the deists and atheists that so greatly abound in this city: as Mr. Cobbett states, that he supposes, when Eaton stood in the pillory he was surrounded by fifteen thousand people at least, from whom he received every possible mark of compassion and of applause. Now if fifteen thousand people were gathered together in this metropolis, to applaud a man, and caress him that wrote against the scriptures, how many thousands may we suppose there are in the kingdom of the same mind ? When we look to the nation at large, we cannot suppose that every atheist and deist in London were then gathered together in this assembly; no:
for respectable men of the same mind, who live in repute amongst mankind, would not disgrace theirselves to be seen in this manner.
From this we may see how this pernicious doctrine is increasing, like a mighty torrent, amongst mankind. But how is this growing evil to be stopped ? Not by the preachers' telling them that all the scriptures are fulfilled, when these men clearly see they are not fulfilled; therefore they cannot open the eyes of their understanding, by telling them all was finished when Christ died. However, I shall leave the clergy to answer in their way, and I shall answer according to the knowledge and understanding the Lord hath given me, from what I have experienced of the truth of the scriptures, and what knowledge I have derived from them, whether they believe or not.
A man that is born blind can have no discernment of the seasons ; yet he is brought to a knowledge of the weather by what he is instructed and taught by others: that the heat he feels in the summer proceeds from the sun; and the cold in winter from frost; and by his feeling he can prove the truth, and know the change of the seasons. In like manner we are all spiritually blind by nature, before we are influenced by the Spirit of the Lord, and instructed from the scriptures; to call upon the Lord and he will answer; to seek him, and he will be found of us : but without believing in the scriptures, and being instructed by them, we can have no more knowledge of the working of the Lord, or his decrees, to understand the meaning of things that are spiritual, any more than a man that is born blind can understand things that are temporal: he may feel the heat in the summer, without having any knowledge of the rising of the sun to bring that heat upon the earth, if he was not taught it by those who can see from what power that heat proceeded; he might feel the severe cold in the winter, without knowing the eause that produced it. These changes a blind man may feel, without knowing the cause, from whence they proceed, if he be not taught by those that know; perfectly so is the state of mankind, in things that are spiritual : when we feel the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, by the Spirit of the Lord working with our spirits; but how should we know from whence that influence proceeded, without having the scriptures for our guide, given by men that had knowledge at first from whence they proceeded, by the ways of the Lord being made known to the prophets, and by our Saviour's coming amongst mankind to give a greater light, and gave a promise to fulfil
the words of the prophets at his second coming ? But for a comfort and consolation to all true believers in his Gospel, he promised the assistance of his Spirit, to strengthen and support those that trusted in him :
Matthew vii. 11. "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good gifts unto them that ask bim !" Chap. xi. 18. “ Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
St. John xiv. 17. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Chap. xv. 4. “Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no inore can ye, except ye abide in me ; for without me ye can do nothing." Chap. vi. 40. “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life ; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Matthew xxviii. 20. “ Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you : and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."