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ways renounce it before God, in their prayers, and in the principal part of their conversation in conference meetings. They resolve their whole hope of salvation entirely into the promise of God-acknowledge their entire dependance on him for every holy exercise of heart, and that if ever they are saved it must be altogether by grace, &c. &c. God's people are sanctified through the truth, and one thing is certain, an untruth never can have this tendency; to make us more holy. There is no doubt but hypocrites have seized hold of the misrepresentations of the doctrine of the saints perseverance to their own destruction. Being awfully deceived in supposing they were converted, when in fact there was no such thing, and understanding through misrepresentation, that the idea of final perseverance was, that they would be saved although they lived in sin and rolled it as a sweet morsel under their tongues all their days; they have deceived their own souls, and died with a lie in their right hand. In reflecting on this part of my life and experience, I can but lament that I fell into the hands of such teachers as I did. Although I have no real excuse to offer for embracing error, for I certainly had access to the bible, and should have attended more strictly to that, and thus formed my religious opinions on doctrinal points from God's word; yet as I have once and again remarked, it was not surprising, considering my youth, inexperience, and the unreserved confidence which I placed in old professors, and especially preachers, that I became involved and entangled in the maze and labyrinths of error and false doctrine. I say I have lamented that those whom I looked up to for religious instruction, taught me, in. stead of the doctrine of Christ, the opinions and traditions of men. Is this subject sufficiently weighed in the minds of religious teachers in general? Do they consider as they ought that they have almost unbounded influence over the minds of many of their hearers. who are ready to receive their words as the counsel of
God, and if they do not teach them the truth, but hand out to them error and wrong ideas in respect to doctrine and practice, the consequences are likely to be extremely injurious, if not ruinous to them ? How many
there are who will commence with young converts, taking the advantage of their youth and inexperience, and infuse into their minds strong prejudices against the truths of the bible, by misrepresenting them to them, and then, if these same converts are ever so favoured in the mercy of God as to be delivered from the bondage of error and brought to see and cmbrace the whole truth, as it is in Jesus, their teachers will turn upon them frequently, like ravenous wolves, ready if possible to destroy their reputation and influence, by representing them as unstable turn-coats! Reader, are you a teacher in Israel ? I do not mean exclusively a public preacher ; but also a teacher in private, in conversation with your neighbours ; and particularly, are you a teacher of doctrine to young Christians ?
You should be extremely careful that you teach the truth. You should be very sure that what you teach is the word and counsel of the Lord of Hosts. Do you take up a system of religion merely from the testimony of others, without critically, prayerfully, and faithfully examining it yourself: and through a blind zeal to favour your denomination or party, and bigotted prejudice against some other sect, propagate it? You ought to stop and think what work you are engaged in. Who sent you to teach for doctrine the traditions of men ? Will the approbation of numbers, or to be sanctioned by a large denomination screen you from the displeasure of a holy God? I can truly say that of all the sins which I ever committed (and I have been and am still a very great sinner,) none has ever caused me such pain and bitterness of soul as this ; of having propagated false doctrine, and violently opposed the truth. To be sure I did it ignorantly and in unbelief, and so did Paul when he persecuted the saints; nevertheless
it was a great sin, for which he could not but mourn
what can be said in favour of the candour and regard for truth of such persons. Suppose I say a thing exists which I know does not exist ? What name would you give to this statement of mine ? And suppose I say my neighbour believes a thing to be true, when at the same time he asserts to the contrary, and I have no proof that he does not speak the truth ; what name would you give this representation of mine! O that men would be more candid and careful, and not slander the truth and their neighbours, as many do ! Methinks God has a serious controversy with such religious teachers as misrepresent truth and gratify
the pride of their hearts, in treading it under foot and in promulgating error.
The people of God are in a lamentably divided state, and it becomes all of us most solemnly to enquire whether we are engaged in spreading and vin-, dicating the doctrines of Christ and his Apostles, or are zealous in opposing them.
66 Great is
th, and it will prevail," although we may oppose it with all our might, and induce thousands of others to do the
When God shall call for an account of our stewardship, in vain do we take shelter under the wing of our denomination, to screen us from his displeasure, if we have spent our days in fighting against truth, and thereby sowing the seeds of discord among the flock of Christ. The Bible is a very plain book, 80 far as it respects the fundamental doctrines of Christianity; and the reason undoubtedly why we are so blind to what it inculcates is, because truth, yes, every particle of truth is extremely disagreeable to our proud deceitful hearts. Thousands, yea all mankind, if not prevented by the grace of God, will risk the loss of their souls forever, rather than to submit themselves to God and embrace the humiliating doctrines of grace. From hence the numerous systems of theology which are ingeniously devised and industriously propagated in the world, to save 5. Mr. Pharisee" from the great and terrible calamity of falling unconditionally into the hands of a sovereign God, acknowledging his doom to be just if he is cast off forever, and if he be saved that it is altogether of grace, without any mixture or qualification. I lament that ever I was taught heresy, but I more abundantly lament that I ever taught it to others—for this, God and his peo. ple forgive me!
Trials respecting speaking in public-Family worship
and preaching- Imprisoned for refusing to bear arms-Severe sickness and consequent exercises of mind, fc.
I think it was in the spring of 1815, that I began to gradually awake out of sleep, and shake off that spiritual lethargy which I had so long most ungratefully and wickedly indulged in. I know not of any particular circumstance in the providence of God, which was the means of this, but believe that it was the work of the same invincible Spirit, which first created me anew in Christ Jesus; which in the beginning moved upon the face of the waters, and brought the world into existence by its omnipotent power. Not far from this time, a young man (Mr. T-m,) visited our neighbourhood, and preached; unto whom I felt a strong attachment, the first time I saw and heard him. He was a native of Salem, Mass. had lately taken up his residence in the village of Pawtuxet, about four miles from where I then resided. He was engaged in business and preached occasionally. I felt much interested in engaging him to preach in our neighbourhood, as his gift was engaging, and called the attention of the people far more than our ordinary preaching had done. I soon prevailed on him to remove to our neighbourhood, where he made my father's house his home for a number of months. Our attachment, I believe, was mutual, and has remained, so far as has come to my knowledge, constant and unbroken ever since, a period of about thirteen years.
My young friend, however, was as green as myself, in respect to a proper understanding of the great truths of the bible and scriptural divinity. He had been filled with the same prejudices and used to harangue_his hearers on the absurdities of what he