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are therefore to inquire what is the meaning of this expression. Witness, in the first place, will be exhibited against the wickedness of the nations, according to their different circumstances, as to principles, and practices. Concerning this matter we may suppose, that where the gospel does not give information, there is a great degree of insensibility.
The polytheism of the pagan world has been as tenaciously adhered to, as any system of religion, however rational and well founded; but when it comes to be examined in the light of truth, and brought to the test of the gospel, the stupid worshippers of idols will discover, that the object of their worship are vanity and a lie, and, that they that made them are like unto them, and their language will be, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit; shall a man make gods unto himself and they are no gods? It is surely among the things to be wondered at, that the reason of man should ever become so perverted, that visible things, the sun, the moon, and the stars, and even reptiles, and stocks, and stones, should be thought suitable objects of worship; but there can be no doubt of the fact. The language of Isaiah was applicable to his own times, and it is equally applicable now. And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire, yea also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it; and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination, shall I fall down to the stock of a tree.
If the worship of false gods consisted only in the prostration of the body, however criminal that might be, the criminality would be far less than it now is, for the sacrifices are to be taken into the account; and these are of the most detestable, and diabolical character; such as the burning of widows upon the funeral pile of their husbands; the drowning, and starving, of infants; and the destruction of a multitude of lives, in various ways; so that the ground is covered to a great extent, with the bodies, or with the bones, of the victims. We must be better acquainted with paganism to enter very minutely into a description of it, but we may
venture to say, that it abounds with flagrant impiety, and immorality, and, that the day is coming when this will be the judgment of all mankind concerning it.
The Mahometans make their prophet their idol, and the Koran their guide; and this system of religion, if it be proper to call such an imposture a system of religion, has been spread far and wide, by its sensual allurements, and by the victorious arms of its propagators. However disposed this description of people may at present be, to call those infidels who differ from them, the gospel bears witness against their wickedness, and there will be a time when they will be sensible of it.
Popery is a species of adulterated christianity, which, as well as Mahometanism, was set up in the beginning of the seventh century, and, like that delusion, it has covered a vast extent of territory, and carried away a multitude of people. Those who have embraced it have for the most part taken it for granted, being kept in ignorance, as the best method to answer the purpose intended. When this ignorance shall give place to knowledge, and the Bible shall be read understandingly, by the people, Popery will appear in its true character, and with all its deformity. The wickedness connected with popery may be seen in the Bible; and particularly in the second chapter of St. Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians, from which I give you the following extract; Let no man deceive you by no means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth, and exalteth, himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. This Man of sin, this son of perdition, is not an individual, but the Pope, whoever he may be, or Popery, with all the falsehoods, and iniquities, which it embraces. If the papists worship the virgin Mary, they do what the wise men of the east never thought of doing, and if they go to the Pope for the pardon of their sins, this is a question which they have either never seen, or never duly considered, Who can forgive sins but God only.
The descendants of God's ancient people Jews and Israelites are so widely dispersed that perhaps there is scarcely a country upon earth which does not contain some of them; and differing from all other people, their sins are of a peculiar cast. You only have I known of all the families of the earth, says God by the prophet Amos, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. The history of this people we have from their first appearance until their final and complete dispersion; and we can see what blessings were bestowed upon them, and how they insulted and abused the Giver of them all.
They were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, guided, and guarded, through the wilderness, and established in the land of promise, where they had a goodly heritage. The miracles which were wrought in their behalf are too well recollected to require a particular recital. The Theocracy which was their first form of government, was a government administered by God; and such as no other people ever lived under; and when they rejected him, and clamorously demanded a king, that they might be like other nations, they were placed under a kingly government and prospered whenever they were in any measure obedient. God distinguished them by bestowing upon them a written revelation, and by sending his servants the prophets to instruct them. This revelation they corrupted by mingling with it their own traditions, and these prophets they persecuted, and killed. In the fulness of time the Son of God appeared himself in the world, and came to this people, who on account of their covenant standing, might be called his own; but because he did not answer their expectations of the Messiah, because he did not ascend the throne of David, and wield the sceptre, setting them at liberty from the Roman yoke, and rendering them victorious over all their temporal enemies, they could see no form, nor comeliness, in him, but rejected him; procured his condemnation, and nailed him to the cross,
For all these acts of wickedness, and especially for the last, which crowned the whole, they have been for many ages in a state of rejection; and what is the greatest of their evils, they have been ignorant of the cause. The preach
ing of the gospel among them is, to be a witness to them, and so convincing will it be, by the accompanying grace of God, that the whole nation will mourn as Peter did when he went out and wept bitterly.
If the preaching of the gospel is to be a witness to all nations, doubtless it is to be, among the rest,to the christian nations, and that on account of the wickedness which belongs to them. It is certainly a rule of equity, that much should be required of those, to whom much has been committed. It would be a long labor to make out a list of the sins with which christian nations stand chargeable. present enumeration will extend only to a few particulars.
Let us begin with false doctrines. Those only who embrace false doctrines will doubt of their existence, and of their circulation, for every thing must be false which will not compare with the standard of the scriptures.
There are those who pretend to believe in Universal salvation; and there are those who undertake to preach it from the Bible, taking insulated, and multilated passages, and putting upon them a forced construction. The first text which was used to inculcate this doctrine was, Thou shalt not surely die; and the first preacher who used it for this purpose was satan, lurking in the serpent; and with so much subtilty, and dexterity, did he manage, that he seduced our original mother, and brought ruin upon the world. The origin of this doctrine is sufficient of itself to render it, at least, suspected; for can it be supposed, that the father of lies would ever speak the truth; and especially, when endeavoring to accomplish an object so consonant with his own vicious and malicious propensities? We may add, that if this doctrine be true, revelation is unnecessary, for if all are to be saved, salvation is made certain to all, and revelation has nothing to do with it. We may add also, that if this doctrine be true, the Bible is full of contradictions, for it contains a multitude of passages so plain, and so decidedly against it, that the most ingenious sophistry, when it undertakes to explain them, like the counsel of Ahithophel, is turned unto foolishness.
We may mention also among false doctrines that which, differing in name more than in character, from the doctrine which we have now been considering, is sometimes called Unitarianism; sometimes Liberal christianity; and sometimes Fashionable religion. These names will not be objected to, because they are used to designate this doctrine by those who think favorably of it. As I have heard many say they do not understand this doctrine; and as I have had considerable opportunity, from books, and from conversation to become acquainted with it myself, I will attempt to make a brief statement of it.
Though there are some shades of difference, there is nothing essentially different, among those who embrace this doctrine; for they do not any of them acknowledge, that it is proper to honor the Son even as we ought all to honor the Father; nor do they believe in human depravity, as universal, and total; nor do they hold the doctrine of regeneration; nor do they admit that justification comes by faith; nor do they say any thing about religious experience, or what amounts to, taste, and see that the Lord is good, nor do they seem to be sensible, that there is any great difference in the conditions of men in the eternal world.
this is a fair representation, and I say, without any hesitation, that it is, more especially at the present time, must not this be false doctrine, and must it not be wicked to adopt it?
Observe what St. Peter has said about it in the second chapter of his second epistle. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies; even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. What are these
damnable heresies which bring swift destruction? The apostle has not employed modern names, but he has written in language most definite, and descriptive, for they who deny the Lord that bought them, are the very persons who deny all the things which have been mentioned.
Other false doctrines must be past by for want of time to take notice of them. We shall now proceed to other mat