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may examine our ways, repent, and reform; that thus the Divine difpleafure may be averted, and that conftitution, which has fecured to this empire fo many bleffings, to which most other nations are ftrangers, may be purified and ftrengthened, and by these means be continued to our pofterity. I do therefore moft fervently pray, that God may fucceed this feeble attempt, and bless us, and all men,
January 19th, 1792.
THE kingdom which God was to fet up under the Messiah, ac
cording to the prophets, was to be a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Unto us a Child is born-the government shall be upon his fhoulder.Of the increafe of his government and peace there fhall be no end. The wolf and the lamb fhall feed together. He jhall Speak peace to the heathen, who have long been the prey of destroyers, and of one another. If we contemplate the principles of the kingdom of Jefus Chrift, they promise fair to produce the enjoyment of all that which the prophets predicted. But where is the effect? The annals of the Chriftian world, as well as those of the Pagan, discover to us little more than the history of ambition, fuperftition, and bloodshed. The career of this kingdom began in piety towards God, and in love and peace to all mankind. But fyftems of error, fuperftition, and oppreffion, foon interrupted its progrefs, and perverted its principles. Chriftianity has been converted into a system of commerce, and those called the minifters of Chrift, have been a corporation of traders, in the fouls and liberties of mankind.
Were I to attempt to define the character of Antichrift, I should fay, It is all that which oppofes itfelf to the kingdom of Chrift, whether it flow from the ecclefiaftical or civil powers. The civil conftitutions of nations, as well as the ecclefiaftical, fo far as they accord with, or have a tendency to promote, that pride and that ambition which lead to oppreffion, perfccution, and war, are antichristian. Whatever in religion is destructive of union among Christians, which leads to domination over confcience, to hinder free enquiry after truth, or any way oppreffes and perfecutes men for matters cognizable only by God, is antichriftian. Wherever
† Ifa. ix. 6, 7. xv. 25. Zech, ix. 10.
there is intolerance; wherever we find conditions of communion among Christians imposed, which Chrift hath not clearly enjoined; wherever creeds and modes of worship are enforced by human power, and men are made to forfeit any of their civil rights, or are stigmatized on these accounts, there is that spirit which is not of God. Wherever one Christian, or fect of Christians, affumes the feat of authority and judgment in the church of Christ, whether they call for fire to destroy those who dissent from them, or only exclude them from their communion and affection, there is a portion of that spirit of Antichrift which has fo long opposed itself to the benign principles of the kingdom of the Prince of Peace, has been the cause of fo many evils to humanity, and the occafion of making the inconfiderate efteem the amiable religion of Jefus, as a fource of mischief instead of benevolence! Alas, how much of this spirit remains amongst us all! How few have learned that in Jefus Chrift circumcifion is nothing, and uncircumcifion is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
But we are affured from the fcriptures, that all thefe ufurpations and antichristian principles shall have an end; and that the gospel fhall produce the various happy effects which are predicted. The religion of Chriftians shall then no longer confist in ‡ meat and drink, but in righteousness, peace, and joy; the practice of justice, the cultivation of harmony, and the diffufion of happiness.
The question is, When may we hope to see these predictions accomplished? Long have a pious few had their eyes fixed on the promises of God with ardent expectation, and been crying, How long, O Lord, ere thou wilt avenge the blood of thy faints, and create Jerufalem a quiet dwelling place, and Zion the joy of all the earth? Come, Lord Jefus, come quickly! Behold I come at an think not! bleffed is he that watcheth.
Some fuppofe, that all our inquiries about the time of the accomplishment of the predictions relative to the downfal of Antichrift, which is to prepare the way for the peaceful kingdom of the Redeemer, are in vain. If fo, wherefore is it faid, Bleffed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy? Rev. i. 3. Here is wifdom, let him that hath underflanding count the num of the beaft. xiii. 18.
+ Cor. vii. 19.
Rom xiv. 17.