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TO OUR PATRONS. THE EDITOR is happy to learn that the INTELLIGENCER has been generally satisfactory to subscribers, notwithstanding its imperfections. At first, we had but about two hundred Patrons for the work, which have since increased to more than seven hundred. Several worthy friends have suggested the propriety of making an alteration, by having our numbers smaller, and having them issued oftener ; but we think it unadvisable till the first volume is out. .
Those Agents and Subscribers who have made returns for their subscription will accept the acknowledgments of the Editor, who must be mindful of the outgoes of the Printer. Confidence is reposed in those who have not found it convenient as yet, to make returns, that they will cheerfully embrace the first opportunity. It should be recollected that communications concerning this work, should be post paid.
Several typographical errors have escaped correction, though we believe not more than is common to periodical publications.
An error of words is found on the 61 p. of the last number. Thus : “ The same word which is rendered deceivableness, in the 10th verse (of 2 Thess. 2. Chap.) is rendered delusion in the 11th. These words are perfectly synonymous,” &c. The mistake was made by transcribing and altering the following, which was the original of those sentences, viz. “The word which is rendered deceivableness in the 10th verse, might have been rendered delusion, as in verse 11th ; these words being synonymous,” &c. Hence it was not the design of the writer to shew that deceivableness and delusion were from the same root, but, simply: that they were alike incompatible with the character of God. The error was merely of words ; since no attempt was made to alter the translation or to fault it. If to delude be to deceive, and a delusion be a deception, it is a matter of total indifference whether derived from the same word or not. As the error was of the most harmless description, and could not deceive as to the main argument, we hope it will be overlooked. Those who pretend it was essential in the illustration, and should lead to a reconsideration of it, are wanting in penetration or candor. Let them show that there is no deceivableness in a strong delusion, and their corrections, will not be “a puff of empty air.” If any have been so far deluded as to suppose the error essential to the argument, they are requested to examine the matter for themselves, and be convinced of the contrary. It is the truth that maketh free, and giveth peace to the soul.
IS CHRIST DIVIDED ? If there ever was a time that required the interposition of extraordinary means to prevent the increase of sectarian zeal and blind ambition, among the professors of that religion, which requires us to“ let our moderation be known to all men,” it is at this time needful. Was it proper for the ghost of a sainted martyr to visit the Churches, and deliver oracular instruction, who, that possesses the religion of Jesus, would not prefer incessant solicitations to the God of all grace, that the holy martyr, who indited the above interrogation, might be permitted to revisit the earth, and make an unexpected appearance in every Church, professedly organized and governed according to his directions ? To say nothing of their departures from his doctrine, how would their conduct towards each other appear, in the light of his benevolent countenance ? While the several sects are vociferously judging each other in the name of a Greater than Paul, what reason could they assign, in justification of such conduct ? By what authority do we, poor, sinful worms of earth! censure, condemn and judge our fellow beings, because they differ as much from us, as we do from them, and no more! How shall we account for all this unholy
and senseless contention about names, and unjust calumni- ... ation of another, merely for a difference of opinion? What meaneth that constant whispering in the ear of a brother or sister of the same faith, when the things of which thou speakest concern the whole community ? What part of thy Master's cause, must be transacted in a corner ?” Is that the love which is “ without dissimulation ?”
While St. Paul was on earth, he had the infelicity to witness some divisions among Christians, which, by reason of sectarian names, had unhappily obtained considerable strength. With a severity, softened by the mildness of his mission, he expostulated with them, concerning their sudden and unreasonable departure from the worthy name, by which they were called.
What! saith he, “ Is Christ divided ? Was Paul crucified? Or were ye baptised in the name of Paul ?” But was he to write again, and direct his letter to the Church in New-England, he would not be limited to Paul, Apollos and Cephas. Was he to speak from a pulpit in the clouds of heaven, doubtless it would be his first and principal object to heal the wounds which are made by the tongue of calumny, prevent and repair the divisions which exist among those, who ought to love as brethren, and warm the cold hearts of professors, with the fire of heaven.
But, Oh! what should we now say, Christians, was he to speak to our hearts ? Let us imagine ourselves as in his august presence, with his Epistles in one hand, and the other on our breasts, while his finger was pointing us to the following passages, which have been on our tongues from our infancy :
“ Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
“ Thou art inexcusable, 0, man, whosoever thou art that judgest another.
• Is Christ divided? Are ye not carnal ?"
Should we not blush, and be unable to reply? Are we all willing that other's should read, and hear, and understand for themselves ; and ready to treat them as Christians, if they walk as such ? Would to heaven that these questions might, like an electric shock, be felt at the same moment, in every heart connected in the Christian profession, though to the most of them invisible.
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What would be our feelings should the ghost of Paul rèm late to us a history of our life, as professors of religion Omitting our imperfectious and errors of judgment; leaving a blank for secret offences, let him expose all the hard speeches, uncharitable suspicions, malicious insinuations and cruelties of disposition, towards each other, as Christians, and should we not complain that judgment had begun at the house of God ? What denomination would be willing to be rewarded according to their works? If in 6 this life we are forming characters for eternity," who is prepared to meet the decision of justice? Who has meted to others, as he would wish to have it measured to him again?
What excuses can the leaders of various sects frame, for such unyielding opposition to each other? Either they have divided Christ, or perverted both his name and reli-: gion.
But, what is it we hear? Let us listen, for a moment ! “ O Christians! do you not read, THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE EARTH ? I now call you to judgment. Your denunciations of each other, and imprecations upon those you ought to love, while you profess to follow my directions, have echoed above the clouds, and prevented my repose. This moment should I have hung with rapture on the songs of Gabriel, had you not severally pretended to personate me, and adopted my language with your dividing creeds, both to the injury of my influence as an author, the manifest perversion of my doctrine, and the great dishonor of him, for whose name-sake, I was persecuted on earth. But, pause, that you may have time for sober, solemn reflection. Look at this roll in my hand, that you may see yourself, as in a perfect mirror. Why have you abused each other in the name of him, who rendered good for evil, blessings for curses, and an effectual prayer for his murderous enemies ? Had I shown you but one of a thousand of your own sins, would not your lips have been sealed to further accusations? You have threatened to rise in testimony against each other, at the bar of the Lord Jesus! Vain mortals! how do you appear before the tribunal of conscience, scripture and Paul ? Are not such witnesses already impeached ? 0.! remember the words of the Lord Jesus, 'Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,' and repent of the evil thou hast committed against thy brother, and thou shalt be saved from exposure, shame and confusion of face."
Do you say, all this may be the operations of the imagination, and should not be noticed ? Call it not the effusion of enthusiasm, or the mere offspring of fancy; but, rather view these questions as the remonstrance of reason, religion and philanthrophy against all oppression and persecution in the name of him, who tasted death for every man, and must never be divided by his FOLLOWERS.
A PHILOSOPHICAL SERMON,
CONCERNING THE ORIGIN OF SIN OR MORAL EVIL. **** Cleanse your hands, ye sinners ; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.”' James, iv. 8.
The problems necessary to ascertain the real cause of sin or moral evil, appear to be the following, which we shall attempt to answer, in a candid manner.
• Can a sinless cause produce sin or moral evil ? or, how shall we account for its origin, except in the sinfulness of our nature? In other words, can a being commit a sin, before he is a sinnner, any more, than he can perform a moral action, before he is a moral agent ?
It will be our object in the reasoning which we offer upon this interesting and difficult subject, to make evident, according to sound reason and scripture, that sio was produced, independent of a sinful cause. The argument which we advance is simply this, That the first moral evil was not the effect of a preceding moral evil; or, that a moral evil did not precede the first.
It matters not, as it respects this point, philosophically considered, where, or when, or how the first sin was produced ; because it is self-evident that the first, of any thing nameable, could not have been preceded by a first. To say a morally evil cause is not a moral evil, will be found to be a mere evasion ; since all which we devo.ninate causes, are but the effects of a preceding cause, and as such, if moral, must be good or evil. Besides, this evasion refutes