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professions of concern for your welfare. Words are cheap. And such a profession is an old, and most convenient and fatal disguise. Judas betrayed the Son of God with a kiss. It must be done under cover of the purest friendship! The old serpent ruined the race of man, by seducing the woman in paradise with the kindest expressions of concern for the abridgment of their rights, and for their liberty and welfare. In histories, sacred and profane, we learn, that such profes. sions have ever been the most convenient cover for the blackest designs. This cover is by no means exclud. ed from the refined arts of modern innovation. On no one principle beside, is so much dependence made, as on this. And no other principle is so powertul and fatal, in “binding the world with invisible hands." Men are so fond of having others regard them, and feel
for their interest, that if one but subtilly pretends to do it, he may readily gain their confidence, and the whole management of their concerns. Remember, that real worth is modest, and must be sought for. Men of real virtue will not descend to flattery. While designing and ambitious men will force themselves, or be forced upon you, under specious pretences. Such men are, in the Oracles of truth, set in direct contrast with men of faithfulness. Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness; but a faithful man who can find? Here the Holy Ghost teaches, that declaimers on their own goodness are the very opposite of faithful men. Why does not this, and similar Divine testimonies, put self-eulogists to shame? Perhaps they never read them! Or do not view them as of Divine authority!
Let your solemn prayers, and your influence, ever be in favor of able men for civil rulers, who fear God and hate covetousness.
11. A vigilant eye upon the movements of the enemy; and a solemn attention to the signs of the times.
Concealment is the policy and strength of the propagators of Infidelity and disorganization. Their scheme is subtilly calculated, while binding the world, to keep their hands invisible. One important mode of their defence is, to discourage, by rendering hazardous, every attempt to detect them. This principle, together with the native inattention of man to whatever does not ad. dress itself to his senses; and our usual lothness to be. lieve that we are in danger from designing men, has rendered it unpopular with thousands, to this day, to speak of the existence of the modern system of disorganizers and Infidels; even after all that profusion of evidence which has exposed this horrid system to the world. But this is idle. Such men have existed, and do exist. And the effects of their operations are visible as the sun; and are putting to hazard every thing most dear to man.
Shall such evil be disregarded? Shall hordes of latent enemies prey upon the vitals of a nation, and be unheeded? Such heedlessness has already rendered nations an easy prey to the devourer! Shall our great and fair Republic be added to the list? May gracious Heaven forbid! Let the evidence relative to this wicked system be weighed, and have its proper effect. Let it put us upon our guard. Let the fates of other nations induce us to apply with assiduity the proper means of escape. Concerning impostors, the Oracles of Heaven inform us, By their fruits ye shall know them. Their profession will be fair; but mischief is in their hearts. Their words will be smoother than oil; yet are they drawn swords. Sheep's clothing is stolen to conceal ravening wolves. It is the part of the friends of Zion, to observe their fruits with a jealous eye.
And it is their duty likewise to observe with solemn awe the impending judgments of the present day; and not to overlook the hand and design of God in the signal events of this period. Such pious attention will discern powerful motives to diligence in withstanding the wicked agency of Antichrist; and in being prepared for every event. The Church, at the dawn of the Millennium, adores God in the following language; Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee:* In the way of believing in them;
* Isa. xxvi, S.
seeing them coming; and being prepared for them.
The wicked are represented as being blind to the hand and judgments of God. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see. Thy judgments are far above, out of his sight. But so it ought not to be with us. Says our blessed Lord, Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? The wise shall understand. To them it is said; Ye are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. When ye see all these things, then know that it (the day of Christ) is nigh, even at the doors. The predictions relative to the last days clearly suggest, that good people will discern and improve the signs of those times; will see Christ coming; and will look up with solemn joy and attention, knowing that their redemption draweth nigh. And this believing, solemn attention, is essential to a preparation for the trials of that day; to an escape from the snares of Infidelity; and to a maintaining of the character of the witnesses of Jesus Christ. This leads to note in the last place,
12. Watchfulness, and special prayer.
By watchfulness here, I mean particularly, guarding the heart against the wiles of that system, which has been noted as in operation; against the various impositions which are practised; against those prejudices designed to be excited by public or private suggestions.
Here is probably the strongest hold of the agents of Infidelity, the minions of Antichrist. “Armies of principles, (say they) can prevail, where armies of soldiers cannot be introduced.” Their highest expectations have rested on what they have hoped to be able to effect among the mass of mankind, by a secret, disguised, dissemination of their principles; and by suggestions, accusations, and innuendos, against characters and systems marked out for ruin. It is a known art of modern innovators, to hint, or assert things, however untrue, which make for their cause; and to persevere in the assertions till they come to be believed. Read the leta ters and maxims of Voltaire, and of his associates, and you will find this principle a prominent feature of their scheme. This leads us to recollect some of the characteristics of the agents of Antichrist, given in sacred Writ; False accusers, fierce, despisers of them that are good; murmurers, complainers; speaking evil of dignities, and of things which they understand not; haters of them that are good; followers of Cain, of Balaam, and of Korah. With such conduct as is here predict . ed, what evils have been done! Neighbors and brethren, equally attached to the good of their country, have been divided, and even inflamed against each other. This evil has been long and systematically practised in these States. And the consequences have become alarming! The best characters, civil and religious, have been vilified. The most inflammatory things have been circulated, tending to fill the mind with disgust, if not with rage, against the best of characters, by no means excepting the ministers of Christ; and calculated to subvert all order, sacred and civil. Has this been without deep design? Charity cannot believe that it has. Have we not need then to watch, and guard our hearts against the evil? How many have imbibed it, to their great detriment, and that of the community? Whence originated the modern practice of traducing the best characters? Whom did we hear first publicly vilified? and by whom?
A vigilant eye upon rulers, is not inconsistent with duty to God and the community. And the detection of corrupt principles in leading men, and leading measures, is essential to the security of the civil rights of a nation. But these things are different from a torrent of groundless clamor and abuse poured forth against men of the most established characters. Such were the men marked out for ruin by the leaders of Illuminism. Surely if it is a duty to reverence civil authority, and to be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake; it must be provoking to God, and ruinous to a community to clamor against, and weaken the hands of good civil rulers. This is repeatedly noted in prophecy, as among the fatal evils of the last days: Despising government—Speaking evil of dignities. A deep and dark system of this evil has been
framed, and set in motion. Shall we be caught by it? Shall we imbibe the poison, which has been, with so much art and base design, prepared? Shall we accede with enthusiasm to grievances sketched out for us? Shall we not rather discover the mischief, and escape the snare? Let our hearts be guarded against those preju. dices, on the exciting of which our enemies have made their highest calculations. Shall we permit ourselves to be bound and immolated by "invisible hands?” Shall strangers devour us, and we know it not, till it is too late? Shall old neighbors and friends, who went hand in hand through our revolutionary struggles, and who never have felt or had but one interest, be alienated from, and inflamed against, each other, by foreign intrigue? This hateful game has been played upon us, till we have appeared approaching the brink of ruin. May the God of our fathers kindly interpose, and save us from every species of delusion and imposition! Let us pause, and consider. Let us awake to our dangers; and with wisdom and calmness use the best methods of evading them. Let us distinguish between flattering professions and real character; between our friends and our enemies. Let us disdain and repel every insinuation which is calculated to alienate us from our Christian teachers; or to excite our disgust against men and measures the best adapted to our prosperity. That we may escape the snares deeply planted for our ruin, the heart must be kept with all diligence against every malignant passion. The angry spirit of the times must not be imbibed. We behold national, and even domestic bliss exposed to destruction. We read of the nations drinking of Babylon's cup, and of their being mad!* There shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is comė. How weighty is the Divine admonition, which relates to the same period: Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth; seek righteousness; seek meekness; it may be ye
* Jer, li, 7.