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strong conviction of the truths contained in the Word of God, and the blessing promised to those who read and keep the sayings it contains, have urged me to attempt, with what light I could command, and in despite of persecution in my own land, an exposition of the divine mysteries which God in his mercy through Jesus Christ has given to mankind. Many of the prophecies of St. John have evidently been fulfilled; and as they were designed for our instruction, must be within the grasp of the human understanding.
As my youth was spent under circumstances calculated to fasten upon me prejudices in favor of popery, my change and present state of thought has not been the work of a moment. The reflections in the following pages are the effects of a mind that has overcome an almost invincible ignorance of the truth, and a prejudice of long duration - a prejudice that grew up with my youthful days, accompanied my more mature years, and had very nearly interwoven itself around the future destinies of my soul. They are the effect of a mind that has taken impartiality for its guide, and looked upon truth as the sole object of its ambition -a mind that has ruminated day and night upon the subject, that has viewed both sides of the question, closely, attentively, and, I trust, religiously. The conclusions to which I have come are founded on a conscious rectitude. During those hours of darkness, when sleep falleth upon man, and others were taking that repose to which the silence of the night or exhausted nature might invite them, I thought of my present change, and often bedewed my pillow with tears till my eye-sight became dim. Before a change took place, this severe, continual stuggle afflicted me. My nights were turned into day, because of my watching, and I could find no rest until I obeyed the advice of the Psalmist, "To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart." When my mind turned on the serious question of religion, and I looked upon the book of God as the sole standard of my faith, and began to view
through the medium of impartiality the important subject of my soul's salvation, my mind became more enlarged, and my thoughts expanded, till doubt fol owed doubt, and my prejudices all vanished before the sun-light of a more liberal knowledge - the elements
darkness became supereeded by the glorious principles of unerring light, while the effulgence of the religion of the Reformation, which I had so often heard misrepresented through life, pierced through the mystic veil in which my mind was enveloped, giving me soon to hear my Protestant brethren say, "He that persecuted us in times past, now proclaims the faith which once he destroyed." There was a time during the imperial and papal power, when the dungeon or scaffold would be the temporary but certain reward of these my humble efforts for vital, real religion to be restored. But, blessed be the Father of love, those times are past, and a purer religion, producing a more refined civilization, has counteracted the unwarrantable stretch of Roman church authority, and the intelligence of mankind points to a safer way in the glorious spirit of religious toleration.
With regard to the doctrines contained in the "REFLECTIONS:" I know it will be charged that I maintain the opinions of the Arians; but by those perhaps who know only the name of that party, and not its tenets. The doctrines of the Arians are not known. Their writings were destroyed by the apostates in after ages. That the Arian and Athanasian factions strove violently together in the church councils of the first ages, is well known. Under Constantine, the latter became predominant, banished the other, destroyed its records, and founded the infamous Athanasian creed. How far the Arians disagreed with their opponents in point of doctrine is more legitimately the province of conjecture than of demonstration, for nothing more than shadowy tradition can be appealed to in the matter. The assumption, therefore, that I support Arian opinions be that assumption, if true, of whatever value it may, is necessarily unfair. That I oppose and detest the Athanasian platform is true;
and so far as the Arians opposed it on similar grounds, so far I am an Arian, and no farther.
The Athanasian creed was deeply corrupt. It was formed at a time to which John points as a period during which the salutary waters, or truths of the gospel, were made bitter to mankind by false teachers. A glance at the chain of events described by the prophet in this connection, will put this matter in a clearer light. Under the fourth sound, the third part of the sun, or gospel light, was smitten; the third part of the moon, or brotherly love, followed the same fate, and the third part of the stars, those once faithful luminaries of the church, lost their lustre. For this, the prophet predicts three woes or calamities to afflict the Christian world, under the three succeeding sounds, by reason of its apostasy from the truth. Under the fifth sound, the bottomless pit was opened by Constantine: a smoke, or gross ignorance and error arose out of it, and the first woe commenced, urged on by the locusts, or the numerous false teachers of those days. Now grew the man of sin to his full stature. Now he assumed a triple crown indicative of supremacy in heaven, earth and hell, and marshalled to his aid his six hundred and sixty-six bishops, and two hundred millions of the inferior orders. These are all considered by the prophet as murderers, gross idolators and persecutors, who would not repent From this mass of evil sprang the Athanasian creed; can a bitter fountain cast forth sweet waters? I reject, therefore, that creed, because I believe it impure, opposed to the spirit of the gospel, and contrary to reason. If by so doing, I am found in company with the Arians, or opposed to any modern school, I cannot regret my position.
Let Arianism be what it may, by a careful perusal of John's wonderful book we shall find that he charges the Western or Athanasian church with heresy. He doomed it, as the eighth head, coming of the seventh or imperial head, to perdition. He condemned it as filling the earth with abominations, and he rendered
thanksgiving to the God who judgeth it. Therefore, also, I reject it with its creed.
Thus much in regard to myself, and to my motives, in publishing this little book. I can only hope that its feeble instrumentality may serve, under the blessing of the sovereign Ruler, to hasten the time when all things shall become new when the new Jerusalem
shall be built on the sure foundation of the law and gospel.
THIS extraordinary book of Revelation leads us to the knowledge of God, of Christ, and of ourselves. By it we may perceive what true and revealed religion is. In part, the council and foreknowledge of God are revealed to man, through the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints of God are enabled to view the things which have and must come to pass. By the providential care of God, this book has been on record nearly eighteen hundred years, and will continue so for generations to come. It was written in such characters that neither its heathen nor its antichristian enemies could understand it, whereby it escaped their destructive hands. Many eminent men, of the latter ages, mistook its true meaning, by endeavoring to bend it as their various inclinations and opinions led them. It was given by the eternal Author of truth, and, therefore, an ardent and zealous enquirer after truth can acquire a knowledge of it.
The writer of the book of Revelation is the prophet John, who was, in a peculiar manner loved by the Savior, by whom he received his heavenly education. According to the Mediator's promise, he came under the inspiration and guidance of God on the day of Pentecost, in consequence of which, many mighty works were done by him. The same guidance accompanied him in the isle of Patmos, upwards of sixty years after, and enabled him there to write this amazing book. All accounts agree that he