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with force and arms for a season, caused the blessed work to cease. (See Ezra 1-6 chapter.) The antitype of this event may be experienced in the Church of Christ, just before the introduction of her millennial glory. And the church in this nation may share in the depression. When we consider the small proportion of the people of our nation, who graciously embrace the Christian faith; and the very great numbers, who are subjects of fatal errors, of Infidelity, or of re. al heathenism; our prospects cannot be otherwise than gloomy. Think of whole sections of our vast territories at but a sinall remove from heathenism, and that of the worst kind; a heathenism chosen in preference to the Christian religion, by those who had been accustomed to despise the Gospel. The Roman Catholic religion, so Offensive to God, and so favorable to the rise of Antichrist, occupies some portion of our country. Its followers in years past, before the acquisition of Louisiana, have been calculated at 50,000. In Louisiana nearly all, that exists of the, Christian religion, is of this corrupted kind. And what a vast wilderness of error and heathenism is there united to our nation! A great contiguous territory also to the north of us is chiefly of the Roman Catholic religion. And too much of the religion now propagated in many of our States, is but too favorable to the growth of Infidelity, and may be expected to land many of its followers on that fatal ground.
In the view of the preceding remarks, and of the dangerous process of fanaticism and false religion, we must believe that many faise teachers are among the agents of Antichrist, and are the most successful promoters of Infidelity. Open propagators of Atheism would not be so successful. "People would be more likely to be alarmed, and would shun them. But let the same principles be really taught in gradual process; and let it be done under the notion of religion, and a pious zeal, and it is far more fatal. People im. bibe the poison imperceptibly, and under the belief of its being something salutary. In this way Infidelity is now making rapid progress. We accordingly find, that many of the inspired warnings, relative to these last days, are against the seductions of false teachers. Says the apostle Peter, when introducing his predic. tion of Antichrist; But there were false prophets al80 among the people, even as there shall be false teach. ers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them; and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. Here is one of the modes, and probably the most powerful one, of propagating Infidelity in Protestant countries in the last days. Much of it is done under the guise of religion. False teachers pervert Gospel sentiments. For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts will heap to themselves teachers; having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.* When Paul warns of the perilous times of the last days, and notes the wicked characters of men at that period, he adds; For of this sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with diverse lusts.t And repeatedly does Jesus Christ, when speaking of that period, warn against false teachers. Take heed that no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, -and shall deceive many. When they shall say, Lo here is Christ; or lo there; believe them not. Our Lord forewarns of false teachers at that period, who if it were possible should deceive the very elect. False teachers then, in such a land as this, will be among the apostles of Infidelity. Their heresies and schisms tend to bring the Word of God and the Gospel ministry into contempt.
The feelings if not the remarks of heedless souls will be, The preachers cannot agree among themselves; and there is nothing in all their religion! False teachers unhinge the minds of people from religious habits and insiructions; throw them into parties; and prevent both the support, and the improvement, of the regular administration of the Gospel. And among many of their fol. . lowers, who never come to profess gross Infidelity, the following text is fulfilled; And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause shall God send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
* 2 Tim. iv, 3.
+ 2 Tim. iii, 6.
Let pone take an occasion from these remarks on false teachers and fanaticism, to think unfavorably of true religious awakenings. Blessed be God, the Holy Spirit is sent down, as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers, that water the earth, to regenerate dead souls. This the arch tempter wel! knows. Hence he transforms himself into an angel of light; and labors to discredit these works of grace, and to ruin the souls of men, by counterfeiting these Divine operations. Fanaticism is but the counterfeit of true religion. But counterfeits suppose the existence of true coin. Learn then the weight of the following caution; Believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Before I close this section, let several things be noted. Antichrist must be viewed as comprising not only the Infidel Empire of the last days; but also the spirit and prevalance of the Infidelity of the same peri. od, where the Gospel has been enjoyed; whether the people there be or be not subjected to the Infidel Empire.
The system and influence of French Infidelity may extend and prevail where their arms cannot reach. The event alone will decide, whether their arms will be co-extensive with the system of their Infidelity. The latter is their Antichristian characteristic. And this is essentially the same, even where a people may find themselves exempt from the military despotism of France. To become contaminated with the spirit of Antichrist, is to be fatally one with him. We read of Antichrist; and of those who have the spirit of Antichrist. We read of the Beast; and of those, who have the mark of the Beast. We are informed of Babylon; and of those, who partake of her sins, and shall receive of her plagues. Should not political subjection to France be effected by Gallic intrigue or violence, for instance, in America; yet should that Infidelity here prevail, which the old serpent, in his rage of these last days, is laboring to propagate; which French agents have introduced; and to which the depraved heart of man is too readily inclined; -—it must then be said, that Antichrist here exists! Should the political designs of France be here disappointed; yet should her system of Infidelity here predominate; we should be an Antichristian nation. The cause of Christ then, might here be attacked, and his witnesses slain; even though the event should be planned in an American, and not in a French cabinet.
In some of the preceding pages it has appeared, that two kinds of influence have concurred in this nation to bring on the events of the last days; the agents of French Infidelity and disorganization; and the propagaters of false religion. It is not suggested, that these two classes of persons knowingly act in concert. Doubtless no express agreement has been made between them. But their affinity is real. Their invisible instigators have a system: But multitudes who are made the instruments of it, know not the nature or the tendency of what they propagate.
Some of the prophecies, it is thought, indicate a third influence or agency, uniting to advance the same wicka ed cause. And I saw three
. unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles, (wonders) which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.* Al.
. though this prediction relates to the period after the sixth vial, and is to prepare the way for the seventh, both
* Rev. xvi, 13, 14.
of which are now future; yet the height to which this three-fold agency will then have risen, seems clearly to indicate, that its origin must have been of long stand. ing, or from earlier date. The text does not say that their origin is subsequent to the sixth vial; although it gives notice of them at that period. Their existence, no doubt will prove to have been coeval with that of Antichrist. And no doubt some, if not all of them are accordingly now operating in the world, and in this nation. The dragon in this text is the devil.* The Beast is Antichrist. And the false prophet is Pa. pal religion; and it may be viewed as including the whole spirit of false religion, under whatever form. What particular influence will be found to be rep. resented by the frog out of the mouth of the drag. on, as distinct from the other two; or what shades of difference the two former of these modes of diabolical agency will be found to have assumed, it may be difficult now to ascertain. I have no doubt but Illuminism is one of these three unclean spirits; and that re-established Popery, including all fanaticism and fatal religious error, wherever it be found, is the last. And with respect to a third, time and events will
. no doubt cast light upon the subject.
Let it be what it may, it will prove io have been of diabolical production.
For they are spirits of devils. The devil will have peculiar power among men to instigate things favorable to disorganization and Infidelity; and by his satanic influence to prepare men to unite in his cause. He has ever been said to work in the children of diso: bedience, and to lead them captive at his will. But in the fulfilment of this prophecy, having come down with great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time, the devil will be suffered to exercise an unusual influence among men, in exciting their corruptions, of pride, lusts, covetousness, enmity, rage, and all the malignant passions. Satan will then be able to instigate the wicked to overleap usual restraints; to break such bands asunder, and to cast such cords from them.f Whether any thing more than this, in a land