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Southern District of New York, ss.
BE it remembered, that on the third day of June, A. N. 1825, in Seal.
the 49th year of the Independence of the United States of America, T. & J. Swords, of the said District, have deposited in this Office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the
words following, to wit : “ Remarks on the distinguishing Doctrine of Modern Universalism, which teaches that there is no Hell and no Punishment for the Wicked after Death. By Adam Empie, A. M. Recior of St. James's Church, Wilmington, North. Carolina.
A little learning is a dungerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not Pope. . I am set for the defence of the Gospel.—Though we, or an Angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed, St. Paul.”
In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled " An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the time therein mentioned.” And also to an Act, entitled " An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the Benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching Historical and other Prints.”
Since the doctrine of universal salvation has been publicly proclaimed, and excited so much interest and attention in our town, I have been naturally led to inquire, whether it is my duty to publish any thing on the subject. The following considerations have influenced my opinion and my conduct.
Every minister of the Gospel is in duty bound, not only to preach the truth, but also to defend it. For this is an essential part of the ministerial office. The Apostle Paul says,
set (appointed) for the defence of the Gospel :"a so is every minister of the Lord Jesus.
Nor are his obligations circumscribed within the duties of preaching and defending the truth. As our civil rulers are bound to take care that the commonwealth sustain no injury, but that its best interests be promoted—as the shepherd must not only feed his flock, but protect them from harm-50 are ministers bound by laws human and divine to endeavour, by all the means in their power, to prevent the progress
and the existence of error, to discountenance every species of sin, and to promote the interests of revealed truth and godliness, in order thereby to promote the salvation of souls. They are laid indeed under an awful responsibility; and their inducement for faithfulness, in the discharge of their various duties, is almost overpowering. “Son of man," says God to his prophet, 56 I have made thee a watchman unto the house of “ Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give " them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, “ Thou shalt surely die ; and thou givest him not warning,
a Philip. i. 17.
nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to
save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his ini. * quity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if “ thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wicked
ness, he shall die in his iniquity ; but thou hast delivered “thy soul."
Nor are the embassadors of Christ the only persons under obligations to oppose error, to promote holiness, and to maintain and spread “the truth as it is in Jesus.” This is the common duty of every one who believes in divine revelation. And while ministers are particularly charged, “in meekness, " to instruct those that oppose themselves"c_" by sound “ doctrine to convince gainsayers"d—to rebuke sharply, and to stop the mouths of vain talkers and deceivers, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not~and to hold fast the form of sound words, which they have received -both pastors and people are addressed as follows: “ Mark -- them which cause divisions, contrary to the doctrines which
ye have learned ; and avoid them. For they that are such “ serve not our Lord Jesus Christ; and by good words and "fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."i_" If there “ come any that bring not this doctrine," (the doctrine that the eternal Son of God came in the flesh, or assumed human nature,) " receive him not into your houses ; neither bid him “ God speed : for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker os of his evil deeds."&" Be not carried about with divers and 66 strange doctrines."b" Beware, lest ye, being led away " with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfast
ness: as there shall be false teachers among you, who pri
vily sball bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord " that bought them. And many shall follow their pernicious
ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil “ spoken of."_" Ye should earnestly contend for the faith “ which was once delivered unto the saints.”j In fine, the Apostle called the Gospel which he preached, “ the truth “ which is according to godliness ;!?k and he says, “ if any
b Ezek. iii. 17, 18, 19.
c 2 Tim. ii. 25.
d Titus i. 9, 10, 11,
man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, 66 and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is “proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and “ strifes of words."
These passages lay down a rule by which truth may be distinguished from error; truth is, and error is not, “accord“ing to godliness ;” and these passages prove it to be the duty of all Christians, to take pains, that they may be able to defend the truth, to refute error, and to "give to every one " that asketh, a reason for the hope that is in them.” Nor is it in all cases enough for the heralds of the Cross, merely to proclaim these things from the pulpit. Public instructions are evanescent and soon forgotten. When the subject is difficult, where prejudices are to be encountered, and where a long series of arguments is adduced, we want time to pause, to examine, to compare, and to weigh what is said: or else the truth will fail to have a due influence upon our minds. Those too who stand most in need of these instructions, are not always present to hear them, at the time they are delivered. Many such are carried away by false doctrine, because they took no pains, or had no opportunity of becoming acquainted with the true. A published statement of the truth, too, can always be referred to, whenever the occasion may demand it: and may do some good, by falling into the hands of those whom curiosity would prompt to read what they would never take the trouble of going to church to hear.
Nor is this all. Though the authority of God, the importance of true religion, and the worth of souls, make it the imperative duty of every Christian to embrace, to spread, and to defend, the truth as it is in Jesus, this obligation will be carried still higher, in the view of all who consider that men naturally “love darkness rather than light," and are prone to run into the most astonishing extravagances and delusions.
* Titus i. 1,
11 Tim, vi. 3, 4,
Cicero remarked long ago, that there is no absurdity, however great, which has not found some philosopher to be its advo. cate. And however flagrant the system of error and absurdity may be, if any one steps forward as its champion, and defends it by his sophistries-or throws around it the fascinations of his eloquence-he is sure to meet with many disciples and adherents : particularly if his views come recommended by their novelty, and are flattering to the pride of human reason, or indulgent to the depraved inclinations of the human heart.
What system of religion can be more absurd than that which requires its professors to worship cats and dogs, and cows and onions, and stocks and stones and yet millions worship and put their trust in these vanities. What doctrine can be more absurd than that of transubstantiation ? which requires us to believe, contrary to the evidence of all our senses, that a morsel of bread, which would not fill a thimble, is the whole body and blood of our Saviour, and the identical flesh and blood too that hung on the cross; and that, contrary to the nature of matter, this one identical, material body, is present in a thousand different places, at one and the same moment of time. And still, because some are found to teach this doctrine, millions are found who implicitly believe it.
Who could ever suppose that learned men, who profess to believe in the Gospel, who call themselves Christians and evangelical divines, should nevertheless declare, and write numerous volumes to prove, that there is no divine revelation--that there is not a single real miracle recorded in the Old or New Testament; they being but natural events, highly exaggerated and embellished-that some of the doctrines of Scripture are absolutely false, and invented by the sacred writers—that the rest are only the truths and duties taught by reason and natural religion--and that the Gospel itself is a pious fraud, a beautiful and instructive fable? And yet these tenets-absurd, impious, and extravagant as they areare taught by numerous able German divines : and their system, though it be arrant Deism, is eagerly embraced and