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this was spoken to me day and night by the things that are seen in creation.
I begun to tell people, that my mind was more liberal than it had formerly been,-some from this, said I should be a Deist, some said I was an Universalist,some said one thing, some another. Finally, I concluded it was not my duty to remain so, installed over the church, and confined to spend my days in preaching to two or three hundred people.
This news was soon carried to the Bishops in Boston; and one came to see me, and used every argument he was master of, to persuade me to remain the pastor of the church; but all his arguments were to no purpose, I was dismissed. Sometimes I thought it was best not to preach, any more. This I could not do, as God had in former years given me such an evidence of being called to the work. To be a Calvinist, I could not; to be a Deist, appeared to me wrong. As the Universal plan spoke of the extensive love of God to man, I concluded in my mind to try that, thinking if it was right and free from the inconsistencies of Gillism, I was willing to believe it, however I might suffer on that account. I then obtained Winchester's dialogues, and Chancy on Universalismz and read them candidly; and thought there was less inconsistency in that plan than the other.
However, I concluded from reading these two books(notfrom reading the scriptures) that this was preferable to the others, and preached twice, upon the plan, under a great many, embarrassments, in my own mind. Some were grieved,some were pleased, and some were mad. I read Huntington's Calvinism-improved, or salvation for men, to finish my studies of Universalism. In reading this, I found that my mind was in the old Calvinistic plan still; and that all the difference between Calvinism and Universalism was in the number. The latter had built upon the former; and I saw and believed that when Calvinism went down, Universalism would go down with it, so I viewed it then, so I view it now. Being convinced that both were an error, I stood like a man
who was honestly searching the way to pursue his intended journey, but found two ways he had tried had run
While I'stood, thinking on my situation, and saying, what shall I do? there seemed to be a gentle whisper to my understanding, in these words, "Drop them both and search the scriptures. considered this the voice > of the spirit of God, which I was determined to obey; and the next Lord's day, I publicly renounced them both, and endeavoured to convince the assembly that these were both errors, and this has invariably been my mind: ever since; which is six years this present month, February 1808.
I was now without a system, and felt ready to search the scriptures; but as I was engaged in worldly business, >I concluded to preach once in the week,and attend to my business six days as other men did.`. I remained in this state for some weeks; but on a certain day as I was valone, thinking on my present situation, it seemed to me that a voice fell from heaven speaking to my understanding in these words, "Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward." This I felt in my heart, and said, if this takes place, I am undone forever. There seemed a choice before me, which was, to give up all for Christ; or give up Christ for what there is without him. My choice at once was made, I said Christ is all, let me have this, I renounce
From that time I begun to settle my affairs, and to search the scriptures, and preach Christ instead of cal vinism, or universalism, and so I have endeavoured to preach to this day.
In my search after truth in the scriptures, I have been led to reject many things which others hold; and to em brace many things which some reject, because they do not.search after what God has said in his word.
The motto in the title page, (which is, "I will shew thee that which is noted in the scriptures of truth, and there is none that holdeth with me in these things but, Michael your Prinee;") means that what I have written,
is different from what people in general believe. This is nothing to me while I have an evidence that MICHAEL, (the Lord Jesus,) holds with me in these things; and this I believe is true from the best light I have upon the scriptures.*
As to the stile, I do not pretend to elegance, nor to be, much skilled in the knowledge of letters. I do not write. to please Criticks; but to help those who wish to know what the scriptures mean, If I can be understood, this is what I want. Without doubt, this will appear as all other human productions do, defective in some things; but it is, the best I know; let a wiser man do better, I feel a diffidence in offering it to the public, but believing it will serve to give people a knowledge of some things which are not much mentioned, though plainly described in the scriptures, I submit it to the judgment of the candid, hoping that the blessing of God will attend those who read and hear.
If my reader's find the pleasure in reading this work, which the subject has afforded me while writing upon the things yet to come to pass, they will feel themselves doub ly paid for the expense, and time they take up in reading it.
The things I have noticed, appear to me glorious a bove all I ever saw besides, and I close with the words of an elegant French writer, (with a little variation): when speaking upon the works of God in Creation.
"My dear reader, whatever, then, may be your situa tion in life, I shall cheerfully submit to your decision, if you judge me as a man, in a work whose leading obá ject is the "instruction," and happiness of mankind. If, on the other hand, I have attained to the glory of
* In fome of my former publications, I have defcribed the reign of Chrift different from what it is in this work, by holding that his kingdom would spread all over the world before he appears on the earth, this I am convinced is a mistake; my mind was then confined by what is called the spiritual reign of Christ
communicating to you some new pleasures, and of extending your views into the unbounded and glorious fields of prophecy, reflect that, after all, these are the perceptions but of a man, they are a mere nothing compared to that which is; that they are the shadows only of that eternal truth, collected by one who is himself but a shadow; and that a small ray of that sun of intelligence which fills the universe, has been playing in a drop of troubled water."
The Lord grant that we may not only read and understand, but be sharers in that glory which shall fill the new Jerusalem, when the saved shall see the face of the Lamb world without end. Amen.
Portsmouth, N. H. Feb. 8, 1808.
INTRODUCTION to the work..
The meaning of prophecy; and the things mentioned in
The covenant made with the Israelites at Mount Si-
The new covenant to be made hereafter with the house
The prophecies which speak of the return of the Jews
The land of Canaan described—the present situation of
which will combine against the Jews after
Prophecies which speak of the coming of Christ to reign