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KIND READER, I HAVE
HAVE often, in the course of my ministry, asserted, that the saints of God, when they are brought to the kingdom of glory, will not live by exercising faith and hope, as in the present life, which I may have expressed different ways, as others have done, saying, that faith will give way to sight, and hope to full enjoyment. This, with many other things, has given great offence to a great man; a great man in a little compass.
The person offended assumes the character of Onesimus. This divine has of late made many wonderful discoveries, and brought forth many hidden mysteries, which were never brought to light till his fertile imagination explored the regions of fancy; and all the rude and wild materials that he has collected he has endeavoured to build upon the foundation which was ministerially laid by the great apostle of the Gentiles, consisting
as was aforetold, of hay, straw, stubble; and the pinnacle of this imaginary structure is the eternity of faith and hope in heaven, which he has ascribed to the exalted Saviour, to angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. This whole fabric I intend to survey, examine, and demolish; and in doing this I shall proceed as other builders do.
If a man intends to raise an edifice, he begins by laying the foundation, and finishes the shell at the roof, battlements, dome, or pinnacle: but, if he undertakes to pull down a building he inverts this order, by beginning at the top and ending at the bottom. My business is to pull down, and therefore I begin at the pinnacle. The eternity of faith and hope are here considered; and I intend, as time will permit, to proceed in demolishing till I raze it, raze it even to the foundation. Nor have I a doubt but I shall be enabled as effectually to accomplish it as was verified on another occasion, so as not to leave one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.
All his materials are light, trifling, and vain; his cement untempered morter, and the fabricator stone blind; and, since his right eye has been utterly darkened, he is wiser in his own conceit than all the children of light; wild uproar and confusion run through the whole publication; and there are as many strange voices and sounds in it as the confusion of tongues. He is the same in religion as Tom Paine is in politics. Anarchy and confu
sion run through all his composition, which he calls Christianity; though that very name is prostituted when used by such an author of confusion.
Next to this preface, Reader, you have his letter, which contains his opinions of the eternity of faith and hope; which faith and hope of his are wonderful, and the eternity of them as wonderfully supported. My answer, and dissection of them, follow his letter. I shall conclude this with the apostle's caution, “ Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines; for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.”
Reader, farewell. Shortly I hope to visit thee again, but, not without the balance, or Onesimus in the scales.
Yours, in faith and affection,
W. H. S. S.