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hood, and for the rule which was exercised over them, so long as they are agreeable to the people ? If the people loved to have it so, why should it offend God? These questions are answered by the author of our text, as follows : “ Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger ; do they provoke me to anger ? saith the Lord : do they rot provoke themselves to the confusion of their cwn faces ?-They have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire.” It is not necessary that an offended God should pour out his vengeance on a people, whose folly and madness bring swift destruction on themselves. There is no need of a miracle to ruin a people, whose religion and policy dissolve the tenderest ties of nature, and freeze the compassions of the parental heart. We need not look up for a minister of wrath to be sent from heaven, to distress a people, who are all engaged in their own destruction. Heaven's arm would save ; its voice would recall ; but deafness and resistance drive on to ruin. A blinded people, guided by priestcraft, doom themselves to deplorable calamities.
That which is recorded in the scriptures, relating to this subject, is written for our admonition; and it behooves us to listen to its instructions. Let us open our eyes and look about us.
What do we see ? and what do we hear? We both hear and see evidences, which are gross and palpable, of an aspiring priesthood, an order of clergy, who for thirst of power, and for arts and intrigues to obtain it, were never outdone, by a similar order, in any age or country.
The false prophets in Israel, who prophesied lies, were of incalculable service to the priests,
who bore rule by their means. But our clergy can do their own prophesying ; they have no need of prophets to prophesy falsely. Indeed, such short sighted prophets as those who made a trade of lying, in the days of Jeremiah, and who then obtained a good living by their business, would now answer little or no purpose in assisting our clergy in their craft. Those prophets did not pretend to extend their predictions into a future state of existence; their predictions regarded the temporal concerns of the people ; and this answered all the purposes which were to be served by their falsehoods; but our clergy, having united the profession of prophesy with their own functions, look directly into the future world, and pretend to predict what awaits us there. There they have a God, whose favours and frowns are at their disposal. There they have a heaven, on whose territories none are allowed to enter, but such as comply with conditions dictated by them. There they have a hell, furnished with all the apparatus of torture necessary to torment, to the last degree, all who do not submit to their rule, in this life; and a devil also at their service, to administer their wrath and the vengeance of their God for ever. With all these advantages to aid their cunning, and to render their craft successful, they leave no exertion untried, which promises the least success in deceiving the people, and in drawing them into their snares. They come to the people with the strongest professions of love and friendship ; they can command even the tears of the crocodile, and weep over us in fearful apprehensions of the wrath of their god, which they say is suspended over our heads; and from which they are, as it were, in a dying agony to save our poor, ruined, immortal souls. They bring us the terms of salvation, and use every persuasion, which rhetoric cominands, to make us yield to their proffers. The people, who are taken by their craft, look on them as their sole depeudence; and hope, by submitting to their
ierms, to obtain salvation from the wrath of heaven, from the direful flames of hell, and from the cruel tortures which their devil is desirous of inficting
This is, in very deed, a strange and horrible thing. How should it happen that the people should believe that their ministers of religion are more merciful than the divine Being ? How happens it that rational beings should believe that their maker and preserver is such a tyrant, as to make a hell and a devil to torment his own offspring, and yet believe that he has sent these merciful ministers to effect their deliverance from all this designed mischief? The answer is found in the chapter which contains our text. “Hear now this, O fool ish people, and without understanding : which have eyes, and see not ; which have ears, and hear not;" Of what use are our faculties to us, it others, whose trade is to delude us, have the control of them? Of what use are our eyes, if we do not see? or our ears, if we do not hear ?
That the clergy in our country are determined to gain an ascendency over the people, even far beyond what they now exercise, is abundantly evident from the unwearied exertions which they are making to add to all their other means of infuence, that of monied institutions. No scheme which clerical ingenuity and deceit have been able to invent and cause to act, has been omitted. At our doors stand their runners and beggars ; in our parlours they solicit money of our wives and daughters ; in our kitchens they wring from the female hand of labour its penny, its last farthing. With hearts harder than flint, and colder than marble, they will plead, in the most persuasive manner, with little children to relinquish the grateful sweets which the God of nature adapted to their taste, that the unnatural sacrifice may be turned into money to be used in saving souls. And such is the mania of deluded parents, that, in many instances, such degrading folly is indulged, while
the clergy, in room of being ashamed of conduct 80 derogatory to humanity and good sense, boldly publish to the world their success in deception, and endeavour to excite others to become equally stupid.
This order of men study human nature, with avidity of application, to find out every possible avenue to the weakness of mankind; and they have discovered that a blind enthusiasm, regarding religion, will drive people fastest and farthest of
any spirit by which they can be moved. In order to elude detection, they place their objects all in a future world, to which region the eye cannot extend. On these subjects they dwell with boldness and pathos, describing the misery of the damned in the most lively and moving manner, insisting at the same time, on the strict eternity of its duration; and directing the attention of their hearers to the destitute condition of the heathen, who have not the blessed sound of their gospel of endless torments ; they assure them that nothing can save those millions of rational beings from such torments in the future, eternal world, but the labours of missionaries. And now comes the cry for money. Money is wanted to carry salvation to heathen lands ; money is wanted to present bibles for heathen to read ; and many are so stupid as to think if the heathen had our bible to read, it would be the means of saving them from divine wrath ; not reflecting that if the heathen had enough of our bibles to serve them for fuel, they could not read a word in them. But all this deception is carried on for the purpose of obtaining the peopie's money. Money, they know is power. By it they are persuaded that they can control the concerns and affairs of state. Their bible societies are schemes deeply concerted to spinge money from those whom they have rendered blindly superstitious; and such has been the astonishing success of this system of deceit and fraud, that their funds are immense. They can print bibles
and sell them at cost of paper, and still be growing rich ; for the public furnish all the funds. Sabbath School societies are designed to further the same system of deception, and monopoly of influence and rule. At Sabbath Schools children have the blasphemous sentiments instilled into their tender minds, by which they are taught to hate their Maker and love their ministers. pares them for the right kind of servitude when they come to mature years ; and this scheme too requires money; and by it they are accumulating, by means of tracts and other artful inventions, and adding to their funds.
By means of the immen se revenues which are constantly flowing into the hands of the clergy, they are able to exert an influence in society, which to the apprehension of the sober, enlightened politician, is truly alarming. Already are they able to build meeting houses at the expense of their funds, taking care, at the same time, that they secure those houses for ever to the interest of their superstition. In country towns, where the light of reason and common sense has been so far exercised as to cause this clerical influence to decline, and the people are weary of paying money for that which is disgusting, they are told if they will pay but a part of the minister's salary, the rest will be made up out of the inission fund. And it is a fact that much money from those funds, is drawn annually for the support of preaching, in our country towns, where there is no want of wealth, and where but few will attend meeting excepting women and children.
The applications which are made to our state legislatures for the incorporation of ministerial funds, for the support of a certain designated sect, show very plainly, that the design is to engage legislation in support of priestcraft. What now will be the efforts of the clergy in towns and parishes to influence elections in favour of those who will be devoted to their cause! Let the people of