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subject, by eminent men, on various occasions ; it may be answered, that, notwithstanding the numerous and excellent discourses delivered from the pulpit, and issued from the press, both in ancient and modern times, for the purpose of stemming the torrent of antichristian error, yet it is lamentable to relate, that, towards the meridian splendour of gospel-day, many are the infatuated dupes of popish superstition, whose spiritual interests and happy privileges point them to a better choice. But let it be observed, that the humble author of this work makes no pretences to excel other writers on this subject, nor hopes to be more suceessful than they' ; but because he was conversant with the dogmas of popery, and experienced the feelings, motives, and desires of its rigid and numerous votaries until he was nearly nineteen years of age, when, by the instrumentality of the Bible, and the influence of the Spirit of God, he was emancipated from its benighted thraldom, and “shewn a more excellent way," and was the subject of much ridicule, domestic bereavements, persecution, and exile; he therefore deems it right to offer to the public a few remarks relative to the errors of the papal creed, which will amply justify his nonconformity to it, and counteract and silence the different false opinions of many respecting him at his first setting out.
Some said, that a,“ secular motive was the stimulus to such heresy," as they called it; but the persecution and painful privations he has undergone, have long since put that assertion to silence. Others declared that “he was under a delusion by the power of Satanic influence, and in a very little time would either become the visible object of God's displeasure, or his new opinions would evaporate like smoke, or dwindle into nothing like the mushrooms of a day,” and he would again return with shame on his head. In this also, “the accuser of the brethren is proved to be the father of lies ;” and instead of being in a delusion that would soon evaporate, the lapse of more than nine years has only strengthened his impressions ; being fully persuaded that his religious sentiments will be found to be orthodox in the great day of final retribution, and expecting the accomplishment of that hope which maketh not ashamed.
Should this work come into the hands of any Roman Catholic who may favour it with his attention, it is requested that he lay aside all prejudice, and exercise his own reason, that he be able to discriminate between truth and error, as the author has done, who was once as zealous as any can be in the cause of Popery. And be it known unto all, that his renunciation of the errors of the Romish Church was not rash and
precipitate, but the subject of mature deliberation and diligent enquiry for nearly two years; so that the few observations here presented are only a mere epitome of his former labours in the search of truth.
Should his name be cast out as evil for attempting to do good by exposing error, he rejoices at being counted worthy the honour of such reproach ; and if these few. imperfect remarks should in the least degree bring glory to God and good to mankind, they will answer the sincere desire and fervent
DEPARTING FROM POPERY.
OBLIGATION and responsibility are the principal incentives to religious worship, and the bonds of social intercourse in worldly economy. We are under obligations of gratitude to God for all the blessings we enjoy, and accountable to him for the use we make of them; but the claims which human beings have on each other, however closely connected, are very narrowly limited, as they extend no farther than the common affairs of this life. When we have discharged the duties peculiar to our secular calling, we have done with man; and to God only are we accountable for the things which relate to eternity.
From a deep conviction of the truths here asserted, I stand against the fury of Popish opposition, supported by the word of God and the testimony of a good conscience, and exclaim, with St. Peter and the other Apostles, “We ought to obey God, rather than men.” Acts. v, 29. For although the laws of God and nature command us to obey our parents, submit to our superiors, and live in charity with all men; yet, when their demands, however urgent, run counter to the will of God and our eternal interests, the mandate of Heaven forbids us to obey them, on penalty of incurring the divine displeasure, and completing the ruin of our own souls.
Our Lord says—"he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.” Matt. x, 37. But some pay no regard to this rule, for, without understanding or consideration, they thunder out volleys of oaths and curses against any of their persuasion who will attempt to deviate from the religion (as they call it) of their fore-fathers, however low they may be sunk in the depths of superstition; as if our souls were not our own, or as if our friends could account for us at the bar of God.
How uncharitable and unreasonable then must it be, for any one to persecute another for endeavouring to serve God according to the dictates of his conscience, when he must answer for himself at the judgment-seat of Christ ! Can any thing be more improbable, than to expect that a person in the exercise of reason, and enlightened by divine truth, should be prevented by a feeble arm of flesh, from the enjoyment of Heaven's blessings, which are freedom of will and grace, and the happy privilege of our auspicious governmentliberty of conscience? For although, at certain periods, cruel measures have been resorted to, in order to impede the religious progress of certain indi