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Book Fourth.

A critical exposition of the present systems of Christian Theology, with scripture proof of their falsity and injurious tendency to mankind.


Of the origin of sin-Fabulous account-True account-Sin not infinite, but finite.

The origin of sin, has, by the generality of christian professors, been very easily accounted for, but in a way which we must disbelieve and dispute, and that with a view to the benefit of man. The substance of the account alluded to is the following.

Some time before the creation of man, the Almighty thought proper to create a great multitude of spiritual beings, called angels; and that some of those creatures of God, were much higher in dignity and glory than others, but were all perfectly free from the least moral disorder; but, that one of those holy and glorious angels of light and immortal life, who was dignified above all the rest, and stood prime minister of the Almighty, discharged the functions of his high office to the admiration of millions of celestial beings and the approbation of God himself, for a length of time-but at last fell from his glory, and perfection. The cause of his fall, or dereliction from his primeval state of being and dignity, is stated nearly in the following manner :

When it pleased the Almighty to reveal the brightness of his glory and the image of God in humanity, he gave forth the command, as now appears in the

ninety-seventh Psalm, and seventh verse-"Worship him all ye gods;" and in Heb. 1: 6, "And again, when he bringeth the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him.”— But that when this dignified, holy angel, this prime minister of God, whom christians generally have called Lucifer, son of the morning, heard the command, he was surprised at the idea of worshipping any other being but God himself, and looked on this Son of God with disdain and contempt, and in a moment grew indignant-brushed his strong pinions, and waved them for the throne of God-challenged supremacy with the Almighty himself, and cast his eyes to the sides of the north, as a suitable place to establish his empire. Legions of spirits immediately became disaffected towards God, and followed this chief in rebellion, and formed a dangerous party in the kingdom of the Almighty. The Son of God was invested with power, as generalissimo of heaven, to command the remaining faithful force against the common enemy. In short, after many great and bloody battles between armies of contending angels, Lucifer and his party were driven out of heaven, leaving it in peace, though in a great measure depopulated--one third of the stars of heaven being drawn away by the dragon's tail.

God having created the earth and placed the first man and woman on it, in a most happy situation of innocence and moral purity, without the smallest appetite to sin, or propensity to evil; the arch apostate, enviously looked from his fiery prison, to which place he had been consigned by the Almighty, and beholding man in so happy a situation, and with a help meet, and in a capacity of increasing to a mighty multitude, whereby the kingdom of glory might not only be filled again to its original number, but be enlarged, was determined to defeat the design of God in this case. Accordingly, he came out of his fiery prison, entered into

a serpent, or snake-went to the woman, and beguiled her, caused her to eat of a certain fruit which God had forbidden them to eat, or touch, by which means he introduced sin into the world.†

We have not been very particular in this sketch, but it contains the common notion of the introduction of sin into our world.

We shall now put this doctrinal notion under examination, and look diligently for the authority or propriety of accounting for it in this way.

And first, of this memorable rebellion in heaven.It seems that this rebel angel had always been obedient to the commands of his Maker until the very hour of his fall-that there was not the least spot of pollution in him until he felt the motions of pride, which lifted him above submission to the Son of God. This being the case, we ask, was this angel ignorant of the real character of the Son of God, whom he was commanded to worship? If he was not, but knew him to be no other than the Eternal, his Creator, manifested in a nature which Jehovah created-if he loved his Maker with an undivided affection, as he must have done, if he was holy, and which none will dispute who -believes the story, he would have worshipped him with due reverence the moment he made the discovery, and.. heard the command given. But if this son of the morning did not honour the real character of him whom he was commanded to worship, had he complied, he would have worshipped he knew not what, and nothing can be more absurd, than to suppose that the Almighty would command any of his creatures to worship ignorantly. We ask further, could purity produce impurity, or moral holiness give rise to unholiness? All will answer, no. Was not the angel ho

Every believer in the sheer absurd account of the origin of sin, ought to remember that he learned it of John Milton, and not from the Bible.

ly in every faculty of his nature? Was not the com-mand to worship the son holy and just? All will answer, yes. Then from such causes, how was sin produced? The reader will easily see that the question cannot be answered. And now, dear reader, if you will turn and look at the passages of scripture to which we have referred in the subject, you will see that they afford no authority, for believing that either gods or angels ever refused to worship when commanded. The passage in Psalms 97: 7-"Worship him all ye gods," and that in Hebrews, 1: 6, "Again when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels worship him," no doubt alluded to Jesus Christ-but we ask, was he brought into the world, before or since the first transgression of man ? Since, most assuredly. Then, supposing that millions of angels had refused to worship him, when he was brought into the world, and sinned thereby, we inquire, what effect their refusal could have on man's transgression? Surely none, for a cause cannot be posterior to its effect. Therefore, to suppose that those angels, who never sinned till long after man became a transgressor, were the instigators of what is called the fall of man, discovers a want of correct calculation.

And further, what authority have we from scripture for believing that the command to worship was disobeyed? We find nothing connected with either passage, that intimates there was any refusal among the gods or among the angels. Nor is there any need of supposing, that, by the term god, in one of the passages, and of angels in the other, any other beings are intended, than those of men.

With regard to the command for all the gods to worship him, we remark, that scripture states, "They were called gods to whom the word of God cameand the scriptures cannot be broken." And the com

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