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by Dr. John Thomas
Hence, they pretend to preach "the terrors of the law".
But "religion" got by such a process is worth nothing.
Nay; I will retract this.
It is worth something.
A religion of terror, so long as it is believed, is useful as a system of ecclesiastical police; which, associated with the civil and military forces, assists materially in keeping the world in awe.
But for the fear of what may be hereafter, professors would be as lawless as the antediluvian giants; and thus, by the ecclesiastical antagonism of society being destroyed, the earth would be filled with violence as before the flood.
Superstition is useful in maintaining order until the period shall arrive to supersede it by "wisdom and knowledge," which will be the stability of the times pertaining to the kingdom of God.
But as a means of inheriting this kingdom, and of entitling men to the crown of righteousness, a religion which works by terror is utterly worthless.
Remove the terror, and the religion's gone; except in so far, indeed, as the possession of it is necessary to the preservation of its "temporalities," "vested interests," and worldly advantages.
But the "pure and undefiled religion" of God has no present temporalities or worldly interests.
It has no "lands, tenements, and hereditaments"; nor "states," colleges, or "sacred edifices".
It is like the Son of God in the days of his flesh; homeless, houseless, and poverty-stricken among the sons of men.
It has great riches, and good things in store for the poor in this world who are rich in faith; it promises them the possession of the world with all the honour, and glory, and riches of it, with endless life for the enjoyment of them; but, it requires faith in God with filial obedience to His law, in a time of tribulation, as the condition of the inheritance.
It is perfectly absurd to imagine that men who are revelling in all the luxuries, conveniences, and comforts of life; enjoying the honour, glory, and friendship of the world, as do the ecclesiastics of antichristendom in their several ranks, orders, and degrees; to suppose, I say, that such can inherit the Kingdom of God with Jesus, and that "cloud of witnesses," of whom Paul says "the world was not worthy," is preposterous.
If men would reign with Christ they must believe his doctrine, and suffer with him, in enduring persecution for the word's sake.
They must separate themselves from "the churches," both State and Nonconformist, which have a name to live, but are dead in trespasses and sin.
The whole system is rotten; and awaits only the manifestation of the Lord's presence to be abolished with signal marks of his displeasure.
Therefore, let all honest men, lay and clerical, who shall believe the truth, come out from among them, and be separate.
Better stand alone for the Kingdom of God's sake, than be numbered with the multitude in the day of Christ, who will be denied permission to "eat of the tree of life and live for ever".
When man was expelled from Paradise, the Lord God, apprehending some new act of presumption, placed a guard over the tree of lives.
This tree, it will be remembered, was planted in the midst of the garden.
Now, when Adam was driven out, "the Lord placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life".
This would seem to indicate that Adam was driven out in an easterly direction; had he gone westward, the tree of life would have been between him and the Cherubim; so that it would still have appeared accessible, and have tempted him to try to get at it; which would doubtless have been his destruction.