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This is a part of what is rightly named “the offensive doctrines of grace.” But, recollect, reader, it is not the grace of God, for that brings salvation to all men, instead of a destructive deception. But, who loves the character of the deluder? If panthers and tygers love creatures of their own nature and description, we may presume that deceiver's love him who they say, deceives or deludes men to their eternal damnation! Here let us pause, for a moment, and attend to a few serious and important questions. Because, if the God we adore, send strong delusions, where, beneath these heavens, shall we look for safety? Shall we call on the reverend clergy? But how do we know they are not sent by him, who sends strong delusions? They surely profess to be in his service; and who knows but they are sent on that inglorious errand ? None of them will be offended at these suggestions, unless they have set themselves above all which they call God, or worship. But would the pious divines be willing to set off their names with the abbreviations of Sender of Strong Delusion? If we had not a better opinion of them, than they have of their God, they would lose all their influence and strength, and salaries likewise ! For, who, let us ask, would employ a man to preach, believing he would bring a great delusion, that his hearers might believe a lie, and be damned? In whom do people repose the most confidence, while they believe their God will send strong deceptions, but that the preacher, whom he has sent, will not deceive them? If this be not worshipping the creature more than the Creator, what is ? But, dear reader, which is the most reasonable, to suppose the learned, wise and pious ministers are mistaken, and have widely misunderstood the text, or, that “ the wisdom which is from above, pure, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy,” is engaged in deluding, deceiving and damning the greatest part of the world? Look over this question and answer it as reason may dictate; but, let God be true, though every man a liar.
Having briefly exposed a few of the innumerable absurdities, which follow the exposition that divines give the text, let us seek for a light which will illumine this region of darkness, and unfold the meaning of a passage, the most enigmatical and perplexing of any found in the letters of Paul. This may be done, by paying suitable attention to the preceding context. Observe, in verses 9 and 10, we read of him whose coming is after the working of satan, with all power and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness or delusion." And who is it that is thus described? Open your bible, reader, and know whether the answer be correct. We assert, that omitting the two first words, in the 9th verse, (even him) which are printed in italie, to designate an interpolation, or that they were added by the translators, the literal reading is, that the Lord Jesus is the personage spoken of! Look for yourself. Unless we supply some words, Jesus is the character spoken of, whose coming is after the working of satan, with lying wonders, and all delusion!
To read and understand it, without an addition, would be deemed, by many, blasphemous; because it ascribes the deception to the Son of God!
But, look a moment. Is it worse to suppose that he whom the Father hath sent, is a deceiver, than that his God sends strong delusion? The same word which is rendered deceivableness in the 10th verse, is rendered, delusion in the 11th.* These words are perfectly synonymous, though, according to our English dictionaries, the latter is more incompatible with the character of God, than the former. We think it will appear evident to those who are not fettered by education and prejudice, that the same character and the same deception is intended, in both cases. We mean that he, whose coming is with all deceivableness or delusion, sends the same in its strength, to make men believe a lie. If the God spoken of in verse 11th, mean our Father in heaven, we should honor the Son as we do the Father, in calling him the agent by which it was effected; and the literal, unaltered words of the context, will support us in so doing. But to break up the connexion, as expositors do, and
say, God sends deceivableness, because the man of sin comes with all deception, is horrible beyond compare. Would not the delusion be sufficiently strong and efficacious, in the hands of him who had it all, without the woful interposition of the God of truth? But we are told it is God who sends the delusion, according to text. Be it so; but let us inquire, what God sends it, according to the preceding * See post page 65, an non of words acknowledged
context? Is it not the god of deception? By casting an eye back to verse 3d, you will find the man of sin, the son of perdition spoken of; “who opposeth, and exalteth himself, above all which is called God, or that is worshipped, so that as God, he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
This is the only God which is mentioned, from the 4th to the 11th verse ; and is called the opposing, self-exalted, self-shown God. He is above idols, which are also called Gods; for they are dependent, being made, named and exalted by their worshippers ; their godship is creature-made, and they are inactive, speechless and senseless. But the mysterious iniquities of the god of whom Paul spake, had
ready began their operation, when he wrote; and he who prevented the exposure of it, would continue so to do, till taken out of the way. Should it be thought presumptuous to call the man of sin, a god, we would remark, that we ascribe nothing worse to him, than others do to the true God; and, further, that the scriptures warrant us in so doing; where we read of “ the God of this world or age,” 2 Cor. 4. 4; " whose God is their appetite,” Phil. 3. 19 and many other places. “Though there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be Gods many and Lords many,” still there is but one God of truth and mercy, on whom we may depend, without disappointment, or fear of treachery and delusion. Yea, should men and angels attempt to destroy the glory of his character, by representing him in the place of a deceiver, we would do well to remind them, that it was not the first time the glory of the incorruptible God, had been changed to the character of corruptible man.
1. If the God whom Paul worshipped sent strong delusion, why did he represent the self-styled god, on the side of opposition? Did the opposing god strive to prevent the deception ? He must, in order to oppose! When Jehovah becomes the immediate cause of man's delusion, the apcient maxim must be reversed, and read, “Great is the LIE and it shall prevail !" But attribute the deception to whom it belonged, the god of that age, and the whole mystery vanishes in a moment. If the translators had done as much for verse 11, as they did for verse 9, the text would have read, “For this cause, that god shall, &c.” That is; because some of the Thessalonian Church, received the truth, but not in the love of it, being hypocrites, the god of deception would take advantage of their situation, and make them believe a lie.
2. The revelation of the man of sin, is his destruction.When the cause of deception is revealed or made known, men will no longer be deceived or deluded by it. On the opposite, when Jesus is revealed in glory, he will be beloved and obeyed. The reason why he was rejected was, because men were deceived. But when the truth is made known, the deception is destroyed. If the false god be a deceiver, the true God will oppose him by exposing the deception; and then he will not exist, any more than darkness can in the light of heaven! The deluding of men made the god of that age, inglorious ; a revelation of the truth will render Jesus, glorious. The former made men believe a lie, that they might be damned; the latter leads them into the truth, which is salvation. . Such is the striking contrast of the two characters. If our views be correct, the 2d chapter of Thessalonians, so far from foretelling a great apostacy by the revelation of that Wicked, foretold the prevention of a greater apostacy, in that Church, by the revelation of Jesus, and the destruction of the man of sin.
(To be continued.)
OBITUARY, Died, at Westbrook, Nov. 28, 1821, the widow Thankful Berry, aged 78. It might he said of her, as of Mary, she had found the one thing needful; the supreme love of Christ in her heart. We speak to the disparagement of none, in saying, that for industry, economy, liberality and friendship united, Mrs. Berry has not been excelled by any woman in the vicinity of her residence. In her, every amiable virtue seemed to meet, forming an almost perfect moral picture. Not a tongue of slander can be raised against her, without doing violence to the sacred rules of truth. In her old age she was calm, patient and resigned. In whatever situation she was in, she had learned therewith to be content. During her last illness she viewed DEATH as a friend, though the administration of his office were painful. Not a murmur, and scarcely a sigh was heard from her lips. For many years she had professed a strong belief in the Universal Benevolence of God, in the final salvation of the whole world; and died in the faith rejoicing.
Thus may I bathe my weary soul,
In seas of heavenly rest ;
Across my peaceful breast.
THE SAVIOUR'S PRAISE.
Effulgent Sun of day!
Through realms of ether run,
0, tell what LOVE hath done ;
All lands among,
The SAVIOUR'S NAME.
Let music fill the sky;
Ye hosts, be rais'd on high :
The Saviour's NAME.
While TIME itself remains,
Let heav'n and earth unité,
His praise, whose love is LIGHT;
In songs of joys,
The SAVIOUR'S NAME.
Let Gab'rel now descend
And tune his golden lyre,
Impart bis heav'nly fire:
And sound abroad,
The SAVIOUR'S NAME.
The Lord Almighty's call,
And God be ALL IN ALL ;
The WORLD shall love
The SAVIOUR'S NAME.