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BENEFIT OF THE RISING GENERATION, IN
LEADING THEM INTO TRUTH..
BY ELIAS SMITH,
Him shall ye hear in all things.-Peter.
PUBLISHED BY ABEL BROWN, AND SOLD AT HIS BOOK-
STORE : 501) ALSO BY THE BOOKSEKLERS (X BOSTON.
TO MINISTERS, SAINTS OF EVERY DENOMINA
TION, PARENTS AND CHILDREN.
HISTORIANS mention the Golden age, the Silver age, the Brass age, the Iron age, besides these, we have had, the Popish age, the Episcopal age, the Presbyterian age, the Congregational age, the Baptist age, the Methodist age, and the Hopkinsian age.
There has been times, when some one of these have for a while triumphed over all the rest; either by ruling the others, or in boasting that their arguments were best supported from scripture. Among the rest, one age, improperly called, “ the age of reason,” has, in swift succession passed by those of the present generation, with the other ages. These ages are behind all of the present day ; excepting those who have the disadvantage of having their eyes the back side of their heads, instead of having them below their foreheads.
At such a time as this, when multitudes are looking forward for something better than can
be found in any of the above named ages ; can it be amiss to begin another age, " The Age of Enquiry,” to enquire into what is wrong and leave it behind, and enquire what is right, and possess it forever? I think this is worthy of being attended to by all of the present generation.
I here mention a few particulars to shew the propriety of an age of enquiry.
1. It is the command of God-Ezek. xxxvi. 37, “ Thus saith the Lord, I will yet for this be ENQUIRED of by the house of Israel.
2. The prophets are an example for us in this, 1 Pet. i. 10, “ Of which salvation the prophets have ENQUIRED, and searched diligently.”
3. It is a direction of one of the prophets, Isa, xxi. 12, “ The watchmap said, the morning cometh and also the night : if ye will enQUIRE, enquire ye : return, come.”
4. There is a way for us to enquire to advantage, that is, in the word of God, 1 Kings, xxii. 5. “And Jehosaphat said unto the king of Israel, ENQUIRE, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
Those who wish for more encouragement to begin the age of enquiry than these four things give, are requested to begin their enquiry after truth in the scriptures of truth, and they will find a reward in proportion as they enquire at the word of the Lord Jesus.
I close this introduction, with an address to four classes of people.
1. To Ministers of the gospel, of every de . nomination.-Brethren, you must be sensible that there is at this day a want of that oneness which Christ prayed for, among those who give considerable evidence of being called to preach the gospel of Christ. This gives the world occasion to think that the Father has not sent the Son ; and that the Son has not sent those who say they are Christ's ministers, This we all know is tbe case in our day. On this account there is great need of our entering into an ENQUIRY, to know the cause of this.
I think one great difficulty among ministers is this ; endeavouring to prove different things from the scriptures. There is but one doctrine true, and that is plainly revealed.
The only remedy I can think of in this affair is, not to search for proof for one thing or another for that truth which is there revealed. To do this we must lay aside every thing of our own, and all the commands and doctrines of men, hear Christ in all things, and be willing to be the ministers of Christ without any human isms, or ians connected with it. In this way, we shall be united, and in no other. All such I invite into the present age of Enquiry, to endeavour to ENQUIRE wisely, concerning this thing.