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I HAVE great pleasure in complying with a request to prefix a few introductory words to this work. I think it scriptural, seasonable, and practical. No part of divine truth can be neglected without spiritual loss, and it is too evident that the deep and mysterious doctrine of Revelation respecting evil spirits and good angels, has been far too much disregarded in our age. This has arisen, on the one hand, from the wide spread of infidel principles, and on the other from the unscriptural, idolatrous, extravagant attention paid to this subject in the Church of Rome, in which the good angels are worshiped, and the evil spirits brought forward to foster delusions. But we gain no solid victory over Popery, by omitting the truths which have been cor. rupted and abused. Our duty is rather to take forth the precious from the vile, and hold fast the simple and plain truth revealed for us and our children; thus shall we be as God's mouth to his people. Jer. xv. 10.
The friend who wrote this work has been careful not to go beyond the divine record, and to rest everything here stated on her own personal investigation of the words of the Most High. The reader will find it an edifying and appropriate work, bringing out plainly and perspicuously the scriptural testimony on the subject on which it treats; and I believe it to be specially suited to meet a want actually existing in the Church of Christ at this time.
There is an advantage in some respects in one mind, simply drawing its sentiments and conclusions from the Scriptures only, without the aid of any other mind; and this advantage the reader will have in this work. It gives not that fulness of truth which the communion of many minds gives, but we obtain by it more of the simplicity and plainness of the Scripture testimony.
Looking at the signs of the times, and the long neglect and unnatural denial of all angelic ministration or spiritual influence, and at the express predictions of
false Christs and false prophets, who shall show signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they should deceive the very elect, and that when men receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved, for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, I cannot but think there is a painful prospect of a sudden recoil and religious revul. sion from the present unbelief and misbelief, to an unnatural and undistinguishing CREDULITY, when AntiChrist shall appear in his latest form,“ with signs and lying wonders.” I would therefore leave an earnest caution on the minds of my readers—Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God. The Scriptures have forewarned us beforehand, that we may not be led away with the error of the wicked and fall from our own steadfastness.
My hope is that this work may tend much to increase the watchfulness, call forth the prayers, strengthen the faith, enliven the hopes, and cheer the hearts of Christians, contending with our mighty spiritual enemies, and succoured by those yet mightier angels who are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. In the increasing intenseness of the conflict, we shall proba. bly soon more urgently need every aid of this kind. May it please God thus to assist many in attaining that final victory which is sure to every faithful follower of Christ, for “He that is in us is stronger than he that is in the world."
The eternal power and godhead of the Most High, are, as St. Paul tells us, invisible things, yet clearly seen and to be understood even of the heathen, by those things which he hath made. Rom. i. 20. The order and harmony of creation, the wonderful manner in which all things are upheld, preserved, perpetuated, or reproduced, appeal to the natural reason and conscience of man, bespeaking some mighty, creative, over-ruling hand, directed by a wisdom and knowledge to which no mortal may attain. And this recognition is all but universal. However false, however distorted, however debased by the most wretched folly, superstition and crime, we find the principle of Deism in some form established throughout the world.
But beyond this, man cannot go; he sees that God is powerful, and if the desperate wickedness of his own