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divine revelation, in England, whose assertions as to these things are equally blasphemous. They are to be found in certain pamphlets bearing the signature of
This woman, from a very obscure and menial situation in Exeter, has, by pretending to divine communication, and an external conversation with God, risen into ease and plenty, by means of a few deluded persons in London. These pamphlets, written by herself, contain a'summary of the most consummate ignorance, ribaldry$ spiritual pride and blasphemy, nowise inferior to what is contained in the impious writings of £)avid George. They declare, that this vain woman is sent from heaven to denounce destruction to all persons, and all governments, who do not obey the divine command, which, she says, is thus delivered by her: her disciples are to receive a sealj folded in a letter, which is not to be opened by them; but, when the destruction takes place, (which she has been for near twenty years past fixing in every succeeding year) it will preserve them from harm: she asserts*, that she is to have 144,000 of these sealed ones, which, she pretends, is the 144,000 spoken of in the Revelation; she being the woman there mentioned, clothed with the sun: that the Spirit of God has commanded her to choose seven men, who are her seven saints, and that these seven men are to judge the earth, answering to the seven spirits before the throne of God: that she was also commanded to select twenty-four men from her infatuated followers, who are her twenty-four elders, answering to the twenty-four elders before the throne.
Her books are written principally in a sort of low rhyme in the common ballad style, which are altogether ungrammatical, but which she maintains to be the language of the Spirit of God. So infatuated are her advocates, that some of them who have had a collegiate education, and who are devoted in life to officiate in sacred things, have the weakness to declare, that this scribbling is finer than the poetry of Homer. That the reader may judge whether the reverend gentlemen are justified in giving her rhyme so high a character, I have selected the following lines:
"Simple among the sons of men
"If you can judge the heav'nly sound,
Such woman ne'er on earth was found,
To give such challenge unto man
And say that I am in her form.
Look, here's a woman, now believe it true,
That here's a woman taken from my side,
That I've declared to man to be my bride.
I have changed the manhood and the Godhead's here.''
Ye men of learning, mark well what she saith.
Thus she also pretends to prophesy from the audible voice of the Spirit of God, in answer to the dreams, follies and whims, of those who countenance these tales. With all this train of blasphemies, it is scarcely possible to suppose, that men could have been found weak and vain enough to believe the impious declarations, contained in this woman's pamphlets. But the blindness of fallen human nature, when led by its own spirit, is such, that scripture and reason are rejected, and that most abominable of all pride, viz. that of pretending to an immediate conversation with the awful Majesty of heaven, is set up in their stead.
WILHELMINA OF BOHEMIA.
This Bohemian lady presumed to have an immediate intercourse with Heaven, got together a considerable number of followers, and though it is said, "other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ;" yet she persuaded many, that the Holy Spirit had become incarnate in her, to save a great part of mankind.
She evaded the force of the arguments of her opponents, respecting the application of the redemption by Christ, to all descriptions of people, by saying, that he came only to save believing Christians; but that through the Holy Spirit which dwelt in her, Jews, unbelieving Christians and Pagans, were to obtain salvation: that a* Christ was made manifest in her, all the particulars which are recorded to have heen done by him, were to be again done by her, as proof of the truth of her mission.
Lodowick Muggleton, an Englishman, by trade a tailor, in the year 1657, began to hold forth strange opinions, and for a time was followed by a few ignorant persons, and they were called after him Muggletonians. With him was associated a person of the name of Reeves, who declared, that Christ had spoken to him from the throne of his glory, saying, " I have given thee understanding of my mind, in the scriptures, above all the men in the world; I have chosen thee my last messenger, for a great work unto this bloody, unbelieving world, and I have given thee Lodowick Muggleton to be thy mouth."
Thus they declared themselves to be great prophets, and that their mission was altogether spiritual. They publicly preached themselves to be the Lord's two last witnesses, mentioned in the Revelation, who were to make their appearance some short time before the personal coming of Christ, and the end of the world. They denied the doctrine of the Trinity, and affirmed that God the Father, who was in the form of a man, came down from heaven and suffered in a human body.
Though the Atheist cannot be classed with any sect of religious professors, he being
"Farther reraov'd from God and light of heav'n,"
than the most abandoned libertine; yet it seems proper, in a work of this nature, to say something concerning this description of men, if there be any such in reality. For 1 have no doubt, however the professing Atheist may deny the existence of a Supreme Being, that in his moments of serious contemplation, he is frequently troubled on account of his impious profession; and being altogether in a state of uncertainty as to tbp truth of his declarations, he often trembles at the awful consequences, lest he should be one of that number mentioned in sacred writ, viz. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God."
In all ages, there have been those, who have professed to believe, that all things were produced without the creative influence of the Creator, that creation in all its beauteous and harmonious order, rose from chaotic confusion, the offspring of chance! thus we find it on record in the sacred scripture, "the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." Also among the Greeks and Romans, this opinion has been professed by some, and in the different nations of Europe at the present day, there are men who profess to believe,- that there is no God:
* See Dr. Valpy's Address to his Parishioners, 3d edition, p. 9.