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OR,

RELIGIOUS DECLENSION.

ITS NATURE, INDICATIONS, CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES,

AND REMEDIES.

AN ESSAY

BY

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DAVID EVERARD FORD,

' DECAPOLIS,” “CHORAZIN,"

9

AUTHOR OF

DAMASCUS,

ETC.

Unto the angel of the church in LAODICEA, write ;--I know thy works,
that thou art neither cold nor hot.... As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten :
be zealous, therefore, and repent."-- Rev, iii. 14, 15, 19.

LONDON:
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.,

STATIONERS'-HALL COURT.

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PREFACE.

CIRCUMSTANCES, of little interest to the reader, although of great importance to myself, have delayed this book long beyond the time intended for its publication. As, however, the preceding volumes are not yet quite forgotten, and this will in all probability be the last, some who purchased the others may not be disinclined now to complete the series. Relying on this persuasion, and desirous not to increase the price, I have ventured on a larger impression than a limited demand will justify.

I am aware that the present treatise will have to contend with one peculiar difficulty, which will greatly interfere with its circulation ; —the class for whom it is chiefly intended will be indisposed to read it. A further hinderance may be expected on other grounds. It is not unlikely that some, who are “ at ease in Zion,”

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will think this Essay a libel on the piety of the times, and on that account, so far as their influence extends, will discountenance its sale. Nevertheless, I cherish the hope that God will prosper it, notwithstanding. And, should it never repay the cost of publication, if through its instrumentality one backslider should be led to ask again for “the old paths,” to find “the good way, and to walk therein,” I shall in no wise lose my reward.

If, in a few instances, a similarity of thought and expression to an anonymous article which appeared some time since, in one of our religious periodicals, should be found in these pages, a circumstance, which will readily occur to the mind of the reader, renders further explanation unnecessary. This, I think it right to mention, because nothing is more contemptible than plagiarism.

D. E. F.

Manchester, August 29, 1844.

LAODICEA.

CHAPTER I.

RELIGIOUS DECLENSION, AS TO ITS

NATURE.

RELIGION, properly so called, is the love of God, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, Rom. v. 5. In its lowest condition, it presupposes regeneration, John iii. 3; for regeneration is the commencement of spiritual life ; and no man is a religious man, in the Christian acceptation of the term, unless he is renewed in the spirit of his mind, Eph. iv. 23, and justified by faith, 1 Cor. vi. 11.

The necessary transformation of character which marks the conversion of a soul from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, Acts xxvi. 18, is, of all changes incidental to humanity, the most remarkable and the most important. The man, who when dead in trespasses and sins walked according to

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