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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 worshipped, and the evil spirits brought forward to foster delusions. But we gain no solid victory over Popery, by omitting the truths which have been corrupted 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 every thing here stated on her own personal investigation of the words of the Most High. Without having given it that minute and careful consideration that would justify me in universally approving of every sentiment, I have read enough of the work itself, and know enough of the writer, to say with confidence. that 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 shew 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 revulsion 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 stedfastness.
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 fellow Christians, contending with our mighty spiritual