December 1, 1892
IN the Scriptures the Christian’s relationship to Christ is described under the symbol of the marriage tie: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Romans 7:4. “I have espoused you to one husband.” 2 Corinthians 11:2. And the individual Christian is in this represented as having been espoused “as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
SUCH individuals gathered in fellowship form the Church of Christ. And the relationship to Christ of such collection of individuals is also described under the symbol of the marriage tie: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church…. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Ephesians 5:25-32.
IN accordance with this idea the Church of Christ is represented in the Scriptures as the purest and fairest of women, leaning upon the arm of her beloved; drawn to him with the drawings of his love; her only thought being of her beloved; to her the chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely, whose banner over her is love and who would present her to himself “a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Such is the Church to Christ; such is Christ to his Church; and such is the relationship between Christ and his Church.
TO such a church as this Christ committed his gospel to be by her made known to every creature. It is only such a church as this that can make known the gospel of Christ. That gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Romans 1:16. No one can make known that power who does not know that power for himself and in himself. And the Church could make known the power of God only by knowing the power in and for herself. And that power being known only by faith, in the nature of things it is only by abiding faithful to her Lord that the Church could fulfill the work of the gospel committed to her trust.
AGAIN: The gospel is Christ in men the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27. This is what the Church of Christ is to make known to men. No one can make known Christ in men who for himself does not know Christ in men who for himself does not know Christ in himself. It pleased God “to reveal his Son in me that I might preach him.” Galatians 1:16. But Christ dwells in men only by faith: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” Ephesians 3:17. It is evident, therefore, that the only way in which the Church can make known Christ in men the hope of glory, is to have, and to know, Christ revealed in herself. And as this is only known by faith it is evident that it is only by abiding faithful to Christ that she can know Christ in herself or make him known in men.
ONCE more: In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed; and the righteousness of God only. And it is the righteousness of God only which the Church of Christ is to know, and which she is to make known to all the world. This is the ministry of the gospel which is committed to the Church of Christ. This righteousness is known only by faith, and revealed only to faith. “Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” Romans 1:17, and 3:22. As, therefore, this righteousness is known only by faith, and is revealed only to faith, it is plain that it is only by abiding steadfast in faithfulness to Christ that the Church can know or make known the righteousness of God which is revealed in the gospel. And the sum of all these counts, and of many more that might be given, is simply to demonstrate over and over that it is only by abiding wholly in Christ, by trusting in him entirely, by depending upon him completely, by perfect faithfulness to him, that the Church can be what she must be in order to do what she is established to do.
SUCH was the Church of Christ in the beginning. Such is always the Church of Christ indeed. But such neither is nor has been the professed Church of Christ. For there has been an apostasy from Christ and from the true Church of Christ. In the apostles’ days the warning was given, “Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30. And there shall come “a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God…. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7.
THE Lord exalted his Church, and clothed her with the beautiful garments of salvation and righteousness, and the power of godliness, before the eyes of all the nations. He made her exceeding beautiful, and she prospered, and her renown went forth to all the world for her beauty; for it was perfect through His comeliness which He had put upon her. But not satisfied  with the exaltation which the Lord gave, which could come and remain only through her own humility, the Church grew haughty and exalted herself. Not content with the beauty of the Lord, which he had put upon her, she prided herself upon her own beauty; and instead of trusting in him for her beauty, she trusted in herself. Not content that God alone should be glorified in her, she glorified herself, and lived deliciously. Then, trusting in herself, priding herself upon her own beauty, magnifying her own merit, and satisfied with her own sufficiency,—this in itself was to put herself in the place of God. Then it was natural enough that she should seek to draw disciples to herself rather than to the Lord. Not only this, but having exalted herself, and magnified herself, and trusting in herself, it was impossible for her to draw disciples to anybody but herself. Thus came the apostasy. And thus, instead of remaining the Church of Christ in truth, manifesting to the world the mystery of God and of godliness, she became, though still professedly the Church of Christ, only the manifestation to the world of the mystery of self and of selfishness, which is the very mystery of iniquity.
THE CHURCH AT ROME
Pre-eminent in both phases of this career was the church at Rome. She was pre-eminent in apostasy, insomuch that this likewise has been spoken of throughout the whole world, and for nearly eighteen hundred years. As she had been so highly exalted and honored by the Lord, correspondingly low did she fall, and correspondingly dishonored did she become, when she exalted herself. As high as was her privilege while abiding in the faith, so correspondingly low was her degradation in her apostasy. As she had been perfect in beauty through the comeliness which the Lord had put upon her, so she became frightful in the ugliness of her own uncomely self-conscious pride of her own accomplishments, which were only evil.
POWER SHE MUST HAVE
As she was now trusting in her own merit and her own sufficiency, and seeking to draw disciples to herself, she was left to her own inventions to attract them. She accommodated herself to the ways of the sun-worshiping heathen; she perverted the right way of the Lord, and spake perverse things. She decked herself in gold and jewels and costly array. By such means her adherents multiplied greatly. But lo! just here she encountered a serious difficulty: she found it impossible of herself to hold her converts in subjection to her bidding. The chiefest trouble in this respect was in securing conformity to her will in the matter of the observance of Sunday as a holy day, which she had set up as the sign of her authority to command the obedience of men. To accomplish this she realized the want of a power beyond herself, a power other than her own. The power of God was not open to her in this; nor, in fact, in anything else that she commanded, for none of these things had the Lord required. It is the Church’s duty to obey God, not to command men. True, the power of God was still for her, and free to her, but the way to it lay only through sincere repentance, through humbling herself, and confession of sins, and separating from her heathen customs and from all iniquity. This she would not do. But power she must have and power she would have, even though it were illegitimate. Having forsaken the heavenly power she now sought for earthly power. Having forsaken the arm of the Lord, she sought the arm of man. Having disconnected herself from the kingdom of heaven, she would now connect herself with kingdoms of earth. Still trusting in her own beauty, and her own bedecking of silk and gold and precious stones and pearls, and holding in her hands the proffer of rich gifts to any lover that would receive her pernicious advances and form an alliance with her, she finally succeeded, through Constantine, in gaining imperial favor and forming an adulterous connection with an earthly lord. The now unholy Church formed an unholy connection with the unholy State. And the very first fruit of it was an imperial law enforcing her will in Sunday observance; and the next was the definite placing of the imperial authority at her disposal with which to compel conformity and to punish obstinate heretics.
FORMED AN ADULTEROUS UNION
Thus did she who had been espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ; she who had been joined in the bonds of pure and holy marriage to him who is perfect in power, in love, and purity; she who had known the blissful delights of his love—thus did she violate her virgin vows, break her marriage ties, and become a bloody, murderous harlot, and the very symbol of confusion. Accordingly, the next view that is given of her is this: “I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Revelation 17:3-6.
THE LORD WOULD HAVE HEALED BABYLON
And though in the course of time she had scattered her pernicious ways to all the heathen, and had indulged her lascivious propensities with every kingdom on earth, even yet the Lord would have healed Babylon. In the Reformation he sent a balm for her, if so be that she might be healed. But she would not. Therefore such as loved the Lord were obliged to forsake her. But lo! these that had forsaken her to join themselves to the Lord, instead of remaining faithful to him, followed her evil example, and forsook him and joined themselves also to the kingdoms of the earth in illicit connection. Thus it was with every professed Protestant church, except the Baptist, that ever had a chance, from the Reformation to the founding of the National Government of the United States. This Government, by utterly prohibiting to itself any connection with the Church or religion, intended to shut off all opportunity for any church to follow here the Romish-Babylonish example of joining itself to the national Government, though even then and ever since it was sorely against the will of some.
FOLLOWING THE SAME OCURSE
Yet in spite of this national principle of government, and in the face of the warnings of the history of eighteen hundred years, the churches of the United States for the last fifty years have been gradually drifting into the course of the original apostasy, and in the last fifteen years their progress in this way has been most rapid, until its culmination in the present year. We might here give representative facts showing the progress of this apostasy all the way; but what is the use of it when the final step has been taken the present year before the eyes of all the world. Everybody knows that for several years the professed Protestant churches of the United States have boasted of the greatness of their numbers, but yet have openly and repeatedly—by pulpit, platform, and press—confessed their lack of power to maintain the observance of Sunday as the “Christian Sabbath” by their own adherents. But what have they done to recover this loss of power? Did they resolve to insist upon strict conformity to discipline on the part of these disloyal adherents? No, no; instead of this, one prominent preacher lately expressed the sentiment that has pervaded all upon this subject, when he declared that he himself would go out of the Church, as he stated it, “body, boots, and breeches,” before he would discipline a single one of them. Did they resolve to preach the gospel fervently in the demonstration of the Spirit and power of God? No; for in this they experienced the same difficulty that was met in the original apostasy—they were compelled to confess that there is no “thus saith the Lord” for Sunday observance. There was therefore no authority of God to which they could appeal to arouse the conscience, no word of the Lord through which they could invoke the agency of the divine Spirit to touch the heart. Did they then act upon this confession of no “thus saith the Lord” for the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath, and turn about and seek to conform their ways to what the Lord has indeed spoken with his own voice and written with his own finger with respect to the day which shall be observed? No; they did not do this, either. What, then, did they do?
THEY DID THIS
Resolved, That we give our votes and support to those candidates or political officers who will pledge themselves to vote for the enactment and enforcing of statutes in favor of the civil Sabbath.
For several years they offered themselves upon this bid to all takers. But until the present year no opportunity was presented upon which they might act positively and decidedly upon the resolution which they had formed. The World’s Fair enterprise, however, when it was taken up by Congress, presented the very chance for which they had been looking. Consequently, at this they acted together as one body in demanding the Nation’s recognition and support of Sunday sacredness, in this way:—
Resolved, That we do hereby pledge ourselves and each other that we will, from this time henceforth, refuse to vote for or support for any office or position of trust nay member of Congress, either senator or representative, who shall vote for any further aid of any kind for the World’s Fair except on conditions named in these resolutions.”
The grand condition was that the gates should be closed on Sunday, so that the “Lord’s day” might not be desecrated.
THEY FOUND IT
God has said that he “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all  the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him.” Acts 17:26, 27. Here are these churches who find themselves sorely in need of a power beyond themselves, and other than their own. But instead of meeting the Lord’s mind and seeking him, and so setting a bright example to all men, they turn their backs upon the Lord and seek the Government of the United States, and feel after it,—and they found it, too. The Church of Christ is the Lord’s appointed agency through which he would call men unto himself that they may find in him deliverance from this present evil world. Now here are these professed churches of Christ who find themselves overloaded with worldly influences and worldly practices. But instead of seeking the Lord for deliverance from this burden of evil, they seek by the chiefest of worldly means a closer alliance with the highest source of worldly influences and worldly practices! For deliverance from an evil which they know, they seek the very source of that evil!! For deliverance from the power of the world, they enter by force into the possession of the greatest worldly power!!! Was there ever a more complete apostasy than this? Could the example of the original apostate church be more exactly followed than it has been in this procedure? And in this even the Baptist Church is in large measure included. Even she who had always kept herself clear of such an illicit connection has been carried away in this evil tide of apostasy; and all together joined hands with the original apostate church to make successful their determination to secure the power of earthly government.
VIOLATED VOWS AND BROKEN PLEDGES
Thus again have these, who had been espoused to Christ, who had been joined to him in the bonds of heavenly alliance, violated their vows and broken their marriage bonds to Him who is perfect in power, in love, and purity. Once more these have forsaken the heavenly power and sought for earthly power. They have forsaken the arm of the Lord and have put their confidence in the arm of flesh. They have forsaken the heavenly Husband and have formed an adulterous connection with an earthly lord. Once more the unholy Church has formed an unholy connection with the unholy State. And once more the very first fruit of it is a national law expressive of her will in the matter of Sunday observance: and the rest of the baleful fruit of such illicit connection will inevitably follow. Is it at all strange, therefore, that the following passage should have been printed, even some time ago, by a leading D.D. in one of the leading “Protestant” papers of the country? Discussing the question of the reunion of Christendom, he argued for it against certain ones thus:—
You would exclude the Roman Catholic Church, the mother of us all, the church of scholars and saints, such as Augustine, and Aquinas, and Bernard, and Fenelon: the church of all races, ranks, and classes, which already gives signs of becoming American as well as Roman…. You would exclude also the Protestant Episcopal Church, the beautiful daughter of a beautiful mother.
That was printed February 9, 1888, in the Evangelist, New York City, one of the two leading Presbyterian papers of the country. And from that time to this, never have we seen or heard a single word of protest or dissent from any of the professed evangelical Protestant churches of the country. This states their relationship to “Babylon, the mother of harlots,” as that of daughters; and even beautiful daughters, after the “beautiful mother.” Their silence is consent that the relationship is correctly stated. And their action in forsaking their rightful Lord and entering into this illicit union with another is positive demonstration the relationship is herein correctly given. For just as certainly as the original apostasy created “Babylon the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” just so certainly this apostasy in our day and in our country has created the harlot daughters of “Babylon the mother.” She is the mother only of “harlots and abominations.” By positive statement it has been said of them and for them that they are her daughters. By silence they have confessed it, and by action they have demonstrated it. And it is so. We are sorry; but so it is.
A. T. J.