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of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Acts 13: 47.
Surely this was a glad morning to the inhabitants of earth, who for long centuries had sat enshrouded in the night of sin. Brilliant, transplendent light broke forth in the earth, salvation waters began to flow, and thousands were made to rejoice in a Redeemer's love. They could say, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.' Rom. 13:12. The gospel message was like “a light that shineth in a dark place”; and as people accepted it, Christ entered into their life, like a beautiful "day-dawn” and “day-star” (2 Pet. 1:19). Oh, how beautiful, clear, and bright was the dawning of the gospel day!
The gospel of salvation that Christ preached penetrated the dark places of sin and idolatry, like sun-rays driving back the darkness of night. Wickedness in the hearts and lives of men gave way to grace and truth. Christ established his church. True holiness adorned her fair brow Unity and purity were her chief characteristics. Of her it is said, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” S. of Sol. 4:7. And again, “My dove, my undefiled is but one." S. of Sol. 6:9. Unity and purity are inseparable; one can not exist without the other. Holiness is the mainspring of all gospel truth. It is a golden thread which runs all through the New Testament. As long as the people of God possessed true holiness, they were one and were fortified against all apostasy. We read of the believers assembled on the day of Pentecost, “They were all with one accord in one place." After the church had multiplied to thousands, “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of one soul” (Acts 4:32). The reason of this was that "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” and that “great grace was upon them all." Judgment went forth against sin with such authority that “of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.” “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” Acts 5:11. “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one." Acts 5: 12-16.
Such was the church of God in her primitive glory. Clothed with the authority, power, light, salvation, holiness, and truth, of Christ, her great head, she went forth against the combined kingdoms of sin and darkness. The church shone in the earth, because it reflected the light of Christ to sin-darkened souls. “Ye are the light of the world,” he said to his disciples. Truly, in those days her light shone as the bright morning sun.
The Primitive Church.
As we stand on the summit of present truth and point our telescope back over the mists and clouds that move along at our feet, and over the twelve hundred and sixty years of utter darkness that extend far beyond, even into the third century, we behold, on the mountains of God's own holiness, the temple of God, resplendent with the morning light of his own glory. With admiration we view her; and, behold, she is “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." She is "all fair,” the city of the great king. That golden city is the primitive church.
As set forth in the oracles of God, her prominent attributes are the following: Divinity, Organization, Visibility, Oneness, Unity, Catholicity, Exclusiveness, Holiness, Unchangeableness, Indestructibility, and Perpetuity.
These we shall consider in their order.
THE DIVINITY OF THE CHURCH.
She is of divine origin. Her inception is coeval in the mind of God with that of the plan of salvation. Her origin, being the immediate