Page images

classed with the sects of fallen Babylon. The only way to obtain membership in the new-testament church is to get salvation; so all its members are saved. We lose our membership in the church of God the moment we commit sin. “He that committeth sin is of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. But sects are full of sinners. There is no identity whatever between the church that Christ built and sect-Babylon.

Sixth. Christ takes the members into his church, whereas the preacher takes members into the sect. “But now hath God set the members every one in the body as it hath pleased him.” 1 Cor. 12:18. “The Lord added to the church daily.” Acts 2:47. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Col. 1: 13. Inducting into the church of God is a work of the Almighty. Men can not take you in. They can preach the Word, instruct souls in the way of righteousness, but setting us in the church is beyond their power. “God sets the members every one of them in the body.” When a sinner repents and complies with all the Bible requirements, the Lord saves him and adds him to the church of God. He has not, by virtue of salvation, been added to any sect. The preacher takes him into these institutions. But their excuse is this: They say that the Lord saves and adds to the invisible church, while they take members into the visible. In this, however, they are mistaken. The church of God existed centuries before their sects arose.

Was it visible or invisible? Was the church of God in the days of the apostles an invisble institution? No; it was visible. The same is true today.

So from whatever standpoint we may view sectarian institutions in the light of the Bible, they are no part of, and have no identity with, the pure church of God. Hence there is positively no lawful excuse for their existence.

A Cloudy Time.

The Protestant age is well represented in Scripture as a cloudy day. The primitive glory was seen as a morning without clouds; the papal age, as a long dark night. The Protestant age is far from the transplendent light and glory of the apostolic days, and yet it is not so dark as the time when popery ruled the religious world. The Protestant age presents a mixture of truth and error, of light and darkness, of salvation and sin. It is not clear day, as in the beginning, nor et dark night, as was the age before it. Thus saith the prophet: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light; and bright ones shall withdraw themselves: but it shall be one day which is known unto Jehovah; not day, and not night.” Zech. 14:6, 7, American Standard Version.

The day foreseen in the above prophecy is the gospel day. First there was to be a clear morning, a beautiful sunrise. In that time the holy saints, like stars, shone brilliantly in the midst of this earth. But it was foreseen that these “bright ones” would withdraw themselves. The thousands who were martyred ascended to paradise; others lost the illumination-holiness-and drifted into apostasy; and those who remained true retired into a wilderness state of obscurity, while a beast-power, under a great apostate church, came visibly upon the field. This was a time of night. Of this period the prophet said, “There shall not be light.” Following this period there was to be a time when it was “not day, and not night.' This applies to the Protestant era. Ezekiel foretold this in the following words: “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” Ezek. 34:12. The era of Protestantism is the time during which God's people have been scattered; and this period is termed a cloudy day-a mixture of light and darkness.

« PreviousContinue »