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government of the church. It is gratifying to know that other minds are being led to the same conclusions regarding a subject of such vital importance to the future of Christianity.
In writing the present work I have endeavored to present the Scriptural solution of this great problem, a solution which takes into account, and gives due respect to, historic Christianity, the prophecies respecting the church and its destiny, and the fundamental characteristics of our holy religion as it emanated from the divine Founder.
If this work can be of service in pointing out Christ's plan and purpose to “gather together in one the children of God which are scattered abroad," and also be instrumental in helping to accomplish this grand Christian ideal, I shall feel abundantly repaid.
F. G. SMITH. Anderson, Indiana, May 6, 1919.
XII The Medieval Period
XIII Era of Modern Sects...
XIV The Last Reformation
"THE TIME OF REFORMATION"
In ecclesiastical history the term Reformation has been applied specifically to the important religious movement of the sixteenth century which resulted in the formation of the various Protestant churches of that period. Since the sixteenth century there have been other religious reformations, some of considerable importance and influence.
There is a present reformation specially distinguished from all those that have gone before. A present
It is resulting from the particular reformation
operation of the Spirit of God as predicted in the Word of God, and its influences are being felt in varying degrees throughout all Christendom. Many Christians are already stirred to action by the conscious knowledge of Christ's message for these times, while multiplied thousands of others who love the Lord Jesus are experiencing within their own hearts the awakening of new aspirations and impulses, the real meaning of which they do not as yet understand, but which are, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, unconsciously fitting them for their true place in this great world-wide movement which is destined to exceed in importance and influence all other religious reformations since the days of primitive Christianity.
Since, as we shall show, the present reformation is the work of the Spirit affecting all true Christians, drawing them together for the realization of a grand Scriptural ideal, it is evident that no particular band of people enjoy its exclusive monopoly. May the same Holy Spirit illuminate our hearts and minds in the contemplation of the truths of the divine Word.
The term reformation signifies “the act of reforming or the state of being reformed; change from worse to better; correction or amendment of life, manners, or of anything vicious or corrupt.” In its application to the religion of Christ, reformation means the correction of abuses and corrupt practises that have become associated with the Christian system; the elimination of all unworthy, foreign elements. In other words, it implies restoration, a return to the practises and ideals of primitive Christianity.
If we inquire concerning the limits of true reformatory work, we see at once that, if there is to What the final
be a final reformation, such a reformation
movement must restore in its
fundamental aspects apostolic Christianity—its doctrines, its ordinances, its personal regenerating and sanctifying experiences, its spiritual life, its holiness, its power; its purity, its gifts of the Spirit, its unity of believers, and