"Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep deliver thee from the STRANGE WOMAN, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the Guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life." Proverbs 2:11,16-19.

How came THE REFORMATION of the past?

The Reformation did not and does not consist in exposure and enunciation of the iniquities of the Roman church. That is included in The Reformation, as an incident; because it is of the essence of Christianity to hate iniquity, as it is to love righteousness. It was the iniquities, enormities, and desolations, wrought by the Roman church, that caused the universal desire and the pressing demand that there should be a reformation. Yet The Reformation was not wrought by magnifying or dwelling upon those things. The Reformation springs from another principle, lives in another atmosphere and works in another field than that.

If exposure and denunciation of the iniquities of that church could have wrought reformation, then The Reformation would have been in the world more than five hundred years before it was. The quotations of the many scathing words of denunciation and exposure of the Roman church on her own part, and of the papacy as a whole, and all by men of standing in that church itself--men who lived all their days and died in full and honored membership in that church; some of them now saints of that church--are sufficient to show that if that could work reforma- tion there was enough of it to have accomplished the most complete and perfect reformation.

The men whose preaching made The Reformation could have said all that they ever said, and more, in denunciation of the iniquity in the church, and the enormities of the Popes; and yet could have remained in good standing in that church, all their days: if they had still held that church to be the only and true church, and have held themselves in conformity with her accordingly.

All men saw the iniquities practiced. They actually felt them on every side. Nobles, kings, emperors, priests, bishops, cardinals, and councils called for reformation. Even Popes confessed the sore need of it. Princes and peoples wanted it for relief. The more observant of the clergy wanted it because of the fear that without it there would be such an universal uprising of the people in wrathful retaliation as would literally wipe out the whole order of the clergy.

But from whatever cause a reformation was desired, it was always sought without righteousness. It was from men only, and not from God. And it was in this way from the very men who were essentially the cause of the demand for reform, and were essentially of the thing that must be reformed:that is, the church. Inevitably all such attempts must be flat failures. How dismal was the effort--the failure--of the Council of Constance at reformation, when what was considered the best that it could do to save the church, --the burning of Huss and Jerome--was the worst thing that it could possibly do, for any cause or for any reason!

The explanation of this blank incongruity, and the key of the whole vicious circle of self-involved contradictions, is in the fact that all those men who denounced the Popes and their evil practices, and the extortions and oppressions of the clergy, held that the church of which all these evils were but the expression, was the true and only church! Even when they were compelled to admit that the church was inextricable involved in it all, and when they were thus required to reflect even upon the church, this was always done with the reservation and apology that in spite of all this she was the true and only church. They denounced the men and the activities of the men, even of the Popes and the papal court, but still apologized and pleaded for the machine. They condemned the evil practices, but justified the system by which alone it was possible that those practices could not only be perpetuated, but could even exist.

The times were evil, but "the church," which made the times what they were, was "righteous!"

Church-men were bad; but "the church," whose members and the expression of whose life those church-men essentially were, was "good!"

Customs were pernicious; but "the church," whose the customs essentially were, was "the abode of sanctity!"

Practices were abominable; but "the church," which invented many and profited by all of these practices, was "holy!" Popes were demoniac; but "the church," of which the Popes were "the head"--the acting will, the guiding mind--was "divine!"

See the grand churches and magnificent cathedrals! Hear the "heavenly" music of the "Divine" chants! Catch the impressive odor of the "holy" incense! Feel the awe of the "solemn" services, as the richly-robed ecclesiastics minister at the "altar," kneel before the "host," and move in "holy" procession! Think of the wide extent of her "missions!" Behold her "perfect organization," by which she executes as by one man the wonders of her will, holds empires in awe, and rules the world! Is not that the true and holy church?

The church was "the ark of God," "the ship of Salvation." The pilot, the captain, and the crew, might all be pirates, and use every nation of the ship only for piratical purposes, and load her to the sinking point with piratical plunder, and keep her ever headed straight toward perdition, yet "the grand old ship" herself was all right and would come safely to the heavenly port. Therefore, "cling to the ark," "stand by the old ship," and you will be safe and will land at last on the heavenly shore.

Such in essence is the conception held, and that for ages has been inculcated. Cardinal Baronius describes the fearful conditions of the church in the ninth century: "Christ was then assuredly sleeping a profound sleep in the bottom of His vessel whilst the winds battered it on all sides, and covered it with the waves of the sea. And what was more unfortunate still, the disciples of the Lord slept more profoundly than He, and could not awaken Him either by their cries or clamors." And in the General Council of Basle, 1432, The Pope's legate exhorted the Bohemians that: "In the time of Noah's flood, as many as were without the ark perished."

So long as this delusion was systematically inculcated, blindly received, and fondly hugged, of course reformation was impossible! But as soon as there arose men with the courage of conviction and the confidence of truth and spoke out plainly and flatly that the Roman system is not The Church at all in any feature or in any sense, then The Reformation had begun!

God has provided His Church as a place of protection for lost sheep He has carried safely home. He points to His Church and says,"Here is the patience of the saints; here are they who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12). God's True Church observes all of the Creator's commandments (including the seventh-day Sabbath {i.e., The Creation 7th Day}, Exodus 20: 8-11 and "The New Moons", Psalms 81:3,4; Isaiah 66:22,23-- along with the other holy times set aside by the Master in His plan of salvation for man.) Christians welcome the charge to "Be ye perfect.." and "Love your enemies...." His Church proclaims a whole health message without compromise with the world, (spiritual, mental, and physical, with its various reforms), in order to preserve the soul blameless to the coming of Christ. They are the ones who bear testimony that they have received "the faith of Jesus." The Church of Philadelphia, which is the last church to exist on this sin-sick planet, accepts the Son, and demonstrates "brotherly love." This love includes calling sin by its right name, and warning, rebuking, and entreating those professing to be followers of the Christ. The unity among His disciples, for which Jesus prayed, is experienced in His people. The gifts of the Spirit are manifested among those preparing for translation to the Heavenly City. "Signs and wonders follow the believers."

The "image of the beast" with "fallen Babylon" is no longer the Church of Christ. He points to The Modern Reformation, and says, "These are My commandment-keeping people-- 'repairers of the breach'."

How is it in the religious establishment that you attend? Do "the gates of hell" occasionally prevail against you and the people with whom you worship? Does your shepherd tell you that you are safely within the fold while you still find yourself in a lost condition now and again? Do you hear about eternal life but experience only the temporary "between temptations" kind? Then call out for the Good Shepherd, Jesus, the Christ! He will pull you safely to His "ark" and "the fellowship of His saints."

THE MODERN REFORMATION continues through the end, and all "who endure until the end shall be saved."

Will you be saved at last?


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