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Title: The Scriptures Able to Make Us Wise Unto Salvation

Author: F. H. Berick

Release date: June 13, 2018 [eBook #57318]

Language: English

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Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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The Scriptures Able to Make Us Wise Unto Salvation

The Scriptures Able To Make Us Wise Unto Salvation;
Or The
Bible A Sufficient Creed.
Calhoun Brothers Steam Press.

There is no work, of human production, that contains such a variety of principles, which, when viewed as a whole, make such a complete system as the Bible. It is the great fund of knowledge. It reveals to us the mystery of creation. There we learn the character of God:—His attributes and perfection—His justice and mercy. There we learn the history of man—created as he was in the image of Him who rules the universe; endowed with intellectual powers, and moral capacity, perfect and upright—a candidate for immortality. Restrained by one command, yet acting with a free, unbiased will, we see him transcend the law of God, we hear the sentence fall from the lips of his "Maker,"—"Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." But will He leave him to his own inevitable fate? Will it be an eternal sleep? Shall that dust never be reorganized? Will Satan triumph over the "Eternal Jehovah?" We look! We listen!! We hear the announcement, I have found a ransom. There we see the "plan of God" developed, counteracting the influence of His rival, Satan. There we see men of the meanest condition, the smallest capacity in the eye of the world, inspired by the spirit of Him who fills immensity with His presence; revealing the fact of man's salvation, through a crucified Saviour. There we behold the most sublime truths—the most comprehensive sentiments; principles more philosophical than those of "Pythagoras"—of more moral worth, than those of "Socrates." There we see shepherds, announcing the birth of the Son of God, and listening to that enraptured strain, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to men." There we see the "Fisherman" called to leave his net, commissioned to cure all manner of diseases, and to preach the "Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth." "There we admire the purest morality in the world." The "Bible" accounts for the evils entailed upon the posterity of Adam; it presents a plan, which, if believed, will ultimately free us from all the maladies consequent on the fall. There we read of the wonderful conception of the Son of God—His birth—His miracles. The fulfillment of the many predictions, connected with His first Advent; the circumstances attending His death, when "He made his soul an offering for sin;" His resurrection, His ascension, His intercession, His second coming, the judgment of the world, the resurrection of the dead, the translation of the saints, the destruction of the wicked, the establishment of the everlasting kingdom, "the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets, since the world began."

The above are some of the items contained in this wonderful book—the "Bible." And who can wonder at the remark of Paul to Timothy, They (the "Scriptures") are able to make thee wise unto salvation? "All Scripture," says the apostle, "given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect,—thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Instead of looking to commentaries, or depending on what the Fathers of the Church have said for doctrine, or making creeds for our own use; we are to search the Scriptures—relying on what has been spoken by the Saviour and the "Prophets," and the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only doctrine able to make us "wise unto salvation."

But the apostle goes further, and declares, that the Scriptures are profitable for reproof; they are able to convince men of the truth, and to confound those who would deny it. Says Charles Beecher,—"This specification," viz: for reproof, "fairly covers the whole ground of the prevention or extirpation of error." In familiar language, the keeping the Church pure from heresy. That this is the force of the term "Elenychon," will be perceived by any one who will compare the "New Testament" usage on this word, and its parent verb. The Bible will not only teach truth; it will kill error. It may not kill every thing that you and I may consider error. It certainly will, when used rightly, extirpate what God regards as such; and, be it remembered, that He alone is to pass that sentence. That the Bible will have this effect, follows of course from the first specification, viz: for doctrine; for truth and error cannot exist together: they are as fire and water. The more truth is taught, the more error dies. This also follows, because the Word of God is constructed with direct reference to the cardinal errors of the human mind, by a divine reasoner, with such tremendous ability, that those errors cannot live under a conscientious study of that word. This also follows, because the Scriptures are self-interpreting, self-rectifying, self-vindicating. And the sure way of testing an error claiming scriptural support, is, call it to the spot where it claims parentage, and call in the rest of the Scripture to testify. In this way, erroneous interpretations must die, and do die. And if there be any interpretation that will not die so, then "in God's name let it live!" How foolish it is for a class of persons to get together in conference capacity, and resolve what is and what is not truth! It is assuming that which does not belong to any man, or body of men; it is a relic of the "Roman Church,"—an usurpation of the "Mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth." And notwithstanding this power has been crippled, at least in a political sense, yet, some of her relatives ("harlots") are "following in the footsteps of their illustrious predecessor," as the following will show:

Resolved, That the peculiarities of that theory denominated Millerism, together with all of its modifications, are contrary to the standards of the Church, and as such, we are pledged to banish them away."

There is nothing said about its being contrary to the Bible, but, contrary to the standards of the Church. This, as one writer remarks, "savors a little of the little horn."

For Correction.—This relates to church discipline, and church government. "There is not," says Charles Beecher, "an offence against Christ, nor against the cause of Christ, whether in the church simple, or aggregate, which cannot be brought to conviction just as far, by the use of the Bible alone, as God ever intended to have it convicted; and if there be an offence which cannot be thus convicted, it is not an offence against Christ, but against a human figment, and such an offence—let it be committed." If the Bible is a sufficient rule of faith and practice, every thing used as a substitute is an innovation. We have no right to make any tests; all that are necessary to salvation, may be found in the Bible.

All creeds, from the Thirty-nine Articles down to the most simple, as used by Adventists, are wrong. Not that they contain no truth; but the principle is wrong. It is the same in every instance. A person, to join the Church of England, must approve of its creed;—and it is the same with some Adventists, as the following from one of our model Churches will show:


Now, this is an iron bedstead, sure enough. Mark! there is nothing said about the Bible, but approving the declaration of faith, as recorded in the Church-book. Where in the Bible is there any thing of this kind? Luke tells us, in Acts, that the Lord added to the Church anciently; and those added by any other than the Lord, must be tares. And again, if this idea of connecting persons with this human machinery, is a part of the gospel, why then is there not something in the Bible to support it? The example of Philip is against it. Look for a moment to this circumstance. The angel says to Philip, "Arise, and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem, unto Gaza, which is desert." He obeys the command, and as he moves toward Gaza, he overtakes or meets with the "Egyptian Eunuch." The Spirit says, "Join thyself to the chariot." He did so, and after listening a few moments, he inquires, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" "How can I, except some man should guide me?" was the reply. Then Philip began to preach to him Jesus. And as they went on their way, the Ethiopian inquires, "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" And Philip said, "If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest." He replies, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." This was the test. The chariot is commanded to stand still; they went down both into the water, and Philip baptized him. And when they were come out of the water, before, as we may conclude, he had time to enter his name on a Church-book, "the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, and the eunuch saw him no more." There is nothing said about his joining the Church after he believed; from the fact that, by obedience to God, he already belonged to it. He had entered in by the door (Christ), and all who climb up some other way "are thieves and robbers." But it may be said that we must have something of this kind, because circumstances demand it. But this can be no argument in favor of it; for, if it had been necessary, the apostles would have informed us of it.

The apostle, in his charge to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus, scans the entire dispensation. It is as follows: "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing, shall grievous wolves come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore, watch, and remember, that by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among them which are sanctified." One part of this charge is addressed to the ministry. Take heed unto thyself—or yourselves; "see that the life of God remains, and the work of God prospers in thine own soul." Take heed that thy words be seasoned with grace. Let thy conversation be upright, godly, sincere, as becometh the Gospel. It should be without covetousness: "Desire nothing more than what God has given you, and especially, covet nothing which the Divine Providence has given to another man; for this is the spirit of robbery." Subdue that insatiable desire for secular gain; bring it into subjection to the will of Christ; be content with such things as ye have; for He (the Lord) hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. The man of God must not be a "brawler," but quiet and peaceable. He must be no "striker," not quarrelsome; not a persecutor of those who may differ from him; for, to indulge in such a spirit, is to give our profession the lie. He must be apt to teach. "Study," says the apostle, "to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." He must be careful to teach the whole word of God, regardless of the commandments, doctrine and traditions of men. In a word, he must be an example of believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. And thus, in keeping himself by the assistance of God's grace, he is prepared, in the second place, to take heed unto the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made him an overseer; to feed the Church of God. Mark! the man of God is to feed the Church—not to legislate. He is to give them (the Church) "their portion of meat in due season."

The apostle anticipated the fact, that a class would arise, which he denominates wolves, not sparing the flock. One characteristic feature of this class would be, a disposition to lord it over God's heritage. The seed had already been sown. Some had become carnal. There was a "Diatrephes," who loved to have the preëminence, viz.: "lord it over God's heritage." And there has been many of these "Diatrepheses," clear down to the present time. Look at the Bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople, &c., striving for the mastery; till finally the Bishop of Rome succeeded, trampling under foot all others, and then rearing a mighty fabric, and taking his seat in the temple of God, showing himself that he was God. But we must remember that this was not done in one year, or one century. It was like the leaven in the measure of meal—a gradual work. The deviation was so small at the first, as not to be noticed. The professed Church were imperceptibly assimilated into the same spirit; like priest, like people. Like the car loosed from the train on a downward grade:—at first it moves so gently, no fears are entertained—how little will it take to stop it, is the feeling that pervades the mind of the passengers; each one feels secure. It gathers strength—its velocity increases—the brakes are applied; but it is too late! In turning a curve, the track spreads, and both car and passengers are precipitated into the gulf below. How completely this illustration covers the ground! The professed Church, becoming cold in her affections, indulging a self-confident spirit, disconnecting herself by her legislative acts from the Great Head of the Church; went back, step by step, till finally she fell into the yawning gulf of apostacy, "The making of an authoritative creed, to which the clergy were compelled to subscribe, was the first step; the absolute prohibition of the Bible to the people, was the last step. The difference between, was only the growth of the principle. For the right to dictate what a man shall find in the Scripture, and the right to dictate that he shall find nothing, are one." Making creeds is the first step in apostacy; yea, more, it is evidence that the person or persons are already backsliden.

It may be remarked, that those who make creeds are honest. True: but no more so than those Bishops who met at the "Council of Nice," A.D. 325, "and fully settled the doctrine taught in the word of God, banished Arius into Illyria, and compelled his followers to subscribe." Honesty is no evidence that the thing is right. The "Inquisition" was honest in delivering over her victims to the civil arm; yet, who but a Catholic would approve of such God-hating work? It may be remarked that, there is a difference between the synods of Nice, Chalcedon, &c., and those of the present time. True; but what is the difference? Ans. The same as between the Anaconda of Ceylon, and the smallest serpent that crawls the earth. The former has power to destroy a person in a moment; the latter, not having the power, yet possessing the disposition, shows, by running out his little forked tongue, what he would do if he could.

"The apostolic churches, during the whole of the first century, had no creed but the Bible." And to urge creed-making as necessary because of a change of circumstances, is to insult God, and it is an imposition on Jesus Christ. The Lord knew all about the adverse circumstances, the fiery trials through which the Church must pass. He told the disciples, "that in the world they should have tribulation." "Verily, verily, I say unto you that ye shall weep and lament." In this language, He scans the history of the Church, clear to the end. But nothing like authority or lenity is given for creeds, or any of this human machinery. The Apostle Paul informs the Church, that men "would arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." And if ever an opportunity offered itself to instruct the Church in relation to this matter, it was at this time. But not a single word is said from which we can gather any thing of this kind. It is as follows: "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up." No intimation here of creeds or compacts. And if men will not stand without this miserable man-made stuff, the quicker they fall, the better.

But it is not only so with creeds, but every organization and compact, separate from the word of God, is of the flesh. But as there are many reasons urged in favor of creeds and compacts, we may perhaps now, as well as any time, call them upon the stand in this connection. And—

1st, It is said they had churches in the apostles' day. True; but the term Church, as Adam Clark says, simply means an assembly or congregation, the nature of which is to be understood from connecting circumstances. Wherever the believers assembled, there was a Church. Hence we read of a Church at Ephesus, Corinth, &c. Sometimes the term Church includes the entire company of believers in every age of the world, as may be seen by looking at the following passages: Eph. i. 22; v. 24, 25, 27; Col. i. 18, 24; Acts xii. 28. Hence the remark, that they had churches in the apostles' days, is no argument in favor of the present existing compacts. There is no intimation that they had articles drawn up on paper, to which they subscribed. We go further:—There is no evidence that they had a record of names; and, however innocent this may seem to be, we regard it an innovation. But,

2d, It may be remarked that, by being banded together, we can watch over each other. But we can watch over each other without these bands; and if we are living and acting in the fear of God, we shall love each other sufficiently well to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. And in this way, we shall "lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees; and, making straight paths for our feet, that which is lame will not be turned out of the way." This is a duty we owe to all the Church; and were it not for these sectarian pens, we could speak the truth to all the Church. We could watch over each other in love—the only true bond of union. And thus, in loving God with all our hearts, and speaking the truth in love, "we shall grow up into Christ, from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compact by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

3d, It keeps out wicked men.—This is a most palpable falsehood. The history of all the past is against it. The Church, in every age since the apostles' time, hath been troubled with wicked men. The Saviour taught His disciples that, "the wheat and the tares should grow together until the harvest." "And He whose penetrating glance could trace its progress through the succession of ages, by this significant parable, in which He represented its condition, (Matt. 13,) and proclaimed, that it would consist, according to its earthly composition, of a mixture of true and false members;" "He reserved the public sifting and separation of this mass of men, so different in their dispositions from each other, to his final judgment alone." "He" has blamed that hasty and intemperate zeal of man, which, while it would separate the tares and the good seed before the proper season comes, is apt to pull up the hidden seed of the wheat with the tares. A great majority of the professed Church, at the present time, notwithstanding their organizations, are as corrupt as was the Church in the dark ages. But,

4th, It keeps out heresies.—If this be so, why did not the apostles keep out heresy? For we are told by some, at the present time, that they had creeds and compacts? There were some in the apostles' time who believed in circumcision. He, the apostle, inquires of the Galatians, Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? In writing his fifteenth chapter to the Corinthians, he inquires, "Now, if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you there is no resurrection of the dead?" These were fatal errors. Again, we inquire, If, by being organized, the Church can keep out heresy, why has not the Church kept it out? There never was a time when there was so much heresy, corruption, and wickedness as at present. Hundreds of professed Christians deny the personal coming of Christ: they teach that persons, when they die, go immediately to heaven; that people have immortal souls; that the spirits of men, after they are dead, return to this world; and that they are peeping, rapping, and muttering, which, by the way, is a legitimate fruit of the Immortal soul theory;—a counterpart of that lie of Satan—"Thou shalt not surely die." These, together with the idea that heresy may be kept out by human machinery, are some of the leading errors of the age. But,

5th, The ministry is supported.—I am thinking this is about the main thing, after all. The loaves and fishes, with the great mass, are the thing. Did not the Apostle Peter anticipate the fact that such a class of persons would arise, when he exhorted the elders to take the oversight, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind? The question with the great mass is not, where can I do the most good?—but, where can I get the best pay? The loudest call, is where there is the most money. These facts are so well known, as not to require any thing but common observation to demonstrate their truthfulness. But,

6th, To know who WE are.—Satan's course, from the commencement, has been a most artful and cunning one: it has been the very business of his existence, when he could not get people to renounce the truth altogether, to make them believe it possible to improve a plan which God, in His infinite wisdom, has devised for the welfare of mankind.

The "Jews" (as their history assures us) at first were willing to be directed by the Almighty; but by and by, they thought themselves capable of legislating: and being puffed up in their minds, and having their foolish hearts darkened, they rejected the Lord; and then coming to Samuel,—Their plea—O how specious, how reasonable!—"Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now make us a king, to judge us like other nations." They entertained fears, undoubtedly, that after Samuel's death, which was approaching, they should be puzzled to know WHO WE ARE. This very idea led David to number the people, contrary to the command of Jehovah. And how often it has been done since that time, to gratify a foolish heart, and a vain ambition! Would it not have sounded curious enough to have heard Paul say to Timothy, "Timothy, we must ascertain, who WE are?" And would not the young disciple, if it was possible for him to fathom it, (for it is a vague term) replied by saying, "You told the Phillippians that we were the circumcision, who wanted our names in the Church book? no; that we were the circumcision, who want to legislate? no: We are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

Ye, says Christ, "are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." In order to answer this question fully, we must, in the first place, answer one that comes before it—one that is primary, viz: Do we love God with all our hearts, and our neighbour as ourselves? Do we live up to all the commands of God? Are we conformed to His moral image? Is it the business of our lives to do all that God has commanded? Are we believing all the truth, and living up to all the light we have? If so, WE ARE Christ's; and being Christ's, WE ARE "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." It is not strange that the nominal Church should lose her identity. But when we hear Adventists inquire, Who we are, it comes with an ill grace. It sounds so silly. What! have we been engaged in this glorious cause fourteen or fifteen years, and never learnt, Who we are? What does all this mean? Why this effort on the part of some to organize, and bring in all the Advent bands, and unite them in a compact? Does this look like a confident, unwavering faith in the speedy coming of Christ? Did we not deny, years ago, this miserable work of forming ourselves into a sect? Hear the Advent Shield and Review, for Jan., 1845, vol. I. number 2, page 198. It speaks the language, I will venture to say, of the great majority of Adventists. Here it is:


How is the foregoing to be reconciled with the efforts of some at the present time, unless there has been a mighty change? It may be remarked, that circumstances have driven us to adopt this course. But what are the circumstances? Is it because of impostors, or heresy? And do we expect to be free from these by associating ourselves together in this way? We did not feel the need of any thing of this kind in forty-two and three: Our hearts were united in the bonds of love; and if this bond has been severed, instead of fixing up something as a substitute—something that is contrary to the word of God—we should, by preaching the simple truth, remove the cause, and "nature" (Grace) "would work its own cure." But no; we must have our creeds, our organizations, our conferences, and our delegates to those conferences. And then, having ascertained, WHO WE ARE, we are prepared to act. But act how? Why, we can "shear off the troublesome thinkers."

But it will be remarked that this is not the design, and that it is wrong to judge our brethren in this way. But we may remark that it is so already—the mystery of iniquity doth already work. The very design of organizations, in the common acceptation of that term, and also of creeds, is to proscribe individual liberty; they are opposed to free action. It will not do for a man to act in accordance with the commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." No, he must preach to our party—to our people. To illustrate this principle, we quote the following from the life of Lorenzo Dow:

"A Preacher from America, whose name is Lorenzo Dow, travelled lately in Ireland, without any official recommendation from the American Conferences, or any of the rulers in that connection, and yet professing himself a friend of the Methodists. What judgment is it expedient for this conference to pass concerning the conduct of that man?" "Ans. WE ARE MOST SINCERE FRIENDS TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY; but we consider ourselves called upon to inform the public, that Mr. Dow has no connexion with us, nor did he receive the least permission or encouragement from the conference to travel through Ireland as one of our body, or as one of our friends; and we are determined, that if he returns to this country, none of our preaching-houses shall be opened to him on any account." Again, "letters of falsehood and lies, to set the government to sacrifice an individual on the altar of tyranny, because he goes so independent of the BISHOP's POWER; and others will" (do) "hatch from the same nest, &c. &c."... "Better one suffer than many. If he is innocent, we must use POWER, and make an example of him. What for? As a warning to others not to dispute our power, which, if right, we have by Divine delegation, to enforce, 'MORAL DISCIPLINE!'"

The question is not, what does Christ require?—but, what says the bishop? Now, we would say nothing, but for the fact, that the same principle is developing itself in our own ranks. This miserable creed system is now exerting upon Adventists an unsuspected, but tremendous power against the liberty of the gospel.

It is stealthily creeping upon us. May God unscale our eyes, before we get entangled in the meshes of the net of the Devil! "It is true, each denomination says, we inflict no penalty; we only decline to receive into our ranks one who does not agree with us. And this is so specious, it sounds so reasonable, that it might deceive the very elect. But it is the most consummate stroke of infernal craft, and doubly distilled Jesuitism. It is like Rome handing over the victims of the Inquisition to the civil arm, charging it to do them no harm, and then piously lauding her own lamb-like disposition. It is true, the denominations do not do the candidate any harm; they only leave him to his inevitable fate." But it may be remarked, that it is of no use to say any thing about it; and should the individual lift his warning voice against it, he is accused of having a hard spirit—of opposing somebody. But we wish it distinctly understood, that we are not at war with persons, but principles; not with men, but measures. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We are opposed to these religious combinations, because we believe they are opposed to God and His cause.

To give this idea more perfectly, we submit the following extract from the pen of Br. J. V. H. (Advent Herald, September 18, 1844,) headed, "Apostolic Example for our Course."

"And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened and BELIEVED NOT, BUT SPAKE EVIL OF THAT WAY BEFORE THE MULTITUDE, he departed from them, and SEPARATED the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.—Acts xix. 8, 9. "It was not until divers were hardened, and spake evil of that way (the Lord's coming) before the multitude, that the brethren were moved to come out, and separate from the Churches. They could not endure this "evil speaking" of the "evil servant." "And the Churches that could pursue this course of oppression" and "evil speaking" "towards those who were looking for the blessed hope, were to them none other than the DAUGHTERS of mystic Babylon. They so proclaimed them, and came into the liberty of the gospel. And though we may not be all agreed as to what constitutes Babylon, we are agreed in the INSTANT and FINAL SEPARATION from all who oppose the doctrine of the coming and kingdom of God at hand. We believe it to be a case of LIFE and DEATH. It is DEATH to remain connected with those bodies that speak lightly of, or oppose, the coming of the Lord. It is LIFE to come out from ALL HUMAN TRADITION, and stand upon the word of God, and look daily for the appearance of the Lord. We therefore now say to ALL who are in ANY WAY entangled in the yoke of bondage," "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."—2 Cor. vi. 17, 18.


2d, These "creeds" and compacts are opposed to free speech. One great object of creeds is a union of sentiment. Hence, when a man joins any one of the various denominations, the creed is presented, or the question asked, do you believe so and so? Should he dissent in some particulars, yet being an influential or wealthy person, he may join by promising he will not agitate the points of difference. But let us look at another case. Here is a minister—and, by the way, there has been many of them—who embraces the truth of the Lord's speedy coming; it is as fire shut up in his bones; he comes with the joyful intelligence before his congregation, and in the fulness of his soul he preaches that truth, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; and in less than one week he is waited upon by the bishop, or the committee, or peradventure, he receives a line through the office, informing him he must desist, for it is contrary to the standards of the Church, and as such, we ("Elders," "Bishops" and "Deacons") are pledged to banish it away. If he persists, he must be admonished. If he continues to act the part of a man and a Christian, turn him out—"yes, shear off the troublesome thinkers, and sing stagnant hallelujahs."

But we may come nearer home. How often we hear it remarked, "Don't say any thing about the sonship of Christ—the sleep of the dead—the destruction of the wicked; for, if you do, you will hurt somebody's feelings!" Yes; we have men among us who have declared, that these questions shall not be preached in their pulpits. But the question may be asked, "Have we not a right to say what shall, and what shall not, be preached in our pulpits? and shall we not use our utmost endeavors to keep the Church pure?" Well, now, this looks very reasonable, and were it not for the history of the past, we might regard it as being very innocent. But we look to the "council of bishops," who met A.D. 325: they acted from a conviction, that it was their prerogative to say what should be preached: and by this act, though honest and sincere, they were the unconscious tools, in the hands of the devil, of begetting a child, which ultimately proved itself to be, the "Mother of HARLOTS and abomination of the earth." May the Lord help us to be free, and preach our sentiments! "For he's a freeman whom the truth makes free, and all are slaves beside." But,

3d, The few act for the whole.—Look to the history of the Christian Church—the Council of Nice, Chalcedon, &c. Who acted in these conferences? Ans. A few bishops. They got together; resolved that they were the Church, or its representatives; made creeds, and then imposed them on the flock. This has been the policy of Rome; for hundreds of years her Popes and Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, have been humbugging the people, hurling their anathemas at a Luther and a Cranmer. Why is this? Ans. Because they dared to dissent from the decrees of those councils. But we do not stop here; that spirit, or desire to lord it over God's heritage, which characterized the councils of Rome, has been transferred to the various synods of our time. It is often the case, that a few persons get together, take into consideration the wants of the cause, as they call it, reduce them to one or more propositions, and then bring them before the meeting. Perhaps one of this number makes a motion, and another of them seconds it; it is accepted, then adopted by the votes of ten or a dozen, more or less; half of whom are the very persons who concocted it. It is then blazoned abroad, and O! what a bluster! When the merits of the case are known, it reminds one of the fable, "The mountain laboured, and brought forth a mouse."

4th, It evinces a want of faith and confidence in God.—Creeds are never talked of, until persons begin to grow cold in their minds. "The Church, during the whole of the first century, had no creed but the Bible;" but when she departed from the simplicity of the Bible, and lost her faith in God, then she began to legislate.—They (the church) felt, as many express themselves at the present time, that we must keep the Church together. Yes, and here was, and still is, the very trouble: WE MUST DO IT. This is not our work; it belongs to the Great Head of the Church; and if we had faith and confidence in God, and in His word, we should be willing to let Christ do His own work. Every effort to keep the Church together by making creeds, is an innovation.—There were divisions in the apostles' day, and there have been divisions in every age since that time. Every effort on our part to steady the Ark, when such effort has not been put forth in accordance with the plan of God, has been frowned upon by the Almighty. It is often the case that those who seem to have so much anxiety, and manifest so much zeal to hold and to "build up the cause," as they are pleased to term it, are, when the truth is known, trying to build up themselves. While it is our duty to do all we can, under the blessing of Heaven, to promote the welfare of the cause with which we are associated, we must be careful not to indulge a thought that its prosperity depends upon our feeble efforts: for it will live, whether we do or not. Christ stands at the helm, and, if we abide in the ship, we shall be safe. But the creed-power, or "organizations," in the common acceptation of the term, are not only opposed to free action—free speech—But,

Lastly, It is the most effective means to destroy souls of any thing that was ever brought into existence. The professed church to-day stands just where the Jews did eighteen hundred years ago; and the language of Christ, as addressed to the Pharisees, is applicable to the various denominations: "But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Fine meeting-houses, costly pulpits, and a ministry that will please itching ears, are the things with the great mass. They are guilty of turning the Lord out of doors, for they have rejected His truth. "Ichabod" is written on these pleasant palaces. The great majority of the ministry are dumb dogs, lying down, loving to slumber; yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: "they all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter." They are turned unto fables. "They love the praise of man more than the praise of God."

The great mass have corrupted their way; but yet there are a few who are honest, and would believe if they could hear, and they could hear, if it were not for these SECTARIAN PENS. They (the few) are famishing; they die for lack of knowledge.

Well, now, to take one step towards adopting a system, the perfection of which leads to such damnable results, must be a departure from the simplicity of the truth—a recreancy to the cause which, in the end, will be more baneful than beneficial.

Some of those who want a record of names would shudder at the idea of being connected with such a system as that referred to above; and yet, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, this is the result where the first step is taken. We say, therefore, to all, "Beware of the first step! Do not give your influence in favor of such a wicked system, lest you be taken in a snare! If you are in any of these sectarian pens, leave them at once; for they, like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, are soon to sink into the pit. Those that are being formed by Adventists, are no better than other denominations. In some respects they are worse."

There are men among us, preaching brethren, whose moral and religious characters are unimpeachable—men of sterling worth, and of marked ability; yet, because they view matters somewhat different from some others, or because they will not be restricted to preach wholly to our party, they are disfellowshipped; they are whispered to be unsafe, unsound, heretical! But some may say, that it is of no use to expose our brethren;—ah, to hold our peace would be to follow in the same track—to adopt the same policy of an apostate church. We wish our brethren to know, both far and near, that this is the policy of some at the present time. We have nothing to say against men, but against their courses and their measures. Let every Adventist, who wants to be free, beware of this human machinery—these sectarian pens—this last effort of Satan to destroy souls. We cannot help but exclaim, in the language of a "celebrated writer:" "Oh, woful day! Oh, unhappy Church of Christ! Fast rushing round the fatal circle of absorbing ruin! Thou sayest, 'I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing;' and knowest not that thou art poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked!" We have said, and we repeat it again, there is no need of any creed but the Bible: we have learned that it is a sufficient rule of faith and practice: it is the best discipline we can have: and I will venture to say that, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, all difficulties can be settled, if we follow out the rules given by Christ and His apostles. Let us hear the Saviour speak: "Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."—Matt. v. 23, 24. Again, we read, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."—Mark xi. 24. "Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."—Matt. xviii. 15-17. The apostle says, "And if any obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed; yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.—2 Thes. iii. 14, 15.

The above, together with many more scriptures that might be quoted, involves the principle on which brethren are to settle their difficulties. And when the professed Church of God, instead of urging the necessity of abiding by the above principle, departs from the Lord, by appointing committees to settle the differences between brethren, they are guilty of the most audacious folly. If difficulties cannot be settled by this rule, nothing will settle them but the final judgment.

We say, then, in the language of Beecher, "Away with false policy! Rally around this central principle, look to the Lord, and you are impregnable." The waves of the coming conflict, which is to convulse Christendom to her centre, are beginning to be felt.

The deep roarings begin to swell beneath us. All the old signs fail. God answers no more by Urim and Thummim, nor by dream, nor by prophet. Men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth. Thunders mutter in the distance; winds moan across the raging bosom of the deep; all things betide the rising of that final storm of Divine indignation, which shall sweep away the vain refuges of lies. When the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lightning down His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of devouring fire; with scattering, and tempest, and hail-stones; in that day, what shall save us? For judgment will begin at the house of God. What shall be our defence? Put your trust in Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire—on whose head are many crowns—who is clothed with a vesture dipped in blood—whose name is called "The Word of God!" He who is to come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth, trampling His enemies in the dust, destroying the works of Satan, breaking up all these compacts which are opposed to His truth, establishing his everlasting kingdom, which is not to be left to another people, but which is to break in pieces all other kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Even so, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!—Amen.

F. H. B.

"The pure testimony put forth in the spirit,
Cuts like a sharp two-edged sword,
And hypocrites now are most sorely tormented,
Because they're condemned by the word.
The pure testimony discovers the dross,
While wicked professors make light of the cross,
And Babylon trembles for fear of her loss.
"A battle is coming between the two kingdoms,
The armies are gathering round;
The kings of the earth and the lamb that was slain,
Will come to close contest ere long;
Then gird on your armor ye saints of the Lord,
And he will direct you by his living word,
The pure testimony will cut like a sword."

Transcriber's Notes:

Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.

Typographical errors were silently corrected.

Spelling and hyphenation were made consistent when a predominant form was found in this book; otherwise it was not changed.