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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
THE HEAVENS SHALL ROLL TOGETHER
IT is interesting to those who see the approaching Federation of Christian churches, as set forth in the Bible, to note the various little straws which denote the gradual change of sentiment on the part of the public into harmony with what the Bible teaches us to expect. For instance, how strange it seems that Presbyterians and Congregationalists, after fighting so long against all forms and ceremonies and liturgies and “printed prayers,” should now be adopting these. The Congregationalist attitude toward the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer is thus set forth in their new
BOOK OF LITURGY FOR CONGREGATIONAL SERVICE
The Congregational attitude toward the English Book of Common Prayer is thus expressed by one of the leaders in that body:
“Our real inheritance is in the English Book of Common Prayer, which gathered up the best elements of the service books of its time, both historic and reformed, and was the possession of the undivided English Church from which we derive. Our fathers used their liberty in discarding it. If we mean to return to written forms, we shall be using our liberty if we return to it, or such a modification of it as shall suit our modern life. We shall impoverish and not enrich ourselves by stepping further outside of the tradition of the whole Church.
“The time is ripening for such a revision of the Book of Common Prayer as may serve our need.”—(New Haven) Journal and Courier.
A FEW NATIONAL REFORM UTTERANCES
“We want State and religion; and we are going to have it.”—Jonathan Edwards, D.D. In other words, they want a State religion.
“Constitutional laws punish for false money, weights, and measure. So Congress must establish a standard of religion, or admit anything called religion.”—Prof. C. A. Blanchard. And this will mean an established religion.
“Our remedy for all these malefic influences is to have the government simply set up the moral law, and recognize God’s authority behind it, and lay its hand on any religion that does not conform to it.”—Rev. M. A. Gault. And this means religious persecution.
They desire an amendment to the Constitution that will “place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages of our Government on an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental law of the land.”—Art. 2 of their Constitution. That is, they desire the Christian religion made the “legal” religion of the nation.
“Those who oppose this work now will discover, when the religious amendment is made to the Constitution, that if they do not see fit to fall in with the majority, they must abide the consequences, or seek some more congenial clime.”—Dr. David McAlister. This is what Rome said after Christianity, so-called, became the established religion of this empire. Justinian told the people that if they did not embrace the established religion, confiscation and other punishments would follow.
“Give us good Sunday laws, well enforced by men in local authority, and our churches will be full of worshipers, and our young men and women will be attracted to the divine service. A mighty combination of the churches of the United States could win from Congress, the State legislatures, and municipal councils, all legislation essential to this splendid result.”—Rev. S. V. Leech, D.D.
A young man recently from Russia attending a Baptist Church service at which a resolution was offered urging legislation on the Sunday question arose and said:
“I am from Russia, the land of intolerance, the land of a union of Church and State. I have seen the scars on the wrists of the missionaries whom you sent to my country,—scars made by chains placed on them by Russia’s union of Church and State. I joined the Baptist Church in Russia because it trusted in God, not in the State. And now I come to America and enter my beloved Baptist Church, and hear you petitioning Congress for a law to bind chains on the wrists of your fellowmen. In the name of God, send your petitions to
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the throne of God, and not to the Congress of the United States.”
A REMARKABLE FORECAST
In a sermon, in the year 1846, Charles Beecher declared:
“The ministry of the evangelical Protestant denominations is not only formed all the way up under a tremendous pressure of merely human fear, but they live, and move, and breathe in a state of things radically corrupt, and appealing every hour to every baser element of their nature to hush up the truth, and bow the knee to the power of apostasy. Was not this the way things went with Rome? Are we not living her life over again? And what do we see just ahead?—Another general council! A world’s convention! evangelical alliance, and universal creed!”
When this state of things shall have been reached, then, in the effort to secure complete uniformity, it will be only a step to the resort to force.
The following striking paragraphs show how another, with remarkable foresight, outlined this federation movement years ago:
“There has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed—however important they might be from a Bible standpoint—must necessarily be waived.”
“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.”
OUR OWN TESTIMONY ON THIS SUBJECT
Our older readers will recall that, so long ago as Oct. 1881, this journal set forth that this Church Federation as the “image of the beast” (Rev. 13), was constructed in The Evangelical Alliance organized in 1846; and that the giving of life or living power to this federation might be expected by now, and that shortly it would prove its likeness to the original papal system which it imaged by violent suppression of the truth and persecution of its defenders. In all these twenty-five years the matter has been ripening, though nothing then seemed farther from realization. Our presentation on the subject in Millennial Dawn Vol. III., p. 119, is or should be in the hands of all of our readers.
— October 15, 1906 —