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There are, presumably, some of God’s children who hesitate to sever their connection with nominal Zion, though conscious of her lack of Spiritual power, such as characterized the early church.
They still linger among her barren wastes, beguiled by the vain hope that „Zion” is about to shake herself from the dust and to exchange her unseemly attire for the „garments of salvation.”
Great effort is made to confirm this view, and it is even declared from the pulpit that „the church” was never possessed of as great Spiritual power as at present. The work of Christianizing the world is reported to be progressing rapidly, and it is claimed that only a liberal amount of material aid is needed to speedily accomplish this grand result. Bishop Foster, of the M.E. Church, in the part of his address quoted in January No. of Z.W.T., makes an arraignment of the clergy that ought to make both the cheeks of all the guilty ones burn with shame; and which does cause God’s people to mourn, that those professing to be commissioned from on high, should for any consideration, lend themselves to the work of deceiving the people of God.
In commenting on the slow progress of Christianity among the heathen, the Bishop is reported to have said, „The facts are mis-stated daily in the pulpits all over the country.” The reason given by the Bishop for this deception is, that the truth would cause discouragement. This charge may well be so extended as to include modern revivals, which are heralded over the country by means of the church periodicals, and for the encouragement of the church, piously mis-stated as in the case alluded to by Bishop F. That these revivals are more imaginary than real, a little examination will show. A few years ago, Mr. Moody and his army of co-workers set England all ablaze with revival fires. Their success was such that the more enthusiastic supposed the whole world was about to be converted, and the millennium was to be speedily inaugurated. London was especially favored, and Mr. Moody is reported to have pronounced it the most religious city in the world.
A little later, and just as it might be expected that this seed-sowing would produce a bountiful harvest, all Christendom stands aghast as Editor Stead tears the mask from London society, and reveals a depth of depravity that might well shame any heathen city in the world.
Nor is this an exceptional case. It is very plain that the moral condition of communities is not generally improved by the modern revival. Neither are the churches that have been thus blessed (?)
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spiritually improved. The contrary is rather the case.
Moved by the eloquence of these evangelists, seconded by the personal appeals of friends, and made doubly effective by the songs and singing, thousands have been floated into the church, only to weigh her down so heavily with worldliness, that but little more is wanted to sink her beneath the waves that already rise up for her destruction. These are represented in the Saviour’s parable, by the seed that falls in shallow soil, and immediately it springs up, „because it has no depth of earth.” These thousands do not examine the Word of Truth to inform themselves „whether these things were so,” but accepting all as truth, and embarking in the undertaking without counting the cost, is it any wonder that they so soon wither when the sun’s rays reach them?
No artifice can hide the spiritual destitution of the nominal church, or long serve to buoy her above the surging tide.
Let none of God’s people be deluded by these representations, but if they hear the call to „come out from Babylon,” let them obey the command, and at once separate from a system which God no longer recognizes as an agency for the extension of his kingdom.
S. T. TACKABURY.
— February, 1886 —