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    October 17, 1906

    “Religious Federation” The Medical Missionary, 15, ns. 16, pp. 131-133.

    ATJ

    ALONZO T. JONES

    WE have seen that it was by federation that the papacy was made, in all that it has ever been. And of all the evil things that have ever afflicted this world, the Bible presents the papacy as supreme.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.1

    And now we see professed Protestantism entering into federation after the same manner, upon the same principles, and to the same purpose,—in short, in the very likeness of the papacy.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.2

    These two presently coalescing with the remaining distinct paganism, compose a world-federation, and so a world-religion to be forced upon all people of the world by all the power of the world.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.3

    In view of alI this, it becomes of special interest to study this thing of federation for what it is in itself as well as to see how naturally the papacy was developed by it, and how naturally monarch and imperialism in religion must ever be developed by it.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.4

    The meaning of “federation” follows:—MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.5

    “Federation: The act of uniting in a confederacy, by league or alliance.”MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.6

    “Confederacy: A number of States or persons in compact or league with each other, as for mutual aid, protection, or action; a league; a confederation; as the Delian confederacy of Greek States.” Illustration: “Even the best of the kings [of Israel or Judah] trusted more in their armies and confederacies than in the arm of Jehovah.”MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.7

    Synonyms. “League, compact, alliance, combination, coalition, confederation.”MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.8

    “Confederation: The act of confederating: a league, a compact for mutual support; alliance; particularly of princes; unions or States.”MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.9

    Now it is certain that Christ never either established or sanctioned in his Church or in connection with his cause any such thing as a federation or confederacy. Indeed in the plain words of the Scripture, the thing is flatly forbidden. Read it: “The Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying: Say ye not a confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say a confederacy; neither fear ye their fear nor be afraid.”MEDM October 17, 1906, page 131.10

    Instead of any confederacy and confederation being Christian or of Christianity it is plainly forbidden by the Author of Christianity. By a close study of Isaiah, verses 8-18, with Hebrews 2:13, it will be seen that it is directly a prophecy of the times of Immanuel, the times of the Messiah.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.1

    Therefore, federation and confederation are not of Christ nor of Christianity. Through federation and confederation, men in the world when Christ came were “enslaved to kings and priests.” And “He freed us from the chains of priestcraft, by teaching the absolute independence of the individual soul on matters religious; and by promising the Spirit of truth to guide each one into all truth.” He came to restore the individual man to himself and to God; and to himself by restoring him to God.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.2

    And when Christ went back to heaven, it was with every believer in him bound individually to him as his only head, by his own Holy Spirit; all believers thus forming his Church, which is his own body, of which he himself alone is the head. By the same Spirit all the members of this his body were bound together in one common spiritual brotherhood in “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace; all only brethren, and Christ the one only superior and Master.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.3

    Wherever there was a company of these, even though it were in a single house or family, there was a church of Christ (Romans 16:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 10:19; Colossians 4:15); with Christ the head of that church; because the members were members of him, of his body; and members one of another; and he the head of each individual member. 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30; Romans 12:5. Thus Christianity means individuality.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.4

    Such is the order of things that Christ left on earth when he ascended to heaven. Such is the order of things while yet his apostles remained on earth. But even then the mystery of iniquity was already working to bring men again into the chains of priestcraft. And through federation this was done. The story of this is so clearly told in the plain statements of the authentic history of the times, that we need to do no more here than to copy the history just as it stands. It runs as follows:—MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.5

    “Although all the churches were, in the first age of Christianity, united together in one common bond of faith and love, and were in every respect ready to promote to the interests and welfare of each other by a reciprocal interchange of good offices; yet with regard to government and internal economy, every individual church considered itself as an independent community, none of them ever looking in these respects beyond the circle if its own members for assistance, or recognizing any sort of external influence or authority.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.6

    “Neither in the New Testament, nor in any ancient document whatever, do we find anything recorded, from whence it might be inferred that any of the minor churches were at all dependent on, or looked up for direction to, those of greater magnitude or consequence. On the contrary, several things occurred therein which put it out of all doubt that every one of them enjoyed the same rights, and was considered as being on a footing of the most perfect equality with the rest.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.7

    “Indeed it can not,—I will not say be proved, but—even be made to appear probable, from any testimony, divine or human. that in this age it was the practise for several churches to enter into, and maintain among themselves, that sort of association which afterward came to subsist among the churches of almost every province. I allude to their assembling by their bishops, at stated periods, for the purpose of enacting general laws, and determining any questions or controversies that might arise respecting divine matters.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.8

    “It was not until the second century that any traces of that sort of association from whence councils took their origin, are to be perceived; when we find them occurring here and there, some of them tolerably clear and distinct, others again but slight and faint; which seems plainly to prove that the practise arose subsequently to the times of the apostles, and that all that is urged concerning the councils of the first century, and the divine authority of councils, is sustained merely by the most uncertain kind of support; namely, the practise and opinion of more recent times.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.9

    “It is very common for the assembly of the church of Jerusalem, of which we read in Acts 15., to be termed the first council; and if people choose still to persist in giving it this denomination. I shall certainly not trouble myself so far as to fall out with them about it. I would wish them, however, to understand that this is applying the word council, in a way altogether inconsistent with its true import. The congregation that is stated to have met on this occasion was nothing more than an assembly of the members of one individual church, consisting of the apostles, the elders, and the people. Now if the term council could properly be applied to such an assembly as this, it would follow as a necessary consequence that more councils were held in the first century that in any subsequent one; whereas even the warmest advocates for their early origin are ready to admit, that in this age they were not by any means frequent.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.10

    “In fact, it was a most common practise in all the churches, at this period, for the members to hold meetings after the manner of that above alluded to as haying been convened at Jerusalem, for the purpose of consulting together, and deliberating on matters relating to religion and divine worship; and therefore, if such a meeting is to be termed a council, it may even be said that there were more councils held in the first century than in all the subsequent ones down to our own time put together.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.11

    “A council, properly speaking, means an assembly of several associated churches, or a congregation of delegates representing a number of churches so united, in which the common welfare of they whole is made subject-matter of consultation; and such things are resolved on and enacted as may appear to the members constituting such an assembly, or to the major part of them, eligible, and fraught with a promise of conducing to the general good. Now, that such an assembly as this was even once held in the first century, is what I am sure no one, let him take what pains he may, will ever be able to find in the history of that age. As the cause of Christianity, however, advanced, and its concerns became more extensive, so that the churches composing an ecclesiastical province assumed, as it were, the form of a republic made up of various minor districts, it became necessary, in order to preserve tranquility and a mutual good understanding amongst them, that several particulars should he occasionally discussed in a general meeting, composed of legates or deputies from each.”—Mosheim Commentaries.” Cent. I Sec. XLVIII; and note “Z.”MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.12

    On this matter in the second century the record is as follows:—MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.13

    “Although, therefore, all the churches had, at the commencement of this century, various laws and institutions in common, which had been received from the apostles themselves, and were particularly careful in maintaining with each other a certain community of tenets, morals and charity; yet each individual church which had a bishop and presbyters of its own, assumed to itself the form and rights of a little distinct republic or commonwealth; and with regard to its internal concerns was wholly regulated by a code of laws, that, if they did not originate with, had, at least, received the sanction of the people constituting such a church.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 132.14

    “During a great part of this century, all the churches continued to be, as at first, independent of each other, or were connected by no consociations or confederations. Each church was a kind of little state, governed by its own laws, which were enacted, or at least sanctioned, by the people. But by degrees all the Christian churches within the same province united and formed a sort of larger society, or commonwealth, which, as is usual with confederated republics, held its conventions at stated seasons, and in them deliberated for the common advantage of the whole confederation. This custom first arose among the Greeks, with whom such confederation of several cities, and the consequent conventions of their delegates, had long been in use. In process of time, when experience had shown its utility, this practise found its way over all the Christian church.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 133.1

    “In process of time, however, the very great advantages attending on a federation of this sort, becoming apparent, other provinces were induced to follow the example of Greece, and by degrees this form of government became general throughout the whole church so that the Christian community may be said, thenceforward, to have resembled one large commonwealth made up, like those of Holland and Switzerland, of many minor republics. These conventions or assemblies, in which the delegates from various churches consulted on what was requisite to be done for the common welfare of the whole, were termed synods by the Greeks, and by the Latins councils. To the laws enacted by the deputies under the powers with which they were invested by their respected churches, the Greeks gave the name of canons or general rules, and by this title it also became usual for them to be distinguished by the Latins.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 133.2

    The associations, however, thus introduced amongst the churches, and the councils to which they gave rise, although not unattended with certain benefits and advantages, were, nevertheless, productive of so great an alteration in the general state of the church, as nearly to effect the entire subversion of its ancient constitution.MEDM October 17, 1906, page 133.3

    (Concluded next week.)

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