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    February 24, 1909

    “Church Federation—V” The Medical Missionary, 18, 8, pp. 147, 148.

    ATJ

    IN the bad ambition to control by hard and fast monopoly all things of heaven and earth, it is but natural to this Church Federation that it should assume for the church the sole authority and jurisdiction of the two institutions that God in Eden gave to all the race alike—marriage and the Sabbath; the one covering the relation of human beings to one another, the other the relation of man to God.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.1

    Marriage was instituted by the Creator in Eden between the one original pair of human beings. From that, notwithstanding all the sin and wanderings of mankind, this blessed gift has remained with every nation, people, tongue, and tribe.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.2

    But the Church of Rome first, and now this vast Federation of professed Protestantism following her, would make marriage solely a church-affair; so much so that it must be even “a sacrament” of the church. In this Federation Council the report of the Committee on “Family Life” which was adopted as the voice of the thirty or more Protestant churches, claims it as “in the fullest sense a sacrament.”MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.3

    Now in truth the sacraments of the church—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—belong only to those who believe in Jesus, to those who are of the church, and can rightly be partaken of only by those who are believers in Jesus, and who are thus of the church. But marriage belongs to all of the race alike, and not only to those who are of the church. Any man and woman of the veriest heathen tribe on earth who enter into the marriage relation according to the marriage rites of that tribe are as truly married as are any pair who enter into that relation through all the vain pomp and display and ceremony of “the church.”MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.4

    Marriage, belonging to all of the race alike, and not to the church only, is properly in the jurisdiction of the state. The church-combine, in insisting that marriage belongs only to her as “a sacrament,” usurps the jurisdiction of the state to control it, and the prerogative of the state to regulate it. Also insisting that marriage belongs only to the church as “a sacrament” of which none but those that belong to the church have a right to partake, the church requires that the state also have a right to partake, the church requires that the state also shall be of the church; and so forces a union of church and state in such a manner as that there is no longer the state as such in any distinct law of system and government, but the church is everything.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.5

    This is precisely the course that on this subject was pursued by the Church of Rome in the making of the Papacy. And the history records that “The first aggression ... which the church made on the state, was assuming the cognizance over all questions and causes relating to marriage.” And now, this same course is entered upon by this new church-combine in the likeness of the papacy. In the report of this Federation Council it is declared that “The function of the church is threefold: To bear public witness to the fact of the marriage; to pronounce the blessing of God on the pair who have of their own accord entered upon the holy estate of matrimony instituted by God himself; and ever after to guard the sanctity of the marriage bond so long as they both shall live.”MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.6

    This is following in the very steps of Rome. The truth is that neither of the first two of these things is in any sense the function of the church, and the third, not in the sense here intended. Any two persons who are married according to the laws of the state are just as truly kind of witness of the church to the fact, as with it. And any two persons who enter into the marriage relation according to the law of the state can have the blessing of God upon their union just as truly and just as much without any pronouncing of that blessing upon them by the church, as with the church’s pronouncing it ten thousand times. The blessing of the marriage relation is in that relation itself, and doesn’t come from the church at all. God’s blessing is in the marriage relation. He put that blessing there when he established the marriage relation; and the blessing of God is there for every pair who ever enter into the relationship. And all that those who are married need to do to have that blessing is to recognize God in their blessed relationship, and so enjoy the blessing that is there for them. And this recognition of God and his gracious blessing in the marriage relation, by those who are married, is infinitely more of a guard to the sanctity of the marriage bond than any guardianship of the church has ever proved to be, or ever can prove to be.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 147.7

    For, in truth and in fact, has the church ever in this way bettered things in respect of the marriage relation and abuses of it? The certain and sober answer must be, Never. Instead, she has always made things worse. When she absolutely owned the Roman state, and had it fully “Christian” according to her own order, divorces were so plenteous that sober history declares that “Men changed their wives as quickly as their clothes, and marriage chambers were set up as easily as booths in a market.”MEDM February 24, 1909, page 148.1

    Of course the church officials then complained, as these now complain, of “the divorce evil.” But the evil went straight along unchecked, simply because that then as now, it was the church-members equally with others who indulged the propensity to divorce.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 148.2

    And when the Roman State had perished under the very hand of the church, and she was left alone to run things as the church solely, and she then prohibited the marriage of the clergy, and prohibited divorce to all who were married, did even this regime better things as to the abuse of the marriage relation?—Not al all; it only made things worse; for it simply fixed hard and fast a system in which all who were married could do everything but be divorced; and the clergy could do everything but be married. And the resulting conditions are sufficiently indicated in the two awful but notorious facts: (1) that the very palaces of the popes were practically brothels, and (2) that sypilis [sic.] became epidemic in Europe.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 148.3

    And it all sprang and will ever spring from the fact that the church forgets her mission in the world, neglects the work that is hers to do, and attempts what can never be hers to do. She neglects the heavenly and blessed work of purifying the fountains of the inner life of the individual soul through the presence and power of God; and then by edict, proclamation, prohibition, law and force—by all outward pressure—seeks to curb the inevitable outward flow from the inherent inward corrupt condition. Instead of, by the presence and power and purity of God in the inmost soul, saving people from sin, she attempts by all means of outward pressure and force, to save “the state” from vice and crime. She abandons the individual and seeks to save “society” and the mass.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 148.4

    This is illustrated by a fact stated in the council in the discussion of this subject—a fact stated as a thing to be commended and imitated—that a certain bishop had made it an established rule never to visit divorced people who are married. What then is that bishop in the church for? Yea, what is he in the world for? Is he here thus to condemn and persecute sinners, instead of to save sinners? Christ came not to condemn, but to save, sinners. And all whom he sends are sent to do the same.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 148.5

    People who have been divorced and have married again, are not criminals to be punished; but sinners to be saved. Indeed, they are not criminals at all; for by due and regular process of law they have been divorced. They are not subject to punishment for crime. And when this proposed model bishop so deals with them, he transcends both the jurisdiction and the power of the state. And when he so deals with them he transcends any commission from God; for “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved,” and “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”MEDM February 24, 1909, page 148.6

    All such people need to be saved from the sinfulness that has led them into the sins that caused the divorce, instead of being punished by professed preachers of the gospel of salvation from sin, only because they are sinners of such sort of sins as please not the preachers.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 149.1

    No, no, no; instead of the ministry and the church attempting or hoping to run everything in society, the state, and the world, let them all with an utter abandon throw themselves upon God in an absolute devotion to him in the way of his Spirit and Word, to save individuals from sin and purify them unto the good works which God has before ordained for us all to walk in.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 149.2

    Thus saving and purifying at the fountain, both the family and the home, the ministry and the church will easily do infinitely more for society, the state and the world, than they can ever possibly do through utmost difficulty in the way which they propose.MEDM February 24, 1909, page 149.3

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