The Church, The Bible And You
-- The Founder of Christianity -- His Life and Teaching -- Primitive
Christians and The Historians -- Immortal Soulism -- The Holy
Trinity -- History of the Development of the Apostate Church
To The Seventh Century
time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine."
East and West, black and white,
heat and cold, good and evil, present no greater contrast than
do early Christians with modern Christianity.
The object of this chapter is to demonstrate this truth, and,
by it, separate once and for all the Bible from organised religion.
Organised Christianity is differently viewed by different persons.
The Romanist, for instance, regards the Church as divinely sanctioned,
guided, and established by God. The Protestant believes it to
have been a good church gone wrong but put right again by the
Protestant Reformation. The Rationalist considers it to be a
lot of hocus-pocus, a religion admittedly founded on a pious
Jew, but later used as an excuse to establish an autocratic system
of fraud and violence, by means of which rulers have been able
to impose their wills on the subservient masses with the active
aid of a crafty priesthood.
We hope it won't shock you too much, but, with the exception
of the very early days of the Christian movement, we believe
the Rationalist to be nearest to the truth.
Whatever your particular attitude to the Church may be, it is
an institution which cannot be ignored. It must be duly considered
and taken into account by every thinking man.
Our aim is to account for it, in order that we may remove it
from the path as an obstacle which is in the way of our inquiry
after truth. For indeed we must remove it if we would gain the
ear of the intelligent sceptic, and persuade him to give the
Bible an unbiased hearing, which he will never do in his present
frame of mind.
Orthodox believers may say they have no wish to see it removed,
for there is no such need. That is just where the orthodox are
wrong. For while they are misled into believing pagan fables
they are effectively excluded from every Scriptural hope; in
fact -- alienated from the life of God through ignorance.
The Bible can never be understood while it is in the suffocating
embrace of an apostate church. The Bible and the Church are inseparably
connected in the popular mind, so that the very mention of the
Bible provokes powerful and immediate prejudice because of this
FIGS FROM THISTLES
Dr. Blunt, Bishop of Bradford,
recently complained that the only real argument against Christianity
was the conduct of the Christians, and, says he, in judging Christians:
"The ordinary man . .
. tends remorselessly to apply the criterion that a tree is known
by its fruits."
How unkind of him! And this,
says Dr. Blunt, is "the only really solid argument"
he has. But are there not some things, my dear bishop, that only
need one solid argument? If I pointed you to a field of healthy
thistles and told you they were figs, you would doubtless reply:
"Do men gather figs from thistles?" Your reply would
be indisputably conclusive. The "ordinary man" is right,
dear Bishop Blunt, for the "ordinary man's" judgement
the authority of him whose servant you profess to be. He said:
"Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep's clothing . . . YE SHALL KNOW THEM
BY THEIR FRUITS. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt
tree bringeth forth evil fruit . . . WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS
YE SHALL KNOW THEM." (Matt. 7:15-20.)
But let us hasten to correct
an error -- the bishop's error. The "ordinary man,"
while having an unanswerable argument against the Church, does
not thereby discredit Christianity, because the Church is one
thing, while Christianity is quite another. We hope the "ordinary
man" will be interested in the evidence we shall advance
to prove our point.
We hope to shew the "ordinary
man" that far from the waywardness of the Church disproving
the Christian religion, it is, on the contrary, an evidence of
its truth; because in the official records of Christianity there
are plain and unmistakable forecasts of this very state of affairs
of which the "ordinary man" complains. In the development
of this great apostate system we are provided with another opportunity
to test Bible prophecy, a subject upon which we have already
had something to say.
If there were no great system of corrupt Christianity in the
world today; if Christians were united in their original primitive
belief and practices; then many New Testament prophecies would
be hopelessly and completely disproved. Then truly would the
"ordinary man" have a powerful case not only against
the Church but indeed against the Bible and Christianity itself.
We cannot do better, before passing on, than to reproduce some
of these warning apostolic expectations of which we speak.
The apostle Paul, on his way to Jerusalem, was at Miletus, and
from there he sent for the elders of the Ephesian church. Having
arrived, he addressed them as follows:
"I know that ye all,
among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see
my face no more . . . Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves,
and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made
you overseers . . . For I know this, that after my departing
shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS,
TO DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM." (Acts 20:25-30.)
Such was Paul's divine foreknowledge
of the apostacy which was to come. Then in his epistles addressed
to Timothy, who was an elder at Ephesus, he writes on the same
"Now the Spirit speaketh
expressly, that . . . SOME SHALL DEPART FROM THE FAITH . . .
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; . . . Forbidding to marry, and commanding
to abstain from meats ... refuse profane and old wives' fables."
(1 Tim. 4:1-7.)
"In the last days . . . men shall be lovers of their own
selves . . . Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God." (2 Tim. 3:1-4.)
It is evident that Paul was
not speaking of the heathen world, by which they were surrounded,
for these vices were commonplace with them and not, matters which
would form the subject of prophetic warning. Paul was of course
speaking of men who would profess Christianity. All doubt of
this is removed by the words which follow in verse 5:
"Having a form of godliness
but denying the power thereof."
Then he adds a command for
those who would preserve the truth in its purity:
"from such turn away."
(2 Tim. 3:5.)
"Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase
unto more ungodliness." (2 Tim. 2:16.)
"EVIL MEN AND SEDUCERS SHALL WAX WORSE AND WORSE, deceiving
and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:13.)
"The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts (desires) shall they heap to themselves
teachers . . . AND THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH,
AND SHALL BE TURNED UNTO FABLES." (2 Tim. 4:3-4.)
Then lastly we have Paul's
letter to the Thessalonian church in which he clearly foretells
the development of apostate practice which would end in the elevation
of the Pope as the "man of sin":
"That day (the return
of Christ to the earth) shall not come, except there come a falling
away (Gk. apostasia: apostacy) first, and that man of sin be
revealed, the son of perdition; WHO OPPOSETH AND EXALTETH HIMSELF
above all that is called God, or that is worshipped . . . Even
him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with ALL POWER
AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness
. . . And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should BELIEVE A LIE." (2 Thess. 2:3-11)
The reader will learn something
of the terrible significance of these terse words before our
As a preliminary to our main
enquiry we now turn to the official records of the Christian
movement. From these we learn that the founder of Christianity
was Jesus Christ. The detailed record of his life and teaching
is contained in four biographies by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
respectively. The rest of the New Testament, particularly the
Acts of the Apostles, furnishes us with similar details concerning
the immediate disciples of Jesus Christ, and the early Christians.
From the New Testament we now propose to extract a digest of
the nature and beginning of Christianity. In order to assist
the reader's mind, by the clearness which comes from continuous
narrative, uninterrupted by continual quotations, we are putting
the narrative in the left-hand column, while sample proof-passages
are added on the right. For the present the subjects will be
merely touched upon, in order to present a comprehensive view,
but later we propose to enlarge upon them.
|Jesus Christ was a Jew, descended
from Abraham, in a direct line through David.
book of the generation of Jesus Christ, THE SON OF DAVID, THE
SON OF ABRAHAM." (Matt. 1:1.)
|Jesus was the lawful heir to David's
throne as king of the Jews.
Lord God shall give unto him THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID."
himself claimed the distinction of being Israel's king.
thou a king then?. . . I am a king, TO THIS END WAS I BORN."
claim was believed by large numbers of Jews.
"Jesus therefore perceived
that they would come and take him by force, to inake him a king."
Hosannah: Blessed is the king
of Israel." (John 12:13.)
"Thou (Jesus) art THE
KING OF ISRAEL." (John 1:49.)
the intrigue of the "bishops" of his day, the Scribes
and Pharisees, he was put to death on a charge of treason against
"If thou let this man
go, thou art not Caesar's friend: WHOSOEVER MAKETH HIMSELF A
KING SPEAKETH AGAINST CAESAR." (John 19:12.)
"Shall I (Pilate) crucify
your king? The chief priests answered, WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR."
great tragedy was not chance, however, but part of God's plan
which required Jesus to be a sacrifice for sin at his first appearing.
"BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD,
which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29.)
"CHRIST DIED for our
sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES." (1 Cor. 15:3.)
man's wickedness did not effect God's purpose.
being delivered by THE DETERMINATE COUNSEL AND FOREKNOWLEDGE
OF GOD, ye have taken and by WICKED HANDS have crucified and
slain." (Acts 2:23.)
being raised from the dead,
RAISED UP JESUS our Lord FROM THE DEAD." (Rom. 4:24.)
ascended into heaven, from whence he is to return.
same Jesus which is TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, SHALL SO COME
in like manner as ye have seen him go." (Acts 1:11.)
he will raise his sleeping friends.
hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves SHALL
HEAR HIS VOICE AND SHALL COME FORTH." (John 5:28.)
reward the faithful with a share in his throne.
"Ye which have followed
me . . . when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory,
YE ALSO SHALL SIT ON TWELVE THRONES." (Matt. 19:28.)
"Thou hast made us unto
our God kings and priests: and WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH."
things constituted the "Gospel of the kingdom of God"
which Jesus preached.
went throughout every city and village preaching and shewing
the GLAD TIDINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD." (Luke 8:1)
of this gospel and baptism followed by a righteous life were
required of all Christ's disciples.
"HE THAT BELIEVETH and
is BAPTISED shall be saved." (Mark 16:16.)
"KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS."
personal character was sinless.
"(Jesus) DID NO SIN,
neither was guile found in his mouth." (1 Pet. 2:22.)
"Which of you convinceth
me (Jesus) of sin?" (John 8:46)
ideal at which he required his followers to aim.
"For even hereunto were
ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an
example, that ye should follow his steps." (1 Pet. 2:21.)
"If ye know these things
happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:17)
taught his disciples to preach and practise, in his absence,
the virtues of love,
this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye HAVE
LOVE ONE TO ANOTHER." (John 13:35.)
are the MEEK." (Matt. 5:5)
YOUR ENEMIES, bless them that curse you." (Matt. 5:44)
to observe a strict equality among themselves.
will be great among you, shall be your minister; and whosoever
of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." (Mark
"One is your master, even Christ; and ALL YE ARE BRETHREN."
followers of Jesus taught exactly the same things, that:
Jesus came as a sacrifice at his first appearing.
end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by THE
SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF." (Heb. 9:26 R.V.)
|Jesus was the
future king of Israel and eventually of the whole world.
appointed a day in the which he will judge (rule) the world in
righteousness by that man (Jesus) whom he hath ordained."
taught his resurrection from the dead,
God raised up the third day and shewed him openly . . . even to us who did eat and drink
with him after HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD." (Acts 10:40-41.)
and return to this earth:
SHALL SEND JESUS CHRIST, which before was preached unto you.
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution."
|That there would
be a resurrection of his dead friends,
be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."
in his throne for the faithful.
"If we suffer WE SHALL
ALSO REIGN with him." (2 Tim. 2:12)
"The saints shall judge
(rule) the world." (1 Cor. 6:2)
followers of Jesus were godly men, like their Master, who could
invite others to follow their example, and who
"Brethren, be followers
together of me, and mark them which walk so as YE HAVE US FOR
AN ENSAMPLE." (Phil. 3:17)
"BE YE FOLLOWERS OF ME,
even as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)
all evildoers from their assemblies.
you, brethren . . . that ye WITHDRAW YOURSELVES from every brother
that walketh disorderly." (2 Thess. 3:6)
|They also inculcated
a strict equality among believers.
you be SUBJECT ONE TO ANOTHER." (1 Pet. 5:5)
In their general descriptions
of a Christian's life and duties, we find them making repeated
use of such words as: "Love, gentleness, patience, kindness,
forbearance, forgiveness, mercy, meekness, pure, just, good report,
honesty, virtue, faith, temperance."
These beliefs and practices
were in active operation among the early Christians. This is
confirmed by outside testimony. Gibbon, the famous author of
"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," who, by
the way, was an unbeliever, testifies to the blameless morals
of the early believers. He also refers to what was to him their
peculiar doctrine of non-retaliation to evil. He speaks of:
"The pure and austere
morals of the Christians." Chapter 15.
"The Primitive Christians were dead to the business and
pleasures of the world." Chapter 15.
Gibbon then comments on this
puzzling doctrine of nonretaliation, which is no puzzle to the
reader of Christ's commands:
"The defence of our persons
and property they knew not how to reconcile with the patient
doctrine which enjoined an UNLIMITED FORGIVENESS OF PAST INJURIES
... nor could their humane ignorance be convinced that it was
lawful on any occasion to shed the blood of our fellow-creatures,
either by the sword of justice or that of war." Chapter
Of the strict equality of
Christians in the government of their churches or assemblies
(for the Greek word "ecclesia" rendered "church"
in our Authorised Version is an assembly of called out persons,
not a building) Gibbon declares:
"Independence and equality
formed the basis of their internal constitution."
"The primitive bishops were considered only as the first
of their equals, and the honourable servants of a free people."
So much then for that end
of our story: the beginning, the primitive, the pure.
Now what of this end, after a lapse of 2,000 years? If today
the "ordinary man" asks to see the Christians, he is
pointed to "The Church." Then, as Bishop Blunt complains,
he insists on seeing "fruit"--meekness, love, nonretaliation.
He expects to see Christians who are "dead to the world's
pleasures," separate from the world's politics; instead
of which he sees pride and love of pre-eminence; archbishops
living in palaces, and complaining that they have a job to make
ends meet on L15,000 a year; bishops sitting in the House of
Lords, and helping to make the country's laws, accepting its
honours, and encouraging its armies at war in their work of killing
fellow "Christians." Seeing this and much more, Bishop
Blunt says, the "ordinary man" is "puzzled";
and well he might be! The Bishop doubtless dislikes the publicity
which the advance of independent democratic institutions has
shed upon the Church's sordid history. But the day when the light
of inquiry could be quenched has passed with the rack and the
We now propose enlightening the "ordinary man" still
more by enquiring into the Church's pedigree. This may serve
to "explain" the church as he sees it today, and so
lessen his "mystification" even if it increases his
contempt, which it doubtless will.
CAREFULLY SELECTED WITNESSES
Owing to the graveness of
our charge we must be careful in the selection of our witnesses.
The chief one upon whom we shall rely is Dr. Mosheim, who has
written an ecclesiastical history of world-wide repute. His work,
as far as we are aware, has never seriously been called in question.
What is more, Dr. Mosheim was a clergyman whose sympathies were
with the church, and who denounces as "heretics" many
dissenting bodies of the early centuries, who, we have good reason
to believe, contained many primitive Christians. Be this as it
may, the learned doctor does not write to please us, neither
would we wish it; his testimony suits our purpose well as it
stands, because he writes as an accredited historian. Century
by century, beginning with the first, he unfolds the history
and development of the Christian church. We cannot do better
than follow him in this chronological sequence and learn how
every Christian virtue was outraged, and every Christian doctrine
corrupted, by the substitution of unblushing paganism.
You will recall the list of New Testament words descriptive of
Christians and Christianity. It will be well to keep them in
mind for the purpose of making a contrast, for you will find
that Mosheim finds little or no occasion to make use of them.
Rather in his description of his "Christians" and his
"Christianity" does he have continual recourse to such
ugly words as:
"Fraud, forgery, voluptuousness,
profligacy, sensual, avaricious, corruption, vice, villainy,
arrogance, domination, tyranny, ignorance, crime, dissoluteness,
robbery, revelry, licentiousness, debauchery, depravity, force,
cunning, enormities, hatred, cruelty, bribery, rancour, violence,
craftiness, murder, monsters, abandoned, poisoning."
Such words of evil import,
bad in their solitary setting, are certainly not improved when
placed in their historical context. To that sordid task we now
apply ourselves with the able help of Dr. Mosheim. It will then
be seen that if the ingenuity of the reader can add any words
to our degraded list they will all be comprehended in one word
Our pages will now be taken up largely by quotations from Mosheim.
We trust that the reader will find them interesting and instructive.
"CLEAR AS THE NOON
In his description of First
Century Christianity, Mosheim uses similar descriptions to Gibbon.
By these he shews the early church to have been exactly what
a careful reading of the New Testament would have led us to expect.
Of the equality which prevailed among the early Christians Mosheim
"In those primitive times,
each Christian church was composed of the people, the presiding
officers, and the assistants or deacons . . . THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY
WAS IN THE PEOPLE or the whole body of the Christians . . . THE
ASSEMBLED PEOPLE, therefore, ELECTED THEIR OWN RULERS AND TEACHERS."
"THE PEOPLE DID EVERYTHING that is proper for those in whom
THE SUPREME POWER OF THE COMMUNITY IS vested." (Century
1. Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)
This equality extended to
their churches; they too were equal in authority, and independent
of any central jurisdiction.
"ALL THE CHURCHES in
these primitive times WERE INDE PENDENT ... It is as clear as
the noonday, that all Christian churches had EQUAL RIGHTS, and
were in all respects ON A FOOTING OF EQUALITY." (Century
1, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)
WOLVES ENTER THE SHEEP-FOLD
The inspired apostle Paul
knew that this condition of affairs would not last, for already,
while he lived, he had to contend with various heresies of those
"who concerning the truth had erred" in different ways.
How much more then would this tendency to error increase when
his restraining influence was removed. Thus his prophetic utterance
to the elders of the Ephesian church:
"I know this, that after
my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you . . . Also
of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things,
to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:29-30.)
It seems incredible that such
things could happen, at least so soon. History, however, verifies
the apostle's prediction, for, after Paul's departing, Mosheim
"Christian churches had
scarely been gathered and organised, when here and there MEN
ROSE up, who, not being contented with the simplicity and purity
of that religion which the apostles taught, attempted innovations
and FASHIONED RELIGION ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN LIKING ... So long
as the greater part of the apostles were alive, to watch over
the churches, these innovators were not very successful."
(Century 1, Pt. 2, Ch. 5.)
These restraints being finally
removed, when the last of the inspired apostles passed off the
scene, error advanced with rapid strides. None, we believe, lived
to see the beginning of the next century, and of this Second
Century Mosheim says:
"The philosophers and
learned men who came over to the Christians in this century,
were no inconsiderable protection and ornament to this holy religion"
(but) " . . . the NOBLE SIMPLICITY AND MAJESTIC DIGNITY
OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION WERE LOST . . . when these philosophers
(brought) faith and piety under the dominion of human reason."
(Century 2, Pt. 1, Ch. 1.)
The particular philosophy
here referred to was the Platonic, which takes its name from
Plato, a Grecian philosopher who flourished during the Fifth
Century B.C., or six centuries earlier than the time of which
Mosheim here speaks. Plato, together with his brother philosopher
Socrates, is responsible, more than any other, for the doctrine
of the immortality of the soul being introduced into the Christian
church. This was done, of course, not by Plato and Socrates,
who lived centuries earlier, but by their disciples who lived
in Christian times.
THE CARDINAL ERROR OF CHRISTENDOM
This pagan doctrine--yes,
pagan doctrine--of the immortality of the soul is the cardinal
error of Christendom upon which their whole superstructure of
lies is built. With out this for a foundation their carefully
erected and cunningly devised system of heaven-going-at-death,
hell-torments; and purgatory, collapses like a child's sand-castle
before the incoming tide. It is the oldest lie in the world;
its real author is the serpent in Eden, when, contrary to God's
declared intention, he knowingly declared:
"Ye shall not surely
Plato and Socrates did but
dress it up in learned philosophic garb; the lie is still essentially
the same, poetically expressed by "Christian" poets:
"There is no death, what
seemeth so is transition."
This belief in a disembodied
existence somewhere after death has been almost universal among
the nations of antiquity. The notable exception to this rule
was the Jews. And it was the Jews, mark you, dear reader, who
alone had a revelation from God in their Scriptures. This is
a singular and significant fact. Even Gibbon stays to remark
upon it; says he:
"The doctrine of the
immortality of the Soul is OMITTED IN THE LAW OF MOSES."
This, we unhesitatingly affirm,
is also true of the New Testament. For as Jesus said when he
summarised his mission and teaching, "I came not to destroy
the law but to fulfil"; while Paul declared that he taught
"None other things than those which the prophets and Moses
did say should come." (Acts 26:22)
A HEATHEN FICTION
These truths have been strikingly
confirmed by many modern scholars who have set themselves the
task of finding evidence for the immortality of the soul in the
Scriptures. They have all drawn a blank. One, an Archbishop,
"In the Word of God no
such doctrine is found."
The truth is, the immortality
of the soul is an old heathen fiction invented by benighted men
to account for something they could not otherwise understand.
A writer in Chambers's Encyclopedia comments as follows:
"IN THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN
RELIGION THE IDEA OF IMMORTALITY FIRST ASSUMES A DEFINITE SHAPE.
There is a clear recognition of a dwelling place of the dead
. . . With the progress of Hellenic thought, a higher idea of
the future is found to characterise both the poetry and philosophy
of Greece, till IN THE PLATONIC SOCRATES, THE CONCEPTION OF IMMORTALITY
SHINES FORTH WITH IMPRESSIVE CLEARNESS AND PRECISION.
"In the Apology and the Phoedo Socrates discourses of the
doctrine of the soul's immortality in language at once rich in
faith and beauty: 'THE SOUL, THE IMMATERIAL PART, being of a
nature so superior to the body, CAN IT,' he asks in the Phoedo,
I as soon as it is separated from the body, BE DISPERSED INTO
NOTHING AND PERISH?' . . .
"THE SOUL DEPARTS INTO THAT INVISIBLE REGION which is of
its own nature, the region of the divine, the immortal, the wise,
and then its lot is to be happy in a state in which it is freed
from fears and wild desires, and the evils of humanity, AND SPENDS
THE REST OF ITS EXISTENCE WITH THE GODS'."
Chambers's Ency. Vol. 6, page 88.
"SOMETHING MUST BE
Surely a modern churchman
could describe his beliefs no better nor any differently. The
reason? Pagan philosopher and modern churchman are akin. And
now here are the findings of another famous philosopher, Aristotle,
whose teaching has profoundly influenced the theologians:
"Aristotle declares that
all men have a conception of gods, and that all agree in placing
their habitation in the most elevated region of the Universe.
The Egyptian, the Scandinavian, the Assyrian, and ALL PRIMITIVE
RELIGIONS MAINTAIN EXISTENCE OF A HEAVEN AS THE PLACE OF REWARD
AFTER DEATH FOR VIRTUOUS LIVES LIVED ON EARTH; and indeed it
may be taken as the universal corollary to the UNIVERSALLY HELD
BELIEF IN THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL." Chambers's Ency.
Vol. 5, page 612.
That is it. A "Universal
corollary": the one implies and indeed demands the other.
If a soul is immortal it must therefore always exist. When the
body dies the immortal soul, ejected from its house of clay,
is homeless; and as something must be somewhere, a place of new
abode must be found for it. Hence heaven has become the "universal
corollary," to the "universally held belief in the
immortality of the soul." Here then is the origin, and here
are the fathers of the gospel-nullifying error: Plato, Socrates,
Summing the matter up, Mosheim declares:
"This (Platonic) philosophy
was adopted by such of the learned at Alexandria as WISHED TO
BE ACCOUNTED CHRISTIANS AND YET RETAIN THE NAME, THE GARB, AND
THE RANK OF PHILOSOPHERS." (Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1.)
A faithful section of the
Christians earnestly contended against this dangerous innovation.
They knew to where it would lead, by the warnings they had received.
Not being flattered by the learned condescension of heathen philosophers
who would, at a price, pay court to Christianity, they strenuously
opposed and denounced the growing apostacy. Thus began an unequal
warfare which has continued to this very day.
What could be more telling, in illustration of the warnings of
the apostles, than this extract from Mosheim?
"THIS CULTIVATION OF
PHILOSOPHY by Christian teachers greatly DISPLEASED THOSE WHO
WERE ATTACHED TO THE ANCIENT SIMPLE FAITH, as taught by Christ
and his apostles, for they feared what afterwards actually happened,
that the purity and excellence of divine truth would suffer by
it. Hence the Christians were divided into TWO PARTIES, THE FRIENDS
OF PHILOSOPHY and human learning, and THE OPPOSERS OF THEM."
Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1 (footnote).
Then is added this significant
"The issue of the long
contest between them was, that the advocates of PHILOSOPHY PREVAILED."
not by the weight of Scripture testimony, for there was none,
but by the decrees of councils; just as they did in the dispute
about the nature of Christ, at the Council of Nicea. The Council
proclaimed its judgment and henceforth all dissenters were hunted
down as heretics. We have an illustration of this method in a
declaration of a canon passed by the Council of Lateran:
"Some have dared to assert,
concerning the nature of the reasonable soul, that IT IS MORTAL;
we, with the approbation of the sacred Council, do condemn and
reprobate all such, seeing ACCORDING TO THE CANON OF POPE CLEMENT
THE FIFTH, THE SOUL IS IMMORTAL; and we strictly inhibit all
from dogmatising otherwise; and we decree that all who adhere
to the like erroneous assertions shall be shunned and punished
as heretics." (Caranza, page 412, 1681)
"THE POPE CONSENTETH
UNTO HEATHEN DOCTRINE"
Nothing is so calculated to
open one's eyes to the true character of the church than an intelligent
grasp of what happened in these early days of Christianity of
which Mosheim treats. It makes one exclaim, "Ah, now I can
see how it all happened, the Christianity of Christ and his apostles
simply became overwhelmed by a flood of heathen philosophy."
Mosheim further declares:
"THIS NEW SPECIES OF
PHILOSOPHY, imprudently adopted by Origen and other Christians,
DID IMMENSE HARM TO CHRISTIANITY. For it led the teachers of
it to involve in philosophic obscurity many parts of our religion,
which were in themselves plain and easy to be understood; and
to ADD TO THE PRECEPTS OF THE SAVIOUR NOT A FEW THINGS OF WHICH
NOT A WORD CAN BE FOUND IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES . . . It recommended
to Christians various foolish and useless rites, suited only
to nourish superstition, no small part of which we see religiously
observed by many even to the present day . . . (it) produced
a heterogeneous species of religion, consisting of Christian
and platonic principles combined." (Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch.
This is exactly the charge
made by William Tyndale, the reformer and translator of the Bible.
"In putting departed
souls in heaven, hell, and purgatory, you destroy the arguments
wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection . . . The heathen
philosophers denying (the resurrection) did put that souls did
ever live. And the Pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ,
and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together--things so
contrary that they cannot agree . . . And because the Pope consenteth
unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scriptures
to establish it."
Where are the William Tyndales
today? They have ceased to be found in the ranks of the clergy.
Nevertheless they do still exist.
Mosheim. testifies that this and other foolish beliefs caused
Christianity to be treated with contempt by the intelligent pagans
of the time. He says:
"It alienated the minds
of many, in the following centuries, from Christianity itself."
(Century 2, Pt. 2, Ch. 1.)
CHRISTIANITY RENDERED INCREDIBLE
This revolt is still to be
seen today, and is expressed in a reported remark of the Duke
"It is apparent to me
that the Christian religion has been corrupted from very early
times, and that these corruptions have been mistaken for essential
parts of it, and have been the cause of rendering the whole religion
That sums up our quarrel with
the Church today. They have brought true religion into disrepute
by their own counterfeit which masquerades as Christianity. Our
task is to expose them and so clear away one of the biggest stumbling
blocks in the way of the "ordinary man's" acceptance
of the Bible.
Mosheim next deals with the practice of calling councils, which
began in the second century, and which resulted in so much evil.
These councils were composed of representative delegates from
the various churches. They met together and formed ecclesiastical
laws, or canons. What they really accomplished is best described
in his own words:
"These councils ... changed
nearly the whole form of the Church. For in the first place,
the ANCIENT RITES AND PRIVI LEGES OF THE PEOPLE were, by them,
very much ABRIDGED; and on the other hand, the influence and
AUTHORITY OF THE BISHOPS WERE NOT A LITTLE AUGMENTED." (Century
2, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)
By the THIRD CENTURY, one
great fundamental truth of Christianity, i.e., Christ's reign
on earth, which we briefly demonstrated at the opening of our
chapter, was discarded by many Christians. Mosheim's testimony
"That the Saviour is to reign a thousand years among men
before the end of the world, had been believed by many in the
preceding century . . . In this (third) century the Millennarian
doctrine fell into disrepute, through the influence especially
of Origen, who opposed it because it contravened some of his
opinions." (Century 3, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
A "REIGNING SENTIMENT"
Gibbon offers similar testimony
concerning this primitive belief of Christ's reign on earth:
"THE ANCIENT AND POPULAR
DOCTRINE OF THE MILLENNIUM was intimately connected with the
second coming of Christ . . . Though it might not be universally
received, it appears to have been THE REIGNING SENTIMENT OF THE
ORTHODOX BELIEVERS. . . But, when the edifice of the church was
almost completed, the temporary support was laid aside. The doctrine
of Christ's reign upon earth was at first treated as a profound
allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless
opinion, and was at length REJECTED AS THE ABSURD INVENTION OF
HERESY AND FANATICISM." (Decline & Fall, chapter 15.)
With this renunciation of
plain Scripture testimony came the adoption of unscriptural ceremonies
and unheard-of doctrines. Of the ceremonies Mosheim says:
"All the monuments of
this (third) century which have come down to us, shew that there
was a great increase in ceremonies." (Century 3, Pt. 2,
While, as an illustration
of the adoption of heathen doctrines, we have that of the "Holy
Trinity", of which the historian writes:
"The controversies respecting
the divine Trinity, which commenced in the preceding century,
FROM THE TIME WHEN GRECIAN PHILOSOPHY GOT INTO THE CHURCH, had
a wider spread in this century and produced various methods of
explaining that doctrine." (Century 3, Pt. 2, Ch. 5.)
This foolish and self-contradictory
doctrine persists to this day, and is defended by nearly every
sect of non-conformity as well as by the church "by law
established." It is defended but never explained, universally
admitted to be "inexplicable" and "above reason,"
incapable of demonstration--a "holy mystery."
From now on the pace of declension accelerated. Of the FOURTH
CENTURY Mosheim writes:
"THE BISHOPS . . . gradually
subverted and changed the ancient principles of church government.
For they first EXCLUDED THE PEOPLE ALTOGETHER FROM HAVING A VOICE
IN ECCLESIASTICAL AFFAIRS . . . so that they now controlled every
thing at their discretion." (Century 4, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)
Next we have the beginnings
of shrine and relic worship in which the Roman Church still specialises.
"Next from Palestine
... portions of dust or earth were brought, as if they were the
most powerful protection against the assaults of evil spirits:
and these were bought and sold everywhere at great prices. Further,
THE PUBLIC SUPPLICATIONS, BY WHICH THE PAGANS WERE ACCUSTOMED
TO APPEASE THEIR GODS, WERE BORROWED FROM THEM AND WERE CELEBRATED
IN MANY PLACES WITH GREAT POMP. To the temples, to water consecrated
in due form, and to the images of holy men, THE SAME EFFICACY
WAS ASCRIBED . . . as had been attributed to the pagan temples,
statues and lustrations before the advent of Christ." (Century
4, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
Thus was Christianity becoming
openly pagan. Indeed pagan practices were now encouraged to attract
more readily the pagans, and so swell the numbers of the Christian
ranks. Incredible -- but true. Listen again to Mosheim:
"The Christian bishops
introduced into the Christian worship, those rites by which,
formerly, the Greeks and Romans . . . had manifested their piety
and reverence towards their imaginary deities; SUPPOSING THAT
THE PEOPLE WOULD MORE READILY EMBRACE CHRISTIANITY . . . There
was, of course, LITTLE DIFFERENCE in these times BETWEEN THE
PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHRISTIANS AND THAT OF THE (PAGANS) . .
. IN BOTH there were splendid ROBES, MITRES, TIARAS, WAX TAPERS,
CROSIERS, PROCESSIONS, LUSTRATIONS, IMAGES, GOLDEN AND SILVER
VASES, and innumerable other things alike." (Century 4,
Pt. 2, Ch. 4.)
Or, as Professor John William
Draper declares, it was simply Grecian mythology revived, for
the Greeks had,
"Statues of Minerva that
could brandish spears, paintings that could blush, images that
could sweat, and endless shrines and sanctuaries at which miracle
cures could be performed . . . In short, almost the whole of
paganism is converted and applied to popery." The Conflict
between Religion & Science, page 39.
In the FOURTH CENTURY many
began to press their trinitarian beliefs upon their resisting
brethren. Such a ridiculous spectacle did they present in arguing
how three could only be one, and one could truly be three, each
and all co-equal and co-eternal, that comedians were presenting
burlesques of the controversy on the stage at Alexandria in Egypt.
Thus the whole foolery, of a son being the same age as his father,
was held up to ridicule, and religion brought into contempt.
Those who denied this absurd doctrine were styled Arians by their
opponents. And in illustration of the fanatical superstition
into which men had at this time fallen, we have the Trinitarians
bringing forward dead men's bones to help confound the Arians.
"Ambrose, in controversy
with the Arians, brings forward persons possessed with devils
(insane) who are constrained when the relics of Gervasius and
Protasius are produced, to cry out, that the doctrine of the
(Trinity) is true and divine, and the doctrine of the Arians
false and pernicious." (Century 4, Part 2, Ch. 3.)
This "Arian controversy,"
as it was called, reached such alarming proportions that the
Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, called a council to settle
the matter. The outcome of this famous Council of Nicea, A.D.
325. was the Nicene Creed which was intended to define authoritatively
the teaching of Scripture upon this abstruse subject of the Trinity.
Here are one or two extracts from it:
"I believe in ... one
Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Begotten of
his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very
God of very God, Begotten not made, Being of one substance with
the Father . . ."
All dissentients from this
jargon were now treated as heretics. Later, about the fifth century,
this creed was further elaborated by the production of the Athanasian
Creed. Its folly will best be seen by reproducing the first half,
which is relevant to our subject:
"Whosoever will be saved:
before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick
"Which faith except everyone
do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
"And the Catholick Faith
is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.
"For there is one Person
of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.
"But the Godhead of the
Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory
equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
"Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the
"The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate: and the Holy Ghost
"The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible:
and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
"The Father eternal, the Son eternal: and the Holy Ghost
"And yet they are not three eternals: but one eternal.
"As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three
uncreated: but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
"So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty: and
the Holy Ghost Almighty.
"And yet they are not three Almighties: but one Almighty.
"So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost
"And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.
"So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord: and the Holy
"And yet not three Lords: but one Lord.
"For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to
acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
"So are we forbidden by the Catholick Religion: to say,
there be three Gods, or three Lords.
"The Father is made of none: neither created, nor begotten.
"The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created,
"The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither
made nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
"So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not
three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
"And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none
is greater or less than another;
"But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together; and
"So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity,
and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
"He therefore that will be saved: must thus think of the
It is interesting to read
a Catholic apologist's, defence of the framing of this and similar
metaphysical nonsense. The Rev. E. R. Hill, S.J., says:
"NEW DOCTRINES WERE PERIODICALLY
ADDED TO THE CHURCH'S TEACHING. Certainly MORE DOCTRINES ARE
TAUGHT AS FAITH TODAY THAN WERE TAUGHT AS OF FAITH BY THE APOSTLES.
The question leads to the idea of the development of doctrine.
Catholics believe that the Church never develops into a doctrine
anything that was not originally a part of Christ's revelation.
But a development can take place in clearness and definiteness
of expression. Peter would have told us that our Lord was God
and man but, he would hardly have been able to express his doctrine
in the terms of the . . . Athanasian Creed because that kind
of language was not in use in St. Peter's day." ("What
the Catholic Church is and what she teaches," page 12.)
How thankful we are that "that kind of language was not
in use in Peter's day"! Fancy a Bible written in the gibberish
of the Athanasian Creed; a book of such a size would be absolutely
unreadable. Then the sublime self-assurance of "Father"
Hill! Peter, an inspired apostle and companion of Jesus, was
unable to express himself with "clearness and definiteness
of expression" although speaking by the power of the Spirit
of God. So it is left to muddle-headed apostates of the fifth
century to make his meaning clear to poor mankind!
Indeed men must believe it if they would be "saved,"
yet it is admittedly "incomprehensible." How a man
can believe what he cannot understand, even if he were willing,
we have yet to learn. But there, this is but one of the countless
follies and inconsistencies of this nonsensical religion.
Thus men accept and defend man-made creeds which they confess
their inability to understand, and yet will reject, out of hand,
clearly defined Bible doctrines. Take the following extract,
attributed to Bishop Beveridge, as an example of the blind unreasoning
assent to childish dogma of the benighted church of earlier times.
"I ever did and ever
shall, look upon those apprehensions of God to be truest, whereby
we apprehend Him to be the most incomprehensible ... I think
myself the more obliged to believe: especially this mystery of
mysteries, The Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity, which
I am far from being able to comprehend . . . That the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost, should be Three, and yet One; but One and
yet Three! O Heart-amazing, thought-devouring inconceivable mystery!
Who cannot believe it to be true?"
What logic, to be sure! The
more unbelievable it is the more likely it is to be true. "Inconceivable,"
even "incomprehensible," yet it must be so--"who
cannot believe it to be true?" Knowing what we do we feel
more inclined to enquire in amazement--"who can?"
Passing along now to the FIFTH CENTURY we find the ambitious
Church, not satisfied with converting individuals to "Christianity,"
now begins to make converts of tribes and nations by the conversion
of the nation's leaders.
The first of these was Clovis, king of the Franks. In order to
impress his barbaric followers with the divine character of this
occasion, "lying wonders" were unblushingly employed:
"The miracles reported
on this occasion (the baptism of Clovis) are unworthy of credit,"
says Mosheim, and continues:
"In particular the greatest
of them, the descent of a dove from heaven with a phial full
of oil . . . is either a fiction, or, as I think, more probable,
a deception craftily contrived for the occasion. For such pious
frauds were much resorted to in that age . . . to captivate more
readily the minds of the barbarous nations." (Century 5,
Pt. 1, Ch. 1.)
When we realise that the "Christian"
clergy had descended to such depths of deceit, we are less surprised
when we read the testimony of the historian concerning their
low personal morals at this time:
"Of the vices of the
whole clerical order, their luxury, their arrogance, their avarice,
their voluptuous lives, we have as many witnesses as we have
writers of integrity and gravity in this age whose works have
come down to us." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)
We have now travelled far
from the "pure" and "austere" lives of early
Christian leaders; and "like priest like people" is
a saying well illustrated in this case, for, says Mosheim:
"These stains on the
character of the clergy would have been deemed insufferable,
had not most of the people been sunk in superstition and ignorance,
and had not all estimated the rights and privileges of Christian
ministers by those of the ancient priests." (Century 5,
Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)
PRIMITIVE SIMPLICITY GONE
The primitive simplicity of
Christianity had now gone beyond recall. The people had "heaped
to themselves teachers" who had turned them from truth to
the most childish and ridiculous "fables."
Indeed, to be a primitive
Christian now, in faith or practice, was to be condemned by the
dominant party of Christians, that party which had prevailed
owing to the evil work of the philosophers. So says Mosheim:
"That devout and VENERABLE
SIMPLICITY OF THE FIRST AGES OF THE CHURCH,which taught men to
believe when God speaks and to obey when God commands appeared
to most of the doctors of this age to be UNPHILOSOPHICAL AND
BECOMING ONLY IN THE VULGAR." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
Thus, as foretold, "evil
men and seducers" had completely obscured the truth, and
in its place substituted "fables." Mosheim says of
"They did not so much
explain, as INVOLVE IN GREATER OBSCURITY and DARKEN WITH AMBIGUOUS
TERMS AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE DIST'INCTIONS, the deep mysteries
of revealed religion."
These men preferred mysteries.
And what was plain and easy to be understood was soon turned
into a mystery, for it was the mysteries which paid the big dividends.
By a skilful handling of these with "feigned words they
were able, true to the apostolic forecast, to make merchandize"
of the people.
"Most of the interpreters
. . . DESPISING THE GENUINE AND OBVIOUS MEANING of the Scriptures,
SEARCH AFTER ABSTRUSE SENSES, or what the Latins of that age
called mysteries, in the plainest passages and sentences of the
Bible." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
Religious fanaticism now ran
riot. Men sought notoriety and a reputation for peculiar sanctity
by "behaving," as Mosheim says, "like madmen."
Many became what are known as pillar saints. They spent their
lives, like Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square, perched on the tops
of specially erected columns. Mosheim tells us of one:
"Simeon of Sisan ...
who was first a shepherd, and then a monk; who, in order to be
nearer heaven, spent thirty-seven years in the most uncomfortable
manner on the tops of five different pillars, of six, twelve,
twenty-two, thirty-six, and forty cubits elevation; and in this
way procured for himself immense fame and veneration." (Century
5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
--a reward which no reasonable
mind will begrudge him, we feel sure. As for getting him "nearer
to heaven," we must demur. The extent to which men will
ignore what God requires in order zealously to follow their own
misguided dictates is truly wonderful.
Each surprise seems to prepare us for the next, although we sometimes
feel that we are reading the diary of an asylum attendant instead
of the sober narration of actual happenings. We are told that
"Christianity conquered Paganism"; we wonder when we
read the following:
"AS NO ONE IN THOSE TIMES
OBJECTED TO CHRISTIANS RETAINING THE OPINIONS OF THEIR PAGAN
ANCESTORS, respecting the souls, heroes, demons, temples, and
the like, and then transferring them into their devotions; as
NO ONE PROPOSED UTTERLY TO ABOLISH THE ANCIENT PAGAN INSTITUTIONS,
BUT ONLY TO ALTER THEM SOMEWHAT, AND PURIFY THEM; it was unavoidable
that the religion and worship of Christians should in this way
become corrupted." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
Of course it was "unavoidable."
As unavoidable as a barrel of bad apples turning a good one bad.
For whoever yet heard of a good apple turning a barrel of bad
ones good? This same error was manifest later during the period
of the Reformation. Then the reformers did not seek to "abolish"
Catholicism but only to "alter it somewhat", and "purify"
it. To such an experiment we can add the comment of Mosheim,
"It was unavoidable that the religion and worship of Christianity
should in this way become corrupted."
Mosheim, now overwhelmed by the evidence of wholesale apostacy
which he had collected of this fifth century, says:
"To recount all the regulations
made in this century respecting the mode of worship and religious
rites and institutions would require a volume of considerable
size ... Public worship everywhere assumed a form more calculated
for show ... The magnificence of the temples had no bounds. Splendid
images were placed in them . . . the image of the Virgin Mary
holding her infant in her arms, occupied the most conspicuous
place." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch. 4.)
Thus began "mariolatry,"
practised to this day in the Catholic Church. Something more
sinister also made its appearance at this time, a doctrine which
has since caused untold mental misery to millions, a doctrine
which could never have survived apart from the universal acceptance
of the great lie -- the immortality of the soul. We refer to
the doctrine of Hell torments and Purgatory.
Thus Mosheim, concludes his review of the fifth century with
"This also will I add,
that the doctrine of the purification of souls after death by
means of some sort of fire ... obtained, in this age, a fuller
development and greater influence." (Century 5, Pt. 2, Ch.
EMERGENCE OF THE "POPE"
The competition among the bishops for pre-eminence and priority,
had by this time resolved itself into an unhallowed contest between
the remaining two for supreme headship of the Church.
With the advent of the SIXTH CENTURY, circumstances favoured
the elevation of the Bishop of Rome to the coveted position of
headship at the expense of his only remaining rival, the Bishop
of Constantinople. In this century the ambitions of the lesser
clergy continued to grow upon what they were fed. Thus Mosheim
"The clergy were previously
in possession of high privileges and great wealth, and the superstition
of this century added considerably to both. For it was supposed
that sins might be expiated by munifence to churches and monks;
and that the prayers of departed saints, which were most efficacious
with God, might be purchased by presents offered to them, and
by temples dedicated to their names. This increase in wealth
and privileges was accompanied with an equal increase of the
vices usually attendant on affluence, in the clergy of all ranks
from the highest to the lowest." (Century 6, Pt. 2, Ch.
Then we have a reminder of
the apostle's warning that "evil men and seducers shall
wax worse and worse, deceiving" (the people) and themseleves
"being deceived" (by God), for, as another prophecy
foretold, in consequence of wilfully perverting God's truth,
God would send them judicial blindness that "they should
believe a lie." And so it is, as Mosheim testifies:
"THE BARRIERS OF ANCIENT
SIMPLICITY AND TRUTH BEING ONCE VIOLATED, THE STATE OF THEOLOGY
WAXED WORSE AND WORSE; and the amount of impure and superstitious
additions to the religion of Christ is almost indescribable .
. . Those who instructed the people at large, made it their SOLE
CARE TO IMBUE THEM MORE AND MORE WITH IGNORANCE, SUPERSTITION,
REVERENCE FOR CLERGY, AND ADMIRATION OF EMPTY CEREMONIES . .
. Nor was this strange; for the blind -- that is, persons for
the most part grossly ignorant and thoughtless -- were leaders
of the blind." (Century 6, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
Then Mosheim, continuing his,
or rather Christ's, telling analogy of "blind men,"
declares of this sixth century:
"AN ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE
OF RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES and a simple lucid exposition of them,
NO ONE WILL EXPECT FROM TEACHERS OF THESE TIMES. MOST OF THEM
REASONED AS BLIND MEN DO ABOUT COLOURS." (Century 6, Pt.
2, Ch. 3.)
And these men, dear reader,
are the august ancestors of the Catholic Church, through whom
"infallible judgment" on divine revelation has been
transmitted to the present occupant of "St Peter's Chair"
in Rome! Mark it and consider it well, now, and in the more telling
evidence to follow, and ask yourselves as men of sense and reason,
Can it be so? Has God chosen such foul conveyers of his pure
revelation? Can heavenly wisdom spring from such tainted sources
of gross error and foolishness? Do men gather figs from thistles?
Answer these questions by the help of Mosheim's testimony:
"To endure hunger and
thirst without repining and go naked about the country like mad-men
. . . this was accounted holy and glorious. The less anyone resembled
a man of rational and sane mind, the more confidently might he
hope to obtain an honoured place among the heroes and demi-gods
of the Church." (Century 6, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)
So closes the history of the