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our former blindness and set free for eternal life.” He declares that by this act men are prepared to receive the Holy Ghost; that in the literal act, “the spirit is corporeally washed in the waters, and the flesh is, in the same, spiritually cleansed.” Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (third century), in his treatise concerning the Baptism of Heretics, teaches the same doctrine in no uncertain terms.
The limits of this work preclude the historic treatment of the rise and development of the host Other arroneous I false doctrines and practises doctrines and that finally bound the people practises
in the thralldom of superstition and plunged the world into the darkness of spiritual night. One who is free from such influences can scarcely read without feelings of disgust the elaborate treatises of these church fathers wherein they extol the virtues of virginity as forming a new order of life, as an evidence of divinity, as making virgins while in this world “equal to the angels of God,” and as a certain surety of special rewards in heaven. From this false standard proceeded at length the celibacy of the clergy and monkery with all their attendant evils. And the time would fail me to tell of the introduction of images and image-worship in the Western Church and of that superstitious regard for miserable relics of every description and kind. True evangelical faith was at length lost to view, buried beneath the rubbish of men's traditions. The treat
ment of such matters, however, belongs to the church historian, and as the general facts are wellknown, it is unnecessary here to make more than a brief reference to them so as to prepare the mind for that treatment of the reformation which is a special object of the present work.
RISE OF ECCLESIASTICISM In order to understand the place which the work of reformation has in the plan and purpose of God Two phases respecting his church, we must of apostasy carefully observe the twofold character of the apostasy. Both these phases are clearly outlined in that remarkable prediction of Paul to which reference has already been made, recorded in the second chapter of Second Thessalonians. The first phase, described as "a falling away,” was that decline from true Christianity which we have considered in the preceding chapter as the Corruption of Evangelical Faith. The second phase was the rise and development of a foreign element which was from its beginning “the mystery of iniquity” and which in certain respects usurped the true place of Jehovah himself in spiritual worship in the temple of God. This phase now demands our special attention.
Since the sixteenth century reformation a large part of the Christian world has renounced the right of the pope to sit as the supreme earthly head of the church, but we shall show later that these same modern Christians who have sought the restoration of the evangelical faith have not discarded the essential elements of the papal hierarchical system, but have perpetuated them in
united Christevalism is the chiefons, and that this
their own ecclesiastical constitutions, and that this relic of medievalism is the chief barrier to a reunited Christendom and the restoration of pure apostolic Christianity. It is highly essential, therefore, that this phase of the apostasy be carefully considered. It is not enough to reject the pope and his college of cardinals. If that tree, as judged by its fruits, is an “evil” tree, we should seek to know where, when, and by whom the evil seed from which it grew was first planted, and then reject it from the roots up. Then, and not until then, can the work of reformation be made complete. We have, therefore, to trace the rise and development of what may be forcibly expressed by the apparently pleonastic phrase human ecclesiasticism.
We have already seen that in the church, as originally constituted, organization, authority, Divine authority vs. and government proceeded from positional authority the divine and not from the human. The agents whom Christ used in performing his work and in overseeing his church were called and endowed by the Holy Spirit, and this divine endowment was the real basis of their authority and responsibility. Paul's authority and responsibility as an apostle, for example, was not positional authority, or authority proceeding from a certain position to which he had been appointed or elected. His authority was divine, and out of that divine authority grew his positional