The Missing Cross to Purity


Christian History

Site Editor's Preface

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The early church, founded by the Apostles, was certainly true and pure. They preached a gospel of deliverance (freedom) from sin, holiness, and purity. Yet, even in the days of the Apostles, there were false prophets and false gospels being preached. These false doctrines spread like gangrene until all the sects became simply evolutional varieties of the Roman Empire's church, both east and west, whose doctrines were dictated by the sainted Emperors Constantine and Justinian the despot, thus eliminating the true gospel by 388 AD. As prophesied in Revelation, the church adulterated (joined in compromise) with the Kings of the earth. The true church went into the wilderness for 1260 years to reappear briefly in 1648 at George Fox's entrance into the Kingdom; only to disappear again by 1880.

All the world's religions promise the sinful man peace with God, through some act of ceremony, ritual, or purchase. It is interesting to note the ways that the false christian church has justified their followers to remain slaves to sin.

First the Roman Catholics, with their masses still locked in sin, and with no understanding as to how to lead them from sin's slavery to freedom, invented purgatory as the hope for the masses of their members. Only the few with massive "good works"* were judged by their sect to have been "saints," who supposedly went directly to heaven; the rest of their membership went to purgatory, to be purged of their sins; while all non-members went to Hell forever. So the promise of purgatory kept the masses of their "non-sainted" dues paying members coming back.

*The good works the Roman Catholics depend on are not works of law, but are works from Matthew 25:31-50, of kindness and mercy: to visit the sick, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, and to visit the prisoners.

Then the Protestant Reformation began with John Wycliffe, Johannes Hus, and Martin Luther. Martin Luther created an entirely new doctrine, telling everyone they were saints just by believing in Jesus. Luther ignored the books of James, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation to create his theory: that no matter how deep a man was in sin, the new doctrine of grace excused all sins, past and present; Luther took Roman 3:28 and built his doctrine: a man is justified by faith without by deeds of the law.* This doctrine told men locked in the slavery of sin that they were God's sons, saints, kings, and priests. Shortly after, the Peasants War in Germany, led by Luther-inspired religious despots, killed 100,000 of the nobility and Roman Catholics. So the Protestants invented a new way for the masses to be controlled — to tell them sin is acceptable by God, and they are already saints on the way to being priests and kings in the next life.

*Since the Catholics believed works of kindness and mercy were required to enter heaven, the Protestants rejected all works as necessary; yet, Paul was rejecting works of the law, such as circumcision, food and drink, days, washings, Sabbaths, sacrifices, etc., — he was not rejecting works of love energized by faith, nor obedience to moral laws. Rebelling against the indulgences and purgatory of the Roman faith, the Protestants even rejected works of love as beneficial, when in truth, sharing with others the necessities of life from your excess is the beginning step of repentance for anyone aspiring to become a Christian. However, until you are led by the Spirit of God, prompted with works to do and energized to do them, your works are imperfect; and Jesus requires perfect works from those whom he creates for good works.

Today, you can still hear the cry: "not by works," which is scriptural, but which did not preclude works of repentance and works of love energized by faith; nor does Paul in any way preclude obeying the moral law that is written on every man's heart, the mind of man accusing him or excusing him, and by which God will judge every man. Rom 2:13-16. One cannot be justified or saved by trying to observe the moral commandments, (love you neighbor as yourself, do not lie, do not steal, do not murder, do not covet, do not commit adultery, honor your mother and father, do for others as you would have them do for you); one is saved and justified by heart purifying faith. But your best efforts to comply with these moral laws on every man's heart are the prerequisite to sincerely seeking God. After God purifies your heart, you walk according to his supplied thoughts, words, and deeds; that is fulfilling the law, even exceeding it. Until you are led by the Spirit, hearing and seeing what to obey in faith, your schoolmaster is the law until that faith comes. Gal 5:18,Gal 3:24-25.

Of course both the Roman Catholics and the Protestants are wrong. Sin and God, sin and heaven, light and darkness, corruption and incorruption, righteousness and unrighteousness - none can coexist. Christendom ignores the exclusions, the requirements, and the qualifying conditions of salvation. Jesus expelled Satan from heaven because of his sin. Jesus expelled Adam and Eve from paradise because of their sin. Jesus has not changed and does not change; he did not allow sin or sinners in heaven then, and he will not allow sin or sinners in heaven now, or in the future. Sin has to go before you can enter heaven.

From the Word of the Lord within:

Today's Christendom leaders are blind guides, unperfected, uncalled by Christ, untaught by Christ, unauthorized by Christ, and not sent by Christ; they are incapable of performing the purpose of ministry - the perfecting of the saints, to grow up into a perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Christendom is Babylon, pretending to be the holy bride of Christ, while wallowing in the slime of sin, stained, corrupted, perishing, on the way to destruction - ignoring almost all of Jesus' teachings and commands, without fear of God, indifferent to God's call to holiness, purity, perfection, righteousness, and the sinless state. The below writing details how this abomination of true Christianity occurred.

The following is a brief history of Christendom,
taken from Samuel Janney's The History of the Religious Society of Friends, Volume 1, 1870.

In the recorded discourses of the Saviour, and especially in that sublime compendium of Christian doctrine, the sermon on the mount, principles are enunciated, which, if carried out in practice, would revolutionize the world; subverting the thrones of superstition and despotism, relieving mankind from the thralldom [slavery] of sin, and introducing them into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

It is worthy of remark that no creed or confession of faith was adopted in the primitive Christian Church. All the disciples acknowledged Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Son of God, and "messenger of the covenant," who "brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," and "who would manifest himself as the ruler of God's kingdom by the communication of a new divine principle of life, which to those who are redeemed and governed by him, imparts the certainty of forgiveness of sins."

"The Life was manifested," says the Apostle John, "and we have seen it and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us." In Jesus Christ this divine principle of life was manifested in fullness, "and of his fullness," writes John the evangelist, "have all we received and grace for grace." The great purpose of Christ's ministry was to direct the attention of mankind to this divine power, whose government, as illustrated in his parables, brings forth in the humble and devoted soul, the reign of God, or kingdom of Heaven. Here then, is the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion; the teaching and government of "the Holy Spirit, through whose redeeming and sanctifying power man may become a partaker of the divine nature."

It may be objected, that some have appeared "in sheep's clothing; but inwardly they were ravening wolves;" and the query may arise - how shall we distinguish the members of Christ's spiritual body from those who merely pretend to his name! He has, himself, given us the criterion: "Ye shall know them by their fruits." " By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit."

Now, "the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance."

The fruits of the spirit have always been manifested by holiness of life and conversation, and the true Christian church, in the apostolic age, was distinguished by the following characteristics, namely :

1. A pure spiritual worship.
2. A free gospel ministry.
3. Religious liberty.
4. A testimony against violence  and oppression.
5. A testimony against oaths.
6. A testimony against vain fashions, corrupting amusements, and flattering titles.

These testimonies being peculiar to the Christian dispensation, may be regarded as the marks by which the true church of Christ has ever been distinguished, and each will therefore receive a separate consideration.

1. Spiritual Worship in Spirit and Truth

As the fundamental doctrine of Christianity is the revelation of God's will through the immediate teaching of His Spirit, so the worship which this leads into is of a spiritual nature. It is observed by Robert Barclay, that the Author of Christianity has prescribed no set form of worship; enjoining only that it must be in spirit and in truth. “And it is especially to be observed, that in the whole New Testament there is no order' nor command given in this thing, but to follow the revelation of the spirit, save only that general one of meeting together." This view is corroborated by Neander, one of the most approved Ecclesiastical historians. "The kingdom of God," he says, "the temple of the Lord, were to be present, not in this or that place, but in every place where Christ himself is active in the spirit, and where, through him, the worship of God in spirit and in truth is established. Every Christian in particular, and every church in general, was to represent a spiritual temple of the Lord; the true worship of God was to be only in the inward heart; and the whole life proceeding from such inward dispositions sanctified by faith was to be a continual spiritual service: this is the great fundamental idea of the gospel, which prevails throughout the New Testament, by which the whole outward appearance of religion was to assume a different form, and all that was once carnal was to be converted into spiritual, and ennobled."

"Christianity impelled men frequently to seek the stillness of the inward sanctuary, and here to pour forth their heart to God, who dwells in such temples; but then the flames of love were also lighted in their hearts which sought communion in order to strengthen each other mutually, and to unite themselves into one holy flame which pointed towards heaven. The communion of prayer and devotion was thought a source of sanctification, inasmuch 8S men knew that the Lord was present by his spirit among those who were gathered. together in his name; but they were far from ascribing any peculiar sacredness and sanctity to the place of assembly."

2. A Free Gospel Ministry

Divine worship under the Christian dispensation being purely spiritual, needs not the intervention of a priesthood or clerical order to mediate between God and man. The primitive Christians acknowledged Christ Jesus as the bead of their church, and the " High Priest of their profession." In him they were united as one body through which the stream of divine life flowed, imparting health and nourishment to every member; and hence the apostle John says: “The anointing which ye have received of him abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27 " But although the teaching of the spirit is the highest privilege accorded to man, it has pleased the great Head of the church to bestow upon its members various spiritual gifts of teaching and government, "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

It is abundantly evident from the records of the New Testament, that all who were recognized as ministers of the gospel had received a divine call to that service, and were endowed with spiritual gifts to qualify them for its performance. To preach the gospel effectually, is to bring the hearers under the baptizing power of divine Truth, which cannot be effected by mere human effort, however aided by abilities and learning. No stream can rise higher than its source, no human soul can impart healing virtue to another, unless it is itself baptized in the pure fountain of eternal love.*

* Site Editor's Comments: Mr. Janney was himself a Quaker, but appears to be ignorant of the cross; and having failed to reach the purity resulting from the cross of Christ, to enter union with Christ, and enter his kingdom. By 1750 the Quakers had already forgotten the necessity of the death of the sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. They had skipped the cross and proceeded to the necessity of a baptism of love, which could be easily mistaken for virtually any spiritual experience. In fact, the necessary baptism is not one of love, but the baptism of death; to die with Christ, to be buried with Christ, and to be resurrected with Christ, becoming an entirely new creature. Thus they were deceived to believing they had it all, and their spiritual progress fell far short of the rest, the union, and the kingdom. They were already in a form of the early Quakers, without the power of God to change them. The cross is necessary to release the power of God to change a man. Mr. Janney is a better historian than a true Christian.

This spiritual ministry in the primitive Church was not confined to men; for as Peter said on the day of Pentecost, the prophecy of Joel was then fulfilled: "It shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." Accordingly, we find that women, as well as men, were called to publish the glad tidings of salvation. Ministers were sometimes called prophets; for to prophesy is “to speak to edification, exhortation, or comfort." We are informed in the Acts, that Philip, the Evangelist, "had four daughters, virgins which did prophesy," and Paul writes of certain women who " labored with him in the gospel."

Another remarkable feature in the primitive Church was that ministers received no salaries for preaching. They adhered to the precept of their Master: "Freely ye have received, freely give." After the resurrection of Christ, we find that Peter and others went fishing, for they were fishers by occupation; and Paul, who was a tent-maker, maintained himself by working at his trade while be abode at Corinth, preaching the gospel every Sabbath in the Jewish synagogue. It is true that Paul claimed for himself and others, while traveling in the gospel ministry, the privilege of sojourning at the houses of the brethren, and eating such things as were set before them, agreeably to the instructions of their Lord. This he terms "partaking of their carnal things," and illustrates it by the Mosaic injunction: "thou shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn." But even this privilege he "did not always feel at liberty to accept, for a necessity was laid upon him to preach the gospel, and he did it "without charge."

In reference to this point, it is remarked by Neander in his church history, that "Paul expressly declares that those who traveled about to preach the gospel were justified in suffering themselves to receive the supply of their earthly wants from those for whose spiritual advantage they were laboring; but we have no right from this to draw the same conclusion with regard to the church officers of particular communities. The former could not well unite the business necessary to earn their livelihood with the labors of their spiritual calling, although the self-denial of Paul rendered even this possible; the others on the contrary might perfectly well unite, at first, the continuance of their employments with the execution of their duty in the Church; and the primitive ideas of Christians might find nothing offensive in such an union, as men were persuaded that every earthly employment may be sanctioned by the Christian feeling in which it is carried on, and they knew that even an apostle himself had united the exercise of a trade with the preaching of the gospel."

3. Religious Liberty

Among the many blessings resulting from the doctrines of Christ, when faithfully maintained, is religious liberty; for "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." The true Christian will neither invade the liberty of others, nor yield his principles to ecclesiastical domination. When the disciples, James and John, inquired of the Master whether they should call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who refused to receive them, he rebuked them, saying: "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Son of Man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."

Accordingly, we find in the apostolic age, no instance where freedom of conscience was invaded by Christians. They did not attempt to force their doctrines upon others, but left each man free to follow -his own convictions of duty; and on the other hand, when required by the rulers to desist from their religious duties, the apostles answered: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more "than unto God, judge ye."

"The ministers and elders commissioned to feed the flock of God, took the oversight of it, not for filthy lucre's sake, but of a ready mind; neither did they conduct themselves as lords over God's heritage, but "as examples of the flock,"

They did not assume to be a separate caste from the people, for there was then no distinction of clergy and laity, nor did they accept titles of reverence which the Master himself has expressly forbidden.

The government of the Church was vested in the whole body of its members, among whom, says Mosheim, "there reigned not only an amiable harmony but also a perfect equality." "The people were undoubtedly the first in authority, for the apostles showed by their own example that nothing of moment was to be carried on or determined without the consent of the assembly; and such a method of proceeding was both prudent and necessary in those critical times." It was therefore the assembly of the people which chose rulers and teachers, or received them by a free and authoritative consent, when recommended by others. The same people rejected or confirmed by their suffrages the laws that were proposed by their rulers to the assembly; excommunicated profligate and unworthy members of the Church; restored the penitent to their forfeited privileges; passed judgment upon the different subjects of controversy and discussion that arose in their community; examined and decided the disputes which happened between the elders and deacons, and in a word, exercised all that authority which belongs to such as are invested with sovereign power."

4. A Testimony against Violence

Site Editor's Note: As with all Quakers from about 1750 onward, they had become confused in their understanding of war and the military, which previously had been left to individual conscience, many early Quakers being soldiers and sailors themselves. The matter of arms had been a matter of individual conscience; and even Isaac Penington had admitted the necessity of a military to protect the innocent from foreign invasion and to maintain order of the populace. Therefore, I have slightly modified the below section to speak only to violence - not wars, which are sometimes unavoidable, at least by those being subject to aggression. For more on this subject, see Submission to Government.

In no respect was the religion of Christ more remarkably distinguished from all others, than by its opposition to violence. The world had for thousands of years been ruled by physical force, and the earth had been steeped with the blood of its inhabitants; but at the birth of the Messiah, the nature of his kingdom was indicated by the angelic anthem, " Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good-will towards men." In the Sermon on the Mount he proclaimed those heavenly principles, which, if they prevailed in the hearts of all mankind, would put an end to war; for the" poor in spirit," the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers, will neither inflict an injury upon others nor avenge their own wrongs by the destruction of human life. The divine teacher, in order to render his precepts the more emphatic, contrasts them with the Mosaic law which they were intended to supersede: "You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, but I say unto you, That you desist from evil." "Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shall love thy neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say unto you, Love your enemies." Upon these principles he continually acted, and after his resurrection, his disciples followed his example, evidencing by their successful labors the power of divine truth and Christian love to overcome the world. The triumphs of Christianity have always been effected by love, and often through much sufferings; but never by resistance or violence; for love is the proper antagonist of hatred, and there are few human hearts so implacable but that they may be subdued by long-continued kindness.

Love suffers long and is kind: which seeks not her own, is not easily provoked: hopes all things, endures all things, and never fails."

5. A Testimony Against Oaths

That oaths of all kinds were forbidden under the gospel, needs, for proof only a recurrence to the express language of Christ, who, after adverting to the Mosaic prohibition of perjury, adds this emphatic declaration: "But I say unto you, swear not at all." "Let your communication be, Yea, yea ; Nay, nay·: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil." This prohibition is confirmed by the apostle James, who says: "But, above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven nor by the earth, neither by any other oath, but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation."

The primitive Christians understood and observed this command in a literal sense, as has been proved by the writings of Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Euscbius, Origen, and others,"

6. Against Vain Fashion, Corrupting Amusements, and Flattering Titles

The primitive Christians were a plain self-denying people, who, in life and conversation, were not con- formed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of their minds. Having their affections fixed upon heavenly things, their minds were raised above those vain desires which prompt the votaries of fashion to seek enjoyment in gay apparel and frivolous amusements. The apostle of the Gentiles recommended to Christian women, that they should adorn themselves in modest apparel, and not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but, as becomes women professing godliness, with good works; and Peter, in similar language, cautions them against the use of sumptuous apparel. Tertullian, in addressing the Christians of his day, says : "What cause can you have to go out gaily dressed, for you are far from all where this can be required? For you go not about to the temples, you require no plays, and know nothing of the festivals of the heathen! You have no other than serious matters which require you to appear abroad."

Cyprian, after describing the pure joys of the Christian life, thus alludes to the corruptions of the heathen: " If you cast your eyes upon the towns, you meet with an assembly which is more frightful than solitude. A combat of gladiators is in preparation, in order to gratify the thirst of cruel eyes with blood. A man is put to death for the pleasure of men, murder becomes a profession, and crime not only practiced, but even taught."

But it was not alone the combats of gladiators which Christians then refused to witness; they declined attendance upon all those spectacles exhibited for public entertainments; the pantomimic shows, the tragedies and comedies, the chariot and foot races, in short, all the amusements of the theatre and circus. They carried their principles into all the concerns of their daily life, and refused to engage in any trade or business which could give countenance to idolatry, or minister in any way to the depraved tastes and appetites of the people.

"God has commanded," says Tertullian, "that the Holy Spirit, a spirit essentially tender and kind, should be received with tranquility and gentleness, with peace and stillness, and not be disquieted by passion, rage, anger, and the violence of irritated feelings. How can such a spirit put up with the exhibitions of the playhouse?" Now since with us all immodesty is an object of horror, how can we dare there to listen to things which we dare not speak, while we know that all useless and trifling discourse is condemned by the Lord ?"

The early Christians conferred upon each other no pompous titles, or flattering appellations; they acknowledged but one Lord and Master, even Christ, and all they were brethren. .. In an age of cold selfishness, nothing so much astonished their heathen neighbors as the fraternal affection that prevailed among the Christians, leveling all distinctions of rank or wealth, and obliterating all national prejudices, so that even strangers from distant lands, mingled as one common family,"

Such was the condition of the primitive Christian Church while it retained the vitality of its original constitution. There were doubtless many of its members unfaithful to their high-calling, but the "fruits of the Spirit" were manifest in general purity of life and conversation, and so great was the harmony prevailing among them that the heathen were likely to exclaim: "See how the Christians love one another."

The Great Apostasy

The chief causes which led to the apostasy, were the ambition and covetousness of the bishops, their assumption of privileges pertaining to the Jewish priesthood, and their proneness to adopt the notions of speculative philosophy. The apostle of the gentiles had warned the church, that after his departure, " grievous wolves should enter in among them, not sparing the flock," and that the" man of sin" should be revealed. He therefore cautions them to beware lest any man should spoil them through philosophy and vain deceit." It should be remembered that the heathen philosophy here alluded to, was not like modern science, founded on the observation of natural phenomena and applied to useful purposes; but consisted chiefly in vain speculations and conjectures, which served to amuse and exercise the imagination without promoting the good of mankind.

Near the close of the second century, a sect of philosophers arose in Egypt, spread rapidly through the greatest part of the Roman empire, and was extremely prejudicial to the cause of Christianity. They were called the New Platonists, because they taught some of the views of Plato, which they blended and endeavored to reconcile with the Christian doctrines.

Their system was, indeed, an amalgamation of Christianity and heathenism, set forth in the attractive language of philosophy. They professed to select and combine the truths contained in all other systems, and hence they were sometimes called Eclectics. Many of the Christian ministers embraced these views, and the study of this chimerical philosophy continued to spread among them until they were led away from the simple religion of Christ, which is a life-giving power revealed in the soul, - and were induced to place their reliance upon mere notions and dogmas, - the empty husks of scholastic theology. There were those among the Christian teachers who saw the dangerous tendency of these doctrines, and endeavored to exclude such discussions from the church, but their efforts were ineffectual, the philosophers prevailed, and in most places gained an entire ascendancy.

Those spiritual gifts which in the apostolic age had been considered sufficient qualifications for teaching and government, and had often been conferred by the Head of the Church on persons destitute of learning, were no longer considered sufficient for the Christian ministry.

"Laws were enacted which excluded the ignorant and illiterate from the office of public teachers." The bishops and other ecclesiastics took the name of clergy, implying that they were the lot or portion of the Lord; and all others were called laity or the people. Thus the priesthood was established as a separate caste, supposed to possess peculiar sanctity in virtue of their ordination, and claiming an exclusive right to perform the functions of the Christian ministry.

No sooner was this monopoly established and a sacerdotal order imposed upon the Church, than the clergy began to encroach upon the liberties of the people; assuming the right to settle all difficulties in matters of faith; and the numerous synods and councils they caused to be assembled, composed entirely of ecclesiastics, instead of settling their differences, only tended to disturb the peace of the body and to scandalize their profession. The clergy had the address to persuade the people that the ministers of the Christian Church succeeded to all the rights of the Jewish priesthood, and hence the rise of tithes, first-fruits, splendid garments, and titles of honor, claimed by the priestly order.

The persecution to which the Christians were exposed, had a tendency to preserve the purity of the Church, by withholding from selfish or mercenary minds any inducement to enter its communion, or appear as its ministers. This state of things was entirely changed when, about the year 313, the Emperor Constantine made an open profession of the Christian faith. He was disposed to be a munificent patron of the Church, and lavished wealth and honors upon the clergy, which hastened the progress of corruption. About this time, two errors of a most pernicious tendency began to prevail among the teachers of religion. One was, the maxim, "That it was an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when, by such means, the interests of the Church might be promoted;" the other was: "That errors in religion, when maintained and adhered to, after proper admonition, were punishable with civil penalties and corporal tortures." The first of these horrible doctrines sanctioned the pious frauds and fictions employed by the clergy to establish their dominion; the second served to cloak their persecuting zeal against those they termed heretics.

The principal subject of dispute in the fourth century was, "The doctrine of three persons in the Godhead; a subject which, in the three preceding centuries, had happily "escaped the vain curiosity of human researches, and been left undefined and undetermined by any particular set of ideas."

"Nothing was dictated on this head to the faith of Christians, nor were there any modes of expression prescribed as requisite to be used in speaking of this mystery. Hence it happened that the Christian doctors entertained different sentiments on this subject without giving the least offence, and discoursed variously concerning the distinctions in the Godhead, each following his respective opinion with the utmost liberty."

The controversy between the Trinitarians and Arians, which began in Egypt, having spread and occasioned warm disputes in other parts of the empire, Constantine convoked, in the year 325, a general council at Nice in Bithynia. In this council, after many keen debates between the two parties, the doctrine of Arius was condemned, he was banished among the Illyrians, and his followers were compelled to give their assent to the creed adopted. An edict was issued by the emperor, commanding that the writings of Arius should be destroyed, and that any person convicted of concealing them should suffer death.

Site Editor's Comment: Come out of her my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues. Rev 18:4-7
Yes, all the deficit sects of today comprise Revelation's Whore of Babylon, of which all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, because all the sects are simply evolutional varieties of the Roman Empire's church, both east and west, whose doctrines were dictated by the sainted Emperors Constantine and Justinian the despot, thus eliminating the true gospel by 390 AD. The church adulterated with the Kings of the earth. This deficit is hardly surprising, when you consider that Christ's disciples and apostles (John, Peter, Paul, and Jude) wrote of false teachers and preachers in their time.

He [the beast] was further permitted to wage war on God's holy people (the saints) and to overcome them. And power was given him to extend his authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. The beast of the Book of Revelation is the beast of heathen religious authority, which power was severely curtailed [a wound to the head] by early Christianity, particularly in the Mediterranean region. But a second beast shortly arose that had horns like a lamb, but was a beast. Note, this beast appears to be Christian-like, and under pretence of the Lamb's authority, (though acted by the dragon's power, derived from the first beast of heathen religion) compels men to comply with such traditions, ceremonies, and rituals, (for Christian duties), as resemble the customs of the heathen, in their idolatrous worship and superstition. The whole earth followed this beast, and still does. Thus, the false church arose, and no one could spiritually buy or sell, (like the foolish virgins for oil in their lamps), unless they complied with the beast and had received the false church's mark. Any who denied this false church, or who tried to buy or sell (spiritual works by mind or hand) without the sanction of the false church were martyred, as their predecessors had done before, under the heathen power, or first beast. And while this false church is often identified by the Protestants as the Roman church, the Protestants are all part of the same false whore, (with many names), practicing the man-made inventions of: infant baptism, grape juice and bread, the trinity, (nowhere mentioned in scriptures), marriage by priests, vain and prideful buildings, steeples with bells, black robes, black shirts, special collars, creeds, reading sermons, sacraments, vicars, clerks, parsons, curates, bachelors of art, masters, fathers, Christmas, Easter, and bachelors of divinity; salvation based on saying certain words, water, bread and wine - all superstitious rituals - instead of a complete change of heart - circumcised to be a new heart and mind; all are inherited inventions by the mother of Protestantism, the Roman Catholics.

Anyone, who tried to increase their measure of Christ by any way that differed from the doctrine of the false church (to buy or sell spiritual oil differently for their lamps), was not only stopped; they were killed - which really made them unable to buy or sell.

From the Word of the Lord within:
"It might be seen that any man who was out of compliance or
conformance with the Catholic church was killed."

Many Roman Catholic persecutions were justified by Saint(?) Augustine's famous: Why ... should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?" - A classic example of the end justifies the means, which looses sight of the principal command of Christ to "love enemies," not destroy them. Another supposed saint(?), Thomas Aquinas wrote: On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. These revered saints(?) callously ignored the scriptures of the New Testament clearly stating that we should love our enemies, that we should pray for our enemies, that we should turn the other check, and that it was Satanic to even think about killing those that do not share our faith. Jesus further said that if someone is violating the standards of the church, (sinning), they are supposed to be warned by one, then warned by two or three, then censured by the whole body of believers, — and if they fail to repent of their error, they are supposed to be expelled and shunned — not killed, or imprisoned, or tortured, or stripped of their property. We are supposed to love and pray for our enemies, not destroy them.

Protestants killed heretics too. John Calvin, was a principal founder of Protestantism, having great influence on the Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and even Lutherans. Calvin had Servetus arrested, wrote charges of heresy against him, and testified against him at his trial; Servetus' crime was to have denied the scriptural support of the trinity and infant baptism. Calvin's charges and arrest of him resulted in Servetus being burned at the stake. Jacques Gruet, a known opponent of Calvin, was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, 1547, for placing a letter in Calvin's pulpit calling him a hypocrite. Calvin also had thirty four women burned at the stake as witches accused of being responsible for a plague, while another account credits his theocracy in Geneva with fifty-eight sentences of death. Calvin justified execution of heretics, writing: Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory. The apologists of Calvin spilling blood and forgetting all humanity point out that many other Protestants killed heretics too — (the everybody-did-it defense; better said is: all the great men of God? then were murderers.)

Jesus said: .. whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God. John 16:2

Another venerated Protestant founder was Martin Luther, full of hate for the Jews. From the Wikipedia article on Martin Luther and from the Wikipedia Article on Kristallnacht, (the Night of Broken Glass):

Luther initially advocated kindness toward the Jews, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity: what was called Judenmission. When his efforts at conversion failed, he became increasingly bitter toward them. His main works on the Jews were his 60,000-word treatise Von den Juden und Ihren Lügen (On the Jews and Their Lies), and Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (On the Holy Name and the Lineage of Christ) — reprinted five times within his lifetime — both written in 1543, three years before his death. He argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people, but were "the devil's people." They were "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth." The synagogue was a "defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut ..." and Jews were full of the "devil's feces ... which they wallow in like swine." He advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews' property and money, smashing up their homes, and ensuring that these "poisonous envenomed worms" be forced into labor or expelled "for all time." He also seemed to sanction their murder, writing "We are at fault in not slaying them."

The Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany began in massive scale on Kristallnacht, (the Night of Broken Glass), in which 200 synagogues were burned; Jewish books were burned; 7500 Jewish businesses storefronts were smashed, (hence the broken glass name); tombstones and graves were uprooted; 30,000 Jews were arrested and taken to concentration camps; at least 100 were immediately murdered; and many homes were looted. A similar pogrom of similar magnitude took place in Vienna, Austria on the same night. These events occurred on November 9-10, 1938: Luther's birthday was November 10.

Luther's advice was fulfilled on Kristallnacht to the letter. This was beginning of the Final Solution and The Holacaust.

According to Michael, Luther's work acquired the status of Scripture within Germany, and he became the most widely read author of his generation, in part because of the coarse and passionate nature of the writing. The prevailing view among historians is that his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany, and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an ideal foundation for the National Socialist's (NAZI) attacks on Jews. Reinhold Lewin writes that "whoever wrote against the Jews for whatever reason believed he had the right to justify himself by triumphantly referring to Luther." According to Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Third Reich contained references to and quotations from Luther. Heinrich Himmler wrote admiringly of his writings and sermons on the Jews in 1940. The city of Nuremberg presented a first edition of On the Jews and their Lies to Julius Streicher, editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer, on his birthday in 1937; the newspaper described it as the most radically anti-Semitic tract ever published. On 17 December, 1941, seven Protestant regional church confederations issued a statement agreeing with the policy of forcing Jews to wear the yellow badge, "since after his bitter experience Luther had already suggested preventive measures against the Jews and their expulsion from German territory."

All the Protestant and Catholic sects that killed, (or even approved of killing), those with a different religious opinion were very different from real Christians; in even considering murder, they were following and yielding to their father the devil, who was the murderer from the beginning.

Perhaps you are beginning to see that by 388 AD, Christendom had been transformed into synagogues of Satan with ministers of Satan transformed to appear as ministers of righteousness. Augustine and Thomas are two of the four pillars of Roman Catholicism. Calvin and Luther are the principal founders of Protestantism. If the venerated founders of the sects are evil, how could the sects and their promulgated doctrines also not be evil? When the root is evil, no matter how many branches are on the tree — they are evil too. From the Word of the Lord within: "They are corrupt, through and through;" and "woe to those who try to bring good from evil."

And the whore was drunk on the blood of the saints —the Roman church's inquisitions and slaughters throughout Europe, in which during the Middle Ages (800 AD to 1500 AD) nine million souls were put to death, accused of witchcraft. The Protestant zealots of Germany, inspired by Luther's radical translation of the Bible, raped, plundered, and killed 100,000 Catholics and upper class in the Peasants War. English King Henry VIII, the founder of the Episcopal sect, had 72,000 opponents, (mostly Catholics), killed. England, Scotland, and Ireland suffered three civil wars of Puritans* against ruling governments, which left 190,00 dead in England, (3.7% of the population); 60,000 dead in Scotland, (6% of the population); and 616,000 dead in Ireland, (41% of the population, which was mostly Catholic).

*Justifying their revolution as bringing Christ's kingdom to earth, the Puritans regarded their adversaries as enemies of Christ. The Puritan officers of their army frequently inspired their troops by shouting a quote from the Old Testament against heathen idolatry: "Cursed be he that does the work of the Lord deceitfully, and keeps back his sword from blood." The victorious Puritan and parliamentary soldiers, with their extraordinary biblical names — Praise God Barebones and Sergeant Hew Agag in Pieces before the Lord — were roaming through the country, smashing the images in the churches, tearing out the pipes in the organs, breaking the stained-glass windows, and stabling their horses in cathedrals.

This was followed in the 17th Century by the Protestants of England and America, who in 50 years were responsible for the deaths of over 869 Quakers, (plus four hung in Boston), imprisoning tens of thousands, and seizing the property of tens of thousands; the persecutors of the Quakers included Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists.

The prostitute false church boasts she is not a widow and will never see grief. She boasts that Christ is their husband; but these false churches are the whore of Babylon, who ignore Christ's commands to repent, his teachings, his requirements, his warnings, his required holiness, his gospel, his Kingdom, his promised freedom from sin, and his inward cross of self-denial —the Missing Cross to Purity.

Now, the whole world, thinking they are worshiping Christ, is worshiping the devil. How can this be? Because the false Jesus they worship excuses all manner of sin; the false Jesus they worship is going to marry a bride who is full of adultery, covetousness, anger, lust, profane language, lies, etc. Their false Jesus allows them to live their life in sin until they die, and then is supposedly going to embrace them into heaven. Their false Jesus makes sin easier, by supposedly making sin, guilt free. Their false Jesus embraces sin and evil. Their false Jesus says, you can live however you please, making decisions for yourself based on what you think is good and bad. People, this is a description of the devil who told Eve they would be like God, knowing good and evil. This false Jesus is a god who approves of man walking after the imagination of his own heart, which is worse than worshipping wooden and stone idols, Jer 16:11-12. This false Jesus approves of man being his own God. This is not the real Jesus.

Jesus is holy and pure. The bride of Jesus must be holy and pure too. Jesus said: Sin no more! Repent or perish! [to lose you soul]. And Jesus said, If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. Mark 9:43,45,47-48. Jesus is desperately trying to tell us that to enter the Kingdom and escape hell, sin has to go. He knew false ministers with false gospels promising freedom to continue to sin would arise after he left. Changes in our heart through the missing cross to purity can take away the desire of the hand, foot, and eye to cause us to sin.

The creed adopted by this council of contentious bishops, and enforced by the sword of a Roman emperor, was far from healing the dissensions of the Church; for, on the death of Constantine, his empire was divided among his three sons, one of whom supported the Arians, while the others adhered to the established creed. Each party assembled its bishops and presbyters; so that council was arrayed against council, brother against brother, and scenes of violence ensued, in which all the principles of Christianity were set at naught.

The ascendancy obtained by the bishop of Rome, and the fraudulent means used to sustain his authority, contributed greatly to accelerate the general apostasy.

The claim of the Roman Pontiff to universal supremacy is founded upon the assumption that he is the successor of St. Peter - the Rock on which it is absurdly alleged that Christ declared he would build his church. There is no proof that Peter was bishop of Rome, nor that he delegated his authority to any successor; but independently of these considerations, it cannot be supposed that the church was founded on a fallible man. The Rock referred to in the text is that" Spiritual Rock," of which the Israelites drank in the wilderness, and "that Rock was Christ."  It was this Eternal Word which revealed to Peter that Jesus was the son of God, and on the revelation, of this word, the true Church has always been established; for “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. He is that stone which the builders rejected, whom God has made the head of the corner."

Site Editor's Comment: Christ is the Light that enlightens every man that comes into the world (John 1:9).
So Christ is the Light,
that shows you your condition, and is the Word that speaks to you with commands and understandings.
The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach). Rom 10:8
So we go to him and listen for His voice and watch for what He shows us about ourselves and what is in our heart.
If you love the Light and Word as Christ, you obey and repent from anything evil shown to you; and you are changed for the better.
Loving and obeying the Word and Light that shows you your condition, you are acknowledging this Teacher within you as Christ.
You have "
received" the Light and acknowledged the Light to be Christ. Therefore, you believe in the Light.
Just like when Christ asked Peter, "whom do you say I am," and Peter replied: 'You are Christ, the Son of the Living God.'
Christ then said: Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Mat 16:15-8
- the rock solid understanding by revelation, that he who speaks to you is the Son of God, which the gates of Hell cannot prevail against.

Now look what Jesus further says about how rock solid applies to us:
For everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and does [practices, obeys] them, I will show you what he is like:
He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock;
and when a flood arose, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake or move it,
because it had been securely built or founded on a rock.
Luke 6:47-48
He builds his Church on a rock solid foundation. He builds himself in you on a rock solid foundation. 
If you go to Him (within you), listen to his words, and then obey them, you have identified the speaker as Christ -
just like Peter did in the physical realm, except your identification of Christ is in the spiritual realm within you.

Syricius, who was called to the see of Rome in the year 384 and reigned till A. D. 398, is the first of whom any act exists wherein he styles himself Papa or Pope, a title signifying father; which, prior to this period, was given through respect to all bishops indiscriminately; but which those of Rome subsequently appropriated to themselves. It is evident that about the close of the fourth century, the apostasy was so far advanced that the true Church of Christ was no longer visible;- she had "fled into the wilderness to a place prepared of God," there to be nourished during the 1260 years, that the witnesses should "prophesy in sackcloth," while the outer-court was given up to the Gentiles."

In Mosheim's account of the fourth century, he says, "An enormous train of different superstitions, were gradually substituted for true religion and genuine piety."..."The reins being once let loose to superstition which knows no bounds, absurd notions and idle ceremonies multiplied almost every day. Quantities of dust and earth brought from Palestine and other places remarkable for their supposed sanctity, were handed about as the most powerful remedies against the violence of wicked spirits; and were sold and bought every where at enormous prices. The public processions and supplications by which the Pagans endeavored to appease their gods were adopted into the Christian worship, and celebrated in many places with great pomp and magnificence. The virtues which had formerly been ascribed to the heathen temples, to their glorification, to the statues of their gods and heroes, were now attributed to Christian churches, to water consecrated by certain forms of prayer and to images of holy men." "In these times the religion of the Greeks and Romans differed very little in its external appearance from that of the Christians. They had both a most pompous and splendid ritual. Gorgeous robes, miters, tiaras, wax-tapers, crosiers, processions, images, gold and silver vases, and many such circumstances of pageantry, were equally to be seen in the heathen temples and in the Christian churches."

Site Editor's Comment: Not only were pagan pomp and statues adopted, even pagan holidays were converted into "Christian" holidays. Believe it or not, December 25th was the birthday of the UnConquered Sun God of Rome, the winter Solstice. The exchange of gifts took place the week prior in celebration of the dedication of the temple to Saturn, another Roman God.  So the Roman sect called the same day Christmas instead, celebrating in much the same way, later including the exchange of gifts, which attracted many more pagans into their so-called "church." Christ is generally acknowledged to have been born in April or September, the time when shepherds kept watch over their flock at night to protect the new born lambs. In addition, the Lord dislikes feasting, drunkenness, partying, exchange of gifts, and the pagan pomp of Christmas. Perhaps the worst thing about Christmas is that we teach our young children to be covetous, encouraging them to make wish lists and constantly asking them "what do you want for Christmas;" and then they remain covetous for the rest of their life. Yet, covetousness was not to be seen or even named among real Christians: But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints, Eph 5:13

Easter, and the German, Ostern, derive from the name of a putative Anglo-Saxon Goddess of the Dawn (thus, of spring, as the dawn of the year) — called Ēaster, Ēastre, and Ēostre in various dialects of Old English and Ostara in German. This goddess was honored with celebrating the Spring Equinox in April, particularly important to Wiccans (practitioners of witchcraft). Eostre is also worshipped by some neopagans, who associate her with various aspects related to the renewal of life: eggs (a common offering for fertility), spring, fertility and the rabbits (allegedly for its rapid and prolific reproduction). The Roman sect again converted a pagan holiday to become "Christian." At the least the time of Easter occasionally coincides with Passover.

Regarding Halloween. One fall evening in while I was in Switzerland, there suddenly appeared log fires on many of the surrounding hills and mountain sides. The logs were arranged in a roofless, rectangular log house, with large gaps between the logs. Inside the log structure could be seen an image of a dummy of man. I asked the long-time residents what was the meaning of these fires, and they replied it was an ancient annual occurrence, for which they did not know why. Curious, I researched the phenomenon and found the origin of a bonfire to be a bone fire of the Druid priesthood. Every fall the pagan Celts celebrated Samhain, at the beginning of the "darker half of the year," the end of summer. The Druid priests would visit each household at night, coming with candles in gourds (jack-o-lanterns of Halloween) requesting gifts (animals or children) for the gods; the candles were made from the fat of sacrificed humans. The same priests also decided who would be the human sacrifices to the gods that year; sacrifices were required to keep the gods happy. So each household attempted to be very cooperative or face being cursed or selected as a human sacrifice, (trick or treat of Halloween). The unfortunate souls selected to appease the gods were sacrificed by being placed in a wooden stockade (wicca cages) and then burnt to death in the stockade conflagration, dramatically visible to all, particularly in the mountainous regions. While people and animals were screaming in agony, being burnt to death, the druids and their followers would dress in costumes made of animal skins and heads. They would dance, chant and jump through the flames in the hope of warding off evil spirits. This occurred throughout Europe for the Druids were in control of most of Europe. Once again, the Roman sect, in an attempt to capture the traditions of pagan religion and appeal to more people, converted this day to All Saints Day.

Near the end of the 4th century, the emperor Theodosius I decreed the abolition of paganism and prohibited under pain of death the celebration of its rites, as treason to the state; but he was probably not aware that paganism in its most essential features was already adopted into the Church. In the early part of the 5th century, Theodosius II issued an edict proclaiming the bishop of Rome "ruler of the whole church."

That church which was once the temple of God had become the temple of Antichrist; for this title is not limited in its application to an individual or a dynasty, nor is it confined to one locality; it is applicable to that proud self-sufficient spirit in man which exalts itself above the Spirit of Christ, [the worst] presuming in his name to command and enforce obedience to its decrees by making war on the saints. But although it was manifest in its bitter fruits throughout nearly the whole of the visible Church, it was at Rome and Constantinople that the most conspicuous evidences of its power were exhibited. Between the Pope and the Patriarch there was a fierce contest for pre-eminence, attended with bitter animosity, which continued for centuries and finally resulted in an entire separation between the Greek and Latin Churches.

Site Editors Comments: John's stated in 2 John 1:18: Little children, it is the last time [2000 years ago], and as you have heard that antichrist will come, even now are there many antichrists [2000 years ago]. By this we know that it is the last time. John has just told us that two thousand years ago there were many antichrists. Anyone who does not have the controlling anointing of the Spirit of Christ, is antichrist. Anyone who does not confess that Christ's anointing is their Lord, controlling their thoughts, words, and deeds, is an antichrist. With the anointing of the Spirit of Christ, a true believer knows all things: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 1 John 2:20.  But the anointing which you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things, and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27. The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey, as their souls are purified by obedience to the truth.

In the year 606, the title of Universal Bishop was conferred on the Pope by the emperor Phocas, one of the most detestable tyrants that ever usurped a throne. The power of the Roman see was greatly increased in the year 754, by the donation of Pepin king of France, who conferred upon Pope Stephen part of the territory in Italy recently conquered from the Lombards. Charlemagne, the successor of Pepin, confirmed and augmented this grant to the Pope, who thus became a temporal sovereign and held the sword of the magistrate as well as the crosier of the priest. It has been the uniform policy of the Popes to extend the authority of the Roman see, by every means in their power; and their ambition has often involved them in desolating wars.

During the greater part of the 10th century, the Roman Pontiffs were engaged in scenes of violence and fraud almost unparalleled; six popes were deposed, two murdered, and one mutilated; frequently two and even three competitors were contending for the chair, and by turns driving each other from the city. "The history of the popes who lived in this century," says Mosheim, "is a history of so many monsters, and not of men, and exhibits a horrible series of the most flagitious, tremendous and complicated crimes, as all writers, even those of the Roman communion, unanimously confess."

In pushing forward their schemes of universal dominion, the popes did not confine themselves to their spiritual weapons; but like other potentates had their armies, mostly composed of mercenary troops and frequently commanded by ecclesiastics.

In the crusades for the recovery of the "holy sepulcher," instigated by the Roman hierarchy, the clergy took an active part, and while the monarchs of Europe were weakened and impoverished by those disastrous expeditions, the Roman Pontiffs continued to increase in power. During the greater part of that period of ten centuries called the middle ages, while superstition brooded over the civilized world and Europe was convulsed with desolating wars; the Popes, true to the instinct of priestly ambition, took advantage of every turn in political affairs to build up the vast fabric of their power. Their emissaries were found in every city, and their ambassadors at every court; by the arts of diplomacy they circumvented the strong, and by the terrors of excommunication they alarmed the timid, until they were enabled to give the law to empires, to put their feet upon the necks of kings.

THE WITNESSES

In contemplating the superstition, misery and crime that overspread Christendom during the long night of the apostasy, the inquiry arises: were there none to keep alive the sacred flame of pure religion? Yes, there were witnesses for the Truth, but they prophesied in sackcloth. In various parts of Europe there were large numbers of devoted Christians, who, for many centuries, had separated from the Greek and Roman churches in order to escape the domination of the clergy. Through their faithfulness a succession of devoted witnesses was preserved until the time of the Reformation.* They were chiefly of two classes, having sprung from two different stocks. One of these was the Paulicians, who in the seventh century originated in the East, and after enduring much cruel persecution from the emperors of Constantinople, a portion of them withdrew into Thrace and Bulgaria, whence they passed into Italy and France. They were known by the names of the Cathari, Bulgarians and Albigenses.

*Devoted witnesses does not mean completely regenerated witnesses. Neither were there completely regenerated founders of the Reformation; the leaders of Reformation made some progress, but fell considerably short of purity, union, the Kingdom, and walking in the Spirit, as energized and prompted in thoughts, words, and deeds.

In the 13th century, a crusade was preached against the Albigenses in the south of France, and the soldiers who engaged in this "holy war," were promised not only the plunder of their innocent victims, but a plenary indulgence for all their sins and a certain passport to heaven. The armies employed in this service by Pope Innocent Ill destroyed above two hundred thousand Albigenses in the short space of a few months; and, during a period of twenty years, it was estimated that a million were put to death. The fires of the Inquisition, as well as the sword of the warrior, were called into requisition to put down heresy. During many centuries, that horrid tribunal invented and conducted by priests, was employed in its work of persecution and destruction. Throughout southern Europe, the sanctuaries of domestic life were invaded by its secret emissaries, and the unsuspecting victims, snatched away from their homes, were subjected to the agonies of torture to extort confession, after which they were immured in dungeons or consumed at the stake.

Hallam, in his History of the Middle Ages, after alluding to the persecution of the Albigenses in Languedoc, says, "the Catharists, a fraternity of the same Paulician origin, more dispersed than the genses, had previously sustained a similar trial." He attributes to them" qualities of a far superior luster to orthodoxy, a sincerity, a piety, a self-devotion, that almost purified the age in which they lived." The same historian ascribes a very extensive effect to the preaching of these people, who, he says, "appeared in various countries during the same period, in Spain, Lombardy, Germany, Flanders, and England."

These reputed heretics, says Mosheim, "rejected all rites and ceremonies; and even the Christian sacraments, as destitute of any, even the least spiritual efficacy or virtue; " yet he informs us that" even their enemies acknowledged the sincerity of their piety, although they blackened them with accusations which were evidently false."

The other class of Christian "witnesses" was the church of the Waldenses, which, in the valleys of Piedmont, had subsisted from a very early period, probably from the age of Constantine, - and previous to the Reformation, had spread its affiliated societies in the north of Europe. Among the branches which sprang from this stock were the Bohemian Brethren and the Moravians.

The Waldenses asserted that they had never acknowledged the supremacy of the Roman pontiffs, but had from the earliest ages preserved the doctrines and testimonies of the primitive church. An old inquisitor of the Catholic church, Rienerus Sacco, reports the following language as coming from the Waldenses: - "The doctors of the Roman church are pompous both in their habits and manners; they love the uppermost rooms and the chief seats in the synagogues, to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi. For our part, we desire no such Rabbis." "They fight and encourage wars, and command the poor to be killed and burnt, in defiance of the saying, 'He that takes the sword shall perish by the sword.' For our part, they persecute us for righteousness' sake. They do nothing but eat the bread of idleness. We work with our hands. 'They monopolize the giving of instruction, and ‘woe be to them that take away the key of knowledge.' - But among us, women teach as well as men, and one disciple, as soon as he is informed, teaches another. Among them you can hardly find a doctor who can repeat three chapters of the New Testament by heart; but of us there is scarcely man or woman who doth not retain the whole."

According to Mosheim, "they adopted as the model of their moral discipline the Sermon of Christ on the Mount, which they interpreted and explained in the most rigorous and literal manner; and consequently prohibited and condemned in their society all wars and suits at law, all attempts toward the acquisition of wealth, the infliction of capital punishment, self-defense against unjust violence, and oaths of all kinds."

Milton, in a tract entitled "Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove hirelings out of the Church," says, "Those most ancient Reformed Churches, the Waldenses, if they rather continued not pure since the apostles' days, denied that tithes were to be given, or that they were ever given in the primitive church, as appears by an ancient tractate inserted in the Bohemian history. The poor Waldenses, the ancient stock of our Reformation, without the help [of tithes,] bred up themselves in trades, and especially in physic and surgery, as well as the study of scripture, which is the only true theology, that they might be no burden to the church, and after the example of Christ might cure both soul and body; through industry adding that to their ministry, which He joined to his by the gift of the spirit. So Peter Giles relates in his history of the Waldenses of Piedmont. "The Waldenses were dreadfully harassed by the agents of the Inquisition. Many of them were put to death, and others being driven from their country, spread their principles in foreign lands. In the latter part of the fifteenth century, Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull [official ruling] against them, in which he directed the archdeacon of Oremona to extirpate them, and to "tread them under foot as venomous adders." He accordingly raised an army for this purpose, and the harmless victims of papal intolerance were subjected to the most shocking barbarities. They fled at his approach, and concealed themselves in their mountain caves. He placed quantities of wood at the entrances of the caves, which, being set on fire, four hundred children were suffocated with their mothers, and multitudes were dashed off the rocks below, or butchered by the soldiery. The work of destruction was arrested by the duke of Savoy, who took the remnant of the Waldenses under his protection.

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Roman Pontiff was in undisturbed possession of that vast ecclesiastical authority which had been acquired by the sagacity and perseverance of his predecessors. There was however throughout Europe a deep-seated and increasing disaffection to the papal power, produced by the usurpations, the extortions, the profligacy and arrogance of the Roman hierarchy.

In the year 1513, John de Medici succeeded to the pontificate under the title of Leo X. He was addicted to luxurious living, and so fond of magnificence, that the expenses of his court and the adorning of his capital impoverished the papal treasury. Hence he was led to employ all the expedients for raising money which priestly cunning had invented, and among these the most lucrative was the sale of indulgences. It had been asserted in a bull [official decree] of Clement VI that "one drop of Christ's blood would have sufficed to redeem the world," but he shed his blood abundantly that be might supply his Church with a treasury of merits that could never be exhausted. In addition to this, all the good works of the saints, beyond what was needful for their own salvation, - and hence called works of Supererogation, were laid up in the same treasury to be dispensed by the Church to those who would purchase them by services or money. On this doctrine was founded the sale of Indulgences, and Alexander VI, "the Nero of the papal throne," was the first to declare officially 'that they released sinners from purgatory.'

The traffic in these fraudulent credentials was carried by Leo X and his agents to an enormous extent; the prices being rated according to the wealth of the purchasers, and the nature of the crimes committed or in contemplation. Tetzel, a Dominican monk, was appointed the agent for this traffic in Germany, and he executed his commission in a manner that was revolting to reason and decency.

At this propitious period, when the extortions of the Roman hierarchy had destroyed the confidence of the people, when the revival of letters had increased the intelligence of the educated class, when the invention of printing had furnished the means of disseminating knowledge, and when the seeds of a purer doctrine had been sown throughout Europe by the various dissenting sects; a humble instrument was raised up by divine Providence to begin the work of reformation so long desired and so often frustrated. Martin Luther was a native of Saxony, a monk of the order called "the Hermits of St. Augustine," and professor of Divinity in the university of Wittenberg. He was possessed of great talents and extensive learning, his heart was deeply imbued with piety and his mind enriched with scriptural knowledge.* When he heard Tetzel proclaiming the all-saving efficacy of indulgences and saw the demoralizing consequences that ensued, his zeal was kindled, and he publicly denounced the shameful traffic which deluded the people and put in jeopardy the souls of men.

*Site Editor's Comments: I must differ with the author, Janney, for reasons that are detailed further previously and that Luther rejected of the apostolic authorship of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation; plus he thought the Book of James was worthless, while rejecting the Book of Revelation as being inspired by the Holy Spirit. This hardly qualifies a man as being with his heart deeply imbued with piety and his mind enriched with scriptural knowledge. The author only betrays his own lack of spiritual maturity and understanding, while being all to eager to be at peace with the same Christendom that his Quaker ancestors died in opposing.

Most disturbing was Martin Luther's blatant hatred and urging of persecution of Jews, detailed previously from the Wikipedia article on Martin Luther. This is reputed to have set the stage for the Nazi perpetrated Holocaust.

At first, he had no intention to call in question the Pope's supremacy, for at that time he was a devoted adherent of the Roman Church, but the violent opposition and abuse he encountered from Tetzel and others of the Dominican order, as well as the arrogance of Cajatan the pope's legate, induced him to examine more closely the foundation of papal supremacy. He was gradually led to the conviction that the Roman hierarchy was actuated by the spirit of Antichrist, that the pope's assumption of universal supremacy was a flagrant usurpation, and that the doctrine of salvation by works performed by the unsanctified will of man, was a dangerous delusion. " The Head of the Church militant," he says, "is Christ himself, and not a mortal man." "All Christians belong to the spiritual state, and there is no difference between them, except that of the functions they discharge." "I declare that neither Pope, nor bishop, nor any other man-living, has authority to impose the least thing upon a Christian without his own consent."

Such were the enlightened sentiments that animated the heart of the Christian reformer. Happy had it been for him and his co-laborers in that glorious work, if they had always acted upon principles so pure and noble; but the light was just beginning to dawn upon the world, after a long dark night of apostasy; it could not be expected that the Reformers should at once see all things clearly, and if in some points of doctrine and discipline they erred, we should attribute their mistakes, not to want of sincerity, but to the darkness of the age in which they lived.

The views of Luther, were published in numerous works, and maintained in public discussions with energetic eloquence; but, above all, being seconded by the divine witness for truth in the hearts of mankind, spread rapidly through Germany, and penetrated into other countries, producing throughout Europe a profound sensation. Among the bigoted adherents of the papacy, they were received with alarm and indignation; but to pious and reflecting minds, they appeared like the first rays of the rising sun reflected from the mountain-tops, the harbingers of a glorious day.

Leo X, being of an easy temper, and busied with schemes of luxury and ambition, at first disregarded the efforts of the reformer; but, at length, stimulated by the complaints of his legates and counselors, he tried negotiation in order to induce Luther to retract his opinions. Finding him firm in maintaining them, a Bull of excommunication was issued in 1520, in which the writings of Luther were condemned to be burnt; and the reformer himself, if he should not recant within sixty days, was pronounced a contumacious heretic, who should be seized and brought to Rome. If this sentence could have been executed, Luther and his friends would have suffered in the dungeons of the Inquisition, or at the stake, the dreadful doom that always awaited the advocates of Christian liberty.

Happily for the cause of the Reformation, Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, protected Luther and enabled him to pursue his religious labors. About the same time Charles V, being elected emperor of Germany, summoned the reformer to appear before him in the Diet assembled at Worms. There in the presence of the emperor, the princes of Germany, and the dignitaries of the church, Luther was required to renounce his alleged heresies. It was a sublime spectacle of moral courage and Christian faith, to see a humble monk, under sentence of excommunication, and in peril of his life, standing before that august assembly, maintaining the truth with unwavering constancy; and when threatened with the doom of an obstinate heretic, exclaiming with pious fervor, "May God be my helper, for I can retract nothing! "

Having been furnished by the emperor with a safe-conduct, Luther was allowed to depart for his home; but the Diet condemned his doctrines, and ordered his books to be burnt, and his person imprisoned to await his punishment. His friend and patron, the Elector of Saxony, caused him to be arrested on his homeward journey, and conveyed to the castle of Wartburg, in order to shield him from his enemies. There he employed himself in translating the New Testament into the German language, a work that greatly accelerated the progress of the Reformation. When the object of his detention had been answered, he was released, and continued to promulgate his doctrines with remarkable success, being assisted in his labors by Philip Melanchthon and other eminent reformers.

It is remarkable that, in several of the States of Europe, the religious impulse which produced the Reformation was almost simultaneous, although at first without any concert or co-operation among those who were called to the work. The results, however, were very different; for, while in Northern Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, and Great Britain, the religion of Rome was in a great measure supplanted by the doctrines of the Reformers; the struggle which took place in France, Belgium, Southern Germany, Hungary, and Poland, terminated in favor of the Papacy.

Even in Spain and Italy the new doctrines were received with favor by many, but the terrors of the Inquisition were sufficient to put them down without delay. In France the contest was long, arduous, and bloody. The most violent and sanguinary measures were pursued by the Papists; the warrior's sword, the inquisitor's rack, the dismal dungeon, and the slow consuming fire, were applied without mercy to persons of every rank affected with the alleged heresy, who refused to abjure their faith. A few were induced to recant, many fled to Switzerland, Germany, and England, while great numbers suffered martyrdom with unshaken constance.

At the beginning of the Reformation, Luther did not rely upon the aid of princes to promote his work. He said to the Elector of Saxony: "No secular arm can advance this cause. God must do all without the aid or co-operation of man." And to the Duke of Savoy he wrote, disclaiming the use of the sword in the cause of religion, and maintaining that "It is by the breath of his mouth that Jesus will destroy Antichrist; so that as Daniel describes, he may be broken without hand."

This line of conduct, so consistent with the doctrines and example of Christ, was blessed with the happiest results, and the Reformation spread with astonishing rapidity; but, unhappily, the Reformers soon began to rely upon the secular arm, and even Luther gave his sanction to an alliance between the Church and the State in Saxony. The Elector assumed the supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs,* and Luther regarding him as the guardian of the people, thought he " should compel the inhabitants, who desire neither pastors nor schools, to receive the "mean of grace, so they are compelled to work on the roads, on bridges, and such like services."  In Sweden and Denmark, after the Reformation, the form of ecclesiastical government was similar to that of Saxony, the sovereign being the head of the Church. In Switzerland, the sovereignty in ecclesiastical affairs was entrusted to the council of two hundred, a political body.

* Rather than suffer the persecutions that all true followers of Christ must suffer, Luther sold out the supremecy of the new sect to the government, in order to be protected from persecutions. Contrast Luther's sell-out with the early Quakers in England and New England. In Fox's time, there were five governments in England: Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, James II, and William and Mary. During the reign of Charles II alone, 13,562 Quakers were imprisoned; 338 died from injuries inflicted in meetings or imprisonment, and 198 were sent into slavery over the seas. (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia). Four Quakers were hung in Boston. Under the first four rulers, Besse's Sufferings counts 869 Quakers who died in prison. Tens of thousands went to jail and prisons. When sent to prison, even their children were sold as slaves. Countless tens of thousands had their personal and real property seized as 'spoils' for the taking by the courts; after conviction for refusal to swear, failure to remove their hat in court, traveling on Sunday, failure to attend state-approved religious services, failure to pay tithes to the state approved parsonages, and for meeting in a non-government-approved worship service. See Quaker Persecutions for the details.

All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Tim 3:12

Luther also was selective in his beliefs of the scriptures. Luther had a low view of the books of Esther, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation. He called the Epistle of James "an epistle of straw," believing it conflicted with belief in Christ and His saving work. Yet, James was an Apostle, a natural brother of Jesus, and a pillar of the church in Jerusalem along with John and Peter; all of which made him much greater in Christ than Luther.

Luther also had harsh words for the book of Revelation, saying that he could "in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it." He justified his rejection of the apostolicity of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation because the early Roman Catholic church categorized these books as antilegomena, meaning that they were not accepted without reservation as canonical. Luther also added the word "alone" to Romans 3:28 controversially so that it read: " man is justified by faith alone, without the deeds of the law." The word alone does not appear in the original Greek text, but Luther defended his translation by maintaining that the adverb alone was required both by idiomatic German and the apostle Paul's intended meaning.

Luther rejected the Epistle of James because James said: "faith without works is dead.. and a man is justified by works, and not only by faith." James 2:14-26.
Luther thought, and many people still think, that Paul conflicts with James; but of course James and Paul don't conflict, and never would conflict.
In the below scriptures, Paul is speaking in context of works of the law without faith.
      Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. Gal 2:16
      A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Rom 3:28
Paul even apparently conflicts with himself.
      No man is justified by the law in the sight of God. Gal 3:11
      But Paul also says: Only the doers of the law [written in their hearts] will be justified. Rom 2:13-14
Paul is saying that works of the law, without faith in Christ, are worthless.
Paul is speaking about works of the law that died: circumcision, food and drink, days, washings, Sabbaths, sacrifices, etc.
Paul is speaking about works of voluntary humility and those not prompted by God.
Works of voluntary humility and works without love count for nothing. 1 Cor 13:3
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 ( faith activated and energized and working through love.)
Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Heb 10:24

Paul is not saying that you can ignore the moral code of the law - to be unloving, immoral, greedy, given to pleasures, angry, etc.
Paul said: for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law,
these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, <
who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness,
and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. Rom 2:13-16

Paul said: I declared.. that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. Acts 26:20
Paul said, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12
Again Paul said, grace, results in a people zealous for good works. Titus 2:14
Paul said: Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Cor 7:1
Paul said: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded,
nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy;
That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.
1 Tim 6:17-18
If you live in a prosperous, industrialized nation, you are rich, compared to the rest of the world. So be rich in good works.

Peter said: whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Acts 10:35
Peter again: make every effort to add to your faith virtue.. knowledge.. self control.. perseverance .. godliness. 2 Pet 1:5
Jesus said, Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3. Repentance requires effort on your part.
And, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev 3:19 (Zealous means filled with ardent desire, enthusiastic).
Jesus further said, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. Mat 11:29
Jesus said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
Jesus said, I have not found thy works perfect before God. Rev 3:2-3. He wants perfect works, energized by faith.
Hear! Jesus said: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Luke 13:24
The gospel of grace would have you believe striving is unnecessary, yet Jesus ordered us to strive, (to make every effort),
Jesus further says, the gate is narrow and compressed which leads to life,
which few will find, and many will try to enter and be unable.
Don't Jesus' warnings seriously conflict with instant grace?
To believe, say a sinner's prayer and be baptised in water is not hard to find or do. Think about it.

A war between the Catholic and Protestant cantons, caused by religious dissensions, retarded the progress of the Reformation; but it was afterwards accelerated by the labors of John Calvin, a refugee from France, "who became the master-spirit in the ranks of the Reformers. He was distinguished by talents, learning, and religious zeal, but, unhappily, he was not redeemed from that intolerant spirit which characterized the age. The burning of Servetus for his alleged heresies in relation to the Trinity, has left an indelible stain upon the character of Calvin; but it should be remembered that the dreadful deed was approved by many of the most distinguished Reformers." They had brought with them from the Church of Rome some of her most pernicious maxims; one of which led to the union of Church and State; another, to the maintenance of the clergy by tithes; and a third, to persecution for alleged heresies in doctrine.

Site Editor's Comments: The author has fallen to the everybody-did-it, (or all the great men of God were murderers), defense of the false prophet, John Calvin, who headed a theocracy in Geneva credited with 58 sentences of death for witchcraft or heresy, the details of have already been listed above.

In England, a vigorous effort towards 'a reformation of the church had been made by the celebrated John Wickliffe, about 150 years before the time of Luther.' He translated the New Testament into English, and wrote many religious works in which he denied the infallibility and supremacy of the Pope and the doctrine of transubstantiation. He also asserted that children may be saved without baptism, and that the baptism of water profits not without the baptism of the Spirit. His enlightened views were condemned by the pope, and by a convocation of bishops, held at London, in the year 1382; but owing to a schism in the church, and a war between the two anti-popes at Rome and Avignon, the English reformer was allowed to live out his days and propagate his doctrines.

The principles of Wickliffe were widely diffused in England, and even spread to the continent, where many embraced his views, thus preparing the way for a more decided movement.

While on the continent, the Reformation was begun by pious men actuated by religious zeal, it is remarkable that in England the first step towards a rupture with Rome was taken by a capricious and despotic monarch, actuated by depraved passions. Henry VIII was at first a devoted adherent of the papacy; and on the appearance of Luther's writings in England, the king took up his pen in defense of the church of Rome, for which he was rewarded by Leo X, with the title of "Defender of the Faith." Luther's answer was severe and discourteous, which produced in the mind of the English monarch an antipathy that was never removed. Henry was married to Catherine of Arragon, the widow of his brother Arthur; but becoming enamored of the beautiful Anne Boleyn, he professed to feel scruples about the validity of his marriage, and applied to the Pope Clement VI for a divorce, which, after much delay and prevarication, was refused.

The king being a man of violent passions and almost absolute power in his kingdom, determined to pursue his own course in defiance of the pope. The universities being consulted, declared his marriage invalid; he then called a convocation of the clergy, and a meeting of the parliament, both of which acknowledged him as "The protector and supreme head of the church and clergy of England." Having thus freed himself from the papal yoke, he married Anne Boleyn, and soon after received from Archbishop Cranmer, a divorce from Catherine, which ought to have preceded his second marriage. The pope's bull of excommunication against Henry, fell harmless at his feet; and the rupture between Rome and England was final; but the people of England soon found that the head of their church was no less despotic and arrogant than the Roman pontiffs. Although separated from the Catholic church, he still maintained most of its dogmas, and enforced his own opinions upon others with inflexible severity. The Parliament and higher clergy being subservient to his will, the most intolerant laws were passed against all who denied the king's supremacy, or professed the doctrines of the reformers. Hence it happened that Catholics and Protestants were alike involved in a severe persecution.

It is said that in this reign 72,000 persons were executed. The Church property and Abbey lands confiscated by the crown amounted to more than one-third of the real estate of the kingdom; but it was not merely the property of the Church; it was also considered the patrimony of the poor, for a part of the tithes and other ecclesiastical revenues had always been applied to the relief of the indigent. The Church of England and the partisans of Henry having appropriated these immense revenues, it became necessary in after times to tax the people for the support of the poor.

On the death of Henry, his son Edward VI a boy under 10 years of age, succeeded to the throne and became head of the English Church. Although a majority of the bishops and the inferior clergy were on the side of popery, the king's council, appointed by the will of his father, were mostly in favor of the reformation; and thus the new doctrines, being promoted by court favor and legal statutes, gained the ascendancy.

Edward's reign continued but seven years, and after his death, the throne was occupied by his sister Mary, a bigoted Catholic, who arrested the reformation, restored the old forms, and condemned to the flames nearly 300 persons who had embraced Protestant doctrines. The Parliament with the most abject submission passed an act expressive of sincere repentance for their former course, and humble acknowledgment of the pope's supremacy; they begged to be restored to the Catholic Church; but they took care not to restore the Abbey lands and Church revenues which had been distributed among the aristocracy.

Mary reigned but five years, and was succeeded by her sister Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn. She was a Protestant and proved to be an able sovereign. A new Parliament being assembled, declared the Queen to be the "governess" of the Church, and by one Act swept away all that had been done for Romanism in the preceding reign, taking care also to secure the confiscated church property to those who were in possession of it. The aristocracy and gentry in Parliament, were ever ready to change their religion at the will of the sovereign; they could renounce everything but the spoils; the clergy manifested an equal degree of subservience, for notwithstanding these sudden and violent changes in the church, they nearly all retained their places. Out of 9400 parochial benefices, only 243 clergymen resigned.

Elizabeth, being fond of a pompous ceremonial, retained in the church service some relics of Romanism, which gave offence to those among the clergy who were zealous Reformers. They contended for a purer form of worship, and being strict in their morals, and rigid in their opinions, obtained the name of Puritans. They were generally Calvinists in their doctrines. The new bishops appointed by the queen, claimed authority by apostolic succession, through the Church of Rome, and, therefore, thought they were bound to admit she was a true Church, though corrupt in doctrine and discipline. The Puritans affirmed that the pope was Antichrist, and the Church of Rome apostate; therefore, they disclaimed the validity of ordination by succession. The penal laws against heresy, and the severity of the bishops, drove from the Church all who could not conform to the established ritual, and hence the Puritan ministers were forced to take a stand in opposition to the hierarchy.

The Reformation had already been established in Scotland, where the Presbyterian form of church government was adopted, and when, after the death of Elizabeth, the Scottish monarch succeeded to the throne of England, under the title of James I, the Puritans hoped to enjoy protection under a king educated in principles similar to their own. They were, however, disappointed, for the weak and pedantic king was soon gained over by the bishops, whose doctrine of passive obedience to the regal power, flattered his vanity, and secured his favor. The nonconformists being zealous and active, continued to increase in numbers, and they gained favor with the people by their opposition to the despotic maxims in relation to government, put forth by the king, and sanctioned by the bishops.

When, on the death of James, his son, Charles I, ascended the throne, the Puritans had grown to be a formidable party, devoted to the cause of civil liberty, and strong in the affections of the people. They were ridiculed by the courtiers for the austerity of their manners, their affectation of Scriptural phrases, and their sanctimonious pretensions. They possessed, however, beneath this forbidding exterior, a strength of character, and determination of purpose, that insured their triumph in the day of trial. They were firm believers in unconditional election and reprobation, and, of course, considered themselves to be of that small number called the elect, for whom alone Christ died, to purchase for them an eternal inheritance. Their adversaries they regarded as the enemies of Christ, and they did not hesitate to apply to them the strong language in which the Hebrew prophets denounced heathen idolatry. "Cursed be he that does the work of the Lord deceitfully, and keeps back his sword from blood," was their favorite text on the eve of battle.

The despotic maxims, the vacillating course, and the treacherous policy of Charles, having roused the indignation of the people, the celebrated Long Parliament, in which the Puritans had the ascendancy, unfurled the standard of revolution, and called the nation to arms. In the fearful contest that ensued, the superiority of the Parliamentary forces became apparent. The army commanded by Cromwell was distinguished by strict discipline, indomitable courage, and fanatic zeal. Psalms and hymns resounded through the camp, and the officers, assuming the functions of the ministry, encouraged their troops by citing the examples of the Judges and avengers of Israel.

In Scotland, the attempt of the king to force upon the people the Episcopal form of church government, drove them into rebellion, and having entered into a covenant for the preservation of their liberties, they defeated the king's troops, and maintained their position. In the year 1643, the English Parliament entered into a "solemn league and covenant" with the Scots, the object of which was to promote the Protestant religion, and to abolish the hierarchy. An assembly of divines*, convoked by Parliament, having met at Westminster, adopted a confession of faith and form of church government, which, being submitted to Parliament, was confirmed under the title of  "A directory for public worship, passed January 3d, 1644-5." The Church of England having been subverted by the covenant, and the Directory not being generally carried into practice, the people were left at liberty in most places to pursue their own course, and the various dissenting sects came forward more openly to advocate their principles.

*A divine was someone who could read Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. They were considered to be authorities because of their ability to read the scriptures in the original languages, without translation. Arguing against a rich man's desire to found a college to create ministers, George Fox ridiculed this term, stating:

'that to teach men Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and the seven arts, which were all only the teachings of the natural man, was not the way to make them ministers of Christ. For the languages began at Babel; and to the Greeks, that spoke Greek as their mother tongue, the preaching of the cross of Christ was foolishness; and to the Jews, that spoke Hebrew as their mother tongue, Christ was a stumbling block. The Romans, who had the Latin, persecuted the Christians; and Pilate, one of the Roman governors, set a sign written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin atop of Christ when he crucified him. We wanted this man to see that the many languages began at Babel, and they set them atop of Christ, the word, when they crucified him. John the divine, who preached the word which was in the beginning said, "that the beast and the whore have power over tongues and languages, and they are as waters." Thus, I told him, he might see the whore and the beast have power over the tongues and the many languages, which are in mystery Babylon; for they began at Babel, and the persecutors of Christ Jesus set them over him, when he was crucified by them; but he is risen over them all, who was before them all. 'Now, ( I said to this man), do you think to make ministers of Christ by these natural, confused languages which sprung from Babel, are admired in Babylon, and set atop of Christ, the life, by a persecutor? Oh, no!' The man confessed to many of these things. Then we showed him further, “that Christ made his ministers himself, gave gifts unto them, and told them "Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers."

And Peter and John, though unlearned and ignorant as to school learning, preached Christ Jesus the Word, which was in the beginning, before Babel was. Paul also was made an apostle, not of man, nor by man, neither received he the gospel from man, but from Jesus Christ; who is the same now, and so is the gospel, as it was at that day.'

In the Westminster Assembly, the Presbyterians, (Calvinists, whose ministers were chosen by the clergy), were predominant, and during their short ascendancy, they employed coercive means to establish their form of worship. The Independents, (Calvinist Congregationalists who chose their own ministers), being then in the minority, were more liberal in their professions; but when they attained to political power, they fell into the common error: leaning upon the secular arm for support, insisting upon uniformity in faith and worship, and persecuting all who would not conform to their views.

It has justly been remarked by William Penn, that "The children of the reformers, if not the reformers themselves, betook themselves very early to earthly policy and power to uphold and carry on their reformation that had been begun with spiritual weapons," and to this he attributes their lack of progress in the spiritual life.

A distinguished theologian of our country has truly asserted, that "The great and most fatal defect of Luther's reformation was, that he left the reign of dogma or speculative theology untouched. He did not restore the ministration of the Spirit. Opinions were left to rule the church, with just as much of consequence as they did before. He delivered us from the Pope and the councils, but that which made both Pope and Councils he saved, namely, the authority of human opinions and of mere speculative theology. The man of sin was removed, but the mystery of iniquity, out of which he was born, was kept. Opinions, speculations, and theological formulas, were still regarded as the lights of religion. All judgments of men, as Christian or unchristian, continued as before, to be determined by their opinions, and not, in any degree, by their fruits or their character. Love, mercy, faith, a pure and holy life, was still left a subordinate thing-important, of course, but not the chief thing. Christianity remained in the hands of schools and doctors, and that was called the faith, here and there, which, here and there, was reasoned out as the veritable theological dogma."

In accordance with this view, it may be safely asserted, that, as the ministration of the Spirit was  not restored, so the fruits of the Spirit were not generally manifested. Although there were perhaps [pure speculation by Janney] individuals who had attained to purity of life, there was no visible church that came up to the standard of primitive Christianity.

Instead of that pure spiritual worship, and free gospel ministry instituted by the Messiah, a pompous ceremonial, and a ministry deriving its call, qualification, and reward from man, too generally prevailed. Religious liberty was scarcely known, even among the Reformers, for all parties who attained to power evinced a disposition to enforce their own opinions upon others, and mostly proceeded to the infliction of fines, imprisonment, and death.

So far from bearing, like the primitive church, a testimony against war, the sword was unsheathed throughout Christendom, and many who professed to be ministers of the gospel were actors or abettors in the deadly conflict.

Swearing, though forbidden by Christ, was almost universally practiced, and amid all the fluctuations in church and state, oaths were imposed upon the people at every change of government, which, being inconsistent with each other, often involved the crime of perjury.

And lastly, there was, throughout Christendom, a general declension from that purity of life and simplicity of manners which characterized the primitive Christians.

Notwithstanding these deficiencies, it must be acknowledged that the Protestant reformers were eminent instruments of Divine Goodness, in promoting the cause of truth, by throwing off the chains of the Roman hierarchy, and introducing greater freedom of thought and expression. There were many pious and enlightened persons who lamented that the Reformation had not been perfected, and who looked forward to the dawning of a brighter day. Among these was William Dell, Master of Gonvil and Caius College, Cambridge, who lived during the protectorate of Cromwell. In the Preface to a discourse showing the spirituality of Christian baptism, he writes as follows:

"I appeal to the next generation, which will be further removed from those evils, and will be brought nearer to the word ; but especially to that people whom God has and shall form by his spirit, for himself; for these only will be able to make just and righteous judgment in this matter, seeing they have the Anointing to be their teacher and the Lamb to be their light."

Site Editor's Comments: Notice the above statement show a total absence of any mention of the inward cross of self-denial, the only way that a man can attain the ability to make "just and righteous judgment," for only then can he hear the voice in sufficient measure to judge according to the words supplied by the Voice of the Lord, the Word of God within his heart.

This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.