by A.T. Jones
Our study tonight will be merely a continuation of the lesson of Friday night: What Babylon is, how much it embraces, and what it is to come out of her. We may not get through all of this in this lesson, but from the evidences we had Friday night, it is plain enough that there is nothing else to do but to inform the world of the ruin that hangs over it and to sound aloud the call that God has given to save people from the ruin. The thing for us to do is to lift up the cry, to sound aloud the warning and the call, and the Lord will see to it that the people are convinced that that is the thing to do. Whether they will do it or not is for them to decide afterward. But the Lord will see to it that they shall know that that is the thing to do.
Therefore I stated last night, especially when we read for the first time the words, "I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people," that it is the voice that comes from heaven that calls the people out. And therefore, those human instruments who will make the call by the word of mouth will have to be so connected with God that in that call the people will hear the voice from heaven. We must be so connected with God that when that word is sounded, "Come out of her, my people," the Spirit of God will say to them, That is the thing to do. Those who will give the warning must be so connected with God that when the voice shall present the words of God which show the situation as it is at present, the Spirit of God will impress those who hear with the actual conviction that that is the truth, that we are in the time and that the thing to do is to come out of her.
But I say still that whether they will do it or not is for them to decide. God never takes up a man and drags him out. An illustration of what I am saying is in the instance where Peter and John were in jail in Jerusalem and the angel of the Lord let them out and in the morning they were brought before the Sanhedrin. Acts 4:13. When the Sanhedrin "saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
In the words and by the presence of these two disciples of Christ, those priests and rulers were convinced of Christ's mission and that these men were in the right. "And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Yet, instead of surrendering to the conviction, they hardened themselves against it and commanded the disciples to be sent away. Then "they conferred among themselves, saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them."
They were willing to punish them, but they did not find just how under the circumstances, but the point is that they were doing all this threatening and had this desire to punish them, against their own convictions that the disciples were right. And that is where God intends His people to stand now. We have a message to the world now, just as important as that of the disciples then. And our position is not the right one until we find such a connection with God that when we do speak the truth, wherever we go and tell the people the message that He has now given us to tell, the Spirit of God will be there to witness to the people that that is so, and say to them, That is right and that man is speaking the truth. All that we can do is to tell the message to the people. We cannot bring them out, and God will not bring them out by force. He wins men by telling them what is right and making His goodness pass before them. And this God will do when the human instrument by which He works stands so related to Him that His Spirit can speak in the words, in order that in the human words the people shall hear the "voice from heaven."
I am satisfied that everyone--and I am not satisfied as a mere persuasion but I know it is a fact--everyone who will yield to the truth of God as the Lord reveals it today and as He will reveal it to every man, will be brought by the truth into just the place where the Spirit of God can work with him in this way all the time.
Now we know that for more than two years we have been in the time in which God said, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come." That is the truth, and we all know that we are there. But we cannot raise ourselves. We cannot get up; it is the truth of God that must raise us. The power of God must have a place, and that will raise us. We have to "Arise" before we can "shine"; that is settled. We cannot shine down where we are; we are not in the right place; we must be up. We must arise in order to shine, because up there is where the light is. We are down too close to the earth--Seventh-day Adventists, all of us, are too close to the earth; we are too far down, too close to the darkness; we cannot shine as God wants us to shine. And therefore He says, "Arise, shine."
But I say again, it is no use for us to try to raise ourselves and I also say again that as certainly as any Seventh-day Adventist here in this Conference or anywhere on the earth will surrender his whole will and body, mind and heart--everything--to God, taking His truth for what it is, God will see to it that the truth shall raise him to where he will shine.
Therefore let us honestly, right here, enter upon the study of this thing in the place where we are, and the work there is to do, in such a way as to see what God has to give us of His truth, which will raise us to the place where He can do what He pleases with us and where, when He uses us and speaks by us, the people will know the power of God is there and will hear the voice from heaven? Unless that be so, we cannot give this message; that is all.
It is no use for us to undertake to tell the people, "Come out of her, my people," when there is no power in our words that will bring them out; no power connected with us that will cause the thing to be done. It would be simply speaking into the air. But we are in a time that is too vastly important for us to be talking into the air. God wants us to talk to men in such a way that in the words that we shall speak, He shall speak to the heart.
We are not sufficient of ourselves to do this. There is the record: "Our sufficiency is of God." We can rest with all our weight upon that statement, "Our sufficiency is of God." That simply says to us that God will make us sufficient; He will furnish our sufficiency.
Let us look, then, a little further at how much is embraced in Babylon. In other lessons you remember we read certain texts which from this side, as it were, showed that all the world is going to honour the beast, the papacy, and do her bidding--all except those whose names are written in the book of life. But there are some further texts on this subject that we can read. Turn to Rev. 17:8, particularly the last part of the verse. I shall read all the verse, however:
The beast that thou sawest was and is not and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition, and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was and is not and yet is.
They shall wonder when they behold the beast that was and is not and yet is. Now there are going to be some people that will not wonder at that a particle. All the world will be wondering at it, surprised at it, astonished at it, and considering it in wonder, but there is going to be a set of people who will not be in any way concerned about that and these are going to be the ones whose names are in the book of life. They are the ones who do not worship the beast and his image. I read that verse particularly to connect with the thought of the other evening, that "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life"; all kingdoms of the earth committed fornication with Babylon; the inhabitants of the earth are made drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and this showing also that all the world is connected with her and out of this wonder she will, and indeed by means of it, raise herself to the place where the scripture shall be fulfilled.
Let us just here ask a question: Taking this just as these scriptures speak it, "All the kingdoms of the world" are joined to Babylon in fornication, in illicit connection. The inhabitants of the earth are made drunk with the wine of her fornication. What is it then, what alone must it be, to come out of Babylon? Nothing short of coming out of the world itself.
There is another word here, too. Turn to Revelation 18, and we will read and see how much there is connected with it. We read up to the 10th verse Friday night. Now begin with the 11th verse:
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her, for no man buyeth their merchandise anymore.
Now I am going to read this slowly, and when it is ended, I want you to see how much of the traffic of mankind she does not control.
The merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones and of pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet and all sweet wood [that would be fine, fancy, costly, decorative woods], and all manner of vessels of ivory and all manner of vessels of most precious wood and of brass and iron and marble and cinnamon and odours and ointments and frankincense and wine and oil and fine flour and wheat and beasts and sheep and horses and chariots and slaves and souls of men.
That is controlled by Babylon. How much then of the traffic of the world is left? None. Then when the time comes for the general boycott to be set up, it is going to be easy enough for her to say a man shall not buy or sell, because all the traffic of the world is under her hand. Nobody can buy or sell who does not do as she says. But when she controls all of this and God says, "Come out of her," it is plain that obedience to that call will carry us right to the place where His will is accomplished in a complete separation from her. The very fact that our names are in the book of life and our refusing to do the bidding of Rome, brings us out absolutely and sets us in such a place that we shall have no sort of connection with her, not so much as for anything to eat.
Let us study this a little further. When our allegiance to the truth of God, our giving ourselves to God, leads to that place where we are absolutely separated from anything on the earth to eat or drink, how in the world are we going to live? Ah, there is the promise: "Bread shall be given him; his water shall be sure." Well, then, as in our allegiance to God we will be forced to absolute separation of every kind from the world and all that is in it; is it not now high time when we ourselves by our own choice shall be utterly separated in heart and affection from the world and all that is in it?
Further, here are the kingdoms of earth that are connected with her too, and they are going to be used by her to execute her will upon the people of God. Then, when that thing is done, it will force a separation from all connection with them or any dependence upon them for anything. But when that time comes, how in the world will we get along? How will we be protected, what shall we do, when mobs attack us and people commit outrages upon us? What in the world shall we ever do for protection? How can we live in the world then? Would it be safe to be so separated from the governments of earth that we could not prosecute any who offer violence to us? That we could not hold the law with its penalties as a menace over the heads of those who would stone our churches or tear down our tents or do us harm in other ways? Well, that time is going to come anyway, when we shall be outlawed and all these kingdoms under the power of the beast will be simply tools for executing her wrath upon us. Not only is this time going to come, but it is now at hand.
But when the very shaping of things by Babylon shall force us into that position, what shall we do? How shall we ever live? Well, from our side of the issue, what is it that is to bring us there? It is only allegiance to God that will ever put us there. Very well, then, will allegiance to God help us when we get there? Will allegiance to God furnish us the protection that we shall need when that time comes? You all say, yes. Well, if allegiance to God should in heart bring a man to that place now, do you think it would be too much of a risk for him just to break loose and put his trust altogether in God right now? Do you think anyone would be going too far just now to put his allegiance upon God and his trust in him for protection, just as fully as though there was no government on the earth at all.
Everybody whose name is in the book of life is going to be forced there by the very powers of earth themselves. Then why should not we let the word of God and His power lift us there now? I would rather have the work of God and His power put me in a place than to have the course of evil and the powers of the earth force me into it by the very force of circumstances. I would far rather cheerfully choose wholly the Lord and His way at once, than to linger and linger with my affections and trust and dependence upon the powers of earth, perfectly willing to have it this way longer, but because I cannot have it so and get into heaven, I will finally allow myself to be broken loose and take the consequences--and go to heaven. No, sir. I would far rather "cut loose" from the world and everything in it or about it and put my trust steadfastly upon God, just as though there was nobody in this universe but God.
I believe there is a text that covers this whole ground. Turn to Jeremiah 17:5:
Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
If my heart leans for support in any confidence toward something or somebody that is not God, where is my heart? Surely it is departing from the Lord. Now look at the next verse:
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh.
Brethren, we want to be able to see when good cometh. But what will hinder a man's seeing when good comes? Trusting in man, making flesh his arm. Looking to any man, to any invention of men, to any combination of men, will do that. "Maketh flesh his arm." Depending upon any organisation of flesh, any combination of flesh, and making that my arm, will keep me from seeing when good comes? Why? Because my heart is leaning on somebody besides God. I may try to satisfy my conscience that I can use that as an instrument of God to hold me up, but the Lord does not put it that way. He makes a clear distinction between God and man, and between trusting in the Lord and trusting in the arm of flesh. I would rather lean altogether upon God and have him use flesh if he wants to, to hold me up, than to lean upon the flesh to be held up and expect God to do it that way, for when we lean upon the flesh, on the organisation of flesh and the power of this world and of man and expect to give God the credit for it--the truth that is we will give the combination or whatever it is we are leaning on the first place. But God must have the first place. And therefore when we lean altogether upon him, He can use whatever instrument he pleases to hold us up or to do whatever He chooses with us. But the one important thing in it is that he that trusts in man and makes flesh his arm shall not see when good comes. And that is an awful risk to run in our time.
He shall be like the heath in the desert and shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited.
And that scene of desolation--a salt land and not inhabited--will be about the place where Babylon finds herself at last.
But ah! Look at the other side: "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord." In the Lord through man? No. In the Lord through the arm of flesh? No, sir. In the Lord Himself, and whose hope the Lord is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters and that spreadeth out her roots by the river and shall not see when heat cometh but her leaf shall be green and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
There is going to come a dreadful drought. But God has fixed it so that a man need not be afraid of the year of drought, nor careful at that time. He has been careful before the drought comes; his trust is in God, and when the drought comes, his trust is in God still. But note the difference. The one who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm shall not see when good cometh, and this man that trusts in the Lord shall not see when heat cometh. This is the better way. Let us take it. When calamities come, they will not affect this man; he will not care for them at all.
Now let us turn to the 16th chapter of Revelation and read another thought that seems to me to be expressive of how much Babylon covers. Rev. 16:13, 14. I am not reading this for the point of time when the verse applies; I am reading it simply to get the limit of Babylon's dominion, how much is covered by her, how much is under her dominion:
I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.
16th verse: "And he gathered them."
19th verse, after the seventh plague, when the end comes: " The great city." What great city? Babylon, all the way through.
The great city was divided into three parts and the cities of the nations fell and great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
So then, the great city, Babylon, is divided into three parts. Now do those three unclean spirits that come out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet have anything to do with these three parts into which the great city is divided? I believe they have. I believe that they definitely point to that. I believe that the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet express these three parts into which she is divided when the time of her ruin comes. And we all know what the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet are, and the three unclean spirits working miracles coming out of their mouths, going forth to the whole world to gather them. Therefore, from this it is also clear that Babylon controls the world, the whole world. Then what does it mean to come out of Babylon?
Another situation: 2 Tim. 3:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy[--and through the whole category there of nineteen sins] having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.
Now what made Babylon the mother? I mean what produced her first? The church leaning upon the arm of another, separated from her own husband, turning to another, leaning upon the arm of another than her rightful Lord--that is what made Babylon. The church, pretending to be the church of Christ, joining herself to another lord, makes the adulteress, the harlot. And thus came Babylon the great. and as she is the one that has led in all that wicked course and set the wicked example for all the rest to follow, she is described as "the mother of harlots."
Then when God in the Reformation would have healed Babylon and she would not be healed, Christianity started in the world independent of her again. But when the professed Protestant churches have followed her ways and turned away from their rightful Lord and put their trust, their hope, upon earthly governments, earthly kingdoms, and joined themselves to these, they are the daughters; then there is Babylon and the daughters, the beast and the false prophet. So that you see the profession of religion without the power of God, the profession of godliness without the power of it, and those professing it, seeking and depending upon the kingdoms and nations of the earth for the power that they know they lack themselves--all this is fitly described as the combination of the form of godliness without the power. Babylon, the mother and daughters, embraces the world in the last days, and Babylon, the mother and daughters, is the form of godliness without the power.
Therefore it is plain that the third chapter of second Timothy does describe Babylon. The third chapter of second Timothy is in that place a description of Babylon, just as much as Rev. 18 is in that place a description of it. And when the passage from 2 Tim. 3 closes by saying, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away," that cry, "From such turn away" is in that place the call out of Babylon just as "Come out of her my people" is in its place the call out of Babylon.
The form of godliness without the power is the bane of any profession of religion. And now it is the bane of all of them in the world. And the success of this grand scheme to bring about the union of all denominations and the unity of the faith, which is being diligently worked from the pope of Rome up to many professed Protestants is only to put the seal of completeness upon it.
Down in Ohio last August at the camp meeting of another denomination the leading minister of the camp, preaching the Sunday sermon to thousands of people on the millennium and the hope and the prospect of its coming, giving as one of the great signs of the millennium the patent fact that "Protestants and Catholics are all wheeling into line," and hundreds of the people responded, Amen.
Now that is an actual fact, not only a fact as to that meeting but that sort of scheme that has been framed in the minds of those who are going more and more into Babylon, is a fact, and the scheme will be worked by them in all its parts to bring the millennium and the kingdom of God at last by preparing the way for the king. And thus when the Saviour comes, He will find the whole combination of the kingdoms and churches of the earth gathered together into one body, professing to be Christianity, yet with none of the power of Christianity, and promising themselves and the world the grand, glorious millennium that has been for so long looked for over all the earth and the speedy coming of the kingdom of God. We know well enough also that then their king really will come, presenting himself as Christ and will be received as Christ. There will be some though who will be disconnected from that whole system--those who have obeyed the call, "Come out of her, my people," those whose names are written in the book of life. These will not receive the king of Babylon to reign over them. And then, as was proposed by the National Reformers away back in 1886 even, that scripture will be used against these: "These, mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before my face." That brings logically enough the death penalty, as in the 13th chapter of Revelation, upon all who will not worship beast and image. The whole combination under the dominion of the earth and the dominion of evil spirits--the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet--Satan and all the instruments of Satan in all the earth, in combination---will be set up as one grand system of Christianity, when it is all one grand system of deviltry.
What then could show a more universal reign of the form of godliness, not only without the power but denying the power? For this form of godliness will deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, that is the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come--not that he did come, but now is come in my flesh--Christ in you the hope of glory, Christ abiding within, God reigning in the kingdom of God that is within you--that is what this signifies. Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is that spirit of antichrist. And ye have overcome them, little children, because greater is He that is in you, in you, in you, than he that is in the world.
Therefore, all this shows as plainly as A B C that in the last days the whole system of the world and worldliness, will be combined into this one grand system of the form of godliness, without the power and denying the power also, and growing worse and worse. And the cry, "From such turn away," is simply another form of the cry, "Come out of her my people." And wherever this cry is heard, it means simply, Come out of the world, separate from the world and from the things that are in the world, in heart and in mind, as completely as though the world had already vanished away. "Come out of her, my people."
There is another very important thing that I must notice with this division of the subject. It is a thing that is going to force every Seventh-day Adventist and every other Christian to a decision between Christ and this world and between allegiance to Christ and connection with the United States government. It is a proposition endorsed by all the governors of all the states and territories of the United States, to drill in military tactics all the school boys in the public schools. Some of the governors in the states where the legislatures are in session are already trying to get legislation enacting laws providing for it. A meeting in favour of the project was held in New York City the 25th of January in which speeches were made.
Let the United States government and all the states undertake to drill in military drill, filling with the war spirit all the children of the country, and what Christian can allow his children to take any part in it? And if the evil thing shall be made compulsory or shall be required by law, then what Christian can allow his children to be in the schools any more? The word that ushered Christ into the world was, "Peace on earth." This thing is precisely what it says in Joel, "Prepare war." Are you ready for the issue? The scheme is on foot and has spread over all the country like a flash of wild fire. It has been taken up as though it were the grandest thing that ever was, from the day it was mentioned. It has been greedily grasped and it is proposed at once to fix it in the law.
Whether this military drill, this inculcating the war spirit into all the children of the country, shall be made compulsory at the first or not the doing of it at all is enough, for the simple introduction and practice will make the thing in a sense, compulsory, for the simple reason that any boy that would refuse to take part in it would be called a coward by those who did take part. He would be ostracised. His schoolmates would pass him by on the other side. For all this is to be done in the interests of "Patriotism"; it is said to be all for the "inculcating of patriotism" and "love of the flag." Any boy that will refuse to take part in the military exercise will be declared "unpatriotic"; he will be "despising the flag." It will be said he does not "love the country," is "a traitor." But no Christian parent can allow his child to be filled with the war spirit. It is with the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of peace, that he must be filled. It is to Christ that his allegiance is owed.
This is certainly true. And that being so, it brings a test that will separate every Christian child and every Christian parent from the government of the United States and every state. Then is it not time we began to be separated anyway? Were the lessons last week too extreme? Did they go too far when they said, Let us cut loose? Why, brethren, the very events from the side of the enemy are forcing us right up to the line where we have to decide between allegiance to Jesus Christ and this world.
But there stands that wicked thing right before every Seventh-day Adventist and every other Christian in the United States. It will be a test as to whether he will let every earthly thing go and hold only to Christ, let them call him what they choose. That is the test. It is only another note sounded in the one universal call, "Come out of her, my people."
But where did the mischievous thing start? This particular phase of it as to putting it in the public schools started with the Papacy. Professed Protestant churches have been organising what they call "Boys' Brigades" for two summers. But the first step that I have found toward putting it into the public schools and forcing it upon the people of the country was by the Catholic Club of Jersey City, N.J., as reported by the Catholic Mirror of October 6, 1894:
The Catholic Club of Newark (N.J.) at its meeting last Wednesday night adopted a set of resolutions asking the Legislature to make provision for the introduction of military drill in the public, parochial, and other schools within this state in which boys are taught. The resolutions are as follows:
"Resolved, That in the judgement of the Catholic Club of Newark, N.J., the military resources of our country should not now be neglected but should be developed as fully as a reasonable economy will allow; and be it,
Resolved, That we, therefore, suggest, respectfully, to the Legislature of our state that military instruction for the boys in our public schools ought to be provided for and may without a doubt be secured very cheaply through the agency of the members of the state, and be it,
Resolved, That we also suggest to the Legislature the propriety of providing for similar instruction in all the other schools in this state in which boys are taught, and be it,
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the Clerk of the Senate and another to the Clerk of the House of the Assembly."
It is hoped that such a plan will come in vogue, as it will be of great benefit to the boys in many ways.
Lafayette Post of the Grand Army of the Republic of New York City--the one which started the movement to put the flag on every school house--has lately taken it up and has spread it abroad to the whole country.
Now look further at the situation: Everyone that protests against that will be accused of being unpatriotic and on the other hand, the papacy will simply crowd herself forward as the most patriotic of all, because she can endorse it to the fullest measure. She can show that she is the most prominent in the movement and in favour of it. Thus this is simply another means by which the papacy will set herself at the head of everything and will rule over all.
Here is a dispatch from the Detroit Evening News of February 4, 1895, relating to military drill in the churches, which is an illustration of the evil thing, whether in the public schools or in the apostate churches:
United Boys Brigade
Chicago, Feb. 4. The United Boys' Brigade of America, composed of companies of youths organised under military discipline in the various Christian churches of the land, has just been incorporated, with headquarters in Chicago. The incorporators are the Rev. H. W. Bolton, representing the Methodists, the Rev. P. S. Henson, the Baptists, and others. The brigade movement has for its object the development of patriotism and piety in boys, and its essential features are the drill, the study of the Bible, and missionary work. About ten years ago William A. Smith, a British soldier, organised the first brigade in Glasgow, Scotland.
Brother Robinson says it is all over England and Scotland. Are not these things near enough to us and are they not clearly enough set before us to show where these things are driving us? They are forcing a separation of the Christian from everything on the earth. Then, is it not time that we should make that separation, brethren, from choice, and in heart and with all the heart?
Babylon embraces the world, and separation from Babylon means nothing but separation from the world. And these things are so near to us and the separation so near to be forced upon every one who will be loyal to Jesus Christ, all this proclaims the all-urgent necessity that we seek God with all the heart and let our hearts be separated and we separated in heart, unto God wholly.
Here are a few clippings in which this military movement is discussed, which are worth reading. One from the New York Recorder, endorsing it fully throughout, says:
Military drill in the schools is evidently foreordained. . . . How much has been done already in his line and how much more may be done was amply demonstrated by the exhibition given in the Seventh Regiment Armoury the other day, where not only the boys but the girls acquitted themselves with signal credit.
In the New York Sun of April 8, a trustee of the Twenty-third Ward school of New York City, in noticing a resolution that had been passed by a meeting of Quakers, disapproving of this military movement, says, among other things:
The Board of Education of our city has taken up the matter, with the result that in our own state a bill has just been introduced in the Senate asking for $100,000 for the equipment of scholars of eleven years of age and upward in the public schools.
That is military equipment, of course. That is, the Board of Education of New York City as attended to having a bill introduced in the legislature of New York to equip school boys of eleven years and upward. He continues:
But in addition to the benefit that the nation may and will derive from this military training in the public schools, I maintain that the scholar will also be benefited, in giving him a manly, erect, and graceful bearing, and in making him more self-respecting; in strengthening the body as well as improving the mind, for there is no better exercise than drilling and marching; in learning discipline and therefore obedience and submission to lawful authority; in teaching to make him a good, loyal, and patriotic citizen, who loves his country and, if need be, ready to die in her defence--in giving him self-control and command of himself and therefore not only valuable for its effect on the mind but also on the body and, in fact, in making him strong, active and brave. I am heartily in favour of the movement, and you may count me one of its most earnest supporters.
But it is not all that way; there are some opposing voices heard. One man, writing to the Chicago Herald February 3 or 4, speaks in this way:
I notice in an evening paper of recent date an article concerning the enrolment of boys into a church military organisation for the purpose of fostering the war spirit and the proverbial meekness of the lowly Nazarene. Can anything be more stultifying, contradictory or grotesque than this? When the boy's education is finished in this new school, what a peculiar product he will be; what a laughable combination of saint and devil; what an impossible mixture of right and wrong; what a commentary on the Christian church, whose mission is supposed to be the inauguration of a reign of universal peace; what a confession of weakness; what a despicable trick to fill empty pews; what an insult to the memory of that noblest of characters, Jesus, whose life, acts, and teachings were the exact reverse of this! If this is Christianity, what, in the name of religion, is paganism?
These church military organisations, in their utter disregard for consistency, decency, genuine morality, real justice, and , in fact, all of the Christian virtues, have no parallel in history, and the men who engineer this game--for it is only that--are the worst enemies to true democracy and republican institutions possible to imagine. This may sound radical to some, but it is true, and truth is only radical to the person unacquainted with it, and there are many such, alas, too many.
Here is a paper in which is printed the annual address of Mrs. Marion H. Dunham of Burlington, Iowa, of the Women's Christian Temperance Union; she has some excellent remarks upon this. Speaking of the increasing conflicts among the labouring classes, capital and labour, and so on, she says:
One feature has developed which can well excite the alarm of all who love their country and that is the cultivation of the military spirit and military training.
Then, speaking of dangers enough in the regular course of governmental affairs, she continues:
But far more serious than all of these is the fact that in a time of profound peace, threatened by no other nation, our position and power making us, in fact, impregnable to all attacks from any possible hostile power, our schools and our churches are turned into military camps, and our young boys are drilled with arms that have been used on the battlefield, and the thirst for shedding the blood of their fellow men aroused in their young hearts. In my own city [Burlington, Iowa] the girls who are serving as substitute teachers are called "cadets," and their work "cadetting," in order apparently to familiarise them with military terms and ideas, that even womanly influence shall not be exerted for peace. Our colleges are supplied with instructors by and at the expense of the government, and the Boys' Brigade of the churches, which are supposed to be organised to spread the gospel of "peace on earth, good will to men," numbers about 115,000, and the old Sunday school hymn of, "I want to be an angel, and with the angels stand," changed to--
"I want to be a soldier,
And with the soldiers stand,
A cap upon my forehead,
A rifle in my hand.
I want to drill for service
With military skill,
And master modern tactics
The most approved to kill."
Then it goes on and gives a revamping of that old hymn and continues:
No foes from abroad menace us, that this preparation is needed, and whatever this movement means or portends, it is contrary to the spirit of Christianity; it is turning civilisation backward to the time when might was right, and every man's hand was raised against every other.
From this we can learn another thing, and that is the real Christian minds of the country will turn away from this and protest against it, and that only opens wider the door for sounding aloud the cry, "Come out of her, my people." Those who are favourable to Christianity even and want to see the spirit of peace spread, you can see for yourself that this movement in itself repels them and, indeed, shuts them out. It draws the line between them and the government. And just now God has a work in the earth, a message to be spread, calling upon all who would save their souls alive to separate utterly from all such evil things, to set themselves against it with all their hearts, and turning to God in the spirit of peace, they all, from the least to the greatest, may know Him who is our peace.
Here, then, is the situation as it is today on all sides: Every element of the world--whether in the papacy, in apostate Protestantism, or on the part of the government itself--everything is driving us right to the point where we are compelled to decide and separate from the world and all that is in it. Well, then, shall we not look at it from the side of God's truth and have His Spirit which will indeed separate us and clothe us with such power as will awake the world to danger and save from the impending ruin every soul who will be saved. Here is the word: Isaiah 40:9, reading the margin:
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Thus the Lord says to us in this time, Get up into the high mountains, and lift up your voice with all your strength, and do not be afraid. Tell to the people, Behold your God. He is your refuge; He is your salvation; He is your protection.
Now let us turn again to the study of what it is to come out of Babylon. Everyone knows now that to come out of Babylon is to come out of the world and to separate from Babylon is to separate from the world. What we want to know next is, What is it to come out of the world? What is it to separate from the world? Gal. 1:4 will answer that question in a word; we shall have to read the third and fourth verses together to get the connection, but the fourth verse is the one that has the point in it.
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.
As He gave Himself for our sins in order to deliver us from this present evil world, it follows plainly enough that connection with the present evil world and even the evil world itself, lies in our sinfulness. And therefore, to deliver from this world, we must be delivered from sin. Not from some particular sins, but from sin itself, the thing, the root, and the all of it. The word of God does not take a man and find out how much of good there is in him and how much bad there is in him, and then patch the good on the place of the badness and take him into heaven that way. You should not put a new patch on an old garment; Christ said so, and it is so. Then we are not to see how much good there is in us, how many good traits we have and give ourselves credit for these and then get enough goodness from the Lord to supply whatever we may lack. No. There is no goodness, not one good thing there at all. The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. From the crown of the head to the feet there is no soundness in it, but instead there are wounds and bruises and putrefying sores. "Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Rom. 7:24. It is a body of death simply because it is a "body of sin." Rom. 6:6. To be delivered from sin, then, is to be delivered from ourselves. That is what it is to come out of Babylon.
Many people have been getting the idea that if they get out of the Methodist church or the Presbyterian church or the Catholic church and get into the Seventh-day Adventist church, then they are out of Babylon. No. That is not enough, unless you are converted, unless you are separated from this world you are not out of Babylon, even though you are in the Seventh-day Adventist church and in the Tabernacle in Battle Creek. This is not saying that the Seventh-day Adventist church is Babylon; that is not it at all. But the man who is connected with himself is connected with the world, and the world is Babylon. You have separated from sin, separated from this world, to be out of Babylon. "Having a form of godliness, without the power," is simply another expression which describes Babylon and her condition in the last days. That being so, if I, a Seventh-day Adventist, have the form of godliness without the power, I belong to Babylon; no difference what I call myself, I am a Babylonian; I have on the Babylonish garment. I bring Babylon into the church wherever I go.
Another word upon this in Galatians: Christ "gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world."
All of this world that ever can cripple a man or hinder him in his heavenly course is simply what is inside of him; it is simply what there is of him. Therefore when Christ would deliver a man from this present evil world, he simply delivers him from sin and from himself. Then that man is in the kingdom of God; he is in the world but not of the world. So Jesus says, "I have chosen you out of the world: if ye were of the world, the world would love his own." Very good; here am I. Suppose I am of the world. Then the world will love his own. That is, the world that is in me and of me will love the world and will cling to the world. It cannot do anything else, and I cannot do anything else, because I am essentially of the world itself. The world outside of me and around me will love his own, that is true; but as certainly as I am of the world, so certainly I will stick to the world and love the world; the world within me will love and cling to the world without. I may be calling myself a Christian at the same time, but that will not alter the case--the world will love his own. If in heart I am cut loose from this world, I am free from it, but if the world is there, I will love the world, and when the test comes, when the crisis comes, I will surrender to the world and go the way of the world in general--stay in Babylon and worship the beast.
Now turn to the third chapter of 2 Timothy. There we have the same thing taught:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves....From such turn away.
Then if I am a lover of my own self, from such I am to turn away. But who is it I am to turn away from? Self, assuredly. Come out of Babylon, from such turn away. It is not that I am to look at you and study you and see whether you are a lover of your own self, to see whether you are covetous and a boaster and proud and then I separate from you. Not at all.
It is not for me to look at others and say, "Oh I don't want to be in a church with such brethren as these. I cannot be the right kind of a Christian there. I think I would better go to Oakland and join the church there, or I think I would better go to Battle Creek and join the church there; the brethren here at home seem to be so kind of--oh, I can hardly describe it, but it is very unpleasant and very hard to be a Christian here. I think I will have to leave this church and join some other one." That will not answer at all, for unless you are genuinely converted and separated from the world, when you have done all that the church which you have joined is just so much worse than it was before and so much more Babylonish by just so much as you are there. "From such turn away." Then as I am to turn away from myself, where does Babylon lie? Where does the world lie? Altogether, in self, just as we found in Galatians, fourth chapter.
Let us look at the third chapter of 2 Timothy a little further and see whether any of us are there. "Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous." Can you tell what it is that will cause a man who professes to belong to the Lord and to love the Lord--what will cause him to hold back from the Lord that which the Lord says definitely belongs to him, the tithe, for instance? Here are means that come into my hands; the Lord says that a tenth of that is his. I profess to love the Lord; I go to meeting every Sabbath; I profess to belong to the Lord myself; I profess to be consecrated, but yet I do not let the Lord have what belongs to him. What is the root of that thing? Self. And what is the first fruit of self? Covetousness. I have not stolen anything from my neighbour or kept anything back from him, but I have held to that which belongs to the Lord. Then I am to turn away from my covetous self.
Blasphemers: We cannot take each one of these in detail. "Boasters, proud, blasphemers." A blasphemer, in the common acceptation of the term, is one who uses the name of God profanely; one who takes the name of God in vain. One of the commandments of God is set against that. But though I do not by word of mouth use the name of God profanely, if I profess the name of God, if I have taken it upon me and then take such a course as to show that the whole thing is in vain, have I not taken the name of the Lord in vain? Assuredly I have. If it is a form of godliness without the power, is not it a vain taking of the name of the Lord? And will I not, by just such a course, cause other people to blaspheme the name of the Lord? Then, as I profess to be the Lord's and yet take a course, which in the nature of things, causes the name of the Lord to be blasphemed, the blasphemy begins with me.
There is a verse which we might read upon that: 1 Tim. 6:1:
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
There the word of God itself lays the truth right home to the individual, that he is to take such a course as that the name of God and his doctrine shall not be blasphemed; that we are to guard the name and the doctrine of God from blasphemy. But if I sanction it, if I draw it on, then it is certain that the blasphemy begins with me. I have taken the name of God in vain and wear it in vain.
Here is another test: Romans 2, beginning with the 17th verse:
Behold thou art called a Jew and resteth in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will. . . . Thou, therefore, which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
"Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Thou that makest thy boast of the law, thou that teachest a man should not steal, what are you doing? Are you cheating? Do you drive sharp bargains? If you should happen to be in charge of some of his business, are you ready to drive a sharp bargain for the Lord? Do you think that is integrity to the cause? No. It is dishonesty. It is devilry. I cannot be selfish for the Lord. This is not saying that we are not to be careful and economical, but it is saying that I cannot drive sharp bargains for the Lord any more than for myself and yet be honest. Therefore, "Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? or are you honest?
"Thou that sayest that a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?" Do you hold the marriage relation sacred? Do you honour that ordinance? or is it to you such a thing--as has been entirely too common among our young men especially, and even those "preparing for the ministry" too, who seem to think so lightly of this solemn ordinance of God that they can go and engage themselves to some young woman that may strike their fancy at the first and then, seeing some other one that strikes their fancy a little stronger, break their engagement. And then, if they do not get married before they find another one, they are ready to repeat this course.
The seventh commandment is put in the law of God to guard the marriage institution, the marriage ordinance, and men cannot disregard the marriage institution, that solemn ordinance of God, without violating the commandment. In a single year I could put my finger on at least half a dozen young men, professed Christians, who had engaged themselves to young ladies and every one of them broke their engagement and married somebody else, because they had more fancy for the new one. And some of these were preparing for "the work of the Lord." I want to know whether it is a fit preparation for the work of the Lord to trample underfoot one of God's most sacred ordinances at the first step?
"Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, does thou commit adultery?" Do you honour God's commandments? Do you honour his ordinances? "Well," says one, "would you have a man marry a woman he does not love?" No, I would not, but I would have him know what love is and know what he is about, before he engages himself to a woman. In this course that I am describing, there is no love to start with. It is mere aimless fancy. The woman may be perfectly honest in it; it may be love on her part and in most cases it is. But on his part it is mere fancy. And if it should so happen that the marriage should be performed before another one strikes his fancy a little more forcibly than does the first, some day he will meet one that does, and then he is not sure of his position. Any man that will violate the sacred confidence that he has pledged in that way to one woman is never sure that he will be faithful to another woman. When he has trampled underfoot that sacred thing in which God has stored most happiness for human beings as such, he has no surety, even to himself, that he will be faithful in any other case of the like kind.
But what of the man, anyway, who will go so far as to win the love of a woman to betray it. The Bible, in speaking of the mutual love of two men, finds its strongest illustration in describing it as "passing the love of women." And yet a man will win that and have her love bound about him and then ruthlessly break all its tendrils and trample it underfoot. It is a violation of the seventh commandment. It is trampling underfoot the institution which that commandment guards, in taking steps which, if carried to their logical conclusion--only a few steps--will lead to the actual fact.
Let me say again, I would not have anyone marry a person whom he does not love, but I would have every soul have sufficient reverence for the ordinance of God, sufficient sobriety and thoughtfulness as a Christian, to know his own feelings. I would have him possess sufficient sense to know what he is doing, to find out before God what love is before he enters this most solemn relation with its sacred obligations.
"Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?" That is the question.
"Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?" But you say, "I don't worship sticks sand stones; I don't bow down to graven images." No, you do not. But how about the fashions of the world? What kind of hat is it that you have on? What kind of cane is it that you carry? What kind of dress is it that you cut and make? Why do you cut and make it the way you do? Is it because it is more comfortable that way? Is it because it is more pleasing to God that way? No. You know that it is rather because it is nearer to the fashion that way. You know that it is because it conforms more to the world and will suit the world's ways better? But this world is vanity; it is idolatry. Satan is the god of this world. "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." "Whosoever would be the friend of the world is the enemy of God." Therefore, although I may not bow down to graven images; although I may not worship sticks and stones, yet if I follow the fashions, the ways, and the things of this world and conform to the ways of the world rather than ask God what he would have, then what am I worshipping? The god of this world. There is idolatry also. There is enmity against God.
I know of nothing more incongruous, more unreasonable, anyhow, than fashion--wanting everybody shaped on the same mould and cut the same way and to look just the same way. Why did not God make us all alike when he made us? Why did he not make us all just exactly alike? Fashion's way is precisely the devil's way. He wants to make everybody of the same cut in religion and so he must have that so fashionable that all will wear it and then have the government take it up and fix it in the law and demand that all shall wear this fashionable cut of religion. And all this concession to fashion in dress is simply training yourself to make concessions to the world's religion. Oh, it is all idolatry. Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
If God wanted us all to be alike and to look alike, why did he not make us all alike to begin with? Why, you sometimes see people with clothing upon them that is in no sense becoming to them but is utterly incongruous. They may have on a hat or a dress of a colour that makes them look as if they were recovering from a fit of the jaundice. But that question is not thought of. All that they think is that such is the fashion now.
Now God has made us in the world so that no two of us are alike. Each one is himself; he has a personality, an individuality of his own. And the Lord intends each Christian to exert an influence in this world that no other person in this world can exert. He expects each one to so dress that the way God has made him will be represented to the world in perfect harmony, perfect congruity in every respect; so that God can use the individuality which he has created for the purposes for which he created it. Dress to suit the Lord, and then all there is about us will tell for God and the things of righteousness. But one can destroy all that God has made him or her for by professing to be a Christian and then expecting to exert an influence in the world by dressing according to the way of this world! It cannot be done. The two things will not work together at all. You cannot impress anybody in favour of Christianity in that way, because the whole thing through which the Lord would work is shut away by this tribute to idolatry. Dress the way the Lord would have you, and you will find that it is not expensive, nor will it require much workmanship or very much ingenuity always to be neatly and becomingly dressed. "Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?" That is what I want to know. Is your mind upon God? Do you dress to please him? Are you seeking to please him? or are you caring for what this one will say or what that one will say? "Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?"
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written: "One of the reigning evils of the last days is that people professing godliness will be blasphemers." Are you one? Do you bear the name of the Lord in vain? From such turn away.