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Church; but is Christ in them, and they in Him. United, they are partakers of the same Spirit ; and thus they are one in Him, and in one another. Believers in Him have always been, and are now, united in Him. His prayer has been answered ever since it was offered.
In almost all ages, the greater part of the visible Church has been opposed to the truth; and it has been and still is the greatest enemy of Christ and of His followers. Christ, speaking to the leaders and rulers of the visible Church in His day, said, “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites !
Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, be. hold I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city" (Matt. 23: 29). These words have been literally fulfilled by the visible Church. It crucified Christ; killed, or persecuted them who believed in Him; and for the greater part of the time, ever since, it has continued to do so, wherever it had temporal power; and in some places it is doing so now. Thus Christ's Word concerning the Church was fulfilled, " That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth” (Matt. 23 : 35). The lapsed Churches, generally, hate the truth and them that hold it more than the world does. This was the case before Christ came. It was for this Cain killed Abel. The ten tribes of Israel when they forsook God, became the greatest enemies of the two who remained faithful to His Word and service. Whenever affinity was made with each other, Judah was led into idolatry.
The marriages of the children of God with the children of the world, were followed by the corruption of the entire human race; and was the cause of the Flood sent to destroy all living, excepting those saved in the Ark. In the former dispensation, the children of God were forbidden to form alliances with the idolatrous nations around them; they were forbidden to introduce any of their forms of worship; they were forbidden to join them in worldly business or pursuits; and particularly forbidden to have any marriages between them; “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them, thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods” (Deut. 7: 3). Solomon, the wisest of men, was thus led astray. Such was the fate of Ahab after he married Jezebel. And such now generally follows, when children of Christian parents marry the daughters of lapsed Churches, or of the world. In the New Testament the children of God are told, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what part hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel ? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple of the living God; for God hath said, “I will dwell in them; and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (2 Cor. 6: 14; 1 Cor. 6: 39).
Christ's prayer for believers in Him was, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one" (John 17 : 21). His prayer is answered. His people are one. The union of the Churches, as is proposed, is impossible. If it were possible, the result would be the death of the true Church ; and there would be no hope for the world. The twelve tribes of Israel were kept separate; yet they composed one Israel as long as they were faithful to the Word and ordinances of God. When they forsook Him, they were lost.
SINS OF THE CHURCH BEFORE CHRIST
CAME. A VERY large portion of the Old Testament is a record of the sins of the visible church of God. The great wonder is, that God has preserved His word from the beginning to the present day. All men by nature are opposed to it. The rulers of the earth have tried to destroy it. And even the greater part of the church, to whom it was sent, and in whose charge it was, has endeavored to keep it a sealed book away from the people; and has, from age to age, rejected it and put their traditions in the place of it; and it is doing so at the present time. As the church did in the days of Christ; to the rulers of which He said, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men " (Mark 7: 6). “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition" (Mark 7: 13; Matt., chap. 23). In almost every book in the Old Testament we have accounts of the idolatries of the children of Israel, the only church of God in the world. Immediately after they were delivered from Egypt, and were made God's chosen people, they fashioned with a graven tool a molten calf, and built an altar before it, and they said, “ These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Exod, 32: 4). During the four hundred years of the Judges, the various tribes many times fell into idolatry and into captivity. Judges 2: 1117; 3: 6, 7, 12; 4: 1; 6: 1, 28; 10: 6, etc. After the kingdom was divided, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel worshipped and offered sacrifices to the two calves of gold made by Jeroboam; who had told them, “Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12: 28). The ten tribes continued their idolatry until they were taken into captivity and lost sight of. The remaining two tribes repeatedly became idolatrous, until they were led into captivity to Babylon. Nearly all of the prophets were sent to the church, to reprove it for forsaking the Lord and His word. Isai. 1: 2; Jer. 1:18; Ezek. 2: 3; Amos 3; Micah 1: 5, etc. Isaiah, 700 years before Christ, says: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters: they