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Lyman Abbott.

Christ is coming! : Part I. Evidences of the existence of God, and of the truth of the holy scriptures. Parts II & III. The holy scriptures and their description of the mighty plan of God. Parts IV & online

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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChrist is coming! : Part I. Evidences of the existence of God, and of the truth of the holy scriptures. Parts II & III. The holy scriptures and their description of the mighty plan of God. Parts IV & → online text (page 16 of 19)
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kindness, of strong zeal in the holy cause of Christ, and of unity
of purpose.

The church is a society, composed of the true worshippers
of God, relying wholly upon the great atonement of the Messiah
as their atonement, and accepting the Holy Scriptures as the
only spiritual guide in the salvation of their souls, banding
themselves lovingly together in accordance with the precepts of
the Holy Scriptures, that they may worship God with unanimity
of purpose, as it were with one voice, their holy supplications
and their holy hymns of praise and thanksgiving ascending up
to heaven continually, now here, now there, all round the earth,
the church somewhere communing with God continually.

It is a society which, not content with winning a home in
heaven for themselves, ardently desire that those not of their
society should become members, and win a home for themselves



208 KE-ORGANIZATION OP THE

also ; ardently desirous of convincing the thoughtless and
the ignorant of their great crime against the Almighty God,
their Creator, and against the whole of mankind, in giving
loose to evil thoughts and evil passions ; and ardently desirous
of instilling into them a right knowledge Of the Holy Scriptures.

The church is an army of resolute aggressors, seeking out
evil, and dragging it into the light, there exhibiting its vileness,
and restraining it with firmness of purpose, warring not against
the bodies of mankind, but warring against their spiritual
ignorance, their thoughtlessness, their follies, and all injustice,,
especially towards the powerless poor.

The mission of the true Church of Christ is to inculcate
spiritual truth, and dispel spiritual falsehood; to instil spiritual
knowledge, and expel spiritual ignorance ; to instil belief in God
and in the Holy Scriptures, and expel disbelief; to inculcate a
love of what is good, and abhorrence of all that is evil. To be
matter of fact, than to indulge in flighty thoughts of the
imagination ; to be of the true church, rather than of a spurious
sect ; to follow the spirit of the Holy Scriptures in spiritual
doctrine, rather than the imaginative doctrines of eiTing men ;,
to rest in hope of happiness in heaven, rather than engross one's,
thoughts wholly upon the thing's of the world ; to rely upon
the mediatory death of Christ, in our supplications to God for
pardon, rather than upon ourselves ; to instil into everyone
the great love of God and of His glorious Son for us, and the
fervent desire of God that He should be enabled by our upright-
ness to carry us into heaven ; to inculcate that all our distresses
ensue wholly through sometimes our individual follies, and
sometimes through the wickedness of mankind generally ; to
instil into every one the great truth that when anyone does
wrongfully against God or against anyone of mankind, the wrong
is felt also far off, like as when a stone is cast into still water



ONE OLD CHU-RCH OF CHRIST. 209

disturbance is produced around ; to teach all to obey just laws,
rulers as well as the ruled; to uphold spiritual common sense
and expel spiritual nonsense ; to worship God aright and strive
that everyone of mankind shall attain everlasting life in heaven ;
to habituate mankind to be right-minded, to substitute order
in the nations in the stead of disorder ; to favour perfect liberty
to the well disposed, but firmly to restrain the evil disposed ;
to eradicate fraud and uphold honesty ; to teach all mankind
to cease strife and lovp peace ; to set aside unjust laws, and
substitute just laws; to be tended hearted one towai'ds the other,
and be of one mind in the main spiritual things; to be generous
and not niggardly in assisting the distressed, especially the well
disposed ; to be zealous in the cause of God, and not lukewarm;
to abhor idleness and luxury; to love industry and sobriety; to
be kind to the lesser creatures of the earth, and to cease
destroying them for sport. This is the gloi-ious mission of the
true Church of Christ.

The strength of this great spiritual army is in proportion to
the strictness of its discipline — the discipline being neither too
rigid as to be irksome, nor so lax as to be disorderly — but like
as every member of the chm-ch, being a child of God, restrains
himself from doing evil in the sight of God, so he restrains him-
self from being captious, discontented, or ambitious towards the
church; trampling on his own evil thoughts instantly they
enter his mind, not requiring others to restrain him as do the
godless, but restraining himself that the many spiritual soldiers
may be disciplined into one strong united army — the clergy
being the officers, the lay members as the rank and file, Christ
upon his throne in heaven being their King and great com-
mander — they his aggressive, holy, united army, in the final
war of good against evil. These are the missions of the true
church ; missions, glorious to God, glorious to His Son our

O



210 THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TOWARDS THE STATE.

Saviour and King, and a glorious occupation for all the children
of God.



The Relation of the Church towards the State.

The church shall make laws for the governance in spiritual
things, of its own members ; every member shall honourably
obey those laws — those of the nation not members of the church,
shall not be suffered to interfere with the church in spiritual
things. In spiritual things the church shall iiot obey them.
No man not of the church shall have any authority in spiritual
things over the church, for how is it possible that an unspiritual
man can rule wisely in spiritual things ; the interference of
unspiritual men breeds disorder wherever it is suffered. The
church shall not receive endowment from the state, but the
church shall govern and maintain itself.

The church of the nation shall conform to the temporal laws
of the nation ; should any law be unjust the church shall perse-
vere and strive by argument to have it rectified. The church
of a nation shall assist in upholding the good rulers of that
nation, but shall keep apart from, evil rulers. With calmness,
wisdom, and firm resolution, they shall not suffer any evil in-
fluence to be forced upon them ; neither shall they force any
laws of the church upon anyone not of the church. Perfect
kindliness of heart, with active zeal in disseminating goodness,
shall guide the church in its relation towards all mankind.

If two or more members disagree they shall not resort to
the judges of the nation in any one thing, unless one of the
disputants be not a member, the church discipline having no
binding eflfect upon that one, the dispute may then be carried
before the judges in the nation ; but if the disputants are mem-
bers of the church, they shall carry the cause to one of the



UNITY IN THE CHURCH. 211

judges appointed by the chiircJi ; and they shall themselves,
and not tln-ough advocates, state their case truly, as the children
of God, as in the hearing of God ; and the judge shall lovingly
advise and arbitrate equitably between them, and his award
shall be tinal — burying the dispute.



Unity in the Church.

God has not caused the Holy Scriptures to be written
plainly, neither did he prompt the prophets to prophecy plainly,
their sayings and writings are full of truth, as it were veiled,
that in trying to unravel them mankind might usefully spend
their life, and ever find them fresh ; a mine of inexhaustible
wisdom thinly veiled. God foresaw that familiar things would
be almost unheeded, but unfamiliar things excite curiosity;
that mankind would bestow little thought concerning the vast
burning sun, the moon, the stars, and the other wondrous works
of His, spread plainly throughout the world ; but that a travel-
ling sun, a comet, an unfamiliar thing, would excite the atten-
tion of all, yet not more marvellous than they. Therefore God
in his wisdom thinly veiled by parable all things relating to the
past, the present, and the future of man in the Holy Scriptures
In like manner as the treasures of the earth are hidden in
the earth, found only by those who diligently seek them ; so
the more thoroughly the Holy Scriptures are searched, the
greater is the treasure found, in each a mine inexhaustible, and
thus the mind of man is kept from flagging. Had God caused
the Holy Scriptures to be written plainly, as that all His truths
might, like the stars, be apparent at a glance, men's knowledge
of those truths would have palled their minds, and like the
alphabet of their own language be rarely thought of. The
^veiled riches of the Holy Scriptures, like those in the earth,

o 2



212 UNITY IX THE CHURCH.

beckon as it were everyone to seek for treasure. At first he
scratches only upon the surface, and finds but little, perhaps
becomes disheartened that all the treasure has not thereby been
found, and being idle seeks no more, ever after foolishly believ-
ing that the earth has no treasure hidden in it. Whereas the
true believer being earnest not captious, digs deeper and deeper
still, every day finding fresh treasure, finding more the more he
digs. It is therefore not possible that believers difiering so
greatly in acuteness should think alike, yet God accepts their
worship if they be not idolaters, for God intended that each
should exercise his soul in trying to unravel the parables. He
has provided for them this spiritual occupation ; errors of
thought are made, but they are forgiven. He has given them
perfect liberty to contemplate Him, however differently they
may think ; their souls meditating upon goodness thereby be-
come sanctified. It is forgetfulness of God which brings con-
demnation on the souls of men, and not their difference of
thought.

Deceive not yourselves; God having given perfect freedom
to the mind of man, it is not possible that the thoughts of men
concerning anything can be alike — they are not alike, each
thinks differently from his neighbour, even in the simplest
matter. Nay, many shall see a certain occurrence, and yet
each will of necessity differ in his account of that occurrence ; for
the ramifications of thought are thousands of times ten thousand
in number, therefore it is folly to expect to bring into unifor-
mity all the thoughts of men ; the efforts of mankind have
always been in vain, however cruel in their coercion.

The Holy Scriptures teach that mankind sway themselves
by two moving principles, good and evil — the one ensuring ever-
lasting life, the other everlasting oblivion in the sight of God.
All the good-disposed may be taught a right comprehension of



UNITY IN THE CHURCH. 213

God, and be of one mind upon the four great doctrines of —

1. Love for God,

2. Love for Chi-ist,

3. Love for the Holy Scriptures, «

4. Love for mankind,

And joyfully be baptized as members of the true Church of
Christ. Difference in opinion concei-ning the lesser doc-
trines giving joyous occasion of speaking and thinking of
God, and not of engendering division ; for the good-disposed,
being spiritually wise, can comprehend that unity is a neces-
sity, but uniformity of thought upon the lesser doctrines
is not a necessity ; no, nor yet exact uniformity upon the
greater doctrines. To overcome a strong army that is against
us, it is necessary that we should be stronger still. The
strength of the well-disposed Christian army in the world to
overcome the very strong evil -disposed army of the world con-
sists in unity ; separately the well-disposed are powerless, but
with unity of spirit the evil-disposed army will melt like snow
before the summer's sun. Hitherto the many evil-disposed —
evil- disposed through ignorance of God — have been paramount,
because hate to the few well-disposed united them more strongly
than love one for the other among professing Christians.
Henceforth the many sects shall comprehend they are but sects
at loggerheads one with the other, because they are not truly
the children of God, and that not one of them is the trua
Church of Christ. The well-disposed will cast aside their
foolish notions, and they will come out of their many spurious
churches untrammelled by aught ; enriching themselves with
love for God — love for His glorious Son — love for the Holy
Scriptures, and love for all mankind ; entering into the one true
Church of Christ with zeal.

God has given great variety throughout the world, no two



214 UXITY IX THE CHURCH.

things are exactly alike ; nevertheless there is unity of purpose-
and harmony throughout all God's works. God does not intend;
that His children should do things alike, speak alike, think
alike in all things, or eat and drink alike ; but God does require
them to supplicate for forgiveness of siias through the mediatory-
death of His glorious Son ; furthermore He does require them to
take the Holy Scriptures as their guide, and He does require
them to love and assist one another in the spiritual war against
the wickedness of mankind. God is graciously satisfied with
these four bonds of union, whereby mankind become His
children. The children of God must also be satisfied with these,
bonds of unity.

The wickedness that reigns throughout the world is con-
tinued by division among the children of God, through hypo-
crites separating them as it were into distinct sects or families.
One family requiring as it were, every one of its members tO'
have pale flesh, or hair of a particular colour, or head of a
particular shape, or legs, arms, or feet of a particular form, or
teeth possessing certain peculiarities, each sect foolishly refusing
to commune with others not possessing those peculiarities,,
refusing to own them as brethren, looking upon them almost as
a different species of man.

To hold back, to be outside the pale of His true church, to-
refuse to hold holy communion with the children of God, is to-
sin greatly — is not to be provided with the wedding-garment o£
brotherly love. The Lord, in parable, feasted the maimed, the-
halt, and the blind, at one great supper, not separating them^
for their defects were veiled through their acceptance of the
Lord's invitation ; but there was one who, like the hypocrites^
preferred singularity ; he also presented himself, and showed, by"
not having on a wedding-garment, that he did not own the
Lord's guests, all of whom had on the wedding-garment of



UNITY IX THE CHURCH. 215

unity, to be his brethren, preferiug to stand aloof from them,
therefore ho was driven out with contumely by command of the
Lord himself.

Remember always that a few united men are almost power-
less for good, but many, having unanimity of pm-pose, may
remove the gi-oatest of all the mountains. In like manner, a
sect is almost powerless for good. Rival sects fritter away all
their power, neutralizing the good intentions one of the other,
but their union as one church will enable them to do mighty
things for the general welfare. Strive therefore to the very
utmost, quickly to break down division; let everyone be no longer
dissevered one from the other, and powerless, but zealously
assist each other with unanimity of purpose. Hitherto you,
oh sects, have set stubbornly your backs towards a central
purpose, marching from it ; now wheel yourselves about, and
advance with your faces towards the one Church of Christ your
glorious King, let that be your centre of unity.

Say not among yourselves, what saith this preacher or that
preacher ; but rather say, " What saith the Scriptures ?" for let it
be widely known among you all, that many having authority,
and many teachers, will strive strenuously, even through falsely
interpreting the Scriptures, to keep you dissevered. Satisfied
with their position, they will strive to pi'event any change in
your minds. Be w^atchful, therefore, and turn your backs on
them. Let this be your answer : " Look around upon your
nation, and behold the misery, the viciousness, and the spiritual
ignorance of the people through disunion among the worshippers
of God. We are almost powerless, therefore evil in all its forms
is rooted in the habits of the people ; we will no longer be
disunited, but with unanimity of purpose and kindness of heart
wiU form one church, and root out those evil habits, and
habituate them to that which is just, holy, and good."



216 CELIBACY OF THE CLERGY.

In the name of the Almighty God, and of His glorious Sou
our great atonement, you are now bidden to commune and hold
spiritual fellowship with all the children of God, the members
of the One Universal Church of Christ ; their wedding garment
is their holy bond of love and unity of purpose. Let not the
Almighty God and His glorious Son see you without this
wedding garment ; for the time has come when God will dis-
tinguish those who are His children from those who are not,
and he will declare those who hold back to be warring against
Him. God desires to behold an army of united holy children,
and not its scattered fragments.

Behold the seed has now been sown in the richest soil the
earth affords ; nevertheless the soil is very, very poor, yet the
seed will sprout into a plant, and it will flourish, and man will
not have the power to stop its growth, and it will overspread
the earth, so that all the nations will nestle happily under it.



Celibacy of the Clergy.

It is not possible for a church of married clergy to be the
one universal church over the whole earth, nor even over the
whole of the nation. Of necessity it must be a lukewarm
church, for married clergy are a perpetual weakness to a church,
they are clerics who strive to unite God with the world, a thing
impossible. Ofttimes they give themselves strongly to God, and
almost ignore the world ; at other times, being sorely tempted
by family associations and cares, they give themselves strongly
to the world, and almost ignore God. Their family cares and
temptations are like weeds, choking more or less a promising
plant ; the plant would be a more goodly one were the weeds
not there. JMarried clergy are as millstones to a zealous church ;
they are a great source of lukewarmness, discontent, and discord



CELIBACY OF THE CLERGT. 217

in a nation, for they are very burdensome to the weaklings of
the people. The weaklings among the people are unwilling to
bear the heavy yoke of the families of married clergy, in
addition to the maintenance of all the schools and all the
sanctuaries, so that the schools become insufficient, and the
sanctuai'ies also ; many of the people become neglected, and
live without comprehending God, as do the heathen ; the weak-
lings of the church become discontented and captious, seeing
the lukewarmness of the married clergy, and the shameful
ignorance of the people, and many separate themselves from
the church and become as enemies. It is better to use the
dedicatory offijrings in maintaining many spiritual teachers than
in maintaining many wives and their numerous children ; and
it is better that a spiritual teacher should devote himself
wholly to spiritual things, than that he should take to himself a
wife and be harassed and become worldly-minded through
family cares. A sensuous man is utterly unworthy to be a
spiritual teacher in the Church of Christ. It is better that the
lay members should be satisfied that their dedicatory offerings
are wisely expended in extending a right knowledge of God,
than that they should be wasted upon sensuous men. If a
spiritual teacher desire mati'imony, let that teacher give place
to another more worthy to be a servant of our God, and of His
glorious Son ; therefore the clergy shall vow before a con-
gregation, in the sight of God, to live a life of strict celibacy
while they continue spiritual teachers of the people, and they
shall cease to be spiritual teachers should they fail to continue
celibate. This shall be a perpetual decree of the One Church
of Christ ; it shall not be lawful for manldnd to annul or
amend it.

No longer shall the females be subordinate to male teachers
in spiritual things, for hitherto men have signally failed to con-



218 THE CREED.

vince either the males or the females, but the females of the
Chui'ch of Christ shall be equal in spiritual things to the males,
that the intelligent of the males may concentrate their zeal in
opening the understanding of the males, and the intelligent of
the females perform the same estimable office to their own sex ;
for females are more amenable to the spiritual teaching of their
own sex, and males to that of their own sex. Each sex shall
have its own sanctuaries, its own spiritual teachers, schools, and
institutions, set apart wholly to itself. Only to certain high
spiritual male governors in the church shall the female teachers
be subordinate, in all else the females of the church shall be
equal in the sight of the church to the males of the church.



The Creed.

I believe the holy writers of the Scriptures were prompted
by God the Almighty Creator and Governor of all things, to
write them, therefore, I believe the Holy Scriptures to be true.
I also believe the angel Jesus Christ came down from heaven,
became man, suflfered dea.th for us, arose again, and ascended
into heaven, where he reigns over the pardoned souls of the
obedient who have preceded us into heaven, and over us his
followers. I believe it the holy duty of all his children to
obey him, worship him, to love and assist one another to the
uttermost, and also to strive to teach all mankind to love, obey,
and worhip him. Amen.

The creed of the church shall be unchangeable, nothing
shall be added thereto, nor anything be taken therefrom. It
shall be for ever the one universal creed.



219



CHAPTER IV.

The Re-commencement of the True Church.

fT^HE true Church of Christ has been in abeyance from the
-^ days of the last of the apostles until now, through the
great errors of the Christians who came after. The good seed
of the Word has now again been sown, and plenteous fruit will
hereafter be produced.

Upon the whole earth there is not found one priest worthy
to ordain any of mankind into the ministry of the true church,
for all the nations, with their priests, have gone astray. The
long lines of successive priests, some well disposed, others very
evil, have taught great error, therefore they were but long lines
of successive evil.

In the stead of a priest, two or more right-minded laymen
shall, for this special occasion only, nominate one man, and one
woman, right-minded like themselves, to be the first spiritual
teachers in the church. The two or more laymen shall make
it widely known in the nation, during four successive weeks,
that upon a certain day in the fifth week, they, as the mouth-
pieces of certain right-minded of mankind, will elect one man
and one woman, to be the fii'st spiritual pastors of the re-
organized church. The males shall nominate the male, and the
females shall nominate the woman, and their selection God will
deem good ; He will accept thenx as the leaders of His people.
They shall afterwards assemble together, males and females, in'
their first sanctuary. In the sanctuary they shall have an altar, not
an altar for sacrifice, for that is not needed in the Church of Christ,
but an altar for dedicatory offerings unto God. They shall in.



220 THE RE-COMMENCEMENT

the sanctuary abjure aloud all connection with the many spurious
sects existing in the world ; then they shall, through one male
and one female spokesman, as mouth-pieces of the congregation,
nominate the selected ones to be the first ministers of the true
Church of Christ. Immediately thereafter the selected ones
shall together ascend upon the altar, and before the congrega-
tion, sprinkle themselves and one another with water, then
suppliantly dedicate themselves aloud as zealous servants of God,
to God, and they shall be the first ordained vicars of the true re-
organized Church of Christ. The male vicar as the spiritual
pastor of the males, and the female vicar as the spiritual
pastor of the females. The males of the congregation of the
choristers, and of the other officials of the sanctuary, shall also
ascend the altar, and be baptized into the church by the male
priest, and he shall suppliantly beseech God to accept them as
sincere followers of the Messiah Christ, and themselves shall join
aloud in the supplication and dedicate themselves to God, as
zealous followers of His dear Son. The oSerings shall then and
hereafter always be laid upon an altar and dedicated to God for the
service of the church ; preparatory to their being used, and out
of the dedi^iatory oSerings, the cost of the sanctuary shall be de-


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Online LibraryLyman AbbottChrist is coming! : Part I. Evidences of the existence of God, and of the truth of the holy scriptures. Parts II & III. The holy scriptures and their description of the mighty plan of God. Parts IV & → online text (page 16 of 19)