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TROUS, than that of the Gentiles, who, therefore, chose to retain their own, there being no material difference between the one and the other, between their worshipping the ancient heroes, or the modern saints."
" When once the ministers of the Church had departed from the ancient simplicity of religion, and sullied the native purity of divine truth, by a motley mixture of human inventions, it was difficult to set bounds to this growing corruption. The public teachers and instructors of the people, grievously degenerated from the Apostolic character. They seemed to aim at nothing else, than to sink the multitude into the most opprobrious ignorance and superstition, to efface from their minds all sense of the beauty and excellence of genuine piety, and to substitute, in the place of religious principles, a blind veneration for the clergy, and a stupid zeal for a senseless round of ridiculous ceremonies."*
The same idea is inculcated in the writings of the Abbot Joachim, who died about the commencement of the thirteenth century.
"In his Commentary on the Prophet Jeremiah, Joachim complains of the exactions of the Roman Church : • The whole world is polluted with this evil. There is no city nor village where the Church does not push her benefices, collect her revenues.
Every where she will have prebends, endless incomes. O God, how long dost thou delay to avenge the blood of the innocent, which cries to thee from beneath the altar of the
Capital ?' He calls the Church of Rome the house of the courtezan, where all practise simony, all are stained and polluted; where the door is thrown open to every one who knocks. He speaks against the legates, who travel about the Provinces, impudently preach, acquire benefices and prebends, snatch to themselves the dig. nity of the prelates. He complains of the deification of the Roman Church: Some have so exalted the Church in Rome,' says he, 'that a man was held
up a heretic, who did not visit the threshold of St. Peter. Their guilty mistake lay in this, that they bid men visit the holy material temple, when the truth is, that in every place, every christian is a temple of God, if he leads a good life.' He speaks against indulgences dispensed from Rome : “Many place so much confidence in the absolution of the Church, as never once to think that they need to leave off sinning; but sink deeper and deeper in all manner of wickedness.' He is full of zeal against the proud and fleshly-living Cardinals and Prelates. He predicts a divine judgment on the Roman Curia, because litigious processes and exactions were worse in that Court than all other Judicatories. He announces that Christ is about to grasp the scourge, and drive buyers and sellers out of the temple. He does not stop with accusations against the Church of Rome, but attacks also the prevailing corruption in all other parts of the Church. • The Church of Peter,' says he, “the Church of Christ, which
ill, is now empty: for although she seems now full of people, yet they are not her people, but strangers. They are not her sons, the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, but the sons of Babylon. What profits the name of Christ, where the power is wanting? The Church is, as it were, widowed: there are but few or no Bishops, who, to save the flocks, expose
themselves a prey to the wolves. Every man seeks his own, and not the things of Jesus Christ.' • Where,' says he, is there more contention, more fraud, more vice and ambition than among the Clergy of our Lord ?' Therefore must judgment begin from the house of the Lord, and the fire go forth from His sanctuary, tn consume it, in order that the others may perceive what will be done with them, when He spares not even His sinning children.' * * * * • Many of the laity,' says he, 'expect to be saved by the offerings of the Priests, and the prayers of the regular Clergy, even while they give themselves up to sin. Their incense is an abomination to God.'" (Neander, vol. iv: p. 222.)
The Church no longer enjoyed quietude and secure ity. In former seasons of tribulation, she had enemies without; but now her deadliest enemies had arisen within her own bosom. The Emperor in 519, had nationalized the Catholic faith, and concurred with the Pope in enforcing the superstitions of the apostate Church. The Woman (true Church) flees into the wilderness, into her place, where she was to be nourished “a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” The daily is taken away to make room for that miserable substitute -" the abomination that maketh desolate.” The witnesses are now “clothed in sackcloth,” and the Church now realizes the full import of her Lord's declarations ; “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill
and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake,” (Matt. xxiv:9). "They shall put you out of the synagogues : yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service," (Jno. xvi: 2). Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament and ye shall be sorrowful. but your sorrow shall be turned into joy,” (Jno. xvi: 20), Thus did the Son of God depict the condition of His faithful votaries; and these words, in their accomplishment, have been found to be “ faithful and true.” Every feature in this description has been fully developed; every particular fully realized.
But we turn again to Daniel viii., where the enquiry is made, “ How long the Vision concerning the DAILY sacrifice, and the transgression of DESOLATION, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot ? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary becleansed.”
Now if this period of time is to commence with the restoration of the daily worship or offerings under Nehemiah, B.c. 445, or, according to some chronologers, 446, it will terminate in A.D. 1855, or at the latest in the spring of 1856, when we may expect the sanctuary to be cleansed.
In the above arrangement, it will be seen, that the event that marks the commencement of the 2300 days, is the restoration of the Jewish worship, or daily sacrifices, B.C. 445. This position was first suggested by those now preaching the coming of the Lord in 1854.
But there are many, who, while they do not agree with the above arrangement in relation to commencing the 2300 days with the restoration of the daily sacrifice, yet, connect the seventy weeks, (Dan. ix.) with the 2300 days in such a manner as to make them end at the same time.
Among those who maintain the latter position, we have the name of E. Burnham, from whose pen we extract the following:
“Daniel informs us that when he had thus listened to the angel's explanation, he "fainted and was sick certain days." What made him sick ? was it not the effect of the explanation of the angel? Surely he has given us no other cause, and why should we infer some other?
But did Daniel understand this vision ? I answer, Gabriel explained to him very clearly the events of the vision; and why, therefore, should he not understand themo? he certainly must have understood them. Well, did he not also understand that the vision was 2300 days long? Yes, for he heard the angel say so. Well then, if he understood the events of the vision in general, and that the vision was to be 2300 days long, why does he tell us in the close of this chapter, that none understood it? It seems then, after all, there was something about the vision of importance which Daniel did not understand. What was it? Why, do you not see that the angel, as yet, had not told him where to date the 2300 days, which measured the length of the vision? So then, he knew nothing about the proper time when the vision would commence, or end; and of what possible use could be the vision without data ? Well, right on in the ninth chapter we are informed that Daniel set his face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth, and ashes; and this too, after he had been studying books!