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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Men discussed it, tortured it, perverted it, fought about it; until the stronger party established the foundation of the world as at present constituted.

This world, called "Christendom," is much after the order of things in the days of Jesus.

Were he to appear now, he would "shine in the darkness" as when among the Jews.

These professed to know God, while in works they denied Him.

Their clergy said, "We see"; but Jesus characterized them as "blind leaders of the blind"; therefore, "their sin remained".

They boasted in the law; yet through breaking it, dishonoured God.

They professed to be more conscientious and pious than Jesus; but he charged them with being hypocrites and serpents.

They strained out gnats, and swallowed camels; and gave tithe of mint and cummin, and despoiled the fatherless and the widow.

And, "like priest, like people".

They crowded to the synagogues and the temple in splendid apparel.

The bejewelled worshippers exhibited themselves in conspicuous seats; while the poor stood, or if seated, sat on footstools near the door.

They made a great show of piety, sang the psalms of David with holy rapture, devoutly listened to the reading of the law and the prophets; and expelled Jesus and his apostles with great fury from their midst, when they showed the meaning of them.

With the worship of God they combined the worship of Mammon.

They heaped up gold and silver, and apparel till it was moth eaten; oppressed the hirelings in his wages; and ground the faces of the poor.

Such was the state of "the church" when Jesus and his apostles were members of it; and such is its condition now that "he standeth at the door, and knocks".

"The Church" of the 20th century (by which I understand, not the "One Body"; but that thousand-headed monster presented by the ecclesiastical aggregate of "Christendom") is that Laodicean antitype which is neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, and which saith, "I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; but knows not that it is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked"; the sputa once "spewed out of the Lord's mouth".

Its eyes are blinded by the god of the world.

Its zeal for faction: its devotion to Mammon; its ignorance of the scriptures; and its subjection to the dogmas and commandments of men -- have made its heart fat, its ears heavy, and closed its eyes.

"The people of the Lord, the people of the Lord are we!

" ascends as its cry to heaven from myriads of throats; but in the tablets of their hearts the light of the glorious gospel of Christ's kingdom and name finds no surface of reflection.

Many who mean well lament "the decline of spirituality in the Churches"; but they fail to perceive the cause.

The scriptures have fallen into comparative disuse among them.

They are superseded by shallow speculations -- mere unintelligible pulpit disquisitions, the contradictory thinking of the flesh, trained to excogitate the creedism of the community that glorifies itself in the orator of its choice.