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by Dr. John Thomas
But the carnal policy does not end here.
The neglect of the preachers might be supplied by the searching of the scriptures by the people themselves.
But this is discouraged by disparagements from the pulpit.
The word is proclaimed to be "a dead letter"; the prophecies are said to be unintelligible; the Apocalypse incomprehensible, and utterly bewildering; that it is necessary to go to college to study divinity before it can be judiciously explained; and so forth.
The people for whom I write, know this to be the truth.
But what is the English of all this?
It is that the pulpit orators and newspaper scribes are consciously ignorant of "the sure word of prophecy": so that, in order to maintain their ascendancy, they must repress the enterprise of the people, lest they should become "wiser than their teachers"; and find that they could do infinitely better without their services than with them, and thus their occupation would be gone.
As for a college education in divinity qualifying boys for "preaching the word," the absurdity of the conceit is manifest in the fact that the "college-bred divines" are all at variance among themselves upon its meaning.
Call a convention of priests and preachers of all religious sects and parties, and assign to them the work of publishing a scriptural and unanimous reply to the simple question, What do the scriptures teach as the measure of faith, and rule of conduct, to him who would inherit the Kingdom?
Let it be such a reply as would stand the scrutiny of deep and earnest investigations -- and what does the reader expect would be the result?
Would their knowldege of all the languages living and dead; of Euclid's Elements; of Liguori, Bellarmine, Luther, Calvin, and Arminius; of the mythologies of the Greeks and Romans; of all the creeds, confessions, catechisms and articles of "Christendom"; of logic, ancient and modern; of the art of sermonizing; and of all religious controversies extant: -- would their acquaintance with such lore as this bring them to unanimity; and cause them to manifest themselves as "workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth?
" What can we reason upon this point, but from what we know?
Experience, then, teaches us that their performance of such a thing, so simple and easy in itself, would be utterly impracticable; for "the thinking of the flesh is enmity against God"; and until they throw away their traditions, and study the Word, which is very different from "studying divinity," they will continue as they are, perhaps unconsciously, the perverters and enemies of the truth.
The kingdom of Satan is manifested under various phases.
When the Word was embodied in sinful flesh, and dwelt among the Jews, the Kosmos was constituted of the Roman world, which was then based upon the institutions of paganism.
After these were suppressed, the kingdom of the adversary assumed the Constantinian form, which was subsequently changed in the west to the Papal and Protestant order of things; and in the east to the Mohammedan.
These phases, however, no more affect the nature of the kingdom than the changes of the moon alter her substance.
The lord that dominates over them all from the days of Jesus to the present time is Sin, the incarnate accuser and adversary of the law of God, and therefore styled "the Devil and Satan".
The words 'o arxwn signify the prince, or one invested with power.
All persons in authority are styled a[rconte" in the New Testament, such as magistrates, and chiefs among the people.
Hence, the archoľn of the archoľns would be the chief magistrate of the kingdom.
Now, sin in its sovereign manifestations among the nations executes its will and pleasure through the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of a state.
What, then, is decreed by emperors, kings, popes, and subordinate rulers, are the mandates of "the Prince of the World," who works in them all to gratify their own lusts, oppress the people, and "make war against the saints," with all the energy they possess.