OUT OF BABYLON.
The churches as organized and operated to-day are very little aid to the true followers of Jesus--are they not really the reverse, a hindrance?
Along with precious truth, they mix so much error received through Papacy --they have so much human dross and alloy mixed in with the Gold of God's word, that "the fine gold is become dimmed." The spectacles through which every consistent member must look at God's character and plans, are so colored as to misrepresent him. Its creeds and doctrines-- like the iron shoes of China, hinder the growth and strength of those members confined.
Come out into full freedom from all such shackles--into the liberty of conscience, liberty not only to study, but to believe God's word though it overthrows all the creeds and traditions of men--your rightful liberty as sons of God--the "liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" and be not again entangled with any yoke of bondage. We are scarcely aware, of the slavery into which long years of [R309 : page 8] obedience to man's traditions has brought us. Slavery both of thought and action. We desire to see all free, not to do evil, nor to neglect God's service and worship, but free to engage in it more fully, and as he directs in His Word.
Many are the letters coming to us touching this point and asking how, they should withdraw--"take a letter," or what? We answer, take no [R310 : page 8] letter, the desire to hold a name in good and regular standing is the trouble of many. They have some reputation at stake and they fear to lose it. They want to carry before the world, the honor attaching to a nominal church membership, that they may be respected instead of despised and rejected of men. Yet they sing lustily:--
"Standing by a purpose true,
Heeding God's command,
Honor to the faithful few!
All hail to Daniel's Band!
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known!"
They talk and sing about freedom and many believe themselves free, but like children used to an apron string they fear to stand alone; they must have some sectarian yoke of bondage--or they would not feel comfortable. Poor creatures, many of us were born into the bondage of creeds and cannot appreciate liberty.
"Search the Scriptures" said Jesus, come out, follow me and ye shall not walk in darkness--nor lack for food. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you FREE. (John 8:32.)
We append a copy of a letter handed recently by a sister of this city to the church with which she had been for some 16 years connected. It is well enough worded to be used as a model for others. It may assist some, hence we publish it here.
BRETHREN:--Believing that we are in the harvest of the Gospel Age as spoken of in Matt. 13:30, when the reapers are separating the wheat from the tares, which the Lord has permitted to grow together during the age, and also that the nominal church of all denominations is represented by the wheat and tares in the field-- in which both have been growing, and that its mixed condition of worldly-mindedness and lukewarm christianity is displeasing in the sight of our Lord, I have heeded the counsel of his Word (Rev. 3:18) to buy of him "GOLD tried in the fire"--truth that will stand the test of all opposition, and for it have concluded to sell all that I once found dear--my reputation and my friends if need be--my time, my talents, my means, my all.
This mixed condition of truth and error, worldliness and lukewarmness, etc., I believe to be the Babylon described in Rev. 18, in which are still some of the Lord's dear children. To all such he says, (vs. 4) "Come out of her MY PEOPLE that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
In obedience to this command, I ask to have my name taken off the list of membership of the nominal church. It is written in the Lamb's book of life and that is enough.
In withdrawing my name I do not withdraw my affections from you, but would if I could have you all "as ripened wheat," gathered into the barn--condition of safety, rather than bound with the bundles of tares for the burning--with the "fire of God's jealousy."
Let me urge you each to a deeper consecration and a more thorough searching of the Scriptures.
Though in this step I may be misunderstood, I am nevertheless
Yours happy in the Lord__________.