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    October 22, 1896

    “Catholicism vs Christianity. No. 4” The Signs of the Times 22, 42, pp. 6, 7.

    BY ALONZO T. JONES

    ROME gives an illustration to show the difference between the faith of Christ and “the faith of the creed,” and here it is:—SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.1

    To show the unfairness of taking the word “faith,” occurring in the Holy Scripture, in this new Protestant sense of trust in Christ for pardon, to the exclusion of any other dispositions or means, and not in the Catholic sense of belief in revealed truths, ... allow me to use the following illustration: Suppose a man afflicted with a grave disease sends for a physician of repute. The physician comes and prescribes, and to inspire the patient with more confidence, tells him, “Only believe in me and you will be cured.” Can we suppose that the poor sufferer, on the departure of the physician, would say: “I shall take no medicine, for the physician said: ‘Only believe and you will be cured’?” This way of reasoning and acting seems impossible to be adopted in regard to the cure of the body, but respecting the cure of the soul it is an unhappy matter of fact that thousands of persons fall into this sad mistake.—Catholic Belief, pp. 374, 375.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.2

    Now there is not the least doubt that this statement perfectly illustrates the difference between the faith of Christ and Catholic faith, for it proceeds altogether upon the view that there is no more power or virtue in the word of God than there is in the word of a man; that the word of Christ, the heavenly Physician, has no more power to cure than has the word of an earthly physician. And that is indeed just the difference between true faith, the faith of God, and Catholic faith, “the faith of the creed.”SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.3

    The Faith a Power to Work

    True faith finds in the word of God, the word of the heavenly Physician, the living—creative—power of God to accomplish all that that word says. When the centurion asked Jesus to cure his sick servant, Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” And Jesus himself decided this to be “faith,” and even “so great faith” as he had not found in Israel, and then said to the centurion, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” Matthew 8:5-13.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.4

    A nobleman also came to Jesus beseeching him: “Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” And when the man neared his home “his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house.” John 4:46-53.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.5

    This is faith, genuine faith. It finds in the word of God itself all sufficiency to accomplish all that the word expresses. And over and over again, in fact in all the cases recorded in the New Testament, it was believing the word spoken and thus receiving the power of that word to accomplish of itself the thing that was spoken—it was this faith that healed the sick, restored the palsied, made the impotent to talk, and forgave the sinner. This is believing God. This is faith.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.6

    But when the word of God is held to be as powerless as the word of a man; when the word of Jesus Christ is held to be as empty of healing virtue as is the word of a mere human physician; when the word of the living God is thus reduced to the level of the word of men, and to all intents and purposes is received as the word of men, and the words of men themselves, formulated into a creed, are really put in the place of the word of God; then such belief, such faith, is only of themselves and is as powerless and as empty of saving virtue as are the men themselves. It is the same story over again, of the effort of men to save themselves by themselves from themselves. And this “faith” that is altogether from men themselves, that stands only in the words and wisdom of men—this “faith of the creed” that is identical with the “faith” of the devils—this, by her own showing, by her own boast, and by her own illustration, is the faith of the Catholic Church. Very good. We accept her showing in the case. Undoubtedly it is the truth. The illustration is perfectly satisfactory.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.7

    Self to Work It Out.

    There is another statement that she makes which so clearly reveals again the essential nature of the “faith” which is held, and the salvation that is offered, by the Catholic Church, that it is worth quoting. Here it is:—SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.8

    We seem to hear Jesus, our heavenly Physician, say: I died for all, and thereby prepared in my blood a remedy for all. If you would have the merits of my passion and death applied to you, to free your souls from sin, you must ... believe that I am what I declare myself to be, and believe what I teach. Do also what I have told you to do, and then you shall have the merits of my passion and death applied to you and you shall be justified.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.9

    This is in very substance, and even in terms, the old covenant. It is identical with the covenant “from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage.” Galatians 4:24. Here are the terms of the old covenant, the covenant from Sinai. “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:4-6, 8.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.10

    Their agreement to obey his voice indeed, was an agreement to keep the Ten Commandments indeed. For when his voice was heard from Sinai the Ten Commandments alone were spoken. And of these it is written: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.11

    So that in substance this covenant from Sinai, just as certainly as this Catholic statement, says, I have done this great thing for you. Now, if you would have the benefit of it, believe what I teach, do also what I have told you to do, and then you shall have it and you shall be justified. And the people all said they would do it, and this, too, with the hope of being justified. These two statements are identical in substance and in doctrine. The thought of both is that man must do righteousness in order to be righteous, instead of first being righteous in order to do righteousness.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.12

    Meaning of the Old Covenant

    It will not do, tho, to say that as the Lord made the statement from Sinai, therefore this statement from Rome is truth. The Lord had a purpose in this covenant from Sinai even tho it did then “gender to bondage.” That covenant from Sinai corresponds to Hagar in the family of Abraham. The children of that covenant, the people who entered into it, correspond to Ishmael, the child of Hagar. As Hagar was a bondwoman, so the child that was born of her was a bondchild. And thus she gendered to bondage. As Hagar represents the covenant from Sinai, and her child was a bondchild, so the covenant from Sinai gendered to bondage and the children of that covenant were bondchildren.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.13

    Moreover, Ishamael was “born after the flesh.” And as Ishmael represents the children of the covenant, so they were “after the flesh” and knew only the birth of the flesh. Knowing only the birth of the flesh, and minding only the things of the flesh, they thought themselves capable of fulfilling all the righteousness of God. The Lord knew full well that they could not do it; but they did not know it, and they would not believe that they could not do it. In order to convince them that they could not do it, and enable them to see it so plainly that they themselves would confess their inability to do it, the Lord gave them a full and fair opportunity to try.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.14

    Within forty days they had fully demonstrated their utter inability to do what the Lord had told them, and what they had freely promised to do. They were in deeper bondage than ever. They were then willing to have the Lord deliver them from the bondage of sin to the liberty of righteousness by his own power, through his own word, in his own promise, even as he had delivered their father Abraham. In a word, they were then willing to attain to righteousness, to be justified, by faith, instead of trying to obtain it by works. They were willing to be children of promise, instead of children of the flesh.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.15

    Having found by this experience that “the minding of the flesh is enmity against God, and it not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” they were willing to be born again and of the Spirit of God, rather than to trust longer to the ways of the birth of the flesh. Having found that by this old and temporary covenant they were lost, they were willing to be saved by the new and everlasting covenant, which is this:—SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.16

    “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.17

    In this covenant there is no “if.” It depends not upon what we shall do, but upon what God will go “unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.18

    A Wicked Perversion.

    Such was the covenant from Sinai, such was its nature, and such its purpose. And that the recording of it, with the nature and experience of those who caused it to be made and who entered into it, was necessary for future ages, is demonstrated by this repetition of it in the Catholic system of “faith.” That covenant was faulty, as it rested upon the promise of the people to obey God’s law without faith in Jesus Christ; but this repetition of it is infinitely faulty and altogether bad, as compared with the original example. For there, altho it was their own sinfulness and self-righteousness that led to the making of it, yet through the sad experience of it God would draw them away from themselves to the knowledge of Christ. While here and in this, the Papacy takes the very revelation of the Gospel of Christ itself and perverts it into the old covenant, and through this perversion draws men away from Christ to the exaltation of self. It puts the old covenant in the place of the new. It puts works in the place of faith. It puts bondage in the place of freedom. It puts ceremonies in the place of Christ. And it puts man in the place of God.SITI October 22, 1896, page 6.19

    This is the Papacy, and this her doctrine of “faith.” And as God said of Hagar and Ishmael in the family of Abraham, and of the covenant from Sinai and its children in the family of Israel, so he says of this same wicked thing as it would be in the family of Christianity: “Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” Galatians 4:30.SITI October 22, 1896, page 663.1

    There never was a truer description of the Papacy than that it is “a method of forgetting God, which shall pass as a method of remembering him.”SITI October 22, 1896, page 663.2

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