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    “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”LIFIN 230.2

    This angel is spoken of as the second, because the one following it is, in the language of inspiration itself, called the third. In commenting upon language so highly symbolic, the first point is to determine the meaning of the symbol introduced.LIFIN 230.3

    1. What, then, is the Babylon of this message? It is here simply called “that great city.” But it is elsewhere spoken of in the book of Revelation in a manner which cannot fail to lead to a correct solution of this question. In Revelation 17:18, this same city is called a woman. “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Now a woman is always in the Scriptures, when used as a symbol, taken to present religious organizations, the true church being represented by a virtuous woman, as in chapter 12, and the false by a corrupt woman, as in the text before us, and many other places. Babylon is something distinct from the civil powers of the earth; for with her the kings of the earth form unlawful connections. It is the place where the people of God as a body are, for they are a certain time called away from her communion. These considerations show that we are not to look to any literal city for the Babylon of the Apocalypse, nor to any civil powers, but to ecclesiastical or church organizations. Is, then, any particular church, to the exclusion of all others, designated by the term Babylon? It would not be consistent to suppose this; for 1. The term Babylon, from Babel, where God confounded the language of men, signifies mixture, confusion. In the sense in which we have shown it to be used in the book of Revelation, it must denote conflicting and discordant religious creeds and systems. But this would not be applicable to any one religious denomination, as each of these denominations is more or less a unit. 2. The people of God who are called out of Babylon, are not as a body connected with any single denomination. Hence we must understand by the term all the false and corrupted systems of Christianity. That the Romish and Greek churches are included in these, few will be disposed to deny; while the Protestant churches, alas! more or less identified with war, for a long time the bulwark of American slavery, fatally conformed to the world, and guilty of the long catalogue of sins charged by Paul upon professed Christians in the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, must be reckoned as a member of the family. In this branch of the family we find that mixture and confusion in the multiplicity of sects and creeds which most fitly answers to the import of the term.LIFIN 230.4

    2. What is the fall of Babylon? Evidently a moral fall. In Revelation 18:1-5, where a second and subsequent announcement of this event seems to be given, we read, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” That is, as the result of her fall she had sunk to this deplorable condition. Having fallen, her iniquities rapidly increased, her sins reached unto Heaven, and God’s people are called out. Verses, 4, 5. Hence this fall is a moral one. The absurdity of applying this to Rome or any other literal city, where but few, if any, of the people of God are, and out of which they could not be called after its fall or destruction, must be very apparent. The harmony of applying it to a religious body which can apostatize and become corrupt, and from which the people of God can be subsequently called out, is equally clear, and the necessity for such an application no less evident. No other is at all admissible.LIFIN 232.1

    The cause of the fall of Babylon is said to be because she “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Her fornication was her unlawful connection with the kings of the earth. The wine of this is that with which the church has intoxicated the nations of the earth. There is but one thing to which this can refer, and that is, false doctrine. This harlot, in consequence of her unlawful union with the powers of earth, has corrupted the pure truths of the Bible, and with the wine of her false doctrine has intoxicated the nations. As a few of the gross errors which she has caused the masses to receive as Bible truth, we mention the following: 1. That the soul is immortal. 2. That sprinkling and pouring are baptism. 3. That Sunday is the Sabbath. 4. That there are to be a thousand years of peace and prosperity before the coming of the Lord. 5. That the saints’ inheritance is not the earth made new, but an immaterial, intangible region beyond the bounds of time and space. 6. That the second advent is to be understood spiritually, and that it takes place at the destruction of Jerusalem, or that it takes place at conversion or at death. 7. That it is right and scriptural to hold human beings in bondage; and 8. That it is of no consequence, if we may judge from their practice, to come out and be separate from the world. Most of these pernicious errors Protestant sects have themselves originated, showing conclusively that they are but the daughters of the great apostasy.LIFIN 232.2

    We have seen that Babylon is composed of several divisions; and we know that the name of the whole is frequently applied to any one of its parts. Hence the name Babylon may be applied to any one of these divisions. Consequently when it is announced that Babylon is fallen, it is not necessary to understand that as a whole it experienced a moral change for the worse. It would be true if such change took place in any one of its great branches. The cry, Babylon is fallen, being given subsequent to the first message, is evidence that the fall took place at that time.LIFIN 233.1

    The truths connected with the proclamation of the first angel were calculated to correct many of the fundamental errors of Babylon, and open the way for the reception of the whole truth in place of her false doctrines. That these errors were honestly held by the different churches, is not to be questioned. But after light has been given to a person sufficient to enable him to discard an error, he becomes guilty for longer retaining it. So when Babylon, through the proclamation of the first message, was called upon to correct her errors, and redeem her influence over the people, and refused to do so, she then became guilty of willfully refusing the truth, and making the nations intoxicated with her false teaching. Just as the people of God when they are called out after her fall, become guilty by longer retaining their connection with her. Hence the proclamation of the fall of Babylon comes in after the first message, stating the consequence of her rejection of that message. That message has already been located in the present generation; and Revelation 18 shows that Babylon’s fall must take place in the last days, as it is just previous to her final destruction. But as we look over apostate Christendom, we see that the Romish and Greek churches are no more corrupt, either in doctrine or practice, than they have been for ages past. No marked change for the worse has taken place in those bodies within the present generation, nor is there scarcely room for them to become worse than they have already for centuries been. We therefore look to the religious bodies composing the great Protestant family for the fulfillment of the announcement made in the second message, especially in our own country, where the first message was more definitely proclaimed. The inquiry now arises, has there been any moral declension in these bodies within the memory of the generation now living? Did any such change take place with them about the time of the first message, and have they since been filling up their cup of iniquity, as represented in Revelation 18? If so, we have the place for an unmistakable application of the second message.LIFIN 233.2

    But that we may not seem to judge these denominations ourselves, as we might be accused of not rendering impartial judgment, we will let their own members speak, and on their testimony will let the question rest. To show that we are not alone in ranking the popular Protestant sects as a part of Babylon, we offer the following. If they themselves claim it, we are not disposed to dispute it.LIFIN 235.1

    Mr. William Kinkade, in his “Bible Doctrine,” p. 294, says:LIFIN 235.2

    “I also think Christ has a true church on earth, but its members are scattered among the various denominations, and are all more or less under the influence of Mystery Babylon and her daughters.”LIFIN 235.3

    Mr. Hopkins, in a treatise on the millennium, says:LIFIN 235.4

    “There is no reason to consider the antichristian spirit and practices confined to that which is now called the Church of Rome. The Protestant churches have much of antichrist in them, and are far from being wholly reformed from her corruptions and wickedness.”LIFIN 235.5

    Mr. Simpson, in his “Plea for Religion,” says:LIFIN 235.6

    “For though the Pope and Church of Rome is at the head of the grand 1260 years’ delusion, yet all other churches, of whatever denomination, whether established or tolerated, which partake of the same spirit, or have instituted doctrines or ceremonies inimical to the pure and unadulterated gospel of Christ, shall sooner or later share in the fate of that immense fabric of human ordinances; and that Protestant churches should imitate the Church of Rome, in this worst part of its conduct, can never be sufficiently bewailed.”LIFIN 235.7

    Alexander Campbell says:LIFIN 236.1

    “The worshiping establishments now in operation throughout Christendom, increased and cemented by their respective voluminous confessions of faith, and their ecclesiastical constitutions, are not churches of Jesus Christ, but the legitimate daughters of that mother of harlots, the Church of Rome.”LIFIN 236.2

    Lorenzo Dow says of the Romish Church:LIFIN 236.3

    “If she be a mother, who are the daughters? It must be the corrupt, national, established churches that came out of her.” Dow’s Life, p. 542.LIFIN 236.4

    In the Religious Encyclopedia, (Art. Antichrist), we read:LIFIN 236.5

    “The writer of the book of Revelation tells us he heard a voice from Heaven, saying, ‘Come of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.’ If such persons are to be found in the ‘mother of harlots,’ with much less hesitation may it be inferred that they are connected with her unchaste daughters, those national churches which are founded upon what are called Protestant principles.”LIFIN 236.6

    In the spring and summer of 1844, a distant message was proclaimed, setting forth the fallen condition of the churches, which resulted in calling from them fifty thousand believers in the immediate coming of Christ. And the testimonies from the very churches they had left could but convince them that they had entertained correct views of the fallen state of the churches, and had done the will of God in separating from them.LIFIN 236.7

    The Christian Palladium for May 15, 1844, speaks in the following mournful strains: “In every direction we hear the dolorous sound, wafting upon every breeze of heaven, chilling as the blast from the icebergs of the north - settling like an incubus on the breasts of the timid, and drinking up the energies of the weak; that lukewarmness, division, anarchy and desolation are distressing the borders of Zion.”LIFIN 236.8

    The Religious Telescope, of 1844, uses the following language: “We have never witnessed such a general declension of religion as at the present. Truly the church should awake and search into the cause of this affliction; for an affliction every one that loves Zion must view it. When we call to mind how ‘few and far between’ cases of true conversion are, and the almost unparalleled impenitence and hardness of sinners, we almost involuntarily exclaim, ‘Has God forgotten to be gracious? or is the door of mercy closed? ’”LIFIN 237.1

    These testimonies only are offered out of much of like import that might be quoted, as they are specimens of the whole. But it may be said that our views of the moral fall and spiritual death of the churches are shown to be incorrect by the great revivals of 1858. Of the fruit of these revivals let the leading Congregational and Baptist papers of Boston bear testimony. Says the Congregationalist for November 19, 1858:LIFIN 237.2

    “The revival piety of our churches is not such that one can confidently infer, from its mere existence, its legitimate, practical fruits. It ought, for example, to be as certain, after such a shower of grace, that the treasuries of our benevolent societies would be filled, as it is after a plentiful rain, that the streams will swell in their channels. But the managers of our societies are bewailing the feebleness of the sympathy and aid of the churches.LIFIN 237.3

    “There is another and sadder illustration of the same general truth. The Watchman and Reflector recently stated that there had never been among the Baptists so lamentable a spread of church dissension as prevails at present. And the sad fact is mentioned that this sin infects the very churches which shared most largely in the late revival. And the still more melancholy fact is added, that these alienations date back their origin, in most cases, to the very midst of that scene of awakening. Even a glance at the weekly journals of our own denomination, will evince that the evil is by no means confined to the Baptists. Our own columns have, perhaps, never borne so humiliating a record of contentious, and ecclesiastical litigation as during the last few months.”LIFIN 237.4

    A Presbyterian pastor, of Belfast, Ireland, uses the following language respecting the recent revivals in this country: “The determination to crush all ministers who say a word against their national sin [slavery], the determination to suffocate and suppress the plain teachings of Scripture, can be persisted in and carried out at the very time these New York Christians are expecting the religious world to hail their revivals. Until the wretchedly-degraded churches of America do the work of God in their own land, they have no spiritual vitality to communicate to others; their revivals are in the religious world what their flaunted cries of liberty, intermingled with the groans of the slave, are in the political.” New York Independent, December, 1859.LIFIN 238.1

    During the time of the great Irish revival of the past year [1859] the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church of Ireland, held its session in Belfast. Says the Belfast News-Letter of September 30: “Here in this venerable body of ministers and elders, we find two ministers openly giving each other the lie, and the whole General Assembly turned into a scene of confusion bordering upon a riot.”LIFIN 238.2

    These sad facts need no comment. In Ireland the ministers of the gospel are unable to meet in General Assembly without a riot among themselves; in America prayers for the enslaved were not allowed in the revival meetings. No wonder that fruit of genuine piety is difficult to be found.LIFIN 238.3

    How unlike what God designed that his people should be, has this great city become! The church of Christ was to be the light of the world, a city set upon a hill, which could not be hid. Matthew 5:14-16. But instead of this, his professed people have united with the world and joined affinity with it. This unlawful union of the church and the world (James 4:4,) has resulted in her rejection by God; for how can the God of truth and holiness recognize as his people, those who in addition to their departure from their Lord, have rejected with scorn the tidings of his speedy coming?LIFIN 239.1

    The following extract is from an address before the Theological School, Cambridge, Mass.:LIFIN 239.2

    “I think no man can go with his thoughts about him into one of our churches without feeling that what hold the public worship had on men is gone or going. It has lost its grasp on the affections of the good, and the fear of the bad. It is already beginning to indicate character and religion to withdraw from religious meetings. I have heard a devout person, who prized the Sabbath, say in bitterness of heart, ‘On Sunday it seems wicked to go to church.’ And the motive that holds the best there is now only a hope, and a waiting.”LIFIN 239.3

    Prof. S.C. Bartlett, of Chicago, in the New York Independent, says:LIFIN 239.4

    “Religion now is in a different position from Methodism then. To a certain extent it is a very reputable thing. Christianity is, in our day, something of a success. Men ‘speak well of it.’ Ex-presidents and statesmen have been willing to round off their career with a recognition of its claims. And the popularity of religion tends vastly to increase the number of those who would secure its benefits without squarely meeting its duties. The church courts the world, and the world caresses the church. The line of separation between the godly and the irreligious fades out into a kind of penumbra, and zealous men on both sides are toiling to obliterate all difference between their modes of action and enjoyment.”LIFIN 239.5

    For further testimony from their own lips respecting the state of the churches, their covetousness, pride in church buildings, operatic singing in their worship, their religious gambling, their endorsement of dancing, their zeal for worldly pleasure, and their pride and fashion, we refer the reader to the works entitled “The Three Messages,” and “The State of the Churches,” for sale at the Review Office, Battle Creek, Mich.LIFIN 240.1

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