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    August 27, 1891

    “The Church in Rome” The Present Truth 7, 18.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Romans 1:8.

    “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.1

    What a vast difference there was between the church in Rome in Paul’s day, and the church of Rome to-day. Then their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world; not their superstition is the object of comment everywhere. Then their faith was spoken of by others throughout the whole world; now that which has been substituted for faith is published by themselves throughout the whole world.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.2

    It is a good thing when the faith of a church is so marked as to attract attention. But how was it that the faith of the church in Rome came to be known so widely and so well? It could not have been because the Romans told everybody of it, for that very thing would have proved that they didn’t have it. It could not have been because people could see their faith, because faith is not a thing that can be seen. But the results of faith can be seen, and it was by these that the faith of the Romans became so generally known. In the nineteenth verse of the last chapter, Paul says to them: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all.” True faith always works obedience, and that could be seen.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.3

    How many Christians there were in Rome, we have no means of knowing. There might have been a very large church, yet when we consider that character of that city, we know that the number of Christians must have been very small in comparison with the entire population. It was a heathen city. Nero, whose very name is a synonym for everything that is wicked, cruel, and licentious, was the emperor when Paul wrote his epistle. The character of a king and court largely determine the general character of the people. The lower orders ape the customs and morals of the higher. The love of place and power, and the desire for the recognition of loyalty, are always powerful factors in leading men to conform to the whims, the sentiments, and the morals of an emperor. History tells us that society in Rome at that time was rotten. This is the only word that can describe the condition of things.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.4

    With all his vices, Nero was luxurious. He had elegant tastes, and spent money lavishly in adorning the city. But effeminate vice always accompanies the lavish expenditure of wealth. Rome was the metropolis of the world, not simply as to population, but in matters of business and fashion. It was both the London and the Paris of that time. Of course, then, the thought and practice of the great mass of the people or Rome was anything but Christian.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.5

    Yet in the midst of this sink of iniquity there lived a handful of people whose faith was spoken of throughout the whole world. They were emphatically a peculiar people. They were in the world, and yet not of it. The fact that they lived in the most populous, the most fashionable, and the most wicked city in the world, did not hinder them from living “soberly, righteously, and godly.”PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.6

    It is right that the faith of Christians should be spoken of, but it is not necessary that they should do the speaking of it. All they have to do is to have the faith, and it will be known. Says Christ:-PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.7

    “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.8

    Just let, or allow, your light to shine. Have the light, and the world must necessarily see it. The darker the night, the more plainly can we see a lighted candle in the room; so the more of moral darkness there is in the world, the more distinctly should the light of truth be seen in the lives of Christians. They are to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom they shine as lights. Philippians 2:15.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.9

    Christians are Christ’s representatives in the world; that is, the world will learn of Christ through His followers. He is the light of the world, and they, receiving light from Him, are to transmit it undimmed to those around them. And this heavenly light shining in them shall increase more and more until it blends with the everlasting glory that shall cover the whole earth. E. J. W.PTUK August 27, 1891, page 280.10

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