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    The present fallen condition of the religious world noted in the scriptures. Hosea 5:5-7; Matthew 24:12; 1 Timothy 4:1;2 Timothy 3:1-5.FT 36.1

    When one of MARTIN LUTHER’S guests remarked that the world might continue fifty years, he replied:FT 36.2

    “Pray God it may not exist so long; matters would be even worse than they have been. There would rise up infinite sects and schisms, which are at present hidden in men’s hearts not mature. No; may the Lord come at once, for there is no amendment to be expected.”FT 36.3

    MATTHEW HENRY, on Luke 18:8, remarks:FT 36.4

    “Now when he comes will he find faith on the earth? The question implies a strong negative; no, he shall not, he himself foresees it. In general he will find but few good people, few that are really and truly good; many that have the form and fashion of godliness, but few that have faith.”FT 36.5

    Dr. COTTON MATHER, says:FT 36.6

    “A little before the burning day the nominal church will be like a dead, putrid, carcass, having no faith in the Lord’s coming.”FT 36.7

    Dr. GILL. on the signs of Christ’s coming, says:FT 36.8

    “Which yet will be observed by a few, such a general sleepiness will have seized all professors of religion, etc.” On Revelation 3:20.FT 36.9

    The above testimonies show what is to be looked for in the last days, and the following will show that the same has come to pass:FT 37.1

    Dr. CUMMING, of England, says:FT 37.2

    “I believe that one-half of the professors of the gospel are nothing better than practical infidels.”—Time of the end, p. 183.FT 37.3

    Prof. FINNEY, of Oberlin College, in 1844, said:FT 37.4

    “Spiritual apathy is almost all-pervading, and is fearfully deep; so the religious press of the whole land testifies. It comes to our ears and to our eyes, also through the religious prints, that very extensively church members are becoming devotees of fashion—join hands with the ungodly in parties of pleasure, in dancing, in festivities, etc. But we need not expand this painful subject. Suffice it that the evidence thickens and rolls heavily upon us, to show that the churches are becoming sadly degenerate. They have gone very far from the Lord and he has withdrawn himself from them.”FT 37.5

    The Christian Palladium of the same year, said:FT 37.6

    “In every direction we hear the dolorous sound, wafting upon every breeze of heaven, chilling as the blasts 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.”FT 37.7

    The Congregational Journal, for the same year, said:FT 37.8

    “At a recent meeting of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, Rev. Mr. Barnes, pastor of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, whose notes are so extensively used in our families and Sabbath-schools, stated that he had been in the ministry for twenty years, and never till the last communion had he administered the ordinance without receiving more or less to the church. But now there are no awakenings, no conversions, not much apparent growth in grace in professors, and none come to his study to converse about the salvation of their souls. With the increase of business, and the brightening prospects of commerce and manufactures, there is an increase of worldly-mindedness. Thus it is with all denominations.FT 37.9

    The Religious Telescope, of Circleville, Ohio, in 1844, contained the following:FT 38.1

    Great Spiritual Dearth.—It is a lamentable fact, from which we cannot shut our eyes, that the churches of this country are now suffering severely on account of the great dearth, almost universally complained of. 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 impertinence and hardness of sinners, we almost involuntarily exclaim, ‘Has God forgotten to be gracious?’ Or, is the door of mercy closed?”FT 38.2

    The Michigan Christian Herald, (Baptist,) says:FT 38.3

    “In asking you to review with us the present aspect of the Christian cause, it is not our purpose to stir you to a new burst of grief over a languishing church, or to retail again with a useless sorrow, the story of the declensions of modern piety. Too well, already do we all know how the foul tides of fashion and folly have swept to the very altar-places of our faith, and too surely and strongly do we all feel, in our own hearts, the awful power of an over-active age which hurries us so remorselessly away from the places of holy contemplation and prayer, and plunges us into the whirling vortices of worldly care. It is rather to the fruits of this long night of declension—this sleep of the churches—that our thoughts now return.”FT 38.4

    John Gulliver, President of the American Systematic Beneficence Society, at Philadelphia, says:FT 39.1

    “It is presumed that no one will deny that covetousness is the crying sin of our American churches, that it is eating out their spirituality, and ripening them for the doom of the seven churches in Asia. It is well known that the process of accumulation among our church members, is advancing at a fearful rate, amounting as is estimated, to more than two hundred and fifty millions of dollars annually; annually; and while the expenditures for amusements and luxuries are almost fabulously great, the contributions for benevolent purposes are shamefully small.”FT 39.2

    ROBERT ATKINS, in a sermon preached in London, says:FT 39.3

    “The truly righteous are diminished from the earth, and no man layeth it to heart. The professors of religion of the present day, in every church are lovers of creature-comfort, and aspirers after respectability. They are called to suffer with Christ, but they shrink from even approach.FT 39.4

    “Apostasy, apostasy, apostasy, is engraven on the very front of every church; and did they know it, and did they feel it, there might be hope; but, alas! they cry, ‘We are rich, and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing.’”FT 39.5

    Mr. O. SCOTT, (Wesleyan Methodist,) says:FT 40.1

    “The church is as deeply infected with a desire for worldly gain, as the world.FT 40.2

    “The churches are making a god of this world.FT 40.3

    “Most of the denominations of the present day might be called churches of the world, with more propriety than churches of Christ.FT 40.4

    “The churches are so far gone from primitive christianity that they need a fresh regeneration—a new kind of religion.”FT 40.5

    Says the Golden Rule:FT 40.6

    “The Protestants are out-doing the Popes in splendid, extravagant folly in church building.—Thousands on thousands are expended in gay and costly ornaments to gratify pride, and a wicked ambition, that might and should go to redeem the perishing millions! Does the evil, the folly, and the madness of these proud, formal, fashionable worshipers stop here?FT 40.7

    “These splendid monuments of popish pride, upon which millions are squandered in our cities, virtually exclude the poor, for which Christ died, and for whom he came especially to preach.”FT 40.8

    The report of the Michigan Yearly Conference, published in the True Wesleyan of Nov. 15, 1851, says:FT 40.9

    “The world, commercial, political and ecclesiastical, are alike, and are together going in the broad way that leads to death. Politics, commerce, and nominal religion all connive at sin, reciprocally aid each other, and unite to crush the poor. Falsehood is unblushingly uttered in the forum and in the pulpit; and sins that would shock the moral sensibilities of the heathen, go unrebuked in all great denominations of our land. These churches are like Jewish church when the Saviour exclaimed, ‘Wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.’”FT 40.10

    The Christian Advocate & Journal, says:FT 41.1

    We want preachers. Our church is suffering for the want of them. We want members. Our church is crippled in her energies, and impeded in her progress, and chilled in her soul, and faint in her spirit, because the word is not successful as it ought to be—as it used to be.FT 41.2

    The Genesee Evangelist, says:FT 41.3

    “Our Zion is in a state of mourning. The Holy Spirit has not visited us as in former years, and we have great cause for deep humiliation in view of the sins and worldliness and spiritual indifference of most of our churches.”FT 41.4

    A writer in the American Baptist, speaking of the tendency of that denomination, says:FT 41.5

    “I read some days since the report of proceedings in the recent Board meeting of the Missionary Union, and a splendid thing that it is. Rev. so and so, D. D., Rev. so and so, D. D., nearly thirty times in the preliminary proceedings of the first day; and so on, to such a dizzy height of D. D.’s, that I gave up the count—profoundly penetrated with the thought that we are a great denomination. * * Such things look well enough on the brow of the Mother of Harlots-but in the church of Christ—the Baptist church—O shade of Roger Williams—where are we drifting.”FT 41.6

    The Litchfield Republican, says:FT 42.1

    “It is painful to see the extent of external religion in the world. Everything appears to be for mere show and effect, without there being any heart or genuine feeling in it.”FT 42.2

    Mr. SPURGEON, says:FT 42.3

    “Reflecting the other day upon the sad state of the churches at the present moment, I was led to look back to apostolic times, and to consider wherein the preaching of the present day differed from the apostles. I remarked the vast difference in their style from the set and formal oratory of the present age. I remarked that the apostles did not take a text when they preached, nor did they confine themselves to one subject, much less to any place of worship, but I find they stood up in any place and declared what they knew of Jesus Christ. Surprised I was I discovered that the very staple of the apostle’s preaching was the resurrection of the dead.” Sermons, p 262.FT 42.4

    A. CAMPBELL, says:FT 42.5

    “A reformation of popery was attempted in Europe full three centuries ago. It ended in a protestant hierarchy, and swarms of dissenters.—Protestantism has been reformed into Presbyterianism—that into Congregationalism—and that into Baptistism, etc., etc. Methodism has attempted to reform all, but has reformed itself into many forms of Wesleyanism. All of them retain in their bosom, in their ecclesiastic organizations, worship, doctrines, and observances, various relics of popery.—They are at best a reformation of popery, and only in part reformations. The doctrines and traditions of men yet impair the power and progress of the gospel in their hands.” On Baptism, p 15.FT 42.6

    The New York Chronicle, says:FT 43.1

    “Most of the denominations that have sprung up since the year 1500, have governments, usages, ceremonies, and constitutions appended by human beings to the Christian system, and persevered in and sustained also by the ‘will of man.’”FT 43.2

    R. W. EMERSON, says:FT 43.3

    “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 Sundays it seems wicked to go church.’ And the motive that holds the best there is now only a hope, and a waiting.”- Address before the Theological School, Cambridge, Mass.FT 43.4

    The Golden Rule, says:FT 43.5

    “What must an eagle-eyed world of sinners think and say to see such men as Rev. N. ADAMS, an advocate of the ‘the sum of all villainies,’ placed on the Executive Committee of the American Tract Society! And such men as Judge O’NEIL, a wicked, cruel, inveterate slave-holder, chosen as vice-President of the American Bible Society!FT 43.6

    The Zion’s Herald, alluding to these facts says:FT 43.7

    “This discussion is of a grave import. Much of the christianity in this country is weakened and crippled. A religion that dares not rebuke stealing, adultery, and blasphemy, under the general name of slavery, is a whited sepulchre, and is in alliance with the bitterest foes of Christ.”FT 43.8

    The New York Weekly Day Book, says:FT 44.1

    “It is no wonder that clergymen are losing all their influence, when the public see the most selfish and abandoned men sailing under the name of Reverend. It is no wonder that the churches of all denominations in this city, except the Catholic, have decreased in membership during the past ten years, although the population has increased over 250,000, when the clergymen are forsaking the gospel for politics, and when it is considered much more important to pass laws for the suppression of vice than to convince men to be pure and honest.”FT 44.2

    The Louisville Recorder, thus speaks:FT 44.3

    “Though we have (at least among Protestants,) no human priest or sacrificial altar, yet among us the social element, and power of the Church has become cramped, ice-bound, or entirely destroyed. We have become an assembly, not of living actors, but of silent, passive hearers. The church has become mere listeners to preachers—a roll of names baptized, permitted to take the Lord’s Supper, and expected to enjoy good preaching. Like the door on the hinges, they come and they go. They are prayed for, and sung to, and preached to; and often sung and preached to sleep, if not to death.”FT 44.4

    The Advocate, Methodist paper published at Charlestown, Mass says:FT 44.5

    “Notwithstanding the prohibition of the Methodist principle, it is a serious fact, and one generally to be deplored, that there is more jewelry and superfluous dress worn by the Methodists of this day than there is by any other class of religious professors in our land.”FT 44.6

    Mr. L. FOSTER, in the Oberlin Evangelist, says:FT 45.1

    “There is nothing more alarming, as indicating that God’s signal judgments in moving forward his kingdom, are to center in this land, than the present state of the American church, taken as a body.FT 45.2

    “Alas, what object, may what bauble of earth has not been made a rival to her Lord, even in the church herself? ‘Upon every hill she has wandered, playing the harlot.’ ‘Scattered her ways under every green tree.’ There has she made her bed and her home, instead of dwelling with her covenant Lord! This the American church has done far more flagrantly than did Israel of old, and yet God threatened to ‘pour upon them his fury and his jealousy for it’, and did do it.FT 45.3

    “And again, where does all this necessarily place the church—in what connection, what service, what fellowship? Our Lord himself has decided that question. ‘He that is not with me, is against me.’ But to be against Christ is to be with Satan. It leaves the church, then, in a virtual alliance with Satan—married to the Devil! This language may seem harsh, and I utter it with pain and grief; but the dreadful truth it declares is forced upon us, and it is of no use to conceal it. God sees it, yea the world sees it, and the church herself must see it.”FT 45.4

    Henry ward beecher attended a Methodist Church in New York recently, expecting to hear some good old fashioned Congregational singing. His disappointment was great. He says:FT 45.5

    “I had expected a treat of good, hearty singing. There were Charles Wesley’s hymns, and there were the good old Methodist tunes, that ancient piety loved, and modern conceit laughs at! Imagine my chagrin when, after reading the hymn, up rose a choir from the shelf at the other end of the church, and began to sing a monotonous tune of the modern music-book style. The patient congregation stood up meekly to be sung to, as men stand under rain when there is no shelter. No one seemed to hear the hymn, or care for the music.—How I longed for the good old Methodist thunder! One good burst of old-fashioned music would have blown this modern singing out of the windows like wadding from a gun! Men may call this an improvement, genteel! Gentility has nearly killed our churches.”FT 46.1

    The editor of the Presbyterian, at Philadelphia, has been looking over the records of the Congregational Association in Connecticut for the last year. He remarks:FT 46.2

    “But what is still more surprising, the whole number of church members reported in 1849, was 41,070; and the whole number in 1857, only 37,929, or an actual decrease for the eight years, of 3,041, and this, notwithstanding the fact, that within that time, 6,606 had been added by letter—thus seeming to show a decrease, so far as additions by profession are concerned, of 9,647, or no less than 1,205 per year, for the eight years!”FT 46.3

    A correspondent of the North Western Christian Advocate, says:FT 46.4

    “For three years past, a female friend of mine has been wasting slowly away with consumption.—She left the world on the 13th day of November. I strove to recommend religion to her in the best way and manner that I could. She had been reading her Bible for some time, desiring to find peace in believing, still she found none. She saw so much pride in professors of religion, so many artificials, gold and costly apparel, that she was afraid they would cause her soul to be lost forever.” E. COBB. Warren, Dec. 26, 1857.FT 46.5

    The New York Evangelist, says:FT 47.1

    “To the shame of the church it must be confessed that the foremost men in all our philanthropic movements, in the vindication of the right of man; and in practically redeeming his wrongs, in the moral and intellectual regeneration of the race, are the so called infidels (?) in our land. The church has pusillanimously left not only the working oar, but the very reins of salutary reform, in the hands of men she denounces inimical to christianity, and who are practically doing with all their might for humanity’s sake, that which the church ought to be doing for Christ’s sake. Woe, woe, woe to christianity, when INFIDELS (?) by the force of nature or the tendency of the age, get ahead of the church in morals, and in the practical work of christianity, in some instances, they are already far in advance, in the vindication of truth, righteousness, and liberty, they are the pioneers, beckoning to a sluggish church to follow.”FT 47.2

    A correspondent of one of the New York Journals writing from St. Louis, and in attendance on theFT 47.3

    Anniversary Meeting of the Presbyterian General Assembly there, makes the following suggestive remarks:FT 48.1

    “It is getting to be, an immense job for a sojourner in our large towns to find his way to a house of God—and as to poor residents, (Heaven take care of and save them!) if the doctrine be true that there is no salvation out of the church, the poor people are inevitably lost, for they can neither hire nor buy a pew in those hundred thousand dollar churches. Gentility is fast getting to be the only passport to heaven—as the depths of a man’s purse, so are his chances for future glory.FT 48.2

    “What are we respectable Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and others, doing for the poor, whom we have always with us?FT 48.3

    “When will our city ministers believe the word they preach, that the poor are God’s chosen people? When will they have the moral courage to take the hand of a poor man in the street, and say as Moses to Hobab, ‘Come with us and we will do thee good.’”FT 48.4

    CHARLES BEECHER, says:FT 48.5

    “The creed system is now exerting upon the clergy of the Protestant churches a secret, unsuspected, but tremendous power against the Bible—a power of fear. Yes, while it professes to venerate and defend the Bible, it is virtually undermining it.”FT 48.6

    The Yew York correspondent of the Woonsocket (R., I.) Patriot, says:FT 48.7

    “But Trinity Church with all its architectural beauty—its tall gothic spire—its graceful turrets—its stained windows—its monstrous organ—its gorgeously decorated altar and gilded architrave—is nevertheless but a splendid monument of religious mockery and monopoly! How, sir, in this nineteenth century—in a land whose fabric of government is a Republic—whose national characteristic is simplicity, and whose religion should be Christian equality, seemeth this temple of Oriental splendor? Are the dark alleys of the city, and still darker by-ways in men’s hearts, illuminated by yon cross of Episcopal gorgeousness? Resurrectionize those sixty thousand skeletons in Trinity Church-yard—shake the dust from their feet—direct their bewildered optics to that vast pile, and they will tell you it is the sanctuary of Mammon, where the monopolists of the earth congregate—where a pew rents for a thousand dollars—where the price of salvation is affluence, and where poor sinners ’can’t come in.’”FT 48.8

    LUTHER, just before his death, speaking of the state of things near the end, while writing on the prophetic periods of Daniel, in his German Bible, says:FT 49.1

    “About the consummation of these periods, this gospel will be shut out of all the churches and confined to private houses.”FT 49.2

    CHARLES BEECHER, says:FT 49.3

    “O, woful day! O, unhappy church of Christ! Fast rushing round and round the fatal circle of absorbing ruin! Thou sayest, ‘I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing;’ and knowest not that thou art poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked!”FT 49.4

    The Lockport Telegraph, says:FT 49.5

    “Costly palaces and magnificent temples are the great fountains from which the gospel at the present day is proclaimed to the people. Sermons carefully prepared according to the strict rules of rhetoric, and better calculated to captivate the tastes than to convince the reason, are delivered weekly from sacred desks. The congregation recline on cushioned seats and criticize the sermon.—The man of wealth has his pew fitted up with all the modern improvements to make attendance easy. Select music opens the service and the rich peals rolling in soft music burst from the organ at its close. Worldly splendor paves the ‘narrow path’ to heaven, and dresses the christianity of the church in inviting robes.FT 49.6

    “Whether such a state of things indicates true christianity, might perhaps be doubted. The founder of christianity was born in poverty while on earth.”FT 50.1

    EDWARD BEECHER, says:FT 50.2

    “So, too, the dogmatic despotism that has sometimes disgraced and enfeebled Protestantism, was but a lesson learned in her (Babylon’s) school, and not yet unlearned.FT 50.3

    “The extent to which she debased the conceptions of christendom concerning God, Heaven, hell, and all the doctrines of theology, is not yet fully understood.” Papal conspiracy exposed, p. 396.FT 50.4

    Dr. CHEEVER’S opinion:FT 50.5

    “God never put into any nation’s frame-work better machinery than he put into this nation, but when the fires of prayer, and truth, and honesty have gone out, the machinery ceases to work, and there is no hope left.FT 50.6

    “Their only hope is in prayer. Wealth cannot save them; the constitution cannot save them, especially when misinterpreted and tortured. Nothing can save them but God. God saves by obedience to his word—not by adding his word to the shelves of a Bible Society, but by obedience to his word. This is what God desires to see; and he will see it, or this people will go to destruction.”FT 50.7

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