BROTHER JEWETT, – As this sheet is not full, I send you some things that I have run in my mind respecting
‘A Sectarian Devil is the worst devil with which I am acquainted,’ breathed a professed philanthropist, as he was groping in the dark, in a cluster ofharlots, to find the bride of the Lamb. For he wist not but that the church of Jesus Christ was to be found in or among‘all the religious sects.’ And should he have stumbled into the externals of gospel order, like the Judaizing teachers of old, he might have polluted thebride of the Lamb in the excess of his love of mankind, had she not been preserved by the interposition of her Husband: for he seemed to know no difference between the ornaments of a bide and the attire of a harlot; and his longing desire is to enjoy a common interest with them all. And while the sectarian devil was considered as introducing schismatics into the church, to‘draw away disciples after him,’ and setting up for separate interests, the church of Christ fared no better in the mouth of philanthropists, than the anti-christian harlots. So we still find,‘as forthis sect, it is everywhere spoken against.’ Acts xxviii. 22.
Respecting the foregoing cogitations, a few sketches must suffice for the present. It is a well known fact, that a bride has no common interest with harlots, that live by hire. Her interest is in and with her husband. She is separated from all others, to live with, serve, obey, and enjoy him. His weal or wo is hers, and she is bound to be constant, kind, and faithful, until death. It is plain Bible truth, that,‘for this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and it was spoken concerning Christ and the church. Matt. xix. 5; & Eph. v. 31, 32. Therefore is the direction given for wives to submit themselves to their husbands, as unto the Lord.‘For the husband is the head of th wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church.’ Therefore, as the church is subject to Christ, so the wife, &c. And husbands should love their wives, as Christ loved the church, (not harlots,) and gave himself forit, (not them,) that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle.’ Eph. v. 22-26.
It is also plain, that a general union or common interest among men was not in agreement with the mind of God. For when they attempted it in the days of yore, the Lord, not a‘sectarian devil,’‘confounded their language,’ and scattered them, that he might in his own way and time separate a people for himself. So when the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he, (not satan,) separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to thenumber of the children of Israel. For the portion is HIS people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. Deut. xxxii. 3, 9.‘Blessed is the people whom God is the Lord, and the people whim he hath chosen for his own inheritance.’ Psalm xxxiii. 12.‘The Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiartreasure.’ Psalm cxxxv. 4.
To Israel it was said,‘The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers.’ Deut. vii. 6-8. And so Peter wrote to the elect,‘Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.’ 1 Peter ii. 9.
As the Lord separated his portion from others, he taught Balaam to say,‘The people shall dwell alone,and shall not be recknoned among the nations.’ So Moses said,‘Israel then shall dwell in safety alone.’ Num. xxiii. 9; Deut. xxxiii. 28. So the Lord Jesus came to make divisions among the people. Luke xxii. 49-54. That this is the work of Christ by the gospel is evident from various considerations. As John came in the spirit and power of Elias, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, though there were diverse sects among the Jews, yet a new one soon rose up under his administration. For when he saw many (of the sects) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees coming to his baptism, he cried out, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’ Matt. iii. 7. Here we see that the raising up of this sect was discriminating. And I would ask all professed philanthropists,‘was it from heaven,’ or by means of and under the direction of asectarian devil? There soon arose also another sect, the followers of one Jesus of Nazareth; these were called the‘sect of the Nazarene,’ and they were accused of making disturbance, particularly one Paul, whom the professed philanthropists took and arraigned before a king of court, having the orator Tertullus to plead their case against him; who, in his plea, accused Paul of being a pestilent fellow, and aring leader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Acts xxiv. 1-7.
Now as Jesus came to make division, we may trace his conduct in a few instances, to try if we can find it to agree with the popular philanthropy of our day. Soon after he commenced his public ministry, his miracles excited admiration, and being thronged, he withdrew a while from the multitude, and chose (separated) twelve men whom he sent out to preach the doctrine of separation, as is evident from their commission; for he commanded them, saying –‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and as ye go, preach,’ &c. Matt. x. 5-7. This perfectly accords with his own testimony concerning himself as to his coming to make division, and with John’s testimony of him‘Whose fan is in his hand, and he shall separate the chaff from the wheat.’ Again, it is plain from the effect that his preaching had upon his hearers, some of whom at different times were so exasperated at it, that they wanted to kill him; and others said they knew that he was indeed the Christ. Thus we see the work of separation moving on. Indeed, such was the doctrine preached by him, that a division took place among his disciples; many left him and went back, while a few remained, such indeed as he had chosen. Once more, see the division made by the power of the Holy Ghost, while Peter was preaching on the day of Pentecost, when 3,000 were added to the sect of the Nazarenes. Now there was a doctrine held by this sect, in which they continued steadfast; it was called the Apostles’ doctrine; and the different sects were opposed to it, very similar to what they are now. Paul, whom we have above named, was one of this sect, and I have no knowledge of any writer among men, more sever in writings against other religious sects than he was. He writes anathemas even against angels, if they preach another gospel (another doctrine) fro the creed of the sect he was of – calls from false apostles, ministers of satan, transforming themselves, &c. &c.
Dare any man say, that regards his character as a man of veracity, or who is even tolerably acquainted with his testament, that there was only one sect of professed believers in Christ for nearly 300 years after his crucifixion? Should any one appear in that paint he cold not be believed by any honest‘inquirer after truth.’ It possibly may be said,‘They were all Baptists;’ but if so, it no more proves them all to be of one sect and enjoying one common interest, than the fact that Campbellites, Millerites, Universalists, Mormonites, and Unitarians, are Baptists, proves that they are all there is but on common interest among them, and that they are all but one sect.
That there were different sects of believers in Christ that were divided from each other in the Apostles’ days, is as evident from their writings, as the meridian sun in a cloudless day. And that some by the Apostles were called anti-christs, and many charged with inconstant conduct, and that bodies of such were represented in the character of harlots, is also pain. That the time from them to us is anticipated in their writings, and the distinction between the true and false church brought to view under the figure of a‘chaste bride,’ married wife, and‘harlots,’ is too plain to be disputed by any man, who expects to be believed by the attentive Bible reader.” –Ibid.
Yours with affection,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 12, No. 10.
May 15, 1844