consider the churches to be in a fallen condition? "A confession can be had from the lips of the pastors of most of our churches, that in our midst there are wicked, unholy, corrupt men who maintain their position, and are saved from a righteous discipline, either by their wealth or social position. It is true of this church, and it is true of many of the churches around us. If a ship should go to sea with as many rotten timbers as we have spiritually rotten members, it would go to the bottom in twenty-four hours... One thoughtful, intelligent layman, a member of the church which is a leader in its denomination, said the other day, 'Our church has degenerated into a great, strong, social, fashionable organization.' " G. F .Pentecost, in Christian Statesman of Jan. 8, 1876. Robert Atkins, also, in a sermon preached in London, said: "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 the world, conformers to the world, lovers of creature comfort, and aspirers after respectability. They are called to suffer with Christ, but they shrink from even reproach. Apostasy, apostasy, apostasy, is engraved 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 have need of nothing.' "
What does Paul say of the condition of the church in the last days?" This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Tim 3:1-5.
How does the prophet elsewhere describe the condition of Babylon? "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." Rev. 18:2.
Where will many of God's people be found when this cry is at its height? "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4.
In this can to "come out" of Babylon, what message does the Lord send to guide His people into the truth for these days?" And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation... Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:9-12.
NOTE. - It is worthy of notice that the first of these angels has simply an announcement to make of the judgment at hand; the second tells the condition of the religious world, and exposes its unfitness to meet its record in the judgment previously announced; while the third provides a remedy whereby the people may be made ready to meet the judgment and the coming King. Thus subject is treated in the next chapter (52).
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