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In presenting this book to the public as a layman, we have no apology to offer, as the early Christians when they were “scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” The Young Men's Christian Association, of which the writer is a member, the Young Women's Christian Association, and the Young People's Christian Endeavor Society are all doing most effective work for the cause of Christ, yet without title, ritualism, or robes.
The writer, believing that in Christ and His church the mystery of life and death is solved and man's duty and destiny revealed, deems it most important that the teachings of Christ and His ambassadors be understood and properly presented to the world. When we observe the divided condition of Christendom, we feel assured that there must be something fundamentally wrong
in the presentation of Christian truth, because parties and sects of Christians, while differing can not all be right.
We are largely creatures of environment. The rule is that the child follows the faith of its parents. Demonstration of this is seen in both politics and religion. If a child's parents are Republicans, the child will be a Republican; if Democrats, the child will be a Democrat; and so with the various political parties, no matter how divergent and contradictory in sentiment or principle such parties may be. The same is true in religion; a child born of Roman Catholic parents becomes a Catholic; of Episcopalian parents, becomes an Episcopalian. The same is true of the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and the multitude of different denominations; all have observed these influences of environment which appear on every hand; and yet many people believe that those who differ from them hold the most untenable and absurd views upon social, political, and religious subjects. We may well ask the question, Are we following blindly in opinions or faith because of our early training ? Recognizing these facts the writer decided to reinvestigate his accepted religion, and, if possible, to make an original and impartial investigation of the subject pertaining to religious truth, considering it from the heathen, the Jewish, and the Christian standpoints, the result of which is here given.
It is obvious that several hundred churches, denominations, sects, and parties in Christendom can not all be right. They may all be wrong, but no two of
, them can be right, if Christ's Church was a unit and divisions were forbidden by the statement “That there be no divisions among you."a Two inen can not differ about any fact or truth and both be right; about any inspired command and obedience to it; about any divine ordinance and its observance, about
a 1 Cor. i. 10-13.
officers under Christ and their duties, and both be right, any more than they can differ about the fact that the sun shines by day and the moon by night, and both be right. It is, therefore, the design of this volume to unfold the simple truth in regard to the Church of Christ, both in faith and practise. In doing this we place emphasis upon the completeness of the Christian religion as being adapted to all men everywhere and in all time.
Christianity is a new or an original religion. The proffer of absolute pardon to a world lying in sin was promised only through Christ. This great fact being of such importance, we have passed in review, in the order in which they occur, all the cases of forgiveness or pardon recorded in the New Testament, comparing one with the other in order to learn if the same terms were required of all, if there is one universal law of pardon, and if all persons come into Christ's Church upon the same terms.
We know of no book covering this ground, which alone is deemed sufficient reason for presenting this volume to the public.
Again, reasons are given to show that all who come into the Church of Christ have the full assurance of pardon and acceptance with God.
Again, the Church of Christ is a complete organization, divinely constituted, without any authority given to any man or set of men or ecclesiastical body to change any of its rites, its officers, or its ordi
Also, the church was a unit, Christians were one