Editorial – Liberty

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” II Corinthians 3:17.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13.

One of the ways to distinguish the true Christ from Antichrist is that the true Christ brings liberty but Antichrist brings bondage:

“Only by terrible struggles has the right of religious liberty been maintained. When the stake and the scaffold proved ineffectual to destroy the Reformation in Germany, popery summoned her armies, the Catholic States banded together to crush out Protestantism, and for thirty years the tempests of war swept over these now fertile plains and populous cities. At the opening of the thirty years war, in 1618, the country had reached a high state of prosperity. It is said that at that time the methods of cultivation were fully equal to those of 1818. ‘Germany was accounted a rich country. Under the influence of a long peace its towns had enlarged in size, its villages had increased in number, and its smiling fields testified to the excellence of its husbandry. The early dew of the Reformation was not yet exhaled. The sweet breath of that morning gave it a healthy moral vigor, quickened its art and industry, and filled the land with all good things. Wealth abounded in the cities, and even the country people lived in circumstances of comfort and ease.’ Since the Reformation, a school had existed in every town and village in which there was a church, and a knowledge of reading and writing was generally diffused among the people. The Bible had found its way into their houses. The hymns of Luther were sung in their churches and their homes.

“But during the terrible years that followed, all this was changed. Foreign soldiery, savage and blood-besmeared, traversed the country, marking their course by pillage, fire, and murder. The greatest imaginable horrors were so common that it was a matter of surprise when they failed to be perpetrated. At the approach of the troops, the terror-stricken people sought safety in one-fiftieth of the population remained, and there were regions left without inhabitant.

“Such was the spirit of popery in the seventeenth century, and such is her spirit today. Let Rome but gain the power, and our own favored land would witness scenes like those that covered Germany with heaps of slain, and made her harvest fields a lair for the wild beasts.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists (1886), 176, 177.