A little book of 150 pages, entitled the “Supreme Passions of Man,” published by the “Little Blue Book Company,” Battle Creek, Mich., has recently been placed in my hands, being recommended as an excellent book for circulation among, and by, Seventh-day Adventists. Its object is thus stated by the author in his preface:-
This book, which touches as science, religion, morality, medicine, etc., is meant to disseminate knowledge among all classes concerning the laws of nature under which passions arise, and by which they may be ruled.
The reason, doubtless, why it was thought that Seventh-day Adventists would be glad to help circulate the book, is that it professes to teach morality, and has much to say about the necessity of right habits of eating and drinking; and it is known that this people are greatly interested in what is called “health reform.”
That any Seventh-day Adventist who honors the word of God, and whose faith in it is well instructed, could, after reading the book referred to, assist by any means in its circulation, is almost incredible. Therefore the object in briefly reviewing it, is not specially for the purpose of putting any on their guard against this particular book, but to use it as an illustration of a principle,—to show the inevitable result of “scientific” religion, that is, morality whose sole support is human wisdom and human strength.
The book will be extensively quoted in the following review, but only as a text; and in this case the text will doubtless be longer than the sermon; for the application will be quite obvious. The quotations will abundantly show that the proper title of the book is not that which it bears, but the one at the head of this article [ie. the original title, “Every Man His Own Saviour”].
The first point that will claim our attention is that what is generally known as “science,” is in direct and open antagonism to true Christianity: that they are irreconcilable; and that whenever “science” professes that it is in perfect accord with religion, it simply substitutes itself for the true religion. The quotations that follow from this supposedly “scientific” book confirm this declaration. Having spoken of certain appetites and passions, the author says:-
Christianity has classed these passions among sins, and has in vain sought to subjugate them by spiritual efforts, appeals to reason and the emotions through gospel teachings, little dreaming that Christianity itself has unknowingly nurtured the evil from the outset, by its methods of living. -Page 54.
The reader will notice that here a profession of Christianity is confounded with Christianity itself. This appears all through the book, and is most natural, because “science” must always utterly fail to comprehend true religion.
1 Corinthians 1
21 …the world by wisdom knew not God…
And it never can. But again:-
The church speaks of these things, but seems to have failed to grasp their full importance and significance. It is with the deepest reverence, and not with a spirit of censure or disrespect, that the writer approaches the policy of Christendom in this matter. What more could have been expected? Science had to reveal the truth of the natural laws involved in the question at hand, before man [either in or out of the church] could consult them. It is therefore a question of slow progress. Medical science itself, which should lead on this subject, has been rather slow in seeing the bearing of the union of cells in man…How could the medical world lead in the science of morals, when it is tardy in the science of medicine? -Page 86.
On the very next page we read of “the signal inefficacy of glorious religion to subject the passions of mankind to the will, under exclusively religious impulse.” This ignores, as unworthy of consideration by a “scientific mind,” the great roll of men “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness,” (Hebrews 11:33) etc.
How was it possible that “unlearned and ignorant men” should have been able to subdue the passions of the flesh, especially in an age when medical science had not revealed the truth of the natural laws involved in the question? True, the apostle Paul says that:
24 They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its passions and lusts.
But modern science votes Paul a fraud. That this “scientific” book positively denies the possibility of there having been in the past any such righteous people as the Bible tells of, is seen by the following:-
It is no reflection on religious denominations and Christians in general to say that preaching most be aided by science before mankind can hope for the best resells in the morality of the people: for religion is, as proven by the sacred writings, expected to draw from science all the facts it may to advance the cause of righteousness. -Page 100.
Both of these statements are in direct contradiction of the words of Paul, who says:
1 Corinthians 1
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 2
1 And I, brethren. when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
So instead of its being proved by scripture that preachers are expected to draw from “science,” it is proved not only that the gospel does not stand in need of its aid, but that it is a positive hindrance to the gospel. This does not mean that the revelations of God in nature are to be slighted; but there is a vast difference between them and what passes as “science.”
Our author, however, who would have it understood that his title “M.D.,” stands for doctor of morals as well as doctor of medicine, is not content with denying power to Christianity, but he even denies the power of God himself. On page 83 he pronounces it an error on the part of the church to hold that man
“…in case of sanity, has full, untrammeled power to love, revere, trust, have faith, reject evil, control passions,…by the grace of God operating in a mysterious, miraculous manner.
That may commend itself as eminently proper to a “scientific” mind, but the Christian mind can but regard it as not far removed from either blasphemy or atheism. But let us read more of the dictum of “science”:-
Religion bases its moral precepts on faith in spiritual laws: science bases them on knowledge of the natural laws. Science is therefore armed to fight the pernicious habits rooted in the flesh: it not only knows the symptoms, but the causes of moral diseases, and can prevent and cure them through the laws of nature.
Religion is familiar with the symptoms chiefly: its remedies alone, as now prescribed, no matter how constant and energetic, seem to be able only to palliate; there is no positive evidence that they can cure radically, root and branch. -Pages 96, 99.
Jesus Christ says:
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Of Zacharias and Elizabeth it is said that
6 …they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
And Peter bears witness that God dealt with the Gentiles as with the Jews,
9 …purifying their hearts by faith.
It needs no more than these texts to show that the acceptance of “scientific” morality is the positive contradiction of the Bible. According to the extracts last made from the little book before us, there is no excuse for the existence of religion, with its merely palliative measures, since science has come into the field fully armed and equipped and able to eradicate moral disease to the last fiber. That Christianity is considered by science as utterly useless, is shown by the following extract from the “scientific” work before us:-
Christianity, then, ignoring the laws of nature meant to regulate life in all its phases, cannot be expected ever to save the world from passions or from the vices arising from violations of these same laws and of the consequent degeneration that follows. -Page 96.
This assumes that Christianity ignores the laws of life, which is not the case. It shows that the author has not the slightest idea of what Christianity is. When we examine the idea that the “scientific” mind has of Christianity, we shall not wonder so much at the positions taken.
On pages 88, 89 the author endeavors to tell us what religion is. Speaking of certain things which religion has been able, without the aid of science, to find out are wrong, he says:-
But the efforts to demonstrate the unlawfulness of certain things in marriage, from a purely spiritual basis, must invoke the aid of persuasive influences on the emotional part of man, such as vivid descriptions of the hideousness of sin, the insult to a sublime God represented in the form and with the sensibilities of man, threatening of punishment. etc. etc.
Unfortunately, emotion is a temporary feeling: however acute and fervent it may be, it lasts but a short time at best. It may leave an impression constantly reminding one of the cause or causes which produced it, but this impression in itself is incompetent to exact forever the fulfillment of whatever good resolutions may have been formed. In order that they may bear fruit at all, the emotions must be frequently or constantly revived, as is done by periodical preaching, revivals, missions in the churches, etc.
But again: that emotions, which may be more or less easily aroused at the beginning, gradually become less susceptible as time passes, and sermon after sermon is heard, till sometimes they fail altogether to respond. The ordinary mind becomes callous to purely spiritual discourses, however healthful they may be; they fail to leave a lasting impression upon it; they afford its limited comprehension too little food for thought and reasoning…The natural laws are neglected too much. We are asked to have faith and to believe, but the mind may be utterly incapable of this without some impression by logic, something it can understand and grasp, some indication to the heart, of the ways and means of belief.
All these endeavors are most worthy and are needed, but they are insufficient to keep mankind constantly in purity. -Page 88, 89.
The Christian who reads this article needs not a word to show him that what is here described is not the gospel at all. The gospel does not consist in mere words. Says Paul:
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes.
The religion of Jesus Christ is not emotion nor resolutions. Christianity is not the result of good resolutions made under the influence of pathetic appeals. It is the working of the power of God, which is foolishness to those who do not believe. Only those who believe can understand. And they cannot explain; they can only declare the fact. For Christianity is a stupendous fact.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is as powerful to the man in the solitude of his study, or even the desert, as it is to the man who is listening to the prayers and praises of the sanctuary. It does not depend on the feeling, but often shows its working the most clearly when the individual has no sense of feeling. It does not depend on the person’s knowledge, but its glory is that it is free and efficacious to the ignorant and poor.
Such a religion as that set forth in the last citation could, of course, never be expected to save the world, not even a single individual. But the religion of the Bible is able to do all that it professes to do to save them that believe. The Bible does not lead us to expect that all the world will be saved. It warns us that
2 Timothy 3
13 …evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived,
and that at the end it will be as it was in the days of Noah.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
But every one who from the heart believes on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved with a perfect and an everlasting salvation.
But this is perhaps sufficient on this line. The object of these quotations is not to arraign the author of the book for his ideas, which he has a perfect right to hold, but to show that “science” and the Bible cannot walk together; to show that “science” not only ignores the Bible, but that it contemptuously rejects it; and to put Christians on their guard against its insidious pretensions to be the promoter of morality; to repeat, in short, the words of the apostle Paul:
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
We have already seen that “science,” superciliously sets religion aside as utterly incompetent to save a man from vice. With a quietly contemptuous side-glance, it listens to the inspired statement that the holy Scriptures are able to make a man wise and perfect:
2 Timothy 3
15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Science may admit that Paul was right, according to his standard of morality, but the poor man was unfortunate enough to live in an age when science itself had not discovered the true basis of passion, because it did not understand the nature of the union of the cells, and therefore could not reveal the method of care to the church. He himself, therefore, according to this book, must have been an immoral man; for he depended only on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
Christianity is not sufficient to control the vice of impurity. -Page 93.
As for the other apostles, who had not the advantages of even as much science as Paul had, they must have been utterly incompetent to deal at all with questions of morality. This seems irreverent, it is irreverent. But it is only the necessary conclusion of the arrogant pretensions of “science.”
But let us now read further, and see how it is that science enables the man to drive out passions, root and branch. We are told that in every animal organism
what is known as the cell is in every one the basis of the fabric. -Page 11.
By cell is meant, in biology, the little elementary organisms or individuals grouped to form the whole of the body. They are living beings, endowed with an individuality, and capable of doing, more or less perfectly, for themselves, under the impulses of their own energies or forces. -Page 12.
Man’s life is only the expression of the life of each cell individually, and of all of them collectively. -Ib.
Man is simply a gigantic mass of practically analogous tiny cells joined in a harmonious ‘re-public’. -Page 13.
The condition of the cells is expressed to the public by the acts of the man. Man’s character is largely the reflection of the behavior of the cells composing his body. -Page 21.
Now we have the thing in a nutshell. The author continues:-
This suggests many far-reaching possibilities and results, on the part of an individual in whom the component cells have been warped in their properties and purposes. Does it not bring to mind the possibility of controlling abnormal excitability and passion, by keeping the cells always is a normal condition? -Page 21.
It ought not to be difficult for anybody who gives the matter a few minutes’ thought to see very much force in the Scripture statement that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for the above is folly even to human sight.
Notice: the man is composed of cells; he is simply the product of the individual and collective life and character of the cells composing his body; passions are simply as abnormal condition of the cells (page 55); therefore all that one has to do to banish all passion is to keep his cells in a normal condition.
In other words, if you want to overcome evil desires, just don’t have any. Simple enough, isn’t it? It did not need a scientist to reveal that to the world; for men have been working on that line for nearly six thousand years, with, however, no results. They have tried to overcome passion by keeping themselves all right, but they found out that that was all the trouble there was. They couldn’t keep themselves in a normal condition. But we shall have occasion to recur to this later. On page 29 we read:-
It cannot be denied that natural nutrition, i.e., simple, moderate diet, is the soul of endurance and morality.
Our first parents were placed in the garden of Eden, where there was “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” Genesis 2:9. To them the Lord said: “Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed: to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29. They had “natural nutrition” of the most perfect kind; yet they sinned, and by that sin “brought death into the world, and all our woe.”
Here again, we find “science” in direct conflict with the Bible. This, of course, does not trouble the author: for he says (page 100) that the declarations of science must be received,
…however much they may shatter long-cherished notions, and conflict, apparently, with Bible history as it is understood.
But the Christian will not care to trust his soul’s welfare in the hands of a moral physician whose prescriptions directly contradict the plainest statements of the Bible.
But now to refer again to the extract quoted above from page 91. We are there told that the hope of the man whose cells have been warped is to keep them in a normal condition. But with what power is he to do that? Why, with those same warped cells. That is, those cells are to straighten themselves out.
Thus: Man is the product of the cells composing his organism; evil propensities in him are simply the result of an abnormal condition of the cells; those evils will he swept away root and branch, if he only keeps his cells in a normal condition; but whatever the man does is only the visible manifestation of what the invisible cells do; therefore the keeping of the cells in order devolves upon the disordered cells themselves. The abnormal cells must simply get themselves into a normal condition again. The sick must heal themselves by their own inherent power. The cripple must cure his lameness simply by walking straight. But we will read the thing a little more plainly expressed:-
When the grace of God operates, it is not by what we cell miracles but through natural laws, which are God’s laws. -Page 86.
Contrast this with:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
But we quote again:-
It is no wonder that men less intimate [than physicians] with the laws of nature, should fail to grasp the significance of cellular endowments in multicellular beings, and should even invoke miraculous influence to accomplish that which natural powers may, and are expected to, accomplish. The laws of nature are miraculous enough in themselves, and are sufficient to do well everything that mankind may accomplish in the world for the propagation, preservation, and salvation of his kind. Study them well, and you will find that they contain all the elements to grace. When we beg for miraculous aid to accomplish any object in life for which God has provided natural laws, we ask the Almighty to reverse his laws and rule for our special benefit. -Page 87.
Surely this statement alone proves the fitness of the title that we have given the book, namely, “Every Man His Own Saviour.” That is all that it is.
No one who should become a convert to the doctrine set forth in the above, could ever pray to the Lord again, unless his prayer should be like that of the Pharisee:
11 God, I thank thee that I am not like other men are.
“I understand the chemistry of passion, and am therefore able to keep myself in a perfectly normal condition.”
In the same line as the above, read the following:-
Practices of the flesh, and their frightful train of vices and crimes, can be rooted from the world, and the heart of man made as pure as the diamond, if the forces at our command are brought into play. -Page 104.
Does the reader see the logic of all this? If you have not given it special thought, you will see it at once when your attention is called to it. It is, first, that man is inherently good; that his natural condition is a state of freedom from all sin and vice. Because, if the abnormal cells are to purify themselves, and manufacture virtuous deeds by themselves, they must do it from what is in them; therefore that so-called evil is really only undeveloped good. The good is inherent in the human body, but the environment has not been favorable for its development. Indeed, our author assumes that a large part of the world has this perfection not simply latent, but fully developed. On page 73 he says:-
Ah girls! if you would only frown instead of smile on all vicious habits of boys, you alone would purify the world.
But what says the Scripture in regard to the nature of humanity? Let us read:
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness,
22 …an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness;
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
From what class of men do these things come?—From all men, from mankind, both male and female. These things are the very nature of men. Indeed they are the man himself. For, read the following:
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
These are “the works of the flesh.” They are the nature of every person who is born into the world. That no possible exception is made, is shown by the apostle in another place, where, after rehearsing this same list of sins, he exclaims,
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are that judges; for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
So we see that, according to the scripture, man is inherently bad, instead of good. This is the testimony of One who
25 …needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man.
The evil, which is the natural condition of mankind, from the ultimate cell to the perfectly developed individual, is something that the microscope cannot discover. That is the reason why “science” ignores it.
The second logical and necessary conclusion from the foregoing quotations from the little book, is that each individual cell, and consequently every man, has life as an inherent quality. They teach that man is self-existent, with power to perpetuate his existence, and to evolve good out of his own inherent force; in short, that man is God. Read again the quotation from page 87, and then read the following, and it will not be necessary even to draw connections:-
They [the cells) are living beings endow with “an individuality,” and capable of doing, more or less perfectly, for themselves under the impulses of their own individual energies or forces. -Page 12.
Each cell has life, and each must be properly nourished, in order that the life of the whole body may be properly and healthfully sustained. For this purpose the labors of the cells of the community have been specialized, as we see by the functions given to the different organs…By this specialization of labor, resulting from evolution the cells have been assigned certain duties to perform, in the respective accomplishment of which they have become experts. -Page 17.
The cells of the tissues of the body have individual life activities. -Page 90.
All the capacities of the organism are limited. True, they may be taxed occasionally beyond their natural activities, and respond by drawing on inherent reserve force lodged in them. -Page 32.
In a word, every organ is a distinct aggregation of cells, grouped for special functions; and the seat of government of the grand republic which the cells of all these organs form-the body as a whole-is the brain. -Page 16.
On page 85 the brain is declared to be the congress, making the laws for the republic. It is said to be
…the only seat of government, where countless living cells direct and control the whole cellular community of the body.
Speaking on page 47 of a body that has been impoverished by alcohol, the author says:-
If occasion arises, such a body may commit what humanity abhors and calls a crime,—seduction, fornication, rape, adultery, or murder, perhaps,—under a fit of passion which a calm, stern, positive, set of brain cells could ward off or subdue, if, under such a good ruling power, it appeared at all.
And on page 47 we read of “the nerve cells whose duty it is to keep the community in uprightness.” But let us have two more selections:-
Thus, the microscopic citizens of the wondrous world called man, are constantly engaged in internal warfare. Too often, alas! the dominion is wrested from the righteous congress temporarily or forever, and only nominal power remains as a vestige of what was once a complete governmental authority vested in the nervous system. -Page 103.
But the normal body is thus described:-
The cells of the various organs respond freely to the dictates of the all-wise governing cells of the nervous system, and they perform their duties well. -Page 25.
The italics in the above quoted paragraphs are mine. The sum of all this is simply that man is amenable to no power outside of himself; that he is his own lawgiver, judge, and saviour, and that he exists by his own inherent power. It puts man absolutely in the place of God. Just notice: the Scriptures tell us that Christ is of God:
1 Corinthians 1
30 …made onto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
But the “scientific” gospel is that the cells in man, having inherent life and energy (self-existence) are presided over by “all-wise governing cells” (wisdom); that this is a “righteous congress” (righteousness); and that man has in himself all the means of grace that are needed for the “preservation and salvation of his kind” (sanctification and redemption).
These views are not peculiar to our author. He is simply stating the principles of “scientific religion.” They are not original with him. Whenever you find “science” teaching morality, you will find the same things, more or less plainly expressed. From the Golden Gate, a Spiritualist paper published in San Francisco, Cal., I quote the following:-
The spirits also teach us that there is no atonement or remission for sin except through growth: that as we sow, so also must we reap. They have not found God, and never will, except as they find him in their own souls. -July 2, 1887.
When the truth was made known to me that “God is life, love, truth intelligence, substance, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and there is no evil,” it became glorified in myself as a part of that God.
J. W. Colville, in a lecture delivered in Oakland, Cal., June 19, 1886, and reported in the Golden Gate, said:-
There can be no heaven unless there be a perfect reconciliation between the impulses of man’s highest soul sad his outward life; there can be no heaven until your individual life is guided by the divine within you, that ever points out to you the perfect way.
Hon. J. B. Hall, in a lecture reported in the Banner of Light of Feb. 6, 1864, said:-
I believe that man is amenable to no law not written upon his own nature, no matter by whom it is given…By his own nature must be tried-by his own acts he must stand or fall. True, man must give an account to God for all his deeds: but how?—Solely by giving account to his own nature—to himself.
In a paper entitled Lucifer, published at Valley Falls, Kans., in an article on “Marriage and Free Love,” we find the following clear exposition of scientific morality:-
I acknowledge the presence of a power which we call nature, and whatever nature approves, I encourage, and whatever nature punishes, I try to avoid, such rewards and punishments being measured by the increase or decrease of personal happiness.
Spiritualism is simply scientific morality logically carried out. True, the great idea of Spiritualism is that man has inherent immortality, but this is simply the logical result of the idea that he has the power of righteousness in himself. Man is thought to have life in himself because he is thought to have righteousness in himself. He cannot die, because he is too good.
There is not a spiritualistic book that was ever published that did not take the same scientific ground that the author of “The Supreme Passions of Man” takes. The statement of the case varies, but the points are identical. The book is as straight Spiritualism as any devotee of the “Spiritual Philosophy” could desire.
And now to call attention specially to the pernicious character of the book; for, although it professes to teach morality, and I doubt not that the author is sincere in his purpose, the general acceptance of its doctrines could result in nothing else but the grossest immorality.
For one thing, it sets forth a double, or rather, a false standard of morality. The Bible knows but one standard of righteousness, and that is the life of Jesus Christ, as an exemplification of the spiritual law. The righteousness which men are exhorted to seek, without which they cannot be saved, is the righteousness of God. Matthew 6:33. Of this there are no degrees of comparison. There is no double standard; it is only positive, absolute goodness.
Men may say that the attainment of this righteousness by men is impossible, but only because they do not know the power of God. It is impossible of attainment by man’s effort, but is inherent in the life of Christ, which is freely given to those who hunger and thirst after it. Matthew 5:6. But the author of this book recognizes the existence of “men who, though not saints, live righteously.” -Page 73.
This is the basis of the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory, a place made necessary by the supposed existence of men who are too good to be sent to hell, and not good enough to go to heaven.
On pages 103, 104 of the book under consideration, we find the following:-
The actual counter-force of passions, then, consist of all that contributes to keep before the cells of the governing power a picture of that perfect condition in which public sentiment [itself created by education, religion. home influence, etc.] would have mankind all that impresses the mind of the desirability and necessity of moral integrity in order to be honored among men, and classed with the noble, the refined, and the just.
Again: speaking especially of drunkenness:-
What shall we do? Will the problem solve itself under the growing public sentiment, impressing upon man that he cannot afford to get drunk! This is a decidedly powerful force for good, but as long as the sentiment only censures drunkenness as such, and not the use of any and all intoxicants, so long there will be drunkards. -Page 125.
Public sentiment must also censure intoxicants as a whole, if prompt and decisive results are wanted. -Page 126.
Such a standard of morals is compatible with the grossest immorality. The man who gauges his conduct by public sentiment has simply to do those sins that do not appear prominently to the public gaze. But public sentiment itself encourages and applauds many things that the Bible condemns as abominations.
The idea of all natural religion is that only those things that appear to the outward sense are sin. But read also the list of sins given in Galatians 5:19-21. Here we find that envy, wrath, variance, emulations, strife, etc., are classed with drunkenness, murder, and adultery. If there is any difference between them, only the God of heaven and earth can detect it.
In the list given by the Saviour, in Mark 7:21-23, we find that evil thoughts are as bad as adulteries, fornication, and blasphemy. Public sentiment encourages and applauds pride; but God regards it as an abomination. Therefore, taking God’s standard, which is the only standard of right, we find that the “scientific” standard of morality is immorality itself.
But further: the morality which this book teaches is that which comes from man himself.
It takes it for granted that man is inherently good, and would exhibit goodness, but for his environment, etc.
It teaches that knowledge is power, and that the man who understands the latest speculations of “science” is fully armed against all vice, and that nobody else is.
It says that chemistry explains the forces which make passions possible, and that its laws must be taken into account in any attempt to rule our inclinations (see page 60).
That is, all that a man needs is knowledge, and such knowledge as he can get by his own unaided intellect, utterly ignoring the wisdom which God gives in his word. Unfortunately for the world, this is no new thing. We read of the heathen that they became-
21 …vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
And in the verses following we have a perfect picture of the heathen world. When those verses are read, let it not be forgotten for a moment that that horrible condition of things came solely as the result of the teaching of scientific morality such as we have in this book. And all the time that those things were being done, those people who were the most highly cultured of any people who ever lived, were talking very prettily about “morality” and “virtue.”
So beautiful are some of these discourses, that they form part of the college course for young men to-day. The men of whom those things are spoken, are the men to whom the “scientists” of today are indebted, not only for the basis of much of their professed “science,” but for the very names “science,” and “philosophy.” Yet their “science,” instead of making them virtuous, was itself the direct cause of the depth of vice into which they sunk. And so it will be again.
Now why was this? and why is it stated that the result of this teaching, if logically and strictly carried out, can be nothing else but licentiousness of the worst kind? Simply because the nature of man is corrupt. Science ignores the fall, and the natural depravity of humanity, but they are both facts. Not only are the thoughts of man evil naturally, but his inherent weakness makes it impossible for him to do even the good that he knows. Therefore, whatever teaching leads him to trust in himself for righteousness, leads him to trust for righteousness in that which is grossly corrupt. Out of evil only evil can come (see Luke 6:45).
When “science” has led men to think that they know everything, and that all the means of grace lie in themselves, then the Devil will have full control. For this “science falsely, so-called,” is the “philosophy and vain deceit,” against which the apostle warns us, as being “after the rudiments of the world;” and the inventor of the whole system is the Devil, who is the “god of this world.”
Let it be understood that in this review there is no arraignment of what is called the health reform. Right habits of eating and drinking are not depreciated. But this book does not at all touch the subject of right living. Right habits are not a means to an end, but are a result to be gained only by the gospel, as are all other right habits. The morbid appetites which are said to lead to drunkenness and licentiousness are as impossible of control as are the passions themselves. The Bible makes full provision for everything necessary in the line of living, and what is more and better, it provides the power of living, along with the knowledge of what is right.
The great mistake of “science” is the assumption that what the world needs is knowledge. The fact is, that what it needs is power. There is no man in the world who does not know that he ought to do better than he does do, and who does not want, at times, to do better; but he does not know how to do the thing. He is utterly helpless (see Romans 5:6; 7:15-23). Every man’s experience confirms this, until he gets so completely swallowed up in self-contemplation and self-glorification that he images that he is absolutely perfect, as God himself.
From the references in this article to “science,” it may be gathered it is not counted as of much worth. The “science” set forth in this book is indeed of little worth. The writer of this review makes no pretension of being a scientist, but he has no hesitation in saying that the teachings of this book are most unscientific. Not but that they might meet the approval of a “scientific” association. But science means simply knowledge, and that which is not true, cannot be truly known; therefore this book is not true science, because it is in direct and constant contradiction of the Bible—the book of truth. He who knows only a few things, but knows them for the truth, has vastly more scientific knowledge than he who “knows” many things that are not true, or who turns into a lie the truths which he does know.
The gospel of Jesus Christ gives man not only knowledge but power. Christ is of God
1 Corinthians 1
30 …made onto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
It promises to men deliverance from all the evils that beset them, not only of those that they know and feel, but also of thousands that they know nothing about. And it does not deceive men with false promises. All the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Thousands of men who never heard the word “science,” have demonstrated the truth of the offers of the gospel. Men who have struggled in vain for the mastery of themselves, have found perfect deliverance in Christ. Yes, men have exhausted every possible combination of dieting, living in the most abstemious manner, upon the most healthful food, nay, even going to the verge of starvation in order to eradicate the passions of the flesh, but all in vain. The flesh was there, and the evil was inherent in the flesh.
The only way
that it could be eradicated
was by dying.
This some of them did by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in exchange for the sinful life, they got the perfect life of Christ, so that they could truly say.
20 I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
There are many in the world today who will never understand “the chemistry of passion,” but who know to the full the baleful power of it, and who daily thank God that the Christianity of Christ does give absolute and complete deliverance from every form of it. To such, especially in view of the fact that the nearer we come to the end, the more plausible will Satan make his substitute for true morality appear, we would most earnestly commend the language of the apostle Paul:
6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And YOU ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power.
Other articles by E.J. Waggoner:
- Essentials and Non-essentials
- Letter and Spirit
- Salvation: Present and Future
- The Recompense of the Reward
- Principles and Precepts
- A Law of Love
- The Keys of the Kingdom
- The Two Covenants
- Evolution and the Gospel
- Carnal Warfare not in God’s Plan
- The Day which the Lord Has Made
- The Handwriting of Ordinances
- Our Mighty Leader
- Christ the End of the Law
- The “Christian” Demand for War