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The Church, the Churches, and the Mysteries

by G. H. Pember



Sixth Edition
562 pgs.
$23.95 USD (hardcover only)

This is a book of distinct and conspicuous mark on the exhaustless theme of Scripture prophecy.  It is evident that the conscientious labor and thought of years are embodied in the volume.  While the author shows that he has studied with care the literature of his subject, he has at the same time wrought out an independent scheme of interpretation marked by great comprehensiveness and self-consistency.

George Hawkins Pember was born in 1837.  He was educated at Cambridge University where he took his M.A. in Classics at age twenty-six.  Upon his conversion to Christ, Pember determined to devote his scholastic talents to a close and comprehensive study of the Scriptures for the benefit of God's people.  His penchant for meticulous scholarship, extensive knowledge of ancient cultures, and keen spiritual insight combined to produce works of a quality and depth with few parallels in Christian expository literature.

G. H. Pember died in 1910, leaving a rich legacy of reclaimed spiritual truth, upon which subsequent reformers such as J. N. Darby, Watchman Nee, G. H. Lang, and T. Austin-Sparks would build.

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  1. The Church and the Churches
  2. Predestination
  3. Predestination and Works
  4. Redemption by the Blood.  A Kingdom and Priests
  5. The First Resurrection (John 5:24-29)
  6. The Prize, which is the First Resurrection (Phil. 3:10-14)
  7. The Kingdom and Everlasting Life
  8. The Conflict and the Crown (1 Cor. 9:24; 10:11)
  9. The Rest that Remaineth for the Household of God (Heb. 3--4)
  10. Summary and Conclusion


  1. The One Source of Absolute Truth
  2. The Two Ordinances
  3. The Meaning of the Word Baptism
  4. The Baptism of John
  5. The Commission of the Lord (Matt. 28:18-20)
  6. Circumcision and Baptism
  7. Baptism in the "Acts"
  8. Baptism in the Epistles
  9. Baptism and the Kingdom
  10. Paganism and Infant Baptism
  11. Infant Baptism Unknown for more than Two Centuries
  12. Another Kind of Gospel
  13. Sacerdotal Ceremonies
  14. The West and the East
  15. Concluding Remarks


  1. The Bread of Life (John 6:25-64)
  2. The Lord's Supper
  3. The Lord's Supper in the Epistles (1 Cor. 10:16-22; 11:17-34)
  4. Patristic Corruption
  5. Medieval Corruption
  6. Summary and Conclusion


  1. The Gifts of Ministry and their Purpose (Eph. 4:11-16)
  2. The Four Greater Gifts (Eph. 4:11)
  3. Apostles
  4. Prophets
  5. Evangelists
  6. Pastors and Teachers
  7. Deacons


  1. The Spiritual or Inspired (1 Cor. 12; 13; 14)
  2. The Spiritual Gifts and the Body (1 Cor. 12)
  3. Love (1 Cor. 13)
  4. The Exercise of the Gifts in the Assembly (1 Cor. 14)
  5. Precepts Regulating the Position and Behaviour of Women (1 Cor. 14:34-37; 11:3-16; 1 Tim. 2:11-15)


  1. The Judgment, the Council, and the Fiery Valley (Matt. 5:21,22)
  2. The Judicial Courts of Angels
  3. The Court of God
  4. The Final Sentence.  Conclusion


  1. The Great Religious Feature of Antiquity
  2. The Probable Meaning of Initiation
  3. The Lesser and the Greater Mysteries
  4. Preparation for the Lesser Mysteries
  5. The Orphic Hymns.  Sex in Deity.  The Gregorian Music
  6. Ancient and Modern Use of Incense.  Dr. Rock's Defense of the Practice Examined
  7. The Incense and Pure Offering of the Gentiles (Mal. 1:11)
  8. The Spiritual Meaning of Incense
  9. Doctrine of the Lesser Mysteries
  10. The Mystery-Plays
  11. Initiation into the Lesser Mysteries
  12. The Morality of the Mysteries.  Catholic "Economy"
  13. The Greater Mysteries.  The Number of the Beast
  14. The Appearance of Deities or Saints.  Hiouen-Thsang and the Shwadow of Buddha
  15. "The Real Presence"
  16. The Hierophant, or Peter, was the First Pope.  The Pontifex Maximus
  17. Initiation into the Higher Myserties
  18. The Hierophant, or Priest, as God
  19. A Third Order or Initiates corresponding to Bishops.  Apostolical Successin.  The Tonsure
  20. The Working of the Leaven
  21. The Transfer of Pagan Terms to Nominal Christianity
  22. Apostolic Tradition
  23. Jewish Tradition
  24. Basil on Tradition and Indispensable Pagan Practices
  25. The Origin of the Word "Mass"
  26. Summary and Inference
  27. Historical Developments
  28. Dr. Mivart's Apology for Polytheism
  29. A Parallel and a Warning

APPENDIX A: The Brethren of the Lord


At a time when momentous changes are taking place in the Ecclesiastical world, and our National Church is not merely commencing, but has almost accomplished, a retrograde movement from Bible light to Medieval darkness, it behooves sincere and thoughtful believers to consider the situation. What could have made the present religious tendencies possible in the twentieth century, in our own country, and after all the sad experiences of the past? For surely we might have hoped that the English Church, after having recovered so much truth at the time of the Reformation, would, from that epoch, have continued to draw nearer and nearer to the Apostolic ideal of the first century.

This, however, has been by no means the case: on the contrary, her course has ever been fitful and unsteady; and she has, at last, deliberately reversed her steps, and set her face determinedly toward the veiled Paganism of priests and sacraments—even as the five-and-twenty men seen by Ezekiel had turned their backs upon the Temple of the Lord, in order that they might worship the sun toward the East (Ezek. 8:16).

The causes of this portentous change are, doubtless, many. Among them we might mention the enmity of the carnal mind against God, which prompts men to instinctive disobedience; the mighty power with which Satan holds sway over human minds, and casts obstacles, absolutely insurmountable to mere human efforts, in the way of the servants of God; the fact that a National Church, with honours and emoluments to bestow, must inevitably number among her clergy many who, though upright and sincere according to the world’s standard, are not actuated solely by the love of Him Who died for sinners, and, therefore, cannot enjoy the guidance of His Spirit; and so on.

But it is to another cause of decadence that we would now invite attention—a cause which affects, more or less, every church and sect. We mean the fact, that each succeeding generation of men is found to depend too much, if not altogether, upon ancient custom, vague tradition, the laws of some church, or its own idea of what is right, and so does not continually refer for motives of belief and action to the written and unchanging Word of God. And yet it is for obedience to this latter that men are responsible to Him, and by it they must be judged before His Throne, even as He has said;

"He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the Word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the Last Day" (John 12:48).

Now, the consequence of this sin to those who are guilty of it is twofold. For, in the first place, not being acquainted with the Word of God and the promises commandments and predictions contained therein, they have no means of becoming conformed to His mind ; while they are, also, depriving themselves of the most powerful incentive and aid to holiness. And, secondly, for the same reason, they fail to remove the old leaven of Paganism and human methods from their creed and worship, and so leave it to work, from time to time, with disastrous issues.

It is hoped that the present volume may afford some help to those who are conscious that they have fallen into such errors as we have described, but are, nevertheless, honestly desirous of following out and realizing the Lord’s words:

"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: And he that loveth me shall be loved of My Father, And I will love him, And will manifest Myself unto him" (John 14:21).

It is, then, His commandments that must be learnt from His Own Word and scrupulously observed, if we love Him. From all other pretended authorities we must stand aloof: it was to guard us from these, and from every admixture of guile and evil, that He preserved for us a written revelation, which all may read and understand.

We have, therefore, essayed, in the following pages, to search that revelation anew, with diligence and prayer. Beginning with an investigation of the meaning and Scriptural use of the word ecciesia, usually rendered "Church," we have endeavoured to point out the practical bearings of that meaning and use. This is followed by an attempt to discover what conditions and behaviour the Scriptures require of those who would be members of the now invisible Church, which shall hereafter constitute the Body of Christ and the Heavenly Kingdom : to what laws, ordinances, and church-government, they ought to be subject; and with what gifts they should be endowed. And, in the first part of this inquiry, we have striven to show the clear distinction drawn by the New Testament between the gift of God which must be accepted as such, and the prize of our upward calling for which we must earnestly contend.

Lastly, since many laws ordinances and Ecclesiastical Hierarchies, which pass for those of Christ, are found to be very different from, and even antagonistic to, the teaching of Himself and His Apostles in the written Word, an effort has been made to unveil the source of the influence by which so marvelous a corruption was effected.

But this book, although complete in itself, is designed, also, as an introduction to the third volume in the series of which it forms a part, that is, to The Great Prophecies of the Centuries concerning the Church. For it seemed necessary to set forth what appeared to us to be the Scriptural idea of the Church, before we proceeded to consider the Divine forecast of its course upon earth.

To avoid confusion, it may be well to say that we do not use the word "Catholic" in its generally accepted meaning. It is not found in Scripture; but was adopted, in a technical sense, by those Ecclesiastical Christians who, taking their model from the Pagan Mysteries, believed in salvation by priests and sacraments. And with them it was used to indicate the orthodox—that is, the orthodox from their own point of view—as distinguished from heretics. We, therefore, resign the word to those to whom it of right belongs and regard it as a designation of Hierarchical as opposed to Evangelical and Apostolical Christians, of those who profess to recognize two authorities, the Church and the Bible, as contrasted with believers who will receive nothing as Divine Truth, unless it can be proved, and that in an intelligible and straightforward manner, from Holy Writ.



  The Kingdom and Everlasting Life (Chapter 7)

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