This celebrated public teacher was born in Phrygia in Asia Minor, and made his first appearance before the public about 160 A. D., in the village of Ardabar, on the confines of Phrygia and Mysia. Gnosticism was flourishing at that period, and with other forms of false "philosophy" had so infested the church with heresy that Montanus with burning enthusiasm raised his voice against the substitution of such philosophy for Christianity. He considered those only to be true and perfect Christians who possessed the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit. He did not at first seek a separation, but confined his efforts to stirring up the Christians generally to a fresh religious life - to a belief in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On this ground took place the first grand separation from a carnalized community. As the golden light of truth departed from the once irradiated churches in the gathering twilight, which soon afterwards deepened into the dark shades of night, the Montanists parted from them, and zealously advocated the true gospel principles, spiritual regeneration, faith - spirituality first; baptism and church membership next.

A decree was issued by Elentherus, Bishop of Rome, about the year 190, for the expulsion of Montanus and his followers. Accordingly, they proceeded to organize into separate bodies, and refused to recognize those societies from which they had thus withdrawn as true gospel churches, and reimmersed all who came from them. Neander says: "Montanus belongs to the class of men in whom the first glow of conversion began an unconquerable opposition to the world." Thus we see that at this early date the fears expressed by Paul had begun to meet with fulfillment: "Lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ;" - II. Cor. 11:3. Yet God had not left himself without a witness. From the corrupt, domineering party, which had thus sought to combine the false philosophy of men with the religion of Jesus Christ, arose, within the century following, the "Catholic Church;" and the opposition thus inaugurated by the Montanists continued to manifest itself during the subsequent centuries, the traces of which may be followed by noting the blood of its martyrs.

Jesus said of the church founded by him, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Then, although false teachers had crept in unawares, and corrupt doctrines and practices had been sown by them, yet there still remained some who clung to the simplicity of the truth, and through them the church of Christ was preserved, so that the gates of hell did not utterly prevail. Had the entire church been swallowed up by the idolatrous errors of the Catholic party, the language of Jesus would not have been true, for the gates of hell would then have prevailed against his entire church. But the declaration of the Saviour is true and is sure to be fulfilled; therefore, his true followers withdrew from the corruptions of the times and upheld the standard of gospel truth, and were not prevailed against by the powers of darkness. Daniel prophesied that this kingdom "should never be destroyed," but that it should "stand forever;" that it should "not be left to other people," but that the "saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever."

- Elder John R. Daily, Primitive Monitor, 1897, pp. 128-130.

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