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19th Century docs
posted Feb 2006, revised Mar 2012
To forestall some criticism:
This is posted as an interesting example of 19th Century issues and thought. As a free thinker, I think all religious zealots are nuts.
It is too tedious to scan and post the whole 420 page book, so just the introduction, index and a few more pages are here.
IN THE LIGHT OF
REASON, HISTORY, AND SCRIPTURE.
REV. EDWARD BEECHER, D.D.
PUBLISHED BY STEARNS & CO.,
91 Washington Street.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
stereotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN.
God, my fellow-countrymen, has conferred on you the peculiar honor and the eminent responsibility of being jurors in behalf of the great commonwealth of humanity in a momentous case in which he himself is Judge.
The great criminal arraigned for trial before his bar is that peculiar corporation claiming the right to be called the church of Rome.
You are called on to decide whether this corporation, for treason against God and hostility to the human race, deserves the execration of mankind and the righteous and avenging judgment of God.
In order to decide this question, you are to consider, not. any plausible professions which the corporation may put forth, but the organic laws of the corporation, its avowed principles, the inevitable tendency of such laws and principles, and finally the actual results of these tendencies as imbodied in history. When you have intelligently considered these things, you will be able to decide what this corporation is and what ought to be its doom.
You are therefore called on also to decide whether this corporation has changed for the better or not since its principles were fully developed during the era or dispensation of their notorious head, Gregory VII., sometimes called Hildebrand; whether the lion's claws that it then had have been extracted, or only concealed ;
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 4
whether its teeth have been knocked out, or only hidden till it can find another opportunity to bite and devour. On these points some of the orators of the corporation have made most beautiful and touching appeals, protesting that in these auspicious days of liberality the lion has laid aside its ancient ferocity and repented of its bloody deeds, and is ready to lie down with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid, and that a little child can lead them. You, as good men and true, are called upon to say upon your oaths whether you find that there is any evidence that this blessed transformation has taken place.
Indeed, in coming to your ultimate results, you are called on to decide a still more important question that is to say, What is the character of this corporation for truth and fidelity to engagements ? You are called on to decide whether it is ever safe to trust any affirmations or denials of this corporation, or of any of its agents, as to any matters of fact touching their own interests or involved in their own defence.
You are therefore called on to decide, first, What has been the character of this corporation in these respects in ages past ? And if you find that it has been infamous to the last degree, then you are to decide whether it has ever repented and brought forth works meet for repentance, so as at last to deserve to be admitted into decent, civilized, and Christian society.
Not merely in ages past, but also at the present day, this corporation has promulgated certain bills of rights designed to define the extent of their own claims and prerogatives. These may, by way of distinction, be called the Papal bills of rights. On these you are also called to sit in judgment. The amount of them in brief is this: This Papal corporation have avowed a conscientious conviction that God has empowered them to do all the thinking of all mankind on all points of Christian faith and practice, and that he has required all the rest of mankind to think as this corporation thinks, on pain of eternal damnation; also that God has given them
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 5
full power over kings and all rulers, to use them as instruments in enforcing this right, by crusades, confiscations, proscriptions, and boundless slaughters. Such are their avowed and conscientious convictions on these important and interesting topics.
Their ideas of their own rights of conscience correspond; that is to say, they claim the right to act out these conscientious convictions without let or impediment. This is in brief the bill of Papal rights of conscience.
Their ideas of the rights of conscience in all others are no less interesting and instructive. They liberally concede to all mankind the right to obey such laws and decisions of all sorts as they shall declare that God has promulgated through themselves, and none others in contravention of these. In short, their theory of the rights of man is in brief this : That all mankind have an inalienable right to obey the laws of the Papal corporation; and that all who refuse to obey these laws have no other rights whatever.
The doctrines of this corporation on the subject of persecution are no less instructive. They are these :
Inasmuch as God has given to them the rights of conscience above stated, it is not persecution in them to carry those rights into full and perfect effect, by deposing rebellious kings and rulers, and by using such rulers as are obedient to them, in the laudable and divine work of torturing, and then butchering or burning, all rebels against Papal authority, confiscating their goods, and rendering them and their children infamous forever. For the Papal corporation to do all this is not persecution, but the exercise of just authority.
On the other hand, if any man shall have the hardihood and audacity even secretly to think that this is wrong, and much more to say so, that man is a persecutor. Much more is he a persecutor if he shall dare to endeavor to create a public sentiment that shall throw infamy upon the corporation simply because they have exercised their just rights of conscience in butchering a few millions of heretics say, for example, about fifty millions, more or less.
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 6
Still more, it would be inexcusable persecution for this nation to pass any laws to prevent them from gaining, as soon as possible, the ability to carry out their rights of conscience aforesaid in this country.
In particular, if the head of the corporation shall send to this country pecuniary agents, whom he sees fit to call bishops, and to concentrate in them all the property of all the religious societies in this land who own his sway, as one means of gaining the power at which he aims, then to interpose by law to prohibit and prevent such accumulation would be a still higher grade of persecution.
Above all, to expel by law from this land the sworn pecuniary agents of the foreign head of this corporation, even although they should be manifestly, and openly, and undeniably guilty of a treasonable conspiracy with foreign Romish powers to subvert the constitution and laws of these United States and of each particular state in this confederacy, would be the summit of persecution. This is self-evident; because any government that refuses to submit to the jurisdiction of this corporation has no right to exist, and therefore it is a duty to conspire to overthrow it. Indeed it is the conscientious conviction of the members of this corporation that they are called on, as soon as they can get the power, to rule all such governments with a. rod of iron and to dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
That these are the present claims of this corporation, without coloring or exaggeration, I think you will be satisfied when you shall have read the evidence adduced in this volume, which is but a small part of what could be offered.
I will, however, in this place present one item more, which I request you to consider in connection with that in the body of this work.
Pope Pius VII., whose papacy occupied nearly the first quarter of the present century, gave to his nuncio at Vienna the following instructions, in view of the claims of certain Protestant princes on his ecclesiastical property in Germany for indemnity for certainFRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 7
injuries. He says, " Not only has the church succeeded to prevent heretics from possessing themselves of ecclesiastical property, but she has established the confiscation and the loss of goods as the punishment of those guilty of the crime of heresy. This punishment, as it respects the goods of individuals, is decreed by a bull of Innocent III.; and, in respect of principalities and fiefs, it is a rule of the canon law (Chap. Absolutos xvi., De Haereticis) that the subjects of an heretical prince are enfranchised from every duty towards him and dispensed from all fealty and homage. However slightly one may be versed in history, he cannot but know that sentences of deposition have been pronounced by pontiffs and by councils against princes guilty of heresy. Indeed we have fallen upon such calamitous times, times of such humiliation to the spouse of Jesus Christ, (!) that it is not possible for her to practise nor expedient to invoke her most sacred maxims of just rigor against the enemies and rebels of the faith. But, if she cannot exercise her right of deposing heretics from their principalities and of declaring their goods forfeited, can she ever positively permit herself to be despoiled to add to them new principalities and new-goods ? What occasion of deriding the church would not be given to the heretics and unbelievers themselves, who, insulting over her grief, would say that means at length had been found out to make her tolerant ! " Such are the doctrines of this corporation in the nineteenth century.
This interesting document was obtained by M. Daunou from the archives of the Vatican when they were removed by Bonaparte to Paris, and were by the government committed to him for custody. The Italian original may be found in the second volume of his able History of the Court of Rome. This invaluable work every American ought to study, though its author is a lay Romanist. Of him I have said more in another part of my work.
In the light of this equitable document, we see clearly that the Romish church, so called, is under no obligation to make any com-
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 8
pensation to Protestants for any injuries whatever in the shape, for example, of deposition, confiscation, plunder, murder, &c.; for it is her right to do such things to heretics, and her most sacred maxims of just rigor require her to do them, whenever she can.
But how is it with regard to Protestants '? Even thus : If a mob, without violence to life, happens to burn a single convent, then the State of Massachusetts is to be held up to eternal infamy by the pope. and all his pecuniary agents called bishops, if she refuses to make restitution to the Romish corporation to the uttermost farthing.
Accordingly the Papal corporation never has made any restitution, and intends never to make any restitution, for cities sacked, churches burned, families plundered of their all, husbands and wives, parents and children, tortured and butchered by it with the most savage ferocity. The most sacred maxims of just rigor established by that corporation authorize and demand all these things: for it is self-evident that rebels against this corporation have no rights. But, if this state shall not make full restitution for property which they did not destroy, human language cannot utter the infamy and the deep damnation that this corporation will assign to all her Protestant citizens for such atrocious persecution.
Moreover from this document it appears that this gentle spouse of Christ is dissolved in grief in view of the present calamitous times, which prevent her from fully exercising her just rights of confiscation and murder, and regards the very supposition by the heretics that any means can possibly be found out sufficiently powerful to make her tolerant an insult over her grief.
What heart can be so hard as not to be touched with sympathetic sorrow in view of such deep grief of this most interesting and affectionate corporation ?
That the present pope, Pius IX., fully sympathizes with these views, is plain from his brief dated June 10, 1851, in condemnation of Francis G. Vigil, of Lima, Peru, which I have not room to quote, and from his allocution to the cardinals of the church. delivered
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 9
September, 1851, in which he says that " he hath taken this principle for basis, that the Catholic religion, with all its rights, ought to be exclusively dominant in such sort that every other worship shall be banished and interdicted." Well then may he, as he does, unite with his bishops in this country in applauding O. A. Brownson's magazine. Moreover I shall show in my work that the doctrines which I have just stated are an essential part of the constitutional law of this corporation, and that they are at this day taught and defended by Mr. Brownson and sanctioned by the Bishops of Home at present sojourning in these United States.
On these principles, then, you are called by the providence of God to sit in judgment, and to decide whether the principles of our government were designed to defend such rights of such consciences and to protect and establish the claims and authority of such a corporation.
You are also called to sit in judgment upon the influence of the corporation putting forth such claims upon all the religious, civil, and social interests of the community in ages past and at this day. Especially are you called on to decide upon the influence of the celibacy of the clergy in connection with the confessional, and also of the whole system of monasteries and nunneries established in this land. No other subject more deeply affects the interests of the future millions of this continent, which God has given in trust to you.
You are also called upon to consider upon what grounds the members of this corporation base their claims to such prerogatives and rights as they arrogate to themselves; whether they have, indeed, a divine warrant for them, or whether they are based upon a foundation of forgeries and frauds as atrocious as their claims are all-comprehending and exclusive.
My object in this volume is to furnish you with some authentic evidence for your careful consideration in forming your judgment on all these momentous questions.
God's great books of revelation and of history are open before this
FRIENDLY CONSIDERATIONS FOR AMERICAN PROTESTANTS AND FREEMEN. 10
nation. The evidence which I adduce is derived from their pages. The foundations of this corporation I have examined and the process of its formation. I have given an historical view of the deeds of three of its leading master builders one of them the patron saint of the Romish bishops residing in these United States.
I have also considered its influence in the period of its greatest power and most perfect development, and also from that day to this. Its true character is developed in its history and in the word of God.
To this course of historical investigation, as well as to all the other evidence, I ask your careful attention. Remember that you are judges with God in the greatest case of all ages a case radically affecting the glory and the reign of God and every interest of the whole human family.
May the supreme Judge, in whose court you are jurors, so instruct you that you shall pronounce a righteous judgment according to the law and the facts of the case.
Chap. I. The Romish Corporation against our Protestant Fathers, 13
Chap. II. Illustrations of the Spirit and Aims of Popery, 16
Chap. III. The Central Power of Popery, 20
Chap. IV. The Essence of Protestantism, 24
Romanism a Fraudulent and Persecuting Conspiracy.
Chap. I. Romanism invades the Rights of Man as to Truth, Fidelity, Property, and Life, 30
Chap. II. Popish Principles of Veracity and Fidelity, 32
Chap. III. Popish Professions in Great Britain and America, 36
Chap. IV. What ought we to believe ? What is the supreme Tribunal? 42
Chap. V. Positions to be proved, 47
Chap. VI. Testimony adduced, 50
Chap. VII. Appeal for Judgment to all true Americans, 81
Chap. VIII. The Gallican, or French, Doctrine, 88
Chap. IX. Evasion of Charles Butler, 92
Chap. X. Evasion of Bishops Hughes and Kenrick, 96
Chap. XI. The Jesuits on Lying and Slander, 110
Chap. XII. Cautions to Americans in View of modem Romish Examples of Lying and Perjury,
Romanism the Enemy of Mankind.
Chap I. The Case stated, and Principles of Judgment, 131 Chap. II. Popery a Religion, a trading Corporation, a Government, 134
Chap. III. Operation and pernicious Effects of the System, 138
Chap. IV. The Celibacy of the Clergy, and the Confessional, 148
Chap. V. Reasons for a thorough Consideration of this Subject, 155
Chap. VI. The Voice of History and Experience, 161
Chap. VII. Bishop Kenrick's audacious Defence, 172
Chap. VIII. Testimony of Romish Priests, 191
Chap. IX. The Result. Infamous Character of the Romish Corporation, 206
Romanism an Imposition and a Forgery.
Chap. I. Presumptive Evidence of the Fact, 212
Chap. II. Argument from History, 234
Chap. III. History of the Formation of the Romish Corporation by Fraud and Forgery, 239
Chap. IV. Nicholas I. and the Forgeries and Frauds of the Dark Ages,
Chap. V. The Rock Peter and the Frauds of Leo the Great, 306
Chap. VI. The Plots and Frauds of Gregory VII., the patron Saint of the Bishops of the United States. The Bishops' Oath, 331
Chap. VII. Characteristics and Developments of Popery during the Era of Gregory VII., 342
The Judgement of God and the Burning of Babylon.
Chap. I. Babylon on Fire, 365
Chap. II. The Fire of God, 371
Chap. III. Protestantism defended, 391
Chap. IV. The Treason of the Romish Bishops in America, 399
Chap. V. Appeal for the Judgment of God, 408
Chap. VI. What ought to be done ? 412
THE PAPAL CONSPIRACY EXPOSED.
THE CASE STATED AND THE ISSUE DEFINED.
The Pilgrim Fathers of New England and the other Protestant founders of this great nation came to this continent, soon after the reformation had shaken the European world, to lay the foundations of a new order of things, by erecting a new social system upon the great principles of civil and religious liberty.
As one illustration of the results of this colonization, we now witness in New England a state of society which, with all its defects, has never been exceeded, and rarely equalled, on earth. Our state of society, too, is the result of the principles and institutions of oar fathers. It was their glory, in their own esteem, that they had receded to the uttermost point from the corruptions and pollutions of Rome in doctrine, organization, and morals. Their
The Case Stated and the Issue Defined. 14
foundation was the Bible, and the Bible alone not the Bible neutralized or rendered poisonous by the traditions of man ; the Bible in the hands of the churches and of the people, and not in the hands of a hierarchy falsely calling herself the church. Under it have sprung up free governments in church and state, systems of education, purity in the family state, regenerated ministers and churches, benevolent enterprise, science, literature, and the arts.
Results similar to these are also extensively witnessed throughout our land ; and it is our fixed purpose, by the aid of God, to make them universal. At this we aim; because it is our firm conviction that we, as a Protestant nation, have received our principles from God, and that he has assigned to us the sublime mission and the glorious destiny of making them universal.
But lo, whilst we are obediently moving on to attain our destiny, an assault is made upon us by a system unique and peculiar, and assuming the style and title of the Church of Rome, the Mother and Mistress of all churches.
We turn to listen to her words. They are bold and lofty. Laying aside all ceremony, she at once denounces us and our fathers as in rebellion against her, our only lawful and religious sovereign, and therefore against Almighty God himself.
We stop to consider more particularly the system which makes such charges and puts forth such pretensions.
We find it to be a system nominally Christian, yet not friendly to other Christian bodies, but excluding and anathematizing them all. It is confined to no nation or government, but exists under all. Its parts in various nations are not, like other religious bodies, independent of each other, but are all organized as one compact system around one head. That head is a temporal ruler in a
The Case Stated and the Issue Defined. 15
territory exclusively his own. He is also a spiritual ruler, and to some extent a temporal ruler, over his subjects in all lands. He claims supremacy over all earthly governments; and, so far as he has had at any time the ability, has exercised this supremacy, and at all times aims to secure the requisite power.
In our land the system has great and constantly increasing numbers. Seven archbishops, thirty-two bishops, one thousand five hundred and seventy-four priests, and a population of three millions are subjected to its sway.
It has exerted great power in politics. Politicians have courted the favor of those who sway this mass of voters. It has also constantly aimed, through pecuniary and political motives, to paralyze and control the Protestant political and secular press.
It has under its control numerous and dangerous organized societies, composed of unmarried men and women withdrawn from domestic life, and specially sworn to extend and defend the authority of the Pope of Rome, the head of the great system.
It is organizing seductive and proselyting systems of education, and aims by means of them to corrupt and enlist in their vast schemes the children of Protestant parents. It has at this time twenty colleges, with two thousand two hundred and forty-seven students ; twenty-nine theological seminaries, with upwards of four hundred students ; and one hundred and twelve female academies.
It is accumulating property and aiming to concentrate it in the hands of the bishops the sworn vassals of a foreign monarch. It meets us at every turn in this and in all lands. It shows its true spirit as fast as it gains power ; and it significantly threatens us with future retribution whenever it shall gain universal sway16
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE SPIRIT AND AIMS OF POPERY.
We will illustrate these statements by a few impressive facts. It has ever been the policy of the Papists to charge on Protestants a tendency to all kinds of radical and disorganizing errors, and to assert that the only defence against it is submission to the Papacy. Whenever such tendencies appear to exist in fact, the Papists are emboldened to endeavor to produce a reaction towards their system. Accordingly, when signs of such a state of things began to appear in New England, they put forth new efforts to make proselytes ; nor were those efforts entirely fruitless.
In particular, one well-known personage, of New England parentage and education, Orestes A. Brownson, who had himself neared the gulf of infidelity and atheism, unable to extricate himself from the mazes of scepticism, fled for refuge to Rome, and now pronounces the experiment of our fathers a failure, and calls on us to return from our revolt. Thus, in this centre of New England, this bold proposal is made by a descendant of the Puritans to the American mind. Our system is pronounced a failure. Romanism is offered to us in its place ; yea, urged upon us as our only refuge from ruin.
Listen to the following words, in which he discloses not only his own feelings, but also the purposes of the Papal corporation:
Spirit and Aims of Popery. 17
"The church may be assailed, will be assailed : but we know it is founded on a rock ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It is now firmly established in this country ; and persecution will but cause it to thrive. Our countrymen may be grieved that it is so ; but it is useless for them to kick against the decrees of Almighty God. They have had an open field and fair play for Protestantism. Here Protestantism has had free scope, has reigned without a rival, and proved what she could do, and that her best is evil; for the very good she boasts is not hers. A new day is dawning on this chosen land ; a new chapter is about to open in our history, and the church to assume her rightful position and influence. Ours shall yet become consecrated ground; and hero the kingdom of God's dear Son shall be established. Our hills and valleys shall yet echo to the convent bell. No matter who writes, who declaims, who intrigues, who is alarmed, or what leagues are formed ; this is to be a Catholic country ; and from Maine to Georgia, from the broad Atlantic to the broader Pacific, the clean sacrifice is to be offered daily for the quick and the dead."
But these words are not original with him ; they are but an echo of the voice of the church. The society at Lyons for the propagation of the faith, a Papal organization of great power, to which I shall hereafter recur again, says the same. Speaking of the discovery of America by Columbus, and of the fact that France and Spain took possession for the church, the society says, J
" At a late hour heresy made her appearance, and led to the coasts of North America the most violent of her disciples the restless Puritans. Soon other sects cast their scum on the same shores, and Protestantism gainedSpirit and Aims of Popery. 18
sovereignty in the thirteen colonies which were destined to become the United States. Yet the Catholic church could never abandon the invaded territory."
After unfolding her plans and her vigorous prosecution of them, she says,
" In view of such beneficial results, we may well believe that the creation of the American episcopate will rank as one of the most important events in the ecclesiastical history of the nineteenth century. Its efficacious activity recalls to mind something of those labors of organization by which the illustrious bishops of primitive times, among the depraved Romans, the Arians, and the barbarians, provided for the future welfare of modern nations."
Nay, Mr. B. openly confesses that there is a system designed to exterminate Protestantism: "Not by force," he says, " but by argument and conviction. The church," he says, " never uses force." Just as true as this has been, so 1 true will it bo when they gain the power. We see the parts,' therefore, of a universal system ; and they agree with the declaration of the Duke of Richmond. He, as is well known, declared that there was a combination of the despots of the old world to destroy our institutions in order to sustain their own. This and other statements of a similar kind will be fully detailed in the succeeding portions of this work. Let no man, then, call it illiberalty or persecution if we subject this arrogant and invading system to a thorough scrutiny. We are still the majority. We have liberty and a free press: and God has raised us up, given us the power, and calls us to the work. Yet I desire to say, in passing, that my confidence of success does not rest on man. There is no sufficient power to prevent the spread of that system but God. ItsSpirit and Aims of Popery. 19
past sway is owing to its accordance with human depravity ; and the same cause will give it power in time to come bod does not interpose. But his glory calls for its ruin He is strong enough to judge it ; and he will. That the time of this judgment is near, gathering signs foretell. The hosts are moving to the field of Armageddon.20
THE CENTRAL POWER OF POPERY.
So long as men admit the being of a God and believe in the immortality of the soul, their most powerful motives will be derived from their hopes and fears as to eternal life. It matters not whether these hopes or fears are founded on truth or falsehood, genuine religion or superstition ; so long as they exist they will sway the masses of mankind with resistless power. The sway of Popery over the popular mind is derived from this source. It all depends upon a false answer to the question, " What shall I do to be saved ? "
The sublimity and importance of the ideas called up before the mind by this brief question I suppose no one will deny. It calls up God ; a spiritual world ; a moral government; a law and its penalty; a revolt; an atonement; reconciliation to God, resulting in heaven; eternal alienation, resulting in hell. But what has it to do with the central error of Romanism and the main issue between Romanists and Protestants? Much every way, as I shall soon show.
The answer to this question given by the great reformers is plain and distinct. It unfolds God, the correlation of the mind to him, the nature of his law, and of life in him by love, and shows that this perfects the mind and conducts it to its true end. It unfolds sin in its nature,
The Central Power of Popery 21
forms and effects upon the mind its guilt, and desert, and eternal consequences. It unfolds the divinity and incarnation of the Son of God and his atonement, and the possibility of pardon on the ground of repentance, faith, and a holy life. And then, with the apostles, it says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." This is the answer of the whole evangelical Protestant world. In this they all agree. With them the church of Rome does not agree. Teaching a hell, she admits the need of the question, but answers it falsely. Her answer is, Believe in the church of Rome, and in Christ as the church of Rome believes in him, and thou shalt be saved ; believe not, and thou shalt bo damned.
But you reply, I have had the Bible from childhood ; I have studied it; I have been aided in my study by the instruction of holy men ; I think I know what sin is, and that I have repented of it, and trusted in Christ, and am striving to cultivate all the Christian graces and to lead a holy life ; and through the mercy of God, through Christ, I hope for heaven. Are not my hopes well founded ? But do you believe in the church of Rome ? No ; I believe in the Bible. But do you believe in the Bible in her sense and according to her interpretation ? In some things I do, and in some I do not. in a great multitude of things I regard her as utterly misinterpreting and radically corrupting the word of God ; and, on the whole, I regard that church as the man of sin spoken of by Paul and the great harlot spoken of by John. Then of course you cannot be saved ; since you not only do not believe in the church of Rome, but blaspheme her the bride, the spouse of Christ. But where has God told me to believe in the church of Rome? My Bible says nothing about it. It says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And Paul, in his letter to the church of Rome
The Central Power of Popery 22
says, " Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved ;" but not a syllable about believing in the church of Rome any where.
Now, what has the church of Rome to say to all this, think you ? Why, as follows : -
1. You cannot tell what the canon of the Bible is except through the church of Rome.
2. After the canon is made out, you cannot so tell what the Bible means, without the aid of the church of Home, that it is possible for you to exercise saving faith.
3. The Bible, without the traditions of the church of Rome, is so defective and imperfect that it is not safe to depend upon it.
4. There is only one thing upon which you can depend safely; and that is the church of Rome. Through her you can tell what the canon of the Bible is ; through her you can tell what it means ; through her you can have all its deficiencies supplied ; and thus through her you can trust in Christ, be holy, and be saved.
But what is this church of Rome ? Does it mean the whole body of believers under the pope? No, indeed; we are not Congregationalists. It is not their duty to judge, or teach ; but to hear their superiors, believe and obey. What, then, is the church ? If you would know definitely, then hear. It is the body of bishops in union with the pope, their head ; and they are inspired, not as individuals, but in their corporate capacity. This is the church that we mean. It is the ecclesia docens the teaching church. It is an inspired, infallible, indefectible body of teachers. These, as a corporation, are, as it were, an incarnation of God the body of Christ. Through them God speaks and acts. Through them he interprets the Bible and settles all questions of doctrine. Through them he governs the church. Through no other body of
The Central Power of Popery 23
men does he so act or speak. If you hear them, you hear him : if you reject them, you reject him. They occupy precisely the same place relatively to the world that the apostles did of old. Indeed, they are the successors of the apostles, and inherit all their prerogatives and powers ; and as a rejection of the apostles would have been fatal then, so is a rejection of this inspired and infallible body of their successors now. Therefore, if you do not believe in the church of Rome, you cannot believe in Christ or be paved. Believe, therefore, in the church of Rome, and through her in Christ, and thou shalt be saved, is still the reply.
We have thus arrived at what is, beyond all doubt, the central power of the Romish system. This is the great, citadel of spiritual Babylon. On this point comes up the main, the dividing, issue between Romanists and Protestants. The demand of faith in the Romish corporation as an infallible church, as essential to salvation, is the vital power of the great Romish apostasy ; its denial is the fundamental position of Protestantism.24
THE PRECEDING STATEMENTS CONFIRMED.
That the rejection of the pope and the corporation of bishops is the essence of Protestantism is exceedingly manifest, as will appear from the following among other reasons :
1. Though there are numerous other errors in the system, as image worship, transubstantiation, the mass, purgatory, &c, yet any one of them can be removed, yea, many of them, and yet leave the mainspring of the system in powerful operation ; but take this corporation away, and the system dies. As an ox smitten on the side does not die, nor if you cut off a leg or a horn does he die, but if you smite him on his forehead, on his brain, his whole system is dissolved, and he dies, so is it here. This is the forehead beneath which lies the brain of the system ; smite it, and it dies. God has seven hammers, any one of which can smite it with omnipotent power ; how much more all ! In the proper place I shall produce them. My object now is simply to bring forward the system and show where to smite.
2. Till this is smitten down, it is a wall of defence around all the interior absurdities of the system. In vain do you object against them ; it is all set aside as mere private judgment. You deem them false, say they ; but what is the worth of your individual opinion ? The church deems them true ; and who is most likely to be right?The Preceding Statements Confirmed 25
Has she not God's promise to be with her always and to guide her into all truth? _ .
3. It effects a ruinous perversion of the principle of faith one of the most important and powerful of the soul, and the most injurious in its perversion. Any absurdity however great, once taken into this enclosure, is exempted from the scrutiny of reason, and belief is debased to receive it.
4. It makes the system essentially, logically, and of necessity, intolerant and exterminating, regarding all other systems as the gospel docs idolatry i. e., as rebellion against God. Many Protestants do not seem to be aware of this, and think that Protestants ought to regard Romanism as one of the many fraternal Christian sects. But they mistake its necessary logical relation to all other bodies. It does not acknowledge any of them as any part of the church of Christ, nor as Christians. It does not ask to be put on a level with them. It has no part or lot with them. They are sons of Belial, all of them enemies of God, children of perdition, on the road to hell ; and its only duty and avowed end is to convert or exterminate them.
Indeed, it denounces them all as pagans. The celebrated Brownson, speaking, as he declares, under the sanction of the American Papal bishops, says, (Quarterly Review, January, 1854, p. 96,) " Our American society is pagan; not Christian." Hence he affirms that the Papists are situated as were the first Christians under pagan Rome and that they are an insulated system in which are all the hopes of society.
"Almost every where the faithful, as under the pagan emperors of Rome, must constitute a society of their own independent of the pagan society in the midst of which they live, complete in itself, and adequate to all social
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wants and necessities. This Catholic society is in the old world the remains of a once general Catholic society ; in our country it is, as under the pagan Caesars, the germ or nucleus of a new Catholic state. All the hopes of the old world centre in these Catholic remnants ; all the hopes of the new in this Catholic germ. It is this Catholic society, sustaining itself or forming itself under overshadowing heathenism, that we must consult in our addresses and discussions. To save the non-Catholic society from continued decline and corruption is as hopeless as it was to save the Jewish state under the Roman governors, or pagan society under Nero or Diocletian. The thing is out of the question ; because modern society, as distinguished from the Catholic, has in itself no recuperative energy, no germ of life. All society must conform to the principles of our holy religion, and spring from Catholicity as its root, or sooner or later lapse into barbarism. The living germ in all modern nations, the nucleus of all future living society, is in the Catholic portion of the population. They are the salt of the earth ; they are the leaven that is to leaven the whole lump." Quarterly Review, pp. 97, 98.
The feelings of some Romanists, and even their common sense, may revolt from this ; nay, in view of the debased Romanist masses among us, it is both impudent and ludicrous; but it is the stern, inevitable, logical result of the system, avowed in public formulas, fully brought out by Mr. B.
" ' It is the intention of the pope to possess this country.' Undoubtedly. ' In this intention he is aided by the Jesuits and all the Catholic prelates and priests.' Undoubtedly, if they are faithful to their religion. ' If the Catholic church becomes predominant here, Protestants will all be exterminated.' We hope so, if exterminated as Protestants by being converted to the Catholic faith."
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He at this time deems it politic to disclaim in behalf of the church all force but moral, and says that is enough, and also concedes equal civil rights. His subsequent doctrine as to extermination will depend upon the power of the church. He then proceeds :
" Save, then, in the discharge of our civil duties and in the ordinary business of life, there is and can be no harmony between Catholics and Protestants. The two parties stand opposed ; separated, not by a mere paper wall, as some of the sects are, but by a great gulf. The people of Christ (i. e., the Romanists) are a peculiar people ; they stand out from the world, distinct, separate ; and must, if they will be the people of Christ. They can have no fellowship with Belial, nor live in peace and harmony with his children, (i. e., the Protestants.")
From such views he anticipates a Protestant reaction ; but ho treats it with supreme contempt. He says,
" The signs of the times seem to indicate that the several tribes of Goths, Vandals, Huns, and other barbarians are forming a league for a new invasion of Rome. Well, be it so. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh at them, and the Lord shall deride them. The Episcopalians may read their destiny in that of the old Donatists, whom in many respects they resemble; and all the Protestant sects combined are not so formidable to the church as were at one period the old Arians. The church triumphed over the Arians ; she will triumph over the Protestants. A union whose principle is hatred will not long subsist but will soon break asunder. Protestantism is doomed. The devil may be very active and full of wrath utter great swelling words for a season, because he knows that his time is short ; but Protestantism must go the way of all the earth."
This seems to be sufficiently explicit. Yet doubtlessThe Preceding Statements Confirmed 28
there will be still some charitable souls who will it illiberal to suspect the Romanists of ulterior evil designs, and call even argument in self-defence persecution, and wonder why we will persecute a sect of Christians who have been so far liberalized by modern progress as to outgrow their ancient bigotry and exclusiveness.
5. So far as it is believed, it becomes a corporation invested with the highest powers of despotism that the mind of man can conceive. It has the monopoly, not of banking, or corn, or wheat, but of the grace of God, of heaven and hell ; and such a body will bind men to their sway by the whole weight of eternal joys and eternal woes. It has logically carried out its views ; and kings and nations have quailed before its terrors. Its logical tendencies are still the same. Nothing but the counterpoise of Protestantism prevents it. On this it gnashes its teeth, and longs to exterminate it. To be sure, they tell us that it will be safe to put such power into the hands of such a corporation ; for God will not let his bride, his wife, abuse it. Gentle souls! As if the experience of more than a thousand years had thrown no light on that point!
6. It urges, in the nature of the case, the most important and momentous claim that a body of men can make. It involves not merely a question of truth or falsehood, as in the case of common historical facts. It admits of no middle ground between the highest and most momentous truth and a falsehood of the deepest and most damning guilt. God either sanctions the claim with his whole soul, or with his whole soul ho abhors it.
7. If such a question is involved, it can be settled. There must be truth on such a point. Interest and organic power may resist; but God is almighty; and he can so wield truth that they will give way.
8. It is the great question of the age. For three hundredThe Preceding Statements Confirmed 29
years Christendom has been divided into two contending camps. Things cannot remain so: there must be a decision ; there will be. The systems are diametrically opposed : one must and will exterminate the other. But it will not be without a moral conflict unknown before the battle of the great day of God Almighty.
From this brief view of the state of the case one thing is clear that it is a system that ought, especially at this time, to be thoroughly understood; not misrepresented, not dealt with on grounds of prejudice, but studied, analyzed, understood in the light of history, philosophy, and Scripture.
We ought not to be simple, credulous, and the dupes of craft and delusion. The main stress of the conflict will be upon such points as these : Is there evidence in the nature of things, or in the word or in the providence of God, as developed in history, that the claims of this corporation are well founded ? Or do they prove them to be false, impious, and destructive ?
In reply to these inquiries, I shall undertake to show that, so far is the Romish corporation from being an ordinance of God, it is rather a fraudulent conspiracy against the interests of God and humanity ; that it is so far from having its basis in Scripture and reason that it is rather an imposture and a forgery ; that it is so far from being God's messenger of blessings to men that it is rather the enemy of mankind and hostile to the best interests of society; and that Protestantism, so far from deserving the anathemas and curses heaped upon it by that proud and aspiring corporation, is founded in truth is honorable to God, and is the only sure defence of our country and of mankind.
ROMANISM A FRAUDULENT AND PERSECUTING CONSPIRACY.
THE RIGHTS OF MEN AS TO TRUTH AND FIDELITY INVADED BY ROMANISM.
The nature of man as a social being is such that his fundamental necessity is a knowledge of the truth. He ia called on to act in a great system with man and with God. How, then, can he act aright unless ho knows what that system is and what are his relations to it? How can man act safely and confidently in his intercourse with man unless he knows the real state and relations of the things and events around him? Every man, therefore, has an indefeasible claim on his fellow-man to know from him the truth. To establish and justify the utterance of falsehood, is to strike a blow at the very basis of the social system.
If, then, all men have a right to know the truth as to God and man, no man or body of men has a right toThe Rights of Men Invaded by Romanism 31
delude them even under the pretence of promoting their good, or for tthe sake of any alleged general interest.
All men have a right also to truth and fidelity as to promises and contracts.
They have no less a right to defence in a free use of their powers in the study of God and his laws and works and truth in general.
All these rights the Romish corporation invades. In fact, it is a conspiracy to defraud men of all their rights, and to disfranchise and extirpate all who refuse to submit to its claims.
They take the ground that no man has a right to know the truth from them in any case where they regard it as inconsistent with their own interests.
That no promises or oaths are binding to those who oppose their interests and renounce their authority ; and that all the civil and political rights of those who thus oppose their interests are forfeited, as well as their property and lives.
A corporation which takes this ground is, in the strictest and most absolute sense, a fraudulent conspiracy against the interests and the rights of mankind.
In discussing these allegations, we should not deem it sufficient to look at the professions made by the advocates of the corporation when weak and in the minority, but should ask, What are the principles of the corporation itself? What has it always avowed and done whenever up external power has prevented its full development? These enquiries shall be answered by an appeal to history.
No system has a history more full and definite The tendencies which we shall allege have imbodied themselves in facts ; indeed, its history is one great tragedy. It is like the prophet's roll written, within and without, with mourning, lamentation, and woe.