Table of Contents
Liberty of Conscience Threatened
ROMANISM is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In
those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a
conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference
concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the
opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as
has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better
understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the
liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to
abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how
widely different are the sentiments now expressed!
The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been maligned, and the Protestant
world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the
church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the
centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the
barbarism of the times and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her
Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put forth for eight hundred years
by this haughty power? So far from being relinquished, this claim was affirmed in the
nineteenth century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that the
"church never erred; nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err " (John
L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, book 3, century II, part 2, chapter
2, section 9, note 17), how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in
The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done
in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not
repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed
by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there
would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution.
A well-known writer speaks thus of the attitude of the papal hierarchy as regards freedom
of conscience, and of the perils which especially threaten the United States from the
success of her policy:
"There are many who are disposed to attribute any fear of Roman Catholicism in the
United States to bigotry or childishness. Such see nothing in the character and attitude
of Romanism that is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in its
growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental principles of our government
with those of the Catholic Church.
"The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is
dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854,
said: `The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience
are a most pestilential error--a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.' The
same pope, in his Encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized `those who assert
the liberty of conscience and of religious
worship,' also 'all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.'
"The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply a change of heart. She
is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O'Connor: 'Religious liberty is merely
endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic
world.'. . . The archbishop of St. Louis once said: 'Heresy and unbelief are crimes; and
in Christian countries, as in Italy and Spain, for instance, where all the people are
Catholics, and where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land,
they are punished as other crimes.'. . .
"Every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the Catholic Church takes an oath of
allegiance to the pope, in which occur the following words: 'Heretics, schismatics, and
rebels to our said lord (the pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost
persecute and oppose.'"--Josiah Strong, Our Country, ch. 5, pars. 2-4.
It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic communion. Thousands in
that church are serving God according to the best light they have. They are not allowed
access to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth. They have never seen the
contrast between a living heart service and a round of mere forms and ceremonies. God
looks with pitying tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is
delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate the dense darkness
that surrounds them. He will reveal to them the truth as it is in Jesus, and many will yet
take their position with His people.
But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any
former period in her history. The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would
discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of
operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in
preparation for a fierce and determined
conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that
Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. See the increasing
number of her churches and chapels in Protestant countries. Look at the popularity of her
colleges and seminaries in America, so widely patronized by Protestants. Look at the
growth of ritualism in England and the frequent defections to the ranks of the Catholics.
These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.
Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and
concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see and fail to understand. Men are
closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism and the dangers to be apprehended
from her supremacy. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most
dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.
Many Protestants suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive and that its worship
is a dull, meaningless round of ceremony. Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon
deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious service of the Roman
Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate
the senses of the people and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is
charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden altars, jeweled shrines,
choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is
captivated. The music is unsurpassed. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ, blending
with the melody of many voices as it swells through the lofty domes and pillared aisles of
her grand cathedrals, cannot fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence.
This outward splendor, pomp, and ceremony, that only mocks the longings of the sin-sick
soul, is an evidence of inward corruption. The religion of Christ needs not such
attractions to recommend it. In the light shining from the cross, true Christianity
appears so pure and lovely that no
external decorations can enhance its true worth. It is the beauty of holiness, a meek and
quiet spirit, which is of value with God.
Brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure, elevated thought. High
conceptions of art, delicate refinement of taste, often exist in minds that are earthly
and sensual. They are often employed by Satan to lead men to forget the necessities of the
soul, to lose sight of the future, immortal life, to turn away from their infinite Helper,
and to live for this world alone.
A religion of externals is attractive to the unrenewed heart. The pomp and ceremony of the
Catholic worship has a seductive, bewitching power, by which many are deceived; and they
come to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of heaven. None but those who have
planted their feet firmly upon the foundation of truth, and whose hearts are renewed by
the Spirit of God, are proof against her influence. Thousands who have not an experimental
knowledge of Christ will be led to accept the forms of godliness without the power. Such a
religion is just what the multitudes desire.
The church's claim to the right to pardon leads the Romanist to feel at liberty to sin;
and the ordinance of confession, without which her pardon is not granted, tends also to
give license to evil. He who kneels before fallen man, and opens in confession the secret
thoughts and imaginations of his heart, is debasing his manhood and degrading every noble
instinct of his soul. In unfolding the sins of his life to a priest,--an erring, sinful
mortal, and too often corrupted with wine and licentiousness,--his standard of character
is lowered, and he is defiled in consequence. His thought of God is degraded to the
likeness of fallen humanity, for the priest stands as a representative of God. This
degrading confession of man to man is the secret spring from which has flowed much of the
evil that is defiling the world and fitting it for the final destruction. Yet to him who
it is more pleasing to confess to a fellow mortal than to open the soul to God. It is more
palatable to human nature to do penance than to renounce sin; it is easier to mortify the
flesh by sackcloth and nettles and galling chains than to crucify fleshly lusts. Heavy is
the yoke which the carnal heart is willing to bear rather than bow to the yoke of Christ.
There is a striking similarity between the Church of Rome and the Jewish Church at the
time of Christ's first advent. While the Jews secretly trampled upon every principle of
the law of God, they were outwardly rigorous in the observance of its precepts, loading it
down with exactions and traditions that made obedience painful and burdensome. As the Jews
professed to revere the law, so do Romanists claim to reverence the cross. They exalt the
symbol of Christ's sufferings, while in their lives they deny Him whom it represents.
Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars, and upon their garments.
Everywhere is seen the insignia of the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and
exalted. But the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless traditions,
false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. The Saviour's words concerning the bigoted
Jews, apply with still greater force to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church:
"They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders;
but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." Matthew 23:4.
Conscientious souls are kept in constant terror fearing the wrath of an offended God,
while many of the dignitaries of the church are living in luxury and sensual pleasure.
The worship of images and relics, the invocation of saints, and the exaltation of the pope
are devices of Satan to attract the minds of the people from God and from His Son. To
accomplish their ruin, he endeavors to turn their attention from Him through whom alone
they can find salvation. He will direct them to any object that can be substituted for the
One who has said: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and
are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
It is Satan's constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and
the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of
the divine law and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes them to cherish
false conceptions of God so that they regard Him with fear and hate rather than with love.
The cruelty inherent in his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in
systems of religion and expressed in modes of worship. Thus the minds of men are blinded,
and Satan secures them as his agents to war against God. By perverted conceptions of the
divine attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifices necessary to
secure the favor of Deity; and horrible cruelties have been perpetrated under the various
forms of idolatry.
The Roman Catholic Church, uniting the forms of paganism and Christianity, and, like
paganism, misrepresenting the character of God, had resorted to practices no less cruel
and revolting. In the days of Rome's supremacy there were instruments of torture to compel
assent to her doctrines. There was the stake for those who would not concede to her
claims. There were massacres on a scale that will never be known until revealed in the
judgment. Dignitaries of the church studied, under Satan their master, to invent means to
cause the greatest possible torture and not end the life of the victim. In many cases the
infernal process was repeated to the utmost limit of human endurance, until nature gave up
the struggle, and the sufferer hailed death as a sweet release.
Such was the fate of Rome's opponents. For her adherents she had the discipline of the
scourge, of famishing hunger, of bodily austerities in every conceivable, heart-sickening
form. To secure the favor of Heaven, penitents violated the laws of God by violating the
laws of nature. They were taught to sunder the ties which He has formed to bless and
gladden man's earthly sojourn. The churchyard contains millions of
victims who spent their lives in vain endeavors to subdue their natural affections, to
repress, as offensive to God, every thought and feeling of sympathy with their fellow
If we desire to understand the determined cruelty of Satan, manifested for hundreds of
years, not among those who never heard of God, but in the very heart and throughout the
extent of Christendom, we have only to look at the history of Romanism. Through this
mammoth system of deception the prince of evil achieves his purpose of bringing dishonor
to God and wretchedness to man. And as we see how he succeeds in disguising himself and
accomplishing his work through the leaders of the church, we may better understand why he
has so great antipathy to the Bible. If that Book is read, the mercy and love of God will
be revealed; it will be seen that He lays upon men none of these heavy burdens. All that
He asks is a broken and contrite heart, a humble, obedient spirit.
Christ gives no example in His life for men and women to shut themselves in monasteries in
order to become fitted for heaven. He has never taught that love and sympathy must be
repressed. The Saviour's heart overflowed with love. The nearer man approaches to moral
perfection, the keener are his sensibilities, the more acute is his perception of sin, and
the deeper his sympathy for the afflicted. The pope claims to be the vicar of Christ; but
how does his character bear comparison with that of our Saviour? Was Christ ever known to
consign men to the prison or the rack because they did not pay Him homage as the King of
heaven? Was His voice heard condemning to death those who did not accept Him? When He was
slighted by the people of a Samaritan village, the apostle John was filled with
indignation, and inquired: "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from
heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" Jesus looked with pity upon His
disciple, and rebuked his harsh spirit, saying: "The Son of man is not come to
destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:54, 56. How different from
the spirit manifested by Christ is that of His professed vicar.
The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her
record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is
unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The
doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The
papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the
days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose
her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over
kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and
despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High.
The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter
times. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. It is a part of her policy to assume the character which
will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon she
conceals the invariable venom of the serpent. "Faith ought not to be kept with
heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy" (Lenfant, volume 1, page 516), she
declares. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood of
the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the church of Christ?
It is not without reason that the claim has been put forth in Protestant countries that
Catholicism differs less widely from Protestantism than in former times. There has been a
change; but the change is not in the papacy. Catholicism indeed resembles much of the
Protestantism that now exists, because Protestantism has so greatly degenerated since the
days of the Reformers.
As the Protestants churches have been seeking the favor of the world, false charity has
blinded their eyes. They do not see but that it is right to believe good of all evil, and
as the inevitable result they will finally believe evil of all good.
Instead of standing in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints, they are now, as
it were, apologizing to Rome for their uncharitable opinion of her, begging pardon for
A large class, even of those who look upon Romanism with no favor, apprehend little danger
from her power and influence. Many urge that the intellectual and moral darkness
prevailing during the Middle Ages favored the spread of her dogmas, superstitions, and
oppression, and that the greater intelligence of modern times, the general diffusion of
knowledge, and the increasing liberality in matters of religion forbid a revival of
intolerance and tyranny. The very thought that such a state of things will exist in this
enlightened age is ridiculed. It is true that great light, intellectual, moral, and
religious, is shining upon this generation. In the open pages of God's Holy Word, light
from heaven has been shed upon the world. But it should be remembered that the greater the
light bestowed, the greater the darkness of those who pervert and reject it.
A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the real character of the papacy and
would cause them to abhor and to shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that
they feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into the truth. Although
priding themselves on their enlightenment, they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of
the power of God. They must have some means of quieting their consciences, and they seek
that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they desire is a method of forgetting
God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet
the wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind, embracing nearly the
whole world--those who would be saved by their merits, and those who would be saved in
their sins. Here is the secret of its power.
A day of great intellectual darkness has been shown to be favorable to the success of the
papacy. It will yet be
demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is equally favorable for its success.
In past ages, when men were without God's word and without the knowledge of the truth,
their eyes were blindfolded, and thousands were ensnared, not seeing the net spread for
their feet. In this generation there are many whose eyes become dazzled by the glare of
human speculations, "science falsely so called;" they discern not the net, and
walk into it as readily as if blindfolded. God designed that man's intellectual powers
should be held as a gift from his Maker and should be employed in the service of truth and
righteousness; but when pride and ambition are cherished, and men exalt their own theories
above the word of God, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm than ignorance. Thus
the false science of the present day, which undermines faith in the Bible, will prove as
successful in preparing the way for the acceptance of the papacy, with its pleasing forms,
as did the withholding of knowledge in opening the way for its aggrandizement in the Dark
In the movements now in progress in the United States to secure for the institutions and
usages of the church the support of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of
papists. Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain in Protestant
America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World. And that which gives greater
significance to this movement is the fact that the principal object contemplated is the
enforcement of Sunday observance--a custom which originated with Rome, and which she
claims as the sign of her authority. It is the spirit of the papacy--the spirit of
conformity to worldly customs, the veneration for human traditions above the commandments
of God--that is permeating the Protestant churches and leading them on to do the same work
of Sunday exaltation which the papacy has done before them.
If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed in the soon-coming contest, he
has but to trace the record of the means which Rome employed for the same
object in ages past. If he would know how papists and Protestants united will deal with
those who reject their dogmas, let him see the spirit which Rome manifested toward the
Sabbath and its defenders.
Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained by secular power were the
steps by which the pagan festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world.
The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine.
(A.D. 321) This edict required townspeople to rest on "the venerable day of the
sun," but permitted countrymen to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though
virtually a heathen statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal acceptance
The royal mandate not proving a sufficient substitute for divine authority, Eusebius, a
bishop who sought the favor of princes, and who was the special friend and flatterer of
Constantine, advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the Sabbath to Sunday. Not a
single testimony of the Scriptures was produced in proof of the new doctrine. Eusebius
himself unwittingly acknowledges its falsity and points to the real authors of the change.
"All things," he says, "whatever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath,
these we have transferred to the Lord's Day."--Robert Cox, Sabbath Laws and Sabbath
Duties, page 538. But the Sunday argument, groundless as it was, served to embolden men in
trampling upon the Sabbath of the Lord. All who desired to be honored by the world
accepted the popular festival.
As the papacy became firmly established, the work of Sunday exaltation was continued. For
a time the people engaged in agricultural labor when not attending church, and the seventh
day was still regarded as the Sabbath. But steadily a change was effected. Those in holy
office were forbidden to pass judgment in any civil controversy on the Sunday. Soon after,
all persons, of whatever rank, were commanded to refrain from common labor on pain of a
fine for freemen and
stripes in the case of servants. Later it was decreed that rich men should be punished
with the loss of half of their estates; and finally, that if still obstinate they should
be made slaves. The lower classes were to suffer perpetual banishment.
Miracles also were called into requisition. Among other wonders it was reported that as a
husbandman who was about to plow his field on Sunday cleaned his plow with an iron, the
iron stuck fast in his hand, and for two years he carried it about with him, "to his
exceeding great pain and shame."--Francis West, Historical and Practical Discourse on
the Lord's Day, page 174.
Later the pope gave directions that the parish priest should admonish the violators of
Sunday and wish them to go to church and say their prayers, lest they bring some great
calamity on themselves and neighbors. An ecclesiastical council brought forward the
argument, since so widely employed, even by Protestants, that because persons had been
struck by lightning while laboring on Sunday, it must be the Sabbath. "It is
apparent," said the prelates, "how high the displeasure of God was upon their
neglect of this day." An appeal was then made that priests and ministers, kings and
princes, and all faithful people "use their utmost endeavors and care that the day be
restored to its honor, and, for the credit of Christianity, more devoutly observed for the
time to come."--Thomas Morer, Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and
Observation of the Lord's Day, page 271.
The decrees of councils proving insufficient, the secular authorities were besought to
issue an edict that would strike terror to the hearts of the people and force them to
refrain from labor on the Sunday. At a synod held in Rome, all previous decisions were
reaffirmed with greater force and solemnity. They were also incorporated into the
ecclesiastical law and enforced by the civil authorities throughout nearly all
Christendom. (See Heylyn, History of the Sabbath, pt. 2, ch. 5, sec. 7.)
Still the absence of Scriptural authority for Sundaykeeping occasioned no little
embarrassment. The people questioned the right of their teachers to set aside the positive
declaration of Jehovah, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," in
order to honor the day of the sun. To supply the lack of Bible testimony, other expedients
were necessary. A zealous advocate of Sunday, who about the close of the twelfth century
visited the churches of England, was resisted by faithful witnesses for the truth; and so
fruitless were his efforts that he departed from the country for a season and cast about
him for some means to enforce his teachings. When he returned, the lack was supplied, and
in his after labors he met with greater success. He brought with him a roll purporting to
be from God Himself, which contained the needed command for Sunday observance, with awful
threats to terrify the disobedient. This precious document-- as base a counterfeit as the
institution it supported--was said to have fallen from heaven and to have been found in
Jerusalem, upon the altar of St. Simeon, in Golgotha. But, in fact, the pontifical palace
at Rome was the source whence it proceeded. Frauds and forgeries to advance the power and
prosperity of the church have in all ages been esteemed lawful by the papal hierarchy.
The roll forbade labor from the ninth hour, three o'clock, on Saturday afternoon, till
sunrise on Monday; and its authority was declared to be confirmed by many miracles. It was
reported that persons laboring beyond the appointed hour were stricken with paralysis. A
miller who attempted to grind his corn, saw, instead of flour, a torrent of blood come
forth, and the mill wheel stood still, notwithstanding the strong rush of water. A woman
who placed dough in the oven found it raw when taken out, though the oven was very hot.
Another who had dough prepared for baking at the ninth hour, but determined to set it
aside till Monday, found, the next day, that it had been made into loaves and baked by
divine power. A man who baked bread after the ninth hour
on Saturday found, when he broke it the next morning, that blood started therefrom. By
such absurd and superstitious fabrications did the advocates of Sunday endeavor to
establish its sacredness. (See Roger de Hoveden, Annals, vol. 2, pp. 528-530.)
In Scotland, as in England, a greater regard for Sunday was secured by uniting with it a
portion of the ancient Sabbath. But the time required to be kept holy varied. An edict
from the king of Scotland declared that "Saturday from twelve at noon ought to be
accounted holy," and that no man, from that time till Monday morning, should engage
in worldly business.--Morer, pages 290, 291.
But notwithstanding all the efforts to establish Sunday sacredness, papists themselves
publicly confessed the divine authority of the Sabbath and the human origin of the
institution by which it had been supplanted. In the sixteenth century a papal council
plainly declared: "Let all Christians remember that the seventh day was consecrated
by God, and hath been received and observed, not only by the Jews, but by all others who
pretend to worship God; though we Christians have changed their Sabbath into the Lord's
Day."-- Ibid., pages 281, 282. Those who were tampering with the divine law were not
ignorant of the character of their work. They were deliberately setting themselves above
A striking illustration of Rome's policy toward those who disagree with her was given in
the long and bloody persecution of the Waldenses, some of whom were observers of the
Sabbath. Others suffered in a similar manner for their fidelity to the fourth commandment.
The history of the churches of Ethiopia and Abyssinia is especially significant. Amid the
gloom of the Dark Ages, the Christians of Central Africa were lost sight of and forgotten
by the world, and for many centuries they enjoyed freedom in the exercise of their faith.
But at last Rome learned of their existence, and the emperor of Abyssinia was soon
beguiled into an acknowledgment of the pope as the vicar of Christ. Other concessions
An edict was issued forbidding the observance of the Sabbath under the severest penalties.
(See Michael Geddes, Church History of Ethiopia, pages 311, 312.) But papal tyranny soon
became a yoke so galling that the Abyssinians determined to break it from their necks.
After a terrible struggle the Romanists were banished from their dominions, and the
ancient faith was restored. The churches rejoiced in their freedom, and they never forgot
the lesson they had learned concerning the deception, the fanaticism, and the despotic
power of Rome. Within their solitary realm they were content to remain, unknown to the
rest of Christendom.
The churches of Africa held the Sabbath as it was held by the papal church before her
complete apostasy. While they kept the seventh day in obedience to the commandment of God,
they abstained from labor on the Sunday in conformity to the custom of the church. Upon
obtaining supreme power, Rome had trampled upon the Sabbath of God to exalt her own; but
the churches of Africa, hidden for nearly a thousand years, did not share in this
apostasy. When brought under the sway of Rome, they were forced to set aside the true and
exalt the false sabbath; but no sooner had they regained their independence than they
returned to obedience to the fourth commandment.
These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome toward the true Sabbath and
its defenders, and the means which she employs to honor the institution of her creating.
The word of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and
Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday.
The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with
lamblike horns shall cause "the earth and them which dwell therein" to worship
the papacy --there symbolized by the beast "like unto a leopard." The beast with
two horns is also to say "to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an
image to the beast;" and,
furthermore, it is to command all, "both small and great, rich and poor, free and
bond," to receive the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:11-16. It has been shown that
the United States is the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns, and that this
prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which
Rome claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy. But in this homage to the
papacy the United States will not be alone. The influence of Rome in the countries that
once acknowledged her dominion is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy foretells a
restoration of her power. "I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and
his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." Verse 3.
The infliction of the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798. After
this, says the prophet, "his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered
after the beast." Paul states plainly that the "man of sin" will continue
until the second advent. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. To the very close of time he will carry
forward the work of deception. And the revelator declares, also referring to the papacy:
"All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the
book of life." Revelation 13:8. In both the Old and the New World, the papacy will
receive homage in the honor paid to the Sunday institution, that rests solely upon the
authority of the Roman Church.
Since the middle of the nineteenth century, students of prophecy in the United States have
presented this testimony to the world. In the events now taking place is seen a rapid
advance toward the fulfillment of the prediction. With Protestant teachers there is the
same claim of divine authority for Sundaykeeping, and the same lack of Scriptural
evidence, as with the papal leaders who fabricated miracles to supply the place of a
command from God. The assertion that God's judgments are visited upon men for their
violation of the
Sunday-sabbath, will be repeated; already it is beginning to be urged. And a movement to
enforce Sunday observance is fast gaining ground.
Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman Church. She can read what is to be.
She bides her time, seeing that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their
acceptance of the false sabbath and that they are preparing to enforce it by the very
means which she herself employed in bygone days. Those who reject the light of truth will
yet seek the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an institution that
originated with her. How readily she will come to the help of Protestants in this work it
is not difficult to conjecture. Who understands better than the papal leaders how to deal
with those who are disobedient to the church?
The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications throughout the world, forms one vast
organization under the control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its
millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves
as bound in allegiance to the pope. Whatever their nationality or their government, they
are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the
oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this lies the vow of obedience to
Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests.
History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate herself into the
affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold, to further her own aims, even at the
ruin of princes and people. In the year 1204, Pope Innocent III extracted from Peter II,
king of Arragon, the following extraordinary oath: "I, Peter, king of Arragonians,
profess and promise to be ever faithful and obedient to my lord, Pope Innocent, to his
Catholic successors, and the Roman Church, and faithfully to preserve my kingdom in his
obedience, defending the Catholic faith, and persecuting heretical pravity." --John
Dowling, The History of Romanism, b. 5, ch. 6, sec.
55. This is in harmony with the claims regarding the power of the Roman pontiff "that
it is lawful for him to depose emperors" and "that he can absolve subjects from
their allegiance to unrighteous rulers."--Mosheim, b. 3, cent. 11, pt. 2, ch. 2, sec.
9, note 17.
And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. The principles
of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And
had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as much vigor now as in past
centuries. Protestants little know what they are doing when they propose to accept the aid
of Rome in the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent upon the accomplishment of
their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish her power, to recover her lost supremacy.
Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or
control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular
laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and
the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.
God's word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the
Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late
to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their
influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling
up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former
persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her
forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she
desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and
shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the
word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution.
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