TIME IS AT HAND
MAN OF SIN - ANTICHRIST
Antichrist Must be Developed, Revealed and Smitten Before the
Day of the Lord--A Contrary View of This Subject Considered--Prophetic
Delineation--Antichrist's Birth--His Rapid Development--The
Historic Picture and the Bible Description Agree--His Kingdom
a Counterfeit --His Head and Mouth Notable--His Great Swelling
Words of Blasphemy--His Blasphemous Teachings--His Wearing Out
of the Saints of the Most High--His Millennial Reign--Antichrist
Smitten with the Sword of the Spirit--His Final Struggle and
no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come,
except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be
revealed, the Son of Perdition." `2
VIEW of these pointed words of the Apostle Paul, showing that
a character which he designates "The Man of Sin" must
precede the coming of the Day of the Lord, which we have proved
has already begun to dawn, it is important that we look about,
to see if such a character has yet appeared. For if such a character
as Paul and the other apostles so carefully describe has not yet
come, the above words should be understood as Paul's veto to all
the other testimony concerning the Lord's presence and the setting
up of his Kingdom now. And that veto must stand as an unanswerable
argument until this Man of Sin shall be recognized, corresponding
in every particular to the prophetic description.
is clearly stated, not only that this Man of Sin must first rise,
but that he must develop and prosper, before the
<PAGE 268> Day of the Lord comes. Before
Christ's day the prosperity and influence of this power will have
reached their climax and will be on the decline; and it is to
be by the bright shining of the Lord's presence at his
second advent that this Man of Sin shall be utterly destroyed.
These foretold circumstances we must observe, in order to see
whether this caution to the Church in Paul's day is still applicable
in our day. Now, after eighteen centuries, the claim is again
made that the day of Christ has come; and the important question
arises, Does anything which Paul said in correcting the error
of the Thessalonians stand as an objection to this claim now?
the Apostle's exhortations to the Church, to watch for the Lord's
return, taking heed to the sure word of prophecy, and from his
care in pointing out the signs of Christ's presence, the character
of his work at that time, etc., it is evident that he was quite
as anxious that the Church should be able to recognize the Lord's
presence when he should come, as that they should not be deceived
into the error that he had come, before the time of his presence.
A fall into the latter error, in the early part of the age, exposed
those who embraced it to the deceptions of the Antichrist principle
which was even then working; while a failure to recognize the
Day of the Lord, and his presence in the day when his presence
is due, exposes those failing to recognize him to the continued
deceptions and false doctrines of Antichrist, and blinds them
to the grand truths and special privileges of this day. Hence
the Apostle's anxiety for the Church at both ends of the age,
and his warning--"Let no man deceive you by any means."
Hence also the exact description of the Man of Sin, in order that
he might be recognized in his time.
Christians in this end of the age are inclined to forget even
the promise of the Lord's return, and, when they
<PAGE 269> do remember it, to think of it only
with dread and fearful forebodings, the early Church looked for
it anxiously, and with joyful anticipation, as the fruition of
all its hopes, the reward of all its faithfulness and the end
of all its sorrows. Consequently, the believers of that day were
ready to hearken diligently to any teaching which claimed that
the Day of the Lord was either very near or present; and hence
they were in danger of being deceived on this point unless they
were careful students of the teachings of the apostles on the
Church at Thessalonica, impressed with the erroneous teachings
of some, to the effect that the Lord had come again, and that
they were living in his day, evidently supposed that the idea
was in harmony with Paul's teaching in his first epistle to them,
wherein he said (`1 Thess. 5:1-5`)
that the Day of the Lord would steal on quietly and unobservedly,
as a thief in the night, and that, though others would be in it
unawares, the saints would be in the light concerning it. Learning
of the serious error into which they had fallen, of supposing
the day of the Lord's presence to have already come, Paul wrote
them a second epistle, the central thought of which was the correction
of this error. He says: "Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together
unto him, that ye be not readily agitated in mind nor troubled;
neither by spirit, neither by word, neither by letter as from
us, as though the Day of the Lord [enestemi] is present.
Let no man delude you, by any means; because the falling away
[apostasy] must first come, and there must be revealed
that Man of Sin, the Son of Destruction, the Opposer, exalting
himself above all, being called a god [mighty ruler] or that receives
homage--so as to seat himself in the Temple of God, openly displaying
himself that he is a god. Remember ye not that while I was yet
with you I told you these
<PAGE 270> things?
And now ye know what interposes, in order that he [Christ] may
be revealed in his own [due] season. But insubordination [to Christ]
is already working, only as a secret thing, until the now hindering
one shall be out of the way; and then shall that insubordinate
one be revealed, whom the Lord shall kill with the spirit of his
mouth and annihilate by the bright shining of his [parousia]
presence." Paul could write thus positively of the
development of the Man of Sin before the Day of the Lord, because
of his study of Daniel's prophecy, to which our Lord also referred
(`Matt. 24:15`); and probably because
Paul himself, in his "visions and revelations," had
been shown the great havoc which this character would work in
should be observed that Paul did not use arguments such as some
today are disposed to use against the claim that the day of the
Lord has begun. He did not say, O foolish Thessalonians, do ye
not know that when Christ comes your eyes shall behold him, and
your ears shall hear a dreadful sound of the trump of God? and
that you will have further proof of it in the reeling tombstones
and the rising saints? Is it not evident that if such a criticism
had been proper, Paul would have been quick to avail himself of
an argument so simple and so easily grasped? And moreover, is
not the fact that he did not use this argument a proof that such
an argument is not, and could not be, founded on the truth?
the fact that Paul, in his energetic effort to correct their error,
offered but this one objection to their claim, he thereby evidently
endorsed as correct their general ideas of the Day of the Lord--that
it could be commenced while many might be in ignorance of it,
that it could come without outward demonstration to mark it. But
the only ground of his objection was, that there must first
come a falling away, and, in consequence of that falling away,
the development of the Man of Sin--which, whatever it may be
<PAGE 271> (whether a single individual, or
a great Antichrist system which he thus personifies), must rise,
flourish and begin to decline--before the day of the Lord's
presence. So, then, if this one objection which Paul offered be
no longer in the way--if we can clearly see a character in actual
existence whose history corresponds in every particular to the
prophetic description of the Man of Sin, from the beginning of
his existence down to the present time--then Paul's objection,
which was well taken in his day, and his only one, is no longer
a valid objection against the present claim that we are living
in the Day of the Lord, the day of the Lord's presence. And, further,
if the Man of Sin can be readily distinguished, if his rise, development
and decline are clearly seen, then this fact becomes another corroborative
proof of the teaching of the preceding chapters, which show that
we are now in the Day of the Lord.
His Prophetic Delineation
student of prophecy will find that the Man of Sin is distinctly
noted throughout the sacred writings, not only by giving a clear
description of his character, but also by showing the times and
places of his beginning, prosperity and decline.
character is very forcibly delineated even in the names applied
to it by the inspired writers. Paul calls it "That Wicked
One," "The Man of Sin," "The Mystery of Iniquity,"
"The Antichrist," and "The Son of Perdition";
the Prophet Daniel calls it "The Abomination that maketh
desolate" (`Dan. 11:31; 12:11`);
and our Lord refers to the same character as "The Abomination
of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet" (`Matt.
24:15`), and again as a "Beast" (`Rev.
13:1-8`). This same character was also prefigured by a
little horn, or power, out of a terrible beast that Daniel saw
in his prophetic vision, which had eyes, and a
<PAGE 272> mouth that spoke great things, and
which prospered and made war with the saints, and prevailed against
them. (`Dan. 7:8,21`) John also saw
and warned the Church against this character, saying, "Ye
have heard that Antichrist shall come." He then advises how
to escape Antichrist's influence. (`1 John
2:18-27`) The book of Revelation, too, is in large part
a detailed symbolic prophecy concerning this same Antichrist--though
this we shall merely glance at here, leaving its more particular
examination for a succeeding volume.
various appellations and brief descriptions indicate a base, subtle,
hypocritical, deceptive, tyrannical and cruel character, developed
in the midst of the Christian Church; at first creeping in and
up very gradually, then rapidly ascending in power and influence
until it reaches the very pinnacle of earthly power, wealth and
glory-- meanwhile exerting its influence against the truth, and
against the saints, and for its own aggrandizement, claiming,
to the last, peculiar sanctity and authority and power from God.
this chapter we purpose to show that this Man of Sin is a system,
and not a single individual, as many seem to infer; that as the
Christ consists of the true Lord and the true Church, so Antichrist
is a counterfeit system consisting of a false lord and an apostate
church, which for a time is permitted to misrepresent the truth,
to practice deceit and to counterfeit the authority and
future reign of the true Lord and his Church, and to intoxicate
the nations with false claims and assumptions.
hope to prove, to the satisfaction of every conscientious reader,
that this great apostasy or falling away mentioned by Paul has
come, and that this Man of Sin has been developed, has sat "in
the temple of God" (the real, not the typical), has fulfilled
all the predictions of the apostles and
<PAGE 273> prophets concerning his character,
work, etc., has been revealed, and now, since A.D. 1799, is being
consumed by the spirit of the Lord's mouth (the truth), and will
be utterly destroyed during this day of the Lord's wrath
and revelation with flaming fire of retribution, already beginning.
any desire to treat lightly the opinions of others, we nevertheless
feel it necessary to point out to the reader a few of the absurdities
connected with the common view concerning Antichrist, that thereby
the dignity and reasonableness of the truth on this subject may
be properly estimated, in contrast with the narrow claim that
all which the Scriptures predict concerning this character will
be accomplished by some one literal man. This man, it is
claimed, will so charm the whole world that in a few short years
he will secure to himself the homage and worship of all
men, who will be so easily imposed upon as to suppose this man
to be God, and, in a rebuilt Jewish temple, to worship him as
the Almighty Jehovah. All this is to be done at lightning speed
--three and a half years, say they, misinterpreting the symbolic
time, even as they misinterpret the symbolic "man."
of fiction and the most absurd imaginations of childhood furnish
no parallel to the extreme views of some of God's dear children
who are stumbling over a literal interpretation of Paul's
language, and thereby blinding themselves and others to many precious
truths, which, because of error on this subject, they are unprepared
to see in an unprejudiced light. No matter how much we may sympathize
with them, their "blind faith" forces a smile as they
seriously tell over the various symbols of Revelation which they
do not understand, misapplying them literally to their wonderful
man. In this, the most skeptical age the world has ever known,
he will, they claim, in the short space of three and a half years,
have the whole world at his feet, worshiping him as God, while
the Caesars, Alexander, Napoleon,
<PAGE 274> Mahomet and others sailed through
bloody seas and spent many times three and a half years, without
accomplishing the one thousandth part of what is claimed for this
yet those conquerors had all the advantages of dense ignorance
and superstition to aid them, while today we live under conditions
most unfavorable to such a development of deceit and fraud: in
a day when every hidden thing is being manifested as never
before; in a day when fraud of the sort claimed is too preposterous
and ridiculous for consideration. Indeed, the tendency of our
day is toward a lack of respect for men, no matter how good, talented
and able, or what offices of trust and authority they may occupy.
To such an extent is this true, as never before, that it is a
thousand times more likely that the whole world will deny that
there is any God, than that they will ever worship a fellow
human being as the Almighty God.
great obstacle to many, in considering this subject, is the contracted
idea generally entertained of the meaning of the word god.
They fail to note that the Greek theos (god) does
not invariably refer to Jehovah. It signifies a mighty one,
a ruler, and especially a religious or sacerdotal ruler. In the
New Testament, theos is seldom used except in referring
to Jehovah, because, in their discourses, the apostles spoke rarely
and little of the false systems of religion, and hence seldom
noticed their sacred rulers or gods; yet in the following texts
the word god (theos) is used to refer to others
than the one supreme being, Jehovah--viz.:
`John 10:34,35`; `Acts 7:40,43; 17:23`;
`1 Cor. 8:5`.
the breadth of the Greek word theos, it will be seen at
once that the Apostle's statement concerning Antichrist --that
he will seat himself in the temple of God, showing himself to
be a god--does not of necessity mean that Antichrist will
attempt to exalt himself above Jehovah, nor
<PAGE 275> even that he will attempt to take
Jehovah's place. It simply implies that this one will exhibit
himself as a religious ruler, claiming and exercising authority
over and above all other religious rulers, even to the extent
of exalting himself in the Church, which is the true Temple of
God, and there claiming and exercising lordly authority as its
chief or authorized ruler. Wherever in the Greek the word theos
is used in any sentence where its meaning would be ambiguous,
it then is preceded by the Greek article, if it refers to Jehovah;
as if in English we were to say the God. In the texts above,
which refer to other gods, and in this text (`2
Thess. 2:4`), which refers to Antichrist, there is no such
this seen clearly, a great stumbling-block is removed, and the
mind is prepared to look for the right things as fulfilments of
this prediction: not for an Antichrist claiming to be Jehovah
and demanding worship as such, but for one claiming to be the
chief, supreme religious teacher in the Church; who thus attempts
the usurpation of the authority of Christ, the divinely appointed
Head, Lord and Teacher.
enough, too, they who take this literal view of the Man of Sin
are generally those who are believers in the Lord's premillennial
coming, who are looking for and expecting the Lord to come "at
any moment now." Why cannot all see the Apostle's meaning,
when he positively declares that the Day of the Lord (the Day
of his presence) cannot come and should not be expected until
after the Man of Sin has been revealed? It required over forty
years to build the former Jewish temple, and it would surely require
at least ten to twenty years to build, with more than former magnificence,
the new temple at Jerusalem, where they expect a literal Man of
Sin to be installed and worshiped as God. Why then should those
who believe thus expect the Lord to
<PAGE 276> come at any moment now? Such
a view is out of harmony with reason as well as with the Apostle's
prophecy. Consistency demands that they should either give up
looking for the Lord at any moment, or else give up their expectation
of a future Man of Sin; for the Day of the Lord's presence cannot
come until the falling away (the apostasy) has taken place, and
until the Man of Sin has been developed and revealed out of that
when we get a correct view of the Apostle's words, together with
correct ideas of the manner of the Lord's coming, we find
no such discrepancies and contradictions, but a convincing harmony
and fitness. And such a view we now present. Its Scripturalness
the reader must prove.
various titles applied to this system are evidently symbolic.
They do not refer as names to a single individual, but as character
delineations to a corrupt religious and civil combination, developed
within the nominal Christian church, which, by its subtle opposition
to Christ, the Head, and his true Church, his body, well earns
the name Antichrist. Such a system could fulfil
all the predictions made concerning the Antichrist, or Man of
Sin, though an individual could not. It is evident, moreover,
that this Antichrist system is not one of the heathen systems
of religion, such as Mohammedanism or Brahminism; for the Christian
Church has never been under the control of any such system, nor
did any of these systems originate in the Christian Church. They
now are, and always have been, independent of the Christian Church.
system which fully answers the description given by inspiration
must be professedly Christian, and must contain a large majority
of those who claim to be Christians. And it must be one having
its start as an apostasy, or falling away from the true Christian
faith--an apostasy, too, which was secret and stealthy, until
circumstances favored its assumption
<PAGE 277> of power. Its stealthy beginning
was in the days of the apostles--in the desire of some teachers
to be greatest.
need not look long to find a character fitting all the requirements
perfectly; one whose record, written by secular historians as
well as by its own deluded servants, we shall see agrees exactly
with the prophetic delineations of Antichrist. But when we state
that the one and only system whose history fits these prophecies
is Papacy, let no one misunderstand us to mean that every Roman
Catholic is a man of sin; nor that the priests, nor even the popes
of the Church of Rome, are, or have been, the Antichrist. No man
is "the Antichrist," "the Man of Sin,"
described in prophecy. Popes, bishops and others are at most only
parts or members of the Antichrist system, even as all of the
Royal Priests are only members of the true Christ, under Jesus
their head, and in the same manner that these in their present
condition are together the antitypical Elijah, though no one of
them is the Elijah or the Christ foretold. Notice, further, that
the Church of Rome as an ecclesiastical system only is not the
"Man of Sin," and is never presented under any
figure of a man. On the contrary, a woman is always
the symbol used for a church separate from its head and lord.
The true Church is symbolized by a "chaste virgin,"
while the apostate church, which has fallen away from primitive
purity and fidelity to the Lord, is symbolically called "a
harlot." As the true "virgin" Church continues
to be such to the end of the age, when she is to be united to
her Lord and take his name--Christ--so the apostate church was
not the Antichrist, or Man of Sin, until she united with her lord
and head, the pope, the claimed vicegerent of Christ, and became
a religious empire, falsely styled Christendom--which signifies
is the name of this false kingdom; and it was built upon a misapplied
truth--the truth that the Church is
<PAGE 278> called to be kings and priests unto
God and to reign on the earth. But the time for reigning had not
yet come: the Gospel age was not appointed for that purpose, but
for the selection, development, discipline, humiliation and sacrifice
of the Church, following in the footprints of her Lord and patiently
waiting and enduring until the time appointed for the promised
exaltation and glorious reign--the Millennial age.
Lord foresaw that nominal Christianity would spread over the world,
and that, becoming popular, it would be embraced by many who would
appreciate the form without entering into the spirit of its institution.
He foresaw that as numbers of this sort would identify themselves
with the Church, the worldly spirit, which is the opposite of
the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice, would come in with
them; that selfishness and a desire to be great and to rule, thus
coming in, would not have long to wait until they could seize
an opportunity; and that thus the Church would seek to dominate
the world before the time-- or, rather, that the worldly element
which would enter the Church would make its influence felt, and
in the name of the true Church would grasp the civil power
of earth which God had given over to the Gentiles, and which cannot
pass fully into the hands of the true Church until the close of
the Times of the Gentiles, A.D. 1914.
thus it actually transpired: the nominal church began to fall
away as it increased in numbers under the teaching and example
of ambitious men whose ideas grew more and more favorable to the
power and worldly influence which numbers and wealth brought with
them. Gradually the spirit of the Church became worldly, and the
things of the world were coveted. The suggestion of ambition was--
"If the great Roman Empire, with all its power and influence,
<PAGE 279> its armies and wealth, were only
to support the Church, how honorable and noble it would then be
to be a Christian! How speedily then would heathen persecutions
cease! Then it would be in our power not only to overawe them,
but to compel their adherence to the Church and cross and name
of Christ. It evidently is not God's design that the Church should
forever be subject to the world and persecuted by it: the Apostle's
words, 'Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?' as
well as our Lord's promises that we shall reign with him, and
the many prophecies which refer to the reign of the Church, indicate
clearly that such is God's plan. True, the Apostle wrote that
our Lord would first return and exalt the Church, and exhorted
that we should 'wait' for the Lord; but several centuries
are now past, and we see no sign of the Lord's coming. We must
understand that the apostles were to some extent in error. To
us it seems clear that we can and should use every means to obtain
a hold upon civil government and conquer the world for the Lord.
It must be, too, that the Church should have a head--one
to represent the absent Lord and to represent the Church before
the world--one who would receive the homage of the world, exercise
the authority of Christ, and rule the world with a rod of iron,
as the Prophet David predicted." Thus gradually by a slow
process of reasoning covering centuries, the real hope of the
Church for exaltation to rule and bless the world--namely, the
second coming of the Lord--was lost sight of, and a new hope took
its place: the hope of success without the Lord, under the headship
and lead of a line of popes. And thus, by collusion, intriguing
and exchange of favors with the world, the hope of the Church
became a false hope, a delusive snare by which Satan led from
one evil and error to another, both of doctrine and of practice.
point at which the apostasy developed into the "Man of Sin"
was when the Papal hierarchy exalted itself under the headship
of an arranged line of popes, and claimed and attempted the rulership
of earth in the name of, and pretending to be, Christ's Millennial
Kingdom. It was a false, fraudulent claim, no matter how thoroughly
some of its supporters believed it. It was a fraudulent, counterfeit
kingdom, no matter how sincere some if its organizers and supporters
may have been. It was Antichrist's, no matter how much they claimed
and believed it to be the true Christ's glory and kingdom and
power upon earth. It is a mistake to suppose that to be conscientious
is always to be right. Every system of error doubtless has as
many conscientiously deluded votaries as it has hypocrites, or
more. Conscientiousness is moral honesty, and it is not dependent
upon knowledge. The heathen, misinformed, conscientiously worship
and sacrifice to idols; Saul, misinformed, conscientiously persecuted
the saints; and so, too, many papists, misinformed, conscientiously
did violence to the prophecies, persecuted the true saints and
organized the great system of Antichrist. For hundreds of years
Papacy has not only deceived the kings of the earth as to its
power and claimed divine authority, and ruled over them, but even
in the Church, God's Temple, where Christ alone should be recognized
as Head and Teacher, it has seated itself and claimed to be the
only teacher and lawgiver; and here it has deceived all, except
the few, by its phenomenal success and boastful claims. "All
the world wondered"--were astonished, deceived, bewildered--
"whose names were not written in the Lamb's book of life,"
and many whose names are written as saints of God were seriously
perplexed. And this deception is the stronger because of the very
gradual formation of these ambitious designs and their yet more
gradual realization. It extended
<PAGE 281> over centuries, and, as an ambition,
was already secretly at work in Paul's day. It was a process of
little by little adding error to error--the supplementing of one
man's ambitious declarations by those of another and another farther
down the stream of time. Thus, insidiously, did Satan plant and
water the seeds of error, and develop the greatest and most influential
system the world has ever known--Antichrist.
name "Antichrist" has a twofold significance. The first
is against (i.e., in opposition to) Christ: the second
significance is instead (i.e., a counterfeit) of Christ.
In the first sense the expression is a general one, which would
apply to any enemy opposing Christ. In this sense Saul (afterward
called Paul), and every Jew, and every Mohammedan, and all the
Pagan emperors and people of Rome, were antichrists-- opposers
of Christ. (`Acts 9:4`) But it is
not in this sense of the word that the Scriptures use the name
Antichrist. They pass over all such enemies, and apply
the term Antichrist in the sense given above, as now its
secondary meaning, viz.--as against, in the sense of misrepresenting,
counterfeiting, taking the place of the true Christ. Thus
John remarks, "Ye have heard that the Antichrist shall
come. Even now there are many antichrists." (`1
John 2:18,19`) [The Greek distinguishes between the
special Antichrist and the numerous lesser ones.] And John's subsequent
remarks show that he does not refer to all opposers of Christ
and the Church, but to a certain class who, still professing to
be of the Christ body, the Church, had left the foundation principles
of the truth, and were therefore not only misrepresenting the
truth, but were, in the eyes of the world, taking the place and
name of the true Church--hence really counterfeiting the true
saints. John says of these, "They went out from us, but they
were not of us:" they do not represent us, even though they
may deceive themselves and the world on this subject. In the same
epistle John declares
<PAGE 282> that those he mentions as many antichrists
have the spirit of the Antichrist.
then, is what we should expect, and what we do find in Papacy:
not an opposition to the name of Christ, but an enemy or
opponent of Christ in that it falsely bears his name, counterfeits
his kingdom and authority, and misrepresents his character and
plans and doctrines before the world--a most baneful enemy and
opponent indeed--worse far than an outspoken foe. And this is
true, be it remembered, even though some of those connected with
that system are conscientiously astray--"deceiving and being
these intimations as to the identity and characteristics of the
Man of Sin, and when, and where, and under what circumstances,
to look for him, we shall proceed to an examination of some of
the historic evidences, proving, we think beyond reasonable question,
that every prediction concerning the Antichrist has been fulfilled
in the Papal system, in a manner and to an extent which, with
the enlightenment of this day taken into account, all must admit
could never be repeated. Space obliges us here to confine ourselves
to a mere outline of the great mass of historic testimony. We
have also confined ourselves to historians of recognized accuracy,
in many instances going to Roman Catholic writers for their testimony
The Circumstances which Gave Birth
to the Man of Sin
GREAT FALLING AWAY. We first inquire, Does history record a fulfilment
of Paul's prophecy of a great falling away from the original simplicity
and purity of the doctrines and life of the Christian Church,
and of the secret working of an iniquitous, ambitious influence
in the Church, prior to the development of Papacy, the Man of
<PAGE 283> Sin--i.e., prior to the recognition
of a pope as the head of the Church?
very clearly: The Papal Hierarchy did not come into existence
for several centuries after the Lord and the apostles had founded
the Church. And of the interval between, we read*:
the church grew in numbers and wealth, costly edifices were constructed
for worship; the services became more elaborate; sculpture and
painting were enlisted in the work of providing aids to devotion.
Relics of saints and martyrs were cherished as sacred possessions;
religious observances were multiplied; and the church under the
Christian emperors [in the fourth century], with its array of
clergy and of imposing ceremonies, assumed much of the stateliness
and visible splendor that belonged to the heathen system which
it had supplanted."
another,+ "Contemporaneously with the establishment [of Christianity
as the religion of the empire in the fourth century] was the progress
of a great and general corruption which had arisen
two centuries before. Superstition and ignorance invested
the ecclesiastics with a power which they exerted to their own
observes that, "In the fifth century Christianity was debased
by a vast number of human inventions; the simplicity of its government
and discipline was reduced to a system of clerical power; and
its worship was polluted with ceremonies borrowed from the heathen."
in his "History of Christianity," traces the
falling away of the Church from its original simplicity and purity,
step by step, down to its deep degradation which culminated in
the development of the "Man of Sin." Whether or not
he recognized the Antichrist does not appear, but in a masterly
way he has traced the workings of the "Mystery of ----------
*Fisher's Universal History, page 193. +White's Universal History,
<PAGE 284> Iniquity," in the Church, down
to the beginning of the fourth century--when his work was suddenly
cut short by death. From his excellent and voluminous work our
space does not here permit quotations, but we commend the work
entire as highly instructive in its bearing on the subject.
quote, from Lord's "Old Roman World," a brief
and pointed sketch of the Church's history during the first four
centuries, which shows clearly and concisely its gradual decline,
and its rapid degeneracy after the hindrance referred to by the
Apostle was removed. He says:
the First Century not many wise or noble were called. No great
names have been handed down to us; no philosophers, or statesmen,
or nobles, or generals, or governors, or judges, or magistrates.
In the first century the Christians were not of sufficient importance
to be generally persecuted by the government. They had not even
arrested public attention. Nobody wrote against them, not even
Greek philosophers. We do not read of protests or apologies from
the Christians themselves. They had no great men in their ranks,
either for learning, or talents, or wealth, or social position.
Nothing in history is more barren than the annals of the Church
in the first century, so far as great names are concerned. Yet
in this century converts were multiplied in every city, and traditions
point to the martyrdoms of those who were prominent, including
nearly all of the apostles.
the Second Century there are no greater names than Polycarp,
Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Clement, Melito and Apollonius, quiet
bishops or intrepid martyrs, who addressed their flocks in upper
chambers, and who held no worldly rank, famous only for their
sanctity or simplicity of character, and only mentioned for their
sufferings and faith. We read of martyrs, some of whom wrote valuable
treatises and apologies; but among them we find no people of rank.
It was a disgrace to be a Christian in the eye of fashion or power.
The early Christian literature is chiefly apologetic, and the
doctrinal character is simple and practical. There were controversies
in the Church, an intense religious life, great activities,
great virtues, but no outward conflicts,
<PAGE 285> no secular history. They had not
as yet assailed the government or the great social institutions
of the empire. It was a small body of pure and blameless men,
who did not aspire to control society. But they had attracted
the notice of the government and were of sufficient consequence
to be persecuted. They were looked upon as fanatics who sought
to destroy a reverence for existing institutions."
[Organized for Power]
this century the polity of the Church was quietly organized.
There was an organized fellowship among the members; bishops had
become influential, not in society, but among the Christians;
dioceses and parishes were established; there was a distinction
between city and rural bishops; delegates of churches assembled
to discuss points of faith or suppress nascent heresies; the diocesan
system was developed, and ecclesiastical centralization commenced;
deacons began to be reckoned among the higher clergy; the weapons
of excommunication were forged; missionary efforts were carried
on; the festivals of the church were created; Gnosticism was embraced
by many leading minds; catechetical schools taught the faith systematically;
the formulas of baptism and the sacraments became of great importance;
and monachism became popular. The Church was thus laying the
foundation of its future polity and power.
Third Century saw the Church more powerful as an institution.
Regular synods had assembled in the great cities of the empire;
the metropolitan system was matured; the canons of the Church
were definitely enumerated; great schools of theology attracted
inquiring minds; the doctrines were systematized [i.e.,
defined, limited, and formulated into creeds and confessions of
faith]. Christianity had spread so extensively that it must needs
be either persecuted or legalized; great bishops ruled the growing
church; great doctors [of divinity] speculated on the questions
[philosophy and science falsely so called] which had agitated
the Grecian schools; church edifices were enlarged, and banquets
instituted in honor of the martyrs. The Church was rapidly advancing
to a position which extorted the attention of mankind.
was not till the Fourth Century--when imperial persecution
had stopped; when [the Roman Emperor] Constantine was converted;
when the Church was allied with the State; when
the early faith was itself corrupted; when superstition and vain
philosophy had entered the ranks of the faithful; when bishops
became courtiers; when churches became both rich and splendid;
when synods were brought under political influence; when monachists
[monks] had established a false principle of virtue; when politics
and dogmatics went hand in hand, and emperors enforced the decrees
of [church] councils--that men of rank entered the Church.
When Christianity became the religion of the court and of the
fashionable classes, it was used to support the very evils against
which it originally protested. The Church was not only impregnated
with the errors of Pagan philosophy, but it adopted many of the
ceremonies of oriental worship, which were both minute and magnificent.
The churches became, in the fourth century, as imposing as the
old temples of idolatry. Festivals became frequent and imposing.
The people clung to them because they obtained excitement and
a cessation from labor. Veneration for martyrs ripened into the
introduction of images--a future source of popular idolatry. Christianity
was emblazoned in pompous ceremonies. The veneration for saints
approximated to their deification, and superstition exalted the
mother of our Lord into an object of absolute worship. Communion
tables became imposing altars typical of Jewish sacrifices, and
the relics of martyrs were preserved as sacred amulets. Monastic
life also ripened into a grand system of penance and expiatory
rites. Armies of monks retired to gloomy and isolated places,
and abandoned themselves to rhapsodies and fastings and self-expiation.
They were a dismal and fanatical set of men, overlooking the practical
aims of life.
clergy, ambitious and worldly, sought rank and distinction. They
even thronged the courts of princes and aspired to temporal honors.
They were no longer supported by the voluntary contributions of
the faithful, but by revenues supplied by government, or property
inherited from the old [pagan] temples. Great legacies were made
<PAGE 287> Church by the rich, and these the
clergy controlled. These bequests became sources of inexhaustible
wealth. As wealth increased and was intrusted to the clergy, they
became indifferent to the wants of the people--no longer supported
by them. They became lazy, arrogant and independent. The people
were shut out of the government of the Church. The bishop became
a grand personage who controlled and appointed his clergy. The
Church was allied with the State, and religious dogmas were
enforced by the sword of the magistrate.
"An Imposing Hierarchy Was Established, of
Various Grades, which Culminated
in the Bishop of Rome
Emperor decided points of faith, and the clergy were exempted
from the burdens of the state. There was a great flocking to the
priestly offices when the clergy wielded so much power and became
so rich; and men were elevated to great sees [bishoprics], not
because of their piety or talents, but their influence with the
great. The mission of the Church was lost sight of in
a degrading alliance with the State. Christianity was a pageant,
a ritualism, an arm of the State, a vain philosophy, a superstition,
the great falling away from the faith, predicted by the Apostle
Paul, is an established fact of history. All historians bear witness
to it, even those who approve the assumption of power and eulogize
the chief actors in the scheme. We regret that our space limits
our quotations to some of the most pointed expressions. The falling
away, covering a period of centuries, was so gradual as to be
much less noticeable to those who then lived in its midst than
to us who see it as a whole; and the more deceiving was it because
every step of organization, and every advance toward influence
and authority in the Church and over the world, was taken in
the name of Christ, and professedly to glorify him and fulfil
his plans recorded in Scripture. Thus was the great Antichrist
developed--the most dangerous, most
<PAGE 288> subtle and most persistent opponent
of true Christianity, and the most fiendish persecutor of the
The Hindrance Removed
Apostle Paul foretold that this iniquitous principle would work
secretly for a time, while some opposing thing stood in the way,
until, the hindrance being removed, it could have a free course,
and progress rapidly to the development of the Antichrist. He
says, "Only he that now hindereth will hinder, until he be
taken out of the way." (`2 Thess. 2:7`)
What does history have to show in fulfilment of this prediction?
It shows that the thing which hindered a rapid development of
Antichrist was the fact that the place aspired to was already
filled by another. The Roman empire had not only conquered the
world and given it politics and laws, but, recognizing religious
superstitions to be the strongest chains by which to hold and
control a people, it had adopted a scheme which had its origin
in Babylon, in the time of her greatness as ruler of the world.
That plan was, that the emperor should be esteemed the director
and ruler in religious as well as in civil affairs. In support
of this, it was claimed that the emperor was a demigod, in some
sense descended from their heathen deities. As such he was worshiped
and his statues adored; and as such he was styled Pontifex
Maximus--i.e., Chief Priest or Greatest Religious Ruler. And
this is the very title claimed by and given to the pontiffs or
popes of the Roman Hierarchy since this Antichrist obtained "the
power and seat and great authority" of the former ruler of
Rome. `Rev. 13:2`
ancient pagan Rome and Babylon had only a mere skeleton of sacerdotal
power as compared with the complex and elaborate machinery and
contrivances of doctrine and practice of Papal Rome, the triumphant
successor to their scheme, who now, after centuries of cunning
and skill, has its power so intrenched that even today, when its
<PAGE 289> outwardly broken and it is shorn
of civil dominion, it rules the world and controls kingdoms secretly,
under cover, more thoroughly than the Roman emperors ever ruled
the kings subordinate to them.
their credit be it recorded that not one of the Roman emperors,
as Pontifex Maximus or Chief Religious Ruler, ever exercised the
tyranny of some of their successors on the Papal throne. On this
point Gibbon says:* "It must be allowed that the number of
Protestants who were executed in a single province and a single
reign, far exceeded that of the primitive martyrs in the
space of three centuries and of the [entire] Roman empire."
According to the custom of their day they did favor the most popular
gods, but wherever their armies went, the gods and worship of
the conquered people were generally respected. This was illustrated
in Palestine, in which, though under Roman control, religious
liberty and freedom of conscience were generally respected by
the imperial Pontifex Maximus, who as religious ruler thus
showed his clemency toward the people, and his harmony with all
the popular gods.
then, we see that what hindered the early development of Antichrist
was the fact that the coveted seat of spiritual supremacy was
filled by the representatives of the strongest empire the world
had yet known; and that for any to have attempted an open display
of ambition in this direction would have exposed them to the wrath
of the masters of the world. Hence this iniquitous ambition at
first worked secretly, disclaiming any intent to gain power or
authority, until a favorable opportunity was presented-- after
the nominal Church had become large and influential and the imperial
power was shattered by political dissensions and was beginning
power of Rome was rapidly failing, and its strength ----------
*Vol. II, page 85.
<PAGE 290> and unity were divided among six
claimants to the imperial honors, when Constantine became emperor.
And that, in part at least, he adopted Christianity to strengthen
and unify his empire, is a reasonable supposition. On this point
Constantine embraced it [Christianity] from conviction of its
truth, or from policy, is a matter of dispute. Certain it is,
that this religion, though receiving from the Roman power only
silent obloquy, or active persecution, had extended among the
people, so that Constantine strengthened himself in the affection
of the soldiers by adopting it....Worldly ambition pointed to
the course which the emperor pursued in declaring himself a Christian,
and not the spirit of Christ, who said, My kingdom is not of this
world. Constantine made it the religion of the empire, and thenceforth
we find its influence sullied with earthly things....No particular
bishop was regarded as head of the whole Church, but the emperor
was such in point of fact. In this capacity he called the Council
of Nice, having in the controversy between Athanasius and
Arius taken sides against the latter. The council agreed with
advantages might be derived from the acquisition of an imperial
proselyte, he was distinguished by the splendor of the purple,
rather than the superiority of wisdom or virtue, from the many
thousands of his subjects who had embraced the doctrines of Christianity....The
same year of his reign in which he convened the Council of Nice
was polluted by the execution of his eldest son. The gratitude
of the Church has exalted the virtues and excused the failings
of a generous patron who seated Christianity on the throne of
the Roman world."+
then, under Constantine's reign, the opposition of the empire
to Christianity gave way to favor, and the Imperial Pontifex Maximus
became the patron of the professed but really apostate
Church of Christ; and, taking her by the ---------- *Willard's
Universal History, page 163. +Gibbon, Vol. II, page 269.
<PAGE 291> hand, he assisted her to a place
of popularity and splendor from which she was able afterward,
as the imperial power grew weak, to put her own representatives
upon the religious throne of the world as Chief Religious Ruler--Pontifex
it is a mistake to suppose, as many do, that the Church at this
time was a pure (virgin) church, suddenly lifted into a dignity
and power which became her snare. Quite the contrary is true.
As already stated, a great falling away had occurred, from primitive
purity and simplicity and freedom into creed-bound, ambitious
factions, whose errors and ceremonies, resembling those of the
pagan philosophies, garnished with some truths and enforced and
clinched with the doctrine of everlasting torment, had drawn into
the church a vast horde, whose numbers and influence became valuable
to Constantine and were respected and used accordingly. No such
worldly man ever thought seriously of espousing the cause of the
humble, Christlike "little flock"--the truly consecrated
Church, whose names are written in heaven. The popularity with
his soldiers, mentioned by the historians, is very different from
popularity with real soldiers of the cross.
proof of this let us here quote from history, regarding the state
of religious society under Diocletian, the predecessor of Constantine,
who, toward the close of his reign, believing that Christians
had attempted to destroy his life, became embittered against them
and persecuted them by ordering the destruction of Bibles, the
banishing of bishops, and finally by decreeing the death of such
as opposed these enactments. Gibbon* says of this era:
and his colleagues frequently conferred the most important offices
on those persons who avowed their abhorrence for the worship of
the gods, but who displayed abilities proper for the service of
the state. The bishops held ---------- *Vol. II, page 53 and 57.
<PAGE 292> an honorable rank in their respective
provinces, and were treated with distinction and respect, not
only by the people, but by the magistrates themselves. Almost
in every city, the ancient churches were found insufficient to
contain the increasing number of proselytes; and in their place
more stately and capacious edifices were erected for the public
worship of the faithful. The corruption of manners and principles,
so forcibly lamented by Eusebius, may be considered as not only
a consequence but a proof of the liberty which the Christians
enjoyed and abused under the reign of Diocletian. Prosperity had
relaxed the nerves of discipline. Fraud, envy and malice prevailed
in every congregation. The proselytes aspired to the episcopal
office, which every day became an object more worthy of their
ambition. The bishops, who contended with each other for ecclesiastical
pre-eminence, appeared by their conduct to claim a secular and
tyrannical power in the church; and the lively faith which
still distinguished the Christians from the Gentiles was shown
much less in their lives than in their controversial writings.
story of Paul of Samosata, who filled the metropolitan see [bishopric]
of Antioch while the East was in the hands of Odenatus and Zenobia,
may serve to illustrate the condition and character of the times.
[A.D. 270] Paul considered the service of the church a very lucrative
profession. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction was venal and rapacious:
he extorted frequent contributions from the most opulent of the
faithful, and converted to his own use a considerable part of
the public revenues. [It is claimed by critics, says Gibbon, that
Paul held the office of Imperial Ducenarius, or procurator,
with an annual salary of two hundred Sestertia-- $77,000.]
By his pride and luxury, the Christian religion was rendered odious
in the eyes of the Gentiles. His council chamber, and his throne,
the splendor with which he appeared in public, the suppliant crowd
who solicited his attention, the multitude of letters and petitions
to which he dictated his answers, and the perpetual hurry of business
in which he was involved, were circumstances much better suited
to the state of a civil magistrate than to the humility of a primitive
bishop. When he harangued his people from
<PAGE 293> the pulpit, Paul affected the figurative
style and the theatrical gestures of an Asiatic sophist, while
the cathedral resounded with the most extravagant acclamations
in the praise of his divine eloquence. Against those who resisted
his power, or refused to flatter his vanity, the prelate of Antioch
was arrogant, rigid and inexorable, but he relaxed the discipline
and lavished the treasures of the church on his dependent clergy."
under Constantine's reign all hindrance was finally removed, and,
as we shall find, the organization of Papacy --the church nominal
under the headship of the bishop of Rome as pope--was speedily
Rapid Development of Antichrist
rapid development of the Papal Hierarchy after the accession of
Constantine is a very remarkable feature of its history. "The
prince of this world" was true to his promise to give power
and dominion as a reward for worshiping and obeying him. (`Matt.
4:8,9`) By the edict of Milan, Constantine gave legal security
to the possessions of the Church, and Christians recovered lands
formerly forfeited. A second edict, A.D. 321, granted the liberty
of bequeathing property to the Church, while Constantine himself
set an example of liberality and lavished wealth upon the Christian
clergy unsparingly. This example of the Emperor was followed by
thousands of his subjects, whose offerings during life and whose
bequests in the hour of death flowed into the ecclesiastical treasury.
church of Rome began early to assume authority over the others
[over the churches of other cities and countries] as well from
the numbers and wealth of its converts as from its position in
the capital city. Many circumstances concurred to augment the
influence of its bishop, although his usurpation and ambition
were for a time vigorously repelled. The transference of the seat
of power [by Constantine, ---------- *White's Universal History,
<PAGE 294> from Rome to Constantinople, A.D.
334] increased the power of the western church by conferring the
chief magistracy on the bishop. To this must be added the sanction
given by Gratian and Valentinian to the custom of appeals to Rome,
and the frequent pilgrimages to the tombs of St. Peter and St.
Paul and other martyrs."
the death of Constantine the varied fortunes of the Roman Empire
seemed to cooperate for the advancement of the apostate church
and the development of Antichrist; for a union under one head
or pope, esteemed the representative or vicegerent of Christ,
had not yet been effected. The emperors succeeding Constantine,
down to Theodosius, continued to regard themselves as the heads
of the Church, in whom centered divine authority. Though no one
of the eighteen hundred bishops of the empire was yet prepared
to demand recognition as the head, or pope, several had
their eyes on that prize, and the emperors were shown the shallowness
of their claims to the title Pontifex Maximus, in the argument
that since they worshiped dead saints they owed a similar respect
to their living representatives--the bishops. Nevertheless, the
emperors in their edicts repeatedly referred to the empire as
a divine hierarchy and to themselves as divine personages.*
power and headship of the bishop of Rome came on apace: within
fifty years from the time Christianity was legally established,
his wealth and dignity, as the bishop of the capital and chief
city of the world, were very great. Ammianus, a contemporary historian,
describing his wealth and ostentation, says, "He surpassed
kings in splendor and magnificence, rode in the stateliest chariots,
was arrayed in the finest attire, and was distinguished by his
luxury and pride." The removal of the seat of empire to Constantinople,
the exposure of the city of Rome to the invasion of the barbarians
from the north, the continual ---------- *See Gibbon, Vol. II,
<PAGE 295> changes of generals and governors
in the now fast falling empire, left the bishop of the church
at Rome the most permanent and most honored official there; and
his gradually increasing prestige was heightened as well by the
removal of the rival splendors of the imperial court to Constantinople
as by the reverence attaching to the very name of Rome, among
all the peoples of the world.
an illustration of this, we note that when, in A.D. 455, the city
of Rome was invaded and plundered by the Vandals, and all around
was distress and desolation, Leo, the bishop of Rome, improved
the opportunity for impressing upon all, both barbarians and Romans,
his claim of spiritual power. To the rude and superstitious barbarians,
already greatly impressed by what they saw about them, of Rome's
greatness and wealth, Leo, arrayed in his pontifical robes, exclaimed:
"Beware! I am the successor of St. Peter, to whom God has
given the keys of the kingdom of heaven and against whose church
the gates of hell cannot prevail; I am the living representative
of divine power on the earth; I am Caesar, a Christian Caesar,
ruling in love, to whom all Christians owe allegiance; I hold
in my hands the curses of hell and the benedictions of heaven;
I absolve all subjects from allegiance to kings; I give and take
away, by divine right, all thrones and principalities of Christendom.
Beware how you desecrate the patrimony given me by your invisible
king; yea, bow down your necks to me and pray that the anger of
God may be averted."
veneration for the place and name was actively taken advantage
of by the bishop of Rome, who soon claimed a superiority to all
other bishops, governors and rulers. Soon he claimed not only
ecclesiastical dominion of the world, but also civil dominion:
that the right to crown and uncrown, to make and degrade any and
all rulers of the old Roman Empire was the right and inheritance
of the Church of Rome, which, it was claimed, God had thus invested
<PAGE 296> with the dominion of earth. These
claims were made repeatedly, and repeatedly denied by opposing
bishops, so that to fix an exact year as the date of its beginning
would be impossible. As for itself, Papacy claims that it was
organized in the days of the apostles, and that Peter was the
first pope; but this is not only without proof, but it is most
positively contradicted by all history, which shows that though
the iniquity of ambition worked secretly for a long time,
it was hindered from developing into Antichrist, and from making
such open claims, until the Roman Empire began to disintegrate.
we deal with the Antichrist, whose gradual development
and organization from secretly working ambition are a fitting
prelude to the terrible character displayed after the coveted
power had been grasped--from 539 A.D. to 1799 A.D., 1260 years.
Of this period the first three hundred years mark the rise of
this temporal power; the last three mark its waning under the
influences of the Reformation and civilization; and the intermediate
period of seven centuries embraces Papacy's glory-time and the
"dark ages" of the world, full of frauds and deceptions
in the name of Christ and true religion.
Roman Catholic writer fully corroborates our findings on this
subject, and we present his words regardless of their gloss, as
corroborative testimony. Giving, with glowing enthusiasm, a description
of the rise of the Papacy to temporal power, describing it as
a plant of heavenly origin, and therefore of rapid growth and
high exaltation in the world, he says:
rise of the temporal power of the Popes presents to the mind one
of the most extraordinary phenomena which the annals of the human
race offer to our wonder and admiration. By a singular combination
of concurring circumstances a new power and a new dominion grew
<PAGE 297> and steadily, on the ruins of that
Roman Empire which had extended its sway over, or made itself
respected by, nearly all the nations, peoples and races that lived
in the period of its strength and glory; and that new power, of
lowly origin, struck a deeper root, and soon exercised a wider
authority, than the empire whose gigantic ruins it saw shivered
into fragments and mouldering in dust. In Rome itself the power
of the successor of Peter grew side by side with, and under the
protecting shadow of, that of the emperor; and such was the increasing
influence of the popes, that the majesty of the supreme Pontiff
was likely ere long to dim the splendor of the purple.
removal by Constantine of the seat of empire from the West to
the East, from the historic banks of the Tiber to the beautiful
shores of the Bosphorus, laid the broad foundation of a sovereignty
which in reality commences from that momentous change.
Practically, almost from that day, Rome, which had witnessed the
birth, the youth, the splendor, and the decay, of the mighty race
by whom her name had been carried with her eagles to the remotest
regions of the then known world, was gradually abandoned by the
inheritors of her renown; and its people, deserted by the emperors,
and an easy prey to the ravages of the barbarians whom they had
no longer the courage to resist, beheld in the bishop of Rome
their guardian, their protector, their father. Year by year the
temporal authority of the popes grew into shape and hardened into
strength, without violence, without bloodshed, without fraud,
by the force of overwhelming circumstances, fashioned, as if visibly,
by the hand of God."
Roman Catholics thus represent the rise of the Papacy on the ruins
of Pagan Rome as a triumph of Christianity, those who are acquainted
with the true spirit of Christianity look in vain to see any trace
of that spirit in the prostitution of the Church and her unholy
alliance with the world. Neither can the true Christian see in
the advantages furnished by ignorance, superstition, calamities,
<PAGE 298> various circumstances of the times
of which the Church of Rome took advantage, any evidence of divine
interposition in her favor. Nor yet can they discover, in the
exaltation of the Church of Rome to earthly power and glory, any
verification of the Lord's promise to the true Church, to exalt
her in due time--after the Antichrist has come and gone;
for the exaltation of the true Church is not to be to a blood-stained
and crime-polluted throne, such as the throne of the Papacy has
been from its very beginning: neither will the true Christ ever
need to call upon earthly kings to establish or defend his power.
The marks which distinguish the counterfeit from the real kingdom
of Christ are easily recognizable by those acquainted, through
the Scriptures, with the real Christ and his body, the true Church,
with the principles upon which his kingdom is to be established,
and with the object for which it is to be set up.
let no one suppose that the real Church of Christ, even in those
corrupt times, was either extinguished or lost sight of. "The
Lord knoweth them that are his" in every age and under every
condition. As wheat they were permitted to grow in the midst of
a field overrun with tares; as gold they were in the furnace,
being tried and purified and "made meet for the inheritance
of the saints in light." True, the course of the multitude,
who called themselves Christians, occupies the most prominent
place on the pages of history; but undoubtedly a faithful few
through all the persecutions, and in the midst of all the deceptive
arts of the Mystery of Iniquity, walked worthy of their high calling,
were laid to rest and recorded of God as heirs to the crown that
fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them.
clearly, on the pages of history, the fact is pointed out that
this Man of Sin, Antichrist, was born in Rome; and, though at
first opposed, he gradually raised himself up to power; or, as
expressed in Daniel's prophecy, as "a little horn,"
it came up out of the head of that old Roman beast,
<PAGE 299> that "great and terrible beast,"
for which Daniel could find no name, which had such power to hurt
and to destroy. And, as we proceed, we shall find that Antichrist's
history corresponds exactly, not only with Daniel's prophecy,
but with all the prophecies recorded concerning him.
Antichrist's Character in History
located Antichrist, we next proceed to compare the character of
Papacy with the prophecies recorded, descriptive of the character
and deeds of the Antichrist or Man of Sin.
may query whether it be right to pass over the emperors of Rome
(who claimed to be Supreme religious rulers), without calling
their system Antichrist, and to apply that title complete and
entire to the organized Papal system. We answer, This is certainly
right; and we refer the reader again to the definition of Antichrist
already given, as used in the Scriptures, viz., in the place
of, instead of, i.e., to be a spiritual empire: it must claim
to rule the kingdoms of earth by this spiritual authority; it
must thus be not only an antagonist but a counterfeit, misrepresenting
and pretending to be Christ's kingdom, and exercising what will
in God's due time be the authority of the true Christ, the church
glorified and complete under the only true Head and Lord--the
real Pontifex Maximus.
only does Papacy claim to be the glorified kingdom of Christ promised
by the Lord, the apostles and the prophets, but it applies to
itself and its successive heads (the popes, who, it claims, take
the place of Christ, as Pontiff, Chief or King of this kingdom)
all those passages of the prophets which describe the Millennial
glory of the Christ. And, "deceiving [others] and being deceived"
themselves (by their false theories, developed slowly by sinful
ambition for greatness, during centuries), the popes have piece
by piece arranged the titles of all associated in the hierarchy,
<PAGE 300> their gorgeous clothing, their imposing
ceremonials, their grand cathedrals with solemn, awe-inspiring
services, on a scale to correspond as nearly as possible with
their claims-- the gorgeous surroundings and clothing and ceremonies
matching, as best they can make them match, the glories and grandeur
portrayed by the prophets.
instance, `Psalm 2:12` reads, "Kiss
the Son, O ye kings of the earth, lest he be angry, and ye perish
by the way, when his anger is kindled but a little." This
is not a command to kiss literally, but to yield willing, cheerful
submission to our Lord, and applies to the present hour, when,
preparatory to the great and true Millennial reign of the true
Christ, the kings or great ones of earth, politically, socially,
financially and ecclesiastically, are being tested by their willingness
or unwillingness to bow to the righteous regulations now due to
go into operation. Those who resist righteousness resist the scepter
of this King of glory, and all such shall be overthrown in the
great time of trouble which ushers in the Millennial reign of
the new King: all who would not have him reign shall be slain.
(`Luke 19:27`) "His enemies
shall lick the dust"--be vanquished.
this prophecy to his counterfeit kingdom, Antichrist's representative
head, the pope, in the palmy days of his prosperity caused kings
and emperors to bow before him, as before Christ, and to kiss
his great toe-- applying the same as the fulfilment of this prophecy.
like these are very generally passed over lightly by prophetic
students and writers, while they search out and specially notice
immoralities; but herein they greatly err, for criminalities have
been plentiful enough in every age, and would need no such special,
prophetic delineations as are given of Antichrist. Could it be
proved that those connected with the papal system have been very
models of morality, it would be none the less identical with the
<PAGE 301> noted in Scripture as the great
Antichrist--the counterfeit which has arrogated to itself the
titles, privileges, powers and reverence belonging to the Lord's
Anointed. As a counterfeit, it has also misrepresented the plan
of God with reference to the selection of a "little flock,"
or Church, in the present time; and it has entirely set aside
the real hope of the Church, and the Lord's provision for the
blessing of the world during the Millennial reign of Christ--
which it represents as fulfilled in its own reign.
ill effects of such perversion and misrepresentation of God's
plan can scarcely be estimated. They have been the direct source
from which sprang all the corrupt doctrines which, one after another,
were introduced to support the claims and add to the dignity of
Antichrist. And though the Reformation, three centuries ago, ushered
in an era of Bible study and liberty of thought, and led to the
rejection of many evils and errors, yet the counterfeit was on
so elaborate a scale, so complete in all its parts and arrangements,
and had so thoroughly deceived the whole world that, even after
Luther and many others had recognized Papacy as the outcome of
the great falling away--the Antichrist of prophecy--they, while
denouncing it as a system, held firmly to the false theory which
led to its peculiar errors of doctrine and practice. To this day
the great majority of Protestants of all denominations support
the theory of Antichrist, that Christ's Kingdom has been set
up. Some have endeavored to do as Papacy did--to organize
their church under some one person as its head--while others supply
the place of this head with a council or synod; but all are under
the delusion imposed by the false and misleading interpretations
of Scripture doctrines started by Antichrist--that now, and not
at a future time, is the reign of Christ's Kingdom; and,
denying the coming age, as the Antichrist does, they, like that
system, are careless of the full development of holiness
<PAGE 302> among believers and are zealous
rather for the accomplishment now of the work of the next age
(the conversion of the world)--so much so, that they are often
willing to misrepresent God's plan and Word, and to invent theories
to frighten and drive the world into a profession of godliness;
and willing also to resort to questionable and worldly methods
to add to their attractions, to make their various systems the
more enticing to the unconverted, whom they, like Antichrist,
are willing to count in for pride's sake and to make a good showing.
find it difficult to see that Papacy is Antichrist. How could
they, while faith is not yet free from the poison, and reason
is still greatly blinded by the very essence of Antichrist's error.
The greatness, the grandeur and the necessity of Christ's Millennial
Kingdom and its work of blessing all the families of the earth
must be seen, before the greatness of the Antichrist counterfeit
can be appreciated, or its havoc to the truth and its desolating
and defiling influence in the nominal church or temple of God
can be rightly estimated.
need be surprised at the completeness of this counterfeit, when
we reflect that it is Satan's workmanship, and has been
patterned after the types and illustrations of future glory presented
in the Scriptures. Seeing that the time for the selection of the
Church had come, and that the truths planted by the Lord and the
apostles had gained rapid headway against all the heathen religions,
seeking out the meek wherever it went, the great adversary sought
to destroy the purity of the Church and to turn into other and
false channels that which he could not stop. Thus the triumph
of Antichrist, as well as its present power, has really been Satan's
success. But here we behold the wisdom of God; for while the success
of Antichrist seemed to presage the defeat of God's plan it was
really, though unwittingly,
THE CHURCH OF GOD,
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
successors--Chief or High Priest, head and representative and
deriving their official dignity and rights and privileges of service
through Aaron, whose body they represented, typified the Church
THE REALITY DURING THE MILLENNIUM
Jesus, our Lord and Head and representative; the High-Priest of
our profession or order.
Church glorified, the Body of Christ, sharers of his glory, majesty,
and office of ruler: whose offices will differ, as star differeth
from star in glory.
Popes, in turn, High-Priests of the Papal Hierarchy; its lord,
head and mouthpiece.
Church of Rome consists of the bishops and prelates, who share
the dignities of the hierarchy, though differing in degrees of
honor--cardinals, bishops, etc.
to the Hierarchy are assistants, as follows:
Levites, who did services connected with the typical Tabernacle--teaching,
etc., etc. An inferior order of priests not permitted to enter
the Most Holy Sanctuary (typical of the spiritual nature), neither
to look therein.
Israel was taught and directed by the above described hierarchy.
And in Moses, who was a type of the complete Christ, they had
prophet, priest and king united, typical of Christ's Millennial
authority. `Acts 3:22`
THE REALITY DURING THE MILLENNIUM
earthly phase of the Kingdom of God; through whom the glorified
Church will have more direct contact with the world, in teaching,
governing, etc., and who also will have closest communion with
the spiritual Church in glory.
World will be taught, directed, ruled and helped by the above
described Kingdom of God and its earthly representatives, which
will have all power, and must be obeyed; and all who obey not
will be "cut off." `Acts 3:23`
under-priests of Papacy, not parts or members of the church
or hierarchy, but called "Brothers" and "Sisters."
Of these are the teachers, nurses, etc., in direct contact with
the people as well as with the hierarchy.
claims the obedience of the World to its rule and teachings
--as being the Kingdom of God. The lower priesthood is its agent.
When in power, it attempted to enforce its laws, and to "cut
off" those who obeyed not.
<PAGE 304> cooperating to insure the success
of his plan; for by no other means could the truly consecrated
have been so thoroughly tried, and their faithfulness to God's
Word so thoroughly tested, as by the permission of this great
accompanying table will serve to show how complete has been the
counterfeit of the future organization of Christ's kingdom in
Papacy, and how it was drawn from the Jewish typical priesthood.
explaining the rise of the hierarchical system in the Church,
very clearly shows this counterfeiting, in these words, Vol. I,
the least probability remained that Jerusalem might at one time
or other again rear its head from the dust, the Christian teachers
and elders assumed to themselves no titles or distinctions, at
least none but the most modest and humble ones; but when the fate
of that city had been sealed by Hadrian [A.D. 135], and not the
most distant hope could any longer be entertained by the Jews,
of seeing their ancient government re-established, these same
pastors and ministers conceived a wish to have it believed
by their flocks that they themselves had succeeded to the
rights of the Jewish priesthood. The bishops, therefore, made
it their business to inculcate the notion that they were invested
with a character resembling that of the great High Priest of the
Jews, and were consequently possessed of all those rights
which had been recognized as belonging to the Jewish Pontiff.
The functions of the ordinary Jewish priest were, in like manner,
stated to have devolved, though under a more perfect form, on
the presbyters of the Christian Church: and finally the deacons
were placed on a parallel with the Levites, or inferior ministers."
The Head and Mouth of Antichrist
His Great Swelling Words
pope (each pope in his turn) is the head of the false church,
which is his body, even as Christ Jesus is the head of
<PAGE 305> the true Church, which is his body.
Since the head is the representative of the body, and its mouth
speaks for the body, we find, as we should expect, this feature
of Antichrist prominently referred to in the Scriptures. In
`Daniel 7:8,11,25`, and `Rev. 13:5,6`,
the mouth of Antichrist is brought specially to our notice as
a leading characteristic. Daniel says this horn had "eyes
like the eyes of man"--symbolic of intelligence and a farsighted
policy. This "horn" was to be different from
all the other powers; it was to be more wise, more cunning, than
other empires which attempted to rule the world; its power was
to be that of its mouth (utterance) guided by its eyes (knowledge),
rather than that of physical force. And no one acquainted with
the history of Papacy can deny that the figures used to illustrate
its power and methods are strikingly good.
there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things. And
he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his
name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."
"And he shall speak great words against the Most High."
`Rev. 13:5,6`; `Dan. 7:8,25`
should not be forgotten that these are figurative expressions
descriptive of the character and claims of a symbolic "beast"
(government) and "horn" (power) out of the old Roman
beast or empire. In some respects, Papacy was a new government
("beast"), distinct from the old Roman empire; and in
others, it was a horn or power among others out of that empire,
which for a time held superior control over the other horns or
powers. It is presented in symbol from both these standpoints
so as most thoroughly to locate and designate it.
great swelling words, or blasphemies, cover the whole period of
his long career. The expression, "blasphemy," in our
day, is usually given only a coarse meaning, as if it related
to the most vulgar forms of cursing and profanity
<PAGE 306> only. But, in its true significance,
the word "blasphemy" is applicable to any indignity
offered to God. Bouvier defines it thus: "Blasphemy
is to attribute to God that which is contrary to his nature, and
does not belong to him--and to deny what does." See Webster's
Unabridged Dictionary under heads of Blasphemy and Blasphemously.
And in evidence that this is the sense in which the word "blasphemy"
is used in the Scriptures, notice the manner in which our Lord
and the Pharisees used it: "The Jews answered, For a good
work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because
thou, being a man, makest thyself God." Jesus answered them,
"Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent
into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am
the Son of God?" `John 10:33,36`. See
also `Mark 14:61-64`.
this, the proper definition of "blasphemy," before us,
how evident it must be to the simplest minds that Papacy's great
swelling words and boastful claims have, one and all, been blasphemies.
The establishment of a counterfeit Kingdom of God was a libel
upon God's government, a gross blasphemy, and a misrepresentation
of his character and plan and word. God's character, i.e., his
"name," was blasphemed in the thousand monstrous
edicts, bulls and decretals issued in his name, by the long line
of those who claimed, as vicegerents, to represent his Son; and
God's tabernacle, the true Church, was blasphemed by the
false system which claimed to take its place--which claimed that
its faithful were the true and only tabernacle or Church of God.
But we must let history tell us of these great swelling words,
these blasphemous assumptions, which successive popes, as the
head of Antichrist, uttered and approved.
a work entitled, "The Pope the Vicar of Christ, the Head
of the Church," by the celebrated Roman Catholic, Monsignor
Capel, is a list of no less than sixty-two blasphemous titles
applied to the pope; and, be it noticed, these
<PAGE 307> are not mere dead titles from the
past, for they were arranged by one of Papacy's foremost living
writers. We quote from the list as follows:
"Most Divine of all Heads."
"Holy Father of Fathers."
"Pontiff Supreme over all Prelates."
"Overseer of the Christian Religion."
"The Chief Pastor--Pastor of Pastors."
"Christ by Unction."
"Abraham by Patriarchate."
"Melchisedec in Order."
"Moses in Authority."
"Samuel in the Judicial Office."
"High Priest, Supreme Bishop."
"Prince of Bishops."
"Heir of the Apostles; Peter in Power."
"Key-bearer of the Kingdom of Heaven."
"Pontiff Appointed with Plenitude of Power."
"Vicar of Christ."
"Head of all the Holy Churches."
"Chief of the Universal Church."
"Bishop of Bishops, that is, Sovereign Pontiff."
"Ruler of the House of the Lord."
"Apostolic Lord and Father of Fathers."
"Chief Pastor and Teacher."
"Physician of Souls."
"Rock against which the proud gates of hell prevail not."
"Head of all the Holy Priests of God."
addition to the long list of titles of which the above are instances,
the author gives the following quotations from a letter which
St. Bernard, Abbott of Clairvaux, wrote to Pope Eugenius III,
art thou? The High-Priest, the Supreme Bishop. Thou art the Prince
of Bishops, thou art the Heir of the Apostles. Thou art Abel in
Primacy, Noah in government, Abraham in the patriarchal rank,
in order Melchisedec, in dignity Aaron, in authority Moses, Samuel
in judicial office, Peter in power, CHRIST IN UNCTION. Thou art
he to whom the keys of heaven are given, to whom the sheep are
intrusted. There are indeed other door-keepers of heaven, and
other shepherds of the flocks; but thou art the more glorious
in proportion as thou hast also, in a different fashion, inherited
before others both these names....The power of others is limited
by definite bounds: thine extends even over those who have received
authority over others. Canst thou not, when a just reason occurs,
shut up heaven against a bishop, depose him from the episcopal
office, and deliver him over to Satan? Thus thy privilege is immutable,
as well in the keys committed to thee as in the sheep intrusted
to thy care."
these blasphemously flattering titles have been applied to and
received by the Roman pontiffs with complacency and marked satisfaction,
as rightfully belonging to them.
Pope Boniface VIII we have the following decree, which is still
extant in the common law: "We declare, say, define, pronounce
it necessary to salvation for every human creature to be
subject to the Roman pontiff." Pope Gregory VII, who in the
year 1063 ordained that the pope should be called father of
fathers, draws the following from `Gen.
1:16`, to support papal pretensions: "God made two
great lights in the firmament of heaven; the greater light to
rule the day and the less to rule the night; both great, but one
the greater. 'In the firmament of heaven,' that is, the
universal church, 'God made two great lights'; that is, he instituted
two dignities, which are the pontifical authority and the regal
power; but that which presides over the day, that is, the spiritual,
is the greater; but that which presides over carnal things is
the less; for as the sun differs from the moon, so do popes differ
from kings." Other popes have
<PAGE 309> adopted this interpretation, which
has done much to enforce the idea of papal supremacy.
Antonius, Archbishop of Florence, after citing
`Psalm 8:4-8`, "Thou hast made him a little lower
than the angels," etc., and applying it to Christ, transfers
it to the pope in the following words:
because he left us in his bodily presence, he left his vicar [substitute]
on the earth, viz., the chief pontiff, who is called papa, which
means father of fathers; so that these words may be fitly expounded
of the pope. For the pope, as Hostiensis saith, is greater than
man but less than an angel, because he is mortal; yet he is greater
in authority and power. For an angel cannot consecrate the body
and blood of Christ, nor absolve or bind, the highest degree of
which power belongs to the pope; nor can an angel ordain or grant
indulgences. He is crowned with glory and honor; the glory of
commendation, because he is called not only blessed, but most
blessed. Who shall doubt to call him blessed whom the very top
of such great dignity hath exalted? He is crowned with the honor
of veneration, so that the faithful may kiss his feet. A greater
veneration cannot exist. 'Adore his footstool.' (`Psa.
99:5`) He is crowned with the magnitude of authority, because
he can judge all persons, but can be judged of none, unless he
be found to deviate from faith [the faith of Antichrist, of course].
Hence he is crowned with a triple, golden crown, and is 'placed
over all the works of his hands,' to dispose of all inferiors.
He opens heaven, sends the guilty to hell, confirms empires, regulates
the whole clergy."
Council of Lateran in its first session gave to the pope the appellation
of "Prince of the Universe"; in its second session it
called him "Priest and King, who is to be adored by all people,
and who is very like unto God"; and in its fifth session
it referred prophecies of Christ's glorious reign to Leo X in
these terms: "Weep not, daughter of Zion, for behold, the
Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David: behold, God hath
raised thee up a savior."
Ferraris' Ecclesiastical Dictionary, a standard Roman Catholic
authority, we quote the following condensed outline of papal power
as given under the word papa, article 2nd:
pope is of such dignity and highness that he is not simply a man
but, as it were, God, and the vicar [representative] of God....Hence
the pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven, of
earth and of hell. Nay, the pope's excellence and power are not
only about heavenly, terrestrial and infernal things, but he is
also above angels, and is their superior; so that if it were possible
that angels could err from the faith, or entertain sentiments
contrary thereto, they could be judged and excommunicated by the
pope....He is of such great dignity and power that he occupies
one and the same tribunal with Christ; so that whatsoever
the pope does seems to proceed from the mouth of God....The pope
is, as it were, God on earth, the only prince of the faithful
of Christ, the greatest king of all kings, possessing the plenitude
of power; to whom the government of the earthly and
heavenly kingdom is entrusted." He further adds: "The
pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, declare
or interpret the divine law." "The pope can sometimes
counteract the divine law by limiting, explaining, etc."
Antichrist not only endeavored to establish the Church in power
before the Lord's time, but it was audacious enough to
attempt to "counteract" and "modify" divine
laws to suit its own schemes. How clearly did it thus fulfil
the prophecy which over a thousand years before declared--"He
shall think to change times and laws."
a bull, or edict, Sixtus V declares:
authority given to St. Peter and his successors, by the immense
power of the eternal King, excels all the power of earthly kings
and princes. It passeth uncontrollable sentence upon them all.
And if it find any of them resisting God's ordinance, it takes
more severe vengeance on them,
<PAGE 311> casting them down from their thrones,
however powerful they may be, and tumbling them down to the lowest
parts of the earth as the ministers of aspiring Lucifer."
bull of Pope Pius V, entitled "The damnation and excommunication
of Elizabeth, queen of England, and her adherents--with an addition
of other punishments," reads as follows:
that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power in heaven and
in earth, committed one holy, catholic and apostolic church (out
of which there is no salvation) to one alone upon earth, namely,
to Peter, the Prince of the apostles, and to Peter's successor,
the bishop of Rome, to be governed in fulness of power. Him alone
he made prince over all people and all kingdoms, to pluck up,
destroy, scatter, consume, plant, and build."
Bernard affirms that "none except God is like the pope,
either in heaven or on earth."
Emperor Constantine," says Pope Nicholas I, "conferred
the appellation of God on the pope; who, therefore, being God,
cannot be judged by man."
Pope Innocent III--"The pope holds the place of the true
God"; and the canon law, in the gloss, denominates the pope--"our
and Jacobatius state that "the pope can do nearly all that
God can do," while Decius rejects the word nearly,
as unnecessary. Jacobatius and Durand assert that "none dare
say to him any more than to God--Lord, what doest thou?"
And Antonius wrote:
him [the pope] it belongs to ordain those things which pertain
to the public good, and remove those things which prevent this
end, as vices, abuses which alienate men from God....And this
according to `Jeremiah 1:10` [Here
again appropriating to Antichrist a prophecy which belongs to
Christ's Millennial reign]: 'Behold, I have placed thee over the
nations and kingdoms, to root up and destroy, to scatter and disperse,'
that is, as it regards vices; 'to build
<PAGE 312> up and plant,' that is, as it regards
virtues....In regard to the power of the pope over those in hell,
who are designated by the fishes in the sea (`Psalm
8`)--because, as the fishes are continually agitated by
the waves of the sea, so those in purgatory are continually exercised
by the afflictions of punishment --God hath subjected to the pope
also the fishes of the sea, that is, those who are in purgatory,
to relieve them by indulgences.
are subject to the pope, who presides in the world in the place
of Christ. But Christ hath full power over every creature. The
pope is the vicar of Christ, and no one can lawfully withdraw
himself from his obedience, as no one can withdraw himself lawfully
from obedience to God. ...The pope can punish pagans and barbarous
nations.... And though pagans cannot be punished with the spiritual
punishment of excommunication and the like, yet they can be punished
by the church with pecuniary punishment, and by princes with corporeal
punishment also....The church can punish, indirectly, the Jews
with spiritual punishment, by excommunicating Christian princes
to whom the Jews are subject, if they neglect to punish them
with temporal punishment when they do anything against
Christians....If the conversion of some should be desired,
they may be compelled by terrors and stripes, not indeed to receive
faith, but that they should present no obstacle to faith by an
obstinate will. For the conversion of infidels, the judgment of
God ought to be imitated."
is an illustration of how error of doctrine produces unrighteousness.
Men may speedily be led into every form of cruelty and oppression,
if first they can convince themselves that in the exercise of
such depravities they are the more like God--imitators of God.
The wonder is that men are as kind and moderate as we find them,
with all the terrible, false ideas and doctrines concerning God's
plan for mankind, with which Satan has blinded and deluded them
through the papal fountain of error, leading them in a course
congenial to their fallen nature. Continuing, the same writer
power of the pope is exercised over heretics and schismatics,
denoted also by oxen, because they resist the truth with the horn
of pride. God hath subjected these also under the feet of the
pope to be punished in a fourfold way, viz., by excommunication,
deposition, the deprivation of temporal goods and military persecution.
But then they are only to be taken for heretics when they refuse
to reform their pestiferous doctrines, and are ready pertinaciously
to defend them....The pope can choose or elect the emperor. The
emperor is the minister [servant] of the pope, in this, that he
is the minister of God, whose place the pope fills; for
God hath deputed the emperor as the minister of the pope....I
suppose it to be said as a truth, that the pope, the vicar of
Christ, hath universal jurisdiction of spiritual and temporal
things, in the whole world, in the place of the living God."
following utterances of the popes, culled from Fox's "Acts
and Monuments," by H. G. Guinness, and English writer of
note, deserves a place of prominence; and we can sympathize heartily
with this writer's comment on the system whose mouth gives forth
such utterances, when he says--"If 'he that exalteth himself
shall be abased,' what degradation can be commensurate with such
self-exaltation as this?"
seeing such power is given to Peter, and to me in Peter, being
his successor, who is he then in all the world that ought not
to be subject to my decrees, which have such power in heaven,
in hell, in earth, with the quick and also the dead....By the
jurisdiction of which key the fullness of my power is so great
that, whereas all others are subjects--yea, and emperors themselves
ought to subdue their executions to me--only I am subject to no
creature, no, not to myself; so my Papal majesty ever remaineth
undiminished; superior to all men, whom all persons ought to obey
and follow, whom no man must judge or accuse of any crime, no
man depose but I myself. No man can excommunicate me, yea, though
I commune with the excommunicated; for no canon bindeth me; whom
no man must lie to, for he that lieth to me is a heretic, and
<PAGE 314> person. Thus, then, it appeareth
that the greatness of priesthood began in Melchisedec, was solemnized
in Aaron, perfectionated in Christ, represented in Peter, exalted
in the universal jurisdiction, and manifested in the Pope.
So that through this pre-eminence of my priesthood, having
all things subject to me, it may seem well verified in me, that
was spoken of Christ, 'Thou hast subdued all things under his
likewise, it is to be presumed that the bishop of that church
is always good and holy. Yea, though he fall into homicide or
adultery, he may sin, but yet he cannot be accused, but rather
excused by the murders of Samson, the thefts of the Hebrews, etc.
All the earth is my diocese, and I am the ordinary of all men,
having the authority of the King of all kings upon subjects. I
am all in all, and above all, so that God himself, and I, the
vicar of God, have both one consistory, and I am able to do almost
all that God can do. In all things that I list my will is to stand
for reason, for I am able by the law to dispense above the law,
and of wrong to make justice in correcting laws and changing them.
Wherefore, if those things that I do be said not to be done of
man, but of God--WHAT CAN YOU MAKE ME BUT GOD? Again, if prelates
of the church be called and counted of Constantine for Gods, I
then, being above all prelates, seem by this reason to be ABOVE
ALL GODS. Wherefore, no marvel if it be in my power to change
time and times, to alter and abrogate laws, to dispense with all
things, yea, with the precepts of Christ; for where
Christ biddeth Peter put up his sword, and admonishes his disciples
not to use any outward force in revenging themselves, do not I,
Pope Nicholas, writing to the bishops of France, exhort them to
draw out their material swords?...And whereas Christ was present
himself at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, do not I, Pope Martin,
in my distinction, inhibit the spiritual clergy to be present
at marriage-feasts, and also to marry? Moreover, where Christ
biddeth us lend without hope of gain, do not I, Pope Martin, give
dispensation for the same? What should I speak of murder, making
it to be no murder or homicide to slay them that be excommunicated?
Likewise, against the law of nature, item against the apostles,
also against the
<PAGE 315> canons of the apostles, I can and
do dispense; for where they, in their canon, command a priest
for fornication to be deposed, I, through the authority of Sylvester,
do alter the rigor of that constitution, considering the minds
and bodies also of men now to be weaker than they were then....If
ye list briefly to hear the whole number of all such cases as
properly do appertain to my Papal dispensation, which come to
the number of one-and-fifty points, that no man may meddle with
but only I myself alone, I will recite them. [Here follows the
that I have now sufficiently declared my power in earth, in heaven,
in purgatory, how great it is, and what is the fullness thereof
in binding, loosing, commanding, permitting, electing, confirming,
dispensing, doing and undoing, etc., I will speak now a little
of my riches and of my great possessions, that every man may see
my wealth and abundance of all things--rents, tithes, tributes;
my silks, my purple mitres, crowns, gold, silver, pearls and gems,
lands and lordships. For to me pertaineth first the imperial city
of Rome; the palace of Lateran; the kingdom of Sicily is proper
to me; Apula and Capua be mine. Also the kingdoms of England and
Ireland, be they not, or ought they not to be, tributaries to
me? To these I adjoin also, besides other provinces and countries,
in both the Occident and the Orient, from the north to the south,
these dominions by name. [Here follows a long list]. What should
I speak here of my daily revenues, of my first-fruits, annates,
palls, indulgences, bulls, confessionals, indults and rescripts,
testaments, dispensations, privileges, elections, prebends, religious
houses, and such like, which come to no small mass of money?...whereby
what vantage cometh to my coffers it may partly be conjectured....But
what should I speak of Germany, when the whole world is my diocese,
as my canonists do say, and all men are bound to believe. Wherefore,
as I began, so I conclude, commanding, declaring, and pronouncing,
to stand upon necessity of salvation, for every human
creature to be subject to me."
is presumed by many today that these boastings of the Papacy belong
only to the distant past, and that a great
<PAGE 316> change has come over that system
in later times; but a little reflection and observation prove
that these sentiments of the Papacy are still unchanged. We should
bear in mind, too, that the constant claim of Papacy is that its
doctrines are unchangeable: that the decrees of its popes and
councils are infallible; and that those decrees, breathing
out blasphemy against God, and persecution against his saints,
are still held sacred by the Roman Catholic Church of the present
day. The change in Papacy is merely the loss of power brought
about by the awakening of the Reformation. The will is still possessed,
but the power to do is curtailed by the increase of knowledge
and liberty in which the Bible has been the principal factor.
Antichrist is being gradually "rendered powerless" by
the true Christ--by the "spirit of his mouth"--his Word.
Soon the bright shining of Immanuel's presence will utterly
destroy the vainglorious counterfeit, and wholly free the world
from the chains of its delusive claims and errors.
an illustration of latter time assumptions, note the fact that
the present pope, upon ascending the papal throne, took the title
of Leo XIII, and shortly after subscribed himself "Leo
de tribus Juda"--i.e., "The Lion of the tribe of
Judah"; one of the titles of the true Head. Surely in presumptuous
claims, therefore, he is not behind those who held the same office
during the dark ages.
following, called The Adoration, is still a part of the
ceremony connected with the installation of a new pope. The new
pope, clad in white, studded with many brilliant gems, and wearing
red shoes with large gold crosses for buckles, is conducted to
the altar, where he kneels. Then-- "The pope rises, and,
wearing his mitre, is lifted up by the cardinals and placed by
them upon the altar-throne to sit there. One of the bishops kneels,
and the singing of Te Deum [We praise thee, O God] begins.
Meantime the cardinals kiss the feet and hands and face of the
pope." A coin representing
<PAGE 317> this ceremony, struck in the Papal
mint, bears the words, "Whom they create, they adore."
Manning, Papacy's chief representative in England, endorses and
draws public attention to the following clause of the Catholic
declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it necessary to salvation,
for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."
And in a published discourse he represents the pope as saying,
"I claim to be the Supreme Judge and Director of the consciences
of men; of the peasant that tills the field, and the prince that
sits on the throne; of the household that lives in the shade of
privacy, and the Legislature that makes laws for kingdoms. I am
the sole, last, Supreme Judge of what is right and wrong."
too, in observing modern instances of Papacy's "great swelling
words of vanity," we should not overlook the notable decree
of the Ecumenical Council, held in Rome in A.D. 1870, declaring
the infallibility of the Pope. True, it had been claimed now and
then in the past, by supercilious popes, that they were infallible;
and bishops and princes desirous of flattering their pride had
virtually so pronounced them, in the declaration, "Thou art
another god, on earth"; but it remained for a Papal
Council in this enlightened nineteenth century to coolly and deliberately
inform the world how great this "god on earth" is--that
he is almost as perfect as the other God, in heaven; that
he cannot err more than the other; that in his ex cathedra
utterances the pope is infallible--unerring.
vote of the council was taken July 13th 1870, and on the 18th
the decree was formally promulgated, with ceremony, at the great
St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. The following description of the
event, by Dr. J. Cummings, of London, will be read with interest.
Pope had a grand throne erected in front of the eastern window
in St. Peter's, and arrayed himself in a perfect blaze of precious
stones, and surrounded himself with cardinals
<PAGE 318> and patriarchs and bishops in gorgeous
apparel, for a magnificent spectacular scene. He had chosen the
early morning hour and the eastern window--that the rising sun
should flash its beams full upon his magnificence, and by it his
diamonds, rubies and emeralds be so refracted and reflected that
he should appear to be not a man, but what the decree proclaimed
him, one having all the glory of God.... The pope posted himself
at an early hour at the eastern window,...but the sun refused
to...shine. The dismal dawn darkened rapidly to a deeper and deeper
gloom. The dazzle of glory could not be produced. The aged eyes
of the would-be God could not see to read by daylight, and he
had to send for candles. Candle-light strained his nerves of vision
too much, and he handed the reading over to a cardinal. The cardinal
began to read amid an ever blackening gloom, but had not read
many lines before such a glare of lurid fire and such a crash
burst from the inky heavens as was never equaled at Rome before.
Terror fell upon all. The reading ceased. One cardinal jumped
trembling from his chair, and exclaimed, 'It is the voice of God
speaking, the thunders of Sinai.'"
the blasphemous pretentions of Antichrist should be remembered
several of its doctrines, particularly the doctrine of the Mass,
which we will notice in a subsequent volume. Passing over the
worshiping of saints and of Mary, we note some of the still more
Infallibility was one of the first, and paved the way to others.
It was claimed before the office of Pope was acknowledged. It
has been a most serious error, and has barred the way against
the rectifying of errors when afterward discovered. It has placed
the decrees of church councils beyond contradiction or questioning,
either by reason or Scripture, and has made human ignorance and
weaknesses and misconceptions the standards of faith instead
of God's word--the Bible; for, once conceded that the voice of
the church council was infallible (unerring), everything
must be forced to conform thereto; and each council felt
<PAGE 319> bound to render no decisions contrary
to preceding councils; and those which did otherwise were liable
to be repudiated. So an error once affirmed could not be denied
nor even dropped, and the Bible and reason had to be interpreted
and twisted to match the infallible decrees of fallible
men. No wonder it was found that it required a very expert theologian
to interpret the Scriptures so as to make them agree with the
so-called infallible decrees. No wonder either that, from expediency,
the Bible. The history of Papacy shows clearly that, while
professing to reverence the Bible as the Word of God, it has kept
it in the background and its own infallible words
in the front. Not only so, but it has proscribed God's Word entirely,
as unfit to be read and dangerous to the people, that its own
infallible word might have full control. It well knew that the
Bible was dangerous to its power, and a constant denouncement
of its blasphemous pretentions.
the days of Papal power, the possession or reading of the Bible
by the people was treated as a criminal offense. The art of printing
and the general revival of learning resulting therefrom, about
the sixteenth century, secured the resurrection of the Bible from
the sepulcher of dead languages where Antichrist had long kept
it hidden, forbidding the translating of it under severe penalties.
And when an awakening spirit of independence began to scatter
it in living languages among the people, Bible-burning was no
uncommon thing; and long and loud were the merciless curses that
issued from the Vatican against the presumptuous sinners who dared
to translate, publish or read the Word of God.
Wycliffe published his translation, Pope Gregory sent a bull to
the Oxford University condemning the translator as "run into
a detestable kind of wickedness." Tyndale's translation was
also condemned; and when Luther published his German translation,
Pope Leo X issued a bull
<PAGE 320> against him. Nevertheless, the work
went grandly and steadily forward: the Bible was to have a complete
resurrection, and was destined to shed light upon men of every
nation and language. Slowly the Church of Rome came to realize
this, and resolved, therefore, to permit the translation of the
Scriptures into modern languages, by Catholic translators, accompanied
with Catholic notes. These, however, were not to be given to the
people, except where there was danger of their receiving the Protestant
translations. The Rhemish translation declares this.
following show the character of some of the Notes of the
Rhemish translation--which, however, is in recent years being
superseded by the Douay translation, very similar, but
with less pointed notes. A note on `Matt.
3` reads: "Heretics may be punished and suppressed;
and may, and ought, by public authority, either spiritual or temporal,
to be chastised or executed." One on
`Gal. 1:8` reads: "Catholics should not spare their
own parents, if heretics." On `Heb.
5:7` the note reads: "The translators of the Protestant
Bible ought to be translated to the depths of hell." And
on `Rev. 17:6` the comment reads:
"But the blood of Protestants is not called the blood of
saints, no more than the blood of thieves, man-killers, and other
malefactors, for the shedding of which, by the order of justice,
no commonwealth shall answer."
following are some of the restrictions imposed when it was found
that the reading of the Bible could not be entirely prevented.
The fourth rule of the Index Expurgatoris says:
any shall have the presumption to read or possess the Bible without
written permission, he shall not receive absolution until he have
first delivered up such Bible to the ordinary. Book-sellers who
shall sell or otherwise dispose of Bibles in the vulgar tongue,
to any person not having such permission, shall forfeit the value
of the books,...and be subjected by the bishop to such other penalties
<PAGE 321> bishop shall judge proper, according
to the quality of the offense."
the Council of Trent, in its session A.D. 1546:
order to restrain petulant minds, the council decrees that in
matters of faith and morals, and whatever relates to the maintenance
of Christian doctrine, no one, confiding in his own judgment,
shall dare to wrest the sacred Scriptures to his own sense of
them, contrary to that which hath been held, and still is held,
by the holy mother church, whose right it is to judge of the true
the bull of Pius VII, against Bible Societies, issued June 29,
1816, to the Primate of Poland, we quote:
have been truly shocked at this most crafty device, by which the
very foundations of religion are undermined; and having, because
of the great importance of the subject, conferred in council with
our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church,
we have, with the utmost care and attention, deliberated upon
the measures proper to be adopted by our pontifical authority,
in order to remedy and abolish this pestilence as far as
possible....Of your own accord you have already shown an ardent
desire to detect and overthrow the impious machinations of these
innovators; yet, in conformity with our office, we again and again
exhort you that whatever you can achieve by power, provide
by counsel, or effect by authority, you will daily
execute with the utmost earnestness....The Bible printed by heretics
is to be numbered among other prohibited books, conformably to
the rules of the Index."
same pope, in the year 1819, issued a bull against the use of
the Scriptures in the schools of Ireland. From it we quote:
has reached the ears of the sacred congregation that Bible Schools,
supported by the funds of the heterodox, have been established
in almost every part of Ireland; in which the inexperienced of
both sexes are invested with the fatal poison of depraved doctrines....Every
possible exertion must therefore be made, to keep the youth away
from these destructive schools....Do you labor
<PAGE 322> with all your might to keep the
orthodox youth from being corrupted by them--an object which will,
I hope, be easily effected by the establishment of Catholic schools
throughout your diocese."
we have a candid admission of the real object of the establishment
of Catholic parochial schools in Great Britain and North America,
viz.: to protect their lines. Antichrist has no other object in
offering education to the common people. Ignorance and superstition
are Papacy's bulwarks; and the centuries of its power, including
what is known as the "dark ages," prove this. The education
of the clergy under "restrictions" was not neglected;
but, that no provision was made for the education of the people,
the dense ignorance of all old Roman Catholic countries is strong
proof. Schools and Bibles have ever been Antichrist's unendurable
enemies, and would not be tolerated, except as they became necessities--upon
which a false light must be thrown for the preservation of Antichrist's
a bull by Leo XII to the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, A.D.
1825, we quote:
is no secret to you, venerable brethren, that a certain society,
vulgarly called the Bible Society, is audaciously dispreading
itself through the whole world. After despising the traditions
of the holy fathers, and in opposition to the well known decree
of the Council of Trent, this society has collected all its forces,
and directs every means to one object: to the translation, or
rather to the perversion, of the Bible into the vernacular languages
of all nations."
the late Pope Pius IX expressed his anguish of heart at the triumph
on every hand of this great enemy of Antichrist --the Bible. He
said, "Accursed be those very crafty and deceitful societies
called Bible Societies, which trust the Bible into the hands of
the inexperienced youth."
it was decreed at the Roman Catholic Plenary Council of Baltimore,
A.D. 1886, that an approved Bible shall be permitted in Catholic
schools of the United States. This, however, betokens no change
in the real sentiment of
<PAGE 323> Antichrist; it is but another stroke
of its farsighted policy, in deference to the spirit of liberty
in this country, which abhors such restraints. They well knew,
however, that the liberty and not the Bible was
wanted; and inquiry discovers that now, two years after, the Bible
is not to be found in Catholic schools hereabouts.
doctrine of the natural, inherent immortality of man (that a human
existence once begun can never cease) was another fruitful error,
borrowed from Grecian philosophy. And, being admitted, it led
naturally to the conclusion that if existence must continue
forever, then the Bible expressions concerning the destruction
of finally wilful sinners, the second death, etc., must be construed
to mean the opposite of what they say, viz.: everlasting
life, in some condition. Next, it was easy to decree that to the
wicked it must be a life of suffering; and the torments were frequently
pictured upon the walls of the churches as well as by the words
of zealous priests and monks. This error was the more easily impressed
upon converts because the Greek philosophers (then the leaders
of the world in matters of science, religion and philosophy --whose
ideas, as Josephus shows, had even begun to tincture Judaism)
had long held and taught a punishment for the wicked in death.
To their credit, however, be it noted that they never descended
to the horrible blasphemies of God's character and government
taught to the world by Antichrist. Next, it was in order to fix
a place for this torment and call it hell, and to seek passages
of Scripture referring to sheol and hades and gehenna
which describe the real wages of sin--the first and second deaths--and
dextrously to apply these and the parables of our Lord and the
symbols of Revelation, so as to delude themselves and the whole
world on this subject and most grievously to malign and blaspheme
the character and plan of God, our all-wise and gracious Heavenly
was brought in, to relieve and make endurable
<PAGE 324> this terrible dose of doctrine,
and withal to give Antichrist a firmer hold upon the people. It
claimed to hold the keys of heaven and hell and to have power
to remit the pains of purgatory: not only the Adamic penalty,
and the weaknesses inherited thereby, but also the penalties of
wilful, deliberate sins. What a leverage of power this gave, over
an ignorant people, can be easily imagined--especially when the
emperors and chief men of earth acknowledged and bowed before
for the dead followed; and rich and poor alike felt it a duty
to pay, and liberally, too, to have these. The efficacy of masses,
for the relief of purgatorial sufferings, is claimed to be omnipotent--so
that not even Jehovah or Christ could interfere with it. This
became a source of great income to Antichrist; for the priests
were not slow to remind the dying, if wealthy, of the propriety
of leaving liberal bequests for masses for themselves--lest those
who inherited their wealth should neglect the matter. And, indeed,
within the present year warnings of a similar kind have appeared
in Roman Catholic journals, urging that less money be spent upon
funeral flowers, that the more might be spent for masses for the
came in, some time before the "Crusades": we know that
indulgences were offered, as a bounty, to secure volunteers for
these "Crusades" or "Holy Wars." By Papal
edict, whoever would engage in these holy wars would not only
have forgiveness for sins past, but also merit to offset sins
future; and thus be guaranteed against certain purgatorial sufferings.
These indulgences, Roman Catholics tell us, are not designed to
be licenses to commit sins, but are rewards of merit which offset
or cancel a certain number of days or years of purgatorial
anguish: so that if a man's sins made him liable to one thousand
years of suffering, and he, at one time, or at various times,
secured indulgences to the
<PAGE 325> amount of one thousand years, either
for money, or for services rendered to Papacy, or by penances
done, he would go free; if he had to his credit nine hundred years
indulgence, he would have to endure one hundred years of suffering;
and if indulgences were reckoned to much overbalance his penalties,
he would probably be accounted a saint, of special influence in
heaven, to be prayed to and adored. Of this order Louis, king
of France, the Crusader, would be an example. He was canonized,
and is now adored and prayed to as Saint Louis.
is indeed a difference between this view of Indulgences and a
license to commit sins; and yet it is very slight; for Papacy
affixed to various common sins a certain amount of suffering,
and not only could sins past be thus offset and canceled, but
those who had reason to think that they might commit certain sins,
in the future, could thus provide beforehand merit to cancel them.
Besides this, some, called "plenary [complete, entire]
indulgences," are certainly understood to cover all sins,
past and future.
practice even at the present day seems scarcely credible. Romanists
have certain prayers, a repetition of which constitutes a ground
for indulgence for a limited period; and many added together,
they claim, will protect from wrath a long time. Thus, those who
say the "Hail, Holy Queen" are granted
forty days of indulgence, while for saying the "Litany
of the Blessed Virgin" there is an indulgence of two
hundred days; and for those who say the "Blessed be
the Holy, Immaculate and Most Pure Conception of the Virgin
Mary" one hundred years indulgence is granted, etc.,
etc. In the "darker ages," when indulgences were freely
offered for money and for services in the persecution of infidels
and heretics, it may readily be imagined to what corruption this
blasphemous doctrine led.
crimes generally committed by the rich, who could pay
<PAGE 326> liberally, enormous penalties were
affixed, while the basest violations of justice, more common among
the poorer classes, were lightly excused. Thus, marriage with
a first cousin cost $5,000, while wife-murder or parricide cost
only $20. Spanheim says: "The institution of Indulgence was
the mint which coined money for the Roman Church; the gold mines
for the profligate nephews and natural children of the popes;
the nerves of the Papal wars; the means of liquidating debt, and
the inexhaustible fountain of luxury to the popes."
regulate this traffic a graded scale of penalties was affixed
to various sins--so many days or years in purgatory for each;
and a scale of prices was also arranged to correspond, so that
those obtaining indulgence for a murder or a theft, for infanticide,
or adultery, or perjury, or other sins, could be charged at different
rates. By this means penances were canceled and the torments of
purgatory mitigated or ended, at the pleasure of Antichrist's
agents. We cannot wonder that the people speedily got to understand
that so much money paid for so much sin.
such an extent was crime increased by these indulgences, that
the indignation of the better classes of society was roused to
rebellion against the church. Men's eyes began to be opened, and
they saw the clergy, from the highest dignitaries of the church
down to the lowest orders of officials, steeped in iniquity.
the darkest hour precedes the storm, so just before the great
Reformation movement was, morally, the darkest hour of Antichrist's
dark reign. There the open and shameful traffic in indulgences
produced nausea, and led Luther and other zealous papists to question
and examine the entire system, both in its moral, and afterward
in its doctrinal, aspects. Finally, Luther struck the true idea--that
Papacy was indeed the Antichrist. And, having discovered this,
he fearlessly pointed out some of the symbols of Revelation,
<PAGE 327> and showed their applicability and
partial fulfilment in the Papal Hierarchy.
this subject we quote the following from the pen of the well known
clergyman, Lyman Abbott. He says:
other conditions, for which indulgences were formerly granted
more than now, was the contribution of money to the church. This
traffic reached its height in the beginning of the sixteenth century,
under Leo X, who published indulgences to all who would contribute
toward the erection of St. Peter's [Cathedral] at Rome. His chief
agent for the sale of indulgences in Germany was one John Tetzel.
The notorious vices of Tetzel did not prevent him from being selected
as the bearer of these pardons to other purer souls, and no extravagance
seemed to him too great, so that it brought money to his coffers.
He declared that the red cross, which accompanied him wherever
he went, had as great efficacy as the cross of Christ--that there
was no sin so great that he could not remit it. 'Indulgences save
not the living alone, they also save the dead. The very moment
that the money chinks against the bottom of the chest, the soul
escapes from Purgatory and flies free to heaven.' Such were some
of his blasphemous declarations. A regular scale of prices was
established. 'Polygamy cost six ducats; sacrilege and perjury,
nine; murder, eight; witchcraft, two.' It was this open and shameless
traffic which, more than anything else, led to the Reformation.
Indulgences continued to be granted, not only for acts of worship,
but also for contributions in money to the church; but the public
and open sale of indulgences is now banished, for the most part,
from the Church of Rome."
writer quoted Tetzel's language further, thus:
near and I will give you letters duly sealed, by which even the
sins you shall hereafter desire to commit shall be all forgiven
you. There is no sin so great that indulgence cannot remit. Pay,
only pay largely and you shall be forgiven. Ye priests, ye nobles,
ye tradesmen, ye wives, ye maidens, ye young men, hearken to your
departed parents and friends, who call to you from the bottomless
<PAGE 328> are enduring horrible torment; a
small alms would deliver us. You can give it, Will you not?' With
ten groschen you can deliver your father from purgatory. Our Lord
God no longer deals with us as God--He has given all power to
following is handed down as a copy of the blanks used by Tetzel--filled
out with the name of the purchaser, his sins, etc.:
Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on thee,...and absolve thee by the
merits of his most holy sufferings. I, in virtue of the Apostolic
power committed to me, absolve thee from all....excesses, sins
and crimes that thou mayest have committed, however great and
enormous they may be, and of whatever kind,...I remit the pains
thou wouldst have had to endure in purgatory,...I restore thee
to the innocence and purity of thy baptism, so that, at the moment
of death, the gates of the place of torment shall be shut against
thee, and the gates of paradise open to thee. And if thou shouldst
live long, this grace continueth unchangeable till the time of
thy end. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost, Amen. The brother, John Tetzel, commissary, hath signed
this with his own hand.---."
to the immediate present we cannot say, but we know that, only
a few years since, printed indulgences with prices affixed were
kept on sale, at tables, in some of the large Roman Catholic churches
of Mexico and Cuba.
"It Was Given Him to Make War with the Saints
and to Overcome Them"--To "Wear Out
the Saints of the Most High"
the papal counterfeit kingdom hold and exercise power over the
truly consecrated children of God, and overcome them--"wear
them out" by a long period of oppression, or crushing,
as the Hebrew text implies? We answer, Yes: every means that could
be thought of was employed to crush out the very spirit of true
Christianity (`John 8:36`;
<PAGE 329> `Gal. 5:1`;
`2 Cor. 3:17`), and to substitute the spirit, doctrines
and forms of Antichrist. It was at first less of an open attack
on the faithful than of a slow, persistent, crushing oppression,
dealing more particularly with opposing teachers; and wearing
out the patience and also the faith of many. This persistent worrying,
and wearing out, are well illustrated in the institution of the
Confessional, in which Antichrist not only took cognizance of
every criticism and every word of objection to that system, uttered
in the hearing of the confessing one, but under threat of future
penalties compelled him to confess and repent of any opposing
thoughts or acts of his own. This, too, was soon so backed by
the civil power that to utter any protest against the church could
be construed as treason against the civil power, which was upheld
by papal authority.
the first flush of papal exaltation, the people as a whole were
nominally members of the church or else pagans; and all who professed
Christ were expected to conform to the usages and regulations
of the gradually self-exalting hierarchy. Error, always more popular
than truth, when exalted to influence and power, hunted down,
proscribed and made disreputable the truth, and all who held it.
This was the time when, as pictured in Revelation, the true Church
(woman) fled into the wilderness--into solitude (`Rev.
12:6`)--an outcast because of her fidelity to the truth,
and to the true Lord and Head of the Church. In this time, when
apostates were being exalted as princes, the true, humble saints
were experiencing what the Lord had warned them, and all who will
live godly (in this present time), to expect, viz., persecution.
The mother-in-law was against the daughter-in-law, father against
son, and brother against brother; and a man's foes were often
indeed they of his own household. Could anything be conceived
of more likely to wear out or crush the saints of
the Most High than such a course, persisted in for centuries?
gain an idea of the ferocity and relentlessness of this persecution,
we must again turn to the pages of history.
persecutions of the Christians under Pagan Rome were not worthy
of comparison with those under Papal Rome, being less frequent,
more limited in extent and much less severe. It is stated, on
the authority of the early Christians, that the majority of the
Roman magistrates who exercised in the provinces the authority
of the emperor, or of the senate, and in whose hands was the power
of life and death, behaved like men of polished manners and liberal
education, who respected the rules of justice. They frequently
declined the odious task of persecution, dismissed charges against
the Christians with contempt (as Pilate and Herod attempted to
do in the case of our Lord-- `Luke 23:14-16,20,22`;
`Matt. 27:24`), or suggested to accused Christians some
legal evasion. When possible, they used their power much oftener
for the relief than for the oppression of Christians; and the
Pagan tribunals were often their surest refuge against their Jewish
accusers.* The cruel persecution under the execrable tyrant Nero,
who burned some of the Christians to divert public suspicion from
himself, forms one of the darkest pages in the history of Pagan
Rome; but his victims were comparatively few. The victims
of Pagan persecution were not communities generally, but prominent
individuals. These persecutions of leading representatives, even,
were not so much a fixed, persistent determination of opposition
on the part of the government as a result of uncontrollable popular
clamor, awakened by superstition, which it seemed to the rulers
necessary to satisfy in the interest of peace and order. Several
instances illustrative of this are found in the career of the
Apostle Paul, as well as of other apostles. See
`Acts 19:35-41; 25:24-27; 26:2,3,28`. ---------- *Gibbon,
Vol. II, pages 31-33.
<PAGE 331> Even the more general persecutions,
under the Roman emperors, lasted for but brief periods, except
that under Diocletian, which continued with varying severity for
ten years. Between these persecutions were often long periods
of peace and quiet. Under the emperors, though greatly harassed,
Christianity was not worn out, but, as we have seen, it greatly
different the persecutions of Papacy, which laid hold not only
of prominent opposers but of all, and whose persecutions lasted
not for a few months only, but incessantly! What under Pagan emperors
had been a passing rage or frenzy, under the popes was reduced
to a regular system, animated by religious fanaticism and scheming
ambition--and inspired with a Satanic zeal, energy and cruelty
unparalleled in the annals of history. The apostate church laid
aside the sword of the spirit, and, grasping the arm of the empire,
turned its carnal weapons with relentless fury upon every weaker
opponent that stood in the way of its ambition; while it courted,
flattered and deceived those in authority until it gained their
confidence and usurped their place and power.
heathenism and heresy then became the subjects of persecution--especially
the latter. The so-called Christian clergy, says Edgar, "misapplied
the laws of the Jewish theocracy, and the transactions of the
Jewish annals, for the unchristian and base purpose of awakening
the demon of persecution against the mouldering remains of Grecian
and Roman [heathenish] superstition....They dissolved the ancient
fabric of Polytheism and transferred its revenues to the use of
the church, the state and the army....Gentilism was expelled from
the Roman territory....Coercion in general was substituted for
conviction, and terror for the gospel. One blushes to read of
a Symmachus and a Libanius, two heathen orators, pleading for
reason and persuasion in the propagation of religion,
whilst a Theodosius
<PAGE 332> and an Ambrosius, a Christian emperor
and a Christian bishop, urge violence and constraint."
the accession of Constantine to the sovereignty of Rome, he was
inclined to tolerate all religions, as was shown by the celebrated
edict of Milan, which granted religious freedom
to every individual of the Roman empire. Such a measure should
have been hailed with joy by the Christian Church, which had so
longed for liberty under previous persecutions; but such was not
the case. The true spirit of Christianity had departed, and now
the ambition of the church was to exalt itself as rapidly as possible
by crushing out every spark of liberty and subduing all things
to itself. Accordingly, says Gibbon,* "His [Constantine's]
ecclesiastical ministers soon contrived to reduce the impartiality
of the magistrate, and to awaken the zeal of the proselyte; ...and
he extinguished the hope of peace and toleration, from the moment
that he assembled three hundred bishops within the walls of the
palace." The emperor was there persuaded to declare that
those who resisted the judgment of this clerical body in matters
of faith should prepare themselves for immediate exile. And their
decisions were declared to be of divine authority. This spirit
of intolerance soon ripened into bitter and relentless persecution.
Constantine issued two penal laws against heresy, and his example
was followed by succeeding emperors--Valentinian, Gratian, Theodosius,
Arcadius, and Honorius. Theodosius published fifteen, Arcadius
twelve, and Honorius no less than eighteen of these statutes.
These are recorded in the Theodosian and in the Justinian codes,
to the disgrace of their priestly and imperial authors.
Antichrist was pleased to call heresy (much of which was truth
and righteousness endeavoring to hold a ---------- *Vol. II, page
<PAGE 333> footing) was classed as worse than
infidelity, and both were opposed by kings, emperors and theologians;
and both were persecuted, especially the former, by the Inquisition.
When, about the beginning of the thirteenth century, there came
a revival of learning, and men began to awaken from the sleep
and troubled dreams of the "dark ages," those from whose
minds the truth had not been entirely eradicated were stimulated,
and the standard of truth was raised in opposition to the grosser
errors of Antichrist. Then the persecuting spirit of Antichrist
was aroused to furious action, to crush out the opposition.
and princes who trembled for the security of their crowns, if
they to any extent incurred the pope's displeasure, and whose
realms might be laid under a dreaded interdict, should they or
their people refuse to render absolute obedience to the pope's
commands, were sworn to exterminate heresy, and
admonished to purify their provinces from heretical perversity,
on the pain of having their dominions wrested from them; and those
barons who neglected to aid in the work of persecution forfeited
their estates. Kings and princes, therefore, were not tardy in
their efforts to comply with the mandates of the Papacy, and the
barons and their retainers were at their service, to aid in the
work of destruction.
before this awakening, as early as the year A.D. 630, the Council
of Toledo compelled the king of Spain, on his accession to the
throne, to swear to tolerate no heretical subjects in the Spanish
dominions; and it was declared that the sovereign who should violate
such oath would "be accursed in the sight of the everlasting
God, and become the fuel of eternal fire." But the awful
import of such demands was much more fully realized when the awakening
began, and when Antichrist had obtained the maximum of his power.
Council of Oxford in 1160 consigned a company of Waldenses, who
had emigrated from Gascony to England, to the secular arm for
punishment. Accordingly, King Henry II ordered them, men and women,
to be publicly whipped, branded on the cheek with a red-hot iron,
and driven, half-naked, out of the city in the dead of winter;
and none were permitted to show them pity or to grant them the
the emperor of Germany, A.D. 1224, sentenced heretics of every
description, alive, to the flames, their property to confiscation,
and their posterity, unless they became persecutors, to infamy.
Louis, king of France, A.D. 1228, published laws for the extirpation
of heresy, and enforced their execution. He forced Raymond, Count
of Toulouse, to undertake the extermination of heresy from his
dominions without sparing friend or vassal.
the earliest encroachments of the power which by degrees developed
into the papal system, resistance was made; but that resistance
was offered only by a faithful few, whose influence made little
impression on the overwhelming tide of worldliness that swept
in upon the church. Gradually, as they discerned the error, some
quietly withdrew themselves from the great apostasy, to worship
God according to the dictates of conscience, even at the risk
of persecution. Notable among these were some, afterward called
Waldenses, Albigenses, Wycliffites and Huguenots. These, though
called by several names had, so far as we can judge, a common
origin and a common faith. "Waldensianism," says Rainerous
(3.4), the noted Inquisitor of the thirteenth century, "is
the ancientest heresy; and existed, according to some, from the
days of [pope] Sylvester, and according to others, from the days
of the apostles." Sylvester was pope when Constantine was
emperor and confessed Christianity; and thus we see that the
<PAGE 335> truth was not without its adherents
from the first, who, though humble and unpopular, resolutely resisted
Papacy and the papal doctrines of purgatory, image-worship, invocation
of saints, worship of the Virgin Mary, prayer for the dead, transubstantiation,
celibacy of the clergy, indulgences, mass, etc., and discountenanced
pilgrimages, festivals, the burning of incense, sacred burial,
the use of holy water, sacerdotal vestments, monachism, etc.,
and held that the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures should be
received, in opposition to the traditions and claims of the Church
of Rome. They regarded the pope as the head of all errors, and
claimed that the remission of sins is obtained through the merits
of the Lord Jesus, only.
faith and works of this people were a stand for reformation, and
a protest against error, long before the days of Luther; and they,
and other opposers of Romanism, were hunted and hated and persecuted
with pitiless fury, by papal emissaries. The Waldenses and Albigenses
were the most numerous bodies of Protestants against Papacy; and
when the literary awakening of the thirteenth century came, it
was mainly from these that the truth shone out, though reflected
and intensified in utterance by Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, and others.
And their doctrines, backed by simplicity and morality, shone
out with the greater luster in contrast to the pompous pride and
flagrant immoralities of the then exalted Papacy.
it was that popes, councils, theologians, kings, crusaders and
inquisitors combined their fiendish powers to exterminate every
opponent, and to extinguish the faintest rays of dawning light.
Pope Innocent III first sent missionaries to the districts in
which the doctrines of the Albigenses had gained foothold, to
preach Romanism, work miracles, etc.; but, finding these efforts
unavailing, he proclaimed a crusade against them and offered to
<PAGE 336> would engage in it the pardon of
all sins and an immediate passport to heaven without passing through
purgatory. With full faith in the pope's power to bestow the promised
rewards, half a million men--French, German and Italian-- rallied
around the standard of the cross, for the defense of Catholicism
and the extinction of heresy. Then followed a series of battles
and sieges covering a space of twenty years. The city of Beziers
was stormed and taken in 1209, and the citizens, without regard
for age or sex, perished by the sword to the number of sixty thousand,
as reported by several historians. The blood of those who fled
to churches, and were murdered there by the holy crusaders, drenched
the altars and flowed through the streets.
was besieged in 1211. The governor was hanged on a gibbet, and
his wife was thrown into a well and crushed with stones. The citizens
were without discrimination put to death, four hundred being burned
alive. The flourishing country of Languedoc was devastated, its
cities burned, and its inhabitants swept away by fire and sword.
It is estimated that one hundred thousand Albigenses fell in one
day; and their bodies were heaped together and burned.
this rioting in blood and villainy was done in the name of religion:
professedly for the glory of God and the honor of the church,
but really to uphold Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God
[the church], showing himself that he is a god--a powerful one--able
to conquer and destroy his enemies. The clergy thanked God for
the work of destruction, and a hymn of praise to God for the glorious
victory at Lavaur was composed and sung. The dreadful carnage
at Beziers was accounted as the "visible judgment of heaven"
on the heresy of Albigensianism. The crusaders attended high mass
in the morning, and proceeded throughout the day to waste the
country of Languedoc and murder its inhabitants.
it remembered, however, that these open crusades, against the
Albigenses and Waldenses, were undertaken merely because the so-called
"heresy" had gained a strong hold upon large portions
of these communities. It would be a great mistake to suppose that
the crusades were the only persecutions: the quiet, steady crushing
of individuals, in the aggregate numbering thousands, all over
Papacy's wide domain, went steadily on--wearing out the saints
of the Most High.
V, Emperor of Germany and King of Spain and the Netherlands, persecuted
the friends of the Reformation throughout his extensive dominions.
Supported by the Diet of Worms, he proscribed Luther, his followers
and his writings; and condemned all who should aid Luther or read
his books, to the confiscation of their property, the ban of the
empire and the penalty of high treason. In the Netherlands the
men who followed Luther were to be beheaded, and the women buried
alive or if obstinate to be committed to the flames. Though this
wholesale law was suspended, the work of death in all its horrid
forms proceeded. The Duke of Alva boasted of the execution of
18,000 Protestants in six weeks. Paolo reckons the number who
in the Netherlands were executed on account of their religion
at 50,000; and Grotius gives the list of the Belgic martyrs at
100,000. Charles, with his dying breath, exhorted his son, Philip
II, to carry on to completion the work of persecution and extermination
of heresy which he had begun--which advice Philip was not slow
to follow. With fury he stimulated the spirit of persecution,
consigning Protestants to the flames without discrimination or
and Henry, the French kings, followed the example of Charles and
Philip in their zeal for Catholicism and the extermination of
heresy. The massacres of Merindol, Orange and Paris are forcible
illustrations of their zeal in the cause of Antichrist. The massacre
<PAGE 338> planned by the French king and approved
by the French parliament, was committed to the president, Oppeda,
for execution. The president was commissioned to slay the population,
burn the towns and demolish the castles of the Waldenses, large
numbers of whom resided in that section. Roman Catholic historians
admit that in compliance with this commission thousands, including
men, women and children, were massacred, twenty-four towns were
ruined, and the country was left waste and desolate. Men, women
and children fled to the woods and mountains for safety and were
pursued and put to the sword. Many who remained in the towns met
the same or a worse fate. Five hundred women were thrown into
a barn which was set on fire, and when any leaped from the windows
they were received on the points of spears. Women were violated
and children were murdered in sight of their parents, who were
powerless to protect them. Some were dashed over precipices and
others were dragged naked through the streets.
massacre of Orange, A.D. 1562, was of a similar character to that
of Merindol, and is described with precision by Catholic historians.
The Italian army sent by Pope Pius IV was commanded to slay men,
women and children; and the command was executed with terrible
cruelty. The defenseless heretics were slain with the sword, precipitated
from rocks, thrown on the points of hooks and daggers, hanged,
roasted over slow fires and exposed to shame and torture of every
massacre in Paris on St. Bartholomew's day, August 24th, A.D.
1572, equaled in cruelty, but exceeded in extent, the massacres
of Merindol and Orange. This has also been detailed by Catholic
historians, one of whom, Thuanus, stigmatizes it as "a ferocious
cruelty, without a parallel in all antiquity." The tolling
of the tocsin at midnight, August 23rd, gave the signal of destruction,
and the dreadful scenes
<PAGE 339> of Merindol and Orange began to
be reenacted against the hated Huguenots. The carnival of death
lasted seven days; the city flowed with human blood; the court
was heaped with the slain on which the king and queen gazed with
extreme satisfaction. The body of Admiral Coligny was dragged
through the streets; and the river Seine was covered with floating
dead bodies. Accounts of the number killed vary from 5,000 to
10,000. The work of destruction was not confined to Paris, but
extended very widely through the French nation. On the preceding
day special messengers were dispatched in every direction ordering
a general massacre of the Huguenots. The same scenes were accordingly
enacted in nearly all the provinces, and estimates of the number
slain vary from 25,000 to 70,000.
these dreadful scenes of carnage Antichrist found extreme satisfaction.
The pope and his court exulted at the victory of Catholicism over
Waldensianism at Merindol, and the impious Oppeda was styled "The
defender of the faith and the hero of Christianity." The
French king went to mass, and returned solemn thanks to God for
the victory over and massacre of the Huguenots at Paris. This
carnage, sanctioned by the French king and parliament and Roman
Catholic subjects, was probably at the direct instigation of the
pope and the Papal Hierarchy. That it was highly approved, at
least, is evident from the fact that at the Papal Court the news
was received with great rejoicing. The pope, Gregory XIII, went
in grand procession to the church of Saint Louis to render thanks
to God for the signal victory. He at once proclaimed a jubilee,
and sent a nuncio to the French court, who in the pope's name
praised "the exploit so long meditated and so happily executed
for the good of religion." A medal was struck by the king
in memory of the massacre, bearing the inscription, "Pietas
Excitavit Justitiam" --Piety Excited Justice.
commemorative of the event were also coined in the Papal mint
by order of the pope. One of these is now on exhibition in Memorial
Hall, Philadelphia, Pa. Its face presents a raised figure of the
pope and the abbreviated inscription, "Gregorius XIII,
Pontifex Maximus Anno I," the first year of his pontificate,
viz., A.D. 1572. On the reverse side of this medal is a representation
of a destroying angel, bearing in the left hand a cross, and in
the right hand a sword, before whom, prostrate and fleeing, a
band of Huguenots, men, women and children, is represented, whose
faces and figures express horror and despair. Under this are the
words, "Ugonottorum Strages 1572"--which signifies,
"The slaughter of the Huguenots, 1572."
picture of the St. Bartholomew Massacre was hung in the Vatican.
It had a scroll at the top, on which was inscribed, in Latin,
words signifying, "The Pontiff approves the fate
of Coligny." Coligny was a prominent leader of the Huguenots
and one of the first to fall. After he was killed, his head was
severed from his body and sent to the queen (who had it embalmed
and sent as a trophy to Rome), while his body was dragged by the
populace through the streets of Paris. The king was shortly afterward
seized with the horrors of remorse from which he never recovered.
It is recorded that to his confidential physician he said, "I
know not what has happened to me, but in mind and body I am shaking
as in a fever. It seems to me every moment, whether waking or
sleeping, that mangled bodies present themselves to me with hideous
faces and covered with blood." He died in great agony, covered
with a bloody sweat.
1641 Antichrist proclaimed a "war of religion" in Ireland,
and called on the people to massacre the Protestants by every
means in their power. The deluded people heard the command as
the voice of God, and were not slow to execute
<PAGE 341> their commission. Protestant blood
flowed freely throughout Ireland, houses were reduced to ashes,
towns and villages were almost destroyed. Some were forced to
murder their own relatives, and then to take their own lives--the
last words that fell upon their ears being the assurances of priests,
that their dying agonies were but the beginnings of eternal torment.
Thousands died of cold and hunger, while endeavoring to emigrate
to other lands. In Cavan, the road for twelve miles together was
stained with the bloody tracks of wounded fugitives; sixty children
were abandoned in the flight, by parents fiercely hunted, and
it was declared that any who should in any way help these little
ones should be buried by their sides. Seventeen adults were buried
alive at Fermaugh, and seventy-two at Kilkenny. In the province
of Ulster alone, over 154,000 Protestants were either massacred
or expelled from Ireland.
the primate of Ireland, pronounced this "a pious and lawful
war," and the pope (Urban VIII) issued a bull dated May 1643,
granting "full and absolute remission of all their sins"
to those who had taken part in "gallantly doing what in them
lay, to extirpate and wholly root out the pestiferous leaven of
The Inquisition or "Holy Office"
Dominic, the leading spirit in this crusade, is ascribed the honor
of inventing the infernal Inquisition, though Benedict, who is
zealous in ascribing to Saint Dominic the honor of being the first
Inquisitor General, is doubtful as to whether the idea
first suggested itself to Pope Innocent or to Saint Dominic. It
was first established by Pope Innocent III, in A.D. 1204.
Dominic was a monster, devoid of every feeling of compassion,
who seemed to find his chief delight in scenes of torture and
misery. During the crusade against the Albigenses, with a crucifix
in his hand he led and encouraged the holy warriors to deeds of
death and destruction. The Inquisition or Holy Office is today
a tribunal in the Roman Catholic Church for the discovery, repression
and punishment of heresy and other offenses against the Church
of Rome.* But in Dominic's day it had no legal tribunal, nor were
the instruments of torment brought to the perfection exhibited
in later days. Nevertheless, Dominic, without such machinery,
found abundant means of torture, in dislocating joints, tearing
nerves, and lacerating the limbs of his victims, and in burning
at the stake those whose convictions were unshaken by other means,
and who would not renounce their faith and liberties.
his commission from Pope Innocent, to punish with confiscation,
banishment and death the heretics who would not receive his gospel,
Dominic stimulated the civil magistracy and populace to massacre
the heretical Waldenses; and he at one time committed one hundred
and eighty Albigenses to the flames. It was for such faithfulness
in the service of Antichrist that he was canonized a saint, and
is today adored and prayed to by Roman Catholics. The Roman Breviary
(somewhat like a Prayer Book), referring to St. Dominic, lauds
"his merits and doctrines which enlightened the church, his
ingenuity and virtue which overthrew the Tolossan heretics, and
his many miracles which extended even to the raising of the dead."
The Roman Missal (which embraces the service connected with the
administration of the Lord's supper) eulogizes his merits, and
prays for temporal aid through his intercession. Thus Antichrist
still upholds and honors its faithful heroes. ---------- *The
Chair of St. Peter, page 589.
would be impossible briefly to convey any adequate conception
of the horrors of the Inquisition, or of the dreadful fear which
it inspired among the people. Those not loud in their praise of
Antichrist, or who ventured a criticism of his methods, were suspected
of heresy; and such persons, without warning or redress, were
liable to imprisonment in a dungeon for an indefinite time until
a convenient season for trial--both the accuser and the accusation
often being equally unknown to them. The proceedings of these
trials were conducted secretly, and tortures were often employed
to extort confessions. The tortures inflicted were almost too
appalling to be credited in this age and land of freedom, yet
their reality is confirmed by evidence which even Catholic historians
cannot deny; and their fruitless attempts to apologize for them
only tend to substantiate the evidence. Instruments of torture,
relics of the Inquisition, are still in existence which would
render denial unavailing. The "Holy Office" even employed
physicians to watch the process of torture and stop it when death
seemed likely to relieve the sufferer; and the victim was allowed
partially to recover, that the torture might be applied a second
or even a third time. These tortures were not always inflicted
as punishments for the offense of heresy: they were in general
for the purpose of compelling the accused to confess, retract
or implicate others, as the case might be.
within the present century, after the Inquisition had lost many
of its horrors, it was still terrible. The historian of Napoleon's
wars, describing the capture of Toledo by his army, incidentally
mentions the opening of the Inquisition prison, and says:
seemed to open, and pale figures like ghosts issued from dungeons
which emitted a sepulchral odor. Bushy beards hanging down over
the breast, and nails grown like bird's claws, disfigured the
skeletons, who with laboring bosoms inhaled, for the first time
for a long series
<PAGE 344> of years, the fresh air. Many of
them were reduced to cripples, the head inclined forward and the
arms and hands hanging down rigid and helpless. They had been
confined in dens so low they could not rise up in them, and in
spite of all the care of the [army] surgeons many of them expired
the same day. On the following day General Lasalle minutely inspected
the place, attended by several officers of his staff. The number
of machines for torture thrilled even men inured to the battle
field, with horror."
a recess in a subterranean vault, contiguous to the private hall
for examinations, stood a wooden figure made by the hands of monks
and representing the Virgin Mary. A gilded glory encompassed her
head, and in her right hand she held a banner. It struck all at
first sight as suspicious that, notwithstanding the silken robe,
descending on each side in ample folds from her shoulders, she
should wear a sort of cuirass. On closer scrutiny it appeared
that the fore part of the body was stuck full of extremely sharp
nails and small narrow knife-blades, with the points of both turned
toward the spectator. The arms and hands were jointed, and machinery
behind the partition set the figure in motion. One of the servants
of the Inquisition was compelled by command of the General to
work the machine as he termed it. When the figure extended
her arms, as though to press some one lovingly to her heart, the
well-filled knapsack of a Polish grenadier was made to supply
the place of a living victim. The statue hugged it closer and
closer, and when the attendant, agreeably to orders, made the
figure unclasp her arms and return to her former position, the
knapsack was perforated to the depth of two or three inches, and
remained hanging on the points of the nails and the knife blades."
of various sorts were invented, and applied as means of torture.
One of the simplest methods is explained thus: The victim, stripped
of all clothing, had his arms fastened behind his back with a
hard cord, with which, by the action of a pulley, he was raised
off his feet, to which weights were attached. The sufferer was
several times let
<PAGE 345> fall, and raised with a jerk, which
dislocated the joints of his arms and legs, while the cord by
which he was suspended penetrated the quivering flesh to the very
reminder of such outrages in the name of Christ came to public
notice recently. A Bible Society's printing office in Rome being
crowded for space, it rented a large room near the Vatican. A
large and peculiar ring in the ceiling attracted attention, and
inquiry discovered the fact that the room in which they are now
busy printing the Bible--"the sword of the spirit, which
is the Word of God," by which Antichrist has already been
rendered "powerless" to oppress and wear out
the saints--is the very room once used by the Inquisition as a
torture chamber; the pulley ring having probably been used to
rack many a poor, gagged sufferer.
convicted of heresy were sometimes sentenced to what was called
an "Act of Faith." The ecclesiastical authority transferred
the condemned to the secular power, while the clergy, in pretense
of mercy, implored the magistracy to show compassion to the condemned,
and, holding up the cross, pleaded with the victim to recant and
save his present and future life. The magistrates knew well their
part, and showed no mercy except to recanters; thus gaining the
blessings and titles of "Defender of the Faith," and
"Exterminator of Heretics." The condemned "heretic,"
dressed in a yellow coat variegated with pictures of dogs, serpents,
flames and devils, was led to the place of execution, tied to
the stake and committed to the flames.
another famous Inquisitor General, furnished a marked illustration
of the spirit of Antichrist. Roman Catholic writers admit that
he caused ten thousand two hundred and twenty (10,220) persons,
men and women, to be burned alive. Llorente, who was for three
years the Secretary General of the Inquisition, and had access
to all the documentary evidences, in his Reports, published
<PAGE 346> A.D. 1817 (4 vols.), shows that
between the years 1481 and 1808, by order of this "Holy Office"
alone, no less than 31,912 persons were burned alive, and
nearly 300,000 tortured and condemned to serve penances. Every
Catholic country in Europe, Asia and America had its Inquisition.
cannot here trace Antichrist's persecutions of everything resembling
reforms, liberty of conscience or political freedom. Suffice it
to say, this persecution extended to every country where Papacy
had a footing--to Germany, Holland, Poland, Italy, England, Ireland,
Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Abyssinia, India, Cuba, Mexico
and some South American states. Space forbids our reciting individual
cases which would serve to show that many of the martyrs were
truly saints and heroes, who under the most horrible sufferings
had grace sufficient, and were often enabled, while dying by inches,
to sing hymns of praise and thanks to the true Head of the true
Church, and, like him, to pray for their enemies who, as he had
foretold, persecuted them for his sake.*
will we, for the same reasons, particularize all the awful, sickening,
soul-harrowing tortures, inflicted upon some of the Lord's jewels
because of faithfulness to their convictions. It is estimated,
by those who seemingly have given the subject thorough investigation,
that Papacy, during the past thirteen hundred years, has, directly
or indirectly, caused the death of fifty millions of people.
And it may safely be said that human and Satanic ingenuity were
taxed to their utmost to invent new and horrible tortures, for
both the political and religious opponents of Antichrist; ----------
*To those desiring a fuller account of these awful times and scenes
we commend Macaulay's History of England; Motley's Dutch Republic;
D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation; White's Eighteen Christian
Centuries; Elliot on Romanism; and Fox's Book of Martyrs.
<PAGE 347> the latter--heretics--being pursued
with tenfold fury. Besides the common forms of persecution and
death, such as racking, burning, drowning, stabbing, starving
and shooting with arrows and guns, fiendish hearts meditated how
the most delicate and sensitive parts of the body, capable of
the most excruciating pain, could be affected; molten lead was
poured into the ears; tongues were cut out and lead poured into
the mouths; wheels were arranged with knife blades attached so
that the victim could be slowly chopped to pieces; claws and pinchers
were made red hot and used upon sensitive parts of the body; eyes
were gouged out; finger nails were pulled off with red hot irons;
holes, by which the victim was tied up, were bored through the
heels; some were forced to jump from eminences onto long spikes
fixed below, where, quivering with pain, they slowly died. The
mouths of some were filled with gunpowder, which, when fired,
blew their heads to pieces; others were hammered to pieces on
anvils; others, attached to bellows, had air pumped into them
until they burst; others were choked to death with mangled pieces
of their own bodies; others with urine, excrement, etc., etc.
of these fiendish atrocities would be quite beyond belief were
they not well authenticated. They serve to show to what awful
depravity the human heart can descend; and how blind to right,
and every good instinct, men can become under the influence of
false, counterfeit religion. The spirit of Antichrist degraded
and debased the world as the spirit of the true Christ and the
power and influence of the true Kingdom of God would have elevated
and ennobled men's hearts and actions--and as they will do, during
the Millennium. This is to a slight extent illustrated by the
advance in civilization, and the increase of justice and mercy,
since the power of Antichrist began to wane, and the word of God
began to be heard, and heeded, even slightly.
no device of which we can conceive could have been better calculated
to deceive and oppress mankind. Advantage has been taken of every
depraved disposition and weakness of fallen men; every base passion
has been stimulated and appealed to, and the gratification of
those passions rewarded. The vicious were thus allured and enlisted
as its devotees, while those of nobler cast were engaged by other
means--by an outward and hypocritical show of piety, self-denial
and charity manifested in its monastic institutions, but which
served only to lead many such far from the paths of virtue. The
gay and the frivolous found ample satisfaction in its parade and
show, its pomp and ceremony; the enterprising and chivalrous in
its missions and crusades; the profligate in its indulgences;
and the cruel bigot in its enterprises for oppressing its opponents.
horror and wonder we ask ourselves, Why did kings, and princes,
and emperors, and the people at large, permit such atrocities?
Why did they not arise long ago and smite down Antichrist? The
answer is found in the Scriptures (`Rev.
18:3`): The nations were drunk (stupefied), they
lost their senses in drinking the mixed wine (doctrine,
false and true mixed) given them by the apostate church. They
were deceived by the claims of Papacy. And, truth to tell, they
are only partly aroused from their stupor yet; for though the
ambassadors of kings, falling before the pope, do not as of old
address him as the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sins
of the world," nor think of him as "a God with power
over all things on earth and in heaven," yet they are still
far from realizing the truth--that Papacy has been, and is, Satan's
counterfeit of the true Kingdom.
kings and soldiers wearied of such inhuman work, it was not so
with the holy (?) hierarchy; and we find the General Council of
Sienna, A.D. 1423, declaring that the spread of heresy in different
parts of the world was due to
<PAGE 349> the remissness of the Inquisitors--to
the offense of God, the injury of Catholicism and the perdition
of souls. Princes were admonished, by the mercy of God, to exterminate
heresy if they would escape divine vengeance; and plenary indulgences
were granted to all who would engage in the work of destruction
or provide arms for the purpose. These enactments were published
in the churches every Sabbath. And Roman Catholic theologians
and historians are by no means few who have wielded their pens
in the unholy cause of justifying, recommending and praising the
persecution of heresy. Bellarmine, for instance, declares that
the apostles "abstained from calling in the secular arm only
because there were in their day no Christian princes." Doctor
Dens, a celebrated Roman Catholic theologian, published a work
on theology in 1758, which is regarded by papists today as standard
authority, especially in their colleges, where it ranks as Blackstone
does on English civil law. This work breathes the spirit of persecution
throughout. It condemns the patrons of heresy to confiscation
of goods, banishment from the country, confinement in prison,
infliction of death and deprivation of Christian burial.
of the authorized curses published in the Romish Pontifical,
to be used against Protestants, reads as follows:
God Almighty and all his saints curse them with the curse with
which the devil and his angels are cursed. Let them be destroyed
out of the land of the living. Let the vilest of deaths come upon
them, and let them descend alive into the pit. Let their seed
be destroyed from the earth--by hunger, and thirst, and nakedness
and all distress let them perish. May they have all misery and
pestilence and torment. Let all they have be cursed. Always and
everywhere let them be cursed. Speaking and silent let them be
cursed. Within and without let them be cursed. From the crown
of the head to the sole of the foot let them be cursed. Let their
eyes become blind, let their ears become deaf, let their mouth
become dumb, let their tongue cleave to their jaws,
<PAGE 350> let not their hands handle, let
not their feet walk. Let all the members of their body be cursed.
Cursed let them be, standing or lying, from this time forth forever;
and thus let their candle be extinguished in the presence of God,
at the day of judgment. Let their burial be with dogs and asses.
Let hungry wolves devour their corpses. Let the devil and his
angels be their companions forever. Amen, Amen; so be it, so let
is the spirit of Papacy; and all who possess the spirit of the
true Christ should readily recognize so base a counterfeit.
errors of doctrine lie at the very foundation of all these errors
of conduct, it cannot be doubted that if circumstances were again
favorable, the doctrines being unchanged, their bad spirit and
bad fruits would shortly again appear, in similar acts of injustice,
oppression, superstition, ignorance and persecution; and any and
all means conceivable would be resorted to, for restoring, upholding
and extending the counterfeit Kingdom of God. In proof
of this, let us cite a few incidents which recently chanced to
come to our attention, as follows:
Ahuehuetitlan, Guererro, Mexico, August 7th, 1887, a native Protestant
missionary, named Abraham Gomez, and two assistants, were murdered
in cold blood by natives, at the instigation of a Roman Catholic
priest, Father Vergara, who, when celebrating mass the day previous,
is reported to have urged his people to "make an example
of the minister of Satan" who had come among them; adding,
that they might "kill him" with all safety, counting
upon protection from the chief of police as well as the priest.
The priest's word was law to the benighted people, and to the
civil authorities. The mangled body of the poor missionary, shot
and hacked to pieces, was dragged through the streets, subject
to all sorts of indignities, a warning to others. For this
no redress could be obtained.
New York Independent having called attention to this
<PAGE 351> bloody massacre, the following retort
was made by the Freeman, an influential New York Roman
[Protestant missionaries] see honest people kneel, at the sound
of the Angelus, in honor of the Annunciation and the Incarnation.
The Bible, they say, will soon wipe out such 'superstition.' A
light burns before an image of the Mother of God. 'Ha!' cries
the missionary, 'We shall soon teach the benighted to break that
symbol!' and so on. If the killing of a few missionaries of this
kind would keep others like them at home, we should almost--we
Papists are so wicked!--be inclined to say: 'On with the dance;
let joy be unconfined.'"
minister by the name of C. G. Moule tells a painful story, which
has gone the rounds of the press, of the persecution, in Madeira,
of Robert Kelley and the converts resulting from his labors, who,
with their children, nearly one thousand persons in all, suffered
expatriation as the penalty for receiving a crumb of truth.
"Protestant Prussia," so-called, Pastor Thummel has
been arrested for "insulting the Roman Catholic Church."
He published a pamphlet criticising Papacy, in which one of the
"insulting" remarks was to the effect that Papacy is
an apostasy "built upon superstition and idolatry."
the Caroline Islands were in dispute between Prussia and Spain,
and the pope got himself appointed arbitrator or judge, to settle
the dispute. (Much in this reminds one of his former power and
policy as arbiter or supreme judge of nations.) The pope decided
in favor of Spain. A man-of-war, fifty soldiers and six priests
were at once dispatched by Spain; and on their arrival Mr. Doane,
an American missionary, was made a prisoner and cut off from all
intercourse with his converts, without cause, except that he refused
to surrender his mission work and property to the priests; and
because, the islands now belonging to Spain, and Spain belonging
to the pope, none but the pope's religion could be tolerated.
gentleman, formerly a Roman Catholic, and a friend of the writer,
states that recently, when traveling in South America, he was
assaulted with stones and obliged to flee for his life, because
he would neither uncover his head nor kneel with the multitude,
when the Romish priests bearing the crucifix and host passed along
the streets. And a similar case, in which three Americans were
struck by the priests, mobbed by the people and arrested by the
police in the city of Madrid, Spain, for a like offense, is no
doubt still fresh in the minds of many who read the daily papers.
Converted Catholic quotes as follows from the Watchman,
a Roman Catholic journal published at St. Louis, Mo.:
We would draw and quarter it. We would impale it and hang it up
for crows' nests. We would tear it with pinchers and fire it with
hot irons. We would fill it with moulten lead, and sink it in
hell-fire a hundred fathoms deep."
the light of the past, it is entirely probable that with such
a spirit, if the power were possessed, the Editor of the Watchman
would soon extend his threats beyond "Protestant-ism"
to the persons of Protestants.
Barcelona, Spain, by order of the government, a large number of
copies of the Bible were recently burned--of course at the instigation
of the Church of Rome. The following, translated from the Catholic
Banner, the organ of Papacy there, shows that they approved
and appreciated the action. It said:
God, we have at last turned toward the times when those who propagated
heretical doctrines were punished with exemplary punishment. The
re-establishment of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition must
soon take place. Its reign will be more glorious and fruitful
in results than in the past. Our Catholic heart overflows with
faith and enthusiasm; and the immense joy we experience, as we
<PAGE 353> to reap the fruit of our present
campaign, exceeds all imagination. What a day of pleasure will
that be for us, when we see Anti-clericals writhing in the flames
of the Inquisition!"
encourage another crusade, the same paper says:
believe it right to publish the names of those holy men under
whose hands so many sinners suffered, that good Catholics may
venerate their memory:
Torquemada-- Men and women burnt alive...............................
10,220 Burnt in effigy.........................................
6,840 Condemned to other punishments..........................
Diego Deza-- Men and women burnt alive...............................
2,592 Burnt in effigy.........................................
829 Condemned to other punishments.......................... 32,952
Cardinal Jiminez de Cisneros-- Men and women burnt alive...............................
3,564 Burnt in effigy.........................................
2,232 Condemned to other punishments..........................
Adrian de Florencia-- Men and women burnt alive...............................
1,620 Burnt in effigy.........................................
560 Condemned to other punishments.......................... 21,835
---------- "Total number of men and women burnt alive, under
the ministry of 45 holy Inquisitor-Generals....... 35,534 Total
number burnt in effigy............................ 18,637 Total
number of condemned to other punishments..........293,533
The Papal Millennium
the true Kingdom of the true Christ is to last a thousand years,
so the Papal counterfeit looks back upon the period of its greatest
prosperity, which began A.D. 800 and closed in the dawn of the
present century, as the fulfilment of the Millennial reign foretold
in `Rev. 20`. And the period
<PAGE 354> since, in which Papacy has gradually
lost all of its temporal power, suffered many indignities from
nations formerly its supporters, and been greatly despoiled of
territories, incomes and liberties long claimed and possessed,
Romanists regard as the "little season" of
`Rev. 20:3,7,8`, at the close of the Millennium, during
which Satan was to be loosed.
the dates which mark the beginning and the close of Papacy's Millennium
of ignorance, superstition and fraud are clearly shown in history.
A Roman Catholic writer* thus refers to the beginning of this
religious empire: "The coronation of Charlemagne as Emperor
of the West, by Pope Leo, A.D. 800, was really the commencement
of the Holy Roman Empire."+
Papacy was organized, as a religious system, long before, and
was even "set up" in temporal power in A.D. 539, yet
it was Charlemagne who first actually bestowed and formally recognized
the temporal dominion of the pope. As Charlemagne was the
first emperor over the "Holy Roman Empire," A.D. 800,
so Francis II was the last, and he voluntarily surrendered his
title in A.D. 1806.# As, prior to the year 800, Papacy was rising,
supported by the Roman "beast" (people) and by its "horns"
(powers), so since ---------- *The Chair of St. Peter. +"The
Holy Roman Empire" was the title of the great political
institution of the middle ages. It had its start in Charlemagne.
Fisher's Universal History, page 262, describes it thus: "In
theory it was the union of the world-state and the world-church--an
undivided community under Emperor and Pope, its heaven-appointed
[?] secular and spiritual heads." And, since the popes, as
in Christ's stead, anointed the emperors, it follows that they
were the real heads of it. #"By the battle of Marengo, 1800,
and of Austerlitz, 1805, Germany was twice laid prostrate at the
feet of Napoleon. The main result of the latter defeat was the
establishment of the Confederation of the Rhine, under the protectorate
of the French ruler. This event put an end to the old German
or [Holy] Roman Empire, after a duration of a thousand years."
White's Universal History, page 508.
<PAGE 355> 1800 it has been cast off from temporal
authority over kings and peoples, and has been torn and pillaged
by those who formerly gave it support. (`Rev.
17:16,17`) Today, though still the recipient of honors,
and still possessed of a wide influence over the consciences of
the people, Papacy bemoans its loss of everything resembling temporal
careful student will note four periods, more or less distinctly
marked, in the development and exaltation of Antichrist, and the
same number distinctly marking its fall. In its development the
four dates are:
In Paul's day, about A.D. 50, a beginning of the secret working
of the iniquitous ambition was the start.
Papacy, "the Man of Sin," was organized as a
hierarchy; i.e., the church came to an organized condition, and
the popes came to be recognized as the Head, representing Christ,
reigning in the church and over the nations, gradually, from about
A.D. 300 to 494.*
The time when the popes began to exercise civil authority
and power, as will hereafter be shown, A.D. 539. (Vol. III, Chap.
iii) ---------- *The popedom struggled long for mastery as the
head of the church, and gradually obtained recognition and dominion;
and that this dominion was generally recognized as early as A.D.
494, is clearly shown by the Romanist writer of The Chair of
St. Peter, page 128. After giving in detail acknowledgments
of the Roman Bishop as supreme pontiff by various councils, bishops,
emperors, etc., he summarizes thus:
words were written as far back as the year of our Lord 494....
On the whole, then, it is clear, from the foregoing authentic
evidence, that the primacy of the Chair of St. Peter [the Bishopric
of Rome] had so far developed itself in the fifth century,
that the pope was then universally regarded as the center of Christian
unity--the Supreme Ruler and Teacher of God's church, the Prince
of Bishops, the Final Arbiter of appeals in ecclesiastical causes
from all parts of the world, and the Judge and Moderator of General
Councils, over which he presided by his legates."
The time of exaltation, A.D. 800, when, as already shown, the
"Holy Roman Empire" was formed, and the pope, crowning
Charlemagne emperor, was recognized as himself King of kings,
Emperor of emperors, "another God, on earth."
four periods of the fall of papal influence are as follows:
The period of the Reformation, which may be said to have had its
beginning about A.D. 1400, in the writings of Wycliffe--followed
by Huss, Luther and others.
The period of Napoleon's success, the degradation of the popes,
and the casting aside finally of the title "Emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire," by Francis II, A.D. 1800-1806.
The final rejection of the pope as ruler over Rome and the so-called
Papal States of Italy, by the pope's subjects and the King of
Italy, A.D. 1870, by which Antichrist is left without the slightest
The final extinction of this counterfeit hierarchy, near the close
of the "Day of wrath" and judgment already begun--which
will close, as shown by the "Times of the Gentiles,"
with the year A.D. 1914.
Is There Room for Doubt?
have traced Antichrist's rise, out of an apostasy or "falling
away" in the Christian Church; we have heard its blasphemous
claim to be Christ's Kingdom and that its pope is Vicegerent of
Christ--"another God, on earth"; we have heard its great
swelling words of blasphemy, arrogating to itself titles and powers
belonging to the true Lord of lords and King of kings; we have
seen how terribly it fulfilled the prediction, "He shall
wear out the saints"; we have seen that the truth, crushed
and deformed, would
<PAGE 357> have been completely buried under
error, superstition and priestcraft, had not the Lord at the proper
moment, prevented by raising up reformers, thus helping his saints--as
it is written, "They that understand among the people shall
instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame,
by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall,
they shall be holpen with a little help."
view of all this testimony, is there room for doubt that it was
concerning Papacy that the apostles and prophets were inspired
to write, describing minutely as they do its prominent characteristics?
We think there should remain no doubt in any unbiased mind that
Papacy is the Antichrist, the Man of Sin; and that no one man
could possibly fulfil the predictions. Papacy's unparalleled success,
as a counterfeit Christ, deceiving the whole world, has amply
fulfilled our Master's prediction, when, after referring to his
own rejection, he said, "If another shall come [boastingly]
in his own name, him ye will receive."
will be observed, no doubt with surprise, by many, that in our
examination of the subject we have in general omitted reference
to villainies, gross immoralities, on the part of the popes and
other officials, and to the dark deeds of "expediency"
practiced by the Jesuits and other secret orders, who do all sorts
of detective work for Papacy. We have omitted these intentionally,
not because they are untrue, for even Roman Catholic writers acknowledge
many of them; but because our line of argument does not require
these evidences. We have shown that the Papal Hierarchy (even
if it were composed of the most moral and upright of men--which
is not the case, as all history testifies) is the Man of Sin,
the Antichrist, the counterfeit and misrepresentative of Christ's
Millennial Kingdom, skillfully arranged so as to deceive.
words of Macaulay, the English historian, serve to
<PAGE 358> show that some without special prophetic
light can see Papacy's wonderful system--the counterfeit
of the most wonderful of all systems, the Kingdom of God, yet
is impossible to deny that the polity of the Church of Rome is
the very masterpiece of human [we would say Satanic] wisdom.
In truth, nothing but such a polity could, against such assaults,
have borne up such doctrines. The experience of twelve hundred
eventful years, the ingenuity and patient care of forty generations
of statesmen, have improved that polity to such perfection, that
among the contrivances of political ability it occupies the highest
Antichrist's Final End
have traced Papacy to the present time, to the Day of the Lord--the
time of Immanuel's presence. This Man of Sin has been developed,
has done his awful work, has been smitten with the sword of the
Spirit--the Word of God. The spirit of Christ's mouth has rendered
him powerless to persecute the saints openly and generally,
no matter how strong the desire; and now we ask, What next? What
says the Apostle concerning Antichrist's end?
`2 Thess. 2:8-12`, the Apostle Paul declares concerning
Antichrist: "Whom the Lord Jesus will consume with
the spirit of his mouth, and annihilate with the bright shining
of his presence." The light of truth is to penetrate
every subject. By exposing rights and wrongs it will lead into
the great struggle between these principles, and between the human
exponents of each--causing the great time of trouble and wrath.
In this struggle, wrong and evil shall fall, and right and truth
shall triumph. Among other evils now to be finally and utterly
destroyed is Antichrist, with which nearly every evil, of theory
and practice, is more or less directly connected. And it will
be this bright-shining, this sunlight from the Lord's presence,
which will produce the "day of
<PAGE 359> trouble," because of and in
which Antichrist, with every other evil system, will be destroyed.
"Whose presence is with [accompanied by or during] an energetic
operation of Satan [Satanic energy and action] with all power,
and signs, and lying delusions, and with every iniquitous deception
for those perishing; because they did not receive the love of
the truth, that they might be preserved. And for this reason God
will send to them a deluding power, that they might believe the
error: so that all not believing the truth, but taking pleasure
in iniquity, may be judged" unworthy to share the Millennial
Kingdom as joint-heirs with Christ.
understand these words to imply that in the time of the Lord's
presence (the present time--since 1874), through this Antichrist
system (one of the principal of Satan's agencies for deceiving
and controlling the world), as well as through all his other agencies,
the devil will make a most desperate resistance to the new order
of things about to be established. He will take advantage of every
little circumstance, and all the inherited weaknesses and selfishness
of the human family, to enlist their hearts and hands and pens
in this final struggle against liberty and the full elucidation
of truth. Prejudices will be enkindled where, if the truth were
clearly seen, none would exist; and passionate zeal will be evoked,
and partisan unions formed, which will deceive and mislead many.
And this will be so, not because God has not made the truth clear
enough to guide all the fully consecrated, but because those who
will be deceived were not sufficiently in earnest in seeking out
and using the truth provided as "meat in due season."
And thus it will be manifested that the class misled received
not the truth in the love of it, but rather through
custom, formality or fear. And the Apostle's assurance seems to
be that, in this final death-struggle of Antichrist, notwithstanding
he shall seem to gain increased power in the world by new stratagems,
<PAGE 360> and combinations, yet the true Lord
of earth, the King of kings, in the time of his presence,
will prevail; and shall finally, during the great time of trouble,
utterly annihilate Antichrist and destroy forever his power and
to the exact form in which this closing struggle should be expected,
we can only make suggestions, based largely upon the symbolic
views of the same, given in Revelation. We anticipate the gradual
formation throughout the world of two great parties--from both
of which the faithful, overcoming saints will stand separate.
These two great parties will be composed on the one side of Socialists,
Free-thinkers, Infidels, discontents, and true liberty-lovers
whose eyes are beginning to open to the facts of the case as they
relate both to political and religious mis-government and despotism:
on the other side will be gradually associated the opponents of
human liberty and equality--Emperors, Kings, Aristocrats; and
in close sympathy with these will stand the counterfeit of God's
Kingdom, Antichrist, supporting and being supported by earth's
civil despots. We expect, too, that Antichrist's policy will be
somewhat modified and softened to seek to win back into sympathy
and practical cooperation (not actual union) extremists of all
Protestant denominations, who even now are panting for a nominal
union with each other and with Rome--forgetful that the
only true union is that produced and continued by the truth, and
not by creeds, conventions and laws. Improbable as this cooperation
of Protestants and Catholics may seem to some, we see unmistakable
signs of its rapid approach. It is being hastened by the secret
workings of Papacy among its people, whereby such politicians
as are willing to cooperate with Papacy are assisted into prominent
positions in governmental affairs.
may be expected soon through which, gradually,
<PAGE 361> personal liberty will be curtailed,
under the plea of necessity and the public welfare; until,
one step after another being taken, it will finally be necessary
to formulate some "simple law of religion";
and thus Church and State may be in a measure united, in governing
the United States of America. These laws, simple as they can be
made, to suit all so-called "orthodox" (i.e.,
popular) religious views, will be calculated to repress and prevent
further growth in grace, and in the knowledge now "meat in
due season." The plea will probably be, the prevention of
socialism, infidelity, and political eruption, of the lower and
the independent classes.
in the near future, as a part of its trouble, and even before
the severity of the great trouble of this "day of wrath"
has burst upon the world and wrecked the entire social fabric
of earth (preparatory to the new and better one promised under
the true Christ), there will be a severe hour of trial and testing
of the truly consecrated Church, much as it was in the days of
Papacy's triumph; only now the methods of persecution will be
more refined and will comport better with the more civilized methods
of the present day: the spikes and pincers and racks will have
more the form of sarcasm and denunciations, restrictions of liberties,
and social, financial and political boycotting. But concerning
this, and the new combinations which Antichrist will form in this
final struggle against the establishment of the true Millennial
Kingdom, more anon.
concluding this chapter we desire to again impress our readers
with the fact that Papacy is the Antichrist, not because of its
moral obliquity, but because it is the counterfeit of the
true Christ and the true Kingdom. It is because of a failure to
realize this fact that many Protestants will be deceived into
cooperation with Papacy in opposition to the true King of Glory.
Faithful Until Death
"Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak his name?
"Must I be borne to Paradise
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
"Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vain world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
"Sure I must fight if I would reign.
Increase my courage, Lord.
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by thy Word.
"Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die.
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith they bring it nigh.
"When thine illustrious day shall rise,
And all thy saints shall shine,
And shouts of vict'ry rend the skies,
The glory, Lord, be thine."
TIME IS AT HAND