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CHAPTER IV. TWO OTHER QUESTIONS.

Can Protestants oppose the Papacy without being slain by the Papacy?
Can Baptists oppose the Papacy without destroying Protestants?

I take the negative of both questions. How can two unite to war except they be agreed? They are violently antagonistic. They hate each other with a cruel hatred, scarcely less than they differ from and hate Baptists. Episcopalians are opposed by Presbyterians and Methodists; while Episcopalians and Presbyterians unite in making war upon Methodists. Old and New School Presbyterians and Congregationalists are each seeking the overthrow and annihilation of the other, and still, like Pilate and Herod, they will all unite in a league of amity and friendship, to oppose the influence of Baptists, either in seeking the salvation of sinners or the dissemination of their principles. Talk about all these uniting in open communion at the Lord's table, in token of Church, and Christian fellowship! What impious hypocrisy, what a solemn mockery-a blasphemous farce, to thus prostitute the holy emblems to the propagation of a falsehood? We say Protestants are engaged in a fierce and deadly conflict among themselves, to annihilate each other; how, then, can they unite against Popery?

But could they unite, wherein can they judge the Catholics, without condemning, also, themselves? What principle of Papacy, save that of idolatry, can they attack without their blows recoiling most fearfully upon their own systems and practices?

1. Will they deny that the Roman Catholic Church is a Scriptural Church, and denounce her as the "Mystery of Iniquity," "The Woman dressed in scarlet, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth?"

Can not Rome justly say: "Spare me, my dear children, and honor your mother, if you would be respected. Do you not all call yourselves Protestants and Reformed? You then admit yourselves once to have been a part of myself, and to have proceeded forth from me! Do you not, to-day, call yourselves 'branches of THE CHURCH?' Of what, Church are you branches, but of the HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC, in which you all acknowledge you originated, and from which, as a branch from a parent trunk, you confessedly proceed? If I, the Catholic Church, am the mother of 'harlots,' and 'abominations' of the earth, you are all my children, and consequently are THOSE VERY HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS! You do not well, my daughters, thus to cast reproach upon your parentage. I commend to you the example and filialness of your sister, my favorite child, the Episcopal Church, which, like a prodigal, is returning to her mother's house."

Could not Rome thus cause the well-aimed blow to recoil upon her Protestant children,* for they are her legitimate offspring; and if she is the mother of abominations and harlots, Protestants are they. If the fountain is corrupt, all the waters that flow from it are also corrupt. If the Church of Rome is an illegitimate Church they are illegitimate Churches also. Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt"--(Matt. vii.: 23)--is a principle established by the Great Teacher.

[[*Baptists are not Protestants, having never belonged to the Catholic Church, more than to-day. "Baptists," said Sir Isaac Newton, "are the only people that never symbolized with Popery."]]

2. Will they deny her the age she claims--that she was founded by Peter, and once presided over by him and preserved against the gates of hell?

They must do this, else Rome stands forth a Christian and apostolic Church, and besides her there is none other. But they deny her claims, and charge her with being, from the days of Paul, that spirit of Antichrist that worked in the early Churches, corrupting Christianity; that it was early repudiated by all the pure Churches; that Popery had no existence in its present form until established by Hilderbrand, A. D. 606; that no Church, similar to the Roman Catholic, was instituted by Christ or his apostles, or existed within six hundred years of their day; and, moreover, all the teachings of the Scriptures positively forbid the idea of such a monstrous system.

Can not Rome reply, "My dear children, do you not see that you commit suicide by taking such a position to discredit my claims! You can not, with the least regard to reason, believe that such systems as yours existed in the days of the Apostles, surely, each radically different from, and destructive of, the other! Did Paul found an Episcopal Church at Antioch, a Presbyterian Church at Ephesus, and a Methodist one at Philippi? Certainly not. All the Churches that were. founded in the Apostles times, were one and identical in doctrine, in organization, ordinances, and practices. But you do not even claim that you existed in the days of the Apostles, or were founded by them. I know the parentage of each of you, and beheld you when you were born. You, my most dutiful, Church of England, are the offspring of my wayward and licentious boy, Henry VIII., who was led astray by the love of the beautiful Ann Boleyn. A. D. 1534.

"You my Lutheran daughter, by the bold and impetuous Martin Luther, A. D. 1525.

"You, my Presbyterian daughter, by the stern and austere Calvin, A. D. 1541; while I acknowledge you, dear Methodists, being all the children of Wesley, by, the Church of England, (A. D. 1784,) as my legitimate and worthy grandchildren, and though quite too noisy and fanatical, yet I can not but be quite partial to you, since, next to your mother, the Church of England, you possess nearly all my features; indeed, the likeness is striking and remarkable!"

3. Will Protestants charge the Church of Rome with being ''mystical Babylon," and that "scarlet woman," drunken with the blood of the saints?

May not Rome reply: "If I am BABYLON, because I have persecuted and shed the blood of the heretical Anabaptists, then do you also belong to Babylon, for which one of you all have not imbued your hands in their blood? Your own garments are scarlet and blood-dyed, as well as my own! It becomes us to keep these family matters among ourselves, and not charge each other before our enemies."*

[[*Read Rev. xviii: 24: The blood of all the saints is to be found in Babylon." If Protestant seats have shed the blood of saints, are they not a part of mystical Babylon?]]

4. Will Protestants denounce Rome for the iniquitous and blasphemous assumptions of her clergy of the "Divine right" to legislate for the Church of Christ, to make, change, or abolish, rites and ceremonies, etc.?

Do not Protestants claim the same ANTICHRISTIAN POWERS? See Methodist Discipline, Art. xxii: "Every particular Church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things be done to edification"--of whom? The rulers or the judges, of course. They, then, claim to ordain or institute, change and abolish until they are themselves perfectly suited, pleased, and satisfied! Is not this claiming Antichristian powers? Does the Pope claim more power?

CALVIN says: "From the beginning the Church has freely allowed herself, excepting the substance, to have rites a little dissimilar, for some immerse thrice, and others only once;" and he therefore abolished immersion altogether, as inconvenient and ordained sprinkling in the room of Christ's appointment. He had as good a right to have forbidden baptism entirely, as to change its action in the least. He did abolish Christian baptism, and substituted clerical baptism instead of it.

5. Will Protestants declare before the world, that the ordinances administered by the Priests of Rome are invalid, since Rome is no Church, but Antichrist, and her priests therefore the ministers of Antichrist?

Can not Rome reply: "It is quite unfortunate for you to say so, since you unbaptize Luther and Calvin, and all your first ministers, and thereby acknowledge yourselves unbaptized, and without authority to baptize. If you are not concerned for my honor, you should be for that of those whom you boast of as your ecclesiastical fathers and founders. The less you say about my baptisms and ordinances the better."

[Presbyterian to Episcopalian, aside: "It would be, as fatal to us, to admit her to be the true Church of Christ; for, if so, all we Protestants are evidently schismatics and heretics, and we have been excommunicated from, and anathematized by, he; and, therefore, if she is a true Church, we are no Churches, but in rebellion to Christ. What shall we say?"]

The dilemma presented by the Archbishop of York to the British Parliament, early as 1558, vaunting itself upon its orthodoxy and succession apostolic, is worthy of special attention just here, and it will show that Presbyterians are not alone between two horns, and impaled upon a third! Here it is:

 

The Parliament heard this with no little vexation, saw the fatal dilemma in which Protestants were placed, but could not make an election of its horns. It left the question undecided, and left the Romish priests to enjoy a decided triumph. That victory Rome can ever win in conflict with her children.

How can Baptists deny the validity of the ordinances of the Romish Church, without thereby, destroying Protestant baptisms and ordinations?

6. Will Protestants protest against the unscriptural orders of the Catholic clergy, since Christ made all his ministers equal, and only one order?

But the advocates of Episcopacy, whether Protestant or Methodist, have their three orders at least, and their inferior and superior ministers.

7. Will they protest against the irreligious practice of the inferior Catholic clergy, of being solemnly sworn to obey reverently in all things the superior clergy?

The Methodist and Episcopal inferior clergy are compelled to do the same thing! See Office for Ordination of Deacons and Elders in their Prayer Book and Discipline. Here is the oath Catholic Priests are bound to take before they, are empowered by the Pope, or their chief ministers, to administer the sacrament of the Church: THE OATH OF A ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST.

 

THE OATH OF AN EPISCOPALIAN OR METHODIST MINISTER TO HIS PRESIDING ELDERS AND BISHOP.

 

Is not this an oath? Is it not a solemn appeal to God? Is not this affirmation put in the name of God? It is then an oath.--(See Webster's Dictionary.)

The bishop then proceeds

 

Read it again--is it not a mistake? Can such a solemn, awful oath fall from a professing Christian's, much less Christian minister's lips? Read it:

 

Blessed Savior! and can this be the language of one of thy ministers--of a Protestant Christian freeman, in the nineteenth century? And didst thou not most solemnly command thy disciples to acknowledge no master--no lawgiver, but thyself; and to teach only what thou hast enjoined upon them? And do they not here, as do the ministers of Antichrist, solemnly vow to take self-appointed lordlings for their masters, in all things, regardless of what thou hast commanded--and that so fully, so absolutely, as to exercise no judgment or will of their own in reserving any liberty to consult thy will?

Is not this a more stringent oath than the Catholic priests take to obey and do the bidding of their Pope? Does it not positively deprive one of the exercise of any mind, or will, or judgment of his own? Does it not reduce the Methodist circuit-rider and elder to a mere passive tool, blindly subservient to the will and wishes of their ghostly superiors? Am I mistaken? Read under the duties of preachers, Rule 12, which these Protestant ministers are especially asked if they have read and will observe:

 

Slavery--spiritual serfdom--what shall we say? We have no language in which to express our feelings. Were an angel from heaven to presume to impose such a law upon a mortal, he would be thrust down to darkness in a moment; and for a mortal--a poor fallen mortal--to demand service of his fellow!

If this is not a bold example and illustration of Antichrist, and the pretensions and blasphemous assumptions of the "Man of Sin," opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God, the world has never yet beheld one!

Is not this an antichristian power, that makes implicit and servile obedience to its mandates the first and most important duty--the one above even the worship of God (prayer) and the reading or teaching his Word!--to heed and obey the will of man more than the will of God! This is setting man above God!

Can Baptists assail this principle of the Papacy without incurring the displeasure of every minister of the Episcopal and Methodist hierarchies?

8. Will they charge the Catholics with blasphemy for giving the titles that belong to God to the pontiff, and cardinals, and bishops?

Are not Episcopalians and Methodists guilty of the same sin? See, the title given to the late

Bishop Hedding, in the Methodist Preacher, (Introduction, page 1:) "THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD!" This smacks of my Lord God the Pope. See titles of the Episcopal clergy.

9. Will they object to the Pope because he claims the power of the keys?

The Protestant clergy claim each, the same power! Methodist bishops and elders claim it, and Presbyterian ministers and their elders!

For a full discussion of this, see the Letter on "Key Power," page 247.

10. Will Protestant sects attack the Catholics because they claim that the supreme visible headship is vested in the Pope of Rome, since the visible Church has no earthly head?

But they have each a head! Queen Victoria and her parliament is the head of the Church of England, as Pio Nono and his bench of cardinals is of the Catholic; the bishops and General Conference is the head of the Methodist society, and the General Assembly of Presbyterianism--all legislative bodies. I should prefer one great, grand head to so many little heads!

11. Will Protestants object to Popery on the ground of her traditions?

They hold, teach, and practice her most pernicious one--that has done Christianity more injury than all the other traditions of Popery together! Infant baptism is a tradition of "the Church," as well as sprinkling and pouring upon for baptism, and Catholics have never failed to cast it into the teeth of Protestants, that while they protest against the authority of the Romish Church, they practice one of her principal traditions.

What says Dr. Pise, (a priest of the Romish Church, and of high standing among that order in New York, second, perhaps, to none but Bishop Hughes,) in a lecture recently delivered in New York: "There are many things believed by all Christians at the present day, not to bc found in the Scriptures. This is true with regard to infant baptism, that we and all Christians (Pedobaptist) believe in, for there is no authority for it in Scripture. We nowhere find that the apostles baptized infants, and if it be proper and necessary to baptize infants as well as adults, we have no other authority, and MUST DEPEND ENTIRELY ON TRADITION"-- of the Church of Rome, of course.

I add to this the highest Roman Catholic authority in the world, that of Mons. Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, who was preceptor to one of the kings of France, and the frank concession to that authority by the learned Mons. de la Roque, pastor of a Reformed Church at Rouen, in Normandy, who was engaged in controversy with Bishop Bossuet. Bossuet says:

 

And in another place:

 

What reply did the Reformed pastor make to this authority? Did he deny that Christ commanded his disciples to immerse, and not to sprinkle? Did he deny that it had been the practice of thirteen centuries? Did he deny that the Romish Church had, upon her sole Authority, changed the action into sprinkling? No; he denies not one of the above statements, but frankly admits every one of them, and charges the Romish Church with having corrupted the ordinances by so doing.

He repeats at length what the bishop urges against the Protestants concerning the change of dipping into sprinkling, etc., in which they agree with those of the Romish Church, and their answers in the following terms:

 

I have quoted this to give a practical illustration of how utterly impossible it is for Pedobaptists to meet the Papists. The old mother has every conceivable advantage.

12. Will they denounce Popery for its opposition to the circulation of the pure word of God, so that every man may have every word of the "Word of Life" faithfully translated into his own language?

Protestants, as sects, are bitterly opposed to the purest possible version in all languages and tongues, and, indeed, to-day, are giving a pure version to no nation of earth! Did they not refuse to circulate the version made by Dr. Judson, because it translated every word?

13. Is not Popery an absolute and tyrannical Hierarchy, oppressive to humanity, hostile to its best interests, and, in its influence, opposed to, and destructive of, all free institutions, as of civil and religious liberty?

It is manifest to all that the leading Protestant sects are hierarchies, or despotic aristocracies also, since the people are denied all voice in the administration of government, and the authority, legislative and executive, is placed in the hands of a few. It is a fixed fact, and easy of clearest demonstration, that hierarchial and aristocratic Church organizations are hostile in their influence to republican institutions; that they insensibly prepare the rising generation to favor, if not to seek, a civil government of the same character. It is admitted that nothing is more dangerous than a religious hierarchy or monarchy in a republic. Is the Roman hierarchy dangerous, and are the Protestant hierarchies less so? It is the principle, not the name; for a hierarchy is subversive of religious freedom, in whose hands soever it may be.

Lutheranism in the hands of Luther was opposed to civil and religious liberty, and he united his "Church" to the State in adulterous union, and it has been from then until now a persecuting power. Presbyterianism in the hands of Calvin burned Servetus in a slow fire of green wood, and, drove, by fines, imprisonments, and torturer the Baptists from the Canton of Geneva.

Episcopalianism is black and bloody with the murders of the martyrs of Jesus. Smithfield will witness against her in the judgment of nations that will come. (See Matt. xxiv.) Puritanism and Presbyterianism in New England, and the Episcopacy in Virginia and Georgia made manifest their opposition to religious freedom, in the bloody acts they committed in their mad attempts to crash it out, and prevent its gaining a foothold on these shores. All these are to-day opposed to free religious discussion by the pulpit and the press.

The time is not far distant when Protestant hierarchies will be repudiated by all Christians as the Papal is to-day.

14. Will Protestants charge upon Catholics that they recognize and support the adulterous union of Church and State, telling them that the Church of Christ "is not of this world?"

Rome could reply: "You, my daughters, have committed harlotry and made yourselves the 'abominations of the earth,' by the same act. Where have you had the power, and have not united the State to your Churches? Have not Episcopalians done so in England and all her colonies, and did they not retain the union in America so long as possible? Have not the Presbyterians in Scotland, and in all the continenta1 kingdoms of Europe, as well as Lutherans, and did they not do the same thing in the American colonies?"

15. Will Protestants denounce Rome because she denies the supremacy of the Word of God, placing as she does, the decisions of her councils and of her pontiffs before it, for the observance of her people?

Can not Rome point the Episcopalians to their head--the reigning king, or even woman, and the Parliament of England, Presbyterians to their General Assemblies, and Methodists to their College of Bishops and General Conferences, to whose decisions they are all compelled to bow implicitly or be excommunicated?

16. Will Protestants charge the Papacy with denying that doctrine professedly so sacred to Pedobaptist--THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY of the Word of God for faith and practice?--the Bible and the Bible alone, for all religious doctrines and duties?

Can not Rome point to their Books of Common Prayer, Rubrics, etc., Confession of Faith, and authenticated Disciplines, that in every Protestant meeting-house are placed either on top of the Bible or by its side, but in every case the first required to be observed by Protestants. If the laws, and traditions, and "rules" enjoined by their elders and "chief ministers" on them are not observed, the guilty Protestant is cast out of the Church of Christ--if these organizations can be so considered. Does Rome do worse?

17. Will Protestants assail the Papacy for sweeping away the great fundamental vital doctrine of individualism, upon which all true Christianity rests, because she forbids by pains and penalties personal religious liberty, and freedom of the conscience, and forces upon her infantile, unconscious subjects, onerous rites, Church ordinances, and religious obligations, and even salvation, without either faith or voluntariness on their part.

Would not Rome reply: "Whenever you judge me on this you condemn yourselves. You have imitated my example and adopted the very rite which I originated, by which to accomplish these very results, that I might the more easily and successfully extend my authority over the hearts and consciences of men. Were it now in your power as it has been, to carry out your principles, you would not only as thoroughly destroy the pure doctrine of personal religion, but constrain religious freedom and liberty of conscience, by 'pains and penalties,' as you have done. But you are more inconsistent than I am. While you teach the doctrine of total hereditary depravity in your Creed, you deny it in your Ritual, (for the baptism of infants,) and while you deny in your Creed the possibility of the apostasy from grace of a saint or the elect, you deny it in your Discipline." I give Rome the advantage of an extract from an able review of New England Puritanism:*

[[*Christian Review, No. 66]]

 

'Alas! Leviathan is not so tamed,'

 

 

I could continue this list of principles, in common with Protestants and Papists, to double the number, were it necessary; but these are sufficient for my purpose, to show that the Reformation must be radically reformed, and Protestantism itself protested against, before it can successfully grapple with the Papacy, or deserve to receive the countenance of republican-loving American Christians.

We also see the unfortunate antagonism with all the Protestant sects, into which we, as Baptists, are brought whenever we attack the principles of the Papacy! Our blows break their force upon Protestants; and Catholic priests smile in security behind them, as behind a bulwark. We can only reach Romanists through Protestants, for they are entrenched behind them. Their priests the more securely keep them in darkness by directing their attention to the fact that Protestants hold and practice their traditions, and defend nearly all their important principles! It requires great moral courage and Christian heroism in Baptists to attack these principles, since they know they will be precipitated into a fierce conflict with all Protestant sects, and expose themselves to their displeasure, hatred, and often their bitter persecutions. This ought not so to be. We can not believe that the Savior ever intended his followers to be thus divided and conflicting. We believe there are many precious Christians in the Pedobaptist sects, though in great error. We have no bitterness-nothing but love in our heart toward them, and this leads us to pray for them, and endeavor to convince them of their error; to leave men and follow Christ. They should unite with us against the in-rolling flood of Catholicism, if they love their country or the religion of Christ: and they can not do this so long as they hold the distinctive principles of the Papacy in common with Papists. We beseech them for the sake of their land and religion, to repudiate these and unite with us upon the word of God, and let the Bible and the Bible alone be our religion. Let our principles be blazoned upon our banner:

A PURE BIBLE ONLY--OUR PRAYER-BOOK, CONFESSION, AND DISCIPLINE.

NO REGENERATION BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE WORD OF GOD.

NO SALVATION BUT BY GRACE. OBSERVING ALL THINGS, AND THOSE ONLY, WHICH CHRIST COMMANDED, AND AS HE COMMANDED.

I protest I have not noticed, the Papal features of Protestantism but with the kindest feelings and the purest motives. These are the weak points of Protestantism. It is behind the age, as well as unsupported by the Bible. The Reformation needs another Luther. Were he once more to direct it, we have reason to believe that, with the light of this age, he would reform it of every feature of Romanism; he would effect the reformation he so ardently desired in his day, restore to it the primitive immersion of believers, and republicanize its government. Protestantism was chilled in the shadow of the sixteenth century. It has made no advancement. It is still either afraid to trust the people with self-government, or its clergy have become too corrupt to yield up the reins and scepter of ecclesiastical domination. The nineteenth century has demonstrated the truth of God's word, that man is capable of, and created for self-government, and that it is the only form of government that will secure for humanity, individually or nationally, in Church or State, the proper incentive to progress, the largest freedom, and the greatest happiness. Let Protestantism, then, bow to this fact, and grant to its membership the inalienable right which the Creator and Redeemer of man vouchsafed him, and which the Papal and Protestant clergy have so long and so iniquitously usurped and withheld from him.

 
 
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