ROMANISM A DECEPTION AND A FRAUD
Romanism, as a religion, is a deception and a fraud. Jesuitism is the power that propels and controls it. These two facts, made plain to the people, will destroy the reverence felt for Romanism as a part of the religious world, and will take away the sentiment that it has a right to live and act in accordance with its genius and spirit. Then they will be prepared to weigh the proofs which show it to be an enemy, attempting to subvert the foundations of Republican liberty, destroy quietly the public school system, and make the United States of America a Romish Reservation. The claim is, that the Roman Catholic Church is the mother of all churches, that she is the only true church ; and, being such, is the Catholic, or Universal Christian Church. That, by Divine appointment, the Apostle Peter was the head and foundation of the church, its Pope and Christ’s vicar, or visible representative, on the earth. That he, Peter, lived in Rome for the last twenty-five years of his life, during which time, as the possessor of the “keys” committed to him by the Saviour, he bound or loosed, opened or shut, in heaven, earth, hell, and purgatory, as seemed right in his sight. That each Pope since then is the true successor of St. Peter, invested with equal authority and power ; and that to be subject to him and in full and hearty connection with the church he personally, or through the authority he delegates to others, rules, is necessary in the highest degree to salvation. Opposed to this claim, are a few facts :
1. Rome’s pretension to being the mother-church is a deception, because it never was in existence until A. D. 606. The Acts of the Apostles, as well as all ecclesiastical history, teaches, that the church in Jerusalem, in its origin, in its constitution, takes first rank. John addressed “the seven churches which are in Asia.” These churches are each are represented by a golden candlestick, or lamp, separate and distinct one from the other, and not as one lamp ; which would have been the case had there existed any just ground for the claim of Rome.
2. For the supremacy of Peter there is no Scriptural warrant. Peter was in no way the leader of the church. The power and authority conveyed by the appointment of the Apostles was conferred upon all of them. They were all chosen the same way, equally empowered to preach and baptize, all equally entrusted with the power of binding and loosing, all invested with the same mission and equally furnished with the same gifts of the Holy Ghost. Rome contends, not only for a primacy of order, but of power. Fortunately for his own reputation, Peter never did this. When the Mother of Zebedee’s children wished it, Christ said, “The Kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But ye shall not be so ; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant.” Nothing would have so injured Peter with Christ and his brethren, and degraded and disgraced him, as to have done what Rome claims he did do, viz. : claim a pre-eminence among the Apostles. Peter’s name is not always mentioned first. James, Paul, and Apollos are placed before his, very frequently. Was any one prominent for being dear to Christ? John bore the name of “the beloved disciple.” Peter called himself a ” fellow-laborer,” and expressly forbids the governors of the church to lord it over God’s heritage, and bears the rebuke of Paul, because he was to be blamed ; without a thought of asserting his superiority or authority. Rome claims that in the words, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” our Lord declared Peter’s contemplated supremacy. It has sometimes seemed strange that Rome should utterly ignore the other address made to Peter in the same chapter, when Peter assumed supremacy, and Christ said to him: “Get thee behind me, Satan ; thou art an offense unto me ; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Matt. 16:23. These words apply to Peter, and apply to those who have tried to exalt him above his brethren. The former do not apply to him as being the one upon whom Christ should build his church ; for Christ referred to the faith which saw in Him the Son of God. This view was held by Jerome, Chrysostom, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Augustine, and many more ; and Paul, in 1 Cor. 3:11, points to Christ, in the words : “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:20 : “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.” Then, as to the power of binding or loosing, the position of Rome is confuted by the uniform action of all the apostles on such matters. They declared the conditions of salvation to be repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and they would receive the remission of their sins. This precludes the idea that the Romish priesthood have power to absolve from sin.
3. Romanism is a deception, because it rests its claim upon the false supposition that Peter lived in Rome. The Scriptures declare that Peter went East, rather than West ; lived and wrought in Asia Minor ; preached to the churches in ancient Babylon, from which place he wrote his epistle. Romanists want it written at Rome, and insist that Peter went to Rome in A.D. 42 ; that he was crucified head-downwards in A.D. 67 ; that he suffered imprisonment in the Marmentine prison, over which towers St. Peter’s ; that he was buried in the Vatican, where the Pope now lives ; while there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the pretension that Peter ever was in Rome. Tradition takes the place of history, and clings to the deception as if it had a basis of even possible fact.
According to the Bible, Peter preached in Jerusalem, and instead of giving orders to the other apostles, as the head of the church, he was sent as a simple missionary to preach with John in Samaria. Acts 8:14. He proclaimed the Gospel in Cesarea, in Antioch, and Babylon, but did not come into the West.
When Paul in A.D. 60 wrote his epistle to the Romans he saluted many, but he did not salute Peter, a sufficient proof that he was not in Rome.
In 61 Paul arrived in Rome and the brethren went out to meet him. on the Appian way, Acts 28:15, but Peter was not among them. From the year 61 to 63 Paul wrote from Rome his epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and to Timothy. In these letters he speaks of many persons, even unknown ones, and no mention is made of Peter. In his second Epistle, 2 Tim. 4:6, he says : “At my first answer no one stood with me, but all men forsook me.” If Peter had been in Rome and free, would he have abandoned Paul? If in prison, would not Paul have referred to him ? All this proves that he was not in Rome. The Apostle of the Circumcision never was in Rome. He lived and died in the East. So speaks history. Romanism becomes a fraud when it thus unblushingly lifts a lie into the place of the truth, and demands of those who belong to it unflinching submission and unswerving obedience, from beginning to end.
4. Romanism is a deception, because it predicates salvation, not through the atoning blood of Christ, but upon saying : ” I believe that there is here upon earth an organized body that is more than human, because it has a divine commission, and that organized body can teach me the truth, and that in so receiving it I cannot possibly be led into error. I believe that this organism is none other than the Catholic church, directed by the Pope, as the successor of St. Peter, and the moment a man says that, he is a Catholic.” The essence of Romanism is summed up in this : “Subjection of the intellect to divine authority in matters connected with religion.”
Notice, it does not refer to a belief in Jesus Christ, as “the way, the truth, and the life ” ; nor to receiving him into the heart, that power may be obtained to become a child of God. It makes the church authority the author of life and hope. The millions of Romanists are ruled by a Pope, claimed to be infallible, exalted above all that is called God, and worshipped as was the Druid of our ancestors, or the Pontifex Maximus of ancient Rome, and claiming to stand at the top of the system. All the persons in the Godhead, Popery denies. It denies God the Father, by installing the Pope as the Divine vicegerent, by whose authority the Second Commandment, forbidding the worship of images, is trampled upon ; and installs the Pope as Divine vicegerent of the world and the infallible ruler of the conscience. It presents him high and lifted up, clothed with power to annul laws, abrogate treaties, plant and pluck up nations, and do away with the precepts of the moral law. Popery writes on the Papal chair : “This is the seat of God, the throne of the Infallible and Holy One ; he who sits here can pardon or retain men’s sins, save or destroy souls.”
Popery ignores Jesus Christ the Saviour, and worships Mary instead. It robs Christ of his priestly office, by offering the Mass the priests sacrifice, not Christ, to save the sinner. It destroys the prophetical office, by presenting itself as the infallible teacher of the word of God and the only authorized expositor of the true sense of Scripture. It robs Christ of his kingly office, by exalting the Pope to his seat of absolute power and head of the church. In his vesture and on his thigh the Pope has written : ” I am King of kings and Lord of lords.”
For the Holy Spirit, popery substitutes the sacraments, through which divine blessings are communicated to the soul. It is this impious suggestion which crowds the church with votaries at the various masses, for the deluded believe there is no help for them apart from the priesthood, the only channel of communication between God and man. It is be cause of this murderers, no matter how heinous their crime, find it not difficult to espouse Romanism and put the eternal interests of their souls into the keeping of this error. ” They believe a lie that they may be damned.” Here then is what professes to be a complete church, and yet is an out-and-out counterfeit. Every element of strength and every principle of evil that were found in the ancient idolatries, live over again in the papacy. That same paganism whose cradle was rocked in Chaldea, whose youth was passed amid the olive groves and matchless temples of Greece, and whose manhood was reached amid the martial sounds and iron organizations of Rome, has returned anew in this papacy, bringing with it the old rites, the old festivals, the flowers, the incensings, the lustral water, the vestments, the very gods but with new names ; every thing, in short, so that were an old pagan to rise from the dead, he would find himself among his old environments ; and, without a moment’s doubt, would conclude that Zeus, the ancient Jove, the father of Clio, whose mother is Mercury, answering to Christ and Mary, was still reigning, and was being worshipped by the same rites that were practised in his honor three thousand years ago.
5. Romanism is a fraud, because it substitutes a Pantheon of idols for the Christian church, extinguishing the light of revelation, and placing the world back amid the ideas, the deities, and the rites of early idolatrous ages. It rejects the New Birth and change of heart, and inducts the child into the church in a state of unconsciousness, and holds him there by education, by training, and by fear. The church assumes control of the individual conscience. It claims to hold the keys of heaven and hell. A Romanist is afraid of the truth even of God’s word, and millions dare not read or take into their hands the Bible, lest it may sever their hold upon the church, and so whelm the soul in perdition.
The import of such teaching is to place in the hands of conscienceless men the consciences of millions of men. It is the marvel of the age, that at a period when men boast of their aspirations after progress, such numbers should thus fall as dupes into the slough of the most hopeless stagnation, into a total resignation of the freedom of their wills, of the independent action of their souls, into the amplest acceptance of dogmas, creeds and fables which it is a disgrace even to the darkest ages to have been capable of embracing. None of these things which Rome offers has the slightest atom of the simple but sublime religion of Jesus Christ, who sat upon the mountain-side and taught the noblest truths in the simplest language. They are the old tawdry paraphernalia of worn-out Paganism, refurbished and re-introduced by the most impudent priestcraft that ever palmed itself upon the world.
This it is that men are calling a part of the Religious World. Romanism is Antichrist, pure and simple. Daniel, Paul, and John have described it with the pen of inspiration, and painted it with living colors, and the pictures they made of it hang on the walls of the future, so that every eye can trace its origin, its terrible and damning work, and its awful doom. Daniel tells of “the little horn,” before which three of the ten horns fell ; which signify the ten states under control of imperial Rome. These three horns represented the Exarchate of Ravenna, given the Pope Stephen I. by Pepin, King of France, in A.D. 755. The second was the Kingdom of the Lombards, subdued by Charlemagne of France, and made over to the Pope in A.D. 774. And the third was the State of Rome itself, which was given the Pope by Louis the Pious.
It was upon the acquisition of these states that the Pope became a temporal ruler. It is said, the little horn ” had eyes like the eyes of a man,” ” and a mouth speaking great things,” ” great things against the Most High.” Assuming Divine titles, such as “His Holiness”; “Head of the Church”; “Christ’s Vicar upon Earth” ; “Infallibility,” etc., etc. But more than this assuming to dispose of rewards in heaven and hell, as well as on the earth ; changing laws of principles and conduct, and conditions of education ; a power to depose rulers, give away states or kingdoms, release subjects from their oaths of allegiance ; each of which acts, and all together, being an invasion of God’s prerogatives, as the king, ruler, saviour, judge of all men, and, therefore, such was speaking ” things against the Most High.” His ” look was more stout than his fellows,” causing him to claim supreme control over the church, the state, and the world; compelling his people cardinals, bishops, priests, or whomsoever they were, to kiss his feet ; and princes, at one time, to hold his stirrup while he mounted his horse ; and, in some instances, to lay themselves down that he might put his foot upon their necks. Asserting as Pope Paul and Pius did to Henry of France and Elizabeth of England, that as Pope they had a sovereignty above kings and people, and that, by divine appointment, was over nations and over kingdoms, to root out and to cut down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant. Further, it is added :
” He made war with the saints.”
So Paul, in 2 Thess. 2, follows up Daniel and John in Revelation 13 ; uncovers the beast like unto a leopard, and his feet as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power and his seat and great authority. Then go on to Rev. 17, and the battle with Rome is described: ” The Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords and King of kings ; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” This is Romanism that is now being destroyed. The Pope has no longer temporal power. Let God’s children all over the world tell the truth, and her and his so-called spiritual power shall be destroyed, consumed by the spirit of the mouth of our Lord, and by the brightness of his coming, as Christ shall shine in the effulgence of proclaimed truth. Is not this papalism, when it would figure as the religion of Jesus Christ, a fraud? If so, say so; and the work of redemption will be accomplished. Let the cry arise : ” Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
For those who come out of Rome, there is freedom in Jesus Christ ; for those who remain in, there are perils such as have not yet been visited upon any race or class : ” For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”