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LIBERTY OF RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE THREATENED BY ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND THE APOSTATE PAPACY (PART 3)

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LIBERTY OF RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE THREATENED BY ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND THE APOSTATE PAPACY (PART 3)

Post by sol_drethedon on Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:13 pm

The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christ-like garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives , to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogative of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High.

The papacy is what prophesy declared that it would be, the apostasy of the latter times. 2Thessalonians 2:3,4. It is part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose;but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon she conceals the inevitable venom of the serpent. "Faith ought not to be kept with heretics nor persons suspected of heresy" (Lenfant, volume 1, page 516), she declares. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the church of Christ?

It is not without reason that the claim has been put forward in protestant countries that Catholicism differs less widely from Protestantism than in former times. There has been a change; but the change is not in the papacy. Catholicism indeed resembles much of the Protestantism that now exists, because Protestantism has so greatly degenerated since the days of the Reformers.

As the Protestant churches have been seeking the favor of the world, false charity has blinded their eyes. They do not see but that it is right to believe good of all evil, and as the inevitable result they will finally believe evil of all good. Instead of standing in defense of the faith delivered to the saints, they are now as it were, apologizing to Rome for their uncharitable opinion of her, begging pardon for their bigotry.

A large class, even those who look at Romanism with no favor, apprehend little danger fro her power and influence. Many urge that the intellectual and moral darkness prevailing during the Middle Ages favored the spread of her dogmas, superstitions and oppression, and that the greater intelligence of modern times, the genera;l diffusion of knowledge, and the increasing liberty in matters of religion forbid the revival of intolerance and tyranny. The very thought that such as state of things will exist in this enlightened age is ridiculed. It is true that great light, intellectual, moral, and religious, is shining upon this generation. In the open pages of God's Holy Word, light from heaven has been shed upon the world. But it should be remembered that the greater the light bestowed, the greater the darkness of those that pervert and reject it.

A prayerful study of the Bible would show protestants the real character of the papacy and would cause them to abhor and shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that they feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into the truth. Although priding themselves in their own enlightenment, they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They must have some means of quieting their consciences, and they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind, embracing nearly the whole world--those who would be saved by their merits, and those who would be saved by their sins. Here is the secret of its power.

A day of great intellectual darkness has been shown to be favorable to the success of the papacy. It will be demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is equally favorable for its success. In past ages, where men were without God's word and without the knowledge of the truth, their eyes were blindfolded, and thousands were ensnared, not seeing the net spread for their feet. In this generation there are many whose eyes get dazzled b the glare of human speculation, "science falsely so called;" they discern not the net and walk into it as readily as if blindfolded. God designed that man's intellectual powers should be held as a gift from his Maker, and should be employed in the service of truth and righteousness; but when pride and ambition are cherished, and men exalt their own theories above the word of God, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm than ignorance. Thus the false science of this present day, which undermines faith in the Bible, will prove as successful in preparing the way for the acceptance of the papacy, with its pleasing forms, as did the withholding of the knowledge in opening the way for its aggrandizement in the Dark Ages.

In the movements now in progress in the United States to secure for the institutions and usages of the church in support of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of papists. Nay they are opening the way for the papacy to regain in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World. And that which gives greater significance to this movement is the fact that the principle object contemplated is the enforcement of Sunday observance -- a custom which originated with Rome , and which she claims as a sign of her authority. It is the spirit of the papacy-- the spirit of conformity to wordly customs, the venerations for human traditions above the commandments of God-- that is permeating the Protestant churches and leading them on to do the same work of Sunday exaltation which the papacy has done before them.

If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed in the soon-coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the means which Rome employed for the same object in ages past. If he would know how papists and Protestants united would deal with those who would reject their dogmas, let them see the Spirit which Rome manifested towards Sabbath and its defenders

Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained by secular power were the steps by which pagan festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was a law enacted by Constantine in A.D 321. This edict required townspeople to rest on the 'venerable day of the sun,' but permitted countrymen to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen statue, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal acceptance of Christianity

The royal mandate not providing a sufficient substitute for divine authority, Eusebius, a bishop who sought the favor of the princes, and who was the special friend and flatterer of Constantine, advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the Sabbath to Sunday. Not a single testimony of the Scriptures was produced in proof of the new doctrine. Eusebius himself unwittingly acknowledges its falsity and points to the real authors of the change. "All things," he says, "whatever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord's day." Robert Cox, Sabbath Laws and Sabbath Duties page 538. But the Sunday argument, groundless as it was , served to embolden men in trampling over the Sabbath of the Lord. All who desired to be honored by the world accepted the popular festival.

As the papacy became firmly established, the work of Sunday exaltation was continued. For a time the people engaged in agricultural labor when not attending church, and the seventh day was still regarded as the Sabbath. But steadily a change was effected. Those in holy office were forbidden to pass judgment in any civil controversy on the Sunday. Soon after, all persons, of whatever rank, were commanded to refrain from common labor on pain of a fine for freemen and stripes for the case of servants. Later it was decreed that rich men should be punished with the loss of half of their estates; and finally, if still obstinate they should be made slaves. The lower classes were to suffer perpetual banishment.

Miracles also were called into requisition. Among other wonders it was reported that a husbandman who was about to plough his field on Sunday cleaned his plow with an iron, the iron stuck first in his hand, and for two years he carried it about with him, "to his exceeding great pain and shame."....Francis West, Historical and Practical Discourse on the Lord's Day, page 174.

Later the pope gave directions that the parish priest should admonish violators of Sunday and wish them to go to church and say their prayers, lest they bring some great calamities on themselves and their neighbors. An ecclesiastical council brought forward the argument, since so widely employed, even by Protestants, that because persons had been struck by lightening while laboring on Sunday, it must be the Sabbath. "It is apparent, said the prelates, "how much the displeasure of God was upon their neglect of this day." An appeal was then made that priests and ministers, kings and princes and all faithful people "use their utmost endeavors, and care that the day b e restored to its honor, and for the credit of Christianity, more devoutly observed for the time to come." Thomas Morer, Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and Observation of the Lord's Day, page 271.

The decrees of councils proving insufficient, the secular authorities were besought to issue an edict that would strike terror in the hearts of the people and force them to restrain from labor on a Sunday. At a synod held in Rome, all previous decisions were reaffirmed with greater force and solemnity. They were also incorporated into the ecclesiastical law and enforced by the civil authorities throughout Christendom. (See Heylyn, History of the Sabbath, pt.2, ch 5, sec. 7.)

Still in the absence of Scriptural authority for Sunday keeping occasioned no little embarrassment. The people questioned the right of their leaders to set aside the positive declaration of Jehovah, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," in order to honor the day of the sun. To supply the lack of Bible testimony, other expedients were necessary. A zealous advocate of Sunday, who about the close of the twelfth century visited the churches of England, was resisted by faithful witnesses for the
truth; and so fruitless were his efforts that he departed from the country for a season and cast about him for some means to enforce his teachings. When he returned, the lack was supplied, and in his after labors, he met with greater success. He brought with him a role purporting to be from God Himself, which contained the needed command from Sunday observance, with awful threats to terrify the disobedient. This precious document-- as a base a counterfeit as the institution it supported -- was said to have fallen from heaven and having been found in Jerusalem, upon the altar of St. Simeon in Golgotha. But in fact, the pontifical palace at Rome was the source whence it proceeded. Frauds and forgeries to advance the power and prosperity of the church have in all ages been esteemed lawful by the papal hierarchy.

The roll forbade labor from the ninth hour, three o'clock, on Saturday afternoon, till sunrise on Monday; and its authority was declared to be confirmed by many miracles. It was reported that persons laboring beyond the appointed hour were stricken with paralysis. A miller who attempted to grind his corn, saw instead of flour, a torrent of blood come forth, and the mill wheel stood still, not withstanding the strong rush of water. A woman who placed dough in the oven found it raw when taken out, though the oven was very hot. Another who had dough prepared for the ninth hour but determined to set it aside till Monday found the next day that it had been made into loaves and baked by divine power. A man who baked bread after the ninth hour on Saturday found when he broke it the next morning, that blood started therefrom. By such absurd and superstitious fabrications did the advocates of Sunday endeavor to establish its sacredness. (See Roger de Hoveden, Annals, vol. 2, pp. 528-530)

In Scotland as in England, a greater regard for Sunday was secured by uniting with it a portion of the ancient Sabbath. But the time required to be kept holy varied. An edict from the king of Scotland that "Saturday from twelve at noon ought to be accounted holy," and that no man from that time till Monday morning, should engage in worldly business, --Morer, pages 290,291.

But notwithstanding all the efforts to establish Sunday sacredness, papists themselves publicly confessed the divine authority of the Sabbath and the human origin of the institution by which it had been supplanted. In the sixteenth century a papal council plainly declared: "Let all Christians remember that the seventh day was consecrated by God, and has been received and observed by not only the Jews, but all others who pretend to worship God; though we Christians have changed the Sabbath into the Lord's Day."-- Ibid., pages 281,282. Those who were tampering with the divine law were not ignorant of the character of their work. They were deliberately setting themselves above God.

A striking illustration of Rome's policy towards those who disagree with her was given in the long and bloody persecution of the Waldenses, some of whom were observers of the Sabbath. Others suffered in the same manner for their fidelity to the fourth commandment. The history of the churches of Ethiopia and Abyssinia is especially significant. Amid the gloom of the Dark Ages, the Christians of Central Africa were lost sight of and forgotten by the world, and for many centuries they enjoyed freedom in the exercise of their faith. But at last Rome learned of their existence and the emperor of Abyssinia was soon beguiled into the acknowledgement of the pope as the vicar of Christ. Other concessions followed. An edict was issued forbidding the observance of the Sabbath under the severest penalties. (See Micheal Geddes, Church History of Ethiopia, pages 311, 312.) But papal tyranny soon became a yoke so galling that Abyssinians determined to break it from their necks. After a terrible struggle, the Romans were banished from their dominions, and the ancient faith was restored. The churches rejoiced in their freedom and they never forgot the lesson they had learned concerning the deception, the fanaticism, and the despotic power of Rome. Within their solitary realm they were content to remain, unknown to the rest of Christendom.

The churches of Africa held the Sabbath as it was held by the papal church before her complete apostasy. While they kept the seventh day in obedience to the commandment of God, they abstained from labor on the Sunday in conformity with the custom of the church. Upon obtaining supreme power, Rome had trampled upon the Sabbath of the Lord to exalt her own; but the churches of Africa, hidden for nearly a thousand years did not share in this apostasy. When brought under the sway of Rome, they were forced to set aside the true and exalt the false sabbath; but no sooner had they gained their independence than they returned obedience to the fourth commandment

These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word of God teaches that these scenes are to to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltations of the Sunday.

The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamb-like horns shall cause "the earth and them which dwell therein" to worship the papacy -- there symbolized by the beast like "unto a leopard." The beast with two horns is also to say, "to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast;" and furthermore, it is command all, "both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond," to receive the mark of the beast Revelation 13:11-16. It has been shown that the United states is the power represented by the beast with lamb-like horns, and that this prophesy shall be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome claims as the special acknowledgement of her supremacy. But in this homage to the papacy, the United States shall not be alone. The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged her dominion is still far from being destroyed. And prophesy foretells a restoration of her power. "I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed;,and all the world wondered after the beast." verse 3. The infliction of the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798. After this, says the prophet, "his deadly wound was healed: nd all the world wondered after the beast." Paul states plainly that the "man of sin" will continue until the second advent. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. To the very close of time he will carry forward the work of deception. And the revelator declares, also referring to the papacy. "All that dwell up the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life." Revelation 13:8. In both the Old and the New World, the papacy will receive homage in the honor paid to the Sunday institution, that rests solely upon the authority of the Roman Church.

Since the middle of the nineteenth century, students of prophecy in the United States have presented this testimony to the world. In the events now taking place is seen a rapid advance toward the fulfillment of the prediction. With the protestant teachers there is the same claim of divine authority for Sunday keeping, and the same lack of Scriptural evidence, as with the papal leaders who fabricated miracles to supply the place of a command from God. The assertion that God's judgments are visited upon men for their violation of the Sunday-sabbath, will be repeated; already it is beginning to be urged. And a movement to enforce Sunday observance is fast gaining ground.

Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their acceptance of the false sabbath and are preparing to enforce it by the means that she herself employed in bygone days. Those who reject the light of the truth will yet seek the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an institution that originated with her. How readily she will come to the help of Protestants in this work is not difficult to conjecture. Who understands better than the papal leaders to deal with those who are disobedient to the church?

The Roman Catholic church with all its ramifications throughout the world, forms one vast organization under the control, and designed to serve the interests of the papal see. Its millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope. Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, ye at the back of this lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them of every claim inimical to her interests.

History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate herself into the affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold, to to further her own aims, even at the ruin of princes and people. In the year 1204, Pope Innocent III extracted from Peter II, king of Arragon, the following extraordinary oath: "I, Peter, King of Arragonians, profess and promise to be ever faithful and obedient to my lord, Pope Innocent, to his Catholic successors, and the Roman Church, and faithfully to preserve my kingdom in his obedience, defending the Catholic faith, and persecuting heretical pravity." John Dowling, The History of Romanism, b.3, cent. 11, pt. 2, ch.sec.9, note17.

And let it be remembered, it is the Boast of Rome that the never changes. The principles of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And had she but the power, she would put them in practice wit much vigor now than in past centuries. Protestants little know what they are doing when they propose to accept the aid of Rome in the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent upon the accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish her power, to recover her lost supremacy. Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be controlled by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.

God's word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectingly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she requires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution.

end.
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sol_drethedon

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