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What did Constantine actually do?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Matt Black, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. Bro. James

    Bro. James Well-Known Member
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    Sep 14, 2004
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    Sorry, "Sin real hard until the last days..." is this author's sarcasm--not a quote from the Writings of Constantine, The Great. This is not readily apparent in the structure or grammar of the paragraph.

    Bro. James
  2. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    Here is a chapter in the Book Great Controversy by Ellen White that talks a little about Constantine


    Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed!

    The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been maligned, and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her sentiments.

    Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from being relinquished, this claim was affirmed in the nineteenth century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that the "church never erred; nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err" (John L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, book 3, century II, part 2, chapter 2, section 9, note 17), how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in past ages?

    The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution.

    A well-known writer speaks thus of the attitude of the papal hierarchy as regards freedom of conscience, and of the perils which especially threaten the United States from the success of her policy:

    "There are many who are disposed to attribute any fear of Roman Catholicism in the United States to bigotry or childishness. Such see nothing in the character and attitude of Romanism that is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in its growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental principles of our government with those of the Catholic Church.

    "The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: `The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error--a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.' The same pope, in his Encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized `those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship,' also 'all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.'

    "The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O'Connor: 'Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.'. . . The archbishop of St. Louis once said: 'Heresy and unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land, they are punished as other crimes.'. . .

    "Every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the Catholic Church takes an oath of allegiance to the pope, in which occur the following words: 'Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord (the pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute and oppose.'"--Josiah Strong, Our Country, ch. 5, pars. 2-4.

    It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic communion. Thousands in that church are serving God according to the best light they have. They are not allowed access to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth. [PUBLISHED IN 1888 AND 1911. SEE APPENDIX.] They have never seen the contrast between a living heart service and a round of mere forms and ceremonies. God looks with pitying tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate the dense darkness that surrounds them. He will reveal to them the truth as it is in Jesus, and many will yet take their position with His people.

    But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. See the increasing number of her churches and chapels in Protestant countries. Look at the popularity of her colleges and seminaries in America, so widely patronized by Protestants. Look at the growth of ritualism in England and the frequent defections to the ranks of the Catholics. These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.

    Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.

    Many Protestants suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive and that its worship is a dull, meaningless round of ceremony. Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious service of the Roman Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the senses of the people and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is captivated. The music is unsurpassed. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ, blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence.

    This outward splendor, pomp, and ceremony, that only mocks the longings of the sin-sick soul, is an evidence of inward corruption. The religion of Christ needs not such attractions to recommend it. In the light shining from the cross, true Christianity appears so pure and lovely that no external decorations can enhance its true worth. It is the beauty of holiness, a meek and quiet spirit, which is of value with God.

    Brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure, elevated thought. High conceptions of art, delicate refinement of taste, often exist in minds that are earthly and sensual. They are often employed by Satan to lead men to forget the necessities of the soul, to lose sight of the future, immortal life, to turn away from their infinite Helper, and to live for this world alone.

    A religion of externals is attractive to the unrenewed heart. The pomp and ceremony of the Catholic worship has a seductive, bewitching power, by which many are deceived; and they come to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of heaven. None but those who have planted their feet firmly upon the foundation of truth, and whose hearts are renewed by the Spirit of God, are proof against her influence. Thousands who have not an experimental knowledge of Christ will be led to accept the forms of godliness without the power. Such a religion is just what the multitudes desire.

    The church's claim to the right to pardon leads the Romanist to feel at liberty to sin; and the ordinance of confession, without which her pardon is not granted, tends also to give license to evil. He who kneels before fallen man, and opens in confession the secret thoughts and imaginations of his heart, is debasing his manhood and degrading every noble instinct of his soul. In unfolding the sins of his life to a priest,--an erring, sinful mortal, and too often corrupted with wine and licentiousness,--his standard of character is lowered, and he is defiled in consequence. His thought of God is degraded to the likeness of fallen humanity, for the priest stands as a representative of God. This degrading confession of man to man is the secret spring from which has flowed much of the evil that is defiling the world and fitting it for the final destruction. Yet to him who loves self-indulgence, it is more pleasing to confess to a fellow mortal than to open the soul to God. It is more palatable to human nature to do penance than to renounce sin; it is easier to mortify the flesh by sackcloth and nettles and galling chains than to crucify fleshly lusts. Heavy is the yoke which the carnal heart is willing to bear rather than bow to the yoke of Christ.

    There is a striking similarity between the Church of Rome and the Jewish Church at the time of Christ's first advent. While the Jews secretly trampled upon every principle of the law of God, they were outwardly rigorous in the observance of its precepts, loading it down with exactions and traditions that made obedience painful and burdensome. As the Jews professed to revere the law, so do Romanists claim to reverence the cross. They exalt the symbol of Christ's sufferings, while in their lives they deny Him whom it represents.

    Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars, and upon their garments. Everywhere is seen the insignia of the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and exalted. But the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless traditions, false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. The Saviour's words concerning the bigoted Jews, apply with still greater force to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church: "They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." Matthew 23:4. Conscientious souls are kept in constant terror fearing the wrath of an offended God, while many of the dignitaries of the church are living in luxury and sensual pleasure.

    The worship of images and relics, the invocation of saints, and the exaltation of the pope are devices of Satan to attract the minds of the people from God and from His Son. To accomplish their ruin, he endeavors to turn their attention from Him through whom alone they can find salvation. He will direct them to any object that can be substituted for the One who has said: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

    It is Satan's constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine law and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes them to cherish false conceptions of God so that they regard Him with fear and hate rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in systems of religion and expressed in modes of worship. Thus the minds of men are blinded, and Satan secures them as his agents to war against God. By perverted conceptions of the divine attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifices necessary to secure the favor of Deity; and horrible cruelties have been perpetrated under the various forms of idolatry.

    The Roman Catholic Church, uniting the forms of paganism and Christianity, and, like paganism, misrepresenting the character of God, has resorted to practices no less cruel and revolting. In the days of Rome's supremacy there were instruments of torture to compel assent to her doctrines. There was the stake for those who would not concede to her claims. There were massacres on a scale that will never be known until revealed in the judgment. Dignitaries of the church studied, under Satan their master, to invent means to cause the greatest possible torture and not end the life of the victim. In many cases the infernal process was repeated to the utmost limit of human endurance, until nature gave up the struggle, and the sufferer hailed death as a sweet release.

    Such was the fate of Rome's opponents. For her adherents she had the discipline of the scourge, of famishing hunger, of bodily austerities in every conceivable, heart-sickening form. To secure the favor of Heaven, penitents violated the laws of God by violating the laws of nature. They were taught to sunder the ties which He has formed to bless and gladden man's earthly sojourn. The churchyard contains millions of victims who spent their lives in vain endeavors to subdue their natural affections, to repress, as offensive to God, every thought and feeling of sympathy with their fellow creatures.

    If we desire to understand the determined cruelty of Satan, manifested for hundreds of years, not among those who never heard of God, but in the very heart and throughout the extent of Christendom, we have only to look at the history of Romanism. Through this mammoth system of deception the prince of evil achieves his purpose of bringing dishonor to God and wretchedness to man. And as we see how he succeeds in disguising himself and accomplishing his work through the leaders of the church, we may better understand why he has so great antipathy to the Bible. If that Book is read, the mercy and love of God will be revealed; it will be seen that He lays upon men none of these heavy burdens. All that He asks is a broken and contrite heart, a humble, obedient spirit.

    Christ gives no example in His life for men and women to shut themselves in monasteries in order to become fitted for heaven. He has never taught that love and sympathy must be repressed. The Saviour's heart overflowed with love. The nearer man approaches to moral perfection, the keener are his sensibilities, the more acute is his perception of sin, and the deeper his sympathy for the afflicted. The pope claims to be the vicar of Christ; but how does his character bear comparison with that of our Saviour? Was Christ ever known to consign men to the prison or the rack because they did not pay Him homage as the King of heaven? Was His voice heard condemning to death those who did not accept Him? When He was slighted by the people of a Samaritan village, the apostle John was filled with indignation, and inquired: "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" Jesus looked with pity upon His disciple, and rebuked his harsh spirit, saying: "The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:54, 56. How different from the spirit manifested by Christ is that of His professed vicar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained by secular power were the steps by which the pagan festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine. (A.D. 321; see Appendix note for page 53.) This edict required townspeople to rest on "the venerable day of the sun," but permitted countrymen to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal acceptance of Christianity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The roll forbade labor from the ninth hour, three o'clock, on Saturday afternoon, till sunrise on Monday; and its authority was declared to be confirmed by many miracles. It was reported that persons laboring beyond the appointed hour were stricken with paralysis. A miller who attempted to grind his corn, saw, instead of flour, a torrent of blood come forth, and the mill wheel stood still, notwithstanding the strong rush of water. A woman who placed dough in the oven found it raw when taken out, though the oven was very hot. Another who had dough prepared for baking at the ninth hour, but determined to set it aside till Monday, found, the next day, that it had been made into loaves and baked by divine power. A man who baked bread after the ninth hour on Saturday found, when he broke it the next morning, that blood started therefrom. By such absurd and superstitious fabrications did the advocates of Sunday endeavor to establish its sacredness. (See Roger de Hoveden, Annals, vol. 2, pp. 526-530.)

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

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

    A striking illustration of Rome's policy toward those who disagree with her was given in the long and bloody persecution of the Waldenses, some of whom were observers of the Sabbath. Others suffered in a similar manner for their fidelity to the fourth commandment. The history of the churches of Ethiopia and Abyssinia is especially significant. Amid the gloom of the Dark Ages, the Christians of Central Africa were lost sight of and forgotten by the world, and for many centuries they enjoyed freedom in the exercise of their faith. But at last Rome learned of their existence, and the emperor of Abyssinia was soon beguiled into an acknowledgment of the pope as the vicar of Christ. Other concessions followed.

    An edict was issued forbidding the observance of the Sabbath under the severest penalties. (See Michael Geddes, Church History of Ethiopia, pages 311, 312.) But papal tyranny soon became a yoke so galling that the Abyssinians determined to break it from their necks. After a terrible struggle the Romanists were banished from their dominions, and the ancient faith was restored. The churches rejoiced in their freedom, and they never forgot the lesson they had learned concerning the deception, the fanaticism, and the despotic power of Rome. Within their solitary realm they were content to remain, unknown to the rest of Christendom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate herself into the affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold, to further her own aims, even at the ruin of princes and people. In the year 1204, Pope Innocent III extracted from Peter II, king of Arragon, the following extraordinary oath: "I, Peter, king of Arragonians, profess and promise to be ever faithful and obedient to my lord, Pope Innocent, to his Catholic successors, and the Roman Church, and faithfully to preserve my kingdom in his obedience, defending the Catholic faith, and persecuting heretical pravity." --John Dowling, The History of Romanism, b. 5, ch. 6, sec. 55. This is in harmony with the claims regarding the power of the Roman pontiff "that it is lawful for him to depose emperors" and "that he can absolve subjects from their allegiance to unrighteous rulers."--Mosheim, b. 3, cent. 11, pt. 2, ch. 2, sec. 9, note 17.

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

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

    Claudia_T New Member

    May 11, 2004
    Likes Received:
    By Vance Ferrell


    God’s plan to save men from sin is based upon four vital principles. Satan is working to destroy one or more of these principles from the mind of every person now living on earth. He well knows that he only needs to substitute one of four changes in order to succeed. It matters not which one it is.

    Here they are:

    1. Change the authority of the Bible, in explaining and defining the way of salvation,-to the authority of a church, through the decrees of its councils, the sayings of its “saints,” or the dogmas of its leaders.

    Church authority is very important-Christ gave it to us-but never when set above Scripture.

    2. Eliminate Christ, our only source of righteousness in attaining salvation,-through the introduction of meritorious works, image worship, invocation, or legalism (attempting to obey God’s law by one’s own efforts, without relying wholly on the merits of Christ’s intercession, which alone can enable him to do it).

    3. Abolish the blood atonement, through the rejection of His atoning sacrifice on earth or the rejection of its application in heaven or by the substitution of the sacrifice of the Mass.

    4. Destroy the unchangeable moral Ten Commandment Law, the only standard of sin and righteousness,-through an entire rejection of it or by changing one or more of its rules (especially seen in the second regarding image worship, and the fourth regarding the seventh day Sabbath).

    Each of the above changes has been introduced into the church through the ages, and now exists in various denominations. The one change which has become the most strikingly widespread is the change of the Fourth Commandment. (You will find it in its original form, as given by God, in the Bible: Read Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 16; 20:8-11.)


    The Bible prophesies that a power would arise that would seek to change God’s law (Daniel 7:25). Such a change has been attempted. The moral law, resting beneath the throne of God, tells us that the seventh day is the one selected for us, by God, as our Sabbath rest. But men today are observing the first day. How did this come about? When did it happen? What does the Bible say about it? What should we do about it?

    The seventh-day Sabbath was not changed by Christ. Jesus is the One who created all things (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; John 1:1-3, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3) and One who gave the law at Sinai (1 Corinthians 10:4; Nehemiah 9:12-13). Jesus, therefore, made the Sabbath at Creation, and spoke it at Sinai; and Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8).

    The seventh-day Sabbath was not changed by God. God does not change (Matthew 3:6; James 1:17; Ecclesiastes 3:14), and His moral law does not change (Psalm 119:152; 111:7-8: Matthew 5:17-19).

    The “Lord's Day,” mentioned in Revelation 1:10, is the “day of the Lord” in the fourth commandment-the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-11). The statement, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” is found seven times in the Bible (Exodus 16:26; 20:11; 13:12; 31:15; 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:14). Jesus, the Creator, (Hebrews 1:1-2), is the One who gave us the Sabbath, and therefore the One who says, “The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28).

    While on earth Jesus kept His Father’s commandments (John 15:10), and fulfilled the law (gave a perfect example of obedience).-He did not come to abolish or destroy it (Matthew 5:17-19). Rather, He magnified it and explained its spiritual significance (Isaiah 42:21; cf. Matthew 5:21-22; 27-28). He always kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16); and, following His sacrifice on Friday, He rested in the tomb on the Sabbath (Luke 23:54-24:1).

    What about after His death? He had given His followers no command to cease observing it; and so, following His burial on Friday, they prepared for it, and then “rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Not until the Sabbath was past did they bring the spices, they had prepared on Friday, to the tomb for His burial (read Luke 23:52-24:1). Jesus’ followers sacredly observed it during His life and following His death (Acts 15:19-21; 18:11-14).

    There is no word, no hint of a change anywhere in the Bible-and certainly not in the New Testament. Jesus, Himself, gave a special command to those living, when the prophecy of Matthew 24 would be fulfilled, to sacredly guard their Sabbath observance (Matthew 24:20). This prophecy was partially fulfilled when Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed in A.D. 70-39 years after Calvary. Many of its prophecies are still to be fulfilled in the future, and so this means that the command of Matthew 24:20 is for us today.

    Some think that there must be a text somewhere in the Bible that says we should keep Sunday, the first day of the week instead of Saturday, the seventh day. One man repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who would produce such a text. He still has the money.

    The reward was never claimed, and here is why: Sunday, the first day of the week, is mentioned in the Bible only eight times. Genesis 1:5 tells about the first day of Creation Week. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2, 9; Luke 14:1; John 20:19-all refer to Christ’s resurrection from the dead (following His rest in the tomb on the seventh-day Sabbath).

    Nothing is said of its supposed sanctity (on the contrary, Luke 24:12-15 tells of His 15-mile journey with two disciples on that same first Sunday after His death). John 20:19 tells of a Sunday gathering, but not for worship, but “for fear of the Jews.”

    There are 84 Sabbath services referred to in Acts, and only one Sunday service (Acts 20:7-14). Paul held a farewell meeting “on the evening after Sabbath” (therefore on Saturday night)-In the Bible, the new day begins at sunset (Leviticus 23:32; Genesis 1:5). The next morning, Sunday morning, he traveled over land 19 miles to meet Luke and other friends who came, by boat, to join him (Acts 20:13-14). At this Sunday meeting they “broke bread.” This does not indicate Sunday sacredness, for “they broke bread daily” (Acts 2:46). There is as much reason for keeping Sunday sacred because of Acts 20:7 as there is for keeping Wednesday sacred because of Acts 20:15-17).

    The last Sunday text, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, is the only time in all his writings that Paul mentions the first day. This passage does not mean a weekly meeting, but just the contrary: “Let everyone of you lay by him in store”-privately, at home-so that there will be “no gatherings when I come.” The believers normally kept Sabbath; and, after it was passed, they were to figure their earnings for the week and then set aside a portion. Budgets and bookkeeping are not proper business for the Sabbath, so Paul told them to do it on Sunday! “Let each one of you put on one side and store at home” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Weymouth).

    Paul frequently spoke against those who professed the law and rejected Christ. This is just as bad as to profess Christ and knowingly reject His law; so Paul spoke against such a practice. But he did not seek to change the law. “God forbid, yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Paul would have no more right than we to change the moral code of God, and he knew it.

    Some suggest that possibly the seven-day weekly cycle has been changed at some time in the past, and that the true Sabbath cannot now be identified. Thank God, He has not let this happen. He will not allow a clear-cut command to be so clouded.

    Abundant historical evidence is available to establish that the seventh-day weekly cycle has never been changed (space forbids including it here, but it may be obtained free of charge by writing to the publishers of this tract. Evidence more irrefutable than paper records has been provided).

    God has preserved the Jewish race alive through the ages for several reasons. One of these is to provide living proof in every generation, as to which day is the seventh-day Sabbath of the Bible. This is an evidence that cannot be dented. Men may reject God’s Sabbath, but they cannot destroy its identity. Ask any Jewish neighbor which day is the Sabbath. he will tell you that it is Saturday-the seventh day.

    We have seen what the Bible says-now, what do men say?-Do men claim that there is a Bible text for the change?

    Roman Catholics say there is no Bible proof:

    “You may read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday” (Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers, 89).

    “Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles…from the beginning to the end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transference of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” (“Catholic Press,” Sydney, Australia, August 25, 1900).

    Protestants say there is no Bible proof:

    “The notion of a formal substitution (of the first for the seventh day)…and the transference to it, perhaps in a spiritual form, of the Sabbatical obligation established by the fourth commandment, has no basis…whatever either in Holy Scripture or in Christian antiquity” (Smith and Chetham’s Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Article, “Sabbath”).

    “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping Sabbath. the Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday…There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday” (Dr. R.W. Dale in The Ten Commandments,106-107 [Congregational]).

    “There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath was not Sunday. It will, however, be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely not” (Dr. E.R. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, report of his sermon at the Baptist Ministers’ Convention, in New York Examiner, November 16, 1893 [Baptist]).

    “There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Sunday…into the rest of Sunday no Divine law enters” (Canon Eyton, of Westminster, in Ten Commandments [Presbyterian]).

    “The Bible commandment says on the seventh day thou shalt rest. That is Saturday. Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday” (Phillip Carrington [Episcopal], quoted in Toronto Daily Star, October 26, 1949).


    Historians say there is no Bible proof:

    “Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of Sunday is known to have been ordained is the Sabbatical Edict of Constantine, A.D. 321” (Chambers’ Encyclopedia, article: “Sunday”).

    This Roman emperor had not yet professed Christianity at the time of this edict, and he speaks of Sunday as the venerable day of the sun” in the decree. The other main religion in the empire at that time, Mithraism, was a system of sun worship. The followers of Mithra worshiped him on the fist day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and for this reason Constantine made this edict of A.D. 321, in order to strengthen the weakening empire through the uniting of the two main religions found within it.

    “The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the early apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, and far from the early apostolic church to transfer the law of the Sabbath to Sunday” (Neander, History of the Christian Religion and Church, 186).

    God predicted this attempted change in Daniel 7:25. the little horn, or Papacy, was to “think to change” God’s laws. The Papacy removed the second commandment against idolatry, changed the fourth commandment which tells us which day is the Sabbath, and made two commandments of the tenth, which forbids us to covet. You will find this in any Roman Catholic catechism.

    The big question, then, is Why did the Roman Catholic Church try to change the law?

    “Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and transmute the very instruments of demon worship to an evangelical use,…the rulers of the church from early times were prepared, should occasion arise, to adopt, imitate, or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy of the educated class” (Cardinal Newman [Roman Catholic], in his Christian Doctrine).

    “The Church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen” (“Catholic World,” Easter Issue, March, 1895).

    “And indeed, all writers who are acquainted with antiquity-be they lay or clerical, Protestant or papal, Italian or foreign-agree as to the pagan origin of Rome’s present usages and ceremonies” (Mourant Brock).

    The church tried to change the law and encouraged Constantine to pass civil ordinances, or Sunday laws, to support their change, in order to adapt to the pagan customs and the pagans themselves who were coming into the church. Such pagan customs included the worship of the sun on Sunday.

    Only God can change the law, and so Paul predicted the rise of a man who would call himself God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

    “We hold upon this earth the place of Almighty God” (Pope Leo XIII).

    “This judicial authority will even include the power to forgive sins” (The Catholic Encyclopedia).

    “The Pope can modify the Divine Law” (Ferrort’s Ecclestastical Dictionary [Roman Catholic]).

    “The pope has authority and has often exercised it, to dispense with the commands of Christ…the pope’s will stands for reason. He can dispense above the law; and of wrong make right, by correcting and changing the laws” (from Pope Nicholas’ time).

    Does Catholicism admit making the change?

    It really boasts the fact:

    “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday” (“Catholic Mirror,” September 23, 1893).

    “Ques. Which is the Sabbath day?

    “Ans. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

    “Ques. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

    “Ans. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday” (priest Peter Getermann, Convert’s Catechism [Roman Catholic], 50).

    “The Bible says, Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. The Catholic Church says, No. By my Divine power I abolish the Sabbath day, and command you to keep holy the first day of the week” (“American Sentinel” [N.Y., Roman Catholic], June 1, 1893, 173, by priest T. Enright, C.S.S.R., of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, Missouri).

    God predicted that men would attempt to change the law and the Sabbath (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and He foretells that men, living at the close of time, will restore it in their lives (Isaiah 58:12-14). He says that the final remnant of His people, living just before He returns, will be keeping it (Revelation 12:17; 14:12-15). He says that those who enter the gates of the New Jerusalem and partake of its fruit will be keeping it (Revelation 22:14). And he says that, in the New Earth, He will be worshiped by all His creatures on the Sabbath (Isaiah 66:22-23).

    Prophecy declares that, as the period of Investigative Judgment is about to close, and just before probation ends, a great crisis will come upon the nations of earth (Revelation 14:6-14). This crisis will arise in regard to God’s great standard of righteousness-the standard of the Judgment-the moral law. Read Revelation 13 and 14 carefully. This tells us that, in our own time, men will unite through legislative decrees to enforce the observance of a counterfeit standard.

    Rapid developments can now be seen in the passage of Sunday closing laws in both state and national assemblies. Many, in supporting such laws, little realize the events and conditions they are thereby hastening; but, when men unite to enforce a man-made Sabbath, it will be the signal for the end. Watch the Sunday “blue law” movement, read your Bible, and be ready to act. Perilous times are ahead.


    In the Bible, seal, sign, and mark are used interchangeably (cf. Romans 4:11; Ezekiel 9:4;Revelation7:2-3). The time is just ahead when one class will receive the mark of obedience to God’s law; the other will receive the mark of rebellion against it.
    What is the Seal of God? By the agency of His Spirit, He seals His servants (Ephesians 1:13) for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). That with which they are sealed is the Constitution of heaven—the Ten Commandments. All will see that they belong to God (Isaiah 8:16).

    God’s identifying seal of ownership is the fourth commandment—the Sabbath commandment. An official government seal must have three essential elements. It must include; 1. The name of the person issuing the seal; 2. The official title of the person; 3. The jurisdiction, or dominion, over which the official rules. All this is found in the Fourth Commandment—the Sabbath Commandment: the “Maker,” or “Creator;” the dominion—“heaven and earth” Exodus (Exodus 20: 8-11). The Sabbath is a perpetual sign of His Creatorship and Lordship (Exodus 31:17, 13;Ezekiel 20:20). God’s Seal, instituted at the close of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3;Exodus 20:8-11). Will remain in effect throughout eternity) Isaiah 66:22-23).

    There are many, many, false gods today. Who is the true God? How can we identify Him? The Bible tells us how—through His Seal. This is why it is so important. It is His special Mark.

    The True God is the Creator—the One who made us (Jeremiah 10:10-25). We worship Him on the seventh day because God has given it to us as the memorial of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and because it is Creation that gives God the right to rule and receive our worship (Jeremiah 10:10-13; Revelation 4:11; Isaiah 45:15-18). The Sabbath is the special Bible sign, or seal, for God’s people that “the Lord is God: It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3;Psalm 95:6-11).

    The Sabbath is the identifying sign that the Lord is God. It forbids and eliminates idolatry in those who keep it, for it is the memorial of the Creator (read Ezekiel 20:20;Exodus 31:16-17).

    And, in addition, the Sabbath is also the sign, or seal, of redemption and recreation from sin (read Exodus 31:13;Ezekiel 20: 12). It is the special symbol, or seal, of righteousness by faith (Hebrews 3 and 4).

    The weekly rest from our secular labor, in accordance with God’s commandment, symbolizes this ceasing from our own plans and efforts to attain righteousness and our quiet and full submission to Jesus’ righteousness.

    God’s seal, instituted at the close of Creation (Genesis 1:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11) and based upon the unchangeable facts of Creation (Exodus 31:17;20:8-11), will remain in effect throughout eternity (Isaiah 66:22-23).

    Properly kept, in worship and communion with God (especially and whenever possible, out-of-doors among the things of nature), the Sabbath is a continual witness of the Creator and a weekly deepening of our bond of union with Him. It becomes the hallowed time wherein is treasured our deepest joys and our fondest memories. It becomes the special time when the seal of His character—His moral law—is placed in our lives (Isaiah 8:16). For it is on this day, above all others, that we come the closest to our Creator. We think His thoughts after Him—and these thoughts become our own (Isaiah 58:13-14).


    What is the mark of the beast? Revelation 13 tells us. It is the mark, or sign, of opposition to God and His seal. It is instituted by the beast and its image. The beast is the power that “speaks blasphemies” (Revelation 13:5-6), was worshiped “by all the world” (Revelation 13:3-4, 7-8), was persecuted and “made war with the saints: (Daniel 7:25) for 42 prophetic months, or 1260 years, during the Dark Ages. One head was wounded, or taken captive, at the close of this period, A.D. 1798 (Revelation 13: 3, 10), and it has since been shorn of its previous power; but prophecy declares that this power will be revived (Revelation 13:3).

    The number of the beast, “for it is the number of a man,” is found in his official title: VICARIUS FILII DEI, Vicegerent of the Son of God. This name is blasphemy (Revelation 13:5-6); for the One now upon earth and second in command to Christ, is the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:13; cf. Acts 10:19-20;13:2). Jesus calls sin against the Holy Spirit blasphemy (Matthew 12:31-32). This name is found in the papal tiara, or crown, of the pope in the Vatican at Rome, and is one of his titles.

    The beast, or Papacy, is a combining of church and state—a religious power obtaining the aid of civil law to enforce its doctrinal beliefs, upon pain of criminal punishment.

    God predicted the papal change of His law (Daniel 7:25). Dos the Papacy deny the change?—She not only does not deny the change, but she claims the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as her “mark.”

    First, she proves her power by this act:

    “Ques. Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?

    “Ans. “Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her—she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority” (priest Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism [Roman Catholic], 174).

    “Ques. How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

    “Ans. “Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin” (priest Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine [Roman Catholic], 58).

    Second, she claims the act and its significance as a MARK of her power:

    “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act…and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power” (from the office of Cardinal Gibbons, through Chancellor H.F. Thomas [Roman Catholic].

    Two verses before the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 14:14-15) is the third angel’s call—a worldwide message to shun the mark of the beast and to seek the religion of the saints: “Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” Revelation 14:12).

    God is calling us back to the pure Christianity of the saints of old. He is calling us back to true Bible religion. He is calling us to obey the Father’s laws, by faith in the Son’s righteousness. He is calling us to righteousness (right doing) by faith.

    The President of Redemptorist College (Roman Catholic), in Kansas City, Missouri, the Jesuit priest, Thomas Enright, C.S.S.R., repeatedly offered $1,000 for one Bible text that would prove Sunday to be the true Sabbath.

    The news of the offer traveled across the nation and made quite a stir, but the money was never claimed. No one could find such a text. The present author has a photo static copy of a letter in Enright’s own handwriting, dated June 16, 1899: “I hereby offer $1,000, to anyone who can prove to me, from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin, to keep Sunday holy” (Thomas Enright, C.S.S.R.).”

    The real issue behind the matter is brought out in the Hartford (Kansas) Weekly Call, of February 22, 1884, where Enright wrote: “I will give one thousand dollars to any man who will prove by the Bible alone that Sunday is the day we are bound to keep…the observance of Sunday is solely a law of the Catholic Church. The Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday and all the world bows down and worships upon that day in silent obedience to the mandates of the Catholic Church.”

    God loved Adam and Eve. He gave them a world of wonderful things—all of it the out flowing of a deep, unutterable, love. But the fruit of one tree He asked them not to partake of. This was to be a test of their love for Him. Tests are needed in life, for it is by the tests that we grow. Each of us knows this fact, but God who made us knows it better than we. God loves us today, with the same deep love. His plans for us have not changed. Deeper than we can imagine is His desire to take sin out of our hearts. He has given us His holy Ten Commandment Law to reveal His purpose for our lives—holiness, Godlikeness—to be obtained alone through the blood (the obedient life) of Jesus.

    He has placed a test in the law—the test of faith—that by it we might grow. As by faith we come and worship Him on His day, He intends to give us power to overcome sin in our lives. The Bible speaks much of the “Sabbath blessing.” This blessing is real, and it is for those only who worship God on the day He gives for worship. Come to God this very week, next Sabbath, and begin a new life, a new walk, a new experience—with your Creator.
  4. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    OK, so Constantine shifted the main day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. And....? I can understand how that matters to an SDA but it matters little to me and I suspect matters little to most of the non-SDA posters on this board.

    Yours in Christ

  5. Born Again Catholic

    Born Again Catholic New Member

    Sep 14, 2002
    Likes Received:

    SDA theology hinges on Sunday worship being wrong and introduced by Constantine. They believe sunday worship is the mark of the beast.

    As we know Christ makes all things new, and well before constantine, the church fathers talk about celebrating on the Lords Day ,Sunday the 8th day of creation.

    Constantine did not introduce sunday worship.
  6. Kamoroso

    Kamoroso New Member

    Feb 17, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Just because a person thinks something, doesn't make it so. You think it doesn't matter, but you are wrong. Choosing to follow your own course regarding how, and when you will worship God, over the way that God has clearly instructed you to do so, is going to mean a whole lot to whoever does it, in the end. Let me give you an example from the scriptures.

    Chap. 4

  7. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    And you are no more qualified to comment on what God has commanded that they are - or me for that matter. Face it - we all love to proof-text to justify our positions and we can all arrive at any number of mutually-contradictory positions by so doing (which is why sola Scriptura is a load of hogwash - but that's another thread ;) ).

    Let me ask my 'alternative church' question another way. One of the consequences of the Constantinian Settlement was the temporary ascendancy of Arianism, which flourished with state support, particularly under Constantine's sons. But the true Church still not only continued but very much made its presence felt, through individuals like Athanasius, who several times endured exile and its privations for the sake of orthodox Trinitarianism (and,whilst he was at it, was able to come up with our earliest documented NT canon). Both his opposition to Arianism and his canon were well-documented. So here is an example of the true Church continuing in the face of state-sponsored 'Christian' persecution.

    Now, some here would have us believe that in the fourth century the Catholic Church arose and the true Christians, as an 'alternative church' separated from the Catholics and went into opposition. If that is so, their situation would be analogous to that of Athanasius - and yet where is their equivalent? Where are the records of their dissent from Catholicism-Orthodoxy? Who were their Athanasius-type heroes?

    Yours in Christ

  8. D28guy

    D28guy New Member

    Nov 16, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Matt Black,

    Of course, the scriptures identify false "professing" christian groups , but concerning differing convictions on non-foundational issues, Matt Black says...

    And yet God says...

    "Let your brother be fully convinced in His own mind..."


    "...for who are you to judge your brother"


    "These were more fairminded than those in Thessolanica, in that they searched the scriptures daily to see wether these things are so"


    "All scripture is given by inspiration og God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in rightiousness, that the man of God might be sufficient, fully prepared for every good work"

    I choose to believe God.

    And if evangelicalism is so flawed, who do your propose as the better alternative?

    Liberal protestantism?


    The Orthodox with their "desert fathers"??

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Lets take a look at the most well know groups who claim that they are the supposed guarians of truth, and who proclaim that they are the only ones on earth who are capable of properly and innerantly interpreting the scriptures...

    The Jehovahs Witnesses

    The Catholic Church of Rome

    The Mormons

    Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science

    Good things do not happen when a group adopts such cultic and devilish attitudes.

    And after that the "true church" began its 1600 year plunge into more and progressivly more and more church sponsored idolatry, heresy, and falsehood...while at the same time having progressively more and more of the blood of the true saints of God on her hands.

    The true church...all born again people (irrespective of what "group" they are part of)...has survived for 2000 years now, since its beginning 2000 years ago, all through its intense persecution for the prophesied 1600 year old persecution, and right on up to today.

    Not all of them seperated. Many could very well have stayed in the organised "church", ignoring the progressivly more and more falsehood going on around them, keeping the truth in their heart while witnessing to others regarding that truth as God opened doors.

    Some examples have been given on these forums, others couldnt do that because they had been murdered. As someone else said, dead men cant do much documenting.

    If their was anything in writing what to you think the Catholic Church would do with those records, since in their twisted minds these christians were actually heretics?

    God bless,

  9. BobRyan

    BobRyan Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Non Baptist Christian
    Many thanks to Keith for SHOWING how faulty man-made records are "tampered with" so that historic revisionism by an all-controlling power (as the despotic RCC in the dark ages) would decrease the "Accuracy" of the documents.


    Many thanks to Matt for showing how these "Details" can be "ignored" by the masses.

    Thanks goes to LINK for showing how specific groups were open to slander and revisionism by those who perpetrated crimes and violence against them.


    And of course many thanks to Keith again for that list of ancient groups that many historians for centuries have viewed as early groups in opposition to the blatant and profound errors of Catholicism!


    (With Matt also showing ways that the masses might have been persuaded to also ignore those details of history)

    In Christ,

  10. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Mike, I hear what you are saying but the fact is the Catholics and Orthodox did preserve the writings of their opponents - how else would we have the works of Arius, or Tertullian post-conversion to Montanism? Or the various gnostic Gospels and other writings? It does seem rather odd that they would suppress some and not others...

    Oh, and I'm looking for Christian 'Athanasian' heroes, not gnostic ones...and, as no-one has produced any primary source documents to demonstrate the existence of any Christian groups outside of the jurisdiction of the historic patriarchates, I think that you know as well as I do that that answers your 'alternatice church' question.

    Yours in Christ

  11. D28guy

    D28guy New Member

    Nov 16, 2002
    Likes Received:

    How did you those links in your post to go right to the correct post, even though they were down from the top of the page?

    I didnt think each post on a page has its own adress? I cant seem to find that happening when I check the "properties".

  12. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Aug 20, 2002
    Likes Received:
    #000047 refers to the 47th response post (count the
    OP = opening post, as #0. The posts are 15 per page.
    Thus this will cause a point to the third post
    on page 4.

    page - post #s
    ---- - -------
    - 1 -- 0-14
    - 2 -- 15-29
    - 3 -- 30-44
    - 4 -- 45-59

    I really doubt that BobRyan figures this all out in his
    head, he does it automatic somehow, but i don't know how :confused:
  13. D28guy

    D28guy New Member

    Nov 16, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Hmmm, I'm just curious how it works. Going to a particular page is a digital thing. But scrolling down to a post in the middle of a page is a mechanical thing. We have to literally use our little wheel thing on our little mouse thing to scroll down. I dont know how a link...wich is a digital thing...can automatically do the mechanical part.

    Of course, this is coming from someone who knows about as much about computers and my dog does. [​IMG]

    My lack of knowledge concerning computers only fuels how much I absolutly loathe them. There are times when I could very easilly...and JOYFULLY :D ...take a sledgehammer to this one eyed idiot box in front of me right now. [​IMG]

    The only reason I dont is because of some of the neat things you can do with them. Read out of town newspapers, have discussions with bluegrass music, or theology, enthusists at any time of day or night, etc etc etc.

    But oh, to just drop it out of a 12 story window! [​IMG]

    Watch it smash to smithereens! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

  14. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Whatever Constantine did (and that's still a matter for debate among historians) he certainly didn't "invent" the Catholic Church, Roman or otherwise. The word "catholic" is used in patristic literature of the 1st and early 2nd centuries, so the idea of catholicity was around a long time before Constantine. There were also bishops (episkopoi) of Rome from the first century - whether you accept that Peter was the first of these or not.

    My own opinion on what Constantine did was that with a politician's eye he spotted the Next Big Thing - the religion that might just provide a cultural framework for all the people of the Roman Empire, from Northumbria to the Egyptian desert, from the Atlantic coast of Spain to the borders of India. He first tolerated this religion, then set about making it fashionable.

    From the point of view of church "politics", probably the most important thing he did was to initiate the Ecumenical Councils so that Christians from all over the Empire could come together in unity of faith. Now, it might be possible for fundamentalists and such like to say that the Councils were a bad thing, but remember that if you're going to do so, you're also chucking out little things like the Nicene Creed. Which, to some of us, might not seem like a very good idea.

    On the 'post-Constantinian alternative church' theory, there IS some evidence to indicate that, but it doesn't point in the direction its proponents would like. It was when Christianity became acceptable under Constantine and his successors that many people felt that it lost its missionary zeal and went "soft". The type of person who became Christian changed from those who were willing to risk martyrdom for the faith to those who didn't want to risk social exclusion by not being Christian. At this point some "hardcore" Christians withdrew from the perceived corruption of the faith that was taking place in the large cities to set up hermitages and later monasteries in the deserts and became the "desert fathers" who perserved the earlier zeal. Of course, this had been to a degree happening already, but the absence of persecution hastened the process. So, if you want to go looking for a post-Constantinian 'alternative' to Catholicism then you end up with...er...Mike's "Orthodox Church with their desert fathers"...

    ...but I hope that that doesn't make Mike any more inclined to teach his monitor to fly... :D

    Yours in Christ

  15. Kamoroso

    Kamoroso New Member

    Feb 17, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Of the Power and Primacy of the Pope
    Treatise Compiled by the Theologians
    Assembled at Smalcald, in the Year 1537

    Published in:
    Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books
    of the Ev. Lutheran Church.(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), pp.503-529.

    The Roman Pontiff claims for himself [in the first place] that by divine right he is [supreme] above all bishops and pastors [in all Christendom].

    Secondly, he adds also that by divine right he has both swords, i.e., the authority also of bestowing kingdoms [enthroning and deposing kings, regulating secular dominions etc.].

    And thirdly, he says that to believe this is necessary for salvation. And for these reasons the Roman bishop calls himself [and boasts that he is] the vicar of Christ on earth.

    These three articles we hold to be false, godless, tyrannical, and [quite] pernicious to the Church.

    Now, in order that our proof [reason and opinion] may be [better] understood, we shall first define what they call being above all [what it means that he boasts of being supreme] by divine right. For they mean that he is universal [that the Pope is the general bishop over the entire Christian Church], or, as they say, ecumenical bishop, i.e., from whom all bishops and pastors throughout the entire world ought to seek ordination and [confirmation, who [alone] is to have the right of electing, ordaining, confirming, deposing all bishops [and pastors]. Besides this, he arrogates to himself the authority to make [all kinds of] laws concerning acts of worship, concerning changing the Sacraments [and] concerning doctrine, and wishes his articles, his decrees, his laws [his statutes and ordinances] to be considered equal to the divine laws [to other articles of the Christian Creed and the Holy Scriptures], i.e., he holds that by the papal laws the consciences of men are so bound that those who neglect them, even without public offense, sin mortally [that they cannot be omitted without sin. For he wishes to found this power upon divine right and the Holy Scriptures; yea, he wishes to have it preferred to the Holy Scriptures and God's commands]. And what he adds is still more horrible, namely, that it is necessary to believe all these things in order to be saved [all these things shall and must be believed at the peril of forfeiting salvation].

    In the first place, therefore, let us show from the [holy] Gospel that the Roman bishop is not by divine right above [cannot arrogate to himself any supremacy whatever over] other bishops and pastors.

    Luke 22, 25. Christ expressly prohibits lordship among the apostles [that no apostle should have any supremacy over the rest]. For this was the very question, namely, that when Christ spake of His passion, they were disputing who should be at the head, and as it were the vicar of the absent Christ. There Christ reproves this error of the apostles and teaches that there shall not be lordship or superiority among them, but that the apostles should be sent forth as equals to the common ministry of the Gospel. Accordingly, He says: The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors, but ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. The antithesis here shows [By holding these matters against one another one sees] that lordship [among the apostles] is disapproved.

    II. Matt. 18, 2. The same is taught by the parable when Christ in the same dispute concerning the kingdom places a little child in the midst, signifying that among ministers there is not to be sovereignty, just as a child neither takes nor seeks sovereignty for himself.

    III. John 20, 21. Christ sends forth His disciples on an equality, without any distinction [so that no one of them was to have more or less power than any other], when He says: As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. [These words are clear and plain:] He says that He sends them individually in the same manner as He Himself was sent; hence He grants to no one a prerogative or lordship above the rest.

    IV. Gal. 2, 7 f. St. Paul manifestly affirms that he was neither ordained nor confirmed [and endorsed] by Peter, nor does he acknowledge Peter to be one from whom confirmation should be sought. And he expressly contends concerning this point that his call does not depend upon the authority of Peter. But he ought to have acknowledged Peter as a superior if Peter was superior by divine right [if Peter, indeed, had received such supremacy from Christ]. Paul accordingly says that he had at once preached the Gospel [freely for a long time] without consulting Peter. Also: Of those who seemed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man's person). And: They who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me. Since Paul, then, clearly testifies that he did not even wish to seek for the confirmation of Peter [for permission to preach] even when he had come to him, he teaches that the authority of the ministry depends upon the Word of God, and that Peter was not superior to the other apostles, and that it was not from this one individual Peter that ordination or confirmation was to be sought [that the office of the ministry proceeds from the general call of the apostles, and that it is not necessary for all to have the call or confirmation of this one person, Peter, alone].

    V. In 1 Cor. 3, 6, Paul makes ministers equal, and teaches that the Church is above the ministers. Hence superiority or lordship over the Church or the rest of the ministers is not ascribed to Peter [in preference to other apostles]. For he says thus: All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, i.e., let neither the other ministers nor Peter assume for themselves lordship or superiority over the Church; let them not burden the Church with traditions; let not the authority of any avail more than the Word [of God]; let not the authority of Cephas be opposed to the authority of the other apostles, as they reasoned at that time: "Cephas, who is an apostle of higher rank, observes this; therefore, both Paul and the rest ought to observe this." Paul removes this pretext from Peter, and denies [Not so, says Paul, and makes Peter doff his little hat, namely, the claim] that his authority is to be preferred to the rest or to the Church.

    VI. The Council of Nice resolved that the bishop of Alexandria should administer the churches in the East, and the Roman bishop the suburban, i.e., those which were in the Roman provinces in the West. From this start by a human law, i.e. the resolution of the Council, the authority of the Roman bishop first arose. If the Roman bishop already had the superiority by divine law, it would not have been lawful for the Council to take any right from him and transfer it to the bishop of Alexandria; nay, all the bishops of the East ought perpetually to have sought ordination and confirmation from the bishop of Rome.

    VII. Again the Council of Nice determined that bishops should be elected by their own churches, in the presence of some neighboring bishop or of several. The same was observed [for a long time, not only in the East, but] also in the West and in the Latin churches, as Cyprian and Augustine testify. For Cyprian says in his fourth letter to Cornelius: Accordingly, as regards the divine observance and apostolic practice, you must diligently keep and practice what is also observed among us and in almost all the provinces, that for celebrating ordination properly, whatsoever bishops of the same province live nearest should come together with the people for whom a pastor is being appointed, and the bishop should be chosen in the presence of the people, who most fully know the life of each one, which we also have seen done among us at the ordination of our colleague Sabinus, that by the suffrage of the entire brotherhood, and by the judgment of the bishops who had assembled in their presence, the episcopate was conferred and hands laid on him.

    Cyprian calls this custom a divine tradition and an apostolic observance, and affirms that it is observed in almost all the provinces.

    Since, therefore, neither ordination nor confirmation was sought from a bishop of Rome in the greater part of the world in the Latin and Greek churches, it is sufficiently apparent that the churches did not then accord superiority and domination to the bishop of Rome.

    Such superiority is impossible. For it is impossible for one bishop to be the overseer of the churches of the whole world, or for churches situated in the most distant lands to seek ordination [for all their ministers] from one. For it is manifest that the kingdom of Christ is scattered throughout the whole world; and to-day there are many churches in the East which do not seek ordination or confirmation from the Roman bishop [which have ministers ordained neither by the Pope nor his bishops]. Therefore, since such superiority [which the Pope, contrary to all Scripture, arrogates to himself] is impossible, and the churches in the greater part of the world have not acknowledged [nor made use of] it, it is sufficiently apparent that it was not instituted [by Christ, and does not spring from divine law].

    VIII. Many ancient synods have been proclaimed and held in which the bishop of Rome did not preside; as that of Nice and most others. This, too, testifies that the Church did not then acknowledge the primacy or superiority of the bishop of Rome.

    IX. Jerome says: If the question is concerning authority, the world is greater than the city. Wherever there has been a bishop, whether at Rome, or Eugubium, or Constantinople, or Rhegium, or Alexandria, he is of the same dignity and priesthood.

    X. Gregory, writing to the patriarch at Alexandria, forbids that he be called universal bishop. And in the Records he says that in the Council of Chalcedon the primacy was offered to the bishop of Rome, but was not accepted.

    XI. Lastly, how can the Pope be over the entire Church by divine right when the Church has the election, and the custom gradually prevailed that bishops of Rome were confirmed by the emperors? Also, when for a long time there had been contests concerning the primacy between the bishops of Rome and Constantinople, the Emperor Phocas finally determined that the primacy should be assigned to the bishop of Rome. But if the ancient Church had acknowledged the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, this contention could not have occurred, neither would there have been need of the decree of the emperor.

    But they cite against us certain passages, namely, Matt. 16, 18 f.: Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; also: I will give unto thee the keys; also John 21, 15: Feed My sheep, and some others. But since this entire controversy has been fully and accurately treated elsewhere in the books of our theologians, and everything cannot be reviewed in this place, we refer to those writings, and wish them to be regarded as repeated. Yet we shall reply briefly concerning the interpretation [of the passages quoted].

    In all these passages Peter is the representative of the entire assembly of apostles [and does not speak for himself alone, but for all the apostles], as appears from the text itself. For Christ asks not Peter alone, but says: Whom do ye say that I am? And what is here said [to Peter alone] in the singular number: I will give unto thee the keys; and whatsoever thou shalt bind, etc., is elsewhere expressed [to their entire number], in the plural Matt. 18, 18: Whatsoever ye shall bind, etc. And in John 20, 23: Whosesoever sins ye remit, etc. These words testify that the keys are given alike to all the apostles and that all the apostles are alike sent forth [to preach].

    In addition to this, it is necessary to acknowledge that the keys belong not to the person of one particular man, but to the Church, as many most clear and firm arguments testify. For Christ, speaking concerning the keys, Matt. 18, 19, adds: If two or three of you shall agree on earth, etc. Therefore he grants the keys principally and immediately to the Church, just as also for this reason the Church has principally the right of calling. [For just as the promise of the Gospel belongs certainly and immediately to the entire Church, so the keys belong immediately to the entire Church, because the keys are nothing else than the office whereby this promise is communicated to every one who desires it, just as it is actually manifest that the Church has the power to ordain ministers of the Church. And Christ speaks in these words: Whatsoever ye shall bind, etc., and indicates to whom He has given the keys, namely, to the Church: Where two or three are gathered together in My name. Likewise Christ gives supreme and final jurisdiction to the Church, when He says: Tell it unto the Church.]

    Therefore it is necessary that in these passages Peter is the representative of the entire assembly of the apostles, and for this reason they do not accord to Peter any prerogative or superiority, or lordship [which he had, or was to have had, ln preference to the other apostles].

    However, as to the declaration: Upon this rock I will build My Church, certainly the Church has not been built upon the authority of man, but upon the ministry of the confession which Peter made, in which he proclaims that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He accordingly addresses him as a minister: Upon this rock, i.e., upon this ministry. [Therefore he addresses him as a minister of this office in which this confession and doctrine is to be in operation and says: Upon this rock, i.e., this preaching and ministry.]

    Furthermore, the ministry of the New Testament is not bound to places and persons as the Levitical ministry, but it is dispersed throughout the whole world, and is there where God gives His gifts, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers; neither does this ministry avail on account of the authority of any person, but on account of the Word given by Christ. [Nor does the person of a teacher add anything to this word and office; it matters not who is preaching and teaching it; if there are hearts who receive and cling to it to them it is done as they hear and believe.] And in this way, not as referring to the person of Peter, most of the holy Fathers, as Origen, Cyprian, Augustine, Hilary, and Bede, interpret this passage: Upon this rock. Chrysostom says thus: "Upon this rock," not upon Peter. For He built His Church not upon man, but upon the faith of Peter. But what was his faith? "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Hilary says: To Peter the Father revealed that he should say, "Thou art the Son of the living God." Therefore the building of the Church is upon this rock of confession; this faith is the foundation of the Church.

    And as to that which is said John 21, 15 ff.: Feed My sheep, and, Lovest thou Me more than these? it does not as yet follow hence that a peculiar superiority was given Peter. He bids him "feed," i.e., teach the Word [the Gospel], or rule the Church with the Word [the Gospel], which Peter has in common with the other apostles.

    The second article is still clearer, that Christ gave to the apostles only spiritual power, i.e., the command to teach the Gospel to announce the forgiveness of sins, to administer the Sacraments, to excommunicate the godless without bodily force [by the Word], and that He did not give the power of the sword, or the right to establish, occupy or confer kingdoms of the world [to set up or depose kings]. For Christ says, Matt. 28, 19. 20: Go ye, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; also John 20, 21: As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.

    Now, it is manifest that Christ was not sent to bear the sword or possess a worldly kingdom [rule in a worldly fashion], as He Himself says, John 18, 36: My kingdom is not of this world. And Paul says, 2 Cor. 1, 24: Not for that we have dominion over your faith; and 2 Cor. 10, 4: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, etc.

    Accordingly, that Christ in His passion is crowned with thorns and led forth to be derided in royal purple, this signified that in the future, after His spiritual kingdom was despised, i.e., the Gospel was suppressed, another kingdom of a worldly kind would be set up [in its place] with the pretext of ecclesiastical power. Therefore the Constitution of Boniface VIII and the chapter Omnes, Dist. 22 and similar opinions which contend that the Pope is by divine right the ruler of the kingdoms of the world, are [utterly] false and godless. From this persuasion horrible darkness has been brought into the Church, and after that also great commotions have arisen in Europe. For the ministry of the Gospel was neglected, the knowledge of faith and the spiritual kingdom became extinct, Christian righteousness was supposed to be that external government which the Pope had established.

    Next, the Popes began to seize upon kingdoms for themselves; they transferred kingdoms, they vexed with unjust excommunications and wars the kings of almost all nations in Europe, but especially the German emperors, sometimes for the purpose of occupying cities of Italy, at other times for the purpose of reducing to subjection the bishops of Germany, and wresting from the emperors the conferring of episcopates. Yea, in the Clementines it is even written: When the empire is vacant, the Pope is the legitimate successor.

    Thus the Pope has not only usurped dominion, contrary to Christ's command, but has also tyrannically exalted himself above all kings. And in this matter the deed itself is not to be reprehended as much as it is to be detested, that he assigns as a pretext the authority of Christ; that he transfers the keys to a worldly government; that he binds salvation to these godless and execrable opinions, when he says it is necessary to salvation for men to believe that this dominion belongs to him by divine right.

    Since these great errors obscure [the doctrine of] faith and [of] the kingdom of Christ they are in no way to be concealed. For the result shows that they have been great pests to the Church.

    In the third place, this must be added: Even though the bishop of Rome had the primacy and superiority by divine right nevertheless obedience would not be due those pontiffs who defend godless services, idolatry, and doctrine conflicting with the Gospel. Nay; such pontiffs and such a government ought to be held accursed, as Paul clearly teaches, Gal. 1, 8: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. And in Acts 5, 29: We ought to obey God rather than men. Likewise the canons also clearly teach that a heretical Pope is not to be obeyed.

    The Levitical high priest was the chief priest by divine right, and yet godless high priests were not to be obeyed, as Jeremiah and other prophets dissented from the high priests, the apostles dissented from Caiaphas and did not have to obey them.

    Now, it is manifest that the Roman pontiffs, with their adherents, defend [and practice] godless doctrines and godless services. And the marks [all the vices] of Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the Pope and his adherents. For Paul, 2 Ep. 2, 3, in describing to the Thessalonians Antichrist, calls him an adversary of Christ, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God. He speaks therefore of one ruling in the Church, not of heathen kings, and he calls this one the adversary of Christ, because he will devise doctrine conflicting with the Gospel, and will assume to himself divine authority.

    Moreover, it is manifest, in the first place, that the Pope rules in the Church, and by the pretext of ecclesiastical authority and of the ministry has established for himself this kingdom. For he assigns as a pretext these words: I will give to thee the keys. Secondly, the doctrine of the Pope conflicts in many ways with the Gospel, and [thirdly] the Pope assumes to himself divine authority in a threefold manner. First, because he takes to himself the right to change the doctrine of Christ and services instituted by God, and wants his own doctrine and his own services to be observed as divine; secondly, because he takes to himself the power not only of binding and loosing in this life, but also the jurisdiction over souls after this life; thirdly, because the Pope does not want to be judged by the Church or by any one, and puts his own authority ahead of the decision of Councils and the entire Church. But to be unwilling to be judged by the Church or by any one is to make oneself God. Lastly, these errors so horrible, and this impiety, he defends with the greatest cruelty, and puts to death those dissenting.

    This being the case, all Christians ought to beware of becoming partakers of the godless doctrine, blasphemies, and unjust cruelty of the Pope. On this account they ought to desert and execrate the Pope with his adherents as the kingdom of Antichrist; just as Christ has commanded,
    Matt. 7,15: Beware of false prophets. And Paul commands that godless teachers should be avoided and execrated as cursed, Gal. 1, 8; Titus 3, 10. And 2 Cor. 6, 14 he says: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what communion hath light with darkness?

    To dissent from the agreement of so many nations and to be called schismatics is a grave matter. But divine authority commands all not to be allies and defenders of impiety and unjust cruelty.

    On this account our consciences are sufficiently excused; for the errors of the kingdom of the Pope are manifest. And Scripture with its entire voice exclaims that these errors are a teaching of demons and of Antichrist. The idolatry in the profanation of the masses is manifest, which, besides other faults [besides being altogether useless] are shamelessly applied to most shameful gain [and trafficking]. The doctrine of repentance has been utterly corrupted by the Pope and his adherents. For they teach that sins are remitted because of the worth of our works. Then they bid us doubt whether the remission takes place. They nowhere teach that sins are remitted freely for Christ's sake, and that by this faith we obtain remission of sins.

    Thus they obscure the glory of Christ, and deprive consciences of firm consolation, and abolish true divine services, namely, the exercises of faith struggling with [unbelief and] despair [concerning the promise of the Gospel] .

    They have obscured the doctrine concerning sin, and have invented a tradition concerning the enumeration of offenses, producing many errors and despair.

    They have devised, in addition, satisfactions, whereby they have also obscured the benefit [and merit] of Christ.

    From these, indulgences have been born, which are pure lies, fabricated for the sake of gain.

    Then, how many abuses and what horrible idolatry the invocation of saints has produced!

    What shameful acts have arisen from the tradition concerning celibacy!

    What darkness the doctrine concerning vows has spread over the Gospel! There they feigned that vows are righteousness before God and merit the remission of sins. Thus they have transferred the benefit of Christ to human traditions, and have altogether extinguished the doctrine concerning faith. They have feigned that the most trifling traditions are services of God and perfection and have preferred these to the works of callings which God requires and has ordained. Neither are these errors to be regarded as light; for they detract from the glory of Christ and bring destruction to souls, neither can they be passed by unnoticed.

    Then to these errors two great sins are added: The first, that he defends these errors by unjust cruelty and death-penalties. The second, that he wrests the decision from the Church, and does not permit ecclesiastical controversies [such matters of religion] to be judged according to the prescribed mode; yea he contends that he is above the Council, and can rescind the decrees of Councils, as the canons sometimes impudently speak. But that this was much more impudently done by the pontiffs, examples testify.

    Quest. 9, canon 3, says: No one shall judge the first seat; for the judge is judged neither by the emperor, nor by all the clergy, nor by the kings, nor by the people.

    The Pope exercises a twofold tyranny: he defends his errors by force and by murders, and forbids judicial examination. The latter does even more injury than any executions because, when the true judgment of the Church is removed, godless dogmas and godless services cannot be removed, and for many ages they destroy innumerable souls.

    Therefore let the godly consider the great errors of the kingdom of the Pope and his tyranny, and let them ponder, first, that the errors must be rejected and the true doctrine embraced, for the glory of God and to the salvation of souls. Then let them ponder also how great a crime it is to aid unjust cruelty in killing saints, whose blood God will undoubtedly avenge.

    But especially the chief members of the Church, kings and princes, ought to guard the interests of the Church, and to see to it that errors be removed and consciences be healed [rightly instructed], as God expressly exhorts kings, Ps. 2, 10: Be wise, now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. For it should be the first care of kings [and great lords] to advance the glory of God. Therefore it would be very shameful for them to lend their influence and power to confirm idolatry and infinite other crimes, and to slaughter saints.

    And even though the Pope should hold Synods [a Council], how can the Church be healed if the Pope suffers nothing to be decreed contrary to his will, if he allows no one to express his opinion except his adherents whom he has bound by dreadful oaths and curses to the defense of his tyranny and wickedness without any exception concerning God's Word [not even the Word of God being excepted]?

    But since the decisions of Synods are the decisions of the Church, and not of the Popes, it is especially incumbent on kings to check the license of the Popes [not allow such wantonness], and to act so that the power of judging and decreeing from the Word of God is not wrested from the Church. And as the rest of the Christians must censure all other errors of the Pope, so they must also rebuke the Pope when he evades and impedes the true investigation and true decision of the Church.

    Therefore, even though the bishop of Rome had the primacy by divine right, yet since he defends godless services and doctrine conflicting with the Gospel, obedience is not due him; yea, it is necessary to resist him as Antichrist. The errors of the Pope are manifest and not trifling.

    Manifest also is the cruelty [against godly Christians] which he exercises. And it is clear that it is God's command that we flee idolatry, godless doctrine, and unjust cruelty. On this account all the godly have great, compelling, and manifest reasons for not obeying the Pope. And these compelling reasons comfort the godly against all the reproaches which are usually cast against them concerning offenses, schism, and discord [which they are said to cause].

    But those who agree with the Pope, and defend his doctrine and [false] services, defile themselves with idolatry and blasphemous opinions, become guilty of the blood of the godly, whom the Pope [and his adherents] persecutes, detract from the glory of God, and hinder the welfare of the Church, because they strengthen errors and crimes to all posterity [in the sight of all the world and to the injury of all descendants].

    Of the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops.

    [In our Confession and the Apology we have in general recounted what we have had to say concerning ecclesiastical power. For] The Gospel assigns to those who preside over churches the command to teach the Gospel to remit sins, to administer the Sacraments and besides jurisdiction, namely, the command to excommunicate those whose crimes are known, and again to absolve those who repent.

    And by the confession of all, even of the adversaries, it is clear that this power by divine right is common to all who preside over churches, whether they are called pastors, or elders, or bishops. And accordingly Jerome openly teaches in the apostolic letters that all who preside over churches are both bishops and elders, and cites from Titus 1, 5 f.: For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city [and afterwards calls these persons bishops]. Then he adds: A bishop must be the husband of one wife. Likewise Peter and John call themselves elders [or priests] 1 Pet. 5, 1, 2 John 1. And he then adds: But that afterwards one was chosen to be placed over the rest, this was done as a remedy for schism, lest each one by attracting [a congregation here or there] to himself might rend the Church of Christ. For at Alexandria, from Mark the evangelist to the bishops Heracles and Dionysius, the elders always elected one from among themselves, and placed him in a higher station, whom they called bishop; just as an army would make a commander for itself. The deacons, moreover, may elect from among themselves one whom they know to be active, and name him archdeacon. For with the exception of ordination, what does the bishop that the elder does not?

    Jerome, therefore, teaches that it is by human authority that the grades of bishop and elder or pastor are distinct. And the subject itself declares this, because the power [the office and command] is the same, as he has said above. But one matter afterwards made a distinction between bishops and pastors namely, ordination, because it was [so] arranged that one bishop should ordain ministers in a number of churches.

    But since by divine authority the grades of bishop and pastor are not diverse, it is manifest that ordination administered by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine law [if a pastor in his own church ordains certain suitable persons to the ministry, such ordination is, according to divine law, undoubtedly effective and right].

    Therefore, when the regular bishops become enemies of the Church, or are unwilling to administer ordination, the churches retain their own right. [Because the regular bishops persecute the Gospel and refuse to ordain suitable persons, every church has in this case full authority to ordain its own ministers.]

    For wherever the Church is, there is the authority [command] to administer the Gospel. Therefore it is necessary for the Church to retain the authority to call, elect, and ordain ministers. And this authority is a gift which in reality is given to the Church, which no human power can wrest from the Church, as Paul also testifies to the Ephesians, 4, 8, when he says: He ascended, He gave gifts to men. And he enumerates among the gifts specially belonging to the Church pastors and teachers, and adds that such are given for the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Hence, wherever there is a true church, the right to elect and ordain ministers necessarily exists. Just as in a case of necessity even a layman absolves, and becomes the minister and pastor of another; as Augustine narrates the story of two Christians in a ship, one of whom baptized the catechumen, who after Baptism then absolved the baptizer.
    Here belong the statements of Christ which testify that the keys have been given to the Church, and not merely to certain persons, Matt. 18, 20: Where two or three are gathered together in My name, etc.

    Lastly, the statement of Peter also confirms this, 1 Ep. 2, 9: Ye are a royal priesthood. These words pertain to the true Church, which certainly has the right to elect and ordain ministers since it alone has the priesthood.

    And this also a most common custom of the Church testifies. For formerly the people elected pastors and bishops. Then came a bishop, either of that church or a neighboring one, who confirmed tho one elected by the laying on of hands; and ordination was nothing else than such a ratification. Afterwards new ceremonies were added, many of which Dionysius describes. But he is a recent and fictitious author, whoever he may be [this book of Dionysius is a new fiction under a false title], just as the writings of Clement also are spurious [have a false title and have been manufactured by a wicked scoundrel long after Clement]. Then more modern writers added [that the bishop said to those whom he was ordaining]: I give thee the power to sacrifice for the living and the dead. But not even this is in Dionysius.

    From all these things it is clear that the Church retains the right to elect and ordain ministers. And the wickedness and tyranny of bishops afford cause for schism and discord [therefore, if the bishops either are heretics, or will not ordain suitable persons, the churches are in duty bound before God, according to divine law, to ordain for themselves pastors and ministers. Even though this be now called an irregularity or schism, it should be known that the godless doctrine and tyranny of the bishops is chargeable with it], because Paul, Gal. 1, 7 f., enjoins that bishops who teach and defend a godless doctrine and godless services should be regarded as accursed.

    We have spoken of ordination, which alone, as Jerome says, distinguished bishops from other elders. Therefore there is need of no discussion concerning the other duties of bishops. Nor is it indeed necessary to speak of confirmation, nor of the consecration of bells [nor other tomfoolery of this kind], which are almost the only things which they have retained. Something must be said concerning jurisdiction.

    It is certain that the common jurisdiction of excommunicating those guilty of manifest crimes belongs to all pastors. This they have tyrannically transferred to themselves alone, and have applied it to the acquisition of gain. For it is certain that the officials, as they are called employed a license not to be tolerated and either on account of avarice or because of other wanton desires tormented men and excommunicated them without any due process of law. But what tyranny is it for the officials in the states to have arbitrary power to condemn and excommunicate men without due process of law! And in what kind of affairs did they abuse this power? Indeed, not in punishing true offenses, but in regard to the violation of fasts or festivals, or like trifles! Only, they sometimes punished adulteries; and in this matter they often vexed [abused and defamed] innocent and honorable men. Besides, since this is a most grievous offense, nobody certainly is to be condemned without due process of law.

    Since, therefore, bishops have tyrannically transferred this jurisdiction to themselves alone, and have basely abused it, there is no need, because of this jurisdiction, to obey bishops. But since there are just reasons why we do not obey, it is right also to restore this jurisdiction to godly pastors [to whom, by Christ's command, it belongs], and to see to it that it is legitimately exercised for the reformation of morals and the glory of God.

    There remains the jurisdiction in those cases which, according to canonical law, pertain to the ecclesiastical court, as they call it, and especially in cases of matrimony. This, too, the bishops have only by human right, and that, not a very old one, as appears from the Codex and Novellae of Justinian that decisions concerning marriage at that time belonged to the magistrates. And by divine right worldly magistrates are compelled to make these decisions if the bishops [judge unjustly or] are negligent. The canons also concede the same. Therefore, also on account of this jurisdiction it is not necessary to obey bishops. And, indeed, since they have framed certain unjust laws concerning marriages, and observe them in their courts, there is need also for this reason to establish other courts. For the traditions concerning spiritual relationship [the prohibition of marriage between sponsors] are unjust. Unjust also is the tradition which forbids an innocent person to marry after divorce. Unjust also is the law which in general approves all clandestine and underhanded betrothals in violation of the right of parents. Unjust also is the law concerning the celibacy of priests. There are also other snares of consciences in their laws, to recite all of which is of no profit. It is sufficient to have recited this, that there are many unjust laws of the Pope concerning matrimonial subjects on account of which the magistrates ought to establish other courts.

    Since, therefore, the bishops, who are devoted to the Pope, defend godless doctrine and godless services, and do not ordain godly teachers, yea, aid the cruelty of the Pope, and, besides, have wrested the jurisdiction from pastors, and exercise it only tyrannically [for their own profit]; and lastly, since in matrimonial cases they observe many unjust laws, there are reasons sufficiently numerous and necessary why the churches should not recognize these as bishops.

    But they themselves should remember that riches [estates and revenues] have been given to bishops as alms for the administration and advantage of the churches [that they may serve the Church, and perform their office the more efficiently], as the rule says: The benefice is given because of the office. Therefore they cannot with a good conscience possess these alms, and meanwhile defraud the Church, which has need of these means for supporting ministers, and aiding studies [educating learned men], and caring for the poor and establishing courts, especially matrimonial. For so great is the variety and extent of matrimonial controversies that there is need of a special tribunal for these, and for establishing this, the endowments of the Church are needed. Peter predicted, 2 Ep. 2, 13, that there would be godless bishops, who would abuse the alms of the Church for luxury and neglect the ministry. Therefore [since the Holy Spirit in that connection utters dire threats] let those who defraud the Church know that they will pay God the penalty for this crime.

    Who Subscribed the Augsburg Confession
    and Apology, A. D. 1537.

    According to the command of the most illustrious princes and of the orders and states professing the doctrine of the Gospel, we have reread the articles of the Confession presented to the Emperor in the Assembly at Augsburg, and by the favor of God all the preachers who have been present in this Assembly at Smalcald harmoniously declare that they believe and teach in their churches according to the articles of the Confession and Apology. They also declare that they approve the article concerning the primacy of the Pope and his power, and the power and jurisdiction of bishops, which was presented to the princes in this Assembly at Smalcald. Accordingly, they subscribe their names.

    I, Dr. John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, subscribe the Articles of the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, and the Article presented to the princes at Smalcald concerning the Papacy.

    I also, Dr. Urban Rhegius, Superintendent of the churches in the Duchy of Lueneburg, subscribe.

    Nicolaus Amsdorf of Magdeburg subscribed.

    Georpe Spalatin of Altenburg subscribed.

    I, Andrew Osiander, subscribe.

    Magister Veit Dieterich of Nuernberg subscribed.

    Stephen Agricola, Minister at Hof, subscribed with his own hand.

    John Draconites of Marburg subscribed.

    Conrad Figenbotz subscribed to all throughout.

    Martin Bucer.

    I, Erhard Schnepf, subscribe.

    Paul Rhodius, Preacher in Stettin.

    Gerhard Oeniken, Minister of the Church at Minden.

    Brixius Northanus, Minister at Soest.

    Simon Schnevveis, Pastor of Crailsheim.

    I, Pomeranus, again subscribe in the name of Magister John Brentz, as he ordered me.

    Philip Melanchthon subscribes with his own hand.

    Anthony Corvinus subscribes with his own hand, as well as in the name of Adam a Fulda.

    John Schlainhauffen subscribes with his own hand.

    Magister George Helt of Forchheim.

    Michael Coelius, Preacher at Mansfeld.

    Peter Geltner, Preacher of the Church of Frankfort.

    Dionysius Melander subscribed.

    Paul Fagius of Strassburg.

    Wendel Faber, Pastor of Seeburg in Mansfeld
    Conrad Oettinger of Pforzheim, Preacher of Ulric, Duke of Wuerttemberg.

    Boniface Wolfart, Minister of the Word of the Church at Augsburg.

    John Aepinus, Superintendent of Hamburg, subscribed with his own hand.

    John Amsterdam of Bremen does the same.

    John Fontanus, Superintendent of Lower Hesse, subscribed.

    Frederick Myconius subscribed for himself and Justus Menius. Amobrose Blaurer.

    I have read, and again and again reread, the Confession and Apology presented at Augsburg by the Most Illustrious Prince, the Elector of Saxony, and by the other princes and estates of the Roman Empire, to his Imperial Majesty. I have also read the Formula of Concord concerning the Sacrament, made at Wittenberg with Dr. Bucer and others. I have also read the articles written at the Assembly at Smalcald in the German language by Dr. Martin Luther, our most revered preceptor, and the tract concerning the Papacy and the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops. And in my humble opinion I judge that all these agree with Holy Scripture, and with the belief of the true and genuine catholic Church. But although in so great a number of most learned men who have now assembled at Smalcald I acknowledge that I am of all the least yet, as I am not permitted to await the end of the assembly, I ask you, most renowned man, Dr. John Bugenhagen, most revered Father in Christ, that your courtesy may add my name, if it be necessary, to all that I have above mentioned. For I testify in this my own handwriting that I thus hold, confess, and constantly will teach, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

    John Brentz, Minister of Hall.
    Done at Smalcald February 23, 1537.

    Bye for now. Y. b. in C. Keith
  16. Kamoroso

    Kamoroso New Member

    Feb 17, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Excerpt from-

    Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530.
    by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560

    Article XXVIII: Of Ecclesiastical Power. There has been great controversy concerning the Power of Bishops, in which some have awkwardly confounded the power of the Church and the power of the sword. And from this confusion very great wars and tumults have resulted, while the Pontiffs, emboldened by the power of the Keys, not only have instituted new services and burdened consciences with reservation of cases and ruthless excommunications, but have also undertaken to transfer the kingdoms of this world, and to take the Empire from the Emperor. These wrongs have long since been rebuked in the Church by learned and godly men. Therefore our teachers, for the comforting of men's consciences, were constrained to show the difference between the power of the Church and the power of the sword, and taught that both of them, because of God's commandment, are to be held in reverence and honor, as the chief blessings of God on earth.

    But this is their opinion, that the power of the Keys, or the power of the bishops, according to the Gospel, is a power or commandment of God, to preach the Gospel, to remit and retain sins, and to administer Sacraments. For with this commandment Christ sends forth His Apostles, John 20, 21 sqq.: As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. Mark 16, 15: Go preach the Gospel to every creature.

    This power is exercised only by teaching or preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, according to their calling either to many or to individuals. For thereby are granted, not bodily, but eternal things, as eternal righteousness, the Holy Ghost, eternal life. These things cannot come but by the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, as Paul says, Rom. 1, 16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Therefore, since the power of the Church grants eternal things, and is exercised only by the ministry of the Word, it does not interfere with civil government; no more than the art of singing interferes with civil government. For civil government deals with other things than does the Gospel. The civil rulers defend not minds, but bodies and bodily things against manifest injuries, and restrain men with the sword and bodily punishments in order to preserve civil justice and peace.

    Therefore the power of the Church and the civil power must not be confounded. The power of the Church has its own commission to teach the Gospel and to administer the Sacraments. Let it not break into the office of another; Let it not transfer the kingdoms of this world; let it not abrogate the laws of civil rulers; let it not abolish lawful obedience; let it not interfere with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts; let it not prescribe laws to civil rulers concerning the form of the Commonwealth. As Christ says, John 18, 33: My kingdom is not of this world; also Luke 12, 14: Who made Me a judge or a divider over you? Paul also says, Phil. 3, 20: Our citizenship is in heaven; 2 Cor. 10, 4: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the casting down of imaginations.

    After this manner our teachers discriminate between the duties of both these powers, and command that both be honored and acknowledged as gifts and blessings of God. If bishops have any power of the sword, that power they have, not as bishops, by the commission of the Gospel, but by human law having received it of kings and emperors for the civil administration of what is theirs. This, however, is another office than the ministry of the Gospel.

    When, therefore, the question is concerning the jurisdiction of bishops, civil authority must be distinguished from ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Again, according to the Gospel or, as they say, by divine right, there belongs to the bishops as bishops, that is, to those to whom has been committed the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, no jurisdiction except to forgive sins, to judge doctrine, to reject doctrines contrary to the Gospel, and to exclude from the communion of the Church wicked men, whose wickedness is known, and this without human force, simply by the Word. Herein the congregations of necessity and by divine right must obey them, according to Luke 10, 16: He that heareth you heareth Me. But when they teach or ordain anything against the Gospel, then the congregations have a commandment of God prohibiting obedience, Matt. 7, 15: Beware of false prophets; Gal. 1, 8: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him be accursed; 2 Cor. 13, 8: We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. Also: The power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction. So, also, the Canonical Laws command (II. Q. VII. Cap., Sacerdotes, and Cap. Oves). And Augustine (Contra Petiliani Epistolam): Neither must we submit to Catholic bishops if they chance to err, or hold anything contrary to the Canonical Scriptures of God.

    If they have any other power or jurisdiction, in hearing and judging certain cases, as of matrimony or of tithes, etc., they have it by human right, in which matters princes are bound, even against their will, when the ordinaries fail, to dispense justice to their subjects for the maintenance of peace.

    Moreover, it is disputed whether bishops or pastors have the right to introduce ceremonies in the Church, and to make laws concerning meats, holy-days and grades, that is, orders of ministers, etc. They that give this right to the bishops refer to this testimony John 16, 12. 13: I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth. They also refer to the example of the Apostles, who commanded to abstain from blood and from things strangled, Acts 15, 29. They refer to the Sabbath-day as having been changed into the Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalog, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath-day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!

    But concerning this question it is taught on our part (as has been shown above) that bishops have no power to decree anything against the Gospel. The Canonical Laws teach the same thing (Dist. IX) . Now, it is against Scripture to establish or require the observance of any traditions, to the end that by such observance we may make satisfaction for sins, or merit grace and righteousness. For the glory of Christ's merit suffers injury when, by such observances, we undertake to merit justification. But it is manifest that, by such belief, traditions have almost infinitely multiplied in the Church, the doctrine concerning faith and the righteousness of faith being meanwhile suppressed. For gradually more holy-days were made, fasts appointed, new ceremonies and services in honor of saints instituted, because the authors of such things thought that by these works they were meriting grace. Thus in times past the Penitential Canons increased, whereof we still see some traces in the satisfactions.

    Again, the authors of traditions do contrary to the command of God when they find matters of sin in foods, in days, and like things, and burden the Church with bondage of the law, as if there ought to be among Christians, in order to merit justification a service like the Levitical, the arrangement of which God had committed to the Apostles and bishops. For thus some of them write; and the Pontiffs in some measure seem to be misled by the example of the law of Moses. Hence are such burdens, as that they make it mortal sin, even without offense to others, to do manual labor on holy-days, a mortal sin to omit the Canonical Hours, that certain foods defile the conscience that fastings are works which appease God that sin in a reserved case cannot be forgiven but by the authority of him who reserved it; whereas the Canons themselves speak only of the reserving of the ecclesiastical penalty, and not of the reserving of the guilt.

    Whence have the bishops the right to lay these traditions upon the Church for the ensnaring of consciences, when Peter, Acts 15, 10, forbids to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, and Paul says, 2 Cor. 13, 10, that the power given him was to edification not to destruction? Why, therefore, do they increase sins by these traditions?

    But there are clear testimonies which prohibit the making of such traditions, as though they merited grace or were necessary to salvation. Paul says, Col. 2, 16-23: Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days. If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not; taste not; handle not, which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men! which things have indeed a show of wisdom. Also in Titus 1, 14 he openly forbids traditions: Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men that turn from the truth.

    And Christ, Matt. 15, 14. 13, says of those who require traditions: Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind; and He rejects such services: Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be plucked up.

    If bishops have the right to burden churches with infinite traditions, and to ensnare consciences, why does Scripture so often prohibit to make, and to listen to, traditions? Why does it call them "doctrines of devils"? 1 Tim. 4, 1. Did the Holy Ghost in vain forewarn of these things?

    Since, therefore, ordinances instituted as things necessary, or with an opinion of meriting grace, are contrary to the Gospel, it follows that it is not lawful for any bishop to institute or exact such services. For it is necessary that the doctrine of Christian liberty be preserved in the churches, namely, that the bondage of the Law is not necessary to justification, as it is written in the Epistle to the Galatians, 5, 1: Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. It is necessary that the chief article of the Gospel be preserved, to wit, that we obtain grace freely by faith in Christ, and not for certain observances or acts of worship devised by men.

    What, then, are we to think of the Sunday and like rites in the house of God? To this we answer that it is lawful for bishops or pastors to make ordinances that things be done orderly in the Church, not that thereby we should merit grace or make satisfaction for sins, or that consciences be bound to judge them necessary services, and to think that it is a sin to break them without offense to others. So Paul ordains, 1 Cor. 11, 5, that women should cover their heads in the congregation, 1 Cor. 14, 30, that interpreters be heard in order in the church, etc.

    It is proper that the churches should keep such ordinances for the sake of love and tranquillity, so far that one do not offend another, that all things be done in the churches in order, and without confusion, 1 Cor. 14, 40; comp. Phil. 2, 14; but so that consciences be not burdened to think that they are necessary to salvation, or to judge that they sin when they break them without offense to others; as no one will say that a woman sins who goes out in public with her head uncovered provided only that no offense be given.

    Of this kind is the observance of the Lord's Day, Easter, Pentecost, and like holy-days and rites. For those who judge that by the authority of the Church the observance of the Lord's Day instead of the Sabbath-day was ordained as a thing necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath-day; for it teaches that, since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted. And yet, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the Church designated the Lord's Day for this purpose; and this day seems to have been chosen all the more for this additional reason, that men might have an example of Christian liberty, and might know that the keeping neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is necessary.

    There are monstrous disputations concerning the changing of the law, the ceremonies of the new law, the changing of the Sabbath-day, which all have sprung from the false belief that there must needs be in the Church a service like to the Levitical, and that Christ had given commission to the Apostles and bishops to devise new ceremonies as necessary to salvation. These errors crept into the Church when the righteousness of faith was not taught clearly enough. Some dispute that the keeping of the Lord's Day is not indeed of divine right, but in a manner so. They prescribe concerning holy-days, how far it is lawful to work. What else are such disputations than snares of consciences? For although they endeavor to modify the traditions, yet the mitigation can never be perceived as long as the opinion remains that they are necessary, which must needs remain where the righteousness of faith and Christian liberty are not known.

    The Apostles commanded Acts 15, 20 to abstain from blood. Who does now observe it? And yet they that do it not sin not; for not even the Apostles themselves wanted to burden consciences with such bondage; but they forbade it for a time, to avoid offense. For in this decree we must perpetually consider what the aim of the Gospel is.

    Scarcely any Canons are kept with exactness, and from day to day many go out of use even among those who are the most zealous advocates of traditions. Neither can due regard be paid to consciences unless this mitigation be observed, that we know that the Canons are kept without holding them to be necessary, and that no harm is done consciences, even though traditions go out of use.

    But the bishops might easily retain the lawful obedience of the people if they would not insist upon the observance of such traditions as cannot be kept with a good conscience. Now they command celibacy; they admit none unless they swear that they will not teach the pure doctrine of the Gospel. The churches do not ask that the bishops should restore concord at the expense of their honor; which, nevertheless, it would be proper for good pastors to do. They ask only that they would release unjust burdens which are new and have been received contrary to the custom of the Church Catholic. It may be that in the beginning there were plausible reasons for some of these ordinances; and yet they are not adapted to later times. It is also evident that some were adopted through erroneous conceptions. Therefore it would be befitting the clemency of the Pontiffs to mitigate them now, because such a modification does not shake the unity of the Church. For many human traditions have been changed in process of time, as the Canons themselves show. But if it be impossible to obtain a mitigation of such observances as cannot be kept without sin, we are bound to follow the apostolic rule, Acts 5, 29, which commands us to obey God rather than men.

    Peter, 1 Pet. 5, 3, forbids bishops to be lords, and to rule over the churches. It is not our design now to wrest the government from the bishops, but this one thing is asked, namely, that they allow the Gospel to be purely taught, and that they relax some few observances which cannot be kept without sin. But if they make no concession, it is for them to see how they shall give account to God for furnishing, by their obstinacy, a cause for schism.


    These are the chief articles which seem to be in controversy. For although we might have spoken of more abuses, yet, to avoid undue length, we have set forth the chief points, from which the rest may be readily judged. There have been great complaints concerning indulgences, pilgrimages, and the abuse of excommunications. The parishes have been vexed in many ways by the dealers in indulgences. There were endless contentions between the pastors and the monks concerning the parochial right, confessions, burials, sermons on extraordinary occasions, and innumerable other things. Issues of this sort we have passed over so that the chief points in this matter, having been briefly set forth, might be the more readily understood. Nor has anything been here said or adduced to the reproach of any one. Only those things have been recounted whereof we thought that it was necessary to speak, in order that it might be understood that in doctrine and ceremonies nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the Church Catholic. For it is manifest that we have taken most diligent care that no new and ungodly doctrine should creep into our churches.

    The above articles we desire to present in accordance with the edict of Your Imperial Majesty, in order to exhibit our Confession and let men see a summary of the doctrine of our teachers. If there is anything that any one might desire in this Confession, we are ready, God willing, to present ampler information according to the Scriptures.

    Your Imperial Majesty's faithful subjects:

    John, Duke of Saxony, Elector.

    George, Margrave of Brandenburg.

    Ernest, Duke of Lueneberg.

    Philip, Landgrave of Hesse.

    John Frederick, Duke of Saxony.

    Francis, Duke of Lueneburg.

    Wolfgang, Prince of Anhalt.

    Senate and Magistracy of Nuremburg.

    Senate of Reutlingen.

    Bye for now. Y. b. in C. Keith
  17. Kamoroso

    Kamoroso New Member

    Feb 17, 2003
    Likes Received:
    History, The falsification of.

    J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

    It will be gathered from a large number of articles in this Encyclopedia that the great gain of the adoption of scientific methods in modern history and of extensive discoveries in archaeology is offset by a lamentable falsification owing to concessions to religious writers or sectarian influence. It has gravely increased the difficulty of the Rationalist education of the public that, just when science has generally succeeded in silencing "the drum ecclesiastic" (in Huxley's phrase), history is increasingly listening to it. Recent issues of the leading encyclopedias have permitted very serious alterations of historical articles or invited clerical writers to contribute articles on subjects on which they could not be expected to be impartial or accurately informed. Serious attempts have been made even to impose the new spirit of accommodation upon teachers of history in universities, colleges, and the national schools. Poynter tells of an amazing plot of this nature in his Roman Catholics and School History Books (1930). However one may analyse the motives or the influences, conscious or subconscious, the evil begins with a number of professors or writers of history of some distinction, especially in the United States. [See, for example, the articles Arabs; Christianity; Dark Age; Democracy; Middle Age; Monasticism; Papacy; Philanthropy; Reformation; Rome; Thirteenth Century; and subsidiary articles mentioned in them.] The intellectual and moral status of pre-Christian civilizations is vindicated against ancient calumnies by virtually all modern authorities; yet in the case of Rome, while Protestant writers like Dr. E. Reich and Sir S. Dill have been generous in stating the truth, a number of recent historical writers, men who show no command of classical literature and the inscriptions, have used language in conformity with the old prejudices. This encourages theological writers to repeat their discredited claims that the Gospels brought a new and higher type of religion and ethic into the contemporary Roman world; that the Christians generally exhibited a superior type of character which attracted thoughtful Greeks and Romans; and that the acceptance - in reality enforcement - of the Christian religion was followed by a social and moral improvement. But greater evil is done by a falsification of the social history of the Christian, or at least the Catholic, era. In this respect Catholics have had a remarkable success in adulterating history. On the plea that the Protestant and Rationalist historians of the last century were moved by a prejudice against Catholicism, or that the development of psychology and of economic and social science gives the historian a new equipment for the study of earlier peoples, some historians - this does not apply to the Cambridge Mediaeval History - profess to give a new and sounder estimate of the period of solid Church influence. The title given to the first half, the Dark Age, is, largely on the quite false ground that it means the whole of the Middle Ages, declared to be unjust, and the second part, the Renaissance in the broader sense, is described more or less in harmony with the claims of Catholic writers. The historians in question betray that they have no command, as the historians of the last century had, of medieval literature. They ignore completely the immense literature which tells the licence and coarseness of life of the clergy, monks - all that they say of monasticism is to give a description of the ideal of a Benedictine abbey or describe Francis of Assisi - and people of all classes; and they profess that it is a mark of liberality to follow Catholic writers on the work of Gregory VII or Innocent III, the Massacre of the Albigensians and the Hussites, the Inquisition and the Reformation (See Coulter's Sectarian History, 1937). Admirable as it is to trace neglected social, political, and economic factors in this stretch of history, the deliberate suppression of its many evil features falsifies history and the sociological valuation of institutions. The same tendency is seen in the deliberate depreciation of the Arab-Persian civilization, which conceals the real source of the European Renaissance and confirms the preposterous claim that the Roman Church inspired it. Even in the modern period we find the same grave departure from the canons of history in the undiscriminating condemnation of the French Revolution, the suppression of the terrible injustices of French life which led to it, and especially the concealment of what Lord Acton called the savagery of the Roman Church in its fight against progress from the fall of Napoleon to 1870 (in Spain and Russia until recently). This falsification of history, at least by the suppression of facts and of relevant but distasteful contemporary documents, is one of the most unfortunate features of modern culture. The scores of articles in this Encyclopaedia in which it is exposed show that a new and thorough history of the Christian era is urgently needed.

    Bye for now. Y. b. in C. Keith
  18. Kamoroso

    Kamoroso New Member

    Feb 17, 2003
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    Papacy, The.

    J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

    The Roman Catholic institution of a monarchic rule of the Church by Popes. In Latin, as in English, a word for "father" was taken from the easy labial muttering (pa-pa) of the infant, and in the early Church this was applied to the superintendents, or "overseers" (episcopi, or bishops), of each small community who were presumably selected from the older men. As long as all bishops were Popes (Papae), as they still are in the East, there was no Papacy (Papatus, correctly rendered in English, "Popery"); but the disuse of Greek (which was the official language of the Roman Church during the first two or three centuries) and the growing arrogation of supreme power by the Bishop of Rome restricted the title to him in the West and established the institution of the Papacy. In a famous sentence Hobbes (Leviathan, Ch. 47) describes it as "the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire sitting crowned upon the grave thereof." The description, though often regarded as flippant by historians who have not made a critical study of Papal history, is nearer to the truth than Hobbes knew. Since the Papacy does not mean the rule of the Roman diocese by its bishops, but the rule of the entire Catholic Church - it emphatically insists on its right to rule even the Greek and Oriental Churches - it did not exist until after the fall of Rome, and its establishment was in the highest degree facilitated by the general ignorance and demoralization which followed the collapse of the Empire. This is the first point of importance in connection with the nature and history of the Papacy, and the evidence is misrepresented by Catholic apologists with the kind of audacity which one is compelled to regard as untruthfulness. We have then to inquire how, between 400 and 1300, the Popes constructed a power which is unique in the history of religion, and to examine the character of the men who exercised this power and claimed so close a relation to God that they bore the title of "His Holiness," the nature and range of their influence on civilization, and the means by which a power based upon admitted forgeries and false historical statements is maintained, and to what extent it is maintained, in the modern world.
    (1) In the most pretentious and most authoritative presentment of the Catholic position, the Catholic Encyclopaedia, the important article on the Popes is written by the English Jesuit, Fr. Joyce, and he summarizes the first four centuries in these words: "History bears complete testimony that from the earliest times the Roman Church has ever claimed the supreme leadership, and that that leadership has been freely acknowledged by the universal Church." Under pressure, the Jesuit, and the hierarchy which sponsors the Encyclopaedia, might plead the vagueness of the word "leadership" (instead of power), but the character of the statement may be judged from the fact that from the time when Rome, in the last decade of the second century, first asserted its authority over other Churches until the fall of the Empire, the claim was in every single case repudiated, generally with scorn, and no section of the Eastern half of the "Universal Church" ever admitted it. In Catholic theory the claim is based upon the alleged founding of the Roman bishopric by Peter. Under that title it will be shown that Peter, assuming him to have been an historical character, never reached Rome. The tradition was fabricated in Rome in the second half of the second century. At the end of the first century the Roman community had, as it states in its Letter to the Corinthians , a bishop and deacons. That the bishop was named Clement, and that he wrote the letter, is a later tradition; but the letter is a democratic admonition from one small community to another, and not in any sense a Papal document. The Roman Church remained (outside the city) very obscure and unimportant until the time of Pope Victor (189-98), who claimed a right to dictate to the Churches of Asia Minor. By this time the curious pun about Peter and the rock had been successfully interpolated in Matthew (xvi, 18), and the Bishop of Rome, Victor, had the new and peculiar distinction of being a friend of the most important person in the imperial palace, the Emperor's very wanton mistress, Marcia. The Asiatic bishops rejected the claim and "bitterly reproached Victor," Bishop Eusebius tells us. [See Victor.] Tertullian, in Africa, apparently refers to this when in his treatise On Chastity (c. 1) he refers, with heavy irony, to the Pope as claiming to be "the Supreme Pontiff, that is to say the Bishop of Bishops." It was not until more than fifty years later that the Popes - Cornelius (251-3), Stephen (254-7) - ventured to reassert the claim. They tried to dictate to the bishops of the African province, which was then next in importance to the Roman. Here the attitude of the apologist is amazing. He quotes Cyprian, the head of the African Church and the most saintly bishop of that age, as one who recognized Papal supremacy because, before the quarrel began, he spoke of the Roman as "the principal Church" and "the source of sacerdotal unity": an expression of its importance as being in the imperial city and as the centre from which Africa had been Christianized. But, while every Catholic writer on the subject quotes this and represents it as a recognition of the Papal claim, none of them tell how, when the Popes made their claim, Cyprian repudiated it with anger and scorn in his letters (especially LIV, LXVII, and LXXII). In the last of these he writes in the name of the eighty African bishops, and says in plain and very ironical Latin: "None of us regards himself as the Bishop of Bishops or seeks by tyrannical threats to compel his colleagues to obey him." Pope Julius, in 340, attempted to give orders to the Eastern bishops, and their reply, says the ecclesiastical historian Sozomen, was "full of irony and not devoid of serious threats" (Ecclesiastical History, III, 8). Pope Damasus repeated the attempt in 382, and the reply was equally disdainful (Theodoret, Ecclesiastical History, V, 9). That was the last word of the Greek Church on the matter, and the Popes had to be content to assert themselves in the West. Every Catholic writer quotes Augustine as admitting the claim and closing a controversy with the words "Rome has spoken." These writers must know that what Augustine actually said was that the case was closed because the African and the Roman Churches had jointly reached the same conclusion, and that Augustine and his African bishops repudiated the Pope's claim of authority as scornfully as Cyprian and the Greeks had done
    (Labbé, Collectio Conciliorum, 419 and 424). Finally, Pope Leo I, in 445, the African Church being now in ruins under the Vandals, tried to assert the claim in the one comparatively free western province outside Italy, southern Gaul, and its great leader, Hilary, replied to him, the Pope says (Letters, X, 3), in "language which no layman even should dare to use and no priest to hear." Leo got the last miserable representative of the Emperors to declare that the Pope had this authority, but the Empire fell, and there was no prelate left outside Rome of sufficient strength or ability to resist. Until Western Christendom was shattered, in the fifth century, every single Papal assertion of supremacy was heatedly repudiated and rebuked.
    (2) Gaul now passed under the Frank barbarians, Spain under the Visigoths, and Africa under the Vandals, while the Greek Church finally turned away from Rome. The population of Europe was reduced to less than a tenth of what it had been, the school-system was totally destroyed, and the Popes ruled a field of ruins. Hence the profound historical truth of the saying of Hobbes. In such a situation, with a beggared and densely ignorant people looking to distant Rome, which few now visited, as the "See of Peter" and the source of bogus relics and spurious lives of the martyrs, every strong, able, or covetous Pope began to seek an enlargement of his authority. Leo I, under whom the forgery of Canons of earlier Councils began, and Innocent I were such men, but there was little opportunity until the time of Gregory I (590-604), who was, though the most saintly man who had yet worn the tiara, content to make the Papacy the richest owner of land and slaves in Europe. [See Gregory I.] The Lombards annexed a very large part of the Papal estates, and by a series of forgeries which would have been possible only in an age of the densest ignorance [see Donation of Constantine and Papal States], the Popes of the eighth century got them restored and enormously enlarged by the Franks. The "temporal power" (the possessions) of the Papacy here reached its greatest extent, and its further history is one of incessant and bloody conflict. In the ninth century Pope Nicholas I tried to use a similar collection of forgeries, the Forged Decretals , to augment the spiritual or ecclesiastical power of the Papacy, and from the great French prelate, Archbishop Hincmar, met a scornful resistance such as the early claims had met. But the age was one of deepening gloom and barbaric violence, and the death of Nicholas, in 867, was followed by ghastly outrages in Rome which inaugurated the Rule of the whores and a century and a hall, with a few short intervals of comparative decency, of unparalleled corruption. Thirty Popes occupied the sodden "throne of Peter" in a single century, and the theory of a leadership of the world was forgotten. In the end a body of reformed monks persuaded the Roman (German) Emperors to intervene - with the vices of the Emperors themselves they did not interfere - and one of these, Hildebrand, became Gregory VII , and gave the Papal theory of power almost its greatest expansion. The Pope was the absolute ruler of the world, in secular as well as religious matters. But Gregory's reckless use of armies, armed mobs, and forged documents provoked a reaction and a contempt of Papal anathemas. The Romans themselves drove him into exile, and the chief authority on the period, Gregorovius, describes how, three years later, his successor, Urban II, "seated in the deserted Lateran surrounded by rude partisans and no less rude bishops, gazing on the ruins of churches and streets - memories of Gregory VII - and on a city silent as death, squalid, and inhabited by a tattered, murderous, and miserable population, presents a gloomy picture of the decadence of the Papacy" (History of the City of Rome, IV, 277). Europe was now rising - the Dark Age was over - but the city of the Popes continued to present a spectacle of barbaric violence and corruption, until the greatest of the Popes, Innocent III (1198-1216) acceded. He completed Hildebrand's scheme of supreme power; but by what means he attained it and how he used it are told in the article on him. We do not doubt that men like Gregory and Innocent fabricated this power, however unscrupulous the means they employed, in the belief that an omnipotent Pope would make the world virtuous; but the historians who accuse us of overlooking this themselves forget two crucial facts. First, in the belief of such Popes the first virtue to secure was rigid orthodoxy and submission, since it was not sound social conduct in this world, but salvation in the next that they sought for men; so they inevitably destroyed freedom, consecrated violence, and tried to arrest or pervert the new intellectual development. Secondly, the vast new power created was no more used to promote virtue by the successors of Innocent than it had been by the successors of Gregory. The thirteenth century , which Innocent inaugurated, is one of the loosest (sexually) in history, and it reeked with cruelty and injustice, especially in Italy. Its Papal history ended in the extraordinary scandal of the pontificate of Boniface VIII (1294-1303), and this was followed by the depravity of the Papal Court at Avignon (1309-77), the disgusting Popes of the Great Schism (1378-1414), under whom even the best Catholic historian, Pastor, says, "the prevailing immorality exceeded anything that had been witnessed since the tenth century" (History of the Popes, I, 97), and the Popes of the Renaissance (1450-1650), when, considering the new enlightenment of Europe, the Papacy sank to a lower depth than ever and, except during a few short periods, remained in its corruption longer than ever. [See articles on each of these phases.]
    (3) The phrases "Holy See" and "His Holiness," which Catholic pressure or intrigue now compels even the daily papers to use, represent a third aspect of what one is tempted to call the great imposture of Catholic literature on the Papacy. The faithful, who are graciously permitted to know that there were "few bad Popes," are reconciled to this on the singular ground that the Church never claimed "impeccability" for its Popes. It is one of the peculiar growths of the semi-Fascist atmosphere of the Church, with its prohibition to read critics under pain of eternal damnation, that a Catholic regards each Pope as "the Vicar of Christ," elected by the Holy Ghost and in intimate relation with the Deity, yet considers the inclusion in the series of a number of corrupt men as a matter of no consequence. This can be effected only by representing the vicious Popes as very rare occurrences in a unique succession of wise and saintly men. In point of historical fact no other religion of which we have adequate knowledge - Brahmanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, or Islam - presents such a spectacle of corruption in its higher spiritual authorities and their elections to office as does the history of the Popes. No one questions that many of them were able men, or, on the Catholic standard, holy men, but Catholic accounts of them are monstrous. They give the title of "martyr" to nearly every Pope to the year 310, while even Catholic historians like Duchesne admit that at the most only two out of thirty were martyrs. They give the distinction of "Saint" to every Pope except one to the year 530, whereas four-fifths of them are obscure men of unknown character, and the only three whose character is clear to the year 440 - Victor, Callistus, and Damasus - were very far from saintly. Of ninety Popes, to the year 870, the great majority are of unknown character, and a number of the remainder, who do "stand out" in history - not the official Pontifical Book, which makes martyrs with such fluency and canonizes recognizable bad characters - are there on account of their vices or crimes (Symmachus, Vigilius, Pelagius, Stephen II, Stephen IV, and Paschal I). Then came the Rule of the Whores and the Iron Age, nearly two centuries of chronic and incredible degradation of the Papal Court, during which the vilest types of men [see John XI; John XII; John XIV; etc.] became "Vicars of Christ." For other" monsters of vice," as the contemporary documents call them, see Avignon; Boniface VIII; John XXIII; and Renaissance. But these are only the particularly vicious types. We may sum up the biography of the Popes (and the "holiness" of the Papacy) by saying that, of the 260 Popes one-fourth are of unknown character and half the remainder had grave defects of character. At least thirty were sexually loose men (in half a dozen cases paederasts) and a dozen are credibly charged with murder and mutilation. If moreover, we judge them from the Catholic point of view, more than one half of the 200 Popes, from the year 300 to 1650, were notoriously guilty of vices that are held to be worse than sexual irregularities: simony, nepotism, and protecting the corruption of the Papal Court and the clergy.
    (4) The Catholic historian Hayward says, among other painful admissions about this period, that by 1650 "the Papacy began to abandon the guidance of the world" and "its prestige had sunk so low that nobody took any notice" of it (History of the Popes, Engl. trans., 1931). This, it should be noticed, was after the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation are supposed to have purified it and strengthened it.
    In the article on the Counter-Reformation we explain that its dozen years of puritanism, and short-sighted neglect of greater evils, really left the Papal Court still very corrupt, and it was the scorn of Europe, with the exception of the pontificate of the genial Benedict XIV, until the French Revolution, the disdainful treatment of it by Napoleon, and the occupation of Italy by the French stirred it, like an aged lady, into a flutter of futile agitation. During the fifty years of grim reaction which followed the fall of Napoleon, it supported the vilest measures of the Catholic monarchs [see Democracy] and felt that it could safely return to the old corruption. Two loose but able cardinal Secretaries of State managed the Church for Popes of questionable character, and the period closed with the futilities of Pius IX. Under Leo XIII , and largely on account of his blunders, the Papacy lost tens of millions of its subjects, but one of the developments of the new scientific civilization gave it a fresh hope. The scientific conquest of the death-rate led to a rapid increase of population, and, while more advanced countries met this by industrial progress and the control of the birth-rate, the Church forbade any such control, under the usual "pain of hell," in impoverished Catholic countries, and from these (Ireland, Italy, and Poland particularly) tens of millions of Catholics were drafted into the British Empire and the United States. This caused an illusion of growth in the richest and best-educated countries in the world, and gave the Popes, for the first time since the Reformation, a large power of political bargaining and a new prestige. What vast and continued losses this new situation concealed will be shown under Statistics; and an article on the Roman Catholic Church will describe the methods (business organizations, intrigue, censorship, untruthful literature, etc.) by which the Popes retain so many adherents even in advanced countries, and how the present Pope, reverting to the most fanatical traditions of the institution, sought alliance with corrupt forces of reaction to crush the spreading rebellion in Catholic countries, dupe the democracies, and curry favour with what he expected to be the triumphant new autocracies. Apart from two small Catholic works translated from the French and German (Hayward's History of the Popes, 1931, and Seppelt and Loeffler's Short History of the Popes, 1932), which have the defects of their kind, the only general history available is McCabe's History of the Popes (1939, with full contemporary and modern authorities). Most works on the Papacy cover only sections of the vast field. Milman's History of Latin Christianity (4th ed., 9 vols., 1867) is still of value for the early period, Mgr. Duchesne's History of the Christian Church (Engl. trans., 3 vols., 1904-29) is the work of a liberal Catholic scholar. The Catholic work of Mgr. Mann, covering the earlier period (Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, 13 vols., 1902-15), is richly documented, but equally rich in illustrations of the vices of the modern apologist. Prof. Ludwig Pastor's History of the Popes from the End of the Middle Ages (Engl. trans., 14 vols., 1891-1924) is a learned and conscientious study of the Papacy during the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Counter-Reformation, written by a Catholic under the illusion that Leo XIII meant what he said when he threw open the Vatican Secret Archives to scholars - after, as Pastor admits, abstracting the choicest records - and urged Catholic historians to tell the truth. L. von Ranke's works on the same period (The Popes of Rome, Engl. trans., 2 vols., 1846-7, etc.) are invaluable for documents (largely not translated), and Gregorovius's History of the City of Rome (Engl. trans., 8 vols., 1900-9) is of great value and candour for the whole mediaeval period. Bishop Creighton's History of the Papacy from the Great Schism to the Sack of Rome (6 vols., 1897) is weakened by suppressions of ugly facts; Barry's Papal Monarchy (1902) is a superficial Catholic effort posing as impartial; and E. Binrey's Decline and Fall of the Mediaeval Papacy (1934) recalls Gibbon only by its title.

    Bye for now. Y. b. in C. Keith
  19. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
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    Feb 25, 2003
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    Er...what has any of this got to do with 4th century writings?

    Yours in Christ

  20. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
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    Feb 25, 2003
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