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CONTENTS | 1 | 2(1) | 2(2) | 3 | 4 | 5(1) | 5(2) | 6




History of Development of Apostate Church From The Seventh Century To Reformation -- Indulgencies -- The Reformation -- Purgatory -- Vagaries of Modern Protestants -- Church Conflict With Modern Progress -- The Bible And The Church Separated

"Signs and lying wonders." -- Paul

Of the SEVENTH CENTURY in general Mosheim observes:


"Did anyone hesitate to believe? Two irrefragable arguments were at hand: the authority of the Church, and miracles." (Century 7, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

The "authority of the Church": the main plank in Catholic propaganda to this day; their last word on all things is the authority of the Church. But with such ancestors, what a church! and, with such a church, what authority!

Of these alleged "miracles," Mosheim, with the best of reason, declares that to work them in "these times of ignorance but a moderate share of dexterity was requisite."

They were in fact clerical legerdemain -- conjuring tricks or, to describe them scripturally and prophetically, they were "lying wonders."

Of the EIGHTH CENTURY Mosheim records a waxing "worse and worse":

"Suddenly . . . the idea became universally prevalent, that the PUNISHMENTS FOR SIN which God threatens . . . MAY BE BOUGHT OFF BY LIBERAL GIFTS . . . in order to avoid the . . . penances ... and yet be secure against the evils that threatened to overtake them after death." (Century 8, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

This pernicious teaching, as we shall see later, led to the scandalous traffic in indulgences. Of the wealth that accrued to the avaricious church Mosheim says:

"This was the principal source of those immense treasures, which from this century onward flowed in upon the clergy, the churches, and the monasteries."

These rich suppliants of divine mercy, such as "Emperors, kings and princes,"

"Transferred to bishops . . . whole provinces, cities and castles . . . Thus persons whose business it was to teach contempt for the world, both by precept and example, unexpectedly became Dukes, Counts, Marquesses, Judges, Legislators, Sovereign Lords, and ... even marched out to war at the head of the armies."

If we do not allow its gradual growth to obscure the facts, but keep in mind the early picture of Christianity with that with which we are now making a contrast, then it indeed presents an amazing spectacle. Of religion itself during this period, Mosheim observes:

"THE TRUE RELIGION OF JESUS CHRIST, if we except a few dogmas contained in their creeds, WAS WHOLLY UNKNOWN . . . even to the teachers of the highest rank; and all orders of society ... neglecting the duties of true piety ... fearlessly gave themselves up to every vice and crime, supposing that God could easily be appeased ... by the intercession and prayers of the saints and by the kindly offices of the priests."
(Century 8, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

Of the NINTH CENTURY Church history, a characteristic extract from Mosheim declares:

"How great were the ignorance and perverseness of this century appears from the single fact of the extravagant and STUPID VENERATION PAID TO SAINTS, AND TO THEIR BONES AND CARCASES . . . The priests and monks were most successful in . . . fabricating the names and histories of saints that never existed; so that they might have patrons enough for all the credulous and senseless people . . . (these saints were) phantoms of their own creation, or . . . delirious persons who they supposed had led very holy lives, because they had lived like fools or madmen." (Century 9, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)


Of the TENTH CENTURY, Mosheim witnesses to the moral degradation into which bishops, and even the bishop of bishops, had sunk: men in whom was supposed to reside the Holy Spirit guiding them into all truth, and who were supposed to perpetuate, and pass on, an infallible headship over the pure Church of Christ. The utter blasphemy of such claims is horrifying to a mind read in Scripture truth. As well might a city sewer claim to be the fount of a pure mountain stream. "Successors of Peter," "vicars of Christ," indeed! Consider the testimony of the historians. Mosheim:

"Nothing is more incontrovertible, than that the clergy ... was composed principally of men who were illiterate, stupid and ignorant of everything pertaining to religion, libidinous, superstitious and flagitious . . . NOTHING CERTAINLY CAN BE CONCEIVED OF, SO FILTHY, OR SO CRIMINAL AND WICKED, THAT THESE SUPREME BISHOPS (popes) OF THE CHURCH WOULD DEEM INCOMPATIBLE WITH THEIR CHARACTERS; nor was any government ever so loaded with vices of every kind as was that which bore the appellation of the most holy."

"That the history of the Roman Pontiffs of this century is a HISTORY OF MONSTERS, A HISTORY OF THE MOST ATROCIOUS VILLAINIES AND CRIMES, is acknowledged by all writers of distinction, and even by the advocates of popery." (Century 10, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

This last statement of Mosheim, if true, is very important, for if apologists are forced to recognise it, then we can depend that it happened beyond any possible shadow of doubt. Doubt would be seized upon and weaved into a plausible defence. But the truth of Mosheim's remark can easily be demonstrated by actual quotations from modern Catholic writers. Mr. S. Lilley, an English Roman Catholic, is quoted by A. E. Barnett as declaring of these popes:

"They lived for the most part rather like monsters or wild beasts than bishops, is Mabillon's judgment of them . . . John XII, accused publicly, and apparently on too good grounds, of homicide, perjury, sacrilege, of incest with his relations and two sisters, of drinking wine in honour of the devil, and of invoking in gambling, Jupiter, Venus, and other demons . . . But violence and impurity were not the only scandals which disgraced the chair of Peter. Simony was no less conspicuous; and it passed into a proverb that everything in Rome had its price ... John XIX, who had himself, when a mere layman, purchased the Popedom upon the death of Benedict VIII, offered to confer the title of Universal Bishop upon the Patriarch of Constantinople for a pecuniary consideration. His successor, Benedict IX, who is stated to have been ordained at the age of twelve, after a career of which, according to the chronicles, the chief incidents were 'many vile adulteries and murders perpetrated by his own hand', resolved to wed his first cousin, and finding that public opinion would not tolerate a married pontiff, sold the papacy to John Gratian ... in 1044."

No one can suspect this evidence of being coloured to attack Catholicism.


Indeed it often happens that a Catholic's exposure of his Church is more complete than that of Protestant writers. For instance, Mosheim, when dealing with the control that public harlots once exercised at the Vatican, says:

"Theodora, a very lewd woman who controlled all things at Rome, made John X . . . succeed to the papal chair. For at this time, nothing was conducted regularly at Rome, but everything was carried by bribery and violence."

Or again from Mosheim:

"When (pope) Stephen died Marozia procured for her son, John XI, whom she had by the Roman Pontiff Sergius III, elevation to the chair of St. Peter, and the government of the Church." (Century 10, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

Now, on the other hand, is the quoted testimony of Dr. William Barry, a distinguished English Roman Catholic historian. A. E. Barnett quotes from Dr. Barry's work, "The Papal Monarchy", as follows:

"We shall see the Papacy going down as into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Papacy could not have sunk lower at this period. Two wicked women, Theodora and Marozia, made and unmade popes, and feminine usurpation of the Holy See, under whose rule the pontiffs are chaplains, and who might have founded a succession in St. Peter's Chair could public opinion have looked with favour on a married clergy . . . a pope at sixteen outraged every rule of his order ... Such, is the ignominious period we have now to sketch as rapidly as possible. Intrigue, unreason, violence and murder furnish its dominant notes." (Vide " Is the Pope to Rule America?" P.18.)

It is very evident that these evils are open to no whisper of doubt for a Catholic historian to write thus. This is a point we wish to impress, and perhaps the best way of impressing it will be to give one more quotation from Dr. Barry; this time from his book, " The Papacy and Modern Times":

"We come to the election, bought with money and promises, of Rodrigo Borgia, who took, as he said, the 'invincible Alexander'(Aug. 10, 1492) ... This Borgia left his name hanging like a thundercloud over the Vatican. He has a legend so black that to relieve it of a single stain may be deemed apologising for iniquity. Yet no pontiff could have dared such crime or earned such an infamous reputation had the Rome, the Italy of his day, not condoned or even admired his 'magnificence in sin' . . . He was an open profligate who turned the sacred palace into a Pompeian house of pleasure: that he made his bastard son a cardinal, and entrusted the government of the Vatican to his bastard daughter Lucrezia; that murder seemed to dog his footsteps; and that the foulest wickedness was thought credible of him -- who is there that has not read these things?"

No wonder these times are historically designated "The Dark Ages." And, be it noted, they were the darkest while the Church was at the plenitude of her power. Not until her light began to wane by her power being, broken did the light of civilization and freedom from intellectual thraldom begin to dawn on Europe.

Of the ELEVENTH CENTURY Mosheim. testifies:

"The licentiousness of this age in buying and selling sacred offices, exceeded all bounds and almost all credibility ... there seems to be almost nothing appertaining to the church which is not put upon sale . . . all ecclesiastical offices were at this time as much accounted things vendible, as merchandise is in a common market." (Century 11, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

"It is not necessary to be minute in describing the state of the public religion of this age. For who can doubt that it was debased and corrupt when the guardians of it were alike destitute of sacred and secular knowledge, and void of virtue; and even the first men in the church exhibited examples of the grossest vices? The people at large were wholly absorbed in superstition; and concerned themselves with nothing but statues, and images, and relics, the futile rites which the caprice of their priests enjoined upon them."


Thus, another century of tyranny and darkness ran its weary course, bringing us to the TWELFTH CENTURY. This century seems to mark a definite step in the direction of remission of purgatorial sentences called indulgences; a doctrine which has caused mental anguish to poverty stricken millions who have impoverished their meagre and insufficient resources to secure an imaginary alleviation of the sufferings of their dear ones who had died and were in purgatory.

Thus well-fed priests have fattened upon the poverty of peasants, and still do. Words fail to describe our utter abhorrence of this detestable and God-dishonouring invention.

During this twelfth century, Mosheim says:

"THE BISHOPS ... ALLOWED TRANSGRESSORS TO BUY OFF THE PENALTIES ENJOINED BY THE CANONS ... that is they published indulgences . . . The Roman pontiffs, perceiving what advantages the inferior bishops derived from their indulgences . . . began to publish . . . the entire and absolute, or the plenary, remission of all finite or temporal penalties; and THEY CANCELLED ... THE PUNISHMENTS ... TO BE ENDURED AFTER DEATH." (Century 12, Pt. 2, Ch. 3.)

In order to make this audacious claim more credible, the popes resorted to a novel and unheard-of explanation of their power thus to remit the purgatorial consequences of people's sins. The popes had the unblushing effrontery to declare:



Shameful as this is, worse was to come. When Martin Luther was later protesting against this very doctrine of indulgences he was opposed by Cardinal Cajeten, who was said to have declared:

"Thou must believe that ONE SINGLE DROP OF CHRIST'S BLOOD IS SUFFICIENT TO REDEEM THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE, and THE REMAINING QUANTITY that was shed in the garden and on the cross WAS LEFT AS A LEGACY TO THE POPE, to be A TREASURE FROM WHICH INDULGENCES WERE TO BE DRAWN." Prof. Draper, 'The Conflict between Religion and Science.' P. 211.

In the THIRTEENTH CENTURY Mosheim tells us of the progress of the claims of papal supremacy over all kings and magistrates:

"They (the popes) perseveringly urged, and with violence, with menaces, and frauds, and force of arms, that fundamental principle of the papal canon law, that THE ROMAN PONTIFF IS THE SOVEREIGN LORD OF THE WHOLE WORLD." (Century 13, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)


We are reminded of another notable event of this century by what we recently read of the allied campaign in Italy (during World War II):

"A special correspondent with the Polish forces in Italy reported today that German bombers attacked Basilica of the House of the Holy Family in Loretto on July 5 in moonlight. The Church, which belongs to the Holy See, was damaged, while the House of the Holy Family, reputed to have been brought from Nazareth, by angels in 1291, was also hit." Report.

This House of the Holy Family, which has been a very paying "lying wonder," has an interesting "history." It is dealt with by the Roman Catholic Bishop Kenrick and quoted by A. E. Barnett in "is the Pope to Rule America?" p. 139. The book is entitled, "The Holy House of Loretto." Mr. Barnett says:

"The authorship of such a book would expose any man, except a priest, to the charge or suspicion of lunacy. This work 'proves' that Queen Helena in 300 A.D. found the house at Nazareth in which Mary was born, lived, received the message of Gabriel and conceived the Son of God.

"In May, 1291, angels carried this house (it is thirty-two feet long, thirteen feet wide, eighteen feet high, with chimney, belfry and walls of stone) through the air, and laid it down on an eminence in Dalmatia, where it attracted wonderful attention and performed miracles of healing.

"On the 10th of December, 1294, the house took another journey. On that night, we are gravely informed by the bishop, 'some shepherds,' who were watching their flocks, beheld a house, surrounded by uncommon splendour, flying across the Adriatic, which separates Dalmatia from Italy. The shepherds waked their companions to see the 'mysterious object' and they all testified that 'it was of a supernatural character.' It pleased 'the Holy House' to rest in a district called Laurentum ... and hence the name 'the House of Loretto.'

"But the restless little house moved again; in the language of the bishop, 'most extraordinary to relate, this miraculous house was once more transferred, and placed in its present site, a very short distance beyond the property of the unworthy brothers' (who had quarrelled about the rent they were to receive). And there it remains 'to this present.' "

To which we are tempted to add, in true fairy story manner, "and they lived happily ever after"! Surely they are incurably demented to this very day. They live bodily in a modern age but mentally with medieval witches on broomsticks, hobgoblins, and bogey men.

In the FOURTEENTH CENTURY, following the death of Gregory VI, the Roman Church ceased to have one head; indeed,

"During fifty years the Church had two or three heads; and the CONTEMPORARY PONTIFFS ASSAILED EACH OTHER WITH EXCOMMUNICATIONS, maledictions, and hostile measures. The calamities and distress of those times are indescribable. For beside the perpetual contentions and wars between the pontifical factions, which were ruinous to great numbers, involving them in the loss of life or of property, NEARLY ALL SENSE OF RELIGION WAS IN MANY PLACES EXTINGUISHED, and wickedness daily acquired greater impunity and boldness; THE CLERGY, previously corrupt, LAID ASIDE EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF PIETY and godliness, while those who called themselves CHRIST'S VICEGERENTS WERE AT OPEN WAR with each other; and the conscientious people, who believed no one could be saved without living in subjection to Christ's vicegerent, were thrown into the greatest perplexity and anxiety of mind." (Century 14, Pt. 2, Ch. 2.)

"In this century also Innocent V commanded Christians to observe festal days, in memory of the spear that pierced Christ's side, of the nails that fastened him to the cross, and of the crown of thorns which he wore at his death." (Century 14, Pt. 2, Ch. 4.)


In the next, the FIFTEENTH CENTURY, Mosheim says, "religion was made to consist chiefly in mimic shows and trifling." He then quotes the following to illustrate his point:

"Among the statues of the cathedral church of Toul, there is an article with the title Sepelitur Halleluia. It is well known that, during the seasons of fasting, Halleluia, as being an expression of joy, was not sung in the ancient church. Hence, to honour this Halleluia, which, in the time of the fasts, was, as it were, dead, a solemn funeral was instituted. On the Saturday night before Septuagesima Sunday, children carried through the chancel a kind of coffin, to represent the dead Halleluia. The coffin was attended by the cross, incense, and holy water. The children wept and howled all the way to the cloister, where the grave was prepared." (Century 15, Pt. 2, Ch. 5.)

It was the accumulation of evil practices and the excesses of the clergy that precipitated the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century. As illustrative of the exceeding wickedness of these times we again quote Mosheim on this period:

"A book published in this century contains the tariff of dues to be paid to the papal chancery for all absolutions, dispensations, etc. According to this book, a dean may be ABSOLVED FROM MURDER FOR TWENTY CROWNS. A bishop or abbot may, for 300 livres, commit a murder whenever he pleases. And for one-third of that sum any clergyman may be guilty of unchastity under the most abominable circumstances." (Century 16, Sec. 1, Ch.l.)

A French Catholic divine, Claude Espence, contemporary with the book's publication, writes:

"There is a book extant . . . and is now on sale . . . from which more crimes can be learned than from all the writings concerning the vices; and in which licence is promised to very many, and absolution offered to all purchasers."

Of the public worship at this time, Mosheim says it

"consisted wholly in a round of ceremonies; and those for the most part vain and useless, being calculated not to affect the heart but to dazzle the eye. Those who delivered sermons (which many were not able to do) filled or rather beguiled the ears of the people, with pretended miracles, ridiculous fables, wretched quibbles, and similar trash, thrown together without judgment." (Century 16, Sec. 1, Ch. 1.)

As a result of such leadership Mosheim testifies:

"There was, among all classes and ranks, in every country, an amazing ignorance on religious subjects; and no less superstition united with gross corruption of morals."


Mosheim then adds this significant sentence:

"THOSE WHO PRESIDED OVER THE CEREMONIES WILLINGLY TOLERATED THESE EVILS; AND INDEED ENCOURAGED THEM IN VARIOUS WAYS . . . well knowing that their own interests were depending on them . . . for they could see, that IF THE CRIMES and sins of the people WERE DIMINISHED, THE SALE OF INDULGENCES WOULD ALSO DECREASE and they would derive much less revenue."

Of the extent of the riches accruing to the bishops, from this and similar practices, Mosheim says:

"For the bishops, by corrupt artifices, had gotten possession of so much wealth, so many castles, such revenues, and so great authority, that they were far more powerful than the kings, and were able to govern the whole realm at their pleasure."

This was the period which witnessed the stirring of Church reformation throughout Europe. It was the period connected with the names of Wycliffe and Tyndale, already noticed in our chapter on the Manuscripts.

The greatest weapon in the hands of the Protestants, as the reformers became known, was undoubtedly the Bible translated into the common tongue. We have seen how these new versions were stigmatized, by the papal party, in our chapter on Bible Manuscripts. Mosheim says that at that time:

"Unable to face the mortifying and embarrassing fact that men were won over from the papal church by reading the Bible, because they could not find Romish peculiarities in it, the clergy took refuge under the charges of inaccuracy against existing versions." (Century 16, Sec. 1, Ch. 5.)

The reader will remember how the ignorant friars spoke of the "new language" which had been "invented" (Greek), That such charges exerted a great influence upon those under the papal spell we have no doubt. Indeed the mass of Catholics today still repeat the fallacy of the untrustworthiness of our versions. What their objections are worth in the light of modern investigation and scholarship you already know from our evidence in Chapter Four.

The design of such antiquated charges must be obvious, and they constitute damning evidence against "Christians" who have to resort to such base and medieval falsehoods.

Another typical manoeuvre of the wily church at this Reformation period was one savouring of the "lying wonders" of the apostle's allusion.

At the time when Queen Elizabeth was effecting the Reformation of the Church in Ireland, Mosheim tells us of a service which was being conducted on reformed lines at Christchurch, Dublin. During the reformed service a large image of Christ was observed to be bleeding from the crown of thorns upon his brow.

"The pavement became crowded with prostrate worshippers violently moved; 'Our Saviour (they said) could not help sweating blood, on seeing heresy thus come into his church."' (Century 16, Sec. 3, Pt. 2, Ch. 5.)

But upon investigation of this phenomenon, "a sponge thoroughly soaked in blood was dislodged from the hollow of the figure's head"-- a monk had been responsible for the trickery.


Having thus briefly traced the uprise and development of the church until the days of the Reformation, it will be interesting to consider briefly the cause which principally precipitated this great upheaval.

Although for many years there had been a smouldering discontent at the more blatant evils of the Roman church, open opposition had been successfully suppressed by means of the infernal secret tribunals of Rome known as the Inquisition.

But at last, in Germany, Martin Luther was able to raise successfully the standard of revolt. He was moved to his great reforming efforts by the activities, in Germany, of a mendicant monk of the Dominican order, named Tetzel. The pope was hard-up for money with which to rebuild the great church at Rome, known as St Peter's, so he commissioned this hardened scoundrel Tetzel to tour Europe selling indulgences to raise the necessary funds. Tetzel's activities are well known to readers of history. The arguments he used in order to sell his nebulous wares for hard cash have been preserved by many writers. The following is an abridged record from various writers:

"If the earthly treasury of the pope was empty, his spiritual treasury was full; and there was wealth enough there to rear a temple that would eclipse all existing structures, and be worthy of being the metropolitan church of Christendom. In short it was resolved to open a special sale of Indulgences in all the countries of Europe . . . FROM THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME WOULD FLOW A RIVER OF SPIRITUAL BLESSING. TO ROME WOULD FLOW BACK A RIVER OF GOLD ... They sought out a suitable person to perambulate Germany and preach up the Indulgences ... found a Dominican monk named John Tetzel. Tetzel lacked no quality necessary for success in his scandalous occupation. He had THE VOICE OF A TOWNCRIER AND THE ELOQUENCE OF A MOUNTEBANK. This latter quality enabled him to paint in glowing colours the marvellous virtues of his wares ...

"When he entered a city Tetzel and his company went straight to the Cathedral. The crowd pressed in and filled the church . . . He bade the people . . . 'PRESS IN NOW COME AND BUY WHILE THE MARKET LASTS; should that cross be taken down, the market will close, heaven will depart, and then you will begin to knock, and to bewail your folly in neglecting to avail yourselves of blessings which shall then have gone beyond your reach. INDULGENCES ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS AND THE MOST NOBLE OF GOD'S GIFTS'; then, pointing to the red cross which stood in full view of the multitude, he would exclaim, 'This cross has as much efficacy as the very cross of Christ. Come, and I will give you letters all properly sealed, by which even THE SINS YOU intend TO COMMIT MAY BE PARDONED. I would not change my privileges for those of St. Peter in heaven, for I HAVE SAVED MORE SOULS BY MY INDULGENCES THAN THE APOSTLE DID BY HIS SERMONS . . . INDULGENCES AVAIL NOT ONLY FOR THE LIVING BUT THE DEAD ... Priest, noble, merchant, wife, youth, maiden, do you not hear your parents and your other friends who are dead, and who cry from the bottom of the abyss: WE ARE SUFFERING HORRIBLE TORMENTS! A TRIFLING ALMS WOULD DELIVER US; you can give it and will not'."


"AT THE VERY INSTANT," continues Tetzel, "THAT THE MONEY RATTLES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CHEST THE SOUL ESCAPES FROM PURGATORY AND PLIES LIBERATED TO HEAVEN. Now you can ransom so many souls, stiffnecked and thoughtless man; with twelve groats you can deliver your father from Purgatory, and you are ungrateful enough, not to save him! . . . I declare unto you, though you have but a single coat, you ought to strip it off and sell it, in order to obtain this grace . . . THE LORD OUR GOD NO LONGER REIGNS; HE HAS RESIGNED ALL POWER TO THE POPE."

These proceedings, although they deceived many, shocked and angered others. Luther pertinently enquired:

"To open the gates of that doleful prison in which so many miserable beings live in flames, and for once make Purgatory tenantless, would be a more sober monument of the grace and munificence of the pope than the most sumptuous temple that he can by any possibility rear in the Eternal City."

"Why does not the pope deliver at once all the souls from Purgatory by a holy charity and on account of their great wretchedness, since he delivers so many from love of perishable money?"

To which the echoes answered, but not the pope -- Why?

Purgatory, where souls are supposed to finish off the punishment for their sins committed before they died in order to be purified and made fit for heaven, is dependent for its truth on the generally accepted doctrine of the immortality of the soul. If there is no such thing as an immortal soul; if it is purely an invention of the human mind; if death is an end of all consciousness and (for a time at least) the end of all existence; then, of course, Purgatory simply becomes a monstrous invention of designing priests, used for their own profit, as well as an admirable means of keeping their ignorant devotees in superstitious fear of their power; for men who could get them out of the cleansing and painful fires of Purgatory were not to be lightly offended.


There is no evidence for the existence of such a place as Purgatory. A modern Catholic writer modestly declares:

"We know nothing with certainty about purgatory, except the fact of its existence, and that it involves a delay in entering heaven till the last relics of sinfulness are purged away."

How he "knows" these things he doesn't explain, and perhaps it is as well, for him, that he doesn't. "Simply affirm and discourage questions" is a good Catholic motto. In the same strain he continues:

"We are told nothing of the amount, kind or duration of its purgative processes."

In which case, you see, you could go on praying and paying for the release of someone who had left for another place many years ago. The honest admission that they know nothing of certain aspects of the subject, craftily implies that certain other things are known. But what other things, and how they are known is never mentioned. There is, of course, an excellent reason. From the Roman pontiff to the parish priest they know exactly as much as I know, exactly as much as anyone ever can or ever will know, of something which has absolutely no existence; and that is -- nothing! In spite of this, Father E. R. Hill continues:

"We know, however, that by our intercessions and other good works we can help those detained there. Hence the practice of prayers for the dead, and the application of indulgences to the souls of the departed." ("What the Catholic Church is and what she teaches," page 30.)

It savours of bribing a policeman to mitigate the sufferings of one of our relatives whom legally constituted authority has sentenced to certain pains and penalties. But I for one, were I to stoop to bribery, would want to be quite sure first that my relative was really in the Police custody, even if I had doubts about the benefit the cash was really conferring. But to go on paying good money when the said relative is really somewhere altogether different -- well, only poor, deluded creatures, victims of papal superstition, could ever be persuaded to part with money for such nebulous benefits.


But other Jesuit writers are not quite so modest in disclaiming knowledge of Purgatory. Things need warming up a little sometimes to melt the heart, fire the imagination, and, above all, loosen the purse-strings.

Quoting from "Two Ancient Treatises on Purgatory," republished in 1893 by the Jesuit Father Morris, A. E. Barnett reproduces the following:

"You must then conceive Purgatory to be a vast, darksome and hideous chaos, full of fire and flames, in which the souls are kept close prisoners until they have fully satisfied all their misdemeanours . . . For God has made choice of this element of fire wherewith to punish souls, because it is the most active, piercing, sensible and insupportable of all others."

Then, as if encouraged by their own fiendish idea of what God would do, and warming to their subject, they continue:

"Good God, how the great saints and doctors astonish me when they treat of this fire, and of the pain . . . (IT) SURPASSES ALL THE TORMENTS THAT ARE TO BE FOUND IN THIS MISERABLE LIFE OF MAN . . . out of which assertion it clearly follows that . . . all the horrible convulsions of the worst diseases -- nay, THOUGH YOU JOIN RACKS, GRIDIRONS, BOILING OILS, WILD BEASTS AND A HUNDRED HORSES DRAWING SEVERAL WAYS AND TEARING ONE LIMB FROM ANOTHER . . . ALL THIS DOES NOT REACH TO THE LEAST PART OF THE mildest PAINS OF PURGATORY." (Page 135.)

What a lurid imagination! What nice men, to be sure! The introduction of the "rack," "gridiron" and "boiling oil" seems to reveal the cloven hoof and betray a more than passing acquaintance with the persuasive measures of fiendish inquisitors who used such things to make men good Catholics and save them from a worse fate in hell.

Doubtless they describe what they would do, were they in charge of Purgatory; but to attribute such a place to a just and holy God is a species of blasphemy we can find no words to describe.

But for whom, we enquire, is this delectable place prepared? For the vilest and most abandoned criminals? For manslayers and adulterers? By no means. It is prepared for the overwhelming majority of pious Catholic Christians, for only an infinitesimal few go straight to heaven. Even the Holy Fathers, the popes, have to do time there. Most are probably still there, for Purgatorial fires burn very slowly.


This being so, the fate of the wicked in Hell must beggar description. How these Jesuit writers could now describe their sufferings after exhausting their vocabularies on Purgatory it would be interesting to know.

The great difference, we suppose, is that the patient purgatorial penitents are sustained in the fire by the knowledge that it will not be for ever; just a few thousand years, more or less; more in the case, for instance, of the erring popes, whilst the real sinners in Hell have no such happy expectation.

However this may be, having got the faithful well primed with the idea, they can now play upon and harrow their maternal, paternal, or filial feelings. Tetzel is dead, but his spirit lives on. We cull the following from Mr. Barnett's book --" Is the Pope to Rule America?":

"I clipped from last week's Catholic Standard and Times the following paragraph. Anything more horribly depressing or better calculated to drive a soul, that can be pitifully stupid enough to accept it, to despair I have never read:


'The apathy of many Catholics towards the dead would lead one to conclude that they regard purgatory as a place of probation and not of purgation. The souls there detained can gain no new merits for themselves; the time for that closed at the moment of death. They are helpless as far as assisting themselves is concerned; and they must rely upon the suffrages of their relatives and friends. The Catholic who is not mindful of the needs of the poor souls has a heart devoid of Christian charity for the most helpless of God's creatures.'

What does all this mean? It means that the apostolic prophecies have come true. It means that before your eyes you have the apostate system which the apostles foretold. It means that here is a practical illustration of the divine forecast:

"Shall they with feigned words make merchandize of you." (2 Pet. 2:3.)

Or, in the more prosaic language of our modern world, they are telling lies -- for cash!


From this same book and writer we cull the following:

"This notice is taken from a Roman Catholic church in Mexico, where Romanism has all its own way, and shows what it is, apart from all the checks of Protestantism and freedom;


'At the last raffle for souls the following numbers obtained the prize, and THE LUCKY HOLDERS MAY BE ASSURED THAT THEIR LOVED ONES ARE FOREVER RELEASED FROM THE FLAMES OF PURGATORY.

TICKET 841: The soul of the lawyer, James Vasquey, is RELEASED FROM PURGATORY and ushered into heavenly joys.

TICKET 41: The soul of Madame Calderon is MADE HAPPY FOREVER . ..

'Another raffle for souls will be held at the same blessed Church of the Redeemer on January 1, at which FOUR BLEEDING AND TORTURED SOULS WILL BE RELEASED FROM PURGATORY, according to the four highest tickets in this most holy lottery. Tickets, one dollar, to be had of the Father-in-charge. Will you for the sum of one dollar leave your loved ones to BURN IN PURGATORY for ages?' (Page 72.)

Thus salvation, which God offers "without money and without price" (Isa. 55: 1), is made dependent on tickets drawn out of a hat in a low-down sweepstake. Even then only the few "lucky" ones benefit and the rest stay where they are, "bleeding and tortured souls." And the price of a slender chance of release -- one dollar!

Leaving Mexico for America the tale is still the same. The spirit of Tetzel still lives, but his methods are a little more refined. The same writer says:

"I received the other day by mail a copy of the St. Vincent's Visitor, published with the approbation of the Right Reverend Charles Edward McDonnall, D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn.

"Here is the attractive, bargain-counter advertisement in large type:

'St. Vincent's Purgatorial Society. For the Living and the Dead.
5508 Masses Offered each Year for its Members.

With the kind permission of the Rt. Rev. Charles E. McDonnall, D. D., Bishop of the diocese of Brooklyn, the Perpetual Membership fee in St. Vincent's Purgatorial Society has been reduced to ten dollars.

This means that all who become members of our Purgatorial Society, whether living or dead, will have read for them each year Five Thousand Five Hundred and Eight Masses.'

"One is tempted to observe here that one mass must be of very small efficacy, or else their members must lead shocking lives to need approximately fifteen masses per day."


Even poverty must be no excuse. Let poverty sell her rags to gratify avarice. So from the United States of America, the reputed home of purchase by deferred payments, we should expect the appeal to add, for the benefit of its poor devotees --

"Those not in the position to pay the amount of ten dollars in cash may make weekly or monthly payments to suit their own convenience." (Page 72.)

Then after dilating on the merits of the living paying for the dead, the writer suggests that it would be unwise to take chances. Our living relatives may forget us when we die. So now is the time to make personal provision, and put a bit away for the coming rainy day:

"Even in life and health," says modern Tetzel, "there is no better way of providing for the future than by becoming members of the Purgatorial Society. Do not depend upon those whom you may leave after you. Be sure that you will not be forgotten after death by becoming a Perpetual Member of the Society at once . . .

Address all communications to:

Rev. William L. Blake, St.
Vincent's Home for Boys
Brooklyn, N.Y. (P.O. Box 174)."

Although we do not remember seeing anything quite like this in English Catholic periodicals, we do find regular advertisements in them, week after week, promising to say a stated number of masses "for ever" for those who forward a cash donation to various causes. Usually it is the building of new churches or the restoration of old ones. Whilst inside the porch of Catholic churches in England you will find an offertory box marked with the words:

"For the Holy Souls."

Money is deposited in these boxes, by the well-disposed, to pay for masses to be said for the dead in Purgatory, "The most helpless of God's creatures" who cannot pay for themselves. What "souls" eventually get the benefit of the cash, we must leave the reader to guess. But whether they be "holy souls," we must beg leave to doubt.

By this time the Catholic will feel pretty uncomfortable at these exposures. We are sorry his feelings cannot be spared but the vindication of truth necessitates the exposure of error. If the Catholic be God-fearing, then let him be ashamed of his associations and renounce them; and not be like the thief who is sorry when he is caught, not because of his misdemeanour, but because his crime has been detected.


By this time the Protestant may be feeling complacent. He will say, "Oh yes, we knew all that, but of course our glorious Reformation abolished all these excesses as far as our church in this country is concerned, for the Reforma tion was designed to re-establish primitive Christianity." The Protestant has no cause for complacency, however, for whatever the Reformation aimed at it certainly never accomplished.

The Reformation, begun with such good intentions, was soon exploited for political ends by temporal princes who desired to break the power of Rome. Dissolute rulers became its champions; sanguinary wars were fought to ensure its success. In England Henry VIII made use of the spirit of reform to further his private interests. The pope was dethroned in England, and Henry became the head of a reconstituted Church of England. But let the reader carefully note that, apart from the removal of a few glaring evils and outrageous doctrines, such as Indulgences, Image worship, and Transubstantiation, it was still the same old business in spite of its change of management; carried on in the same old buildings, largely by the same old priests, preaching the same old fables.

Let us not be misunderstood, however. Every liberty loving man, and especially that small remnant of apostolic Christians, can truly thank God for the Reformation as a restorer of religious liberty. But as a means of really reforming the church, and re-establishing primitive Christian worship, it was a dismal failure.

The Church of England still retains, as its cardinal doctrine, the heathen belief of the immortality of the soul, made popular by the philosophers Socrates and Plato, and introduced into the Christian church by their followers. Mr. Roberts, the author of "
Christendom Astray from the Bible," truly observes:

"The doctrine of the immortality of the soul must be removed from the mind before gospel truth can obtain a proper entrance; for it nullifies the whole system by obliterating its foundation doctrine that 'by one man came death' . . . In fact, its effect is to pervert, vitiate, poison, nullify, and destroy everything pertaining to God's truth. It sends its jarring vibrations through the entire system of revelation, introducing confusion and absurdity where otherwise reign peace, order, harmony and beauty." (Chap. 17.)

Then, when we realise that without this doctrine the church has nothing to excuse her existence (for she pretends to cure souls and fit them for heaven) it becomes apparent that WITH ITS FOUNDATION DESTROYED THE WHOLE EDIFICE OF DECEIT MUST TUMBLE TO RUIN.

The zeal of many early reformers, though largely mistaken, was at least refreshing. They at least had a zeal for God and a deep reverence for his resurrected word -- the Bible. But today this has all given place to a liberal vagueness in all matters religious. The Bible is belittled by the men who are earning their livings for professing it, and its real teaching is lightly laid aside. Yet strange to relate, while manifesting apathy and veiled hostility towards the Bible and its doctrines, they are most energetic in their defence of heathen dogmas inherited from the early apostacy,


The Bishop of Bradford is a good illustration of this peculiar mentality. His excuse for writing his recent book ("What the Church Teaches") is that it would benefit men and women

"who, because they are interested and intelligent, find that they cannot ignore religion, but who declare themselves unable to understand the church's teaching . . . They are puzzled and feel mystified about what it all means."

He says further that in conversation with many he had helped them and "found them grateful . . . to have Christian doctrine explained to them in ordinary language."

This emboldened Bishop Blunt

"to write for people like these a simple book which will be a guide to the Christian faith."

And what a guide! On the subject of Eden, which Jesus and Paul treat as historical, the learned Bishop informs his "grateful" readers,


That's that; the Bishop fias spoken! Encouraged by this pen victory he next gives his scholarly attention to the clearly revealed doctrine of Christ's second coming, upon which the whole purpose of God hinges, and terms it "a piece of PICTURE THINKING."

The effrontery of the man is amazing. THAT WHICH IS CLEARLY REVEALED is "MYTHOLOGY" and "PICTURE THINKING." Yet what happens when it really becomes a matter of "mythology" and "picture thinking," such as the doctrine of the Trinity, and heaven-going of souls at death? Why, the Bishop seems to feel that here he is on solid ground. And although he has the blasphemous impudence to brand God's Word "mythology," he himself feels very hurt because someone unkindly called his pet doctrine of the Trinity, a "metaphysical rodomontade."

"I shall hope to show," says he, "that it is nothing of the sort." (Page 54.)

That he fails to do so need hardly be stated in view of the despairing and unsuccessful efforts of divines of all ages to explain the "inexplicable," define the "indefinable," or comprehend the "incomprehensible." This the bishop virtually admits in the words with which he closes his "explanation":

"Finally, be it noted that THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS not THAT WE understand the doctrine of the Trinity, but THAT WE worship ONE GOD IN TRINITY and Trinity in Unity . . . THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY IS A MYSTERY." (Page 58.)

We should just think it is! Thus do Bishop Blunt and his Church of England confreres tenaciously cling to man made "incomprehensibles" and "indefinables," and yet have the audacity to dismiss with contempt Christian truths revealed by him they call Lord and Master, and term them "myths " and "picture thinking."


This same perverse spirit is evident in the Bishop's defence of the pagan doctrine of heaven-going at death. The Bishop of course believes this, and, to his own satisfaction, if not to that of his "grateful" readers, demonstrates its truth. Where from? Not the Scriptures; that is not possible. He demonstrates it from his own reasoning. One very telling argument he employs as a reason for this erroneous belief at once exposes the poverty of his "evidence":

"because somewhere in God's Universe God's music must be played properly. That never happens here. Somewhere it must happen, and man, because he is the child of God, must have a place in God's orchestra." (Page 89.)

Hence reasons this amazing logician -- Heaven-going at death!

Earlier in his book he recounts the story of a little boy who, bewildered by his mother's explanation of the Holy Sacrament, said:

"I think I could understand if you would only not explain."

What happens, Dr. Blunt, when the blind undertake to lead the blind? The Master says, they both fall into the ditch. Believest thou this, self-appointed expounder of Christian doctrine? We are sure that your readers would all understand Christian doctrine so much better if only clever but illogical men like you "WOULD ONLY NOT EXPLAIN."

Well, the "puzzled" and "mystified" should have been helped by a reading of our previous pages to get a better idea by now of "what it all means." We have yet to show them a more excellent way.


And now a word or two about the more definite opponents of the Church and, as they think, Christianity itself. Side, by side with the political-religious revolt against Rome, there has developed an intellectual revolt by many scientists and thinkers of all classes against Christianity itself.

At the hands of these men the Church has received a rough handling, but it has asked for it. Very early in the scientific era the Church began dictating to the scientists, and then persecuting them and burning them for the "good of their souls." An example of this is quoted by a modern opponent of the Church, Professor Draper. Of the Church's persecution of Bruno, an astronomer who taught the "plurality of worlds" and was condemned by the Church, he ironically comments that he was

"delivered to the secular authorities to be punished, 'as mercifully as possible, and without the shedding of his blood,' the horrible formula for burning a prisoner at the stake."

It was by such things as this that the Church was brought into conflict with Science. Never learning her lessons she has continued to meddle in things too high for her to understand.

While science has been forging her big guns the Church has been opposing her with antiquated bows and arrows and medieval pikestaffs and has, as a result, fought a losing battle as knowledge of the sciences has grown. One by one the outworks of the Church's defensive system have collapsed and they have had to retreat within their central citadel.

Some theologians, alarmed at the collapse, have shown an indecent haste to renounce the faith of their fathers and seek to atone for past errors by joining in the work of demolition. We have already referred to some of them when we dealt with the Higher Critics in chapter two. What they fail to see is that it is their unscientific dogmas that are being attacked, which they have for so long believed to be in the Bible.

Even the Catholic, the most conservative and reactionary of them all, now only contests his inner citadel, which is, that church teaching in certain matters is "above science and reason." Notably is this the case with the doctrine of Transubstantiation, when, by the muttering of a magic formula by the priest, a wafer is turned into the literal and physical flesh of Christ; a doctrine which is grossly unscientific as well as an outrage on reason. But the Church from within her inner citadel pronounces it a revelation of the Church which is "beyond scientific enquiry." But on many other demonstrable scientific truths, which the Church once opposed, she has changed out of all knowledge in spite of her motto, Semper Idem.

As science has widened its circle of discovery, so has the circle of church dogma been narrowed down, and each conflict of the Church with scientific progress results in a defeat for the Church.

Now unfortunately the Church has, in the past, appealed to the Bible to support her in her conflict with science. And in a book so diverse, full of parables, figures, and similes, it would be surprising if something could not be found to press into service in support of any preconceived idea. We shall have occasion to refer to this later. Therefore when the Church appealed to the Bible in support of a position that later became untenable the defeat of the Church's position carried with it the implication of defeat for the Bible.


But when we know somewhat of the Church's "proofs" in support of her foolish contentions, which are designed to hinder all enquiry and block all progress prejudicial to her interests, then we can see how careful one must be before convicting the Bible of the Church's errors.

You will remember, for instance, how the Church quoted Scripture in order to oppose the translation of the Bible into English. They then declared that if the common people once knew that Christ commanded us to pluck out eyes that caused us to offend, then the nation would soon be composed of blind people.

Then again, in order to silence Copernicus, who taught that the earth moved on its axis, they again quoted the Scripture which says,

"(God) laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be, removed for ever." (Ps. 104:5)

An unbiased reading will show that the permanence of the earth is here affirmed by semi-figurative language which most of us use every day of our life. This interpretation is explained and confirmed by other Scriptures, for instance:

"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever." (Eccles. 1:4)

In the introduction to our Authorized Version of the Scriptures we read of Queen Elizabeth being a "bright Occidental Star," but we have yet to read of someone scanning the heavens with a telescope to find her. When enemy forces "hammer" each other it is not done with hammers. Neither do defending soldiers sally forth in diving suits to roll back the "flood" of invasion.

But in the days of which we speak anything was good enough to press into service, for the masses were even more ignorant of Scripture than their leaders, if that were possible.

Had Copernicus been as good a Bible student as he was an astronomer, he could have put his opponents in a terrible dilemma by quoting Scripture to support his "heresy"--

"He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth, the earth upon nothing." (Job 26:7)

Thus we see the need to let the Bible be its own interpreter, and to discern between figure of speech and plain statement. The infallible way is not to take a passage out of its context but diligently to compare it with other Scriptures of like import; in other words, to reason out of the Scriptures, and compare Scripture with Scripture. Always remember that,

"A text, without its context, is a pretext."

Today, when Churchmen have the hardihood to contest the opinions of modern philosophers, we find that the arguments of philosophy cut through pagan church dogmas like a hot knife through butter.

This was particularly noticeable in a recently published debate between a well-known Catholic controversialist and a well-known philosopher. The Church arguments were made to look absurd. The Church apologist had to shift his ground and change his mind so many times in order to escape polemical annihilation that the philosopher was moved to declare that he felt as though he was fighting a feather bed, with the consistency of a jelly, and the characteristics of a chameleon -- a feeling with which any reader of the debate must sympathise.

But it is very interesting to note that there were some hard lumps in the butter, sufficiently hard to turn the edge of the knife. This occurred when the defender of the Church retreated behind the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, and the consequent truth of early Christianity. Here he was in an invulnerable position, and the philosopher knew it. The catch, of course, which the philosopher was slow to perceive, is that the Church claim the early Christians as their brethren in faith and practice. That is an error into which we feel our readers will not fall, in view of the exposure of the Church in this chapter.


The object of our present chapter has been to make a separation between current Christianity and the Bible, for these two are inextricably bound together in popular misconception. UNTIL THIS MISUNDERSTANDING IS FINALLY REMOVED THE TRUTH CAN MAKE NO HEAD-WAY, either with the Rationalist, the unbeliever, the indifferent, or the orthodox Christian.

Our aim has been to clear the Bible from an association which has provoked the blasphemy of the infidel, the cynicism of the thoughtful, and the bewilderment and bemuddling of "the ordinary man" who is, as the Bishop says, "mystified" by it all;

Our aim has been to make the Bible stand out clearly against the sordid background of Church doctrine and practice, and to acquit it of complicity in the Church's guilt;

Our aim has been to prepare your minds to consult the Bible alone as the authoritative and final source of information on all matters pertaining to God, His purpose, and His wishes.

We trust that, within the limits of such an abridged history, we have succeeded in demonstrating to you that organised CHRISTIANITY IS NOTHING MORE THAN A PAGAN CORRUPTION OF primitive CHRISTIANITY, and that the early Christian faith became corrupted exactly as the apostles foretold. This in itself, we would remind you, not only exonerates the Bible from guilt for "Christian" errors, but is a powerful evidence of the Bible's divine inspiration. For did we witness no such wholesale departure, but rather a growth and continuance of pure religion, then the Bible would have been falsified.

For the purpose of demonstrating this great apostacy from primitive Christianity, and in order to expose the apostate church, we have resorted to history: not our interpretation of history but that of a universally accredited historian, Dr. Mosheim, whose evidence has been reinforced by out-and-out Catholic writers who have been unable to evade the plain facts of history.


Sufficient has been written to prove that the Church has no claim upon, or kinship with, the Bible. The Bible exposes her doctrines as pagan fictions, and demonstrates her to be the foretold apostacy.

In the evidence adduced in this chapter the Catholic should see proof of his Church's guilt. The Protestant should see that, abstractly admirable as his attitude is, his dissent from Rome is not sufficient if he continues to hold Romish doctrines such as the Trinity and the immortality of the soul. The "ordinary man" can realise that his judgment is just and that "by their fruits" we do know them. While the hostile man must realise that his repudiation of the Church by no means condemns Christianity: the two things are entirely different, and if we have succeeded in our task he will see this clearly by now.

The Bible is responsible for primitive Christianity; it is not responsible for modern Christianity. Thus as we proceed to examine the Bible in order to ascertain its teaching, we can rule the Church right out of our consideration. What the Church says, what the Church believes, what the Church teaches, just doesn't count. As well might an astronomer seek the aid of an artificial fog manufacturer.

So while the objector is right in regarding modern Christianity as "just another religion" like all great world religions, his argument leaves real Christianity unaccounted for; indeed it is more than probable that, being the victim of the common misconception, he never even knew of its existence.


Thus our fourth and last snow-man, of which we spoke in chapter one, now follows his three predecessors into watery dissolution, as we promised. The way is at last clear for us to enquire in enlightened confidence, "What saith the Scripture?"

CONTENTS | 1 | 2(1) | 2(2) | 3 | 4 | 5(1) | 5(2) |