CHAPTER FIVE Part 2
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
and lying wonders." -- Paul
Of the SEVENTH CENTURY in
general Mosheim observes:
"During this century,
TRUE RELIGION LAY BURIED UNDER A SENSELESS MASS OF SUPERSTITION.
The earlier Christians had worshipped only God and His Son, but
those CALLED CHRISTIANS in this age WORSHIPPED THE WOOD OF A
CROSS, THE IMAGES OF HOLY MEN, AND BONES OF DUBIOUS ORIGIN."
"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,
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
Of the EIGHTH CENTURY Mosheim records a waxing "worse and
"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.
A TERRIBLE RECORD
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.
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.
HARLOTS AT THE VATICAN
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.
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?"
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
"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
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.
"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."
AN "AUDACIOUS CLAIM"
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
"There is an IMMENSE
TREASURY OF GOOD WORKS, which holy men have performed, over and
above what duty required, and that THE ROMAN PONTIFF IS THE KEEPER AND DISTRIBUTOR OF THIS
TREASURE; SO THAT HE IS ABLE, OUT OF THIS INEXHAUSTIBLE FUND,
TO GIVE AND TRANSFER TO EVERY ONE SUCH AN AMOUNT OF GOOD WORKS
AS HIS NECESSITIES REQUIRE, or as will suffice to avert the punishment
of his sins."
THE POPE'S "LEGACY"
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.
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.)
A HOUSE THAT FLEW!
We are reminded of another notable event of this century by what
we recently read of the allied campaign in Italy (during World
"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
"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
"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.)
CLERICAL TOM FOOLERY
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,
As a result of such leadership
"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
"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.
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
"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
"GOD HAS RESIGNED;
THE POPE REIGNS"
"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
"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.
"BRIBING A POLICEMAN"
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.
LOOSING THE PURSE-STRINGS
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
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."
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.
TETZEL'S SPIRIT LIVES
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 POOR SOULS
'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!
SWEEPSTAKE FOR SOULS
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 --
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
"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."
HEAVEN ON EASY PAYMENTS
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
"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
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:
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
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.
NEW MANAGEMENT BUT
THE OLD BUSINESS
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
Astray from the Bible,"
"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,
"PUZZLED AND MYSTIFIED"
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
This emboldened Bishop Blunt
"to write for people
like these a simple book which will be a guide to the Christian
And what a guide! On the subject
of Eden, which Jesus and Paul treat as historical, the learned
Bishop informs his "grateful" readers,
"The Bible tells US THE
LEGEND OF ADAM AND EVE ... WE NEED NOT TREAT THIS AS HISTORICAL
. . . it was a PRIMITIVE GUESS ... it is A PIECE OF MYTHOLOGY."
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
"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."
"IF YOU WOULD
ONLY NOT EXPLAIN"
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."
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,
"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.
THE CHURCH'S "PROOFS"
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
"(God) laid the foundations
of the earth, that it should not be, removed for ever."
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."
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
"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.
ACQUITTED OF COMPLICITY
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.
NOT "JUST ANOTHER
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
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.
THE LAST OF THE "SNOW-MEN"
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) |