[Editor's note:- Dr. Haldeman was one of the great
fundamental prophets of the early 20th century. This sermon, which we
reprint here, was preached in 1910 in the First Baptist Church, New York City,
and indicates his vision and understanding of the anti-Christianity of the
Church of Rome. His comment on world events of the time makes it unique and
gives us an insight into Biblical Christian thinking in the early years of the
last decade of the Millennium. We believe that such preaching against Popery
needs to be resurrected and a new era of opportunity created to alert those who
have been almost overcome by the false opinions of Rome. When these sermons were
first published, the preacher said: "I am convinced that the 'signs of the
times' call for a reading and study in this hour as never before. Heaven, and
earth, and hell - the professing church, the nations, and, now and then, the
clanging of nature's forces, bid us realise that we are on the threshold where
the shifting of events, at any moment, may usher in that vast and solemn
process, whose terminus ad quem is the Coming and Kingdom of the Son of
God." - If this was so at the beginning of our century, how much more now
as it ends!]
"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness.
And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy,
having seven heads and ten horns.
"And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour,
and decked with gold and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her
hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY,
BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints,
and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I wondered with
great admiration. [...] And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which
reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17: 1-6, 18.)
A woman in scripture is a symbol of the church.
The church, under the figure of a woman, is first espoused, and
then presented, as a chaste virgin to Christ. "I have espoused you to
one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (II
What is written to the Corinthian church is written to
"all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both
theirs and ours". (I Corinthians 1:2.)
The announcement of the virginal character of the Corinthian
church in its standing before God is an affirmation as to the standing of the
church in "every place", necessarily in all time, and, therefore, of
the church everywhere, and in our time.
It is a symbol of the church universal.
The woman is the church.
The church is also symbolised by a city. "And there
came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven
last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the
bride, the Lamb's wife.
"And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high
mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of
heaven from God." (Revelation 21:9, 10.)
The Lamb is our Lord Jesus Christ.
The bride, the Lamb's wife, when espoused and presented to Him,
must have been a chaste virgin. The chaste virgin espoused and presented by Paul
to Christ, is the church. As the holy city is the bride of Christ, His wife and,
in the nature of the case, must have been espoused and presented to Him as a
chaste Virgin, and the chaste virgin when so espoused and presented becomes a
bride, a wife, then the holy city, the bride, the Lamb's wife, the wife of
Christ, is a symbol of the church. A chaste virgin, a bride, a wife, is a woman;
and as the city is the symbol of a wife, then the city is the symbol of a woman.
As the woman is the symbol of the church, and the church is symbolised by a
city, then the woman is, also, a symbol of the city. The woman is a symbol of
the city, the city is a symbol of the woman, and both the woman and the city are
symbols of the church; and thus, whether it be a woman or a city, the one
identifies the other.
But it is evident that while the woman is exclusively a symbol,
and not a real woman, the city is both a symbol and an actual city.
The city is a symbol.
The city is the symbol of a woman, and as a woman is an
organised body, and is the symbol of the church, then the city is the symbol of
the church as an organised body, a polity, a system.
The city is actual.
A city consists of people and the place in which people
The church as an organised body, a polity, a system, consists
of people and, as such, must have a place to dwell. When, therefore, the Apostle
John in vision sees the holy city as the bride, the Lamb's wife, he sees that
city both as the people and the place in which they dwell; and the name of the
city includes them both. Just as New York signifies the people and the city in
which they dwell, so the holy city, the New Jerusalem, signifies the church as a
polity, a system, a body of people, and the real and actual place, the real and
actual city in which, as real and actual people, they shall dwell, and from
whence they shall shine forth as the glorified bride of Christ, the triumphant
wife of the Lamb.
In the scripture quoted at the head of this article we have the
picture of a woman, and this woman declared to be a city.
What is true of the woman who is the Lamb's bride, who is also
a city, is equally true of this woman who is called a city.
The woman is exclusively a symbol, she is not a real woman; the
city is both symbolic and actual.
By the preceding evidence of symbolry this scarlet-clad woman
and the city, where of necessity she must be centralised, where she must dwell,
and from which she must be manifested in her power, both represent a church.
But this woman and this city stand in terrific contrast to the
woman and city which set forth the church of Christ.
They contrast and contradict each other. The church is
represented by a chaste virgin.
This woman is a bedizened harlot, and is called in plain
speech, "the whore."
The church is espoused to one husband. This woman holds
promiscuous commerce with the kings of the earth.
The church is the mystery of godliness. This woman is
"MYSTERY, BABYLON". The church is called "the pillar and ground
of the truth."
This woman is called "Babylon", signifies
"confusion", and recalls an unfinished tower. The church offers the
cup of salvation and stands for holiness.
This woman holds in her hand a golden cup full of abominations
The church is the mother of the saints. This woman is "THE
MOTHER OF HARLOTS".
The church is the bride of Christ.
This woman, by the law of symbolry, is a professed church of
Christ, and therefore a would-be bride of Christ; but, as she is a harlot, she
cannot be the true bride of Christ, she cannot be the true church of Christ. If
she is not the true church of Christ but a corrupt and corrupting harlot, then
she is a false and corrupt church professing the name of Christ.
The identity of this false and corrupt church is not far to
She is called a city, a city that "reigneth over the
"kings of the earth".
A city that reigns over the kings of the earth is a universal
city. A universal city is a catholic city. As this universal-catholic city is,
also, symbolically, a woman, and this woman a professed church, then this woman
is a universal, a catholic church.
This universal, this catholic church, is represented as
exceedingly rich in gold, in precious stones and pearls.
The distinctive colour of the woman is scarlet.
She has not only committed fornication herself, but has made
the inhabitants drunk with the wine of her fornication. Fornication in the book
of the Revelation signifies idolatry, and idolatry is - image worship.
This woman, therefore, is a church whose official and
distinguishing colour is scarlet. Just as our schools, colleges and
universities, have their colours, so this church has hers - and her colour is
This woman is a church which practises, and has taught the
people of the earth to practise, idolatry, to engage in the worship of
This scarlet-clad woman is drunken with the blood of saints,
and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
It is the picture of a universal, a catholic, church, in the
name of Christ, causing the martyrdom of the followers of Christ, and revelling
in their blood till she has become frenzied and drunken by it. This woman not
only represents a church, but the city in which it dwells and is capitalised,
the centre and manifestation of its glory. Just as much as the New Jerusalem
represents not only the church, but the central place where she is to reveal her
glory, so this woman represents the actual city of her own abode.
The reality and identity of the city are set before us with
indelible marks. The Apostle John says it is "that great city, which
reigneth over the kings of the earth".
There was but one city in John's day which reigned over the
kings of the earth, and that city was ROME.
That the city was Rome is corroborated topographically. We are
told that the woman is seated on seven mountains.
"The seven heads [that is, of the beast] are seven
mountains. And there are [they are] seven kings." (Revelation. 17:9,
The heads are symbolic, but they set forth two real things -
mountains and kings. If the kings are real, equally so are the mountains; the
mountains indicate the place where the kings rule. The location of the kings,
the location of the woman and, therefore, the location of the city, was on seven
The Rome of Saint John's day, the Rome of our day, is seated on
seven hills, and these hills are definitely called mountains; but the city is
known in the pages of every history as "the seven-hilled city".
The city, then, which the woman symbolises is Rome; and as the
woman is also the symbol of a church, then you have a church in the city of
Rome, a church which, like the city, is universal and catholic in its rule. A
church in the city of Rome is a Roman church; a catholic church in Rome is,
therefore, a Roman Catholic Church. And here you have the riddle read, the
symbol told, the identity disclosed. The woman foreseen and described by the
Spirit of God in John is - THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
As the name of the woman is Babylon, and the woman is,
symbolically, the city, the name of the city must, also, be Babylon; but, as the
city is actual Rome and not the real city of Babylon, then the name Babylon is
given to it, as to the woman, simply to set forth the moral character of
In Revelation 11:18, Jerusalem is called Sodom and Egypt, so
called to mark its moral and spiritual degeneration. This woman and city
likewise go by the name of Babylon to set forth the turpitude, the uncleanness
and the abomination, both of the city and the system.
The Roman Catholic Church is called Babylon from God's point of
view; from God's point of view it is the mystery of abomination.
Go to that city of the seven hills, where every hill is called
a "mount", and you will find that from thence the Roman Catholic
Church rules over nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues - a universal rule,
counting its subjects by the hundreds of millions, and is thus in deed and in
very fact a universal church, an actual kingdom over which one man as Pope is
Take up history, and you will find that it has reigned over the
kings of the earth and made them its willing slaves, holding over them the
terrors of excommunication, paralysing the hands that held the sceptre, and
forcing the onetime proudest emperor of the world to stand shivering on a
winter's day in his penitential shirt at a papal palace door, while the exalted
pontiff within turned indifferently away. Examine, and you will find that this
church today is rich in gold, in silver, and in precious stones, its buildings
storehouses of the world's most coveted wealth.
Visit the "treasuries", fittingly so called, in her
great cathedrals, Notre Dame at Paris, the statue-pointed cathedral at Milan,
Saint Peter's at Rome, and you will find gold, silver, pearls, and all precious
things. You will find them in mitres and crosiers, in chasubles and patens, in
cups, in crystals and vestments, as gifts from kings, from emperors and queens;
offerings from the richest of earth, wealth enough to make even kings envy.
Look at this church filled with gold, with silver and precious
stones, and you will find that its official colour is scarlet, scarlet in the
hat of its cardinals, scarlet in the robes of its pontiff and priests, scarlet
everywhere - a scarlet-coloured church.
Go into its wonderful buildings, some of them monuments of the
mightiest architectural genius of the world; visit them, and you will find them
full of images, images of the virgin mother, images of the saints.
Stand inside Saint Peter's on a festal day. The vast building
sweeps upward through mighty pillar and colossal arch to the sublime, impending
dome. On every side are chapels, in themselves monster buildings, vast churches.
There is the exalted altar, the countless lights, the smoking incense, the
chanting choirs, the scarlet-robed priests, the voice of intonation, prayer and
confession, the echoing ora pro nobis, and everywhere kneeling devotees,
bowing down to marble images, doing penance and lifting up petitions before
their lifeless faces. There are churches specially devoted to the worship of the
virgin; her images are covered with gold and silver tributes. In one church the
image is piled about with crutches and almost hidden under the offerings of
those who believe themselves to have been healed or blessed by her interposition
and intercession. Before that stony figure, men and women and little children
kneel in rapt adoration.
It is idolatry - pure and simple.
Cast your eyes over the past centuries and you will come upon
an era when the rule of this church was so supreme; when she so clutched the
throat of the nations with her almost omnipotent hand; so stifled all learning
and spiritual knowledge, that by common consent that age has been called the
dark age, the midnight of the world's moral, intellectual and spiritual life -
so dark and cruel was this time, so full of idolatry, that the Arab, as he swept
a victor into Europe, paused at the doors of Catholic churches, then turned and
fled as though he were in that very temple of heathen idolatry from which his
religion bade him to flee. And it is of this time and this Arab that Mrs.
Browning sings when she says that knowledge was at last "thrust into the
eye of Europe upon the point of a Paynim's spear".
Read history, not the history written by one author, but by
all, and in their pages you will learn how men and women were led into torture
chambers or buried in dismal dungeons. You will read how beautiful women were
stripped before black masked judges gloating over unprotected shame, and were
led away to racks and stretched till their delicate limbs were snapped and their
tender flesh torn into shreds. You will read how men and women were broken on
the wheel, or flayed alive, their eyes put out, their tongues plucked forth by
the roots, their feet placed in boots filled with boiling oil, bags thrust down
their throats and then filled with water till they agonised with slow and
calculated strangulation, legs placed between boards and the boards driven
together by wedges till the bones were crushed little by little to a pulp, nails
wrenched from the fingers, bodies sawn asunder as you might saw a log in two,
members of the body cut off one at a time, now a hand, then an arm, first one
leg, then another, till the victim was a mere quivering, though still living,
trunk; men and women taken to the stake and burned alive, the wood dampened, or
green wood used, that the fire might burn slowly and the agony and torture of
the victim be lengthened. Try and count, if you can, the men and women driven
from their homes, their houses burned, their property confiscated, and
themselves hunted on the mountains and pursued through the valleys like beasts
Look at the blood flowing like water from the martyred bodies
of men and women, whose only crime was that they loved the Lord Jesus Christ,
believed in His finished redemption on the Cross, refused to buy their salvation
by penance or good works, rejected the intercession of a human priest, or a
woman, no matter how good, claimed the Lord Jesus Christ as their sin-bearer and
Saviour at the right hand of the Father, owned Him their only high-priest and
intercessor and would not, even at the price of their own life, deny Him who
died for them and rose again. And remember, while you read, that these martyrs
were led to agony and to death by the authority and express command of the Roman
Catholic Church; a church that did all this in the name of that most fiendish of
all inventions, the "Holy Inquisition"; a church whose Pope at so late
a date as the massacre of Saint Bartholomew's caused a special celebration to be
sung in all the churches as a thanksgiving to God that the enemies of Romanism
had been thus cruelly and cowardly slain, stabbed in their beds, thrown from the
windows of upper stories into stone courts below, or stricken from behind as
they walked in the streets; a massacre so horrible, so revolting in all its
details, that, even at this hour, when you pass by the gilded gates in front of
the Louvre at Paris, it is impossible not to recall the picture of the piled up
bodies of the murdered Huguenots flung in the gutter there and weltering in
their own blood; it is impossible not to lift the eyes, involuntarily, and look
at that Catholic church of Auxerrois just across the way, from whose tower the
tocsin, which was to give the signal for the awful night of blood, sounded forth
its brazen knell of doom. Bring all this to mind as you read, and you will
recognise the perfect accuracy of the Spirit's description when he says that
this scarlet-clad, this universal, this catholic church of Rome was drunken with
the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
In the vision the woman is seen to be seated upon a seven
headed, ten-horned, scarlet-coloured beast. This scarlet-coloured beast is
identical with the fourth beast of Daniel's vision. Daniel says: "After
this I saw in the night visions, and, behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and
terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and
brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was diverse
from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns."
An angel explains the vision to Daniel: "Thus he said,
the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse
from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down,
and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that
shall arise." (Daniel 7:23, 24.)
The first three beasts are identical with the three kinds of
metal forming part of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream and which
Daniel by the wisdom of God interpreted, as recorded in the second chapter of
the prophecy that bears his name. In that dream the image had a head of gold,
breast and arms of silver, and belly and thighs of brass. The golden head,
Daniel tells us, represents the Babylonian kingdom. "Thou art," says
Daniel, "this head of gold." As the first beast in the vision which
Daniel records in the seventh chapter is, also, the first kingdom, and is a
lion, then the golden head and the lion are the equivalent symbols of the first
The second beast is a bear, and is equivalent to the second
kingdom represented by the silver breast and arms of the image. This second
kingdom comes in after Babylon and, necessarily, overcomes it, takes it. This
kingdom is identified for us in the fifth chapter of Daniel's prophecy, as it is
"And Darius the Median took the kingdom" (that
is, the kingdom of Babylon). (Daniel 5:31.)
The second beast as thus identified is the Medo-Persian
The third beast is a winged leopard and is equivalent to the
third kingdom represented in the image by the belly and thighs of brass. This
brazen-leopard kingdom, in the order of succession, is the kingdom which
overcomes the second, or Medo-Persian kingdom.
Daniel gives us the name of that third kingdom. He has a vision
in which he sees a ram standing by a river and then pushing its way westward
till a rough he-goat from the west rushes upon him with great fury, overcomes
him, and tramples him with his feet. Daniel is perplexed as to the meaning of
the vision till an angel appears and gives the interpretation: "And he
said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the
indignation: for at the appointed time the end shall be. The ram which thou
sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." And the rough
goat is the king of Grecia." (Daniel 8:19-21.)
The first three beasts then are identified by the Word of
They are: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece.
The fourth beast is the fourth kingdom and is represented in
the image by the legs of iron. The iron in the image is matched by the iron in
the teeth of the beast: it had great iron teeth.
Iron then is the symbol and character of the fourth beast
What great world kingdom is symbolised by iron, is known as the
iron kingdom ?
All history answers, every student of history knows, the
veriest tyro at school knows, every lip is ready to speak the name - it is
It is of Rome and Rome alone that iron is used as the symbol -
we speak of the iron legions of Rome.
But it is not necessary to go to history to identify the fourth
beast, to find the name of the fourth kingdom. The New Testament answers the
question and gives the affirmation. The New Testament tells us that Rome was the
wide ruling world power in the day when Christ was born. It was, under God, by
the edict of a Roman Caesar that the mother of Christ came to Bethlehem, where
he was to be born in fulfilment of Holy Scripture.
The fourth kingdom then is Rome; and this Rome included all the
territory that once comprised Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. Rome was the
legatee and heir of the three first kingdoms, and thus by right of succession
is, as foretold, the fourth kingdom as it is the symbolic fourth beast.
This fourth beast is identical with the beast of John's vision,
the scarlet-coloured beast that marries the Babylonian woman.
This scarlet-coloured beast is a composite symbol. In it are
the elements of a leopard, a bear and a lion.
"And the beast which I saw (the beast described in the
l7th chapter) was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear,
and his mouth as the mouth of a lion." (Revelation 13:2.)
The leopard has been seen to be the third beast, and,
therefore, the third kingdom; and has been shown by Daniel in the eighth chapter
of his prophecy to be one with the he-goat which overcame the ram, in other
words the kingdom of Greece.
The bear has been identified and named, both by symbol and by
Darnel's actual statement, as the Medo-Persian kingdom.
The lion is the first symbolic beast in Daniel's vision, is
equivalent to the golden head of the image, and is Babylon.
The fact that the three beasts, the lion, the bear, and the
leopard, are seen comprised in one beast, is the symbolic, but clear statement
that the beast of John's vision is a fourth beast, including the three that
preceded it. As Daniel's fourth beast is the symbol of Rome and includes the
three preceding kingdoms, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece, then John's beast and
the beast of Daniel are identical, and both agree in the one testimony that this
As the woman who sits upon the beast has been not only
symbolically, but topographically identified as Rome, the fact that the very
beast upon which she sits is civil and govern mental Rome, becomes the repeated
and doubly corroborative demonstration that the city and system of which the
woman is a symbol - is Rome.
There is further identification of the two beasts in the fact
that each, the beast of Daniel and the beast of John, has ten horns. The ten
horns in Daniel's vision are ten kings, so declared by the angel. The ten horns
in John's vision are, likewise by an angel, declared to be ten kings.
THIS REVIVAL HAS ALREADY BEGUN.
It began in the hour when the Protestant Reformation was at its
zenith. Protestantism rose up, smote Catholicism and drove it from Germany
headlong to the Mediterranean. It seemed as though it were about to be flung as
with a millstone about its neck into the depths of the sea, when, suddenly it
halted, stood still, recovered its strength, shook itself free from the hands of
its assailants and began steadily to return to the lands from whence it had been
so fiercely expelled.
Nothing is more impressive than the recovery of Romanism from
what seemed to be its death-blow. It reads on the page of history like a
veritable resurrection of the dead.
And this resurrection has been followed by an immense and ever
increasing vitality, by a propaganda that extends to every kingdom, nation and
tongue. Austria is Catholic to the core. Germany is filled with devotees of the
church, and her supporters may be counted by the millions. The progress in
Protestant England is astounding. A year ago all London poured into the streets
to see for the first time since the Reformation the triumphant march of a Roman
Catholic procession extending for miles, while thousands on either side of the
immense column bowed the knee in adoration as the sacred symbols of the church
were held aloft. Recently, in this same London, there has been dedicated with
imposing ceremonies a stupendous and costly cathedral. Everywhere throughout
England the Romish priest is a power, the chapels and churches are filled to
overflowing; daily, converts from the Church of England go over to the Church of
Rome, and that by easy steps, as though the English church itself had become a
half-way house. The non-conformist oath once administered to English kings on
the day of coronation has been repealed. The official head of English
Protestantism has ceased to protest. Enthusiastic Romanists consider the day not
far distant when England will return officially to the faith and be received by
Rome as a long wandering, but sincerely repentant and beloved daughter of the
In this country Romanism is advancing with giant strides. A
little over one hundred years ago there were only 33 priests and less than
50,000 Catholics, scarcely a decent church building, one college and no schools.
Today there are nearly twenty millions of communicants, one cardinal, 14
archbishops, 77 bishops, 14 church provinces, nearly 20, 000 priests, to say
nothing of the thousand on thousands of oath-bound nuns, between 15,040 and
20,000 church buildings, some of them models of architecture and of immense cost
of construction. There are 7 great universities, 80 seminaries, or theological
institutions, 213 colleges for boys, over 700 academies for girls (to which
Protestant mothers send their daughters, and where the daughters become
converted to Romanism and furnish the church in turn with Catholic mothers), and
nearly 5,000 private schools, each school a protest against the public school
system of the Nation. While the population of the United States has increased
twenty-five times, the Roman Catholic population, in a little over a century,
has increased 320 times, nearly twelve times as fast.
The solidarity of the church is amazing; it seems
Out of the fifteen or twenty millions in this country, there is
not a Catholic, in the final analysis, who would be disloyal to the church.
Whatever his private opinion, in the end, he submits to her as the supreme
authority over his conscience and soul. This solidarity extends around the
globe. A Catholic church in one place is a duplicate of a Catholic church in
every other. What you see in New York you will find in China and in the isles of
the sea. Wherever a Catholic sees a Romish church and the cross upon its spire,
he knows, whatever may be his nationality or tongue, in that church he will find
the same faith, the same worship, which was taught him in his native land, at
his mother's knee, and in the hour of his first communion.
This solidarity finds its significance in contrast to the
division, the confusion, and the uncertainty of Protestantism.
In this country Romanism has conquered social distinction and
an accepted standing.
Not many years ago and the Catholic church was a sort of social
pariah, looked down upon with disdain, its services rejected, and its priests
regarded with aversion. There was a time when for an American to be a Catholic,
was sufficient to ostracise him from family and friends as though he were a
religious and social leper. To-day, the Catholic finds all doors open, from the
hovel to the palace. The most exclusive sets welcome the priest, invite him to
marry their sons and daughters and dedicate private chapels in city homes or
summer villas. Where Romanism once stood as the symbol of that which was foreign
and alien, it is, today, represented by American families, their names recorded
on its marriage books, its birth and baptismal registers. In no land has the
Roman Catholic Church more loyal, more devoted, or more liberal supporters than
those who claim to be Americans and to the manor born. And startling still is
the f act that the Roman Catholic Church is steadily taking the place of the
most eloquent defender of the Bible. Startling, indeed! The church which has
always been afraid of the Bible; the church which has martyred men and women in
cold blood for even daring to read it; the church which is careful in this day
to give only an expurgated edition for the common laity to read, and legislates
the most severe penalties against the indiscriminate use of the book; the church
which has been the actual enemy of the Bible, bitter, deadly, inveterate,
exercising all its hatred against it as the source of Protestantism, the arsenal
of its weapons, and its mightiest stronghold, this ancient antagonist is now
taking the place of Holy Scripture's most uncompromising apologist, rallying to
its defence its keenest logicians, its most intellectual writers, its most
And the Roman Catholic Church is coming into this place, not
only by its own seeking, but by reason of the undisguised and wide spread
infidelity of the Protestant Church.
Go into so-called, up-to-date Protestant churches, listen to
some of their most advanced thinkers and preachers. You will hear them striking
at the very foundation of Protestantism, repudiating the only authority on which
it can rest the Word of God - the written Word. You will hear them with oracular
utterance and much-claimed scholarship rejecting the Old Testament, ridiculing
its statements and demonstrating in modern formula that its personages are
fictitious, its history worthless, its prophecies unfulfilled, its cosmogony,
astronomy and geology unscientific, and the laughing-stock of the learned. You
will hear them deny the infallibility of the New Testament, prove its human and
not divine inspiration, and set before you a Christ who was limited in
knowledge, who was not always sure of his mission, was sometimes filled with
vacillation, who was, nevertheless, a good man, and whose death on the cross was
simply the tragedy of one too gentle for the times, a good man torn to pieces at
last by "the whirling wheel of the world's evil". You will hear them
preach the all-Fatherhood of God, the sonship of all men, both good and bad,
scout the idea that man is a lost sinner, laugh at the fable of hell and the
danger of future punishment, and conclude with the self-satisfied postulate that
the great saving force in the earth is the law of evolution; that each man is
working out in his own way his own problem; that each man is an avatar of God;
that salvation is the reformation of society and the final deliverance of the
race from the impedimenta of religiousness, superstition and ignorance. Science,
they declare, is the true God and civilisation is its handmaid. In short, in a
Protestant pulpit and, specially, if that pulpit is occupied by a recent
graduate of an advanced theological institution, you are liable to hear
utterances as treasonable to the Word of God and the revealed mission of Jesus
Christ, as ever fell from the lips of the most pronounced, most blatant, but
unconcealed, infidel and enemy of the church of God.
You will listen in vain to hear such utterances in a Catholic
church, be the preacher never so learned, never so bright or brilliant. On the
contrary, and with rare sagacity, considering the state of Protestantism, you
will hear the Catholic pulpits now echoing with addresses which exalt the Bible
as the Word of God, handed over, it is true, to the custody and authoritative
interpretation of the church still, but proclaimed, nevertheless, with
increasing emphasis as the inspired thought of the living God.
Rome is wise enough to seize the strategic moment and, at the
same time, take advantage of the differing opinions, the confusion, and the
infidelity among Protestants, to draw attention to the favourite thesis of the
church, that the Bible can be read and understood only when under the strict
surveillance and inspired interpretation of the church; and that Protestantism
with its undivine hands has wrested the Scriptures to its own damnation and the
damnation of all who have been led into Protestantism. By this subtle seizure of
the opportune moment Romanism places itself in the forefront, not only as the
defender of the Bible, but as its only true, sane, and authoritative
Not only is the Catholic church taking the place of defender of
Holy Scripture and seeking to rescue it from profane hands; it is rapidly rising
as the bulwark of the family, the champion of the home. The Roman Catholic
Church stands four-square against the growing iniquity and excuseless wickedness
The Protestant Church takes no such stand. There is no unity in
the Protestant Church concerning this shame. There are to be found Protestant
ministers who will, without hesitation, marry a divorced man, or a divorced
woman, or both. In some Protestant churches the representative men and women -
men and women who are the most liberal supporters of the church and foremost in
its work - are divorced people. Condemned as they are by the Word of God and the
legislative utterances of our Lord Jesus Christ, they find in the church which
professes his name, the church which has been "espoused to him as one
husband " instead of judgement, the place of honour and, often, of exalted
Not so in the Catholic church. The priest will not marry,
baptize or receive into communion those who are living in open defiance of the
law and testimony of God. To the Roman Catholic Church marriage is a sacrament,
is inviolable, and cannot be annulled by the laws or acts of man. The divorced
man or woman may enter a Protestant church and find shelter there. The Roman
church shuts its doors and stands like an insurmountable barrier against the
inflood of the tide that would shipwreck the home and destroy the sacredness of
such holy titles as husband and wife, father and mother.
Unified in faith, defending the Bible, standing against
divorce, loyally supported by liberal contributions, the poor being taught to
give in the same proportion as the rich, counting among its membership some of
the most representative families of America, with stately buildings, schools,
colleges and universities, numbering its followers by millions, those millions
increased by every steamship that lands its load of emigrants on our shores, and
guided by a wisdom, a genius that makes her ready to meet each new demand that
will strengthen her cause, absolutely cosmopolitan - Italian in Italy, Spanish
in Spain, English in England, Irish in Ireland and, pre-eminently, American in
America, she is steadily and marvellously moving on.
Nor is this advance confined alone to religious lines.
Nay, the march is far away beyond that! The Roman Catholic
Church in this country is an immense political organisation, holds the balance
of voting power, on the eve of a presidential election defeated the candidate
whom all the world expected to be successful, and can, if she will, name the
next man who shall sit in the Presidential chair.
In the year 1902, the mission of the present incumbent of the
White House to the Vatican was a political one. He was to all intents and
purposes accredited from these United States as Ambassador to the Pope of Rome.
He had instructions from the Secretary of State which said: "Any
negotiations which you may desire on the part of the officers of the civil court
or of military officers to enable you to perform your negotiation with the
Vatican will be afforded"; and this high Commissioner from the United
States acted and spoke in Rome as the special envoy of the great American
Republic to the Catholic Church. He was received and accepted by the ambassadors
to the Pope as one of themselves; and in a remarkable ceremony at Saint Peter's,
he was invited as an ambassador to the Roman Catholic Church, and took his place
in the diplomatic tribune. Besides all that, an agreement was entered into
between the Pope and himself concerning the Catholic Church in the Philippines
and, although the contract failed, yet, as a recent writer, himself a Catholic,
has said: "This does not destroy the fact that Washington was ready to
enter into a regular treaty with the Pope, similar to those existing between the
Vatican and the leading Catholic governments of the world."
Today, Romanism is politically, as well as religiously,
entrenched in the great cities of our land and, from its university centre at
Washington, exercises its mysterious and far-reaching power. Romanists
confidently expect the time to arrive when the whole land will be under its
political control; when the machinery of office and legislation will be in the
power of the church and when, with her astounding increase of numbers, she will
be the religious and political dictator of the new world.
The grasp of Rome is on the sceptre of temporal power. It is
true, France has separated her from the State and, for a time, refuses to carry
her; it is true, the Vatican and the Quirinal are at odds in Italy, and the Pope
still styles himself "prisoner" in Rome; it is true that Spain is in
the throes of an issue whether the civil or the religious power shall dominate.
But, while the separation has taken place in France, that "eldest daughter
of the church", a sentiment has been aroused and a partisanship for Rome
emphasized such as has not been seen since the days when Versailles and the
Vatican were in intimate touch. Italy is loyal to the king, proud of the day
when Garibaldi broke through the walls of the "holy" city and gave her
the right of civic liberty; but Italy is Catholic even to frenzy, and no matter
how many millions may be spent on the new capitol, or how far Paganism may be
glorified in the re-opening of the Appian Way, to the Italian, the dome of Saint
Peter's still overtops the Parthenon and the palace of the king. Spain may
advance sufficiently out of the gloom of candle-light into the glare of the
electric light; she may allow the breath of Twentieth Century toleration to
breathe through her streets, permitting Protestants to write the name of their
church on the walls of their buildings; she may, in an issue, exalt the civil
authority into its due place, but the born Catholic in Spain looks upon Spain as
the kingdom of Jesus Christ and blindly and fanatically, even unto death,
believes that in the Roman Church Jesus Christ is alone to be found; and that,
in final terms, Spain and the kingdom of the Roman Church are one. Should the
issue for one moment depart from the civil and become religious, the government
would be overthrown in a night and Alphonse and his English Queen repudiated as
foes to the faith.
It is true that Germany has protested against the last
encyclical, but this very protest is a witness that the Germany of today is not
the Germany of Luther, nor the days of the Great Elector; that she does no more
than protest is a witness that the political power of Rome has been felt upon
the banks of the Spree, and that the Protestant Emperor of the birth land of
Protestantism is satisfied to go no further than the limits of diplomacy permit.
And it is because of this that Rome with her soft tread and more than mortal
wisdom has accepted the protest, explained the encyclical, and given orders that
it shall not be read in German churches. It is the answer, not of a trembling
suppliant, but of a church that feels itself sufficiently strong in the
headquarters of the Reformation to meet diplomacy with diplomacy.
Rome may be turned back for a moment, for a season be deflected
from her course, but her course is onward. Those who hail the present separation
of church and state in Europe as a witness of the waning power of the church as
a political factor have only to reflect that separation in this country is more
radical, more absolute, than it is, or ever can be, in Europe; and that in this
country, in spite of the separation, the church increases in population, adds to
her wealth, and is to-day the mightiest force at the polls; it is only necessary
to contemplate the results of separation here, to see that separation in Europe
is no evidence of the diminution of her strength, but is, really, in the
sympathy and partisanship which it is sure to arouse, one of the guarantees of
her final ascension to sovereignty and power.
While Protestantism is at war with itself - is full of treason
to Holy Scripture, and is breaking up into new and more absurd denominational
factions every day - Rome, systematically, unrelentingly, and yet smoothly,
secretly, and without noise, is marching to her ordained place.
Protestantism lifts up the banner of guess, of doubt, of
dethroned authority, and stands insistently for organised uncertainty.
Rome speaks with certainty, with authority and relentless
Protestantism seeks favour of the unbelieving world, apologises
for her creeds, and would establish herself by denying them.
Romanism hurls anathema at the unbeliever, magnifies her
office, and claims to be wholly divine.
Protestantism builds schools, and endows universities, that she
may teach the rising generation to reckon doubt as the beginning of wisdom, and
unbelief as the sign-patent of knowledge.
Romanism spends her wealth in establishing schools and
institutions of learning that she may lay hold of the rising youth and teach
them that the church is the symbol of God, and that the highest wisdom is to
obey her commands.
Protestantism, in its reaction from ritualism, has turned the
church into a lecture room and destroyed the feeling of reverence.
Romanism sanctifies her buildings and creates a feeling of awe
within the shadow of her churches.
The Protestant enters his church as one might enter a concert
room or a hall of debate.
The Romanist bows on the threshold of his church as the
sanctuary of God.
Protestantism has stepped down on to the high road of the
natural and the commonplace.
Romanism more and more exalts itself into the realm of the
Protestantism prides itself on the denial of miracles.
Romanism claims to work them.
Protestantism carries with it the impression of newness and
Romanism is covered with the dust of centuries, has in it the
echo of the distant ages, and is superior to schism.
As the present age goes on, multitudes will turn away from the
interrogation points of Protestantism, to the unqualified assertion and
assurance of Romanism, to her gorgeous ritual, her spectacular worship, the
glamour of her two thousand years of unbroken history, and the fact that, on the
edge of eternity, she offers to take the whole responsibility of a human being,
prepare him for the hour and the article of death, go with him into the shadows,
keep with him by her power and influence in the unseen world, nor quit him till
she has delivered him from danger, and secured him, as she claims, in the mercy
Some years ago, while on an ocean trip, I became acquainted
with a versatile Irishman, a graduate of Dublin university, and a world wide
traveller. He had eaten rice with the Chinese, tasted salt with the Arabs of the
desert, clinked his glass in the offices of the Quai d'Orsay, was able to
express his suggestive thoughts in the fluency of some half dozen languages
beside his own, and was as much at home in one as in another. He was, when I met
him, in the employ of the British Government, and had been a commissioner to
this country. He was witty, at times full of pathos, mercurial and, frequently,
overflowing with wordy heat. He was a scholar. He was abreast of the times. He
claimed to be an agnostic. His speech was spiced with satire against the
Christian religion. He said nothing coarse, but his assaults were keen,
far-reaching and, often, cut me to the heart. One night as we drew near to the
Irish coast, we sat together in the aft of the ship where we could see the
phosphorescent glow in the waves. He was in a reflective mood. He spoke of the
brevity and the uncertainty of life and, then, of the eternity beyond. Suddenly
he turned to me and said, calling me by name: "When I die, I am going to
die a good Catholic. I am going to have mass said for my soul. I have made
provision for that." Seeing my amazement and that I was, evidently, puzzled
to know whether he was seeking to outdo himself in travesty, he said earnestly:
"Do not misunderstand me; I am an unbeliever, but I am superstitious. I
have been brought up a Catholic. As I look about me in the world, the Church is
the only thing which has seemed to stand in the midst of changing mentality and
the reversal of human knowledge. To stand unmoved in the swirl of such
conditions counts for something. The Church comes with an audacious claim of
authority and the power of completeness. She leaves nothing for me to do. She
takes all the responsibility for my soul - for the past and the future. You may
call it what you please, but I tell you, her position counts in the end, and I
am going to give my soul, if I have one, over into her hands. She is the only
thing that offers certainty when you are about to leave this world."
It was pitiful, but it was, and is, an illustration of how
thousands feel, and how that feeling is likely to grow in the increasing
infidelity and guess of Protestantism, in its total surrender of all final
authority, and in its suicidal determination to wash its hands of the soul's
It is this appeal to the latent superstition in man, this
splendid and uncompromising assertion, this unfaltering claim of authority, this
unity of faith, together with the most perfect organisation on earth, and the
unalterable purpose to be supreme in the world, that will give the Catholic
Church her underhold in the final religious and political struggle of the
Everything is making for that hour when Rome, once more seated
on the back of human government, will rule the earth.
The revival of Romanism is, then, a sign of the times. It is a
sign that the world is hastening on to its Roman and Antichristian climax; and,
by just so much, it is an increased and solemn warning that at any moment the
Lord may descend in his unheralded secrecy, and snatch away from earth to
Himself all who are truly His. It is the solemn warning that, at any moment,
those who have made a mere profession of His Name; who have no real knowledge of
Him in the heart; who, in spite of the profession they make, still walk
according to "the course of this world", will be left behind to the
judgements of the Great Tribulation, and the righteous wrath of a long suffering
Well, indeed, may we heed the admonition of the Apostle Peter:
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and
election sure." (II Peter 1:10.)
It is fitting that we should hear the searching words of Paul:
"It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation [that
is, the redemption and glorifying of our bodies at the Coming of the Lord]
nearer than when we believed.
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us
therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of
"Let us walk honestly, as in the day [the day of Christ];
not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife
"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not
provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." (Romans