Aims Of The Papacy.

31 Jan

favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism
is not in the ascendency, and the papists are taking a conciliatory
course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing
indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed
churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground,
that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has
been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring
us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when
Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience
which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children
to abhor popery, and held that to seek harmony with Rome would
be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments
now expressed.
The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been
maligned; and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the
statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of
to-day by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign
during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her
horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times, and
plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her
[564] sentiments.
Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put
forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 585
being relinquished, this claim was affirmed in the nineteenth
century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome
asserts that the church “never erred; nor will it, according to the
Scriptures, ever err,”1000 how can she renounce the principles
which governed her course in past ages?
The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility.
All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject
her dogmas, she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the
same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints
now imposed by secular governments be removed, and Rome be
re-instated in her former power, and there would speedily be a
revival of her tyranny and persecution.
A well-known writer speaks thus of the attitude of the papal
hierarchy as regards freedom of conscience, and of the perils
which especially threaten the United States from the success of
her policy:
“There are many who are disposed to attribute any fear of Roman
Catholicism in the United States to bigotry or childishness.
Such see nothing in the character and attitude of Romanism that
is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in
its growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental
principles of our government with those of the Catholic Church.
“The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of
conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius
IX., in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: ‘The
absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty
of conscience, are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others,
most to be dreaded in a State.’ The same pope, in his Encyclical
Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized ‘those who assert the
liberty of conscience science and of religious worship,’ also ‘all [565]
such as maintain that the church may not employ force.’
“The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply
1000 Mosheim, “Eccl. Hist.,” b. 3, cent. 11, part 2, ch. 2, par. 9, note 1.
586 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says
Bishop O’Connor: ‘Religious liberty is merely endured until the
opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic
world.’… The archbishop of St. Louis once said: ‘Heresy and
unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and
Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where
the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land,
they are punished as other crimes.’…
“Every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the Catholic Church
takes an oath of allegiance to the pope, in which occur the following
words: ‘Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord (the
pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute
and oppose.’ ”1001
It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic
communion. Thousands in that church are serving God according
to the best light they have. They are not allowed access
to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth. They
have never seen the contrast between a living heart-service and
a round of mere forms and ceremonies. God looks with pitying
tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is
delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate
the dense darkness that surrounds them. He will reveal to them
the truth as it is in Jesus, and many will yet take their position
with His people.
But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the
gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The
Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern
the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her
plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to
extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for
[566] a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world,
to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism
1001 Strong, Dr. Josiah, “Our Country,” ch. 5, pars. 1-3.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 587
has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. See
the increasing number of her churches and chapels in Protestant
countries. Look at the popularity of her colleges and seminaries
in America, so widely patronized by Protestants. Look at the
growth of ritualism in England, and the frequent defections to the
ranks of the Catholics. These things should awaken the anxiety
of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.
Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they
have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves
are surprised to see, and fail to understand. Men are
closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism, and the
dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need
to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to
civil and religious liberty.
Many Protestants suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive,
and that its worship is a dull, meaningless round of ceremony.
Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon
deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious
service of the Roman Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its
gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the senses of the people,
and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is
charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden
altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture
appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is captivated. The
music is unsurpassed. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ,
blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the
lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot
fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence.
588 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
This outward splendor, pomp, and ceremony, that only mocks
the longings of the sin-sick soul, is an evidence of inward corruption.
The religion of Christ needs not such attractions to
[567] recommend it. In the light shining from the cross, true Chris35.
Aims Of The Papacy. 589
tianity appears so pure and lovely that no external decorations
can enhance its true worth. It is the beauty of holiness, a meek
and quiet spirit, which is of value with God.
Brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure, elevated
thought. High conceptions of art, delicate refinement of taste,
often exist in minds that are earthly and sensual. They are often
employed by Satan to lead men to forget the necessities of the
soul, to lose sight of the future, immortal life, to turn away from
their infinite Helper, and to live for this world alone.
A religion of externals is attractive to the unrenewed heart.
The pomp and ceremony of the Catholic worship has a seductive,
bewitching power, by which many are deceived; and they come
to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of heaven. None
but those who have planted their feet firmly upon the foundation
of truth, and whose hearts are renewed by the Spirit of God,
are proof against her influence. Thousands who have not an
experimental knowledge of Christ will be led to accept the forms
of godliness without the power. Such a religion is just what the
multitudes desire.
The church’s claim to the right to pardon, leads the Romanist
to feel at liberty to sin; and the ordinance of confession, without
which her pardon is not granted, tends also to give license to
evil. He who kneels before fallen man, and opens in confession
the secret thoughts and imaginations of his heart, is debasing
his manhood, and degrading every noble instinct of his soul. In
unfolding the sins of his life to a priest,—an erring, sinful mortal,
and too often corrupted with wine and licentiousness,—his standard
of character is lowered, and he is defiled in consequence.
His thought of God is degraded to the likeness of fallen humanity;
for the priest stands as a representative of God. This degrading
confession of man to man is the secret spring from which has
flowed much of the evil that is defiling the world, and fitting it
for the final destruction. Yet to him who loves self-indulgence,
it is more pleasing to confess to a fellow-mortal than to open the [568]
590 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
soul to God. It is more palatable to human nature to do penance
than to renounce sin; it is easier to mortify the flesh by sackcloth
and nettles and galling chains than to crucify fleshly lusts. Heavy
is the yoke which the carnal heart is willing to bear rather than
bow to the yoke of Christ.
There is a striking similarity between the Church of Rome and
the Jewish Church at the time of Christ’s first advent. While the
Jews secretly trampled upon every principle of the law of God,
they were outwardly rigorous in the observance of its precepts,
loading it down with exactions and traditions that made obedience
painful and burdensome. As the Jews professed to revere
the law, so do Romanists claim to reverence the cross. They exalt
the symbol of Christ’s sufferings, while in their lives they deny
Him whom it represents.
Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars,
and upon their garments. Everywhere is seen the insignia of
the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and exalted. But
the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless
traditions, false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. The
Saviour’s words concerning the bigoted Jews, apply with still
greater force to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church: “They
bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on
men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with
one of their fingers.”1002 Conscientious souls are kept in constant
terror, fearing the wrath of an offended God, while many of
the dignitaries of the church are living in luxury and sensual
pleasure.
The worship of images and relics, the invocation of saints,
and the exaltation of the pope, are devices of Satan to attract the
minds of the people from God and from His Son. To accomplish
their ruin, he endeavors to turn their attention from Him through
whom alone they can find salvation. He will direct them to any
1002 Matt. 23:4.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 591
object that can be substituted for the One who has said, “Come
unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give [569]
you rest.”1003
It is Satan’s constant effort to misrepresent the character of
God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great
controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine
law, and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes
them to cherish false conceptions of God, so that they regard Him
with fear and hate, rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in
his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in
systems of religion, and expressed in modes of worship. Thus the
minds of men are blinded, and Satan secures them as his agents
to war against God. By perverted conceptions of the divine
attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifices
necessary to secure the favor of Deity; and horrible cruelties
have been perpetrated under the various forms of idolatry.
The Roman Catholic Church, uniting the forms of paganism
and Christianity, and, like paganism, misrepresenting the character
of God, has resorted to practices no less cruel and revolting. In
the days of Rome’s supremacy, there were instruments of torture
to compel assent to her doctrines. There was the stake for those
who would not concede to her claims. There were massacres on
a scale that will never be known until revealed in the judgment.
Dignitaries of the church studied, under Satan their master, to
invent means to cause the greatest possible torture, and not end
the life of their victim. In many cases the infernal process was
repeated to the utmost limit of human endurance, until nature
gave up the struggle, and the sufferer hailed death as a sweet
release.
Such was the fate of Rome’s opponents. For her adherents
she had the discipline of the scourge, of famishing hunger, of
bodily austerities in every conceivable, heart-sickening form. To
1003 Matt. 11:28.
592 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
secure the favor of Heaven, penitents violated the laws of God
by violating the laws of nature. They were taught to sunder the
ties which He has formed to bless and gladden man’s earthly
[570] sojourn. The churchyard contains millions of victims, who spent
their lives in vain endeavors to subdue their natural affections,
to repress, as offensive to God, every thought and feeling of
sympathy with their fellow-creatures.
If we desire to understand the determined cruelty of Satan,
manifested for hundreds of years, not among those who never
heard of God, but in the very heart and throughout the extent of
Christendom, we have only to look at the history of Romanism.
Through this mammoth system of deception the prince of evil
achieves his purpose of bringing dishonor to God and wretchedness
to man. And as we see how he succeeds in disguising
himself, and accomplishing his work through the leaders of the
church, we may better understand why he has so great antipathy
to the Bible. If that book is read, the mercy and love of God will
be revealed; it will be seen that He lays upon men none of these
heavy burdens. All that He asks is a broken and contrite heart, a
humble, obedient spirit.
Christ gives no example in His life for men and women to shut
themselves in monasteries in order to become fitted for heaven.
He has never taught that love and sympathy must be repressed.
The Saviour’s heart overflowed with love. The nearer man approaches
to moral perfection, the keener are his sensibilities, the
more acute is his perception of sin, and the deeper his sympathy
for the afflicted. The pope claims to be the vicar of Christ;
but how does his character bear comparison with that of our
Saviour? Was Christ ever known to consign men to the prison
or the rack because they did not pay Him homage as the King of
heaven? Was His voice heard condemning to death those who
did not accept Him? When He was slighted by the people of a
Samaritan village, the apostle John was filled with indignation,
and inquired, “Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 593
down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” Jesus
looked with pity upon His disciple, and rebuked his harsh spirit,
saying, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but
to save them.”1004 How different from the spirit manifested by [571]
Christ is that of His professed vicar.
The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world,
covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She
has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged.
Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists
to-day. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held.
Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are
now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days
of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of
their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride
and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes,
and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel
and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty, and
slew the saints of the Most High.
The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be,
the apostasy of the latter times.1005 It is a part of her policy to
assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but
beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon, she conceals
the invariable venom of the serpent. “Faith ought not to be kept
with heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy,”1006 she declares.
Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written
in the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the
church of Christ?
It is not without reason that the claim has been put forth in
Protestant countries, that Catholicism differs less widely from
Protestantism than in former times. There has been a change; but
the change is not in the papacy. Catholicism indeed resembles
1004 Luke 9:54, 56.
1005 2 Thess. 2:3, 4.
1006 Lenfant, “History of the Council of Constance,” Vol. I, p. 516 (ed. 1728).
594 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
much of the Protestantism that now exists; because Protestantism
has so greatly degenerated since the days of the Reformers.
As the Protestant churches have been seeking the favor of the
world, false charity has blinded their eyes. They do not see but
[572] that it is right to believe good of all evil; and as the inevitable
result, they will finally believe evil of all good. Instead of
standing in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints, they
are now, as it were, apologizing to Rome for their uncharitable
opinion of her, begging pardon for their bigotry.
A large class, even of those who look upon Romanism with
no favor, apprehend little danger from her power and influence.
Many urge that the intellectual and moral darkness prevailing
during the Middle Ages favored the spread of her dogmas,
superstitions, and oppression, and that the greater intelligence
of modern times, the general diffusion of knowledge, and the
increasing liberality in matters of religion, forbid a revival of
intolerance and tyranny. The very thought that such a state of
things will exist in this enlightened age is ridiculed. It is true
that great light, intellectual, moral, and religious, is shining upon
this generation. In the open pages of God’s holy word, light
from heaven has been shed upon the world. But it should be
remembered that the greater the light bestowed, the greater the
darkness of those who pervert or reject it.
A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the
real character of the papacy, and would cause them to abhor and
to shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that they
feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into
the truth. Although priding themselves on their enlightenment,
they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God.
They must have some means of quieting their consciences; and
they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they
desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method
of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the
wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind,
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 595
embracing nearly the whole world,—those who would be saved
by their merits, and those who would be saved in their sins. Here
is the secret of its power.
A day of great intellectual darkness has been shown to be favorable
to the success of the papacy. It will yet be demonstrated [573]
that a day of great intellectual light is equally favorable for its
success. In past ages, when men were without God’s word, and
without the knowledge of the truth, their eyes were blindfolded,
and thousands were ensnared, not seeing the net spread for their
feet. In this generation there are many whose eyes become
dazzled by the glare of human speculations, “science falsely so
called;” they discern not the net, and walk into it as readily
as if blindfolded. God designed that man’s intellectual powers
should be held as a gift from his Maker, and should be employed
in the service of truth and righteousness; but when pride and
ambition are cherished, and men exalt their own theories above
the word of God, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm
than ignorance. Thus the false science of the present day, which
undermines faith in the Bible, will prove as successful in preparing
the way for the acceptance of the papacy, with its pleasing
forms, as did the withholding of knowledge in opening the way
for its aggrandizement in the Dark Ages.
In the movements now in progress in the United States to
secure for the institutions and usages of the church the support
of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of papists.
Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain
in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the
Old World. And that which gives greater significance to this
movement is the fact that the principal object contemplated is the
enforcement of Sunday observance,—a custom which originated
with Rome, and which she claims as the sign of her authority. It
is the spirit of the papacy,—the spirit of conformity to worldly
customs, the veneration for human traditions above the commandments
of God,—that is permeating the Protestant churches,
596 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
and leading them on to do the same work of Sunday exaltation
which the papacy has done before them.
If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed
in the soon-coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the
[574] means which Rome employed for the same object in ages past.
If he would know how papists and Protestants united will deal
with those who reject their dogmas, let him see the spirit which
Rome manifested toward the Sabbath and its defenders.
Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained
by secular power, were the steps by which the pagan
festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The
first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law
enacted by Constantine.1007 This edict required townspeople to
rest on “the venerable day of the sun,” but permitted countrymen
to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen
statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal
acceptance of Christianity.
The royal mandate not proving a sufficient substitute for divine
authority, Eusebius, a bishop who sought the favor of princes,
and who was the special friend and flatterer of Constantine,
advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the Sabbath to
Sunday. Not a single testimony of the Scriptures was produced
in proof of the new doctrine. Eusebius himself unwittingly
acknowledges its falsity, and points to the real authors of the
change. “All things,” he says, “whatever that it was duty to do on
the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord’s day.”1008 But
the Sunday argument, groundless as it was, served to embolden
men in trampling upon the Sabbath of the Lord. All who desired
to be honored by the world accepted the popular festival.
As the papacy became firmly established, the work of Sunday
exaltation was continued. For a time the people engaged in
agricultural labor when not attending church, and the seventh
1007 A.D. 321; see Appendix.
1008 Cox, R., “Sabbath Laws and Sabbath Duties,” p. 538 (ed. 1853).
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 597
day was still regarded as the Sabbath. But steadily a change was
effected. Those in holy office were forbidden to pass judgment in
any civil controversy on the Sunday. Soon after, all persons, of
whatever rank, were commanded to refrain from common labor,
on pain of a fine for freemen, and stripes in the case of servants. [575]
Later it was decreed that rich men should be punished with the
loss of half of their estates; and finally, that if still obstinate
they should be made slaves. The lower classes were to suffer
perpetual banishment.
Miracles also were called into requisition. Among other wonders
it was reported that as a husbandman who was about to plow
his field on Sunday, cleaned his plow with an iron, the iron stuck
fast in his hand, and for two years he carried it about with him,
“to his exceeding great pain and shame.”1009
Later, the pope gave directions that the parish priest should
admonish the violators of Sunday, and wish them to go to
church and say their prayers, lest they bring some great calamity
on themselves and neighbors. An ecclesiastical council brought
forward the argument, since so widely employed, even by Protestants,
that because persons had been struck by lightning while
laboring on Sunday, it must be the Sabbath. “It is apparent,” said
the prelates, “how high the displeasure of God was upon their
neglect of this day.” An appeal was then made that priests and
ministers, kings and princes, and all faithful people, “use their
utmost endeavors and care that the day be restored to its honor,
and, for the credit of Christianity, more devoutly observed for
the time to come.”1010
The decrees of councils proving insufficient, the secular authorities
were besought to issue an edict that would strike terror
to the hearts of the people, and force them to refrain from labor
1009 West, Francis, “Historical and Practical Discourse on the Lord’s Day,” p.
174.
1010 Morer, Tho., “Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and
Observation of the Lord’s Day,” p. 271 (ed. 1701).
598 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
on the Sunday. At a synod held in Rome, all previous decisions
were reaffirmed with greater force and solemnity. They were
also incorporated into the ecclesiastical law, and enforced by the
[576] civil authorities throughout nearly all Christendom.1011
Still the absence of scriptural authority for Sunday-keeping
occasioned no little embarrassment. The people questioned the
right of their teachers to set aside the positive declaration of
Jehovah, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,”
in order to honor the day of the sun. To supply the lack of Bible
testimony, other expedients were necessary. A zealous advocate
of Sunday, who about the close of the twelfth century visited the
churches of England, was resisted by faithful witnesses for the
truth; and so fruitless were his efforts that he departed from the
country for a season, and cast about him for some means to enforce
his teachings. When he returned, the lack was supplied, and
in his after-labors he met with greater success. He brought with
him a roll purporting to be from God Himself, which contained
the needed command for Sunday observance, with awful threats
to terrify the disobedient. This precious document—as base a
counterfeit as the institution it supported—was said to have fallen
from heaven, and to have been found in Jerusalem, upon the altar
of St. Simeon, in Golgotha. But in fact, the pontifical palace at
Rome was the source whence it proceeded. Frauds and forgeries
to advance the power and prosperity of the church have in all
ages been esteemed lawful by the papal hierarchy.
The roll forbade labor from the ninth hour, three o’clock, on
Saturday afternoon, till sunrise on Monday; and its authority was
declared to be confirmed by many miracles. It was reported that
persons laboring beyond the appointed hour were stricken with
paralysis. A miller who attempted to grind his corn, saw, instead
of flour, a torrent of blood come forth, and the mill-wheel stood
still, notwithstanding the strong rush of the water. A woman who
1011 See Heylyn, “History of the Sabbath,” Part II, ch. 5, sec. 7.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 599
placed dough in the oven, found it raw when taken out, though
the oven was very hot. Another who had dough prepared for
baking at the ninth hour, but determined to set it aside till Monday,
found, the next day, that it had been made into loaves and
baked by divine power. A man who baked bread after the ninth [577]
hour on Saturday, found, when he broke it the next morning,
that blood started therefrom. By such absurd and superstitious
fabrications did the advocates of Sunday endeavor to establish
its sacredness.1012
In Scotland, as in England, a greater regard for Sunday was
secured by uniting with it a portion of the ancient Sabbath. But
the time required to be kept holy varied. An edict from the king
of Scotland declared that “Saturday from twelve at noon ought to
be accounted holy,” and that no man, from that time till Monday
morning, should engage in worldly business.1013
But notwithstanding all the efforts to establish Sunday sacredness,
papists themselves publicly confessed the divine authority
of the Sabbath, and the human origin of the institution by which
it had been supplanted. In the sixteenth century a papal council
plainly declared: “Let all Christians remember that the seventh
day was consecrated by God, and hath been received and observed,
not only by the Jews, but by all others who pretend to
worship God; though we Christians have changed their Sabbath
into the Lord’s day.”1014 Those who were tampering with the
divine law were not ignorant of the character of their work. They
were deliberately setting themselves above God.
A striking illustration of Rome’s policy toward those who
disagree with her was given in the long and bloody persecution
of the Waldenses, some of whom were observers of the Sabbath.
Others suffered in a similar manner for their fidelity to the fourth
commandment. The history of the churches of Ethiopia and
1012 See Roger de Hoveden, “Annals,” Vol. II, pp. 528-530 (Bohn ed.).
1013 Morer, “Dialogues on the Lord’s Day,” pp. 290, 291.
1014 Idem, pp. 281, 282.
600 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
Abyssinia is especially significant. Amid the gloom of the Dark
Ages, the Christians of Central Africa were lost sight of and
forgotten by the world, and for many centuries they enjoyed
freedom in the exercise of their faith. But at last Rome learned of
their existence, and the emperor of Abyssinia was soon beguiled
[578] into an acknowledgment of the pope as the vicar of Christ.
Other concessions followed. An edict was issued forbidding the
observance of the Sabbath under the severest penalties.1015 But
papal tyranny soon became a yoke so galling that the Abyssinians
determined to break it from their necks. After a terrible struggle,
the Romanists were banished from their dominions, and the ancient
faith was restored. The churches rejoiced in their freedom,
and they never forgot the lesson they had learned concerning
the deception, the fanaticism, and the despotic power of Rome.
Within their solitary realm they were content to remain, unknown
to the rest of Christendom.
The churches of Africa held the Sabbath as it was held by the
papal church before her complete apostasy. While they kept the
seventh day in obedience to the commandment of God, they abstained
from labor on the Sunday in conformity to the custom of
the church. Upon obtaining supreme power, Rome had trampled
upon the Sabbath of God to exalt her own; but the churches of
Africa, hidden for nearly a thousand years, did not share in this
apostasy. When brought under the sway of Rome, they were
forced to set aside the true and exalt the false sabbath; but no
sooner had they regained their independence than they returned
to obedience to the fourth commandment.1016
These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome
toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which
she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word
of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman
Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the
1015 See “Church History of Ethiopia,” pp. 311, 312.
1016 See Appendix.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 601
Sunday.
The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented
by the beast with lamb-like horns shall cause “the earth
and them which dwell therein” to worship the papacy—there
symbolized by the beast “like unto a leopard.” The beast with
two horns is also to say “to them that dwell on the earth, that
they should make an image to the beast;” and, furthermore, it is
to command all, “both small and great, rich and poor, free and [579]
bond,” to receive “the mark of the beast.”1017 It has been shown
that the United States is the power represented by the beast with
lamb-like horns, and that this prophecy will be fulfilled when
the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome
claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy. But
in this homage to papacy the United States will not be alone.
The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged
her dominion, is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy
foretells a restoration of her power. “I saw one of his heads as
it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:
and all the world wondered after the beast.”1018 The infliction of
the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798.
After this, says the prophet, “His deadly wound was healed: and
all the world wondered after the beast.” Paul states plainly that
the man of sin will continue until the second advent.1019 To the
very close of time he will carry forward his work of deception.
And the revelator declares, also referring to the papacy, “All that
dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not
written in the book of life.”1020 In both the Old and the New
World, the papacy will receive homage in the honor paid to the
Sunday institution, that rests solely upon the authority of the
Roman Church.
1017 Rev. 13:11-16.
1018 Rev. 13:3.
1019 2 Thess. 2:8.
1020 Rev. 13:8.
602 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
For more than half a century, students of prophecy in the
United States have presented this testimony to the world. In
the events now taking place is seen a rapid advance toward the
fulfilment of the prediction. With Protestant teachers there is
the same claim of divine authority for Sunday-keeping, and the
same lack of scriptural evidence, as with the papal leaders who
fabricated miracles to supply the place of a command from God.
The assertion that God’s judgments are visited upon men for their
violation of the Sunday-sabbath, will be repeated; already it is
[580] beginning to be urged. And a movement to enforce Sunday
observance is fast gaining ground.
Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman
Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing
that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their
acceptance of the false sabbath, and that they are preparing to
enforce it by the very means which she herself employed in
bygone days. Those who reject the light of truth will yet seek
the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an institution
that originated with her. How readily she will come to the help
of Protestants in this work, it is not difficult to conjecture. Who
understands better than the papal leaders how to deal with those
who are disobedient to the church?
The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications
throughout the world, forms one vast organization, under the
control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its
millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are
instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope.
Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard
the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may
take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this
lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every
pledge inimical to her interests.
History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate
herself into the affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold,
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 603
to further her own aims, even at the ruin of princes and people.
In the year 1204, Pope Innocent III. extracted from Peter II.,
king of Arragon, the following extraordinary oath: “I, Peter,
king of Arragonians, profess and promise to be ever faithful and
obedient to my lord, Pope Innocent, to his Catholic successors,
and the Roman Church, and faithfully to preserve my kingdom
in his obedience, defending the Catholic faith, and persecuting
heretical pravity.”1021 This is in harmony with the claims re- [581]
garding the power of the Roman pontiff, that “it is lawful for
him to depose emperors,” and that “he can absolve subjects from
their allegiance to unrighteous rulers.”1022
And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she
never changes. The principles of Gregory VII. and Innocent
III. are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And
had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as
much vigor now as in past centuries. Protestants little know what
they are doing when they propose to accept the aid of Rome in
the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent upon the
accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish
her power, to recover her lost supremacy. Let the principle once
be established in the United States, that the church may employ
or control the power of the state; that religious observances may
be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church
and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome
in this country is assured.
God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let
this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the
purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape
the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are
exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and
in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive struc-
1021 Dowling, J., “History of Romanism,” b. 5, ch. 6, sec. 55.
1022 Mosheim, “Ecclesiastical History,” b. 3, cent. 11, part 2, ch. 2, sec. 9, note
8 (tr. by Murdock). See also Appendix.
604 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
tures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will
be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening
her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come
for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage-ground, and
this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall
feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall
believe and obey the word of God, will thereby incur reproach
and persecution.

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