Speaking in Tongues, Levitating and Vomiting Nails

Spinello Aretino Exorcism of St Benedict

Exorcists are in urgent demand as a result of a sharp rise in people dabbling in Satanism and the occult, experts from the Catholic Church in Italy and the US said.

Speaking in tongues, levitating and vomiting nails may seem far-fetched to most people, but church experts insist there is a need to recruit more priests as exorcists in order to combat sorcery and black magic.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/26/urgent-need-for-more-exorcists-as-increasing-number-of-people-da/

Related:

An exorcist has warned of a demon that seeks to attack families and has been encountered in numerous exorcisms carried out by the Catholic Church.

Priest César Truqui, based in Rome, Italy, said the demon, called Asmodeus, was also present in the Old Testament story of Tobias.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3808018/Exorcist-warns-demon-seeks-attack-FAMILIES-encountered-numerous-exorcisms-carried-Catholic-Church.html

All this reminds me of this verse:

Revelation 18:2:  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

To be clear, every commentary I consult says that this verse is referring to the complete destruction of Babylon.  However, the fact that the RCC is finding an increasing need for exorcism reminded me of the phrase “habitation of devils.”

Gill writes in his Exposition of the Entire Bible,

and is become the habitation of devils; as old Babylon was of satyrs, Isaiah13:21 demons, which appeared in a hairy form, like goats, and the word is rendered devils in Leviticus 17:7 and the inhabitants of Rome now are no other; the pope and his cardinals, the priests, Jesuits, monks, and friars, are the spirits of devils, and their doctrines the doctrines of devils; see Revelation 16:14

And now they claim to be surrounded by devils.   Go figure.

How to Approach the Book of Revelation

Book of Revelation Chapter 1-2 (Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media)Image: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

I recently went on Sermon Audio to check a sermon by Pastor WJ Mencarow and discovered that his account was temporarily deactivated. Since his sermon series on Revelation is the best sermon series I have ever heard on the topic, I thought it would be good to put some notes up on each sermon in case they become inaccessible again [note: this will take me a long time as I am extremely busy at the moment]. What follows is not a full transcript but a summary/paraphrase of the salient points made regarding the interpretation of Revelation. Please listen to the entire sermon to get the full message as it was presented.

Introduction to Revelation Part 1

(How to Approach the Book of Revelation)

WJ Mencarow

Revelation 1

October 22, 2006

  • A major confusion about Revelation is how much to take literally
  • John likely did not understood everything he saw – much was revealed centuries later
  • Chapter 22:10 – command not to seal up the book. Ignoring the book is sealing it. The book should be read, studied, preached on.
  • Revelation records what the risen Jesus says to the church. It’s his final words to us.
  • “Revelation is the only book of the Bible that begins and ends with a promise of blessing to those who study it.” — see 1:3. The blessing includes reading and hearing Revelation read aloud.
  • Acts 17:11 – Don’t just rely on experts to tell you what Revelation (or any scripture) means.

Historical Context:

  • Revelation is an Old Testament book – full of Old Testament imagery
  • Scripture interprets Scripture
  • 1:1 – the final time Jesus speaks to us through his word
  • 1:19 – what the book is about. “It’s about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in human history.” (as the risen Saviour). Jesus comes through events and through His Church.
  • Revelation tells about how Jesus “triumphs over every force of evil arrayed against His bride, the Church.”
  • Message: Jesus reigns.
  • Why written?: Per Junius – so the Church would not lose faith and be encouraged through all the tribulations it was to face.
  • Author: God (v.1) – given to Jesus and recorded by John (same author as the Gospel of John and the 3 epistles)
  • Where written: Island of Patmos
  • When written: Arguments on both sides for late and early dates. He takes the view it was written about AD 65, before the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome

Outline:

  • Things which are: Introduction and letters to the 7 churches (a presbytery – churches aligned in faith, doctrine, and worship)
  • Things which shall be hereafter: Chapter 4 to the end. This is a panorama of history.

Step-by-Step Analysis:

Four Approaches

Spiritist/Spiritualist/Idealist:

  • Revelation is about eternal truths, not about specific historical events
  • Has a spiritual meaning only
  • Applies to all times
  • About how God generally governs the world

Futurist

  • Chapter 3 on are unfulfilled, to come in the future just before the second coming
  • 7-year tribulation of worldwide persecution
  • Rapture of the living at some point
  • Resurrection of the dead
  • Final coming of Christ
  • Taught in most Fundamentalist churches today
  • Taught by: J.N. Darby, Scofield, Moody, Falwell, Pat Robertson, Chuck Swindoll, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, J. Vernon McGee, Hal Lindsay, John Hagee, Jack Van Impe, Tim LaHaye, Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, the Left Behind series, most popular books on Revelation

Preterist

  • Opposite of Futurism
  • Prophecies have already been fulfilled
  • Some believe even the resurrection of the dead and the judgment have occurred [He seems to be describing full and not partial preterism here]
  • Revelation is about the first century, with Jerusalem as the Church’s persecutor
  • Babylon = Old Testament Jerusalem
  • Armageddon = 70 AD
  • Beast = Roman army
  • Revelation is either about the fall of Jerusalem or about the fall of both Jerusalem and Rome
  • Some preterists are Christian Reconstructionists
  • Taught by: David Chilton, Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Hank Hanegraaff, Walt Hibbard

Historicist/Historicalist

  • Agrees with parts of Futurism and Preterism
  • Chapters 1-5 are about the 1st century, Chapters 6-22 discuss history from at least AD 70 to the end of time
  • About the collapse of the Roman Empire, the rise of a divided Europe, the collapse of the Eastern Empire, the rise of Islamic civilization, etc.
  • Revelation teaches that the Church will expand under persecution until it conquers the world
  • A panorama of world history
  • Few Protestants hold this view today – “all but forgotten”
  • Taught by: Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Athanasius, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Knox, Tyndale, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, John Cotton, John Owen, Increase and Cotton Mather, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, the Puritans, Bobick, J. Marcellus Kik, Herman Hoeksema, Francis Nigel Lee
  • This is the view of the early church fathers, the medieval theologians, all of the reformers, and many theologians since then

Origins of Futurism and Preterism:

  • Originated about the same time, around 1600 by Jesuit priests
  • Franciso Ribera (Jesuit theologian) – 1590 – futurist commentary on Revelation. First few chapters about ancient pagan Rome. The rest about a 3.5 literal tribulation immediately prior to the second coming.
  • Robert Bellarmine (Cardinal) – similar view to Ribera
  • Luis De Alcazar (Jesuit theologian) – preterist. All about pagan Rome and the first 6 centuries of the church.
  • All of these books endorsed by Rome – interpretations different and incompatible but both considered true by Rome.
  • Both views originally invented to counter Protestant historicism – many Protestants today promoting counter-reformation theology

On Revelation in General:

  • Shows that:
    • God is just
    • Sin will be punished
    • A “horrible neverending ghastly punishment” awaits those who oppose God
  • The grandest epic ever written
  • Contains practical instruction and Christian values
  • Applies to all Christians in all times
  • Jesus will return and He is with us now
  • A book of consolation and cheer – Jesus’s victory is certain
  • Everything is being orchestrated by the unseen hand of God for our good
  • Everlasting happiness lies ahead

Devotion of Act for Devotion of Heart

REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A. on how Rome satisfies the need for holiness through its asceticism:

Joseph Leycester LyneA second substitution for true holiness is asceticism: according to which system the unholy heart finds its refuge in a separation from ordinary men.  Christianity carries holiness into life, asceticism takes the hermit out of it.  But yet it is perfectly natural that men should seek such a refuge.  When they feel the burden of sin, and experience the temptations of a surrounding world, it is no wonder that they should seek a remedy in a complete retirement from its influence.  To give themselves up to fasting, penance, and solitary communion with God, must lead, they very naturally argue, to the enjoyment of more holy peace than they can hope to find in the midst of the duties and varied engagements of society.  Hence every false faith has produced its devotees.  Under different systems they have assumed a different character, but in all the principle is the same.  The Hindoo separates himself from the world, and stands with his arm erect till it becomes stiffened into a fixed position; while the Buddhist and the Romanist retire to the convent that they may there withdraw from the world, and devote themselves wholly to spiritual exercises and to God.  But though this is natural, it is a mere accommodation.  The real evil of the human heart is not corrected by the change, nor have the hair shirt and the leathern girdle the slightest influence in controlling the corrupt passions of the nature.  There may be as much pride, self-righteousness, and ill-governed temper in the lonely hermit’s cheerless cell, as in the deep current of the world’s society.  At the same time it is an accommodation, for it employs the name of Christ, and gives the semblance of a very elevated piety.  It adopts the language of devotion, and prescribes a course of action and self-denial.  It gives the inquirer something to do, and something to bear; it separates him also from other men, and so, though his heart be not purified, it gives him the hope that he is holy.  This was remarkably seen in the case of Ignatius Loyola.  Like Luther, he was awakened to a deep sense of sin, and it is a remarkable fact that the two greatest p. 18phenomena of the sixteenth century, the Reformation, and Jesuitism, should have sprung out of the same uneasiness for sin.  Luther found peace through the blood of the Lamb, and holiness in the work of the Spirit; Loyola was as much distressed as he, and failing in his discovery of Christ, he took refuge in the substitute of an ascetic life.  He tore himself away from his kindred and father’s house, determining to undergo penances of the severest character, and to serve God in Jerusalem.  He hung up his shield before an image of the Virgin, and, having clothed himself in coarse raiment, he stood before it for whole nights with his pilgrim’s staff in his hand.  At Manresa he passed seven hours daily on his knees, and scourged himself regularly thrice a-day.  He devoted three whole days to making a general confession for sin, but the more he explored the depths of his heart, the more painful were the doubts which assailed him.  Having read in some of the fathers that God had been moved to compassion by a total abstinence from food, he remained from Sunday to Sunday without tasting anything, and at last only broke his fast in obedience to the positive injunctions of his confessor.

Such were the efforts of a master mind, to create for itself an artificial holiness, and such are the principles more or less involved in the whole system of the monasticism of Rome.  It substitutes devotion of act, which withdraws men from their appointed sphere, for devotion of heart which glorifies God in its varied duties: and thus presents a spurious holiness within reach of unconverted minds.

Source:  POPERY THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42280/42280-h/42280-h.htm, p. 17-18

She Is Unchanged And Unchangeable

San Pietro e Ponte SAngelo (notte)

Christopher Wordsworth, D.D.:

“Let none imagine that Rome is changed: that, although she was once proud and cruel, she is now humble and gentle; and that we have nothing to fear from her. This is not the doctrine of St. John. It is not the language of the Holy Ghost. The Apocalypse teaches us that she is unchanged and unchangeable. It warns us, that if she regains her sway, she will persecute with the same fury as before. She will break forth with all the violence of suppressed rage. She will again be drunken with the blood of the Saints (Rev. xvii. 6). Let us be sure of this; and let us take heed accordingly. We have need to do so; more need, perhaps, than some of us suppose. The warning is from God: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Mt. Xi. 15., Rev.ii. 7, 2;17,29).”

~“Is not the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Book of Revelation?” An Essay by Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., Sometime Bishop of Lincoln at http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=union_3

Holiness and Ritualism

REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A. on how Rome satisfies the need for holiness through its ritualism:

Rosary 2006-01-23We may lay it down as a fundamental axiom, that there can be no religion without holiness.  Whatever be our doctrinal opinions, if we be not holy we cannot see the Lord.  And, accordingly, holiness is the great gift of a risen Saviour to his Church.  He has shed forth the Holy Ghost to purify our hearts by faith.  Now, in this Christian holiness there are two or three leading features to be carefully observed.  (1.) It is not a plant which grows naturally in the human heart, but is the especial work of the Holy Ghost himself.  (2.) It consists in a sacred principle which controls the whole man, and not in any one class either of actions or omissions.  (3.) This ruling principle is the constraining power of the love of Christ.  “The love of Christ constraineth us.”  From which remarks it appears at once that true holiness is from its very nature impossible to the unconverted man.  He is not under the influence of the Spirit; he does not know the love of Christ, and he is, therefore, incapable of that hallowed principle which shall bend his whole mind in one direction, and wean him from sin by the consecration of his whole man to God.  Hence, the unconverted man, if thoughtful and conscientious, is sure to feel distressed.  A holy standard is presented to his view, while his conscience convicts him of lamentable defect.  He sees there must be necessity, but has not felt its power.  He sees there must be holiness, but he knows he is not holy.  He is aware that without righteousness there can be no true religion, but he sees so much sin within his heart that he cannot believe himself righteous.

What, then, is to be done?  What is the refuge of the human heart under such circumstances?  Either he must stifle conscience, which is impossible, or he must embrace the Gospel, in which case he would find joy in the Holy Ghost, or he must so accommodate that Gospel as to soothe his heart without changing it, which accommodation is Popery.  And how is this effected?

One mode is by ritualism.

There are two great classes of Christian duties combined in the formation of Christian holiness—moral and positive; moral being the general effect of Christian principle, positive consisting in certain Christian acts.  Now it is plainly in respect to these moral duties or duties of Christian principle that the natural heart finds the chief difficulty, and the outward acts of a ceremonial religion are incomparably easier than the holy dedication of a devoted heart.  Hence it follows that the human heart is naturally prone to slide insensibly from the principle to the ritual, and to endeavour to compensate the defects of the one by a rigid attention to the requirements of the other.  By such an accommodation no part of Divine truth is professedly set aside, but yet, by altering the proportions of the several parts, by throwing a strong light on one side of the picture, and a deep shade on the other, its whole character is completely changed, and religion is given to the natural man though his heart is left unsanctified by the Spirit.

This tendency to substitute ritual for principle may be daily seen in every society.  One thinks himself holy because he has kept his church; another, because he is a regular communicant; a third, because he attends daily service; a fourth, because he never neglects to say his prayers; while a fifth is quite sure that he is born again, because in his infancy he was baptized; although, possibly, neither one nor the other has learned anything of true holiness of heart.  Out of this tendency has sprung up the whole system of Romish righteousness.  The weed that grew out of the human heart it has adroitly cultivated, till it has become the strongest flower in its garden.  What under the Gospel sprang up by nature against the Gospel it has embodied and arranged so as to become a substitute for the Gospel.  Hence, under Popery, ritual has in many cases overpowered principle, and attention to ritual religion is made the substitute for spiritual holiness before God.

It is extremely difficult to produce documentary evidence of any such substitution, for, of course, it is in no case acknowledged.  The truth of our charge, however, may be easily seen in the practice of indulgences.  It is sometimes thought that this monstrous practice has been abandoned by modern Popery.  But such is not the case; for I find in the “Catholic Directory” for 1848, that there are eight plenary indulgences granted to the faithful in the eight districts of England, and four more for the peculiar benefit of the London district.  Now the essence of these indulgences is the substitution of ritual for principle, for the remission of moral sin is promised as a reward to the observance of an ecclesiastical rite.  Take, e.g., one of the indulgences granted by Pope Sixtus IV.:—“Our holy Father, Sixtus IV., Pope, hath granted to all them that devoutly say this prayer before the image of our Lady the sum of 11,000 years of pardon.  Ave Sanctissima Maria, &c.”  So the late Pope issued an apostolic brief to Ambrose Lisle Phillips, Esq., in which, amongst other things, he promises “indulgences of 100 days as often as the members shall recite their appointed decade of the rosary on working days.”  He promises at the same time indulgences of seven years and seven lents as often as they shall recite the aforesaid decades on Sundays and holidays, &c.  It is impossible to imagine a more glaring preference of ritual above principle.  The guilt of moral sin is remitted as a reward for the performance of an ecclesiastical rite.

Another clear illustration of the same principle is seen in the substitution for repentance of what they term the sacrament of penance.  Where you find repentance in the Scriptures you find penance taught by Rome, as, e.g., in Ezek. xviii. 30:—“Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions.”  Luke xiii. 3.  “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.”  And Acts ii. 38:—“Repent and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  In all these passages the Council of Trent, Sess. xiv. 2, has changed “repent,” into “do penance,” and has so made the rite a substitute for the principle.  Of course the pious Romanist would say, “We have the principle too, for we truly repent in penance.”  But that does not affect the question.  The Bible has promised remission of sin, and connected it with the principle; the Church of Rome has adopted the promise, but transferred it to the rite.

The effects of this on different minds are, of course, very various.  In some of a devout and conscientious character, it produces the most earnest attention to the positive duties of religion, and gives them a dim gleam of doubtful hope in the unceasing observance of all prescribed services.  But when there is not this spirit of devotion, it enables a wicked man to make a compromise with God, and to follow the natural bent of his natural heart, by attending to the Church’s services, while he utterly neglects the weightier matters of the law.

In the late trials for murder in Ireland, it was remarked that many of the guilty culprits were persons remarkable for their attention to the ritual of their Church; and there was a case at the close of the last Irish rebellion in which the hour of a murder was thus proved.  One of the witnesses swore that it took place after the hour of twelve o’clock on Saturday night, and he was sure of the fact because the murderers were determined to have a supper before they went on their guilty errand, and that Saturday being a fast-day, they could not touch meat until after the clock had struck.  The ritual of fasting was rigidly observed, while the regard for life was altogether gone.  In one of the jails at Rome there is a celebrated bandit, by name Gasparoni.  This man, by his deeds of bloodshed, had desolated an extensive district in the neighbourhood of Rome, though all the while he avowed himself a very religious man.  Sir Fowell Buxton inquired of him whether he had fasted when he was a bandit.  He said, “Yes.”  “Why did you fast?” was the next question.  “Because I am of the religion of the Virgin.”  “Which did you think was worse, eating meat on a Friday, or killing a man?”  He answered without hesitation, “In my case it was a crime not to fast; it was no crime to kill those who came to betray me.”  The man had no true holiness, but had taken the ritual of fasting as its substitute, so that in the midst of his murders he believed himself a very religious man.

The same principle appears in the Romish treatment of the Lord’s-day.  The moral commandment of the Most High God is abandoned, and for it you find in many Romish catechisms the substitute of human ritual, “Thou shalt keep the festivals.”  And this appears in the universal practice of Romish countries.  They appear to regard it as a duty to attend mass, but that once done, the whole day is devoted to amusement.  The rite is observed, and the conscience satisfied, so that the unregenerate heart is left at full liberty to pursue its own course, and take its pleasure on the Lord’s holy day.  Thus the same persons who are engaged in the utmost apparent devotion at mass in the morning are found in throngs in the dissolute French theatre at night.  “Attend to the Church’s rites and live as you please,” appears to be the maxim of their morality.

You perceive the same thing in Romish literature.  It has been one of the characteristics of the late movement toward Rome that amongst its most devoted followers it has let loose the spirit of the world.  You will observe, for example, in Burns’s Catalogue the strangest possible mixture of ritualism and worldliness, and will see the book of Romish devotion placed side by ride with the wild German love story.

Thus has Popery taken hold of the great grand gift of Christianity, and presented it to its votaries in a form accommodated to human nature.  It does not deny the necessity of holiness, but it so transforms its character that the unholy man may think he has attained it, and the Italian murderer conscientiously believe himself religious.

Source:  POPERY THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42280/42280-h/42280-h.htm, p. 13-17

A Shadow Of The Throne Provided Here On Earth

REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A. on how Rome satisfies the human need to worship:

Gaspar the Crayer - Veneration of the Virgin by saintsIt is plain to any man that without worship there can be no true religion, and the Gospel is a grand scheme whereby God enables men to pray.  Christ came that we might have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.  His blood removes every barrier, and his Spirit gives the needful power.  But unless that Gospel be embraced with an appropriating faith, true prayer remains an impossibility; men may repeat their prayers, but, like St. Paul, they will never really pray.  Hence, if a man remain in an unconverted state, he must do one of two things; he must either give up prayer altogether, which cannot satisfy an anxious mind; or he must have some modification of true worship.  If he cannot rise in heart to heaven, he must have a shadow of the throne provided for him on earth.  Now mark the effect of this necessity.

The first great difficulty in the way of earnest prayer is realization.  The natural man cannot realize unseen spirits.  There is a height and glory in them beyond his reach.  But yet there is no peace unless he does realize.  So what must he do?  Me must invent some representation, whereby to lead on his mind; some image, figure, or effigy, which may stand before him, in order to bring the object of his worship to his view, and which may stand as a hallowed emblem, through which he pays God his honour; he invents for himself just such a system as is described in the decree of the Council of Trent, when it says, Sess. xxv., “The honour which is given to the images is given to the prototypes which they represent, so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head and make prostration, we adore Christ, and venerate those saints of whom they are the likeness.”  Through the image they adore the Saviour, and the image is employed as an accommodated help to assist the process of realization in the worship of an unseen God.

If there were any doubt that this is the true history of image-worship, it would be removed by the fact that the sin has appeared under the same form, under all circumstances, and in all ages.  Aaron made the calf as a representation of God, and said, “These be thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt;” and the Hindoo of the present day regards his idol as a representative of his deity.  A Jesuit priest was in conversation the other day with a learned Hindoo in the neighbourhood of Madras, and urged him to embrace what he termed the Catholic faith.  “What is the good,” said the heathen, “of my exchanging one system of idolatry for another?”  “Idolatry!” said the priest, “you do not mean to say that ours is idolatry.  We do not worship our images; we merely set them before us, and adore our Saviour and the saints in them.”  “And do you suppose,” replied the heathen, “that we actually worship the images?  No; we merely set them before us as a representation of our gods.  No, Sir; a Christian I may become, but I shall never be a Roman Catholic.”  There was not a shade of difference between the two systems, both having sprung from the natural tendencies of the human heart.

This identity was on one occasion curiously illustrated by the Church of Rome itself, for when they obtained possession of a magnificent statue of Jupiter Tonans, they removed the thunderbolt out of his hand, and gave him two large keys in its place.  By this slight alteration, they changed Jupiter into Peter, and transferred him from a Pagan temple to a Christian Church.  Could anything shew more clearly that Paganism and Romanism were nothing more than different accommodations to the idolatrous tendencies of the human heart?  There was no opposition in principle, and the only difference was between the thunderbolt and the keys.

What a refreshing contrast do we find in the records of the Tinnevelly Mission, where the heathen idols have been used for pavement at the Church doors, so that none can enter God’s house for worship without first trampling the former idol under foot!

From the same nature has sprung the system of saint worship.  There is always a tendency to deify the great, and just in proportion as time advances does this tendency increase.  The man’s human frailty is daily witnessed by his own contemporaries, and the humanity of his nature kept in view by visible facts; but when the corrective evidence of real life loses its power through the lapse of time, the human failures are forgotten, while the great acts are exaggerated, till something supernatural is attached to the memory, and the earthly benefactor is adored as a god.  This is the history of all the tutelary deities of Pagan lands.  Romulus, e.g., was no sooner dead than deified; the most popular deity of China, Laoutze, was one of the early emperors, and there is scarcely a nation in the world that has not elevated its benefactors into gods.

Here, then, is the natural tendency of the natural heart—a tendency in direct opposition to Christianity.  But, though thus opposed to the Gospel, it is not necessarily eradicated from the heart of every professing Christian; and, hence, it has produced within the Church a new mode of Christianized hero-worship, in which the martyrs have taken the hero’s honours, and the Virgin is crowned with the crown of Cybele.  There was nothing wonderful in this.  They witnessed the martyrs’ faith, and met for sacramental communion around the martyrs’ tombs; they knew their souls yet lived, and they knew not but what they might be even present.  What, then, could be more natural than that the waiting heart should begin to adore them?  It was not addressing a Pagan god, but a Christian saint, and the very prayer was an acknowledgment of all the great principles of Christianity.  But when once that prayer was uttered, the Rubicon was crossed, and the principle of saint-worship established in the Church.  Hence you find the guardian saints and angels of the Church of Rome filling exactly the same office as the tutelary deities of the Heathen.  And, as we have just remarked the identity of Pagan and Roman image-worship as illustrated by the alteration of the image, so there is another curious fact which exhibits the similar correspondence between the hero-worship of the ancients and the saint-worship of modern Rome.  When the Emperor Phocas issued his celebrated edict in recognition of the supremacy of the See of Rome, he made a present to the Pope of the ancient temple named Pantheon.  Now this temple was originally dedicated to Cybele, and all the Pagan gods, and when it fell into the possession of the Pope, he made as slight a change as possible, for he just turned it over to the Virgin Mary and all the saints.  The principle was left untouched, though the objects of the idolatry were changed.

But there is a yet further principle involved in this saint and virgin worship; for the human heart requires tenderness and sympathy, so that we can never breathe out our secret burden to one who has no fellow-feeling with our trouble.  We want the sympathy of a common nature, if not the tenderness of a woman’s heart.  Hence in Heathen systems you constantly find a Heathen goddess to whom pertains especially the office of patronage and mercy.  Even Simon Magus had his Helena in his system of Gnosticism; and the poor Buddhist, while he looks with awe to his three Buddhas, has his Kwan-yin, or Goddess of Mercy, to whom he may appeal in trouble.  Yes! the human heart needs tenderness, and if there is any one aspect in the Gospel more glorious than another, it is the rich provision made for this very want.  There never was a scheme so wonderful, or a Saviour so perfect as that presented in the Gospel.  Glorious in his divinity, he sways heaven’s mighty sceptre, while, perfect in his humanity, he can be tenderly touched with the faintest cry of human grief.  He governs angels, and weeps with men.  But the natural man is a stranger to this sympathy; yet he longs for it and feels the need of it.  He is exposed to the shocks and buffetings of this rough world, and his bleeding heart needs a friend who himself has bled.  If he has not Christ, therefore, he naturally craves a substitute; something which may give him the sense of sympathy amongst the unseen powers.  And this desire has gradually run into saint and virgin worship.  It has taken hold of the hero-worship of the Heathen, and given it a Christian character by transferring it to the Virgin and the saints.  It does not do away with Christ, but provides a system of intermediate mediation which commends itself to the aching heart by the assurance of a woman’s love and a fellow-sufferer’s compassion.  Hence, if any particular saint was subject during life to any especial trial, he is supposed to take a peculiar interest in those who labour under similar affliction.  Nor can you read much of the adoration paid by Rome to the Virgin without perceiving that she is the Kwan-yin, the Goddess of Mercy, in the Romish system.  There is a halo of awe thrown around the brow of the Redeemer, while the Virgin is described in the attitude of tenderness, “the comforter of the afflicted,” “the refuge of the sinner,” and the ready listener to the sufferer’s cry.  We will adduce one instance in illustration, as given by Mr. Tyler in his valuable little work “What is Romanism?”  The worship of the Virgin is especially celebrated in Romish countries during the month of May, and there is a collection of religious poems used in the churches of Paris on these occasions.  One of these is as follows:—

“Vouchsafe, Mary, on this day to hear our sighs and second our desires.  Vouchsafe, Mary, on this day to receive our incense, our love: Of thy heavenly husband calm the rage.  Let him shew himself kind to all those that are thine!  Of thy heavenly husband calm the rage: Let his heart be softened towards us.”

Here God is presented in the attitude of terror, while the female advocate is the sole depository of grace; and the whole springs from the natural heart, which, under the sense of sin, feels a dread of God; and longing for sympathy, appeals to a woman’s love.

Source:  POPERY THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42280/42280-h/42280-h.htm, p. 9-13

A Blind Transfer Of Personal Responsibility To Others

Francis Inauguration fc06

REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A. on how Rome satisfies the mind inquiring after Christian truth:

It is impossible to give the slightest attention to the Word of God without perceiving the vast importance attached to the reception of Christian truth; and it is equally impossible to avoid the conviction that it is declared in Scripture to be there revealed decisively.  It is the plain doctrine of the Word of God that there is one way, one truth, and one life, and that we are responsible for its rejection or reception.  Now, just in proportion as a man feels the pressure of a surrounding religious atmosphere, does he feel the weight attaching to this responsibility; and the more anxious does he naturally become to have his mind settled and his doubts satisfied.  It is true that the humble believer, being led by the Spirit, quickly finds an happy assurance in the simple statements of the Bible; but there are many, like Noah’s dove, who can find amidst the troubled waters of the world no resting-place for their soul.  Many shrink from the labour of investigation, and many more from the responsibility of decision.  The truth is not arranged in a system of dogmatical statements, but lies embodied in every portion of the book, from whence it arises that men must search for it as for hid treasure; a duty in direct opposition to the natural indolence of our nature.  But, still more, faith requires conviction and decision—qualifications yet more opposed to the wavering and vacillating tendencies of man.  You see many men in life who appear to have no power to take a consistent course alone.  If they are led they will follow, and, perhaps, will follow well; but they do not appear to have the mental faculty of decision.  Indeed, this power of decision is the characteristic of great men.  They are not always either wiser or better than those they lead, but they have this faculty, that they are thoroughly persuaded in their own mind, and are capable of full and unwavering conviction of any truth which they are led to embrace.  Such persons are sure to have a cluster of dependent minds around them, and others of superior ability are glad to lean on their superior decision.  The fact is, that man is a parasitic plant, and he must lean on something.  Now see the influence of such a fact on our connexion with Divine truth.  A thoughtful mind at once discovers that the reception of truth is of the utmost importance to his soul, and at the same time his conscience assures him that he is but partially acquainted either with its evidence or its statements.  What, then, is the result?  He begins to lean on the judgment of those whom he considers better informed, and to pin his faith on other men.  Thus there are thousands and tens of thousands who abhor the name of Rome, who are depending wholly on the judgment of others in religion.  This is always the danger in those congregations where there is a beloved and gifted minister.  It is the case also amongst those whom you would suppose to be at the antipodes of Popery, viz., those who boast that they are peculiarly men of reason in their faith.  A friend of mine was conversing the other day with an Unitarian, and proving to him the clear doctrine of the eternal divinity of the Saviour.  The man could make no reply to the clear proofs adduced from Scripture, till at length, when completely baffled, he said, “I cannot explain those texts myself, but my minister can.”  Could you have a stronger proof that it is the tendency of human nature, even when it boasts its own reason, to lean on other men for truth?  Now, from this tendency has arisen the whole system of Romish infallibility.  Anxious minds felt the necessity of leaning upon something.  Had they leaned on Scripture they would have been at peace; but, in default of that, they required some human judgment.  The first and most natural process was to lean on individuals, and, accordingly, most heresies bear the names of their first leaders.  But this fails in giving peace, for individuals differ, and the authority of the individual is too often weakened by his faults and errors.  Hence it follows, that these leaning minds are often involved in perplexity of the most painful character.  Not having the one anchor, they are driven about by every wind that bloweth.  Was there ever a system more beautifully adapted to such a case than that which steps in to the chamber of doubt, and says, “Be still, it is not your business to decide at all: it is for you, as a humble believer, to believe what the Church believes?”  All responsibility is thus taken off the conscience, and thrown on an ideal object, the Church; the indolence of human nature is at once satisfied, for investigation is represented as a sin; and even the piety of the heart is called into exercise, for blind reliance is honoured by the hallowed name of faith.  The whole weight of perplexity is thrown off beyond the reach of investigation, and by that one stroke a false relief is given.  There are a thousand questions which ought to be answered before the leap is taken.  What is the Catholic Church?  Where is the proof of its infallibility?  What does it teach? and is the teaching scriptural?  But these it is said to be a sin to ask.  At one stroke the responsibility is transferred, and the anxious mind finds what it terms “rest in the Church.”  Hence men often begin with anxious interest, advance as a second step to perplexity, and then, at length, abandon inquiry in a blind reliance on what they are told is the teaching of the Church.  One of the late perverts to Rome said, when a gentleman quoted to her the Word of God, “I thank God I am not called to perplex myself any more with the perplexities of Scripture.  I have placed the interests of my soul in safe keeping, and shall not suffer myself again to be disturbed.”  She had plainly felt perplexity, and she had found a false peace in throwing off her personal responsibility.  So there is mention made in “Milner’s End of Controversy,” of one Anthony Ulric, Duke of Brunswick, who, having commenced a search for true religion, ended in writing a book entitled his “Fifty Reasons for preferring the Roman Catholic Religion,” in which he says, “The Catholics to whom I spoke concerning my conversion, assured me, that if I were to be damned for embracing the Catholic faith, they were ready to answer for me at the day of judgment, and to take my damnation upon themselves.”  As he could find no Protestants who were willing to undertake a similar responsibility, he decided on joining the Church of Rome:—showing again how a state of perplexity leads on to a blind transfer of personal responsibility to others.

Source:  POPERY THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42280/42280-h/42280-h.htm, p. 7-9

Like The Growth Of A Little Horn

Cows grazing below the Marian Tower - geograph.org.uk - 1760060

REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A.:

And here we must just remark, that Popery did not at any time appear ready made on the world’s platform.  It was not like Mahometanism, which was constructed by one man, and brought out complete after a certain retirement from the world; but it was like the growth of a little horn, commencing with soft and unnoticed buddings, until, as time advanced, it acquired length and strength, and hardness.  In fact, the process has been very much that which we see in dissolving views; you look at one time at a given picture, and at the very time that you moat admire it, certain lines become fainter, and others stronger, so that after a while you discover that the whole landscape is completely changed.  You have had your attention fixed throughout, but the change has been so gradual, the fading and brightening of the different parts so imperceptible, that though you now see the lofty tower where a few moments back the cattle were grazing in the meadow, you are at a loss to decide when the change commenced, or what were the distinct steps of its accomplishment.  Just so it has been with Popery.  Men began by looking at Christianity; they beheld its beauty and admired it; but as they looked, a faintness gradually crept over its outline; its finest touches began insensibly to disappear; the lines of a new picture by degrees took their place, till at length the whole scene became changed, and instead of Christianity we found Popery; instead of Christ we saw Antichrist exalted in his room.

Source:  POPERY THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42280/42280-h/42280-h.htm, p. 3-4

Image: Rose and Trev Clough

Unity in Error is Not Christian Unity

Christopher Wordsworth, D.D. on Rome’s sin of schism:

Chandelier sept branches Cathédrale Viborg Domkirke Denmark“Therefore, since it has been proved by Appeals to Reason, to Scripture, and to Antiquity, that the Church of Rome has built hay and stubble on the one foundation laid by Christ (1 Cor. Iii. 12); that she has added to the faith many errors and corruptions which mar and vitiate it; and since, as the Holy Spirit teaches us in the Apocalypse, it is the duty of every Church, which has fallen into error, to repent (Rev.iii.3); and since Jesus Christ Himself, our Great High Priest “Who walketh in the midst of the Golden Candlestick” declares, that when a Church has left her first love, He will remove her Candlestick out of its place except she repent (Rev.ii.5), and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die (Rev.iii.2); and since the corruptions of one Church afford no palliation or excuse for those of another; for, as the Prophet says, though Israel play the harlot, let not Judah sin (Hos. Iv. 15); and as Christ Himself teaches, though the church of Sardis be dead (Rev.iii. 1), and Laodicea be neither hot or cold (Rev.iii. 15), yet their sister Ephesus must remember whence she has fallen, and do her first works (Rev.ii.5), and Pergamos must repent, or He will come quickly, and fight against her with the sword of His mouth (Rev.ii. 16) — therefore, we say, it was justly concluded by our Divines, that no desire of Unity on our part, nor reluctance on the part of Rome to cast off her errors, could exempt England from the duty of Reformation; and if Rome, instead of removing her corruptions, refused to communicate with England, unless England consented to communicate with Rome in those corruptions, then no love of Unity could justify England in compliance with this requisition of Rome; for Unity in error is not Christian Unity; but, by imposing the necessity of erring as a term of Union, Rome became guilty of a breach of Unity;, and so the sin of Schism lies at her door.

~“Is not the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Book of Revelation?” An Essay by Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., Sometime Bishop of Lincoln at http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=union_3

Every Characteristic Is Clearly Found In The Papacy

Pope Benedictus XVI - St. Peter's Square - Vatican City - 11 Oct. 2008

John Brown on Antichrist:

“The above characteristics drawn from Scripture cannot be wholly found in the heathen Emperors of Rome, much less in the fanciful Danitish-Antichrist of popish writers, or the Armillus of the Jews, or the Daggial of the Mahometans. The Mahometan system may indeed be considered as a lesser antichrist, but neither contain all the characteristics applicable to it. It does not sit in the Church, nor appear to men to have a power equal to God’s. It allows no idolatry, nor is it notable for the persecution of the saints, nor was it established by lying wonders, but by the power of the sword. Actually, every characteristic is clearly found in the papacy.”

~John Brown of Haddington, “Dictionary of Bible Characters”, p. 125

HT: https://feileadhmor.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/john-brown-on-the-antichrist/

Life in Anticipation of the Seventh Vial

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