January 10, 1895
ON the 15th of June, 1520, Pope Leo X. issued a bull condemning Luther and the Reformation.
ONE of the forty-one propositions extracted from the writings of Luther, and condemned by Leo X., reads thus: “To burn heretics is contrary to the will of the Holy Ghost.”
EVERY one of the forty-one gospel propositions condemned by Pope Leo X., on the 15th of June, 1520, are condemned by Pope Leo XIII. to-day, Jan. 10, 1895, although three hundred and seventy-five years with their opportunities for enlightenment have passed. Rome never changes.
ON the 10th of December, 1520, Martin Luther burned the bull of Leo X., and the next day addressed the students of Wittenberg as follows: “If you do not contend with your whole heart against the impious government of the pope, you cannot be saved. Whoever takes delight in the religion and worship of popery, will be eternally lost in the world to come. If you reject it, you must expect to incur every kind of danger, and even to lose your lives. But it is far better to be exposed to such perils in this world than to keep silence. So long as I live I will denounce to my brethren the sore and the plague of Babylon, for fear that many who are with us may fall back like the rest into the bottomless pit of perdition.”
MARTIN LUTHER is dead. And the churches of the Reformation “keep silence” and “fall back.”
IN Germany, the home of Martin Luther, it is to-day a criminal offense, punishable with fine and imprisonment, to preach against Catholicism, or as Luther terms it, “the plague of Babylon.” In the United States, it is against the law of “propriety,” “good policy,” and “good taste,” to preach against Romanism. Instead, a Methodist minister in Ohio says, “God bless the Roman Catholic Church of to-day.” Another in Iowa holds a union service with a Roman Catholic priest,—the priest doing the preaching, of course. A Catholic priest is requested to tell the students of the Union Theological Seminary how to preach. He is introduced by a Presbyterian minister, who terms Luther’s “plague of Babylon” the “great mother church of Christendom,” and says that the recent encyclical of Pope Leo XIII., inviting princes and peoples back to the belief that to burn heretics is in harmony with the Holy Ghost, “breathed a spirit like that of the Master.”
THE Churchman, a Protestant Episcopal paper, under date of Dec. 15, 1894, criticises the propriety of inviting Catholic priests to teach Protestant candidates for the ministry how to preach, and for this faint echo of the Reformation, Bishop Potter, of the same church, promptly and severely rebuked the editor of the Churchman. The Outlook, a Presbyterian paper, in its issue of Dec. 29, prints the Bishop’s rebuke, under the title, “Bigotry Rebuked,” with the following editorial comment: “The Outlook was about to call its usually genial and courteous contemporary, the Churchman, to account for a bit of bigotry in connection with the lecture of Father Doyle at the Union Theological Seminary, when Bishop Potter stepped in and administered a rebuke more effectively, and, for the Churchman at least, more authoritatively, than the Outlook could possibly have done. Bishop Potter has said many brief things and preached many telling sermons, but we believe he has set no better lesson to be learned by a good many religious people in these days than that contained in the brief communication which we reprint herewith.”
THOUGH the professedly Protestant denominations of America have ceased to protest against the papacy, Protestantism is not dead.
THE people who publish the AMERICAN SENTINEL believe the words addressed by Luther to the students of Wittenberg, and “with a firm reliance on the protection of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we mutually pledge to each other and to the world, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” to uncompromisingly contend with the “whole heart against the impious government of the pope.” From the cowardice of others we only gather courage, warmth from their coldness, and loyalty from their treason. While the Protestant world flatters and caresses the system which tortured and burned its ancestors, we will cease not to denounce its errors and faithfully warn the world of the on-rushing, overwhelming billows of the See of Rome.
LET it be ever remembered that the AMERICAN SENTINEL is opposing the papal system, not the individual. For the individual Roman Catholic we have only thoughts of love; and we are daily manifesting that love in this great center of population and poverty, by carrying food to the homes of destitute Roman Catholics, and watching by the bedside of their sick and dying.
WHAT can the little handful of less than fifty thousand souls who represent the constituency behind the AMERICAN SENTINEL do as against the millions upon millions of Roman Catholics and millions more of Romanizing Protestants? “You are alone,” says the enemy. “You are in the minority. The great and the wise are not with you.” We reply with the answer of Martin Luther: “Moses was alone at the departure from Egypt; Elijah was alone in the reign of King Ahab; Isaiah alone in Jerusalem; Ezekiel alone in Babylon. God never selected as a prophet either the high priest or any great personage; but ordinarily he chose low and despised men, once even the shepherd Amos. In every age, the saints have had to reprove the great, kings, princes, priests, and wise men, at the peril of their lives…. I do not say that I am a prophet, but I say that they ought to fear, precisely because I am alone and that they are many. I am sure of this, that the Word of God is with me, and it is not with them…. The majority has ever been on the side of falsehood, and the minority  with truth. Truth has ever caused an outcry.”
ROME dreads true Protestants, however few in number. She could not endure the Waldenses, though few and hidden by the rugged Alps. They were a Mordecai in the gate, and refusing to bow to papal dogma they were tortured and burned.
ROME sees in Seventh-day Adventists a Mordecai in the gate. Consistent Protestants are dreaded by the papacy as much now as of old; hence “Father” Elliott, whom the papacy has sent out to gather up the fragments of collapsed Protestantism, has come in contact with this people whom the Catholic Mirror terms the only consistent Protestants, and in writing of his experience with them in Michigan in the August number of the Catholic World, says: “The sect is the most venomous enemy of Catholicity in these parts.” “Seventh-day Adventists … are making a propaganda of much energy—and not without results.” Again he terms them “the narrowest of sects, shown by their literature to be the most bitterly anti-Catholic,” and concludes by saying, “I thank God that ‘consistent Protestantism’ is narrowing down into this concentrated essence of bigotry.” Again, writing from Ohio, in the December number of the Catholic World, he says: “These new sectarians are making converts in many places full of deadly hatred of the Catholic Church.” “In the question box our only abundant matter was furnished by the Seventh-day Adventists.” “I dread their fanaticism.”
THANK God that there is a remnant of consistent Protestantism which the papacy dreads. But what a responsibility rests upon this remnant before God and the world!