“National Reform and Romanism” The American Sentinel 2, 1, p. 8.


“The churches and pulpits have much to do with shaping and forming opinions on moral and civil, as well as on theological and ecclesiastical, points; and it is probable that in the almost universal gathering of our citizens about these, the chief discussions and the final decisions will be developed there.”—Christian Statesman, Feb. 21, 1884.

It was in this way that Rome placed herself in the position of sole interpreter of the Scriptures on all points. Whenever a conflict of opinion occurred, it was brought immediately to the notice of the church, and she must decide as to what was the Scripture in the case, and which one of the disputants was in the right, and her decision was final; consequently no opinion could be held, and no duty practiced, which she chose to declare unscriptural. Therefore, if the Scriptures were to be interpreted alone by her, and conduct was to be regulated alone by her decisions, it is manifest that the more the people read the Scriptures, the more was she annoyed by new controversies, and by the necessity of rendering new decisions; and then why should she not prohibit the laity from reading the Scriptures? Besides, where was the use of the laity reading the Scriptures anyhow, when none but the clergy could interpret?

When the National Reformers shall have succeeded, will they prohibit our reading and interpreting the Scriptures? If not, why not? Would it not be vastly better to do so at once than to be kept in a constant whirl of “interpretations” and decisions? Then they could regulate the faith and practice of their so-called Christian government by bulls issued as occasion required, “in Domino salutem et opostalicam benedictionem.” This would save them a vast deal of labor, and doubtless would work just as well.

A. T. J.

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