THE spokesmen of the Papacy have much to say at the present time, and with much apparent reason, concerning the decay of Protestantism. We say “apparent” reason, since in reality Rome has no reason whatever to congratulate herself upon the prospect of her victory over Protestantism.
It is true that vast numbers of people, nominally Protestants, are indifferent to the distinctive principles of Protestant belief. It is true that the number of such persons is increasing, and that Rome is rapidly gaining adherents from all classes of the people. It is true also that the Protestant churches as such are fast placing themselves upon papal ground by their advocacy of religious legislation, and that by this course and their adherence to the papal dogma of Sunday sanctity they give Rome all the advantage in the contest for supremacy, so far as they themselves are concerned. But Protestantism has a strength entirely above that which these human elements can supply; and that strength, despite all contrary appearances, will give Protestantism the victory.
Protestantism cannot be represented by an army of men, or by a creed evolved from the conceptions and deductions of original minds. Protestantism is religious truth, and as such is represented by the word of God. Over that word the Papacy will never triumph; but that word will triumph completely over the Papacy. And when the Papacy and all the powers of earth which it will have drawn to its support, and even the very earth itself, shall have passed away, the word of the eternal God will still remain, a sure foundation for all who shall have made that word their trust.
The truth is that Protestantism is not declining in the earth, but rising, and the present generation is to see such a manifestation of its power as no generation ever yet beheld. For truth—the eternal truth of God which is given to set men free from every yoke—is to shine forth with a brightness that will lighten all the earth. It is to be proclaimed with a voice so loud that every ear shall hear. It will be the word of God—“the Scripture and the Scripture only,” and will go with all the power of that word, which is the power that created all things. It will proclaim God’s eternal law—that law which the Papacy has thought to change. The conflict with papal error will be short, sharp, and decisive, and God’s own voice will give it a fearful and glorious termination.
The God of truth will not keep silence for ever. The same voice which spoke against sin from the flaming summit of Mount Sinai, is to be heard once more. “Whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Hebrews 12:26, 27.
Let it be ours to stand with Protestantism upon the foundation which cannot be shaken.