“THAT was certainly a most remarkable procession,” says the Christian Work, of May 14, “which marched through the streets of Madrid one day last week.” Spain had been suffering from a protracted drouth. Added to this misfortune was the drain upon Spain’s military and financial resources caused by the Cuban war, with the dark prospect of the loss of this last of her American possessions. In such an emergency, papal superstition suggested, as usual, an appeal to some dead “saint.” This procession, we are told, “constituted an appeal to the patron saint of the city, St. Isidore, to put an end to the drouth from which Spain has been suffering, and at the same time to put an end to the Cuban rebellion. It was a magnificent affair. Both civic and military organizations participated, and there were nearly a thousand priests in line, all carrying lighted tapers. The route was lined with enthusiastic spectators, who threw so many flowers that the very streets were filled with them. At the head of the procession were carried the remains of the saint, who died six hundred years ago.”
The scene is one thoroughly characteristic of the papal religion. That religion is built upon the idea that we are to look to the dead for that aid which it is beyond human power to give. The idea is essentially pagan, as an examination of any pagan religion will show. The Lord’s testimony concerning it may be seen from the language of Isaiah 8:19: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living, to the dead?”
The Scriptures nowhere sanction the idea of seeking to the dead for aid. The Almighty declares himself to be the source of our strength and wisdom and righteousness, and directs us to seek unto him. From many texts in his Word we learn that it is utterly useless to seek unto the dead for anything; since they “know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5), have no “more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun” (verse 6), their thoughts have perished (Psalm 146:3, 4), etc. Any such demonstration, therefore, as this religious procession to invoke the aid of some dead man whose bones are carried at its head, is simply nothing else than exhibition of superstition.
The idea that when people die they are still alive, knowing more and having more power than they ever did before, is well calculated to foster superstition of the grossest kind. Worship of the dead was one of the earliest marks of apostasy from the true God. The civil power, through the common belief in the consciousness and superhuman power and wisdom of departed spirits of men, which imagination and superstition had transformed into gods, very early came to look to these “gods” for aid in times of emergency, and to connect their worship with the affairs of the State. Probably nothing has contributed more powerfully than this superstition to the union of Church and State.