DURING the past year, there has been largely circulated a book entitled “Our Country,” that has excited a great deal of attention throughout the United States. The book was written for the American Home Missionary Society, its object being to present “facts and arguments showing the imperative need of home missionary work for the evangelization of the land.” In a startling, as well as splendid, array of facts, it presents the growth, the size, the resources, and the perils of our country.
Among these perils the author rightly places Romanism, and by many excellent quotations proves that it is indeed a peril. We quote a passage or two:—
“The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX., in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: ‘The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience, are a pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a State.’ The same Pope, in his encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized ‘those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship,’ also ‘all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.’”
“The pacific tone of Rome in the United State does not imply a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O’Connor: ‘Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.’ … Archbishop of St. Louis once said: ‘Heresy and unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land, they are punished as other crimes.’”
“Cardinal Manning advises Romanists throughout the world to enter polities as Romanists, and to do this especially in England and the United States. In our large cities the priests are already in politics, and to some purpose… We are told that the native Catholics of Arizona and New Mexico are not as energetic as the Protestants who are pushing into these territories. True, but they are energetic enough to be counted. The most wretched members of society count as much at the polls as the best, and too often much more.”
All this and much more is true of Romanism. And although there is just cause for fear that Romanism will yet wield civil power here, and that the principles of Romanism will yet be allowed by the laws of this nation, yet we are certain that it will never accomplish this of itself nor in its own name. We are perfectly assured that if ever Romanism gains such power in this Government, it will be through the mediumship and by the instrumentalities of the National Reform party; for, as crafty, as cruel, as bitterly opposed to our free institutions as Rome is, as this book shows she is, and as men know that she is, yet the National Reformers are willing and even anxious to join hands with her, and enlist her in the promotion of their scheme of so-called reform.
We are not in this bringing against the National Reformers a railing accusation; we simply deal with facts, and the logic of facts. And in saying that the National Reformers are willing and even anxious to join hands with Romanism in America, we only state the sober truth. Please read the following statement from an editorial in the Christian Statesman, of December 11, 1884:—
“Whenever they [the Roman Catholics] are willing to co-operate in resisting the progress of political atheism, we will gladly join hands with them.”
What the Statesman designates as “political atheism,” is nothing more nor less than the present form of Government, and the present Constitution, of the United States. To oppose National Reform is to them sheer atheism; and to oppose the kind of Government which they indorse is political atheism. That no religious test shall be required of a civil ruler, is declared by Rev. M. A. Gault to be “the infidel theory of Government.”—Statesman, December 24, 1885. The “theory of Government taught in our National Constitution” is declared by Rev. A. M. Milligan to be “the infidel theory.”—Speech, in the New York Convention.
Again the Statesman says:—
“We cordially, gladly, recognize the fact that in South American Republics, and in France, and other European countries, the Roman Catholics are the recognized advocates of National Christianity, and stand opposed to all the proposals of secularism…. In a world’s conference for the promotion of National Christianity, many countries could be represented only by Roman Catholics.”—Editorial before quoted.
It is beyond question, therefore, that what the Statesman means is that, whenever the Roman Catholics are willing to co-operate with the National Reformers in the scheme of the establishment of National Christianity in the United States, the National Reformers “will gladly join hands with them.” But the Roman Catholics are always ready to co-operate in that thing. That is one of Rome’s clearest characteristics. Rome hates our present form of Government and our present Constitution as heartily as do the National Reformers. Rome, too, would readily enough brand our present system of Government as “political atheism,” if the National Reformers had not already done it for her. And everybody may rest assured that the National Reformers will have the pleasure of “gladly” joining hands with Rome, just as soon as they shall have gained a position of sufficient importance to make it to the interest of Rome to join hands with them. In fact, this is exactly what Roman Catholics are commanded to do. In his Encyclical published only last year, Pope Leo XIII. says:—
“All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of States, and legislation, to be modeled on the principles of the true church, and all Catholic writers and journalists should never lose sight, for an instant, from the view of the above prescriptions.”
NATIONAL REFORM AND ROMANISM IDENTICAL
From the above quotations from the Statesman it is seen that in European and South American countries the Roman Catholics are the recognized advocates of National Christianity. National Christianity is the object of the National Reform movement; our Constitution and legislation have to be re-modeled before this National Christianity can be established; to re-model our Constitution and legislation is the aim of National Reform; but this is exactly what “all Catholics” are by the Pope ex-cathedra commanded to do, and not to lose sight of it for an instant. Therefore, what the National Reformers propose to do with our Constitution and legislation is precisely what the Roman Catholics in this country are commanded by the Pope to do. Therefore the aim of National Reform and the aim of Rome are identical, and why should they not “gladly join hands”?
But that the National Reformers will gladly join bands with Rome, is not all of the story—not near all. They actually and deliberately propose to make overtures to Rome for co-operation. They actually propose to make advances, and repeated advances, and even to suffer rebuffs, to gain the help of Rome in their Romish scheme of “National Christianity.” Now to the proof of this. In the Christian Statesman of August 31, 1881, Rev. Sylvester F. Scovel, a leading National Reformer, says:—
“This common interest [‘of all religious people in the Sabbath’—Sunday] ought both to strengthen our determination to work, and our readiness to co-operate in every way with our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens. We may be subjected to some rebuffs in our first proffers, and the time is not yet come when the Roman Church will consent to strike hands with other churches—as such; but the time has come to make repeated advances and gladly to accept co-operation in any form in which they may be willing to exhibit it. It is one of the necessities of the situation.”
Notice, the advances are all on the side of the National Reformers. They are not only willing to make the advances, but are willing to be subjected to “rebuffs,” and, being rebuffed, to make “repeated advances” to overcome the coquetry, and gain the treacherous favor of “the mistress of witchcrafts,” “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth”! And why this willingness? Because, “It is one of the necessities of the situation”—and the italics are his. Shades of Wickliffe, and Luther, and Zwingle, and Milton, and Wesley, and of all the martyrs! was there ever in the world a more humiliating, a more contemptible surrender to the Papacy? How many of the American people are ready to join in it? But know of a surety that every one who joins in the National Reform movement thereby joins in a scheme for the delivery of this free land into the bloody hands of the Papacy. Just here please read again the quotations from Dr. Strong’s book, at the beginning of this article, and see whether the National Reformers in  joining hands with Rome do not equally with Rome show themselves the enemies of the United States Government, and of American institutions—the enemies of human right and human liberty.
It is true, as Mr. Scovel says, the National Reformers do now receive somewhat cool treatment, and perhaps some rebuffs. The Catholic Church does not to any considerable extent directly aid in the National Reform movement. She is too crafty for that. She knows as well as they, that “it is one of the necessities of the situation,” and she is determined to have the surrender come from them. We personally know a gentleman, who, riding on the railroad not long since, fell into conversation with a Catholic priest, and finally said to him, “What is your church going to do with the Religious Amendment movement? are you going to help it forward? are you going to vote for it?” “Oh,” said the priest, “we have nothing to do with that. We leave that to the Protestants, we let them do all that. They are all coming to us, and we only have to wait.”
Such is the attitude of the Catholic Church at present; and such it will to all appearances remain until the National Reformers have done the work; till they, by repeated advances and in spite of repeated “rebuffs,” have come to her and made the proper surrender. Because she knows that were she now to actively engage in the enterprise, it would arouse suspicion, and the success of National Christianity would be seriously compromised. But let the Reformers do the work, as they are doing, and bring the matter to the point of being voted upon, then there will be found at the polls every Catholic voter in the United States, casting his ballot for the Religious Amendment, which, in the words of the Pope, will “cause the Constitution of” the United “States, and legislation, to be modeled on the principles of the true church,” and by which, as the Archbishop of St. Louis says, “heresy and unbelief” will become “crimes,” and will be “punished as crimes,” as in the “Christian countries” of Italy and Spain.
It may be of interest to inquire, What was the subject which drew from Mr. Scovel this expression of willingness, if not anxiety to gain the co-operation of Rome?—He is writing of a movement of the Catholic Church in Europe, for the strict observance of Sunday, or, as Macaulay says of the Puritan reign under the Commonwealth, Mr. Scovel “will call it Sabbath.” It is to compel everybody to keep Sunday that the National Reformers want the Constitutional Amendment, and legislation under it. Now, as the Catholics in Europe are earnestly engaged in this enterprise, and as the National Reformers in America are engaged in it, the question occurs to the National Reformers, “Why shall we not join hands with the Catholics in America, so that we can win? True it is, we may be subjected to some rebuffs in our first proffers, for the time has not come when the Roman Church will strike hands with other churches—as such; but the time has come for us to make repeated advances and gladly accept co-operation in any form in which they may be willing to exhibit it. It is one of the necessities of the situation. For without the help of Rome, we cannot amend the Constitution; without the help of Rome, we cannot compel people to keep Sunday. But if we can enlist with us the powerful hand, and the masterly organization, of Rome, our success is assured.” That is the sum and substance of this proposition of the National Reformers.
SOLD INTO THE HANDS OF ROME
Although the Catholic Church apparently takes no very active interest in this movement itself, we may rest assured that there is not a single writer, nor a single official, of the Catholic Church, from the Pope to the lowest priest in America, wbo ever “for an instant” loses sight of the movement, or of the “prescriptions” which the Pope has given in view of it.
Then when the matter comes to the enforcement of the laws, what is to hinder the Catholics from doing it, and that, too, in the Catholic way? Every priest in the United Slates is sworn to root out heresy. And Monsignor Capel, in our own cities and at our very doors, defends the “Holy Inquisition.” And when, by Constitutional Amendment, the refusal to observe Sunday becomes heresy that can be reached by the law, what then is to hinder the Catholics from rooting out the heresy? Certainly when the National Reformers shall have been compelled by the necessity of the situation to surrender to the Catholics, it would not be in their power, even were it in their disposition, to repeal the laws; so there would then be nothing left but the enforcement of the laws—by Catholics, if by nobody else. This view of the case, alone, ought to be sufficient to arouse every Protestant and every American to the most uncompromising opposition to the National Reform party.
It is of no use for the National Reformers to say that they will not allow the Catholics to do these things. For when the National Reformers, to gain the ends which they have in view, are compelled by “the necessities of the situation,” to unite with Rome, having, by the help of Rome, gained those ends, it will be impossible, without the help of Rome, either to make them effective, or to reverse them, or to hinder Rome from making them effective in her own way. When the thing is done, it will be too late to talk of not allowing this or that. The whole thing will then be sold into the hands of Rome, and there will be no remedy.
Lord Macaulay made no mistake when he wrote the following:—
“It is impossible to deny that the polity of the church of Rome is the very masterpiece of human wisdom…. The experience of twelve hundred eventful years, the ingenuity and patient care of forty generations of Statesmen, have improved that polity to such perfection that, among the contrivances which have been devised for deceiving and oppressing mankind, it occupies the highest place.”—Essays, Von Ranke.
And it is into the hands of this mistress of human deception and oppression that the National Reformers deliberately propose to surrender the United States Government and the American people. But just as surely as the American people allow the National Reform party, or anything else, out of seeming friendship for Christianity, or for any other reason, to do this thing, they are undone.
We know that a good people have regarded the AMERICAN SENTINEL as exerting itself to no purpose, because they think there is no danger of the success of National Reform. But in the National Reform party a link with Rome, there is danger. Then put with this the almost universal demand for more vigorous laws, more vigorously enforced, for the stricter religious observance of Sunday—the very thing above all others at which the National Reform movement aims—the danger is increased and is imminent. In view of these facts there is great danger that through the sophistry of the National Reform arguments, the ill-informed zeal of thousands upon thousands of people who favor Sunday laws, will be induced to support the National Reform movement, and so they and the whole nation be delivered into the hands of Rome. There is danger in the National Reform movement. We know it, and by the evidences we here give in their own words, it is high time that the American people began to realize it.
We say that if the National Reformers and the Catholics, or any others, want to keep Sunday, let them do it. If they have not religion enough to lead them to do it without the aid of civil laws to compel themselves to do it, then let them have laws to compel themselves to do it. But Heaven forefend that they shall ever succeed in securing the laws that they ask by which they will compel others to do it. And we do most devoutly pray, God forbid that they shall ever succeed in their scheme of putting into the hands of Rome the power to enforce religious laws, and to correct heresy. God forbid that they shall ever succeed in making free America a slave to Rome.
The success of the National Reform movement will be the success of Rome. Therefore to support the National Reform movement is to support Rome. How many, then of the American people are ready to enter into the National Reform scheme?
A. T. J.