THE National Reform Association, the American Sabbath Union, and this whole ecclesiastical combination who have been working for this for these twenty-nine years. Will they stand silent and do nothing? Is there not here to-day an ecclesiastical organization anxious to assert the government as a kind of sovereignty for itself, just as there was then to raise a like dispute?
Then can any one doubt, or fail to see, that under the circumstances and in the condition of the times, in view of the position the church occupied at that time, just as certainly as that edict of Constantine in favor of Christianity as the religion of the Roman empire brought the Papacy, and out of that came all that the Papacy ever was, just so certainly under the like circumstances and the like conditions of church ambition, out of this Supreme Court decision making Christianity the religion of this nation,—just so certainly in this is the image of the beast, and out of it will come everything that the prophecy ever tells about.
We are not the only ones able to see these things. That was one of the things that was held in mind when this government was made. Before making the national Constitution, there was a movement in Virginia to establish the Christian religion—not the Catholic nor the Protestant, but “the Christian religion;” that is all. Let me read to you what James Madison saw in that:—
“Who does not see that the same authority can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects?”
Constantine favored Christianity at the first, just as a whole—“the whole body of Christians.” And then he established a particular sect, the “Catholic Church of the Christians,” just as easily as he did the first. Just so certain as the Supreme Court of the United States has established Christianity as the religion of this nation, in exclusion of all other religion of this nation, in exclusion of all other religions, just so certain will it, or some other power, have to establish one particular sect in exclusion of all other sects. The Supreme Court hints at Protestantism; but if that is it, somebody will have to decide which sect of Protestantism it is. I do not know who will decide it; whether the Supreme Court, or Congress, or by national election campaign, I cannot say; but it will be decided in some way. It is bound to come.
Madison and those of his time knew just as certainly as they knew anything, that if Christianity was established as the State religion of Virginia, there must be a particular sect established, and everybody else be oppressed. Not only that, but he saw this:—
“Instead of holding forth an asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution.”
Now mark; they held this position; they had experienced this in their day. We have had some of it too in our day. They saw in the mere proposition to make Christianity the established religion of Virginia, “a signal of persecution.” Just as certain as the proposition to make Christianity the established religion of the State of Virginia was the signal of persecution in that State, just so certainly this Supreme Court decision making Christianity the religion of this Nation, is a signal of persecution through all the Nation. But I read again from Madison’s remonstrance against that:—
“Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree.”
In that proposition to establish “the Christian religion” in Virginia, they saw the Inquisition. What do we see in the actual establishment of the same religion by the Supreme Court of the United States? Again I read:—
“The one is the first step, the other is the last, in the career of intolerance.”
That is what they saw, the makers of this Republic, when an attempt was made to establish “the Christian religion” as the State religion. What does this people see in this decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which establishes “the Christian religion” as the national religion? Just as certainly as that back there was a signal of persecution, and persecution throughout the State, just so certain is this a signal of persecution, and persecution through all the nation. Just so certainly as that had in it the Inquisition, just so certain this has in it the same thing.
And just as certain as that edict of Constantine back there, had in it the papacy, just so certain this has in it all that the image of the Papacy is or will be. Controversies arose back there as to what was Christianity, and this brought the establishment of the Catholic Church and persecution of all kinds. Soon the next step was made, compelling them all to become Catholics—heretics to join the Catholic Church and hand over their property to the Catholic Church.
There arose still another difficulty and dispute as to what was the true Catholic doctrine, and this brought the Council of Nice, which established Trinitarianism as the true Catholic doctrine. This was soon followed by an emperor who, by a council, established Arianism as the true Catholic doctrine. This was soon followed by another emperor who, by a council, re-established Trinitarianism as the true Catholic doctrine. Thus one ruler and council decided one way, and another decided another way, as to what was the true Catholic religion. And thus it went on, controversy after controversy of all kinds, until the bishop of Rome was made the fountain of faith by earthly governments and human power, instead of the word of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, the power of God. Thus the mystery of iniquity hid and supplanted for ages the mystery of God.
Now, then, old controversies will be revived. Some of these controversies will rise right up again, as to what is the real true Christianity, Catholicism or Protestantism, Trinitarianism or Unitarianism, Calvinism or Arianism. These old controversies will be revived, which have apparently been hushed for a long time. These disputes will arise over hair-splitting theories that have no truth in them. They will dispute over these things. Atoms will be worlds, and worlds will be atoms; and these atoms that they will turn into worlds will be simply senseless disputes by which they can obtain control of the civil power, to force those who oppose them, and do not believe as they do, to act as they think or believe. “Old controversies will spring up,” and here are new controversies: revelations of false science, evolution, probation after death, etc. “New and old will commingle, and THIS WILL TAKE PALCE RIGHT EARLY.” Do you not believe it? Do you believe it? Is it not time to believe it, brethren? Well, then, I hope you will.