“The Protestant Pilgrimage to Rome” American Sentinel 12, 28, pp. 438, 439.

THE Protestant world is on a pilgrimage to Rome,—not a pilgrimage by railway and steamship, but one no less real; though with this difference from the ordinary pilgrimage, that it contemplates no return voyage to the place whence it started. It is a spiritual pilgrimage; and the waymarks of the journey are to be noted in the changed aspects in which the travelers view the Word of the Lord. Upon this point we give three quotations from Francis de Pressensé, a well-known member of the Protestant society of France, and a writer for several Paris journals:—

“In old times a Protestant would take his Bible, and, reading it, or simply turning over its leaves, every word shone before his eyes as a divine Word. To-day, when he opens the sacred Book, he must begin by asking himself: “This part, is it really authentical? Is that Word so? Was it said by our Lord himself, or is it merely the conception of John that I read? Is it from an eye-witness, or is it not more likely a statement to be looked on as a compromise opinion between Hebrews and Christians of that remote period?”

Of the work of modern theology of which this “higher criticism” forms a part, M. de Pressensé says:—

“Modern Theology gives us a Bible of which the disintegrated parts would require, indeed, to be printed in various colors—according to the various times and different writers—and a Bible that savants alone, after innumerable efforts, will be able to read with discernment.”

“Modern theology gives a Christ impalpable, [439] intangible, something like a crepuscular phantom, with neither divinity nor humanity, without historical reality in the past, without heavenly divinity in the present.”

And all this is only a repetition, with some variation in form, of what was done in the first centuries by the so-called Christian church, and which led to the establishment of the papacy. In other words, it is but traveling over again the road by which the early Christian church went from Zion to Rome, where she became established upon the throne of the Cesars. Then, as now, the first step was taken in an attack upon the Word of God,—not openly, but by the setting up of a system of mystical interpretations, by which the Word was robbed of its meaning, and consequently of its life giving power. This opened the way for the doctrine that the common people could not understand the Word anyway, but must depend upon the pronouncements of the church prelates, and finally of the bishop of Rome,—the pope. In this day “higher criticism” is doing the same thing, and modern theology is leading the seeker after truth to look upon the Word as a barren field for his own personal exploration, and to depend more and more upon the opinions and traditions of men.

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