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PAPACY EXAMINED BY A LAWYER
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:— …
The Pope and his minions are doing their very utmost to make void that part of the „Declaration of Independence” of the U.S., which says „all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, etc.
It is being strongly argued to join church and state. The moment this is effected, away go the „Liberties” of the people. What can be dearer than liberty of conscience, and this is what the Constitution of the United States guarantees to every American. On this point in 1854 the Pope said, „The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defence of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.” This was reiterated in 1864 by the same Pope, writing of „Those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship” and „All such as maintain that the Church may not employ force.” The Archbishop of St. Louis writes, „Heresy and unbelief are crimes” and are punished as other crimes „where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land.” Just so, this is the very drift of the present attempt to join church and state and to obliterate article iii. of the Articles of Confederation, viz., „The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare; binding themselves to assist each other against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or other pretense whatever.” Whenever church and state join together, it will put the shackles upon the people and upon each state severally—and thus will result a national religion subject to national law and the penalties thereto for its violation will be classified as criminal punishments and not as penalties for misdemeanors.
Listen, „The Romish Church has a right to exercise its authority without any limits set to it by the civil power.”—Encyclical XIX.
„The Pope and priests ought to have the dominion over the temporal affairs.”—Encyclical XXVII.
„The Romish Church and her ecclesiastics have a right to immunity from civil law.”—Encyclical XXX.
„In case of conflict between the ecclesiastical and civil powers, the ecclesiastical powers ought to prevail.”—E. XLII.
Cardinal Manning when he was Archbishop made the Pope to say: „I acknowledge no civil power; I am the subject of no prince; and I claim more than this. I claim to be the supreme judge and director
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of the consciences of men: of the peasant that tills the fields, and of the prince that sits upon the throne: of the household that lives in the shade of privacy, and the legislator that makes laws for kingdoms; I am the sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong.” He further says: „Moreover, we declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it to be necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” On this point hear what Gladstone the great English statesman says:—”The Pope demands for himself the right to determine the province of his own rights, and has so defined it in formal documents, as to warrant any and every invasion of the civil sphere: and that this new version of the principles of the Papal Church inexorably binds its members to the admission of these exorbitant claims without any refuge or reserve on behalf of their duty to the crown.” He also says:—”Rome requires a convert who joins her to forfeit his moral and mental freedom, and to place his loyalty on civil duty at the mercy of another.”
Two hundred years ago Romanism was rampant in Scotland and England. Those were the days of the martyrs. It was on the first day of May A.D. 1685 when the infamous Graham of Claverhouse murdered John Brown aged 58 years, because he „acknowledged only Christ as the supreme Head of the Church,” and for this answer Claverhouse said to him, „Go to your prayers for you shall immediately die.” John prayed and so powerful was he in prayer, it brought the tears to the eyes of the murderer’s soldiers. Upon this tragedy these verses were written:—
„My widow, my orphan, O God, I resign To thy care, and the babe yet unborn, too is thine; Let thy blessing be round them, to guard and to keep, When o’er my green grave forsaken they weep.
At the door of his home, on the heather he knelt; His prayer for his family the pitiless felt; The rough soldiers listened with tears and with sighs, Till Claverhouse cursed him, and bade him, arise.
For the last time the lips of his young wife he kissed, His dear little daughter he clasped to his breast: ‚To thy mother be kind, read thy Bible and pray; The Lord will protect thee when I am away.’
Isabel, farewell: Thou shalt shortly behold Thy love on the heather stretched bloody and cold. The hour I’ve long looked for hath come at the last! Art thou willing to part?—all its anguish is past.’
‚Yes, willing,’ she said, and she sought his embrace, While the tears trickled down on the little one’s face. ”Tis the last time I ever shall cling to thy heart Yet with thee I am willing, yes, willing to part.’
‚Twas a scene would have softened a savage’s ire; But Claverhouse commanded his horsemen to fire; As they cursed his command turning round to retreat, The demon himself shot him dead at his feet.”
It has long since been said that history repeats itself, and it behooves every child of God who is „born again” to live nearer and closer to his Heavenly Father, for the „tares” are growing rank on American soil, and the seed of the Word is being almost choked out, having scarcely a breathing place in this broad land, where unbelief and infidelity appear to hold sway. It is the great aim of the Catholic Church to bring everything to her grasp, no matter at what cost, or who shall suffer thereby, and she and her votaries are laboring most assiduously to get control of both the civil and religious affairs of this nation. D. COWAN.
[We have given only a part of Bro. C.’s letter, omitting certain reflections upon the course of the President of these United States for having sent a token to Pope Leo XIII., on the occasion of his recent Jubilee celebration. While Mr. Cleveland had the right to make a present to whom he pleased, we believe that as President, and while holding the office, he should have recognized no foreign potentate by a gift, even as the law expressly forbids him to receive a gift from any of them. Occupying the office he does, his conduct, gift, etc., were certainly to be regarded as representative, as from the people of this land. Nevertheless let it be said on his behalf that the improper act was done in the least offensive form possible. For had Mr. Cleveland’s purpose been the reverse of what it was—had he purposed an insult, he could not have found a present implying more irony and sarcasm than the very one he did select—a copy of the Constitution of these United States. Had the German Emperor sent a copy of Luther’s protests and had France sent a copy of the decree for the Confiscation of the Papal States, issued by Napoleon Bonaparte, the joke would have been complete. For the Constitution of these United States was almost as great a blow to Papacy as either of the others. Perhaps a greater blow, but less direct.
But then, let us remember that our government is in no danger of overthrow. Our government is not yet set up. We are waiting for that Fifth Universal Empire under our Lord, which shall displace and replace all human governments. When we pray „Thy Kingdom Come,” we should remember that God tells us that its coming into power will be in connection with the breaking in pieces of all human governments in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” Knowing this, we can view with complacency (though not with indifference) the various agencies at work for the overthrow of all nations—even this one which we regard as the best government man has ever been able to frame.
Let us not then become immersed, even to a slight degree, in the affairs of this world, but faithfully and always remember that „our citizenship is in heaven.” For it let us spend our time and talent—in explaining its constitution, its liberties, its glories and in pointing out its foes.—ED.]
— July, 1888 —