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Christian union is a hobby with many at the present time. It is the pass-word to the very inner temple of self-styled “orthodoxy.” Men will talk of “a sweet union of loving hearts” when there is not a principle of true union with them. We think this is well calculated to fulfill prophecy, by securing union of action on certain popular points where there is no union in principle. Mr. Hammond, in his “union revival meetings,” takes pains to let it be understood that he can work with “all who believe in Jesus;” with Catholics as well as Protestants. Most other revivalists do the same. If they can, why are they Protestants? And was not the work of Luther worse than useless? Wherever this cry of “union” is raised; the spirit of true reform is lacking; there is a sacrifice of truth for an empty name.
Catholicism never changes its policy. It may change its action for the sake of policy, but it is the same now that it was in the days of Luther. When Protestants bow down to the name of “union” so as to unite with Catholics, or try to, it is because they have lost every true element of the Reformation.
But they cannot unite with Catholics for the reason that Catholics will not unite with them. And this shows that the Catholics are more consistent than they. Catholics know very well that there is an “irrepressible conflict” between the two: and an impassable gulf, which must remain as long as Catholics are Catholics and Protestants are Protestants. When names are preferred to things; when shadows are counted more real than substances, and when principles are sunk out of sight for mere feeling and momentary triumphs, then there is union, but it is on the same basis of that which was effected between Pilate and Herod.
Jesus came “to bear witness of the truth,” and to unite hearts in the truth, but to separate between mere professors, and them who love and obey the truth. If we have the truth, it is our duty to maintain it. This cry of “charity” and of “loss of influence,” is a mere delusion, raised to frighten timid ones whose hearts are not established in the faith. Charity “rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” We have no right to any influence which we cannot use to the glory of God and to the advancement of his cause. Let us “hold fast the form of sound words,” for the truth is not ours to compromise or to trifle with. In all ages they who have adhered to the truth without swerving have lost their influence with the worldly and time-serving, but they have glorified God and received his approval.—Selected.
The Catholic says:—”The desire for the union of Catholics and Protestants is most laudable and one which every sincere Christian longs to see realized. Our separate brethren will always find the doors of the Catholic church open to them, whenever, either as individuals or as a body, through the grace of God, they are urged to enter. They will find, too, all the loving tenderness of a mother for her long lost children lavished upon them. This is what they may reasonably expect. There can be union in no other way. Certainly not, in the sense the Protestant mind attaches to the word. The Catholic church, in the questions at issue between Catholics and Protestants, as such, never compromises, because she cannot.”
In accord with this spirit of so-called liberality and union we note the fact that when the celebrated Roman Catholic prelate Cardinal McClosky, of New York, was dying, the “Baptist Conference of Ministers” offered up to God earnest prayer for his recovery. It is needless to remark that their prayers were rejected, but nevertheless this furnishes a powerful illustration of the growing sympathy between “the mother church” and the daughters and the baselessness of the name Protest-ants as applied to the daughters today. This is not because of any doctrinal change on the part of the “mother” but rather of the daughters; who in fact are ignoring the doctrines of Christ in their great effort for outward union and increase of members and wealth. This also furnishes an illustration of the theme made prominent in our last issue—”The Province of Prayer.”
— December, 1885 —