To the Romanist the Bible is not the final authority, because it plainly reveals the errors of the Roman system; and whoever searches the Bible with an enlightened understanding, cannot long be in harmony with this false system. He who searches the Bible to understand the truth, will find no authority in the Word of God for the assumption of power on the part of popes and cardinals. There is no Word of God that sanctions their assumed superiority or supremacy over their people, as there is no Word to sanction the claim that Lucifer made in heaven of superiority over Christ. The claim of the Papacy to superiority is made under the influence of the first great usurper, who so persistently urged his right to supremacy over the host of God. Through the Dark Ages, that long night of ignorance and superstition,-- the claim of the Papacy to superiority and supremacy was conceded by emperors and kings, although God had sanctioned no such concession, and raised up men to dispute the claim, and to break the Romish yoke from the Church of God. Through His appointed agencies God summoned the church to reassert her independence, and in the strength of God she stood forth in the liberty wherewith Christ had made her free. She broke away from the papal yoke, and with the Word of God in her hand, met the giant evil of Romanism, even as David met Goliath in the name of heaven, using his sling and a few pebble stones. The opponent of Israel was slain by the man of faith; and while men cling to the Word of the Lord, they cannot associate themselves with any Romish system of error.
The Lord has pronounced a curse upon those who take from or add to the Scriptures. The great I AM has decided what shall constitute the rule of faith and doctrine, and He has designed that the Bible shall be a household book. The church that holds to the Word of God is irrecon-cilably separated from Rome. Protestants were once thus apart from this great church of apostasy, but they have approached more nearly to her, and are finally on the point of reconciliation with the Church of Rome. Rome never changes. Her true principles have not altered in the least. She has not lessened the breach between herself and Protestants; they have done all the advancing. But what does that argue for the Protestant of this day? It is the rejection of Bible truth which makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy. And even mainline Adventists have followed suit by bridging the gulf of division in the twentieth century.
Souls like Luther, Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper, Huss, Jerome, and the thousands of noble men who were martyrs for the truth's sake, are the true Protestants. They stood as faithful sentinels of truth, declaring that Protestantism is incapable of union with Romanism, but must be as far separated from the principles of the Papacy as is the east from the west. Such advocates of truth could no more harmonize with "the man of sin" than could Christ and his apostles. In earlier ages the righteous felt that it was impossible to affiliate with Rome, and, though their antagonism to this system of error was maintained at risk of property and life, yet they had courage to maintain their separation, and manfully struggled for the truth. Bible truth was dearer to them than wealth, honor, or even life itself. They could not endure to see the truth buried under a mass of superstition and lying sophistry. They took the Word of God in their hands, and raised the standard of truth before the people, boldly declaring that which God had revealed unto them through diligent searching of the Bible. They died the cruelest of deaths for their fidelity to God, but by their blood they purchased for us liberties and privileges that many who claim to be Protestants are easily yielding up to the power of evil. But shall we yield up these dearly bought privileges? Shall we offer insult to the God of heaven, and, after he has freed us from the Romish yoke, again place ourselves in bondage to this antichristian power? Shall we prove our degeneracy by signing away our religious liberty, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience?
The voice of Luther, that echoed through mountains and valleys, that shook Europe as with an earthquake, summoned forth an army of noble apostles of Jesus, and the truth they advocated could not be silenced by fagots, by tortures, by dungeons, by death; and still the voices of the noble army of martyrs are telling us that the Roman power is the predicted apostasy of the last days, the mystery of iniquity which Paul saw beginning to work even in his day. Roman Catholicism is rapidly gaining ground. Popery is on the increase, and those who have turned their ears away from hearing the truth are listening to her delusive fables and gloating over the "advances" of Vatican II. The Protestant world is asleep and has lost the mark of distinction that separated them from this carnal world. They have healed the wound between themselves and the Roman power. Turning away their ears from hearing the truth, they have been unwilling to accept light which God shed upon their pathway, and are therefore going deeper into darkness. They speak with contempt of the idea that there will be a revival of the past cruel persecution on the part of Romish minds and those who affiliate with them. They do not recognize the fact that the Word of God fully predicts such an event, and will not concede that the people of God in the last days shall suffer persecution, although the Bible says, "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev. 12:17.
Popery is the religion of human nature , and the mass of humanity loves a doctrine that permits them to commit sin, and yet frees them from its consequences. People must have some form of religion, and this religion, formed by human device, and yet claiming divine authority, suits the carnal mind. Men who think themselves wise and intelligent turn away in pride from the standard of righteousness, the ten commandments, and do not think it is in harmony with their dignity to inquire into the ways of God. Therefore they go into false ways, into forbidden paths, become self-sufficient, self-inflated, after the pattern of the pope, not after the pattern of Jesus Christ. They must have the form of religion that has the least requirement of spirituality and self-denial, and as unsanctified human wisdom will not lead them to loathe popery, they are naturally drawn toward its provisions, doctrines, and policies. They do not want to walk in the ways of the Lord. They are altogether too much enlightened to seek God prayerfully and humbly, with an intelligent knowledge of His Word. Not caring to know the ways of the Lord, their minds are all open to delusions, all ready to accept and believe a lie. They are willing to have the most unreasonable, most inconsistent falsehoods palmed off upon them as truth.
Satan's masterpiece of deception is popery; and while it has been demonstrated that a day of great intellectual darkness was favorable to Romanism, it will also be demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is also favorable to its power; for the minds of men are con-centrated on their own superiority, and do not like to retain God in their knowledge. Rome claims infallibility, and Protestants are following in the same line. Even the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists have imbibed this error. They do not desire to search for truth and go on from light to a greater light. They wall themselves in with fear and prejudice, and seem willing to be deceived and to deceive others.
But though the attitude of the churches is discouraging, yet there is no need of being disheartened; for God has a people who will preserve their fidelity to His truth, who will make the Bible, and the Bible alone, their rule of faith and doctrine, who will elevate the standard, and hold aloft the banner on which is inscribed, "The Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." They will value a pure gospel, and make the Bible the foundation of their faith and doctrine.
For such a time as this, when men are casting aside the law of the Lord of hosts, the
prayer of David is applicable,-- "It is time for Thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void
thy law." We are coming to a time when almost universal scorn will be heaped upon the law
of God, and God's commandment-keeping people will be severely tried; but will they lose
their respect for the law of YAH because others do not see and realize its binding claims?
Let God's last church, like David, reverence God's law in proportion as men cast it aside and
heap upon it disrespect and contempt.