THE Roman Catholic priest, Rev. A. P. Doyle, representing the Order of the Paulist Fathers, will be remembered as the one who not long since delivered an address to the students and faculty of Union Theological Seminary,introduced by Prof. C. A. Briggs, of "higher criticism" notoriety.
"Father Doyle" and his colleagues have for some time been holding a Roman Catholic "mission" in the Church of St. Paul, New York City, and upon its termination a "mission for Protestants" was started and held for a week, closing Feb. 10th. Of the latter the New York World says,
"The mission has been successful far beyond the expectations of the priests. There were about 500 non-Catholics present. A space near the pulpit had been reserved for them. The question box was well patronized, and the answers given each evening appeared satisfactory, judging from the fact that about fifty persons expressed their desire to be enrolled as converts. This is the first time anything of this kind has been tried in this city, though Father Doyle has met with much success through the West."
It should be noticed that the reapproachment between Catholics and Protestants is wholly to the disadvantage of Protestants. They are willing to conciliate Rome in almost every way;they retract the statements of the past, that the Church of Rome is the scarlet woman of Rev. 17:4, or the Antichrist of 2 Thes. 2:3-10; 1 John 2:18; 1 Tim. 4:1, and they even apologize for their name Protestant and are ashamed of it. They would not think of proselyting Catholics, and are abandoning foreign mission fields where Catholics are at work, so as not to conflict. Catholics, on the contrary, consistently, make no doctrinal concessions, but advance their "missions," etc., as Protestants retreat.
The fact is that, while Papacy holds all her old errors of doctrine and is, therefore, as much as ever the Antichrist* of Scripture, she has been forced to more civilized methods during the past century. Protestants have had considerable less to learn of civilization, but, as for doctrines, they have lost almost all those which distinguished them from Romanists, and now hold but little that conflicts. The main distinction or ground of original protest was respecting the sacrifice of Christ. Papacy held that Christ's sacrifice at Calvary was for past sins, original sin, and that it not only should be commemorated yearly on Good Friday, but also that it could and should be repeated by the priests, for the special sins of individuals, congregations, etc. Protestants held that there could be but one sacrifice for sins forever (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:10; 1 Pet. 3:18), and that while it was proper to commemorate that one sacrifice it was as impossible as it was unnecessary to repeat it; and that faith in the one sacrifice, and not repeated sacrifices, is the true basis of forgiveness of sins. They accordingly protested against this false doctrine as blasphemous, and properly applied to Papacy the names, symbols and denunciations of Antichrist, given in the Scriptures.
Papacy still holds her original position, and is therefore as worthy as ever of all the denunciations of Holy Writ and the protests of God's faithful people. But leading Protestants are abandoning faith in any sacrifice for sins, and hence are not disposed to quibble more with those who claim that every priest may repeatedly re-create the Lord and repeat [R1776 : page 51] the sacrifice, than with those who faithfully hold the "one sacrifice for all." They hold that no sacrifice was needed; that our sins were not paid for by our Lord's death; that our lives were not bought with the price of his life; [R1776 : page 52] that he merely suffered as a martyr for the cause of truth, as many others suffered before and since. Thus the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith in the precious blood of Christ once shed has been abandoned.
We do not say that all Protestants have thus abandoned the Lord, denied that the Lord bought them, and "counted the blood of the New Covenant wherewith they were sanctified an ordinary or common thing, like that of other martyrs; but we do say that nearly all the "great" ones have already done so, that more than one-half of the ministers and prominent laymen are already on that side of the question, even if they do not always express themselves boldly, and that in a very little while, under the lead of such men as Prof. Chas. A. Briggs, Prof. W. R. Harper, Prof. Henry Drummond, Dr. Lyman Abbott and others, Protestants generally will soon be as much a part of the Antichrist, denying the ransom entirely, as are the laity of Papacy, who, while admitting the ransom merely claim that it was insufficient and needs supplementing with fresh masses or sacrifices.
In view of these facts, is it any wonder that intelligent men who reject the gospel of the ransom, and accept instead the evolution theory, are willing and anxious to destroy the evidences of their former faith, by dropping the name Protestant and by withdrawing from Papacy the charge of being Antichrist?
On the evening of Feb. 26, an ex-priest, named Slattery, and his wife, an escaped nun, were lecturing at the Masonic Temple in Savannah, Ga., telling what they knew of the under-workings of Papacy, etc., etc., when a mob surrounded the building, breaking the windows with bricks, sticks and stones, and threatening the lives of those within. The Mayor of the city, a Jew, did what he could with the police at his command to restore order, but without avail. The militia had to be called out and, after charging the mob with fixed bayonets, it was dispersed, the Protestants attending the lecture were liberated and the lecturers were escorted under military protection to their hotel, which in turn had to be closed and guarded.
Almost at the same hour a very different scene occurred at Columbus, O. There the Roman Catholic Bishop, by special invitation, addressed the Young Men's Christian Association. He had a large, enthusiastic and applauding audience, which seemed to specially appreciate the Bishop's declaration of his patriotism, and love of liberty and respect for the laws of the land, which he declared to be Roman Catholic teaching. (He little knew how quickly his words would be belied by the conduct of those taught by his church for yearstheir disregard for the liberty and rights of others, and their lack of respect for all laws.) His audience evidently relished the fact that this was the first occasion on which a Y.M.C.A. had ever protested against Protestantism in this style.
The laity of Rome evidently have not yet generally learned that the crafty Pope Leo has inaugurated a new method of capturing Protestantswho he wisely sees are retrograding, doctrinally at leastthat sticks and stones and curses and massacres and faggots are to be discarded, at least temporarily, and Protestants are to be caught with guile. And possibly the ecclesiastics do not so much mind it, if occasionally the laws of the country as well as the laws of liberty and decency are violated in squelching some one who has the temerity to expose some of the holy (?) things done by them in secret behind convent walls and away from the public eye and ear.Eph. 5:12.
The Pope's last Encyclical, condemning secret societies, is regarded oppositely by two parties amongst the Archbishops. The party unfavorable to secret societies accepted it promptly as the Pope's ultimatum on the subject and promptly published it as such to those under their jurisdiction. The other party, headed by Cardinal Gibbons, contends that the infallible Leo merely "submitted" the letter as a suggestion on which he wishes their criticisms before pronouncing infallibly on the subject.
We noted some time ago the decline of Trades Unionism in Great Britain, and now note the same tendency in the United States. The reports of several labor societies show heavy declines in membership, particularly the Knights of Labor. Scarcity of money for dues and distrust of leaders and officers are potent factors, but additionally so is the growing conviction that the power of these societies is very limited, and that the questions to be solved must be treated from a higher and broader platformthe interests of the masses must be considered, not merely in provinces and states, but continentally, if not indeed universally; for the telegraph and the steam engine have practically annihilated distance and brought the labor of the whole world into direct competition.
The look of hope is now more toward various vague Socialistic theories, all of which must soon prove vain and delusive. The true hope of "the groaning creation" as expressed by St. Paul is the Church, the sons of God glorified. (Rom. 8:21,22.) It is the Kingdom of God (Dan. 2:44,45; 7:13,14,18,27), for which our Redeemer himself taught us to watch and pray, saying, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." It is the same for which St. James tells us to wait patiently, saying, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the presence of the Lord." But at the same time he intimates that connected with the presence will be judgments and vengeance upon many; especially does he prognosticate dire trouble upon the rich in connection with the righting of the affairs of earth.Jas. 5:1-8; Dan. 12:1.
On Feb. 25th a member of the German Reichstag proposed an amendment to the Anti-Socialist Bill, to make it a crime for anyone to deny the Deity or the Immortality of the Soul, publicly, in speech or in print; prescribing a penalty of a fine and two years' imprisonment. Since Deity is generally understood to mean Trinity, to deny the latter might eventually bring the penalty.
We have no thought that the suggestion will become a law,not yet; but it shows the reaction of sentiment now in progress, which will surely creep into the laws of "Christendom" before long, probably within ten years. Germany had the honor of a leading part in the Great Reformation. Can it be that she will dishonor herself by taking a leading part in the Great Retrogression?