CENTER-SHOTS AT ROME
For six weeks I have held the greatest menace of the nations up to your view, calling your attention to the most comprehensive themes it presents.
I have endeavored to treat the subject historically and in the light of current events, also from the viewpoint of the law of cause and effect.
And in the discussion I have resorted to neither exaggeration nor intemperance.
I assured you, in the beginning, that only such propositions as could be sustained would be submitted. And if I have preferred a charge that has not been supported by the facts, and some one will point it out, I'll buy a pint of holy water and spend my remaining days making crosses on my forehead. [Laughter.]
[pg. 193] I have called into consultation a number of the most renowned political and religious diagnosticians of history and the present day, and they agree that the world has suffered and is still suffering the inflictions of a loathsome, deep-seated, extremity-reaching disease known as Roman Catholicism. I've even had doctors such as Baronius, Alzog and Pastor, who were themselves afflicted with the disease, in the consultation. [Laughter.] And they testify, from their own experience, that it is a terrible malady. [Applause.] Several times I've called in the St. Louis quack. [Laughter.] But he thinks the disease affords the patient sensations that are delightful, and hopes everybody will catch it. [Laughter.] He even goes so far as to announce that if he can induce all who have this disease to co-operate with him, he'll cause the whole world to break out with it. [Laughter.]
Seriously, diagnosing a case and prescribing treatment are two different things. And usually the remedies pre-
[pg. 194] scribed are about as numerous as the physicians. [Laughter.]
It's strange, but every one seems to know what will cure everything. And it's evidently human nature to recommend cure-alls to others.
Inasmuch as our meetings in the past have been as solemn as funeral occasions [laughter], I'm sure you will pardon me if I relax a little and tell you a yarn. [Applause.]
Two men met on the street one day. And, after the formal greeting, the following conversation took place. "I-I-I s-see y-you stut-stut-stutter. If-if y-you'll go-go to-to the m-man on-on H-H-igh S-Street that adver-ti-ti-tises, he'll c-c-cure y-you."
"How do-d-do y-you know h-h-he c-can c-c-cure m-me?"
"Why, h-h-he c-c-cured m-m-me." [Laughter.]
For several weeks I've had a cranky cold, which has been brazen enough to let everybody know it was on the job. And you people have been sympathetic and kind enough to come forward after
[pg. 195] the meetings, in droves and companies and battalions and regiments, and tell me what to do for it. [Laughter.] The remedies you have suggested have ranged all the way from the old-fashioned ginger stew to a sock tied around the throat at bedtime. [Laughter.] I have very much appreciated your solicitude. But had I taken everything you have recommended, my bank account would have been exhausted [laughter], the drugstores would have been put out of business [laughter], and every Catholic in town would have long since praised God from whom all blessings flow. [Laughter.]
All admit that, religiously, politically, commercially, and socially, there's something wrong. Every one who does any thinking has a remedy to offer, and those of us who do no thinking are the most insistent upon the remedies we suggest [Laughter.]
It has been said that the man who thinks he thinks is the biggest fool in the world.
I plead guilty to thinking that I've
[pg. 196] thought some upon Roman Catholicism in its relations to the church, state, and society. And I'm egotistical enough to add that I think my thinking has been done in terms of history, prophecy, psychology, and the logic of situations. I therefore offer no apology for falling in line with everybody else and presenting to you this evening what I consider efficacious remedies for this world-wide disease. Nor do I hesitate to say I think my prescription the best on the market. [Laughter.]
As has been previously stated, Rome is losing out in Europe, and with greater rapidity than is generally suspected. [Applause.] But she is still ambitious to reconquer the world. And, depending upon immigration and a gradually developed political prestige, she hopes to enthrone herself in America and then step forth from our shores to bind her shibboleths upon all the nations of the world.
I know present-day prophecy is considered unreliable. Nevertheless, I predict that within the next fifty years Italy
[pg. 197] will become a republic, and that then, if not before, the Vatican will be adorned with a "for rent" sign and the pope will tuck his coffee-pot under his arm and look for bachelor quarters in some other "neck of the woods." [Applause.]
Italy, though Catholic, is learning to read. And "much learning" will eventually open her eyes to the impositions under which she has suffered so long, and make her mad. [Applause.] Her crown is no longer a target for the pope to throw snowballs at. [Laughter.] Pius IX. was the last bad boy who enjoyed that sport. And she is growing weary, already, of a great building no public official can enter, a citizen no law can touch, and a standing army over which she has no control. [Applause.]
But Romanism has a keen eye; it looks through a long telescope, and it views with alarm the steady approach of a distant comet which will some day swish its tail and incidentally brush the Papacy out of Italy. [Applause.] Hence the political preparations, now in
[pg. 198] progress, to secure a residence in America for the Pope, when he shall decide — voluntarily, of course — that the climate of Rome is no longer congenial to an old bachelor's health. [Laughter.]
Unless the signboards are all wrong end first, America has been selected as the future theater on whose stage Romanism proposes to do the tango dance. [Laughter.]
That isn't so far-fetched as it sounds. I hold in my hand the monthly magazine* of St. Joseph's Cathedral, Columbus, O., dated February, 1914. I'll read you an extract or two from the first article, entitled "The Modern Dance." [Laughter.] The article is a little racy. But I'll skip the sentences that would reflect most upon my lack of good taste, and perhaps you will be able to stand the rest. [Laughter.]
"Girls who kick up their heels in the
* St. Joseph's Cathedral is on East Broad Street, and is the largest and most fashionable Catholic church of Columbus. During the week following the delivery of this lecture, the Bishop of Columbus stated in an interview in the Columbus papers that the article on "Dancing" crept into the magazine unawares, and apologized for its appearance. Yet it was the first and the leading article in the magazine. Quite a commentary on the editorial staff!
[pg. 199] tango are doing the will of God. The will of God is that girls should get married . . . and to do that they must exhibit themselves in such wise as to attract the attention of the sterner sex." It's too bad that this article was not written when some of us were younger. [Laughter.]
Let me read a little more of this Scriptural and elevating teaching from our neighbor Broad Street church.
"People do not understand the innocent female mind. Those tango-dancing girls are engaged in God's work. The bewitching little miss who disports her charms in the ballroom is doing God's work as emphatically as the bishop in his orisons." And with that part of the article I agree. [Laughter.] Up to the present time, I've been too busy to go and look at the tango dance. [Laughter.] But I have seen Catholic priests and bishops perform. And if the tango dance is more ridiculous than some of their stunts, it certainly is a whirlwind. [Laughter.]
How did I get hold of this ably edited,
[pg. 200] religious magazine? I have a way of getting what I want, and I happened to want this little treasure of wisdom. [Laughter.]
But we will draw the curtain on that little show and proceed to business.
In view of Rome's proposed future operations, and in consideration of the fact that Uncle Sam already has a good-sized Catholic carbuncle on his neck [laughter], I shall confine my prescription to his case.
After all, I find myself in accord with that song, a line of which runs:
"As goes America, so goes the world."
I recall a sick-room in which the patient was in extreme pain. And I remember that the physician said something about treating the case symptomatically, then prescribing a course of constitutional treatment.
My knowledge of medicine is about as limited as is the average priest's knowledge of the Bible. [Laughter.]
However, as the constitutional treatment would be long and tedious, I have
[pg. 201] an idea the physician realized that the patient had to be relieved of immediate distress; hence his reference to symptomatic treatment.
Whether my interference be right or wrong, it will illustrate the methods I shall propose for the immediate relief of Uncle Sam's painful neck. And after specifying these quick remedies, I shall prescribe the only constitutional treatment which, from my viewpoint, will drive every germ of Roman Catholicism from the old gentleman's system [Applause.]
The first thing necessary is a good, thick, hot poultice of publicity, pressed down as hard as he can stand it on his carbuncle, and kept there until the germs stop wriggling so near the surface — thereby reducing the inflammation and easing the pain. [Applause.]
But what is to be the medium of immediate, widespread publicity?
I proved to you, in the preceding lecture, that the general press of the country has been drawn into the boil; and that's one reason why our uncle holds his head
[pg. 202] bent over so far and emits such a pathetic groans when he tries to turn his head. [Laughter.] The general press, therefore, can not be relied upon.
It's also evident that the two great political parties have tumbled — headlong — into the carbuncle and are boiling with the press. [Laughter.] That's what makes the old man too sick at his stomach, on Thanksgiving Day, to enjoy his turkey dinner. [Laughter.]
With the general press and the two dominant parties eliminated, we have left only the independent press, the pulpit, the free lance on the platform, a few small political parties, and other odds and ends of scattered agencies. By way of agitation, these agencies — all save one — are loyally applying themselves to the great educational task. But the treatment is too slow.
The most immediately available agency is the one that is practically silent — the pulpit. I say "practically silent" because, while the pulpit, here and there, is opening its mouth upon the subject, it has not yet made an attack upon Roman
[pg. 203] Catholicism at all commensurate with its information, convictions, and opportunities. Preachers, like priests, are human. [Laughter.] And I fear some shrink from the possibility of bodily harm, unpleasantness for their families, and especially the fearful threat of boycott which Rome never fails to make.
I could call your attention to publicity efforts upon the part of the pulpit in several localities — efforts that have attracted widespread interest.
But the effort, closing to-night, upon the part of this pulpit, will serve as an illustration of what preachers everywhere could and will do.
This is one of the large auditoriums of the city, and it is so located that it is not at all accessible to the masses. Yet for seven weeks its capacity has been taxed, and multitudes have been turned away. To-night the country is in the grasp of the worst blizzard of the season. The streets are well-nigh impassible. It is with difficulty that one can push through the cold, blinding storm. But when I arrived, a half-hour before the
[pg. 204] time for services, the house was full. [Applause.] This is only one pulpit. Nevertheless, it has put people, in every part of the city and in surrounding towns, to thinking and talking upon the outrages of Roman Catholicism. [Applause.]
Now, let us suppose that, instead of one pulpit, all the pulpits of the city had held the subject up to public view for seven weeks. What would the results have been? I'll tell you. By now, Romanism would have dropped its big boycott stick and been on its knees, begging for mercy and promising to be good. [Applause.] Every newspaper in town would have cut loose from the general press regulations and swung into line with Protestantism. [Applause.] Doors to gloomy buildings would have been unlocked [applause], pale-faced girls would have been liberated [applause] and sewing-machines would have jumped out of sweatshops [applause] and gone through the air back to their owners, like "singers" in springtime. [Applause.]
[pg. 205] And suppose all the Protestant ministers in Ohio should speak, long and loud, upon the subject. Romanism would think San Francisco had come over to pull off an earthquake. [Laughter.]
And while we are supposing, we will suppose that the Protestant ministry of America should speak, as the voice of one man and in no uncertain terms, pointing to the extreme fallacy of Roman teaching, the depravity of the system, and the dangers that confront our country. [Applause.] Such an effort would put into concrete shape, on a nation-wide scale, the movement now so slowly engineered by the minor agencies, and it would be the beginning of the end. [Applause.] The priests and bishops and cardinals would think they had smallpox [laughter]; Father Phelan, of St. Louis, would think he had mumps, instead of the swelled head he now has [laughter]; and the old bachelor over in the Vatican would think he had suffered a stroke of matrimony.
We have demonstrated, here, the theory that, if the preachers would speak
[pg. 206] out upon Romanism, the people would listen — both Protestants and Catholics. [Applause.] Catholics, in large numbers, have attended these meetings, and a number have already declared that their eyes have been opened and that they are done with Romanism. [Applause.]
How to induce the ministry to sail into Romanism is the question. But where there's a will there's always a way. And I think I can prescribe a remedy for that little malady also. [Applause.]
If I were a lay member of the church, I'd bet you a penny against a doughnut that my preacher would get on the job. [Applause.] I would personally request him to do it. And if my personal request availed nothing, I would create a sentiment among the few strong, well-balanced members which would open his mouth and start it going with such terrific speed that it would beat the limited express to Chicago. [Laughter.]
Every preacher knows Roman Catholicism is a menace to religion, society and the state; they are all informed upon the
[pg. 207] subject. I'm confident that ninety-nine out of a hundred feel a personal responsibility in the matter. And I believe the laymen in Columbus, who are now red hot upon the subject, could start a propaganda that would spread over Ohio and sweep the nation. [Applause.]
In the meantime, it is the duty of every loyal American, whose eyes are open, to be intensely active in the distribution of antipapal literature, and in every other possible way to spread the light and dispel the darkness. [Applause.]
Also, while waiting for the greater opportunities the day of widespread publicity will usher in, it is not only the privilege, but the duty, of enlightened men in every city and town to create and maintain organizations for the dissemination of light and the protection of their business interests. [Applause.]
[pg. 208] Wherever a good, strong, unyielding court of the Guardians of Liberty becomes a community factor, it is a sharp knife which not only lances the carbuncle, but rips out the big boycott germ — now grown into a boa-constrictor — and affords quick relief. [Applause.]
It has been said that people who stand on high ground must, sometimes, fling low. In these speeches I've repeatedly flung low. But there was no other way. It's a low thing I've been flinging at, and I've had to fling low to hit it. [Applause.]
I try to live in the Alpine heights, and nothing would have afforded me more pleasure than to have stood on the most stately peak and talked to you about angels. I've talked about angels, but they are the kind that inhabit the lowlands. [Laughter.]
The ideal day has not yet arrived, and we are therefore compelled to employ the resources at hand. And when necessity demands it, I'm in favor of treating poison with poison and fighting fire with fire. [Applause.] There came
[pg. 209] a time in the ministry of our Master when a sermon would have availed nothing, and he resorted to whip-cords. [Applause.]
Catholics are no more anxious to lose money in business than are Protestants. And, inside of a month, the Protestants of Columbus could establish a situation that would cause Romanism to tie a dead cat to its boycott stick and toss it into the Scioto River. [Applause.]
The effrontery of the brazen demand — accompanied by a boycott threat — that this series of lectures should be discontinued, is a challenge to the Protestant manhood of Columbus. [Applause.]
Had we retired before this threat, Romanism would have become so bold that public speech would have been put under whip and lash for ten years. But together we have played the band for seven weeks. [Applause.] I've blown the mouth-harp and you have pounded the drum. [Laughter.] All predictions have failed. Meetings have been mobbed out of business in other localities. But, because we have stood
[pg. 210] together, our program has remained before the footlights. [Applause.] We are still all here, and, so far, no one has lost any teeth. [Laughter.] The boycott cat continues to watch the mouse-hole, but it hasn't yet jumped. [Laughter.] And one series of lectures against Romanism is about to close with its hat on straight. [Applause.]
If the Protestantism of Columbus is ever to have an auspicious moment which to say to Romanism, "Get in the ring, if you want to play the game of boycott," and to untie the hands of our newspapers, it's now. [Applause.]
If the hundreds of Protestant men who have attended these meetings and applauded this expose of Romanism, do not pick up the glove thrown down by the Knights of Columbus, I'll be ashamed to acknowledge that I wear trousers. [Tremendous applause.]
And if any of you know of a man who is too cowardly to join in such a movement, I wish you would bring him to me; I would like to say "Boo!" at him and scare him to death. [Laughter.]
[pg. 211] But I'm not yet through with the symptomatic treatment. A powerful disinfectant should be poured down into the recesses of Uncle Sam's carbuncle. [Laughter.] This heroic treatment would cause him to grind his teeth for a bit, but it would soon enable him to turn over and get a little needed rest. [Laughter.] And if you will follow me closely for about ten minutes, I think you find no difficulty in discovering the nature of the remedy.
But before giving you the prescription, I wish to make an explanation. It is reported all over the city that I'm a Socialist and the Broad Street Church of Christ is a hotbed of Socialism. [Laughter.] It sounds to me like a Roman report. [Laughter.] If the Democratic party doesn't cut loose from Rome, I'll leave it. [Applause.] And if I do, it will mean the end of the Democratic party. [Laughter.] But I'm still a Democrat in good standing, and am praying and hoping that my party will yet give Rome a "black-eye" and redeem its reputation. [Applause.] There are
[pg. 212] also two or three other Democrats in the church. [Laughter.] Every now and then I see a man in an obscure corner, his hair standing on end, and looking scared. [Laughter.] And I always know he's a Democrat. [Laughter.] But, in this congregation, we Democrats are about as scarce as hen's teeth. [Laughter.] I know at least one part Prohibitionist in the church, and he's a fine man. [Applause.] So far as I've been able to learn, the majority of the men in this church are straight-laced, double-decked, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans. [Applause.] If there's a Socialist in the church, I've never met him.
But the doors of this church are wide open to all. [Applause.] Democrats, Republican, Prohibitionists, Socialists, Mugwumps, Know Nothings and Suffragettes — all may come in. [Applause.] And even Catholics may forsake the Roman party and find a welcome here. [Laughter.] Now, I think that report is corrected. [Applause.]
As I study the political situation, I see the Socialist, Labor, and all kindred
[pg. 213] parties, the Prohibition party and the Anti-Saloon League, and the progressive elements in both the Democratic and Republican parties — all agitating reform. [Applause.] There is a universal restlessness; people everywhere and of all political creeds are saying, "Conditions are wrong, and the situation must be remedied." [Applause.]
Political reform is everywhere in our land, but it is yet in a chaotic state. The clear political platform has not yet been written. But the principles of freedom from every abuse are beginning to twinkle through the murky atmosphere; the evolution continues; the old is receding, and the new is annually coming into closer view, and the day of justice approaches! [Applause.] Whether it will be ushered in by one of the present parties made over, or by a new party which is coming through the future to meet the situation — a party that may take only the good in all the parties and constitute it the foundation of the temple in which America shall be free, prosperous, and happy — I do not know. [Applause.]
[pg. 214] But I'm positive that the law which says, "Only the fittest shall survive," has American politics in its grasp. And, taking that law by the hand, I say to it, "I'm willing to trust you." [Applause.]
And I'm also confident that, in the final analysis of its program, this law will discover that Rome has her arms around corrupt business, crooked politics, the liquor traffic, and the social evil; and that it will say to her, "Your hands pollute life and blast bodies with rum; your hands take bread from the hungry; your hand protect and cherish red-light districts — your hands are treacherous and dirty, and I must remove them from the politics of the United States." [Applause.]
But America's Golden Age is not yet here. And while the political pot boils, and the agitation, which is but another name for education, goes on, patriotic Protestantism should keep the vial of common sense tilted over Uncle Sam's carbuncle. [Applause.]
If my own religious communion
[pg. 215] taught doctrines and made laws that conflicted with the genius and Government of the United States, I would say, unhesitatingly, that none of its members should be considered eligible to any office in the land. [Applause.] I'm proud of Garfield, but I would way he should never have been President. [Applause.] And I'm proud of Champ Clark, but I would say he should not now be in Congress. [Applause.]
The Roman Church does not recognize the President as the chief magistrate of our country; in her seminaries and from her pulpits she teaches, emphatically, that the Pope is the sovereign of all nations. Suppose the Presbyterians should have proclaimed that the President of our nation is no more than an "altar boy," and that one of its chief presbyters is above all earthly rulers, would Wilson — an elder in that church and a subscriber to all its doctrines — have been elected without a country-wide protest? Had the Methodist Church proclaimed a bishop universal ruler, would McKinley, who indorsed the doctrines of
[pg. 216] that church, have received a landslide vote? [Applause.]
Again, Germany has forced the Catholic Church, within its borders, to recognize the validity of her marriage laws. But the Catholic Church in America does not recognize our marriage laws. How long will Protestant America let Rome have the use of untaxed property — worth an amount of money that staggers the mind — in which to teach that every couple married by magistrate or Protestant minister is living in adultery, and that the children of Protestants, from the President on down, are illegal and nameless! [Applause.] And when will Protestant America awake to the fact that every loyal Catholic is a part of the system which rebukes her laws and illegitimatizes her children, and that, therefore, no Catholic should be considered a loyal American and eligible to office? [Applause.]
But this isn't all. the Motu Proprio decree of Pius X. [1903-1914] is in direct conflict with the American system of government. That decree exempts the entire Cath-
[pg. 217] olic priesthood from prosecution, if the offense of the priest be committed within the jurisdiction of a Catholic magistrate. It threatens with excommunication any Catholic who brings, without the consent of the higher ecclesiastical authorities, any ecclesiastic before a civil tribunal. That may look innocent to a blind man [Applause.] But I'm not blind, and I see horns on it. [Laughter.]
[A similar papal bull was issued by Pope Paul V, 1605-1621, in Incoena Domini, "At the supper of the Lord", which in the fourteenth, sixteenth and twentieth sections, exempts ecclesiastical authorities from civil prosecution, and threatens excommunication to the civil magistrate who dares take legal action without sanction from the Holy See.]
Let's interpret it a little. If a Catholic priest assaults you, or commits any other depredation which gives you just cause to proceed legally against him, and you apply to a Catholic magistrate for a warrant with which to apprehend him, that magistrate will be compelled to violate either his obligation to the state or his obligation to his church.
This situation ties one of our most cherished principles to the stake, and jeopardizes the most valuable institution we have. [Applause.]
The most upright and best qualified man for office in Columbus, or any other place, may be a Catholic, and as an officer he might administer the laws righteously
[pg. 218] in every detail, exercising neither fear of no favor for any. Nevertheless, bound as he is religiously, I insist that he is not eligible to any judicial or legislative office in the American system. [Applause.]
Furthermore, unless the New York World, two or three years ago, presented its readers with a false statement of police-court news, I can come within a gnat's toe-nail [laughter.] of referring you to a concrete example of the disastrous results that are possible when a Catholic occupies a judicial chair. According to that news item — and it is not probable that the World would have either intentionally or accidentally slapped Rome in the face with false news — Magistrate John C. Maguire, of the Gates Avenue Police Court, Brooklyn, declined to issue a warrant for the arrest of Father Belford on a charge of incitement to murder, preferred by F. C. Lingren. I know nothing about the merits of the case. But I do know that if Magistrate Maguire were a Catholic and had issued that warrant, he would have violated a decree of his church and exposed
[pg. 219] himself to excommunication. [Applause.]
After Taft's first nomination, members of the opposition party preferred the charge that he was a Unitarian. Mr. Roosevelt defended his candidate by saying religion did not enter into the situation, and that there was no reason why even a Catholic or a Jew should not be President.
It's a little dangerous to take issue with Teddy. [Laughter.] But I understand he's now in South America, and perhaps I'll not get scalped if I seize the opportunity of his absence to register a personal opinion. [Laughter.]
Jews are not bound by tenets or decrees that conflict with the laws of our land. Therefore, I agree with the ex-President that there is no legal reason why a Jew should not be President.
But Roman Catholics are bound by tenets which not only conflict with, but defy, our entire system of government. Therefore, a Roman Catholic is an unlawful occupant of any magisterial chair he may occupy, be it that of the President or a police justice. [Applause.]
[pg. 220] And I, for one, will scratch any and every ticket I may be voting on which the name of a Catholic appears. [Applause.]
Uncle Sam is suffering so terribly with his carbuncle that I've had to spend considerable time on these temporary prescriptions. I have marveled at your patience. The fact that for seven weeks you have wended your way hither, through all kinds of weather, and sat and stood in uncomfortable positions and listened to each of my long-winded speeches to the end, inclines me to be lenient toward you to-night. I shall, therefore, let you off at the end of a short run. [Laughter.] And, for your encouragement, I will say that it will require only a few more hours to prescribe the constitutional treatment. [Laughter.] I feel that the remedy I shall now suggest is the only specific one, which will eventually work the disease out of the old gentleman's entire system and renew his youth like the eagle's. [Applause.]
I've read Paine and Voltaire and
[pg. 221] Huxley and Ingersoll and Spencer, and numerous other authors — all along the line from avowed atheists to skeptical scientists and sciolists and notoriety-seeking surfaceites, such as the "sage" of East Aurora, N. Y. I am by no means a sentimentalist. If a question can be answered, I must have the answer before I can tie up with the proposition it introduces. I, therefore, weigh everything — including religion — in terms of cold logic. And when I say I'm convince that the Christian religion — not as it is now bound with humanism, but in the original freedom Christ gave it when he called it into being — must guide the destinies of the world, I do not come to you with a vision, or a dream, or an impression, but with a conclusion born of cold-blooded thinking [Applause.]
The Christian religion of the New Testament is, therefore, the big dose I prescribe for Uncle Sam. [Applause.]
I say the "Christian religion of the New Testament," because Protestantism has shoveled modified Roman Catholicism down his throat until, religiously, his
[pg. 222] pulse is weak, his feet are cold, and he's pushing the churches away, and saying: "If you doctors keep on, you will not only fail to cure me, but you will cause me to break out with a clear case of infidelity; then I'll be done for." [Applause.]
And why the accusation that the churches are administering doses of modified Roman Catholicism? Here's the answer.
There never was a creed or discipline or decree issued by church officials until the apostasy, which was the beginning of Roman Catholicism. Prior to the apostasy, the church recognized only the plain teachings of the New Testament. [Applause.]
The apostate church began the manufacture of additional doctrines, and she is still the controlling firm in the business.
The time came when such a men as Huss, and Jerome of Prague, and Luther rebelled against the false teaching of the church, and the Reformation was begun. The term "begun" is more expressive than any other, because, as every thinker must admit, the Reformation is not yet
[pg.223] complete. Instead of swinging entirely away from Romanism, Protestantism retained the Roman notion of human creeds; hence the nearly two hundred Protestant denominations, the majority of which still cling to the old Roman idea of permitting ecclesiastics to dictate the doctrines proclaimed and the forms of worship practiced. The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds are examples of the errors with which the Protestant church is still cursed.
The divisions of the Protestant church have occurred as a consequence of humanism, which originated in the apostate church.
Looking down through the centuries and seeing the deplorable divisions of his church, Jesus prayed that these divisions might disappear. No living man can reconcile the present-day Protestant situation with John 17:21: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." [Applause.]
The world will not listen with any
[pg. 224] degree of admiration to the message of a divided church, because such a message is necessarily self-contradictory. The Protestant creeds are as diametrical as the poles. [Applause.]
"Like wandering sheep o'er mountains cold,
Since all have gone astray,
To like and peace within the fold
How may I know the way?
Bewildered oft with doubt and care,
To God I feign would go;
While many say, 'Lo, here! 'Lo, there!'
The truth how may I know?"
Dozens of people — some of them here in Columbus — have told me they felt no interest in the church because of her divisions and clashing creeds. And should I call on all in this vast audience, who are in the same position, to stand up and register their protest against our divided Protestantism, and all such should comply with the request, I'm confident the number would be surprising.
Our divisions are not only keeping multitudes out of and away from the churches, but they constitute a millstone
[pg. 225] tied to the neck of the Protestant church in her conflict with Romanism. [Applause.]
While the Protestant churches are chasing one another around the barn — each trying to convince the others its little Romanized creed has been ordained of God — Romanism is stealing the horse. [Laughter.]
One of the most encouraging signs of the times is the fact that the world is emphasizing its protest against this folly of the churches by letting the preachers deliver their creed-bound sermons to empty pews. [Applause.]
This, I'm thoroughly convinced, is the only method that will jolt the church into her senses. [Applause.]
I challenge the Protestant ministry to successfully controvert the charge. [Applause.]
When the church throws away her human creeds, abolishes her silly denominationalism, takes her stand squarely upon the only apostle's creed — "Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God" — authorized by Matt. 16:16, and begins
[pg. 226] proclaiming the plain gospel — plus nothing, minus nothing — in its relation to the redemption of the world, the great revival will begin. [Applause.] Then the people will flock, and the temples of worship will have to be enlarged. [Applause.] Rome will think she's the lamb and imagine that she's being pursued by a billion lions. [Applause.] And when Rome's dominion is wrecked, King Alcohol will be dethroned; the red light district will go out [applause]; the political sky will be burnished [applause]; the Golden Rule will obtain in the industrial world, making the bloated money king an impossibility, and lifting the laboring classes into a realm of prosperity [applause.]; the Christ will come into his own [applause]; heaven will be on earth [applause], and the devil will lose his job. [Applause.]
Rome proudly boasts, from her pulpits and in her press, that she fears nothing at the hands of a divided Protestantism. And this, alone, should cause every Protestant to hang his head in shame. [Applause.]
But Rome is to blind to see that the
[pg. 227] Protestant church is revising her creeds, and that when she gets through revising them there will be nothing left to revise. [Applause.] She doesn't see that, while little two-by-four men advocate a continued denominationalism, the men of larger vision in every communion are pushing forward the spirit of Christian union. [Applause.] She doesn't see that the New Testament she publicly burned in Champlain, N.Y. as late as 1842 — the book she hates in the hands of the common people because its entrance giveth light — is rapidly coming to the front and will ultimately be the only Protestant rule of faith and practice. [Applause.] She doesn't see the cloud Lincoln saw, torn and demolished by a mighty united Protestantism. [Applause.] Rome is dwelling in a fool's paradise! [Applause.]
Uncle Sam's carbuncle will disappear, and not leave a scar on his neck. [Laughter.] Every germ will be driven from his system, and every pimple will slip from his skin. [Laughter.] He will eventually be as hale and ruddy as a lad
[pg. 228] of twelve; his muscles will be full and as hard as iron; his face will be as the shining sun; his voice will be as the music of a trumpet, and he will shout the gospel of full-orbed freedom to the nations of the world. [Applause.]
Romanism, driven from Italy, shut out of England and Germany, ridiculed in Ireland, kicked by the smaller nations she now rules, and spurned by the enlightened peoples that are now pagan, will tremble at the sound of his voice, run from his world-wide shadow, and finally jump from the toe of his boot into the clime where they don't shovel snow. [Laughter and prolonged applause.]
Romanism, as I suggested in the first sentence of the series, is the world's mightiest political system — the most powerful foe of the human race. Romanism is the Babylon, out of which all God's people will come — the city whose streets are painted with blood, whose temples are resonant with blasphemy, and whose sins will sink her into perdition. [Applause.] Babylon will fall, never to rise again. [Applause.]
[pg. 229] And when this wicked system disappears and the gospel is supreme,
"Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more."
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