The Foundations and Edifice of Popery

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Such, alas! alas! were the foundations of the great papal edifice. We have been at some pains to see them laid; we are not mistaken. Were we to characterize the separate foundation-stones, we might speak of them as the most extravagant pretensions, the most insulting arrogance, the most barefaced forgeries, the most openly avowed and even death-defying love of idolatries, the most unscrupulous appropriation of stolen territory, the most unrelenting spirit of persecution, and, what may be said to be the topmost (as well as the foundation) stone, the most inordinate love of temporal sovereignty. But if we look inside the house, what do we find there? It is full of blasphemies, the worst kind of corruptions, and the concentration of all attractions for the flesh. (Rev. 18:12, 1312The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13And cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. (Revelation 18:12‑13).) The very essentials of Christianity were either corrupted or rejected—such as sacrifice, ministry, and priesthood. The mass was substituted for the finished work of Christ; the dogmatic teaching of the church for the ministry of the Spirit of God; and the great ecclesiastical system of priesthood; or rather, priestcraft—for the common priesthood of all believers, yea, for that of Christ Himself.
The Lord's supper had been gradually changed from the simple remembrance of His love, and showing forth His death, to the idea of a sacrifice. Many superstitions were practiced with the consecrated bread, or rather wafers. The sacrifice was supposed to avail for the dead as well as for the living; hence the practice of giving it to the dead, and burying it with them. The soul-destroying doctrine of purgatory, which had been sanctioned by Gregory the Great, was now spreading far and wide. It appears to have specially taken root in the English church before the ninth century. But the deception is manifest, for there is no purgatory but the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son; as saith the apostle John, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Thank God, there is no limit to the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus His Son; all who have faith in that blood are whiter than snow—perfectly fitted for the presence of God. But the doctrine of purgatory struck at the very root of this foundation-truth, and became a powerful instrument in the hands of the priests for extorting money from the dying, and for securing large legacies to the church; but almost everything was now made subservient to these base objects. The truth of God, the work of Christ, the character of the church, the souls and bodies of men, were all readily sacrificed for the aggrandizement of the See of Rome, and for the aggrandizement of the clergy in subordination to the papal system.
The ungodly lives of those entrusted with the government of the church and the care of souls are also matters of bitter complaint with all honest historians, both then and now. But here it may be well to introduce one of good report—Mosheim—as a witness and confirmation of what we have said as to this period.