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    February 1888

    “What We Are Opposed To” American Sentinel 3, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    At various times the Reformed Presbyterian Church has been referred to in the columns of the Sentinel, and the statement has been made that the principles of the National Reform Association are those of that church, and that if the National Reform movement becomes a success, the Government of the United States will virtually be a Reformed Presbyterian Government. A worthy member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church has taken exception to this statement, and thinks that we are doing an injustice to that church, by making such statements. Certainly no injustice was intended, and the Sentinel has never designed to cast any reflections on that church. The statements were made simply for the purpose of showing that the success of the National Reform movement will effect a virtual union of Church and State.AMS February 1888, page 10.1

    These statements were not made at random, nor were they unfortified by proofs. For proof that National Reform and Reformed Presbyterianism are the same in principle, we have the following explicit declaration of Rev. James Wallace, in the Reformed Presbyterian of January, 1870.AMS February 1888, page 10.2

    “The principles of National Reform are our principles, and its work is our work. National Reform is simply the practical application of the principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church for the reformation of the Nation.”AMS February 1888, page 10.3

    The italics are Mr. Wallace’s. Now we submit to the candid reader that we cannot justly be accused of false witness in saying that National Reform is nothing but Reformed Presbyterianism, when we but quote the words of a minister of that denomination, as published in the church organ. Other evidence has been given to the same effect, but this is sufficient. Until the Reformed Presbyterian Synod shall declare that Rev. James Wallace did not correctly represent that church, in the Reformed Presbyterian of January, 1870, we cannot retract anything on that score.AMS February 1888, page 10.4

    Now as to the statement that the Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian Church was founded upon the principles of Church and State union. The “Encyclopedia Britannica” says:-AMS February 1888, page 10.5

    “Covenanters, in Scottish history, the name applied to a party, embracing the great majority of the people, who, during the seventeenth century, bound themselves to establish and maintain the Presbyterian doctrine and polity as the sole religion of the country, to the exclusion of prelacy and popery.”AMS February 1888, page 10.6

    But there is still stronger testimony, namely, that of the Covenanters themselves. Before giving it, we will quote, as an introduction, the following brief statements of history:-AMS February 1888, page 10.7

    “In 1581 the General Assembly of Scotland adopted a confession of faith, or national covenant drawn up by John Craig, condemning episcopal government, under the name of hierarchy. This covenant was signed by James I., and enjoined on all his subjects. It was again subscribed in 1590 and 1596. The subscription was renewed in 1638, and the subscribers engaged by oath to maintain religion in the same state in which it existed in 1580, and to reject all innovations introduced since that time. This oath annexed to the confession of faith of 1581, received the name of the National Covenant.”-Art. Covenanters.AMS February 1888, page 10.8

    Now read the following act which was passed with reference to the above-mentioned National Covenant:-AMS February 1888, page 10.9

    “Assembly at Edinburg, August 30, 1639, Sess. 23.AMS February 1888, page 10.10

    Act Ordaining, by Ecclesiastical Authority, the Subscription of the Confession of Faith and Covenant with the Assembly’s Declaration.AMS February 1888, page 10.11

    “The General Assembly considering the great happiness which may flow from a full and perfect union of this kirk and kingdom, by joining of all in one and the same covenant with God, with the King’s Majesty, and amongst ourselves; having, by our great oath, declared the uprightness and loyalty of our intentions in all our proceedings; and having withal supplicated his Majesty’s High Commissioner, and the lords of his Majesty’s honorable Privy Council, to enjoin, by act of Council, all the lieges in time coming to subscribe the Confession of Faith and Covenant; which, as a testimony of our fidelity to God, and loyalty to our king, we have subscribed: And seeing his Majesty’s High Commissioner, and the lords of his Majesty’s honorable Privy Council, have granted the desire of our supplication, ordaining, by civil authority, all his Majesty’s lieges, in time coming, to subscribe the foresaid Covenant: that our union may be the more full and perfect, we, by our act and constitution ecclesiastical, do approve the foresaid Covenant in all the heads and clauses thereof; and ordain of new, under all ecclesiastical censure, That all the masters of universities, colleges, and schools, all scholars at the passing of their degrees, all persons suspected of Papistry, or any other error; and finally, all the members of this kirk and kingdom, subscribe the same, with these words prefixed to their subscription, ‘The Article of this Covenant, which was at the first subscription referred to the determination of the General Assembly, being determined; and thereby the five articles of Perth, the government of the kirk by bishops, the civil places and power of kirkmen, upon the reasons and grounds contained in the acts of the General Assembly, declared to be unlawful within this kirk; we subscribe according to the determination foresaid.’ And ordain the Covenant, with this declaration, to be inserted in the registers of the Assemblies of this kirk, general, provincial, and presbyterial, ad perpetuam rei memoriam. And in all humility supplicate his Majesty’s High Commissioner, and the honorable Estates of Parliament, by their authority, to ratify and enjoin the same, under all civil pains; which will tend to the glory of God, preservation of religion, the King’s Majesty’s honor, and perfect peace of this kirk and kingdom.”AMS February 1888, page 10.12

    This will suffice to show that we have not erred in saying that the principles of National Reform and those of Reformed Presbyterianism are the same, that Reformed Presbyterianism was founded upon the principles of Church and State union, and that as a consequence the real end of the National Reform movement must be a union of Church and State. And this is the sole object that we had in view. Our reference to the Reformed Presbyterian Church was only incidental to the argument that National Reform success must be Church and State union. In nothing that has been said in these columns has there been any design to cast reflections upon the Reformed Presbyterian Church. The Sentinel has no quarrel with any religious body; it is no part of its work to oppose even what seem to be errors of doctrine. It has no time nor space to devote to the discussion of creeds and confessions of faith. Its sole object is to oppose “anything tending toward a union of Church and State, either in name or in fact,” and to work for the maintenance of human rights, both civil and religious,-including the rights of infidels as well as of Christians, realizing that both are human.AMS February 1888, page 10.13

    This being the case, it would manifestly be turning aside from our legitimate work to discuss denominational matters. The Sentinel freely grants that the Reformed Presbyterian Church has been active in reforms in this country. We believe the members of that church to be as pious and God-fearing as those of any other; and for those whose intimate acquaintance we have formed, we have the most sincere respect. But this does not in the least abate our opposition to its principles being incorporated into this Government.AMS February 1888, page 11.1

    The Covenanters did indeed protest against union of Church and State, but it was only the union of the State with the Catholic Church. They, honestly enough, supposed that the evils of Church and State union arose from the corruption of the church which was a party to that union, and that if the church were only pure, and its polity correct, no evil, but only good, could come from its union with the State. They did not perceive that union of Church and State to any degree whatever is in itself an evil, no matter how pure the church may be, and that, in fact, a union of the purest church with the State, must, if long continued, result in the deterioration of that church; but such is the case.AMS February 1888, page 11.2

    Moreover such union cannot but result in the oppression of those who dissent from the principles of the church. This oppression is not due to the fact that those who are instrumental in bringing it about are worse than other people, but from the necessities of the situation. In fact, men who are personally upright are more apt than any other class to start such oppression, for they are the ones who are zealous for the enforcement of the law. Now when ecclesiastical usages are enjoined by civil law, and those usages are disregarded, such disregard becomes a crime, and the offenders must be punished. Thus religious persecution is started simply from a desire to see the Government honored by the enforcement of its laws. If the offenders would at once submit, there would be no persecution, and the good men (and women) who seek to enforce such laws, do not design that there shall be any. But the trouble is, many of these dissenters will be so stubborn as to persist in disregarding the ecclesiastico-civil laws, and so more severe measures than were at first contemplated are found necessary, and there will be enough “lewd fellows of the baser sort” to carry out through innate malice, what was conscientiously begun. And no matter how severely the persecution may rage, it will be only the simple execution of the laws.AMS February 1888, page 11.3

    For the benefit of any who may think that our opposition to National Reform is due to antagonism to religion, we will say that the editors of the Sentinel are all members of an evangelical church, but if there should arise a species of National Reform proposing to enforce the usages of their church, they would oppose it as strenuously as they do the present movement. We honor Christ as the divine Word by whom the worlds were made, and the Redeemer of mankind; but we would oppose a movement to make such an acknowledgement a test of citizenship, just as strongly as we would oppose a law enjoining a belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, or making auricular confession obligatory. In short, we are opposed to any union of the State with a corrupt church, because such union would result in religious persecution; and we are opposed to any union with a pure church, because in addition to religious persecution there would result a corruption of the church.AMS February 1888, page 11.4


    “Some ‘Clashing Voices’” American Sentinel 3, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    At the celebration of the Centennial of the Constitution of the United States, in Philadelphia, President Cleveland said:-AMS February 1888, page 13.1

    “Does anyone doubt to-day that the Constitution of one hundred years ago was well made, and that the work was well done?”AMS February 1888, page 13.2

    Against this, Mr. Gault, whose special forte seem to be to come in conflict with everything that is reasonable and true, makes his voice to clash as follows:-AMS February 1888, page 13.3

    “We not only doubt, but in the light of past history we are sure that work was not well done. At least two very serious mistakes our fathers made in that Constitution. One was the enslavement of one-sixth of our population, because they had black skin. The other was the substitution of the popular will for the will of God. At the cost of the civil war we have corrected the first, and the signs of the times indicate that we may be compelled to correct the second at even a dearer price.”AMS February 1888, page 13.4

    One would expect that a man occupying so prominent a position as Mr. Gault does in an association whose sole object is to patch up the Constitution of the United States, would be well acquainted with that document; but we have never seen any evidence that he has ever read it. If he can find in that document, as it was adopted in 1787, anything favoring the enslavement of anybody, he will find what the framers of it could not.AMS February 1888, page 13.5

    But a little thing like that amounts to nothing in comparison with the cool manner in which this representative of National Reform declares the expectations of that association to plunge this country into a war greater than our civil war, if their ideas are not complied with otherwise. We don’t suppose that they have the power to do anything of the kind, but that they have the will is evident enough. And yet they have the assurance to try to make us believe that if they once got the Constitution and laws fixed to suit themselves, they would not persecute any who might not agree with them. If they are willing to stir up a civil war involving the Nation, in order to secure their religious amendment, would they tolerate opposition by a handful of men after it was secured? The question answers itself.AMS February 1888, page 13.6

    In the same number of the Statesman, that of December 22, 1887, there is the following statement by Wm. Smith, a lawyer of Janesville, Wis.:-AMS February 1888, page 13.7

    “By putting a ‘God in the Constitution’ plank in the Prohibition platform, you rule me out of that party. I am not opposed to prohibition, but I am opposed to God in the Constitution.”AMS February 1888, page 13.8

    With this Mr. Gault makes his voice to clash in the following strain:AMS February 1888, page 13.9

    “How can you be an honest prohibitionist when you want a law with only the fallible, changing, conflicting will of the people behind it, in preference to a law having behind it, first, divine authority, next human, next the fear of hell. That is the only kind of a law that will bind the conscience. Prohibition legislation, or any other legislation, will have little force until we base it on a law that is the will of an unchanging Law-giver.”AMS February 1888, page 13.10

    Well, what next? “Upon what meat hath this our Cæsar fed, that he hath grown so great?” We have heard of some pretty rigid enforcement of the prohibitory laws of Iowa and Kansas, that have behind them “only the fallible, changing, conflicting will of the people;” but such enforcement will not satisfy National Reformers. Nothing will do but they must have laws that will send a man to hell if he violates them! This is just what Mr. Gault’s language implies; for how could there be “the fear of hell” behind a law, if that law did not threaten to send its violators to hell? Mr. Gault doesn’t say who he expects will execute this penalty in the National Reform Government; but since the makers of a law have the power to execute, we suppose that the National Reformers themselves will consider themselves the duly appointed ministers of divine wrath. And yet they tell us that they never could think of persecuting anybody.AMS February 1888, page 13.11

    Perhaps someone may think that we are extravagant in our conclusions. We know that we are not. It may be that Mr. Gault is an irresponsible person, not competent to speak for National Reformers as a class; if so we hope the Statesman will let us know, and we will never again pay the slightest attention to any statement that he may make. But leaving Mr. Gault out of the question, National Reform teaching does actually place in the hands of the rulers of the proposed National Reform Government, the power, not only to kill the body, but to consign the soul to hell. Here is the proof.AMS February 1888, page 13.12

    They claim that the triumph of their movement, will be the setting up of the kingdom of Christ on earth. They apply the Scriptures that speak of the glorious reign of Christ over his enemies, to the time when God is acknowledged in the Constitution. They do not expect that Christ will come and reign personally, and in that case the men at the head of affairs will be his vicegerents. Thus we shall have an American Papacy, and everybody knows, that the Pope of Rome claims power to open and shut Heaven, and to consign souls to hell.AMS February 1888, page 14.1

    Whether they expect Christ to reign personally or not, the result will be the same. We have already quoted from the Statesman the statement that the time is coming when those who will not have Christ to rule over them shall be slain before him; and this statement was made with direct reference to those who refuse to accept the National Reform regime. We say in all seriousness the day that marks the success of the National Reform movement, will mark the inauguration of a period of grievous persecution. We may be called alarmists. That is all right; it is just what we are. It is the sentinel’s duty to sound an alarm when danger is near. If people will only prepare to meet the danger, we care not by what name we may be called.AMS February 1888, page 14.2


    “Back Page” American Sentinel 3, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    About two months ago we made the statement and proved it that the National Reform Association is running in its list of Vice-Presidents the names of men who are dead and who have been dead for years. Since writing that we have received additional evidence in proof of this statement. We have these proofs in writing and signed by disinterested and authoritative persons. But, anything at all to win, is the principle upon which these National “Reformers” work.AMS February 1888, page 16.1

    It is with pain that the Congregationalist notices an increasing tendency to disregard the sanctity of Sunday. It cites “for example” an account of “a great train load of the Grand Army which drew out of one of the Chicago stations on a Sunday morning, on its way to St. Louis;” and then says:-AMS February 1888, page 16.2

    “Doubtless there was a considerable sprinkling of church members among these Sunday travelers, whose consciences were not quite at ease over what they were doing.”AMS February 1888, page 16.3

    Yes, “doubtless” that is so. Therefore, by all means, let the civil authority of the Nation come to the rescue, and entirely ease the consciences of these Sunday Christians by the enforcement of a rigid, uncompromising Sunday law, that shall compel these church members to do, as church members, what they have not conscience enough to do otherwise. Only let the civil law supply the place of conscience in all these people, then they will all serve the Lord.AMS February 1888, page 16.4

    Let it be understood that it is not the man who talks the most about honoring Christ, who really does honor him. Said Jesus, to some who were profuse in their professions, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” A humble life of self-denial, patterned after the divine model, and filled, like his, with good deeds, is the only way that Christ can be honored. When Christ was on earth, he resisted every attempt to bestow upon him political honors; and he is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” Those who loudly proclaim their loyalty to Christ, and long for power to cut off those who do not acknowledge him, are in the same condition that Peter was on the night when he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, or of the two disciples who wished to call down fire from Heaven upon the Samaritans. Our desire for them is that, like those disciples, thay may see the manner of spirit that they are of, and may become true followers of Jesus.AMS February 1888, page 16.5

    Speaking of that political preachers’ committee that was lately appointed in New York, the Christian Nation says that “Archbishop Corrigan will be invited to serve on it.” We can inform the Christian Nation now and even at this distance that Archbishop Corrigan will not “serve” on the committee. Catholic Archbishops don’t serve Protestants in any capacity whatever. In fact they don’t serve anything or anybody but the Cardinals and the Pope. They may get archbishop Corrigan to rule on the committee, but it is a settled thing that he will never serve there. There is another reason for this too. No Catholic Archbishop in Christendom would ever consent to receive, from Protestant preachers, instruction or guidance in political workings; and this for the simple reason that there is not one of them who does not know more on that subject than all the Protestant preachers, together ever knew. There is not a Catholic priest in New York City who could not at a moment’s notice give those preachers more “pointers” in their political scheme than they ever dreamed of. The Archbishop may consent to help them along, but it is certain that he will never do it in the form of a servant.AMS February 1888, page 16.6

    “Protestant Praise of Catholicism” American Sentinel 3, 2.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The New York Independent, one of the most well-known and influential religious journals in the world, gushes after the following style over the Pope’s Jubilee:-AMS February 1888, page 16.7

    “To Joachim Vincent Pecci, Bishop of Rome, and Pope of the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Catholic Church, health and an evangelical benediction! A priest of blameless life for fifty years, wise, moderate, successful as priest, governor, archbishop, nuncio, cardinal, Pope, we send him our Christian salutation. Prelates, priests, and peoples of his own communion, gladly pay him homage. We simply offer him kindly greetings in the name of Christ, to whom both Pope and Protestant bow in reverent adoration. Gifts and congratulations pour in upon him from Christian, Turk, and pagan, in honor of the jubilee of his priesthood... The time was when Popes hurled their unapostolic anathemas against followers of Christ, and Protestants hurled them back with access of intensity, if possible. But Leo XIII. is a kindly Christian gentleman, who loves light and peace and purity and progress. Lumen in Coelo is his motto; and that his reign will be as a light in the Catholic heavens, is in no wise improbable. He has been Pope just ten years, and these years have been so many years of progress for his church... He has made peace with France and Germany and Switzerland; he has brought about an era of better feeling in Italy, he has reformed many abuses, raised the tone of the church, and gained a strong influence in the councils of Europe... And so we wish Pope Leo, of that name the thirteenth, continued health, a long reign, and God-speed in his liberalizing policy.”AMS February 1888, page 16.8

    Can our readers believe that the above, and considerable more of the same, is from a professedly Protestant journal? Where is the Protestantism? What is said about the prosperity of the church, and the progress of its influence, under Leo XIII., is all true; but is that something to rejoice over? If in time of war, a leader on one side should report with every appearance of joy, that since General X had taken command of the enemy’s forces, they had made rapid and continual progress, would he not be considered as harboring traitorous feelings toward his own country? Let it be remembered that the liberties of the people have never ruled, and that the triumph of Catholicism always means death to civil and religious liberty.AMS February 1888, page 16.9

    We have no fear that the Pope will ever be regarded in this country as he is in Europe, or that the Catholic Church, as such, will ever gain the supremacy in the United States; but what we do fear, and with good reason, is that Protestantism will become so saturated with the principles of Catholicism as to overthrow the liberties of the American people. We do not mean that Protestantism will ever pray to the virgin Mary, or adopt the confessional, or any other Romish dogma that it has not now, but that it will become intoxicated with the lust for power, which is the distinguishing characteristic of Romanism. Catholicism, stripped of its belief that the church should be recognized as supreme in politics, as well as in religion, would be nothing to be feared. If there is to be a union of religion and State, as the National Reformers now put it, we would just as willingly see the Catholic religion elevated to that position as the Protestant. The American people do well to look out for the encroachments of the Papacy; but we fear lest while they are watching the enemy that is approaching from Rome, degenerate Protestantism will steal a march on them and gain the citadel of their liberties.AMS February 1888, page 16.10

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