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    May 11, 1891

    “The Development of the Mystery of Iniquity. (Concluded.)” The Signs of the Times, 17, 19.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is, however, another feature that must not be overlooked. We have frequently shown that such a union would be an exact image of the Papacy, that was formed in the early centuries. We have copies of this little book, “Easy Lesson in Christian Doctrine,” and we find, what was to be expected, that it is essentially Roman Catholic. It must have been written by a Roman Catholic; and the fact that it is so heartily indorsed by professed Protestants is a striking comment on the extent to which Catholic dogmas have already permeated the entire church. The reader is well aware that while professed Protestants pride themselves on their “liberality,” Catholics never give countenance to anything that is not distinctively Catholic. But a few extracts from the book will show the nature of the teaching which will remove the barriers and reunite “the separated fragments of the church universal.” In this connection let it be remembered that Catholic writers very commonly speak of Protestant denominations are the “separated fragments.” We have space to notice only a few features of the book. On page 15 we find the doctrine of purgatory thus set forth:—SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.1

    Question—Where did Christ’s soul go after his death?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.2

    Answer—It descended into hell.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.3

    Q.—Did Christ’s soul descend into the hell of the damned?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.4

    A.—The hell into which Christ’s soul descended was not the hell of the damned but a place or state of rest.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.5

    Q.—Who were in this place of rest?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.6

    A.—The souls of the just, who died before Christ.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.7

    Q.—Why did Christ descend into this place?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.8

    A.—To announce to those spirits that were in prison the joyful tidings of their redemption.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.9

    Q.—When did the souls of the just who died before Christ go to heaven?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.10

    A.—When Christ ascended into heaven.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.11

    Q.—Where was Christ’s body while his soul was in limbo, or the place of rest?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.12

    A.—In the sepulcher, or grave.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.13

    Q.—On what day did Christ rise from the dead?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.14

    A.—Christ rose from the dead, in body and soul glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after he was crucified.”SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.15

    On page 23 we find the following concerning witchcraft:—SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.16

    Q.—What is witchcraft?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.17

    A.—Witchcraft is to try, with the help of the devil, to injure others in their person or property.”SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.18

    From this it appears that only that which is an attempt to injure somebody’s person or property can be considered witchcraft. Dealings with the devil that seem to have a good object are legitimate, according to this standard of faith.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.19

    Mariolatry, or the exaltation of Mary to the place of Christ, is thus taught, on page 38:—SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.20

    Q.—How was a Redeemer promised?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.21

    A.—To show how hateful sin was to him God cursed the serpent which had deceived Eve, condemning him to crawl upon the ground and to eat the dust; besides, he said enmity should exist between the serpent and the woman, but in the end the woman would crush his head.”SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.22

    On page 7 we find all necessity for the Bible thus summarily disposed of:—SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.23

    Q.—How can we know God on earth?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.24

    A.—By learning the truths which he has taught.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.25

    Q.—Where shall we find the chief truths which God has taught?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.26

    A.—We shall find the chief truths which God has taught, in the Apostles’ Creed.”SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.27

    And then follows the Apostles’ Creed, which was devised by the Catholic Church in the third or fourth century.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.28

    This is sufficient to show the distinctively Catholic nature of the teaching of these “Easy Lessons in Christian Doctrine,” which are recommended to all sects. But one point more remains to be shown, and that is the essentially immoral tendency of the teachings, a thing that is inevitable in any doctrinal teaching that sets aside the Bible in its purity. On pages 12 and 13 we find the following deliverance concerning sin:—SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.29

    Q.—What is actual sin?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.30

    A.—Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission, contrary to the will of God.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.31

    Q.—Are all actual sins equally great?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.32

    A.—No; all sins are not equally great; there are grievous offenses against the laws of God, and there are also small offenses against the law of God.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.33

    Q.—What are the effects of grievous offenses against the law of God?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.34

    A.—Grievous offenses against the law of God kill the soul, by depriving it of the true spiritual life of grace, and make it liable to eternal punishment in hell.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.35

    Q.—What are the effects of small offenses against the law of God?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.36

    A.—Small offenses against the law of God do not rob the soul of the true spiritual life of grace; but they hurt the soul by lessening its love for God and by disposing to great sins.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.37

    Q.—Is it a great misfortune to fall into grievous sin?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.38

    A.—It is the greatest of all misfortunes.”SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.39

    This ends the chapter on sin, leaving it to be inferred that it is not a “misfortune” to fall into a “small offense,” as indeed it cannot be if such an offense does not rob the soul of the true spiritual life of grace. Notice, also, that to fall into “a grievous offenses” is only a misfortune, and that each individual is left to decide for himself what are grievous offenses and what are small offenses. Of course everyone will draw the line at the farthest possible limit. And here, again, we see the necessity for a church council or an infallible pope to which all such questions may be referred. But the above confirms our statement that the tendency of the teaching of these “Easy Lessons” is toward immorality, and this is corroborated by the following, on pages 30 and 31:—SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.40

    A.—Are impure thoughts and desires always sinful?SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.41

    A.—They are not sinful if they displease us, and we try to drive them from our mind as soon as possible.”SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.42

    So, according to this, all that one has to do is to try to drive the impure thoughts from his mind, and when he finds that he cannot, he can entertain them with the comfortable feeling that he is not committing sin.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.43

    But this is surely enough. Further comment is unnecessary. No one who reads this can fail to see that the image of the Papacy is rapidly forming in this country, and that a union of Church and State must necessarily be the legalizing of sin or the full development of the mystery of iniquity. And let it not be forgotten that all this arises from neglect of the simplicity of the Bible. Whoever would keep clear from papal delusions, let him cleave to the inspired word, not as set forth in catechisms, by authority, or interpreted by popes or councils, or any third party, but solely as taught by the Spirit of truth. E. J. W.SITI May 11, 1891, page 139.44

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