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-JOne True Church, Page 3

VII.

In the sixteenth century Protestantism did away with the authority of the Church and constituted every man his own judge of the Bible, and what was the consequence? Religion upon religion, church upon church, sprang into existence, and has never stopped springing up new churches to this day.

When I have my Mission in Flint, Michigan, I invited, as I have done here, my Protestant friends to come and see me. A good and intelligent man came to me and said: "I will avail myself of this opportunity to converse with you."

"What Church do you belong to, my friend," said I.
"To the Church of the Twelve Apostles," said he.
"Ha! ha!" said I, "I belong to that Church too. But, tell me, my friend, where was your Church started?"

"In Terre Haute, Indiana," says he. "Who started the Church, and who were the Twelve Apostles, my friend?" said I.

"They were twelve farmers," said he; "we all belonged to the same Church - the Presbyterian - but we quarreled with our preacher, separated from him, and started a Church of our own."

"And that," said I, "is the Twelve Apostles you belonged to - twelve farmers of Indiana! The Church came into existence about thirty years ago." A few years ago, when I was in Terre Haute, I asked to be shown the Church of the Twelve Apostles. I was taken to a window and it was pointed out to me, "but it is not in existence any more," said my informant, "it is used as a wagonmaker's shop now."
Again, St. Paul, in his Epistles to the Galatians, says: "Though we Apostles, or even an angel from heaven were to come and preach to you a different Gospel from what we have preached, let him be anathema." That is the language of St. Paul, because, my dearly beloved people, religion must come from God, not from man. No man has a right to establish a religion; no man has a right to dictate to his fellow-man what he shall believe and what he shall do to save his soul. Religion must come from God, and any religion that is not established by God is a false religion, a human institution, and not an institution of God; and therefore did St. Paul say in his Epistles to the Galatians, "Though we Apostles or even an angel from heaven were to come and preach to you a new Gospel, a new religion, let them be anathema."

VIII

You see then, my dearly beloved people, from the text of the Scripture I have quoted that, if the Catholic Church has been once the true Church, then she is yet the true Church. You have also seen from what I have said that the Catholic Church is the institution of God, and not of man, and this is a fact - a fact of history, and no fact of history so well supported, so well proved, as that the Catholic Church is the first, the Church established by Jesus Christ.

So, in like manner, it is an historical fact that all the Protestant churches are the institutions of man - every one of them. And I will give you their dates, and the names of their founders or institutors.

In the year 1520 - 368 years ago - the first Protestant came into the world. Before that one there was not a Protestant in the world, not one on the face of the whole earth; and that one, as all history tells us, was Martin Luther, who was a Catholic priest, who fell away from the Church through pride, and married a nun. He was excommunicated from the Church, cut off, banished, and made a new religion of his own.

Before Martin Luther there was not a Protestant in the world; he was the first to raise the standard of rebellion and revolt against the Church of God. He said to his disciples that they should take the Bible for their guide, and they did so. But they soon quarreled with him, Zuinglius, and a number of others, and every one of them started a new religion of his own.

After the disciples of Martin Luther came John Calvin, who in Geneva established the Presbyterian religion, and hence, almost all of those religions go by the name of their founder. I ask the Protestant, "Why are you a Lutheran, my friend?"

"Well," says he, "because I believe in the doctrine of good Martin Luther."

Hence, not of Christ, but of man - Martin Luther. And what kind of man was he? A man who had broken the solemn oath he had made at the altar of God, at his ordination, ever to lead a pure, single, and virginal life. He broke that solemn oath, and married a Sister Catherine, who had also taken the same oath of chastity and virtue. And this is the first founder of Protestantism in the world. The very name by which they are known tells you they came from Martin Luther.

So the Presbyterians are sometimes called Calvinists because they come from, or profess to believe in, John Calvin.

IX.

After them came Henry VIII. He was a Catholic, and defended the Catholic religion; he wrote a book against Martin Luther in defense of the Catholic doctrine. That book I have myself seen in the library of the Vatican at Rome a few years ago. Henry VIII defended the religion, and for doing so was titled by the Pope "Defender of the Faith." It came down with his successors, and Queen Victoria inherits it today. He was married to Catherine of Aragon; but there was at his court a maid of honor to the Queen, named Ann Boleyn, who was a beautiful woman, and captivating in appearance. Henry was determined to have her. But he was a married man. He put in a petition to the Pope to be allowed to marry her - and a foolish petition it was, for the Pope had no power to grant the prayer of it. The Pope and all the bishops in the world cannot go against the will of God. Christ says: "If a man putteth away his wife and marrieth another, he committeth adultery, and he that marrieth her who is put away committeth adultery also."

As the Pope would not grant the prayer of Henry's petition, he took Ann Boleyn anyhow, and was excommunicated from the Church. After a while there was another maid of honor, prettier than the first, more beautiful and charming in the eyes of Henry, and he said he must have her, too. He took the third wife, and a fourth, fifth and sixth followed. Now this is the founder of the Anglican Church, the Church of England; and, therefore, it is that it goes by the name of the Church of England.

Our Episcopalian friends are making great efforts nowadays to call themselves Catholic, but they shall never come to it. They own that the name Catholic is a glorious one, and they would like to possess it. The Apostles said: "I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church" - they never said, in the Anglican Church. The Anglicans deny their religion, for they say they believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church. Ask them are they Catholics, and they say, "Yes, but not Roman Catholics; we are English Catholics." What is the meaning of the word Catholic? It comes from the Greek word Catholicus - universal - spread all over the earth, and everywhere the same.

Now, first of all, the Anglican Church is not spread all over the earth; it only exists in a few countries, and chiefly only where the English language is spoken. Secondly, they are not the same all over the earth, for there are now four different Anglican churches: The Low Church, the High Church, the Ritualist Church and the Puseyite Church. Catholicus means more than this, not only spread all over the earth and everywhere the same, but it means, moreover, at all times the same, from Christ up to the present day. Now, then, they have not been in existence from the time of Christ. There never was an Episcopalian Church or an Anglican Church before Henry VIII. The Catholic Church had already existed fifteen hundred years before the Episcopal came into the world.

After Episcopalianism, different other churches sprang up. Next came the Methodist, about one hundred and fifty years ago. It was started by John Wesley, who was at first a member of the Episcopalian Church; subsequently he joined the Moravian Brethren, but not liking them, he made a religion of his own - the Methodist Church.

After John Wesley several others sprang up; and finally came the Campbellites, about sixty years ago. This Church was established by Alexander Campbell, a Scotchman.

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