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It is then false that the invocation of saints is a damnable error introduced by the Popes into the Church after the early ages; and what is here said of the invocation of saints extends also to all those points of Catholic doctrine, which Proestants call novelties, and introductions of the Roman Church.
Moreover, the great apostasy of which the Antichrist must be guilty, must not be confined to some addition to Christian doctrine only; but, as we have already observed, it must be an entire defection from the faith, an open rebellion against Christ and His Church. The Antichrist-the great opponent of Christ-must reject Christianity altogether; must exalt himself against Christthe Prince of princes ; must institute a religious system for the purpose of superseding Christianity, and of inducing men to apostatize from the faith. Now, what man of good sense and sound understanding can here discover the portrait of the Roman Pontiffs ?
heavenly throne, such knowledge as fills them with joy. The prophet David, speaking of the joys of heaven, says to God,
With Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.” (Psalm xxxv.). And the Apostle St. Paul says, we see as through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face : now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Cor. xiii. 12.) From these passages it appears that the saints in heaven see in the light of God whatever He chooses to communicate to them; and that our knowledge of things here below, is ignorance and darkness when compared to that light and science which illuminate the blessed spirits above.
7th Mark.--The Antichrist must defile the temple of Jerusalem and
desolate the Holy Land. The Popes have laboured strenuously to rescue the temple of Jerusalem from its defilement, and to deliver the Holy Land from desolation.
History tells us, that no sooner did the Mahometans invade the Holy Land, and take possession of Jerusalem, than they set up the abomination of desolation in the holy place by raising an infamous mosque in honour of the false prophet, on that very spot on which stood the celebrated temple of Jerusalem, where our blessed Saviour preached and prayed. But, from that time, with feelings of bitter grief, and animated by a holy zeal and profound veneration for those sacred places sanctified by the labours and sufferings, the sweat and blood, the life and death of the incarnate Son of God, the Roman Pontiffs have constantly endeavoured with their utmost power to rescue them from the awful profanation.
Dr. Newman, in his lectures on the History of the Turks, thus describes the conduct of the Holy See, in reference to Mahometanism—the true author of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place :
“ He (the vicar of Christ) incited Christendom against the Seljukians, and the Seljukians assailed also by Zingis, sunk beneath the double blow.
The Seljukians fell in consequence of the united zeal of the great Christian Commonwealth moving in panoply against them; the Ottomans succeeded by reason of its deplorable divisions and its decay of faith and heroism.
" Whether, indeed, on the long run, and after all his disappointments and reverses, the Pope was altogether unsuccessful in his warfare against the Ottomans, we shall see by-and-by; but, certainly, if perseverance merited a favourable issue, at least he has had a right to expect it. War with the Turks was his uninterrupted cry for seven or eight centuries,--from the eleventh to the eighteenth; it is a solitary and unique event in the history of the Church. Sylvester the Second was the originator of the scheme of a union of Christian nations against them. St. Gregory the Seventh collected 50,000 men to repel them. Urban the Second actually set in motion the long crusade. Honorius the Second instituted the Order of Knight Templars to protect the pilgrims from their assaults. Eugenius the Third sent St. Bernard to preach the Holy War. Innocent the Third advocated it in the august Council of the Lateran. Nicholas the Fourth negotiated an alliance with the Tartars for its prosecution. Gregory the Tenth was in the Holy Land in the midst of it with our Edward the First, when he was elected Pope. Urban the Fifth received and reconciled the Greek Emperor with a view to its renewal. Innocent the Sixth sent the Blessed Peter Thomas, the Carmelite, to preach in its behalf. Boniface the Ninth raised the magnificent army of French, Germans, and Hungarians, who fought the great battle of Nicopolis. Eugenius the Fourth formed the confederation of Hungarians and Poles who fought the battle of Varna. Nicholas the Fifth sent round St. John Capistran to urge the princes of Christendom against the enemy.
Callixtus the Third sent the celebrated Hunniades to fight with them. Pius the Second addressed to their Sultan an Apostolic letter of warning and denunciation. Sixtus the Fourth fitted out a fleet against them.
Innocent the Eighth made them his mark from the beginning of his Pontificate to the end. St. Pius the Fifth added the Auxilium Christianorum to our Lady's litany, in thankfulness for his victory over them. Gregory the Thirteenth, with the same purpose, appointed the Festival of the Rosary. Clement the Ninth died of grief on account of their successes. The venerable Innocent the Eleventh appointed the Festival of the Holy Name of Mary for their rout before Vienna. Clement the Twelfth extended the Feast of the Rosary to the whole Church for the great victory over them near Belgrade. These are but some of the many instances which might be given ; but they are enough for the purpose of showing the perseverance of the Popes."
SECTION VIII. 8th Mark.-The Antichrist must establish a kingdom, which, being
small in the beginning, was to grow into a very large empire. The Popes did never establish any kingdom whether small or great.
A little knowledge of history ought to be sufficent to convince any one of this. The Popes possess indeed supreme authority under Christ over His visible kingdom—the holy Catholic Church. But this kingdom, besides being altogether divine, and of a totally different character and constitution from the kingdoms of this world, was not founded by them, but by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who intrusted it to their charge. They also exercise regal power within the precincts of the Roman territories; but this kingdom was not established by them; they received it already established as a munificent donation from Christian liberality; and ever since they have administered it as the patrimony of the
· Lect. iii. part i.
Church. To this we add that the temporal kingdom over which the Roman Pontiffs rule has always been small; nor did it ever increase its strength and power by the overthrow of other kingdoms, as it is predicted that the dominion of the Antichrist should do.
SECTION IX. 9th Mark.—The Antichrist must propagate his religion and his
kingdom by brute force. The Popes have propagated the Catholic religion by moral force; they have also administered their temporal kingdom with great gentleness and moderation.
This also is most evident from history. The sword which the Popes have ever employed for the diffusion of the spiritual kingdom over which they preside, is not that of the flesh but that of the spirit, which is the Word of God. In conformity with the injunction of their Divine Master, who sent His Apostles through the whole world armed only with the weapons of justice and truth, the Popes have laboured to diffuse the Gospel with the same blessed arms, and have recommended the same course to all those who by their commission have undertaken the glorious work of the conversion of nations. As regards the gentleness and moderation which the Roman Pontiffs have ever evinced in the administration of their temporal kingdom, it is a well-known fact, which is turned by many into a subject of grievous complaint against the Holy See, as if she were deficient in strength in the government of her subjects. The Roman Pontiffs are so far from employing brute force for the purpose of extending either the religious or the temporal kingdom over which they preside, that, contrary to the practice of other kings, they have scarcely any army at their command.