The Ancient Roman Catholic Faith Contrasted with Modern Popery
by JOSEPH IRONS
The absurd boast about "the march of intellect, the enlightened age, and the schoolmaster abroad," has so bewildered the minds of men, that they now fancy that Satan is not so black as he used to be, that sin is not so ugly as it has been represented, and that the Man of Sin is not now the monster described in the word of God, nor so hostile to the well-being of society as in the dark ages: hence, the cloak of universal charity is cast over the, so-called, little little differences, and nominal Christians amalgamate with Papists, Socinians, and other Infidels; and pulpit orations, as well as the trash which emanates from the press, employ such ambiguous phraseology as shall not offend carnal-minded religionists of any class.
Where is now the difference between the Universities and the Dissenters' Colleges, except in classical advantages? Do not the majority of those who emanate from both reject the distinguishing doctrines of God's word, and substitute the Arminian heresy for them, propagating the Popish gospel of universal redemption, human merit, and contingencies, under carnal patronage?
It has been argued, or rather affirmed, that Popery is not what it was in former times, and that the barbarities practiced by the priests and their agents in the dark ages, are to be attributed to the ignorance which prevailed; but it is notorious, that the bitterest persecutors have always been the most learned men of their day; so that their inhuman conduct did not arise from want of education, but from the enmity of their carnal minds against the truth of God and the people of God. And as to any change for the better in their system, they themselves deny it, boasting that their religion, or rather their conspiracy against religion "is unchanged and unchangeable." Therefore, "as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Gal. 4:29) And who are now the fiercest bigots that Rome or Oxford produce? Are they not the learned priests, the distinguished scholars, and the philosophical dignitaries? It is not the unlettered, but the unregenerate, who hate and persecute the saints; and it will be known hereafter, that the greatest sins and the most extensive mischiefs known on earth, are produced by the interference of ungodly men in religious things, either in a way of legislation, or by assuming offices for which the grace of God has not qualified them. I cannot, therefore, refrain from entering my protest against all such unhallowed touching of the Ark of God, and therefore close up my threescore years with this testimony for Christ against Antichrist.