Romanism And A Free Bible -- By: William Barrows
BSac 17:66 (April 1860) p. 323
Romanism And A Free Bible
What place does Romanism assign to the Bible, as a book for the people? This is becoming a question of grave interest in our country. Several minor issues concerning its use have sprung up in communities where the papal and protestant communions are mixed, showing that two widely different policies form the usage of the two denominations. The uniformity of action, and the persistency in it, shown by Romanism, make it evident that they are not experimenting to discover the true theory. They act as from principles settled and well-understood. Their action is as definite, as prompt, and as cordial, as is the protestant, in the use they wish to make of the scriptures, as a book for the people.
It is evident, and latterly there has been painful growth of the evidence, that the two theories of these two great divisions of Christendom are antagonistic.
It is a matter of the first consequence that the two parties understand each other. Probably an issue of greater moment to us could not be raised respecting our prosperity and perpetuity as a people, than the question, which of these two theories shall prevail. As we understand our history, our beginning, so fruitful in what makes a people truly great, lies far back in the wrenching of the Bible from the iron grasp of the hierarchy. The principal freight of the Mayflower was a free Bible. Plymouth Rock is but a common landing for any band of adventurers, till we discover that the English Bible of the Puritans is coupled with it. This book it is that, among us, has aroused the mind, freed and cleared the conscience, and defined and enlarged the limits of civil, social, and religious liberty. It is the Bible that has’ stimulated industry, and developed national resources and growth, till we span the continent and lay a hand on either ocean. In contrast with
BSac 17:66 (April 1860) p. 324
countries of the Old World, where the Bible is a prohibited book, our standing army is made up of Sabbath schools, and oar police of secret watch are the prophets and the apostles.
Undoubtedly our national prosperity, from the landing of the Pilgrims hitherto, is largely from the influence of the scriptures, as a common and popular book. He, then, who would exclude it as a text-book for the popular mind, smites the people in the very hidings of their strength. To adopt the noble words of Webster, he “touches the very foundations of public law, and the Constitution, and the whole welfare of the State.”1 A free Bible has been our strength, as it is our glory, and must be our guarantee for the future.
Romanism, however, has another theory an...
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