The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 13
Ellet J. Waggoner
In the preceding articles of this series, it has been shown that Spiritualism is essentially antichrist, because it is wholly of the devil, and directly opposed to Christianity. It has been shown by positive testimony that Spiritualism is based upon the theory that man is naturally immortal, and that death does not end his existence. This idea is, in fact, the whole of Spiritualism. But this, we have seen, naturally leads to a denial of God and his moral Government, and makes every man his own judge; in short, it assumes for every man the attributes and prerogatives that belong to God; and since human nature is fallen, and its tendency, when unrestrained by some power outside of itself, is downward, the doctrine of the natural immortality of man is the germ out of which has grown all the evil that has cursed this earth. The claim has been made that no person who holds to that doctrine has any warrant against becoming an avowed Spiritualist, and that however much a person may think himself opposed to Spiritualism, he is essentially a Spiritualist if he believes in the conscious existence of the dead. This claim has been substantiated by many Spiritualistic quotations taken from professedly evangelical publications. The argument, in short, is this: The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul inevitably leads to Spiritualism, and Spiritualism is from its very nature opposed to God and every vital principle of morality.
But Spiritualism as a distinct system is not the only exhibition of antichrist. By the expressions “that man of sin,” and “the son of perdition” in 2 Thess. 2:3, the apostle makes undoubted reference to the Papacy. Now of that “man of sin” he says that it “opposes and exalts itself above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” Then of course Roman Catholicism must also be a manifestation of the spirit of antichrist. It has already been shown that Catholicism is essentially Spiritualism, in that it teaches that the dead are conscious, and that the living can communicate with them, and that the living and the dead may render assistance to each other; therefore we shall notice only two points that are peculiar to Catholicism, which show it to be antichrist. Both of these points depend wholly on the doctrine of the conscious state of the dead.
The first dogma to be noticed is that of purgatory. In the “Catholic Christian Instructed,” pages 150, 151, that doctrine is thus briefly stated: —
“Some there are, though I fear but few, that have before their death so fully cleared their accounts with the Divine Majesty, and washed away all their stains in the blood of the Lamb, as to go straight to Heaven after death; and such as those stand in no need of our prayers. Others there are, and their numbers are very great, who die in the guilt of deadly sin, and such as these go straight to hell, like the rich glutton in the gospel (Luke 16), and therefore cannot be bettered by our prayers. But, besides these two kinds, there are many Christians, who, when they die, are neither so perfectly pure and clean as to exempt them from the least spot or stain, nor yet so unhappy as to die under the spot of unrepented deadly sin. Now such as these the church believes to be, for a time, in a middle state, which we call purgatory, and these are they who are capable of receiving benefit by our prayers. For though we pray for all that die in the communion of the church, because we do not certainly know the particular state in which each one dies, yet we are sensible that our prayers are available for those only that are in this middle state.”
This is a simple statement of the Catholic Church concerning purgatory. That it is antichristian may be seen from the fact that it is diametrically opposed to the Bible doctrine that the dead are totally unconscious. But the greatest point against it is that it leads directly to a depreciation of the sacrifice of Christ. Dr. Challoner, the author of the “Catholic Christian Instructed,” states the following question and answer: —
“Question: What grounds have you for the belief of a purgatory from reason?”
“Answer: Because reason teaches these two things: 1. That every sin, be it ever so small, is an offense of God; and consequently deserves punishment from the justice of God; and therefore that every person that dies under the guilt of any such offense unrepented, must expect to be punished by the justice of God. 2. That there are small sins, in which a person may happen to die, that are so small, either through the levity of the matter, or for want of a full deliberation in the act, as not to deserve everlasting punishments. From whence it plainly follows that, besides the place of everlasting punishments, which we call hell, there must be also a place of temporal punishment for such as die in those lesser offenses, and this we call purgatory.”
Now mark the following: —
“Question: But does not the blood of Christ sufficiently purify us from all our sins, without any other purgatory?
“Answer: The blood of Christ purifies none that are once come to the use of reason, from any sin without repentance, and therefore such sins as have not been here recalled by repentance, must be punished hereafter, according to their gravity, by the divine justice, either in hell, if the sins be mortal, or if venial, in purgatory.”
David prayed to be cleansed from secret faults. (Psalm 19:2). By secret faults he meant those of which he had no knowledge. This is evident from the verse itself: “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” He prayed to be cleansed from sins which he committed in ignorance, and which had never come to his knowledge. He knew that he must be cleansed from every sin, if he would be saved. Now Peter testifies that besides the name of Christ there is none other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12). Therefore to say that any person must work out, through punishment in a purgatory, some sins that Christ has not atoned for, and that afterwards he may enter Heaven, is to deny, to that extent, the virtue of Christ’s sacrifice. Thus the doctrine of purgatory is directly opposed to Christ.
But read further what Dr. Challoner says of those who, having died in venial sin, are consigned to purgatory: —
“Question: Are they not, then, capable of relief in that state?”
“Answer: Yes, they are, but not from anything that they can do for themselves, but from the prayers, alms, and other suffrages offered to God for them by the faithful upon earth.”
Thus it appears that the doctrine of purgatory, depending upon conscious existence in death, leads to prayer for the dead, and not only to that, but to indulgences, and the payment of money for the release of souls confined in purgatory. Thus: as the above quotation states, a man in purgatory may be released, and, of course, admitted to Heaven, if some of his friends give money to the church. Who cannot see that this is antichrist? It is allowing that money and good works will buy one’s way into Heaven; it is teaching men to put their trust in Mammon, at least in part, instead of wholly in Christ. Read the scorching words of the apostle Peter, in Acts 8:20-23, to one who thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money.
The doctrine of purgatory leads directly, as has been said, to the doctrine of indulgences. We have no space for lengthy quotations, and so present as a concise statement of this doctrine, the following quotation made in “McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia” from the “Treasury of the Church,” by Alexander de Hales: —
“The sufferings and death of Christ not only made a sufficient satisfaction for the sins of men, but also acquired a superabundance of merit. The superfluous merit of Christ is conjoined with that of the martyrs and saints, which is similar in kind, though smaller in degree, for they likewise perform more than the divine law required of them. The sum of these supererogatory merits and good works forms a vast treasure, which is disjoined from the persons who won or performed them, exists objectively, and, having been accumulated by the head members of the church, and intended by them for its use, belongs to the church, and is necessarily placed under the administration of its representatives, especially the Pope, who is supreme. It is therefore competent for the Pope, according to the measure of his insight at the time, to draw from this treasure, and bestow upon those who have no merit of their own, such supplies of it as they require. Indulgences and remissions are made from the supererogatory merits of Christ’s members, but most of all from the superabundance of Christ’s own, the two constituting the church’s spiritual treasure.”
This is the doctrine of indulgences in its best form. Primarily it probably does not contemplate such a thing as granting license for future sin, although this has always naturally followed. If men know that by doing penance, or by almsgiving, they can atone for certain sins, they will not be so careful to guard against those sins. So the doctrine of indulgences does lead directly to looseness of life. No matter what claims may be made, as a matter of fact no real humility is required by indulgences and penance, as there is in accepting Christ as the only Saviour. The individual trusts in himself and his own good works, and not in Christ. But without humility and self-abasement there can be no true godliness; for “his soul that is lifted up is not upright within him” (Hab. 2:4). And the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul is responsible for this doctrine, which leads to trust in self instead of trust in Christ, and so it appears again as the doctrine of antichrist.
The first cry of the awakened sinner is, “What shall I do to be saved?” When he has been convinced of sin, and feels his utter helplessness, he instinctively looks for something to lean upon. The true minister of the gospel will point him to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Trusting wholly in him, the sinner can find both pardon and holiness, —cleansing from the guilt of sin, and from the love of it. But right there at that critical moment, the Catholic Church meets him and turns his attention to some “saint” who has accomplished the impossible feat of being better than the Lord wanted him to be, whose extra good works he may get if he will pray or pay for them. Thus men are elevated to a level with Christ, and all in consequence of the theory that death is not an enemy, but a friend.
The Signs of the Times : March 16, 1888
The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 14
The homage, which the Catholic Church pays to the Virgin Mary, is one of the most pernicious phases of the spirit of antichrist. It is true that in their catechisms they disclaim any intention of paying her divine honor, or of worshiping her as God; but those who are familiar with the facts know that the honor and worship, which should be given to Christ alone, are by them given the Virgin Mary, and Christ is virtually ignored. But this worship of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints and martyrs, which detracts from the honor due to Christ, springs solely from the doctrine of the natural immortality of man; for if they did not hold that human beings are by nature possessed of the immortality which actually belongs to God alone, they could not give to those human beings, after death, the worship which is due to God.
To show the pernicious effects of the Roman Catholic worship of the Virgin Mary and “saints” we shall make a few quotations from a Catholic publication entitled, “The Glories of Mary.” The work was first published in Venice, Italy, in 1784, and we copy from the first American edition of the translation from the Italian, which translation bears the approval of Archbishop John Hughes, of New York, dated Jan. 21, 1872. We quote the following statements concerning the author, Alphonsus Liguori, in order that the reader may know how he and his work are regarded by the Catholic Church: —
“Nine years after his death [which occurred Aug. 1, 1787], he was pronounced venerable by Pius VI., was beatified by Pius VII., Sept. 15, 1816; and on May 26, 1839, was canonized by Gregory XVI. Pius IX. added, July 7, 1871, to these honors the dignity of Doctor of the Church; thus placing him beside Thomas Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, etc. The decree was based upon the scholarly and devotional character of his works, and especially the circumstance that they teach in the most excellent manner the truths relating to the immaculate conception of the blessed mother of God, and the infallibility of the Roman bishop speaking from his throne.’ It ordained that ‘his works should be cited as of equal authority with those of the other doctors of the church, and should be used in schools, colleges, controversies, sermons, etc., as well as in private.’”—Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, act Liguori.
The reader will know, therefore, that every quotation made from “The Glories of Mary,” is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. On page 19 we find the following: —
“If the assertion is true and incontrovertible, as I believe it to be, and as I shall prove in the fifth chapter of this book, that all graces are dispensed by the hand of Mary alone, and that all those who are saved, are saved solely by the hand of this divine mother, it may be said as a necessary consequence, that the salvation of all depends upon preaching Mary, and confidence in her intercession.”
If this is not antichrist, can anyone tell what would be? When the Catholic Church teaches that “all those who are saved, are saved solely by the hand of this divine mother,” what room is left for Christ? Further quotations will show that the Catholic Church openly gives to Mary a higher place than to Christ. On pages 27, 28 we find: —
“The kingdom of God consisting of justice and mercy, the Lord has divided it; he has reserved the kingdom of justice for himself, and he has granted the kingdom of mercy to Mary, ordaining that all the mercies which are dispensed to men should pass through the hands of Mary, and should be bestowed according to her good pleasure.”
And on page 29: —
“Ernest, Archbishop of Prague, also says that the eternal Father has given to the Son the office of judging and punishing, and to the mother the office of compassionating and relieving the wretched.”
Sometimes professed Protestants are guilty of setting the Father and the Son in antagonism with each other, representing the Father as desiring to wreak vengeance upon men, and the Son as restraining him. The natural result of such teaching is to cause men to regard God as unlovable. In like manner the Catholic Church represent Christ as the stern, unyielding judge, and Mary as the only one who can induce him to show mercy. Of course the result must be the neglect of Christ. In the following questions this is made more apparent: —
“Every blessing, every help, every grace that men have received or will receive from God, to the end of the world, has come to them, and will come to them, through the intercession and by means of Mary.” P. 119.
Again on page 133 we read: —
“St. Bonaventure remarks that Isaias in his day lamented, and said, ‘Behold, thou art angry, and we have sinned. . . . there is none that riseth up and taketh hold of thee;’ because Mary was not yet born into the world. But now, if God is offended with any sinner, and Mary undertakes to protect him, she restrains the Son from punishing him, and saves him.”
But the following caps the climax: —
“To increase our confidence, St. Anselm adds that when we have recourse to this divine mother, we may not only be sure of her protection, but that sometimes we shall be sooner heard and saved by invoking her holy name than that of Jesus our Saviour. And he gives this reason: Because it belongs to Christ as our judge to punish, but to Mary, as our advocate, to pity.”
These statements are so clear that they need no comment to convince the reader that Christ is practically ignored in the Roman Catholic Church, and that that church is essentially pagan. It teaches men to worship and serve the creature more than the Creator. It matters not how much that church may profess to be Christian, nor how much prominence they may give to the name and image of Christ; the fact remains that it is not a Christian church, but is essentially antichrist. And this, let the reader not forget, is due wholly to its assumption of pagan doctrines, notably that of the inherent immortality of man. But for this, they could not thus exalt a creature to the place of God.
The Signs of the Times : March 23, 1888
The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 15
It has before been shown that Catholicism is virtually one with Spiritualism, because it teaches that the living may and do have intercourse with the dead. This alone is sufficient to brand it as an antichristian system. But there are so many professed Protestants nowadays who regard Catholicism as an important branch of the Christian church, that it is necessary to present some very conclusive evidence to the contrary. The Scripture, speaking of the Papacy under the form of a beast, says, “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). It also says of the unclean spirits that represent Spiritualism, “they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14). This shows that those who either directly or indirectly acknowledge the authority of the Papacy, will also be Spiritualists. When we remember that Spiritualism is paganism in its original form, and that Catholicism is paganism with some modifications, and that both depend mainly upon the heathen idea of the natural immortality of the man, we can see how Spiritualists might come to acknowledge the Papacy. As for Catholics, they are Spiritualists already.
Since this is so, it is as necessary to warn people against Catholicism as against Spiritualism. We therefore shall quote quite a number of additional statements from “The Glories of Mary,” to show the antichristian character and essential wickedness of the Roman Catholic system. Many of these statements are little else than repetitions of the same thing; but we wish the reader to know that we are not misrepresenting the Catholic Church by quoting a few isolated passages. Whoever will take the trouble to procure the book, will find stuff of the same kind on almost every page, until he will become nauseated.
The inspired apostle tells us that Christ, the mediator of the new covenant, died “for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament” (Heb. 9:15). But this Catholic “saint” contradicts this statement thus: —
“St. Bernardine of Sienna says that God did not destroy man after his fall, because of the peculiar love he bore his future child, Mary. And the saint adds, that he doubts not all the mercy and pardon which sinners received under the old law, was granted them solely for the sake of this blessed Virgin.”—Glories of Mary, page 81.
This takes from Christ all the honor of the salvation of people for the first four thousand years of this earth’s history. Now when we find that sinners in this age are directed to look to Mary first, and afterwards, if at all, to Jesus, it is evident that Catholicism is emphatically antichrist. On pages 83, 84 we read: —
“Justly, then, does St. Lawrence Justinian call her the hope of evil-doers, since she alone can obtain their pardon from God. St. Bernard rightly calls her the ladder of sinners, since she, this compassionate queen, offers her hand to poor, fallen mortals, leads them from the precipice of sin, and helps them to ascend to God. St. Augustine rightly calls her the only hope of us sinners, since by her means alone we hope for the remission of all our sins. And St. John Chrysostom repeats the same thing, namely, that sinners receive pardon only through the intercession of Mary.”
The last quotation speaks of Mary as the “ladder of sinners,” and therefore the following little story comes in very aptly right here: —
“In the Franciscan chronicles it is related of Brother Leo, that he once saw a red ladder, upon which Jesus Christ was standing, and a white one, upon which stood his holy mother. He saw persons attempting to ascend the red ladder; they ascended a few steps and then fell; they ascended again, and again fell. Then they were exhorted to ascend the white ladder, and on that he saw them succeed, for the blessed Virgin offered them her hand, and they arrived in that manner safe in Paradise.”—Page 279.
Now add to this, the following: —
“God has ordained that all graces should be dispensed by the prayers of Mary; where these are wanting, there is no hope of mercy, as our Lord signified to St. Bridget, saying to her: ‘Unless Mary interposes by her prayers, there is no hope of mercy.’”—Page 293.
These quotations show, not that Mary divides with Christ the honor of man’s salvation, but that she is the only saviour. The Catholic Church actually teaches those who look to it for instruction, that they cannot be saved by the merits of Christ, and that if they do not seek the aid of the Virgin Mary, they must certainly be lost. And yet there are Protestants who think that it is an important part of the Christian church. On page 330 there is a prayer to be said to the Virgin Mary, from which we take the following extract:
“It is enough that thou wilt save us, for then we cannot but be saved. Who can restrain the bowels of thy compassion? If thou hast not compassion on us, thou who art the mother of mercy, what will become of us when thy Son shall come to judge us.”
Surely nothing more is needed to convince any person not wholly blinded that the Catholic Church robs Christ of honor as the divine Mediator for sinners, and gives it to a creature, who, though she was a good woman, could obtain salvation in no other way than through the merits of Christ, and who has been dead for not less than eighteen hundred years. Again we ask the reader to remember that Mariolatry could not have any existence it if were not for the pagan notion that death does not end a man’s existence. The thoughtful person will readily connect Mariolatry with the ancient heathen custom of deifying the dead. Ancient heathenism, modern Spiritualism, and Roman Catholicism, all spring from the same root, and are very closely related.
The Signs of the Times : March 30, 1888
The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 16
Thus far we have quoted only those passages which directly state that the Virgin Mary is entitled to more honor than Christ; that to her men must look for salvation, rather than to Christ; and that if they depend upon Christ, and not upon the Virgin Mary, they will surely be lost. We shall now give a few sample quotations showing that this Mariolatry directly fosters and encourages the most outrageous wickedness. On pages 36 and 37 of “The Glories of Mary,” we find the following: —
“We read in the life of Sister Catherine, an Augustinian nun, that in the place where that servant of God lived, there lived also a woman named Mary, who, in her youth was a sinner, and obstinately persevered in her evil course even to extreme old age. For this, she was banished by her fellow-citizens, forced to live in a cave beyond the limits of the place, and died in a state of loathsome corruption, abandoned by all, and without the sacraments, and on this account was buried in a field like a beast. Now Sister Catherine, who was accustomed to recommend very affectionately to God the souls of those who had departed this life, after learning the miserable death of this poor old woman, did not think of praying for her, as she and everyone else believed her already among the damned. Four years having passed, a soul from purgatory appeared to her, and said: ‘Sister Catherine, how unhappy is my fate! You commend to God the souls of all those who die, and for my soul alone you have no pity.’ ‘And who are you,’ said the servant of God. ‘I am,’ answered she, ‘that poor Mary, who died in the cave.’ ‘How! are you saved,’ she said, ‘by the mercy of the Virgin Mary.’ ‘And how?’ ‘When I saw death drawing near, finding myself laden with sins, and abandoned by all, I turned to the mother of God, and said to her, “Lady, thou art the refuge of the abandoned, behold me at this hour deserted by all; thou art my only hope, thou alone canst help me; have pity on me.” The holy Virgin obtained for me the grace of making an act of contrition. I died and am saved, and my queen has also obtained for me the grace that my pain should be abridged, and that I should, by suffering intensely for a short time, pass through that purification which otherwise would have lasted many years. A few masses only are needed to obtain my release from purgatory. I pray thee cause them to be offered for me, and I promise to pray God and Mary for thee.’ Sister Catherine immediately caused those masses to be said for her, and that soul, after a few days, appeared to her again, more brilliant than the sun, and said to her, ‘I thank thee, Sister Catherine; behold I am now going to Paradise to sing the mercy of God, and pray for you.’”
This is very much in the same line as the preceding quotations. It teaches that people may live profligate lives up to the very moment of death, and then be saved by a single “act of contrition.” Thus it tends to cause men to put off repentance, and to rob God of all the service that is his due. But that is not the worst. It is true that Christ is able “to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,” and that it is possible that even in the last hour of life the sinner may heartily repent and find acceptance with God; for one such case is recorded in the New Testament. But the Catholic Church, in the quotation just made, teaches that men may come unrepentant to the last moment of life, and even then be saved without Christ. Christ is utterly ignored even in that extremity. The essential wickedness of such a scheme of religion ought to be apparent to everyone who has any knowledge of divine things.
Again, on page 687 we read: —
“In the mountains of Trent lived a notorious robber, who when he was admonished by a religious to change his course of life, answered that for him there was no remedy. ‘Do not say,’ said the religious; ‘do what I tell you; fast on Saturday in honor of Mary, and on that day do no harm to anyone, and she will obtain for you the grace of not dying under the displeasure of God.’ The obedient robber followed this advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break his oath, he from that time went unarmed on Saturdays. It happened that on a Saturday he was found by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, when he saw that he was a gray-haired old men, wished to pardon him; but through the grace of compunction which he had received from Mary, he said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He also made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment-hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him. He was beheaded, and buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug near by. But afterwards the mother of God appeared, with four holy virgins, who took the dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city. There the blessed Virgin said to the guards: ‘Tell the bishop from me to give an honorable burial, in such a church, to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant.’ And this was done.”
By such stories as this, Catholicism identifies itself with paganism, which taught its devotees to depend on charms and incantations, and also with Spiritualism, the great feature of which is that man is his own savior. All three systems are alike in that they exalt man to the level of God. This, as has before been shown, necessarily follows wherever the doctrine of man’s natural immortality is held, because that very doctrine claims for man the attribute of Deity.
Similar to the above quotation, is the following, found on page 689: —
“In the country of Normandy, a certain robber was beheaded, and his head was thrown into a trench, but afterwards it was heard, crying: ‘Mary, give me confession.’ A certain priest went to him and heard his confession; and questioning him as to his practices of devotion, the robber answered that he had no other than fasting one day of the week in honor of the holy Virgin, and that for this our Lady had obtained the grace to be delivered from hell by that confession.”
Surely that was an easy way of getting saved, considering the amount that a person is allowed to eat during a Catholic “fast.” But the worst of all is the following, found on pages 301, and 302, with which we will end these extracts: —
“Father Charles Bovins relates that in Domans, in France, lived a married man who had held a criminal connection with another woman. Now the wife being unable to endure this, continually besought God to punish the guilty parties, and one day in particular, went to an altar of the blessed Virgin, which was in a certain church, to implore vengeance upon the woman who had alienated her husband from her, and this very woman went also every day to the same altar to repeat a Hail Mary. One night the divine mother appeared in a dream to the wife, who, on seeing her, began her accustomed petition: ‘Justice, mother of God, justice.’ But the blessed lady answered: ‘Justice! do you seek justice from me? Go and find others to execute justice for you. It belongs not to me to do it for you. Be it known to you,’ she added, ‘that this very sinner offers every day a devotion in my honor, and that I cannot allow any sinner who does this to suffer and be punished for his sins.”
It is impossible to conceive of anything that could be written under the pretense of being religious, that would tend more directly to lead people to the commission of crime, than this does. In this instance which, like all the rest, is of course fictitious, we have the case of a woman living in open sin, yet the Virgin Mary, who is set forth as the only hope of sinners, severely rebukes the one who has been so grossly wronged, saying that the guilty woman shall not be punished, because she, every day, repeats a form of prayer. Thus the Catholic Church teaches that no matter how wicked a person may be, he is safe if he only remembers, in the midst of his debauchery, to “say a prayer” to the Virgin Mary. Is it not rightly named the “MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”? Surely Paul could not have given a more accurate description of it than by calling it “that wicked.”
The apostle John says that antichrist is he that denies that Jesus is come in the flesh. It has been shown that Spiritualism is antichrist, because it openly and emphatically denies the divine mission and character of Christ. Catholicism is no less antichrist, because, although it makes much of the name and the image of Christ, it sets another above him in the plan of salvation. And both of these systems of error arise from the pagan notion that the soul of man is a part of God, and therefore cannot by any possibility die, which idea was first promulgated by Satan, the archenemy of Christ. Therefore we say, as before, that the spirit of antichrist is the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul.
The only difference between paganism and Christianity is Christ. Take Christ out of Christianity, and all of its professors would soon sink into paganism. There is no power in man to elevate himself, this can be done only by some power outside of himself, and that power is the Saviour. But the salvation, which Christ brings, is not simply a present uplifting, but “an everlasting salvation.” He came to give eternal life to as many as should believe on him. The sum of all the blessings, which Christ has to bestow, is comprised in the gift of eternal life. Now when people, no matter what their profession, teach that men are not dependent on Christ for life, they virtually deny him entirely. And when Christ is set aside, immorality must come in. There cannot by any possibility be any righteousness in this world except “the righteousness, which is by the faith of Jesus Christ.” And since the doctrine of man’s natural immortality takes away the incentive to believe in Christ, the Life-giver, we once more emphatically repeat that that doctrine is the very spirit of antichrist.
The Signs of the Times : April 6, 1888