Robert Dabney on the Attractions of Popery

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by Haeralis, Jul 12, 2019.

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  1. Haeralis

    Haeralis Puritan Board Freshman

    I was reading Volume 4 of Dabney's Discussions and his essay on the rise of popery in 19th century America is so timely. He understood the perilous consequences of Romanism for America's social and political well-being. Today, America is living with the rotten fruit of "decadent, democratic Protestantism's" massive failures in the 19th century.

    "The popish system of ritual and doctrine was a gradual growth, which, modifying true Christianity, first perverted and then extinguished it. Its destructive power has resulted from this: that it has not been the invention of any one cunning and hostile mind, but a gradual growth, modified by hundreds or thousands of its cultivators, who were the most acute, learned, selfish, and anti-Christian spirits of their generations, perpetually retouched and adapted to every weakness and every attribute of depraved human nature, until it became the most skillful and pernicious system of error which the world has ever known. As it has adjusted itself to every superstition, every sense of guilt, every foible and craving of the depraved human heart, so it has travestied with consummate skill every active principle of the gospel. It is doubtless the ne plus ultra of religious delusion, the final and highest result of perverted human faculty guided by the sagacity of the great enemy.

    This system has nearly conquered Christendom once. He who does not see that it is capable of conquering it again is blind to the simplest laws of thought. One may ask, Does it not retain sundry of the cardinal doctrines of the gospel, monotheism, the trinity, the hypostatic union, Christ's sacrifice, the sacraments, the resurrection, the judgment, immortality? Yes; in form it retains them, and this because of its supreme cunning. It retains them while so wresting and enervating as to rob them mainly of their sanctifying power, because it designs to spread its snares for all sorts of minds of every grade of opinion. The grand architect was too cunning to make it, like his earlier essays, mere atheism, or mere fetishism, or mere polytheism, or mere pagan idolatry; for in these forms the trap only ensnared the coarser and more ignorant natures. He has now perfected it and baited it for all types of humanity, the most refined as well as the most imbruted.
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