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    September 14, 1888

    “That Banished Book” The Signs of the Times 14, 36, pp. 567, 568.

    BY the exclusion of that little book from the public schools of Boston, there has been revived considerable notice of the subject of indulgences. We have owned, for a number of years, a copy of the little book that has caused all this stir—Swinton’s “Outlines of the World’s History.” The passage that has shut out the book, and a teacher with it, from the public schools of Boston is as follows:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.1

    “When Leo X. came to the Papal chair, he found the treasury of the church exhausted by the ambitious projects of his predecessors. He therefore had recourse to every means which ingenuity could devise for recruiting his exhausted finances, and among these he adopted an extensive sale of indulgences, which in former ages had been a source of large profits to the church. The Dominican friars, having obtained a monopoly of the seal in Germany, employed as their agent Tetzel, one of their own order, who carried on the traffic in a manner that was very effective, and especially so to the Augustinian friars.”SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.2

    To this paragraph in the book there is added the following note:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.3

    “These indulgences were, in the early ages of the church, remissions of the penances imposed upon persons whose sins had brought scandal on the community. But in process of time they were represented as actual pardons of guilt, and the purchaser of indulgence was said to be delivered from all his sins.”SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.4

    Now we should like for anybody candidly to state where there is anything said in this that should subject the book to banishment from the public schools. It is simply a statement of facts, and a very mild statement at that. Whether the treasury of the church had been exhausted by the ambitious projects of Leo’s predecessors; or whether it was exhausted by his predecessors at all, is a question upon which it is not necessary to enter, because it is not germane to the subject. The main question is one of simple fact, “Was the treasury exhausted? and did that lead to the traffic in indulgences, which stirred up Luther, and led to the Reformation?SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.5

    Leo’s immediate predecessor, Julius II., had spent the whole time of his pontificate—a little more than nine years—in almost constant wars, in some of which he led the troops himself and acted the part of general. It was he who began the building of the church of St. Peter at Rome; and he issued a bull granting indulgences to those who would contribute to the project. Although to sustain his wars and alliances the expenses of Julius were enormous, yet he did leave considerable treasure. But even though the treasury was not exhausted by his predecessors, it was easy enough for Leo X. to exhaust it, for he was almost a matchless spendthrift. Says Von Ranke:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.6

    “‘That the Pope should ever keep a thousand ducats together was a thing as impossible,’ says Francesco Vettori of this pontiff, ‘as that a stone should of its own will take to flying through the air.’ He has been reproached with having spent the revenues of three Popes; that of his predecessor, from whom he inherited a considerable treasure, his own, and that of his successor, to whom he bequeathed a mass of debt.”—History of the Popes, book 4, sec. 2.SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.7

    Says Lawrence:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.8

    “He was the spendthrift son of an opulent parent; he became the wasteful master of the resources of the church.” “It was because Leo was a splendid spendthrift, that we have the Reformation through Luther. The Pope was soon again impoverished and in debt. He never thought of the cost of anything; he was lavish without reflection. His wars, intrigues, his artists and architects, his friends, but above all the miserable Lorenzo [his nephew], exhausted his fine revenues; and his treasury must again be supplied. When he was in want, Leo was never scrupulous as to the means by which he retrieved his affairs, he robbed, he defrauded, he begged; he drew contributions from all Europe for a Turkish war, which all Europe knew had been spent upon Lorenzo; he collected large sums for rebuilding St. Peter’s, which were all expended in the same way; in fine, Leo early exhausted all his spiritual arts as well as his treasury.”—Historical Studies, pp. 66, 77.SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.9

    The “Encyclopedia Britannica” says that Leo “bequeathed his successors a religious schism and a bankrupt church;” that “his profusion had impoverished the church, and indirectly occasioned the destruction of her visible unity.”—Art. Leo X. It is a fact, therefore, that the papal treasury was exhausted.SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.10

    Now to the second question of fact, Did this lead to the sale of indulgences? Before his coronation as Pope, Leo had entered into an engagement “to issue no brief for collecting money for the repair of St. Peter’s;” but neither that, nor anything else, was allowed to stand in the way when he wanted money. Says D’Aubigne:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.11

    “Leo was greatly in need of money.... His cousin, Cardinal Pucci, as skillful in the art of hoarding as Leo in that of lavishing, advised him to have recourse to indulgences. Accordingly, the Pope published a bull, announcing a general indulgence, the proceeds of which were, he said, to be employed in the erection of the church of St. Peter, that monument of sacerdotal magnificence. In a letter, dated at Rome, under the seal of the fisherman, in November, 1517, Leo applies to his commissary of indulgences for one hundred and forty-seven ducats to pay for a manuscript of the thirty-third book of Livy. Of all the uses to which he put the money of the Germans, this was doubtless the best. Still, it was strange to deliver souls from purgatory, in order to purchase a manuscript history of the wars of the Roman people.”—History of the Reformation, book 3, chap. 3.SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.12

    Says Bower:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.13

    “Leo, wanting to continue the magnificent structure of St. Peter’s Church, begun by his predecessor Julius, but finding his coffers drained, chiefly by his own extravagance, in order to replenish them, granted, by a bull, a plenary indulgence, or remission of all sins, to such as should charitably contribute to that work.”—History of the Popes, under Leo X., A.D. 1517.SITI September 14, 1888, page 567.14

    Says Macaulay:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.1

    “It was to adorn Italy that the traffic in indulgences had been carried to that scandalous excess which had roused the indignation of Luther.”—Essays, Von Ranke.SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.2

    And a Roman Catholic “History of the Church of God,” written by B. J. Spalding, Roman Catholic priest, with a commendatory preface by Bishop Spalding, of Peoria, Ill., says:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.3

    “The incident which served as an opportunity for the breaking out of Luther’s revolt, was the promulgation by Leo X. (1517) of a plenary [bull] indulgence, the alms attached to the gaining of which were to defray the expenses of a crusade against the Turks and aid in completing the magnificent basilica of St. Peter’s at Rome. The Dominican Tetzel was appointed to preach this indulgence in Germany.”—Page 506.SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.4

    It is a fact, therefore, that the papal treasury was exhausted; and that Leo resorted to the sale of indulgences to replenish it.SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.5

    Now to the third question of fact. The banished books says: “These indulgences were, in the early ages of the church, remissions of the penances imposed upon persons whose sins had brought scandal on the community.” Notice, this does not say that indulgences were remissions of sins, but that they were remissions of the penances, or penalties, imposed upon persons because of their sins. Nor does it say by whom the penances were imposed. Now read the following definition of indulgence by Archbishop Purcell:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.6

    “An indulgence is nothing more nor less than a remission of the temporal punishment which often remains attached to the sin, after the eternal guilt has been forgiven the sinner, on his sincere repentance.... The doctrine of indulgences is this: When a human being does everything in his power to atone for sin, God has left a power in the church, to remit a part or the entire of the temporal punishment due to it.”—Debate with Campbell, pp. 307, 308.SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.7

    What Archbishop Purcell means by “temporal punishment,” is precisely what Swinton’s note means by penances imposed; for, to sustain his doctrine, the archbishop quoted 2 Corinthians 2:6, 10, where Paul, speaking of that man who had been disfellowshipped and had repented of his sin, says: “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted [penance imposed] of many.” “To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also; for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.” Then the archbishop says:—SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.8

    “‘In the person of Christ,’ mark these words, that he, in the person of Christ, forgave—what? Not the eternal guilt of the incestuous man—God alone can forgive that—but the temporal punishment; to restore him to the privileges of the church and Christian society.”SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.9

    Therefore it is demonstrated that Sinton’s note in that book is precisely the same statement of the doctrine of indulgences as that given by an archbishop of the Catholic Church.SITI September 14, 1888, page 568.10


    “The Third Angel’s Message. The Seven Last Plagues” The Signs of the Times 14, 36, pp. 569, 570.

    The Commentary


    (Lesson 13, Sabbath, September 29, 1888.)

    1. WHEN the Third Angel’s Message shall have done its work, what voice will then be heard from the heavenly temple?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.1

    “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” Revelation 16:1.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.2

    2. In addition to all these plagues, what awful famine will be upon men?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.3

    “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11, 12.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.4

    3. What will be the first plague? And upon whom will it fall?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.5

    “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.” Revelation 16:2.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.6

    4. What will be the second plague?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.7

    “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.” Verse 3.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.8

    5. What will be the third plagues?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.9

    “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of water; and they became blood.” Verse 4.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.10

    6. Why will the rivers and fountains of water be turned to blood?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.11

    “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” Verse, 6.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.12

    7. What will be the fourth plague?SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.13

    “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” Verses 8, 9.SITI September 14, 1888, page 569.14

    8. What will be the further effect of this?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.1

    “How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” Joel 1:18-20SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.2

    9. What will be the fifth plague?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.3

    “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain.” Revelation 16:10.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.4

    10. Will those who love the truth of God be afraid in this time of darkness and dread?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.5

    “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Psalm 91:5-8.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.6

    11. What will be the sixth plague?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.7

    “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Revelation 16:12.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.8

    12. Does this refer to the literal river Euphrates, or to the nation that dwells in the country of the Euphrates?—The nation. Note.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.9

    13. What then does the drying up of the river mean?—Evidently the wiping out of the Turkish power,—the nation that now rules the Euphrates country.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.10

    14. What did the prophet see at this same time?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.11

    “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” Revelation 16:13.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.12

    15. What are these spirits?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.13

    “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles.” Verse 14, first part.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.14

    16. What do they go forth to do?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.15

    “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.” Verse 14, last part.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.16

    “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” Revelation 19:11, 15, 19.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.17

    17. When the seventh angel pours out his vial what is heard?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.18

    “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.” Revelation 16:17.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.19

    18. What is this voice?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.20

    “Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.” Jeremiah 25:30.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.21

    19. What will then happen to heaven and earth?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.22

    “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.” Haggai 2:21, 22.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.23

    “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.24

    “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Revelation 16:18, 20.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.25

    20. What then falls upon men?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.26

    “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” Revelation 16:21.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.27

    21. What will the people of God do in this fearful time?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.28

    “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.29

    “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.30

    22. Will any of these plagues afflict them?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.31

    “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalm 91:9, 10.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.32

    23. What will assure to all this perfect safety?—The love of the truth of the Third Angel’s Message. Psalm 91:4; Zephaniah 2:3.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.33

    24. Then is not that message the most precious boon this world can know?SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.34


    QUESTION 12.—It is not possible that it should refer to the literal river, because never in all history have the waters of the literal river Euphrates been a hindrance to any kings wither of the East or of the West. A thousand years before Christ, the kings of Assyria crossed it regularly every spring—at the very time when the waters were the highest—in their campaigns. In the year 269 A. D., Tiridates, king of Armenis, swam it with his armor on. (Gibbon, chap. 13, par. 21.) The view that the reference is to the power that rules the country of the Euphrates, and not to the literal river, is strengthened by the fact that Isaiah in speaking of the king of Assyria and his armies plainly calls them, “The waters of the river.” “Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them [the people of Judah] the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.” Isaiah 8:7.SITI September 14, 1888, page 570.35

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