In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy -the Inquisition.
The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy.
In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes.
"Babylon the great" was "drunken with the blood of the saints" (Revelation 17: 5, 6). The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.
Popery had become the world's despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.
But "the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world." -J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4.
The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests.
Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God's law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint.
Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position.
The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated.
For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.
The condition of the world under the Romish power presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee: . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." "There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood." Hosea 4: 6, 1, 2.
Such were the results of banishing the word of God.