Amid the gloom that settled upon the earth during the long period of papal supremacy, the light of truth could not be wholly extinguished.
In every age there were witnesses for God -men who cherished faith in Christ as the only mediator between God and man, who held the Bible as the only rule of life, and who hallowed the true Sabbath.
How much the world owes to these men, posterity will never know.
They were branded as heretics, their motives impugned, their characters maligned, their writings suppressed, misrepresented, or mutilated. Yet they stood firm, and from age to age maintained their faith in its purity, as a sacred heritage for the generations to come.
The history of God's people during the ages of darkness that followed upon Rome's supremacy is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records.
Few traces of their existence can be found, except in the accusations of their persecutors.
It was the policy of Rome to obliterate every trace of dissent from her doctrines or decrees. Everything heretical, whether persons or writings, she sought to destroy.
Expressions of doubt, or questions as to the authority of papal dogmas, were enough to forfeit the life of rich or poor, high or low.
Rome endeavored also to destroy every record of her cruelty toward dissenters.
Papal councils decreed that books and writings containing such records should be committed to the flames. Before the invention of printing, books were few in number, and in a form not favorable for preservation; therefore there was little to prevent the Romanists from carrying out their purpose.
No church within the limits of Romish jurisdiction was long left undisturbed in the enjoyment of freedom of conscience.
No sooner had the papacy obtained power than she stretched out her arms to crush all that refused to acknowledge her sway, and one after another the churches submitted to her dominion.