THE WOMAN LEAVENING THE MEAL
D. M. PANTON, B.A.
Five parabolic ‘women’ are named in the New Testament, and all are cities: Hagar, earthly Jerusalem; Sarah, the heavenly Jerusalem; the Woman clothed with the Sun, the Holy City throughout all ages; the Lamb’s Bride, the new Jerusalem; and the Harlot on Seven Hills, Rome. Now Christ foretold that one Woman would leaven the whole Church of God (Matt. 13: 33) ; and John depicts the only evil woman of the five as ‘mothering’ all the ‘fornications’ and idolatries within the Church, and thus isolates Rome as the Woman that leavens; and her history exactly corresponds with her portrait. The Apocalypse says:- "the mother of the harlots and abominations [idols] of the earth" (Rev. 17: 5) : over the Church of the Lateran in Rome, which the Papacy regards as its fountain church, are these words:- "the mother of all the Churches of the City and of the world."
Paul’s words make it clear that the Meal, in which the Woman hides leaven, is the Church of Christ."Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump" (1 Cor. 5: 7). The ‘three measures’ of the meal may possibly be the Roman, Greek, and Protestant divisions of the Church ; and the stamp, of Rome upon the world-wide Church one comparatively trivial example makes vivid to the eye. The long, black-hooded robe of the Romans, first by custom and then by law, took the place of the short, foreign cloak, and this became the flowing black robe of the monk, and to-day even of Nonconformist preachers; and a white linen blouse, cast for warmth over the fur coats of the clergy in the badly heated Roman Churches, is now, in twenty to thirty thousand surplices, all over England. So the ‘Roman collar’, now universal both among clergy and ministers, historically comes straight from the Vatican.* It is remarkable beyond words that Dr. Pusey, the main founder of the Tractarianism that has Romanized England, said :- "We put the leaven into the meal, and waited to see what would come of it." So Paul says:- "This persuasion came not of him that calleth you. A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal 5: 8).
[*A recent writer (Mr. G. Walker, British Weekly, July 6, 1939) uses the very word ‘leaven’. "It is no longer easy to name the denomination by the shape of the collar. The Oxford Movement changed more than doctrine and ritual, it transformed the wardrobe, and its influence has gradually leavened circles rarely suspect of Romanising."]
Our Lord’s studied picture is a wonderful revelation of the action of the Papacy."The kingdom of heaven" - in parables, the Church dispensation - "is like unto leaven which a, woman took" (Matt. 13: 33). Leaven - which, in Scripture, always symbolizes that which is evil - is not, like yeast, a fermenting element, different in substance from meal: leaven is simply old and sour dough, which infects the whole meal with its corruption. The Woman’s name, stamped on her forehead, is "Mystery, Babylon the Great" (Rev. 17: 5) - that is, Babylon in heart, but ‘mystic’, Babylon disguised ; and it is astounding to learn whence came the chief Papal features. A ‘sovereign pontiff’ expressly called ‘the representative of Deity on earth’, addressed as ‘his holiness’ and declared ‘incapable of error’ existed in ancient Babylon; and his technical name was actually assumed by the Pope - ‘pontifex maximus’. So the Babylonian worship of Cybele had tonsured, celibate priests, and celibate nuns; and leading dogmas and rituals of Rome such as baptismal regeneration, penance, the unbloody ‘sacrifice’ of the Mass, and extreme unction - all, historically, have come direct from Babylon. "Leaven which a woman took" - that is, from Babylon.
The Woman then hid-the leaven.* The insertion of the leaven at first, in the days of the amalgamation of Church and State under Constantine - the Woman’s ‘fornication’ with Kings - was so secret and subtle that no warning voices were raised; and the same slumber all down the ages, only broken for a time by the Reformation, has brought entire leavening infinitely nearer. Here are insertions of the leaven:- holy water (A.D. 120) ; penance (157) ; monkery (328) ; latin mass (394) ; extreme unction (558) ; invocation of Virgin Mary and of saints (594) ; Papal usurpation (607) ; image worship (715); canonization of saints (933); baptism of bells (i,000) ; transubstantiation (1,000) ; indulgences (1,190) ; dispensations (1,200) ; the Inquisition (1,204).
[* The craft implied in the concealment at once overthrows any interpretation that the Gospel will permeate the world : "no less," says Archbishop Trench, voicing nearly all commentators, "than a prophecy of a final complete triumph of the Gospel, that it will diffuse itself through all nations, and purify and ennoble all life." God does not hide His Gospel but blazons it abroad -"preach the gospel, to the whole creation" (Mark 16: 15, cf. 2 Cor. 4: 3) and the facts of to-day ought by now to have punctured the unscriptural mirage of a converted world. Comment careless and biassed has imposed on the parable a meaning exactly contrary to that of our Lord.]
It is well to grasp the significance of ‘leaven’. Leaven is introduced to make bread more palatable to the natural taste: it removes the plainness and heaviness of pure meal: it puffs up, it swells, it introduces thoughts, motives, practices that appeal to the carnal man. So Rome introduced priesthood, sacrifices, ornate ritual, rich vestments, costly temples, gorgeous altars, incense. It reintroduced from the Law of Moses oaths, the sword, lawsuits, - thus making Christ’s pure meal worldly, and by so much the less obnoxious. The admission of Cardinal Newman is astounding: namely, that "temples, incense, lamps and candles, votive offerings, holy water, vestments, tonsure, turning to the East, images - all are the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship, now sanctified by adoption into the Church."*
[* It is not simply that the leaven touches particle after particle of the flour, as water might do - that would only make a paste; but it really puts its own life into the meal and penetrates it with its living nature from centre to circumference" (J. ClifFord,.M.A.).]
THE CRURCH OF ENGLAND
The leaven’s permeation of the Church of England is public knowledge. More than a thousand Anglican clergy to-day publicly assent to the Creed of the Council of Trent. Father Hugh Benson, the son of a recent Archbishop of Canterbury, after joining the Roman Church, said: - "For years before I became a Catholic I recited my rosary every day. We taught the doctrine of the confessional, and I can tell you I used to hear far more confessions than I have heard as a Catholic priest. On practically every point, except the supremacy of the Pope, we believed the teachings of the Catholic Church, and taught most of her doctrines, as thousands of Anglican clergymen are doing to-day." The Royal Commission of 1902 declared the Anglo Catholic doctrines to be "plainly significant of teaching repugnant to the doctrine of the Church of England, and certainly illegal and should be promptly made to cease by the Bishops" - an instruction that has been totally unheeded. Rome has always said that "it is the Mass that matters"; and the New Prayer Book, which Parliament turned down, but which, officially printed in enormous numbers, is freely used, centres everything in Transubstantiation.
It is extraordinary how exactly the parable is being fulfilled in the crafty concealment of the leaven. Cardinal Newman, while still an Anglican clergyman, wrote (Letters, vol. i, P. 490): - "I expect to be called a Papist when my opinions are known. But, please God, I shall lead persons on a little way while they fancy they are only taking the mean, and denounce me as the extreme." Father Mathew, a priest of the Roman Church, stated in Court on oath before Mr. Justice Darling, in April, 1913, that he had officiated as curate at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, whilst known to the Vicar as a Roman Catholic Priest. Pressed by the judge to repeat the statement he further added that he knew many Roman Catholic priests who were officiating in the Church of England.
THE FREE CHURCHES
The parable now begins to find its closing stage of fulfilment in a growing leaven in the Free Churches. One writer says (British Weekly, April 1, 1937):- "The greatest menace to the Church of Scotland in Scoto-Catholicism is the tendency towards a sacerdotal conception of the office of the ministry. With this, which has already emerged in some quarters, there tends to go a virtual rejection of the priesthood of all believers, a widening of the gulf between clergy and laity, a childish pride in the ‘successio perpetua presbyterorum’ exactly parallel to the Anglo-Catholic and sub-Christian notion of ‘Apostolic Succession’, and a sacerdotal and even magical view of the sacraments." It is general in Nonconformity. "There is a movement in the Free Churches," says Dr. A. E. Whitham (British Weekly, Oct. 7, 1937), "that is very significant. All communions are more or less affected by it. In the Methodist Church the signs are in the multiplication of chapels of prayer with Communion table, devout pictures, even a simple cross, and the use of books of devotion taken without hesitancy from all the ages. These chapels, some of them most beautiful, are attached to mission halls, our theological colleges and public schools. The Methodist Conference has approved a book of Divine Worship for, use in the ordinary services with litanies, collects, and simple liturgy. A society, the ‘Sacramental Fellowship’ has come into being with a rapidly growing membership, the aims of which are more frequent communions, doctrinal, and especially evangelical teaching, and sympathetic study of other Christian churches with the unity of Christ’s Church on earth at the end." The president of the ‘Sacramental Fellowship’ writes:- "We could be kneeling round the Table taking a little bread and a little wine, saying as we do so, ‘I am at this moment eating God and drinking His blood.’ "* What Dr. Dunn, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham, says (Times, June 3, 1:925) of the Anglican Church is now extending to the Free Churches:- "There is a large and increasing school of thought which is bent on introducing into the National Church many Catholic doctrines, thus doing a real service to the Catholic cause by creating amongst their fellow Protestants an entirely novel religious atmosphere and fostering in them a mentality similar in many respects to our own. For that we are duly grateful to them."
[ *To regard the Bread and Wine as being objectively Christ compels worship - that is, idolatry; and all who have fellowship with such worshippers disobey the Spirit:-"with such a one no, not to eat" (1 Cor. 5: 11) ; no meal mav he shared, which must supremely include the Lord’s Supper. A Congregational minister can now say (Christian World, June 22, 1939) :- "In Baptism the child receives God’s gift of ‘new life’ in Jesus Christ ; he is made a member of Christ’s body which is the Church; he is admitted into the fellowship of the Christian household."]
THE BURNING OF THE LEAVEN
What a tragedy we face! The whole Meal is to be leavened at last ; while the deep concealment of the leaven alone explains the tragic mystery that the advance of Rome, together with an astounding growth around us and throughout many nations of a Roman atmosphere, seems utterly invisible to most. Dr. W. E. Orchard, now a Roman priest, has just said:- "All the movements that are now taking place are coining every day nearer our way: we are the goal." Our Lord says nothing in the parable of judgment, for the parable covers the day of grace only: but the process of leaven ends in putrefaction : and nothing but the heat of fire stops the putrefaction of leaven. So we read of the Woman’s end:-"And the ten horns, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, AND SHALL BURN HER UTTERLY WITH FIRE" (Rev. 17: 16). And then Mystic Babylon returns to Literal Babylon, in the Land of Shinar (Zech. 5: 11), from which she took the leaven that corrupted her own meal and then infected the whole Church of Christ. Most significantly Mr. Joseph McCabe says:- "The growth of active anti-clericalism in the Fascist body has provoked at the, Vatican the discussion of a plan - described in Reynold's News (Jan., 1939) - to remove the Papacy to another country;" * and the Archbishop of Toulouse (Spectator, Aug. 11, 1939) publicly states that the Pope may have to leave Rome.**
[*The Papacy in Politics To-day, p. 63.]
[** The Rosary is an apt example of leaven. Introduced into Christianity following the Crusades, it was supposed to have been borrowed from the Moslems, who in turn had taken it from the Buddhists at the time of their invasion of India. In the early days of Islam Mohammedans counted God’s blessings by use of pebbles or by counting the number of their prayers on their fingers, which custom is still maintained by a sect in Arabia known as Wahais. Pope Pius issued a Papal Bull dealing with the use of the Rosary in the year 1596, thus indicating it had come into rather wide use by that time.]