All idolatries, in whatever age or country they have existed, are to be viewed but as successive developments of the one grand apostacy. That apostacy was commenced in Eden, and consummated at Rome. It had its rise in the plucking of the forbidden fruit; and it attained its acme in the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome,–Christ’s Vicar on earth. The hope that he would “be as God,” led man to commit the first sin; and that sin was perfected when the Pope “exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Popery is but the natural development of this great original transgression. It is just the early idolatries ripened and perfected … on earth, in the Mystery of Iniquity which came to be seated on the Seven Hills; for therein man deified himself, became God, nay, arrogated powers which lifted him high above God. Popery is the last, the most matured, the most subtle, the most skilfully contriven, and the most essentially diabolical form of idolatry which the world ever saw, or which, there is reason to believe, it ever will see. It is the ne plus ultra of man’s wickedness, and the chef d’oeuvre of Satan’s cunning and malignity.
- J. A. Wylie
THE PAPACY, Its History, Dogmas, Genius and Prospects