Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Proverbs 22:28
Every one hast an undoubted right to his own. He must therefore have the means of knowing and securing his right. Even the heathen admitted the sacredness of the landmark. The stone or the staple was honoured as the god, without whose kindly influence every field would be subject of contention. The landmark was protected by the wise laws of Israel. God himself set the bounds to the respective parts of his own world; restricting each part within its proper limits? Thus also he distributed the different nations, and appointed the same security for the several allotments of his own people. The ancient landmark stood as the witness and memorial of each man’s rights, which his fathers had set. Its removal therefore was forbidden, as a selfish and unjust invasion of property, included in the curse of Ebal, and noted, in subsequent ages, as the forefront of national provocation.
All sound expositors warn us, from this Proverb, to reverence long-tried and well-established principles, and not rashly to innovate upon them. Some scorn the ancient landmarks as relics of bye-gone days of darkness. Impatient of restraint, they want a wider range of wandering, to indulge either their own prurient appetite for novelties, or the morbid cravings of others for this unwholesome excitement (II Tim. 3: 7; iv. 3, 4.) Endless divisions and dissensions have been the fruit of this deadly evil. The right of individual judgment oversteps its legitimate bonds; and in its licentious exercise “very man” feels justified to “do” and think “that which is right in his own eyes.” (Jud. xxi. 35.)
Rome on the other hand, charges us with removing the ancient landmark of unwritten Tradition, which our fathers have set. We ask-What right had they to set it up? We do reverence to no unwritten traditions upon the footing of “the law and the testimony.” (Isaiah viii. 20.) We rebut the charge of Antichrist, and contend, upon the broad ground of historic testimony, that she has removed the ancient landmarks, and substituted her own in their place; that Protestantism (in principle, though not in name) is the old religion, and Popery a comparative novelty. We have not removed the ancient landmarks by bringing men back to the true doctrine, because this, delivered by God, is the ancient doctrine, and the landmarks have been subsequently removed by the subtilty of the devil, and idolatry put in the place of the true worship.
Turning to our beloved and venerated Church; the last age witnessed a rude, but by divine mercy an unsuccessful effort, to root up her landmarks. We have seen a subtle and invidious attempt to remove them from the place, where our well-instructed fathers have set them, and fix them nearer Rome; leaving but a narrow boundary of division between Christ and Antichrist. This is indeed the rooting up of the foundations of the grace of God, which ought, if need be, to “be resisted unto blood.” (Heb. xii. 4.) The Lord makes us “valiant for the truth,” and consistent witness of its power!