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HOME > Library > Books > The Variations Of Popery by Samuel Edgar (1850)
The Variations Of Popery
Rev. Samuel Edgar, D.D.
HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2008
The popedom, raised to the supremacy in church and state, challenged a controlling power over the partisans of heresy, schism and apostacy, as well as over kings. The sovereign pontiffs, in the madness of ambition and despotism, affected the dominion over all mankind, and called the arm of the civil magistracy to their aid, to enforce their pretensions. Schismatics and heretics, accordingly, though separated from the Romish communion, are reckoned subject to its authority, as rebels and deserters are amenable to the civil and military laws of their country. The traitor may be punished by the state for his perfidy; and the apostate, in like manner, may, from the church, undergo excommunication and anathemas. He may even, according to Aquinas, Dens, and the University of Salamanca, followed by that of Valladolid, be compelled by arms to return to the profession of Catholicism. This assumption of power and authority has given rise, as might be expected, to long and sanguinary persecutions.
Christendom, on the subject of persecution, has witnessed three distinct periods. One commenced with the era of Redemption, and ended at the accession of Constantine, the first Christian emperor. During this period, Christians disavowed all persecution both in theory and action. The second period extended from Constantine till the Reformation. This long lapse of years was more or less characterized by continual intolerance and persecution. The third period occupies the time which has intervened between the Reformation and the present day. This interval has been diversified by many jarring opinions on the topic of persecution, the rights of conscience, and religious liberty.
The world saw more than three ages pass, from the era of Christianity till the accession of Constantine, before its professors disgraced their religion by the persecution of heathenism or heresy. Intolerance is a manifest innovation on the usage of antiquity, and one of the variations of Romanism. The ancients, Du Pin remarks, 'inflicted no ecclesiastical punishment but excommunication, and never employed the civil authority against the abettors of heresy and rebellion.' Du Pin has been followed by Giannon, Mariana, Moreri, and Du Hamel.
The Messiah, the apostles, and the fathers for several ages, opposed, in word and deed, all compulsion and persecution. The Son of man came not to destroy but to save the lives of men. This he stated to his apostles, when, in mistaken zeal, they wished, like Elias, to command fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans, who, actuated by the spirit of party, were hostile to the Jews. His empire, he declared, is spiritual; and is not, like Paganism, Popery, or Islamism, to be established or enlarged by the roar of artillery, the din of battle, or the horrors of war. When Peter struck Malchus, Jesus healed the wound, and condemned, in emphatical language, the use of the sword in the defence of his kingdom.
No two characters, indeed, ever displayed a more striking contrast than the Messiah and an inquisitor. The Messiah was clothed in mercy. The inquisitor was drenched in blood. The tear of compassion stained the cheek of the divine Saviour. The storm of vengeance infuriated the face of the inquisitorial tormentor. The Son of God on earth was always persecuted; but never retaliated. His ardent petitions, on the contrary, ascended to heaven, supplicating pity for his enemies' weakness and pardon for their sins.
The apostles walked in the footsteps of their divine master. The inspired heralds of the Gospel recommended their message by holiness and miracles, accompanied with the influence of divine energy. Persecution from the powers of earth and hell, from demons and men, was their predicted destiny. But these messengers of peace, when execrated, blessed, and when persecuted, showed no wish for retaliation; but, in submission to their master's precept, returned good for evil.
The fathers, for several ages, copied the example of their Lord and the apostles. The ancients, Du Pin observes, taught with unanimous consent the unlawfulness of compulsion and punishment in religion.' The sentiments of Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, and Bernard on this topic are worthy of transcription and imitation. Christians, says Origen, 'should not use the sword.' Religion, according to Tertullian, 'does not compel religion.' According to Cyprian, 'the king of Zion alone has authority to break the earthen vessels; nor can any claim the power which the Father hath given to the Son.' Lactantius, in the following statement, is still more full and explicit, 'Coercion and injury are unnecessary, for religion cannot he forced. Barbarity and piety are far different; nor can truth be conjoined with violence or justice with cruelty. Religion is to be defended, not by killing, but by dying; not by inhumanity, but by patience.' Bernard, at a later date, enjoins, in similar language, the same toleration. 'Faith is conveyed by persuasion, not by constraint. The patrons of heresy are to be assailed, not by arms, but by arguments. Attack them, but with the word, not with the sword.' Du Pin has shown that the ideas of Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, and Bernard were entertained by Gregory, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine, Damian, and Anselm.
The second period, from Constantine till the Reformation, was characterized, more or less, by uninterupted persecution and constraint, as the former was by toleration and liberty. This emperor's proselytism to Christianity, in the beginning of the fourth century, commenced a new era in the Christian commonwealth. The church, in his reign, obtained a new establishment: and the civil power began to sanction the ecclesiastical authority. The magistracy learned to act in unison with the clergy. The emperor, however, was not a persecutor of Paganism. He extended to Heathenism the toleration which he withheld from heresy. The prudent monarch, unwilling to alarm Pagan suspicion, advanced with slow and cautious steps to undermine the irregular and decayed fabric of gentilism. He condemned indeed the arts of divination, silenced the oracles of Polytheism which had been convicted of fraud and falsehood, and demolished the temples of Phoenicia, which, in the face of day, displayed all the abominations of prostitution to the honour of Venus. But he tolerated the priests, the immolations, and the worship of the Grecian and Roman gods of antiquity.
Constans and Constantius imitated the example of Constantine. Facts and monuments still remain, to attest the public exercise of idolatry during their whole reign. Many temples were respected or at least spared: and the patrons of Paganism, by permission or connivance, enjoyed, notwithstanding the Imperial laws, the luxury of sacrifices, processions, and festivals. The emperors continued to bestow the honours of the army and the state on Christians and Heathens: whilst wealth and honour, in many instances, patronized the declining institutions of Polytheism.
Julian's reign was characterized by apostacy, and Jovian's brevity. Valentinian was the friend of toleration. The persecution of Paganism commenced in the reign of Gratian, and continued through the reigns of Theodosius, Arcadius, and Honorius. Gratian and Theodosius were influenced by Ambrosius Archbishop of Milan: and the clergy, in general, misapplied the laws of the Jewish theocracy and the transactions of the Jewish annals, for the unchristian and base purpose of awakening the demon of persecution against the mouldering remains of Grecian and Roman superstition. Gratian abolished the pretensions of the Pagan pontiff, the honours of the priests and vestals, transferred their revenues to the use of the church, the state, and the army, and dissolved the ancient fabric of Polytheism, which had dishonoured humanity for the lengthened period of eleven hundred years.
Theodosius finished the work of destruction which Gratian had begun. He issued edicts of proscription against eastern and western gentilism. Cynegius, Jovius, and Gaudentius were commissioned to close the temples, destroy the instruments of idolatry, and confiscate the consecrated property. Heavy fines were imposed on the use of frankincense and libations. The temples of the gods were afterwards demolished. The fairest structures of antiquity, the splendid and beautiful monuments of Grecian architecture were, by mistaken and barbarian zeal, levelled with the dust. The saintified Martin of Tours in Gaul, marched at the head of its tattered monks to the demolition of the fanes, the idols, and the consecrated groves of his extensive diocese. Martin's example was followed by Marcellus of Syria, whom Theodorus calls divine, and by Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria. A few of these grand edifices however, were spared by the venality or the taste of the civil, or ecclesiastical governors. The Carthaginian temple of the celestial Venus was converted into a Christian church; and a similar consecration rescued from ruin the majestic dome of the Roman pantheon.
Gentilism, by these means, was, in the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, expelled from the Roman territory. Theodosius, who was distinguished by his zeal for the extermination of Polytheism, questioned whether, in his time, a single Pagan remained in the empire. Its ruin affords perhaps the only example in the annals of time of the total extirpation of an ancient and popular superstition, and presents, in this point of view, a singular event in the history of the human mind.
But the friend of Christianity and his species must, in many instances, lament the means by which the end was effected. Paganism was indeed an unwieldly and hideous system of abomination and folly: and its destruction, by lawful means, must have been the wish of every friend of God and man. But the means, in this case, often dishonoured the end. Coercion, in general, was substituted for conviction, and terror for the Gospel. One blushes to read of a Symmachus and a Libanius, two heathen orators, pleading for reason and persuasion in the propagation of religion; whilst a Theodosius and an Ambrosius, a Christian emperor and a Christian bishop, urge violence and constraint. The whole scene opens a melancholy but striking prospect of human nature. The Christians, while few and powerless, deprecated the unhallowed weapons of persecution wielded with such fury by the Pagans. But the situation of the two is no sooner reversed, than the heathens, who were the former partizans of intolerance, recommend forbearance; and the Christians, the former advocates of toleration, assume the unholy arms of proscription.
The hostility of the secular arm under the Emperors was not restricted to Gentilism. Heresy, as well as heathenism, became the object of imperial persecution. Constantine, till he was pervented by the tuition of the clergy, seems to have possessed correct views of religious liberty and the rights of conscience. The imperial edict of Milan, conceived in the genuine spirit of liberality, was the great charter of toleration, which conferred the privilege of choosing his own religion on each individual of the Roman world. The beauty of this fair picture, however, as usual, was fading and transitory. Its mild features were soon dashed with traits of harshness and severity. The emperor, influenced by his ecclesiastical tutors, imbibed the maxims of illiberality, and learned to punish men for consulting their own reason in the concerns of their own souls.
Sovereigns, according to the sacerdotal theology of the day, acted in a two-fold capacity; as Christians and as governors. Considered as Christians, kings, in their personal character, should believe the truth as well as practise duty, which, as governors and in their official relation, they should enforce on their subjects. Offences against man, according to these clerical casuists, were less criminal than against God. Theft and murder, of course, were less heinous than schism and heresy. The edicts of emperors, in consequence, came to be substituted for the Gospel of God. Error, according to these theologians, was to be remedied by proscription; which, according to common sense, may produce hypocrisy, but can never enlighten the understanding or subdue the heart. Constantine, therefore, in conformity with this new or rather old plan of instruction, and proselytism, issued two penal laws against heresy; and was followed, in the hopeful project, by Valentinian, Gratian, Theodosius, Arcadius, and Honorius. Theodosius published fifteen, Arcadius twelve, and Honorius no less than eighteen of these inhuman and Antichristian statues. These are recorded in the Theodosian and Justinian codes, to the eternal infamy of their priestly and imperial authors.
The chief victims of persecution, during this period, were the Arians, Manicheans, Priscillianists, and Paulicians. Valentinian, Gratian, and Theodosius overwhelmed Arianism with destruction, and clothed Trinitarianism with triumph. The. Arians, however, under Constantius and Valens, Roman emperors, and Genseric and Hunneric, Vandal kings, retaliated, in their turn, in dreadful inhumanity and vengeance. Valentinian fined the Manichean doctors and interdicted the Manichean assemblies. Theodosius exposed them to infamy and deprived them of the rights of citizens. Constantine, Gratian, Maximus, and Honorius harassed and ruined the factions of Donatism, Priscillianism, and Pelagianism. The Paulicians were persecuted in the most dreadful manner, during the reigns of Constans, Constantine, Justinian, Leo, Michael, and Theodora. Ammianus, a heathen historian, and Chrysostom, a Roman saint, compare the mutual enmity of Christians at this time, to the fury of wild beasts.
Heresy, during this period, was punished with more or less severity, according to the offender's supposed criminality or obstinacy. The penalty was banishment, fine, confiscation, infamy, disqualification of buying and selling, or incapacity of civil and military honour. The Roman code contained no law, sentencing persons guilty of heresy to death. Capital punishments, indeed, in some instances, were inflicted. This was the ease with the unhappy Priscillian and some of his partizans, who were prosecuted by the inquisitorial Ithacius and sentenced by the usurping Maximus. But Maximus, on this occasion, exercised an illegal authority as he had usurped the imperial power. The unlawful and unhallowed transaction displayed the baseness of the prosecutor and the tyranny of the emperor. The few that suffered capital punishment for sectarianism were, in general, also guilty or supposed to be guilty of treason or rebellion.
The Roman laws, on the topic of persecution, continued in this state till the year 800, and in the eastern empire till its dissolution in 1453 by the Ottomans. An important change happened about the commencement of the ninth century. This consisted of the great eastern schism. The Greek and Latin churches were rent asunder and ceased to be governed by mutual laws. A new era, on the subject of heresy and its punishment, began at this time in the west, and lasted till the year 1100 of our redemption, comprehending a lapse of 300 years. This period was distinguished by superstition, ignorance, insurrection, revolution, and confusion. Sectarianism, in the European nations, seemed, for three centuries, to be nearly extinguished. Egyptian darkness reigned and triumphed over learning and morality. The world sunk into a literary lethargy: and, in the language of some historians, slept the sleep of orthodoxy. Learning, philosophy, religion, error, and sectarianism reposed in inactivity, or fled from the view, amidst the wide and debasing dominion of ignorance, immorality, and superstition, which superseded the use of the inquisitor and crusader.
The revival of sectarianism followed the revival of Letters. Many denominations of this kind appeared, in the beginning of the twelfth century, among the European nations, such as the Paulicians, Catharians, Henricians, Waldenses, and Albigenses. The Waldenses and Albigenses were the most numerous and rational, and therefore the most formidable to the Papacy. All these concurred in hostility to Romanism, as a system of error and superstition. The usurpation and despotism of the Popedom were the chief objects of their enmity and opposition. The despotism and immorality of the clergy exposed them to the indignation of sectarian zeal. Philosophy in its first dawn, learning in its feeblest glimmerings, discovered the deformity and shook the domination of the Papacy. The revival of literature, however, was not the only cause of opposition to Romanism. Many reasons concurred. The reign of superstition; the traffic of indulgences; the dissensions between the emperors and the pontiffs; the wars, which, for two hundred years, had desolated the Christian world; the luxury of the bishops and inferior clergy; all these tended to arouse the hostility of men against the overgrown system of ecclesiastical tyranny.
This hostility against the principles of Popery produced a reaction and enmity against the partizans of sectarianism. Rome plied all her spiritual artillery, and vented her rage in excommunication and massacre. Heresy or rather truth and holiness were assailed by kings, theologians, popes, councils, crusaders, and inquisitors.
Princes wielded the secular arm against the abettors of heresy. Frederic the German emperor, and Lewis the French king, as well as many other sovereigns, enacted persecuting laws against the Waldenses and Albigenses. Frederic, in 1224, promulgated four edicts of this kind from Padua. His majesty, in his imperial politeness, began with calling the Albigenses vipers, snakes, serpents, wolves, angels of wickedness, and sons of perfidy, who were descended from the author of iniquity and falsehood, and insulted God and the church. Pretending to the authority of God for his inhumanity, he execrated all the patrons of apostacy from Catholicism, and sentenced heretics of every sect and denomination alive to the flames, their property to confiscation, and their posterity, unless they became persecutors, to infamy. The suspected, unless they took an oath of exculpation, were accounted guilty. Princes were admonished to purify their dominions from heretical perversity; and, if they refused, their land might without hesitation be seized by the champions of Catholicism. This was the first law that made heresy a capital offence. The emperor also patronized the inquisition, and protected its agents of torture and malevolence.
Lewis, in 1228, issued similar enactments. He published laws for the extirpation of heresy, and enjoined their execution on the barons and bailiffs. He rendered the patrons and protectors of error incapable of giving testimony, making a will, or succeeding to any honour or emolument. The sainted monarch encouraged the work of death, and in the language of Pope Innocent, diffused through the crusading army ' the natural and hereditary piety of the French kings.' He forced Raymond, Count of Toulouse, to undertake the extermination of heresy from his dominions, without sparing vassal or friend. Alfonso, king of Arragon, and several others copied the example of Frederic and Lewis.
The emperors were sworn to exterminate heretics. The emperor Henry, according to Clement, in the council of Vienna took an oath, obliging his majesty to eradicate the professors and protectors of heterodoxy. A similar obligation was imposed on the emperor of Germany, even after the dawn of the Reformation. He was bound by a solemn oath to extirpate, even at the hazard of his life and dominions, all whom the pontiff condemned.
Saints and pontiffs, in these deeds of inhumanity, imitated emperors and kings. Lewis, who enacted such statutes of cruelty, was a saint as well as a sovereign. Aquinas was actuated with the same demon of malevolence, and breathed the same spirit of barbarity. 'Heretics,' the angelic doctor declares, 'may not only be excommunicated but justly killed. Such, the church consigns to the secular arm, to be exterminated from the world by death,' - 'Haeretici possuut non solum excommunicari, sed et juste occidi. ... Ecclesia relinquit eum judici saeculari mundo exterminandum per mortem.' Aquinas, II 11. III. p.48. Dominic, Osma, Arnold, Conrad, Rainer, Guy, Castelnau, Guido, Rodolf, and a long train of saints and doctors might be named, who, for supporting the work of murder and extermination, were raised to the honours of canonization.
The pontiffs, like the kings and saints, encouraged, with all, their influence, the system of persecution and cruelty. Urban, Alexander, Lucius, Innocent, Clement, Honorius, and Martin gained an infamous notoriety for their ruthless and unrelenting enactments against the partizans of Albigensianism, Waldensianism, and Wickliffism. Urban the Second, in 1090, decided that the person, who, inflamed with zeal for Catholicism, should slay any of the excommunicated, was not guilty of murder: 'Non enim eos homicidas arbitramur, quos adversus excommunicatos, Zelo Catholicae matris ardentes, aliquis eorum trucidasse contingerit.' Pithou. The assassination of a man under the sentence of excommunication, his infallibility accounted only a venial crime. His holiness must have excelled in the knowledge of casuistry. His morality, however, Bruys characterized by the epithets diabolical and infernal. Lucius the Third fulminated red-hot anathemas against the Waldenses, as well as against their protectors and patrons, and consigned them to the secular arm, to undergo condign vengeance in proportion to their criminality. Innocent the Fourth sanctioned the enactments of Frederic, which sentenced the partizans of error and apostacy to be burned alive. He commanded the house in which an Albigensian had been sheltered to be razed from the foundation. All these viceroys of heaven concurred in consigning to infamy any who should give the apostate from the faith either counsel or favor; and in driving the magistracy to execute the sanguinary statutes, by interdicts and excommunication. The crusaders against the Albigenses enjoyed the same indulgences as those who marched to the holy land. Supported by the mercy of Omnipotent God and the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, Innocent granted these holy warriors a full pardon of all sin, and eternal salvation in heaven, - 'Plenam peccaminum veniam indulgemus, et in retributione justorum salutis aeternae pollicemur augumentum.'
Provincial and national councils breathed the same spirit of persecution, as kings and pontiffs. These were many. But the most sanguinary of them met at Toledo, Oxford, Avignon, Tours, Lavaur, Montpellier, Narbonne, Albi, and Tolosa. Anno 630, the national council of Toledo, in its third canon, promulgated an enactment for the expulsion of all Jews from Spain, and for the permission of none in the kingdom but the professors of Romanism. This holy assembly made the king, on his accession, swear to tolerate no heretical subjects in the Spanish dominions. The sovereign who should violate this oath, and all his accomplices, would, according to the sacred synod, 'be accursed in the sight of the everlasting God, and become the fuel of eternal fire.' This sentence, the holy fathers represented 'as pleasing to God.' Spain, at an early date, began those proscriptions, which she has continued to the present day.
The council of Oxford, in 1160, condemned more than thirty of the Waldenses who had emigrated from Gascony to England, and consigned these unhappy sufferers to the secular arm. Henry the Second ordered them, man and woman, to be publicly whipped, branded on the cheek with a red-hot iron, and driven half-naked out of the city: while all were forbid to grant these wretched people hospitality or consolation. None therefore showed the condemned the least pity. The winter raged in all its severity, and the Waldenses in consequence perished of cold and hunger, - 'Praecepit haereticae infamiae characterem frontibus eorum inuri; et spectante populo, virgis coercitos, urbe expelli, districts prohibens, ne quis eos vel hospitio recipere, vel aliquo solatio confovere, praesumeret. ... Algoris intolerantia (hyems quippe erat), nemine vel exiguum misericordiae impendente, misere interierunt.'
The councils of Tours, Lavaur, Albi, Narbonne, Beziers, and Tolosa issued various enactments of outlawry and extermination against the Albigenses and Waldenses. These, according to the sentence of those sacred synods, were excommunicated every Sunday and festival; while, to add solemnity and horror to the scene, the bells were rung and the candles extinguished. An inquisitorial deputation of the clergy and laity was commissioned for the detection of heresy and its partisans. The barons and the magistracy were sworn to exterminate heretical pollution from their lands. The barons who through fear or favor should neglect the work of destruction, forfeited their estates, which were transferred to the active and ruthless agents of extirpation. The magistracy, who were remiss, were stripped of their office and property.
All were forbidden to hold any commerce in buying or selling with these sectarians, that, deprived of the consolations of humanity, they might, according to the council of Tours, 'be compelled to renounce their error.' No person was allowed to afford them succour or protection. The house, in which the Albigensian sheltered his head, was, as if contaminated with his presence, to be demolished and the ground confiscated. The grave itself could not defend the heretical tenants of its cold domains from the fury of the inquisitor. The body or the bones of the Albigenses that slept in the dust were to be disinterred, and the mouldering remains committed, in impotent and unavailing vengeance, to the flames.
The council of Tolosa, in 1229, waged war on this occasion against the Bible as well as against heresy. The sacred synod strictly forbade the laity to possess the Books of the Old and New Testament in the vernacular idiom. A layman, in the language of the holy fathers, might perhaps keep a Psalm-book, a breviary, or the hours of holy Mary; but no Bible. This, Velly admits, was the first prohibition of the kind. Twelve revolving ages from the commencement of Christianity had rolled their ample course over the world, and no assembly of men had dared to interdict the book of God. But a synod, in a communion boasting unchangeability, arrogated at length the authority of repealing the enactment of heaven and the practice of twelve hundred years.
These provincial synods were sanctioned by general councils; which therefore were blessed with infallibility. These comprehended four of the Lateran, and those of Constance and Sienna. Anno 1139, the second council of the Lateran, in its twenty-third canon, excommunicated and condemned the heretics of the day who affected a show of piety. These, the infallible assembly commanded the civil powers to suppress; and consigned their protectors also to the same condemnation.
The Third general council of the Lateran issued a canon of a similar kind; but of greater rigour and severity. This unerring assembly, in its twenty-seventh canon, and supported by the mercy of God and the authority of Peter and Paul, excommunicated on Sundays and festivals, the Cathari of Gascony, Albi, and Tolosa: and the sentence extended to all their protectors, who admitted those sons of error into their houses or lands, or to any kind of traffic or commerce. Their possessions were consigned to confiscation and themselves to slavery; while any who had made a treaty or contract with them, were acquitted of their engagement. Crusaders were armed against these adherents of heresy; and the holy warriors were encouraged in the work of extermination and death by indulgences and the assurance of eternal felicity. But no oblation was to be offered for the souls of the heretics, and their dead were refused Christian burial on consecrated ground.
The fourth general council of the Lateran, in 1245, surpassed all its predecessors in severity. These persecuting conventions seem to have risen above each other by a regular gradation of inhumanity. The third excelled the second on the scale of cruelty; and both again were exceeded by the fourth, which indeed seems to have brought the system of persecution to perfection. This infallible assembly pronounced excommunication, anathemas, and condemnation against all heretics of every denomination, with their protectors; and consigned all such to the secular arm for due punishment, - 'Excommunicamus et anathematizamus omnem haeresim, condemnantes universos haereticos, quibuscumque nominibus censeantur.' Labb. 13. The property of these sons of apostacy, if laymen, was, according to the holy fathers, to be confiscated, and, if clergymen, to be conferred on the church. The suspected, unless they proved their innocence, were to be accounted guilty, and avoided by all till they afforded condign satisfaction. Kings were to be solicited, and, if necessary, compelled by ecclesiastical censures, to exterminate all heretics from their dominions. The sovereign, who should refuse, was to be excommunicated by the metropolitan and suffragans: and, if he should prove refractory for a year, the Roman pontiff, the vicar-general of God, was empowered to transfer his kingdom to some champion of Catholicism and absolve his vassals from their fealty. The populace were encouraged to engage in crusading expeditions for the extinction of heterodoxy. The adventurers in these holy wars enjoyed the same indulgences and the same honours as the soldiery that marched to the Holy Land. The prelacy were enjoined to bind the people of their vicinity by oath to inform, if they knew any guilty or suspected of heresy. Any, who should refuse to swear, were to be considered as guilty: and the bishops, if remiss in the execution of their task, were threatened with canonical vengeance.
The general council of Constance, in 1418, sanctioned the canons of the Lateran. The holy and infallible assembly, in its forty-fifth session, presented a shocking scene of blasphemy and barbarity. Pope Martin, presiding in the sacred synod and clothed with all its authority, addressed the bishops and inquisitors of heretical perversity, on whom he bestowed his apostolic benediction. The eradication of error and the establishment of Catholicism, Martin represented as the chief care of himself and the council. His infallibility, in his pontifical politeness, characterized Wickliff, Huss, and Jerome, as pestilent and deceitful heresiarchs, who, excited with truculent rage, infested the Christian fold, and, in his supremacy's beautiful style, made the sheep putrify with the filth of falsehood. The partizans of heresy through Bohemia, Moravia, and other kingdoms, his holiness described as actuated with the pride of Lucifer, the fury of wolves, and the deceitfulness of demons. The pontiff, then, supported by the council, proceeded, for the glory of God, the stability of Romanism, and the preservation of Christianity, to excommunicate these advocates of error, with their pestilent patrons and protectors, and to consign them to the secular arm and the severest vengeance. He commanded kings to punish them according to the Lateran council. The above mentioned inhuman enactments of the Lateran, therefore, were to be brought into requisition against the Bohemians and Moravians. These, according to the holy synod, were to be despoiled of all property, Christian burial, and the consolations of humanity, - 'Haeresiarcha, Luciferina superbia et rabie lupina evecti, daemonum fraudibus illusi. Oves Christi Catholicas haeresiarchae ipsi successive infecerunt, et in stercore mendaciorum fecerunt putrescere. Credentes et adhaerentes eisdem, tanquam haereticos indicetis et velut haereticos seculari Curiae relinquatis.' Bin. 8. 1120.
The general council of Sienna, in 1423, which was afterward continued at Basil, published persecuting enactments of a similar kind. The holy synod assembled in the Holy Ghost, and representing the universal church, acknowledged the spread of heresy in different parts of the world through the remissness of the inquisitors, and to the offence of God, the injury of Catholicism, and the perdition of souls. The sacred convention then commanded the inquisitors, in every place, to extirpate every heresy, especially those of Wickliff, Huss, and Jerome. Princes were admonished by the mercy of God to exterminate error, if they would escape divine vengeance. The holy fathers and the viceroy of heaven conspired, in this manner, to sanction murder in the name of the God of mercy: and granted plenary indulgences to all who should banish those sons of heterodoxy or provide arms for their destruction. These enactments were published every Sabbath, while the bells were rung and the candles lighted and extinguished.
The fifth general council of the Lateran, in 1514, enacted laws, marked, if possible, with augmented barbarity. Dissembling Christians of every kind and nation, heretics polluted with any contamination of error were, by this infallible gang of ruffians, dismissed from the assembly of the faithful, and consigned to the inquisition, that the convicted might undergo due punishment, and the relapsed suffer without any hope of pardon, - 'Omnes ficti Christiani, ac de fide male sentientes, cujuscumque generis aut nationis fuerint, necnon haeretici seu aliqua haeresis labe polluti, a Christi fidelium, coetu penitus eliminentur, et quocumque loco expellantur, ac debita animadversione puniautar, statuimus.' Crabb.
The general council of Trent was the last of these infallible conventions that sanctioned persecutions. This assembly, in its second session, 'enjoined the extermination of heretics by the sword, the fire, the rope, and all other means, when it could be done with safety.' The sacred synod again, in the last session, admonished 'all princes to exert their influence to prevent the abettors of heresy from misinterpreting or violating the ecclesiastical decrees, and to oblige these objectors, as well as all their other subjects, to accept and to observe the synodal canons with devotion and fidelity.' This was clearly an appeal to the secular arm, for the purpose of forcing acquiescence and submission. The natural consequence of such compulsion was persecution. The holy fathers, having, in this laudable manner, taught temporal sovereigns their duty, concluded with a discharge of their spiritual artillery, and pronounced, an 'anathema on all heretics,' - 'On devoit les destruire par le fer, le feu, la crode, ou tout autre moyen.' Paolo. The unerring council, actuated according to their own account, by the Holy Ghost, terminated their protracted deliberations, not with blessing mankind, but with cursing all who should claim religious liberty, assert the rights of conscience, or presume to differ from the absurdity of their synodal decisions.
The principle of persecution, therefore, being sanctioned, not only by theologians, popes, and provincial synods, but also by general councils, is a necessary and integral part of Romanism. The Romish communion has, by its representatives, declared its right to compel men to renounce heterodoxy and embrace Catholicism, and to consign the obstinate to the civil power to be banished, tortured, or killed.
The modern pretenders to liberality in the Popish communion have, in general, endeavoured to solve this difficulty by dividing the work of persecution between the civil and ecclesiastical powers. This was the solution of Crotty, Slevin, and Higgins at the Maynooth examination. The canons of the Lateran, these doctors pretend, were the acts of both church and state. These councils were conventions of princes as well as of priests, of kings as well as of clergy. Their enactments therefore were authorized by the temporal as well as by the spiritual authority.
But the laity never voted in councils. The prelacy, accordingly, Crotty admits, had the sole right of suffrage, and these canons, in all their barbarity, were suggested by the episcopacy, by whom they were recommended to princes and kings. The clergy even urged the laity to these deeds of carnage by interdicts and excommunication.
The solution, even on the supposition of concurrence or collusion between the church and state, is a beautiful specimen of Shandean dialectics. Tristram invented a plan of evading sin by a division similar to the logic of Crotty, Slevin, and Higgins. The process was simple and easy. Two ladies between them contrived to repeat a word, the pronunciation of which by one would have entrenched a little on politeness and morality. Each lady, therefore, rehearsed only half of the obnoxious term, and, of course, preserved a clear conscience and committed no offence against propriety or purity. Our learned Popish doctors, in like manner, and by equally conclusive reasoning, have, by a similar participation, been enabled to transubstantiate sin into duty, and excuse murder and massacre.
The authority of the Lateran, Constantian, and Siennan canons may be shown in another way. Popish Christendom, without a single murmur of opposition, acquiesced in these decisions, and in their accomplishment in the massacre of the Albigenses. None, among either the clergy or laity, remonstrated or reclaimed. But a Papal bull, received by open or tacit assent and by a majority of the Popish clergy, forms a. dogma of faith. This, at Maynooth, was, in the clearest language, stated by Crotty, Brown, and Higgins. Many pontiffs, such as Urban, Innocent, Clement, and Honorius, issued such decretals of persecution. These, without the objection of a solitary clergyman or layman, were approved and executed without justice or mercy on the adherents of heresy. These principles, therefore, obtained the sanction of the whole Romish church, and have been marked with the sign manual of infallibility.
All the Popish beneficed clergy through Christendom profess, on oath, to receive these persecuting canons and councils. They swear on the holy evangelists and in the most solemn manner, 'to hold and teach all that the sacred canons and general councils have delivered, defined, and declared.' The rejection of these enactments would amount to a violation of this obligation. Any person, who should infringe or contradict this declaration, will, and commandment, incurs, according to the bull of Pius the Fourth, the indignation of Almighty God and the blessed apostles Peter and Paul.
The legislation of kings, pontiffs, and councils was no idle speculation or untried theory. The regal, papal, and synodal enactments were called into active operation: and their practical accomplishment had been written in characters of blood in the annals of the papacy and the inquisition.
Pope Innocent first sent a missionary expedition against the Albigenses. His holiness, for this purpose, commissioned Rainer, Guy, Arnold, Guido, Osma, Castelnau, Rodolf, and Dominic. These, in the execution of their mission, preached Popery and wrought miracles. Dominic, in particular, though distinguished for cruelty, excelled in the manufacture of these 'lying wonders.' But the miracles and sermons, or rather the imposition and balderdash, of these apostles of superstition and barbarity, excited only the derision and scorn of these 'sons of heresy and error.' The obdurate people, says Benedict, 'shewed no desire for conversion; but, on the contrary, treated their instructors with contempt and reproach.' ' An infinite number,' says Nangis, 'obstinately adhered to their error.' According to Mariana, 'The Albigenses increased every day and, in their stupidity, rejoiced in their own blindness.' The gospel of Castelnau, Rainer, and Arnold, Velly grants, 'met with no attention;' and, therefore, according to Giannon's admission, 'made no impression.' 'Les deux legats travaillerent quelque annees avec beaucoup de zele, et peu de fruit. Sans qu'il parut que les heretiques fussent touchez d'aucun desir de conversion.' Benedict and Mariana. 'Alii, quorum infinites erat numerus, suo pertinaciter inhaerebant errori.' Nangis and Dachery. 'Tous les trois se mirent a faire des sermons, qui ne furent point ecoutes.' Velly, Giannon.
His infallibility, Pope Innocent the Third, finding the inefficiency of his gospel as preached by Dominic, proclaimed, by his bulls, a crusade against the Albigenses. Supported by divine aid, his holiness, in the name of the Lord of Hosts, granted all who should march against the Albigensian pestilence, the pardon of sin, the glory of martyrdom, and the possession of heaven. The pontiff, by special favour and indulgence, gave the hero of the cross, if he fell in battle, an immediate passport, by a short way, to heaven, without ever touching on purgatory, -'Nos per indulgentias innovatas Crucesignatos et fideles alios excitamus, ut ad extirpandam pestem hanc, Divino freti auxilio, procedant in nomine Domini Saboaoth.' Alex., Velly, Thuan., Benedici. These rewards assembled half a million of HOLY WARRIORS, composed of bishops, soldiers, canons, and people, from Italy, France, and Germany, ready to riot in blood for the honour of God, the good of society, the defence of Romanism, and the extinction of heresy.
This army was led by the Earl of Montfort, whom ambition and hypocrisy marked for the hero of a holy war. The archbishop of Narbonne, at an early period, painted Montfort's ambition, stratagems, malice, violence, and duplicity. But the contemporary historians ascribed his exploits to zeal and piety; while Raymond, Count of Thoulouse, who was Montfort's rival, and protector of the Albigenses, was, on the contrary, characterized as a member of the Devil, the son of perdition, the eldest born of Satan, the enemy of the cross, the defender of heresy, and the oppressor of Catholicism, - 'Vrai membre du diable, fils de perdition, fils aine de Satan, ennemi de la croix.' Velly; Mariana.
This holy war, during its campaigns, exhibited a great diversity of battles and sieges. The storming of Beziers and Lavaur will supply a specimen of the spirit and achievements of the crusading army.
The city of Beziers was taken by storm in 1209, and the citizens put to the sword without distinction of condition, age, sex, or even religion. When the Crusaders and Albigenses were so mixed that they could not be discriminated, Arnold, the Papal missionary, commanded the soldiery to 'kill all and God would know his own,' - 'Tuez les tous, Dieu connoit ceux qui sont a lui. Soixante mille habitans passerent par le fil de l'epee.' Velly. Seven hundred were slain in the church. Daniel reckons the killed at thirty thousand. Mezeray and Velly as well as some of the original historians, estimate the number who were massacred at sixty thousand. The blood of the human victims, who fled to the churches for safety and were murdered by the HOLY WARRIORS, drenched the altars, and flowed in crimson torrents through the streets.
Lavaur was taken by storm in 1211. Aimeric the governor was hanged on a gibbet, and Girarda his lady was thrown into a well and overwhelmed with stones. Eighty gentlemen, who had been made prisoners, were slaughtered like sheep in cold blood. All the citizens were mangled without discrimination in promiscuous carnage. Four hundred were burned alive, to the extreme delight of the crusaders, - 'Quatre-vingt gentils hommes prisonniers furent egorges de sang froid. Quatre cents heretiques furent brules vifs avec une joye extreme de la part des croises.' Velly. One shudders, says Velly in his history of these transactions, while he relates such horrors.
Languedoc, a country flourishing and cultivated, was wasted by these desolators. Its plains became a desert; while its cities were burned and its inhabitants swept away with fire and sword. An hundred thousand Albigenses fell, it is said, in one day: and their bodies were heaped together and burned, - 'En un seul jour, on egorgea cent mille de ces heretiques.' Bruys. Detachments of soldiery were, for three months, despatched in every direction to demolish houses, destroy vineyards, and ruin the hopes of the husbandman. The females were defiled, - 'En violant filles et femmes.' Bruy. The march of the HOLY WARRIORS was marked by the flames of burning houses, the screams of violated women, and the groans of murdered men, -'On promit indulgence et absolution pleniere a ceux qui tueroient des Vaudois.' Moreri. The war, with all its sanguinary accompaniments, lasted twenty years, and the Albigenses, during this time, were not the only sufferers. Three hundred thousand crusaders fell on the plains of Languedoc, and fattened the soil with their blood.
All this barbarity was perpetrated in the name of religion .The carnage was celebrated as the triumph of the church, the honour of the Papacy, and the glory of Catholicism. The pope proclaimed the HOLY WAR in the name of the Lord. The army of the cross exulted in the massacre of Lavaur, and the clergy sung a hymn to the Creator for the glorious victory, - 'Le clerge chantoit avec beaucoup de devotion l'hymne Veni Creator.' Velly. The assassins thanked the God of mercy for the work of destruction and bloodshed. The soldiery, in the morning, attended high mass, and then proceeded, during the day, to waste the country and murder its population. The assassination of sixty thousand citizens of Beziers was accounted, says Mariana, ' the visible judgment of heaven.' According to Benedict, 'the heresy of Albigensianism drew down the wrath of God on the country of Languedoc.'
The Crusaders were accompanied with another engine of horror and inhumanity. This was no less than the INFERNAL INQUISITION. The inventor of this inquisition, according to Benedict, was Dominic, who was also the first Inquisitor General. This historian, indeed, seems doubtful whether the benevolent and Christian idea suggested itself first to Dominic or to Innocent, to the saint or to the pontiff. But Dominic first mentioned it to Arnold. The saint also established, as agents of this tribunal, a confraternity of knights whom he called the MILITIA OF JESUS, 'Il nomma les Freres de la Milice de Jesus.' Bened. 2. 131. These demons of destruction, these fiends of blood, the blasphemer had the effrontery to represent as the warriors of the Captain of Salvation. Gregory the Ninth, in more appropriate language, styled the knights the MILITIA OF DOMINIC. These, in Italy, were called the knights of the inquisition, and in Spain the familiars of the holy office.
Benedict is quite out of temper with some historians, who would rob Dominic of the glory of being the first inquisitor, and who bestow that honour on Rodolf, Castelnau, and Arnold. The invention of the holy office, and the title of Inquisitor-general, in this author's opinion, crowns his hero with immortal renown, Bened. 2. 131. The historian of Waldensianism therefore, has eternalized his patron's name, by combining it with an institution erected for human destruction, associated with scenes of blood, and calculated to awaken horror in every mind which retains a single sentiment of humanity.
Dominic, it must be granted, was well qualified for his office. He possessed all that impregnable cruelty, which enabled his mind to soar above every feeling of compassion, and to extract pleasure from scenes of torture and misery. The torments of men or, at least, of heretics were his enjoyment. The saint, in satanic and unsated malignity, enjoyed the spectacle of his victim's bleeding veins, dislocated joints, torn nerves, and lacerated limbs, quivering and convulsed with agony.
Proofs of his inhumanity appeared, in many instances, in the holy war and in the holy office. During the crusade against the Albigenses, though a pretended missionary, he encouraged the holy warriors of the cross in the work of massacre and murder. He marched at the head of the army with a crucifix in his hand; and animated the soldiery to deeds of death and destruction, - 'Dominique animoit les soldats, le Crucifix a la main. Dominique marchoit a la tete de l'armee, avec un crucific a la main.' Bened. 1. 248, 249. 'Les Catholiques animes par les exhortations de S. Dominique. Marian. 2. This was the way of disseminating Dominic's gospel. The cross which should be the emblem of peace and mercy, became, in perverted application, the signal of war and bloodshed; and the professed apostle of Christianity preached salvation by the sword and the inquisition.
The holy office as well as the holy war showed Dominic's cruelty. The inquisition, indeed, during his superintendence, had no legal tribunal; and the engines of torment were not brought to the perfection exhibited in modern days of Spanish inquisitorial glory. But Dominic, notwithstanding, could, even with this bungling machinery and without a chartered establishment, gratify his feelings of benevolence in all their refinement and delicacy. Dislocating the joints of the refractory Albigensian, as practised in the Tolosan Inquisition, afforded the saint a classical and Christian amusement. This kind operation, he performed by 'suspending his victim by a cord, affixed to his arms that were brought behind his back, which, being raised by a wheel, lifted off the ground the suspected Waldensian, man or woman, who refused to confess 'till forced by the violence of torture,' - 'In chorda levatus aliquantulum. Negans se quicquam de haeresi de confessum nisi per violentiam tormentorum.' Limborch, IV. 29. Innocent commissioned Dominic to punish, not only by confiscation and banishment, but also with death; and, in the execution of his task, he stimulated the magistracy and populace to massacre the harmless professors of Waldensianism. 'His saintship, by words and MIRACLES, convicted a hundred and eighty Albigenses, who were at one time committed to the flames,' - 'Fuerunt aliquando simul exusti CLXXX haeretici Albigenses, cum antea e verbis et miraculis eos S. Dominicus convicisset.' Bell, de Laic. III. 22. Velly 3.
Such was the man or monster, who, to the present day, is a full-length saint in the Roman Calendar. The miscreant is an object of worship in the popish communion. The Roman breviary lauds 'his merits and doctrines which enlightened the church, his ingenuity and virtue which overthrew the Tolosan heretics, and his many miracles which extended even to the raising of the dead.' The Roman missal, having eulogized his merits, prays for 'temporal aid through his intercession,' - 'Deus, qui ecclesiam tuam beati Dominici confessoris tui illuminare dignatus es meritis et doctrinis, concede ut ejus intercessione, temporalibus non destituatur auxiliis.' Miss. Bom. 463. Brev. Rom. 906. The holy infallible church, in this manner, perfers adoration to the canonized Dominic, who was the first Inquisitor-General, and one of the greatest ruffians that ever disgraced humanity.
The inquisition was first established in Languedoc. The council of Thoulouse, in 1229, appointed a priest and three laymen to search for the partizans of heresy. The synod of Alby, in 1254, commissioned a clergyman and a layman to engage in the same odious task: and this commencement constituted this infernal institution in its infancy. The tribunal afterward received various alterations and fresh accessions of power, till, at length, it was authorized in Spain, Portugal, and Goa to try the suspected, not only for heresy, but also for blasphemy, magic, sorcery, witchcraft, infidelity, and Judaism, and to punish the convicted with infamy, imprisonment, galley-slavery, banishment, outlawry, confiscation of property, and consignment to the flames in an ACT of FAITH. Labb. 13.1236. et 14. 153. Velly, 4. 132. Dellon. c. 2. Mariana, 4. 362.
The holy office admitted all kinds of evidence. Suspicion alone would subject its object to a long course of imprisonment in a dungeon, far from all intercourse with friends or society. A malefactor or a child was allowed to be a witness. A son might depose against his father, or a wife against her husband. The accuser and the accusation were equally unknown to the accused, who was urged by the most treacherous means to discover on himself. His feelings, in the mean time, were horrified by a vast apparatus of crosses, imprecations, exorcisms, conjurations, and flaming piles of wood, ready to consume the guilty. Mariana, 4. 362, 363. Moreri, 5. 130. Dellon, c. 13. Giannon, XXXII. 5.
The RACK in defect of evidence, was applied. The accused, whether man or woman, was, in defiance of all decency, stripped naked. The arms, to which a small hard cord was fastened, were turned behind the back. The cord, by the action of a pulley, raised the sufferer off his feet and held him suspended in the air. The victim of barbarity was, several times, let fall, and raised with a jerk, which dislocated all the joints of his arms; whilst the cord, by which he was suspended, entered the flesh and lacerated the tortured nerves. Heavy weights were frequently, in this case, appended to the feet, and when the prisoner was raised from the earth by the arms, strained the whole frame, and caused a general luxation of the shattered system. The cord was sometimes twisted round the naked arm and legs, till it penetrated to the bone through the ruptured flesh and bleeding veins. Limborch, iv. 29.
This application of the rack, without evidence, caused many to be tortured who had never committed the sin of heresy. A young lady, who was incarcerated in the dungeon of the inquisition at the same time with the celebrated Bohorquia, will supply an instance of this kind. This victim of inquisitorial brutality, notwithstanding her admitted attachment to Romanism, endured the rack till all the members of her body were rent asunder by the infernal machinery of the holy office. An interval of some days succeeded, till she began, notwithstanding such inhumanity, to recover. She was then taken back to the infliction of similar barbarity. Small cords were twisted round her naked arms, legs, and thighs, till they cut through the flesh to the bone; and blood, in copious torrents, streamed from the lacerated veins. Eight days after, she died of her wounds, and was translated from the dungeons of the inquisition to the glory of heaven.
The celebrated Orobio endured the rack for the sin of Judaism. His description of the transaction is frightful. The place of execution was a subterranean vault lighted with a dim lamp. His hands and feet were bound round with cords, which were drawn by an engine made for the purpose, till they divided the flesh to the excoriated bone. His hands and feet swelled, and blood burst, in copious effusion, from his nails as well as from his wounded limbs. He was then set at liberty, and left Spain the scene of persecution and misery. Moreri, 6. 7. Limborch, 323.
The convicted were sentenced to an ACT of FAITH. The ecclesiastical authority transferred the condemned to the secular arm, and the clergy in the mean time, in mockery of mercy, supplicated the magistracy in a hypocritical prayer, to shew compassion to the intended victim of barbarity. But the magistracy, who, through pity, should have deferred the execution, would by the relentless clergy, have been compelled by excommunication to proceed in the work of death. The heretic, dressed jn a yellow coat variegated with pictures of dogs, serpents, flames, and devils, was then led to the place of execution, tied to the stake, and committed, amid the joyful acclamations of the populace, to the flames. Such has been the death of myriads. Torquemada, on being made Inquisitor-general, burned alive, to signalize his promotion to the holy office, no less than two thousand of these 'sons of heresy,' - 'On le faisoit publiquement bruler vive.' Mariana. 4. 362, 365. Dellon. c. 28. Moreri, 5. 130.
The inquisition, in all its horrors, was founded and fostered by the whole Romish church or popish hierarchy. Several popish kingdoms indeed deprecated and expelled this enemy of religion and man. The only places in which this tribunal, prior to the Reformation, obtained a permanent establishment, were Languedoc, and in modern times Spain, Portugal, and Goa. The holy office, with all its apparatus of inquisitors, qualificators, families, jailors, dungeons, racks, and other engines of torture, was driven, with indignation and ignominy, out of the Netherlands, Hungary, France, Germany, Poland, and even Italy. The Neapolitans and Romans expelled the inhuman nuisance with determined resolution. Spain itself, notwithstanding its red-hot persecutions, witnessed a scene of a similar kind. The citizens of Cordova, on one occasion, rose in insurrection against this infernal tribunal, stormed the palace of the inquisition, pillaged its apartments, and imprisoned the jailor. Mariana, 5. 535, 572. Giannon, XXXII. 5. Thuan. 1. 788. Paolo, 1. 444. el 2. 57, 566.
All this opposition, however, was the work, not of the priesthood, but of the people. The populace dreaded its horrors, deprecated its cruelty, and therefore prevented its establishment. The clergy, on the contrary, have, with all their influence, encouraged the institution in all its inhumanity. The pope and the prelacy, who, in the Romish system, are the church and possess infallibility, have, with the utmost unanimity, declared in favor of the holy office. No Roman pontiff or popish council has ever condemned this foul blot on pretended Catholicism, this gross insult on reason and man.
The inquisition, beyond all other institutions that ever appeared in the world, evidences the deepest malignancy of human nature. Nothing, in all the annals of time, ever exhibited so appalling and hateful a view of fallen and degenerate man, demoralized to the lowest ebb of perversity by Romanism and the popedom. No tribunal, equally regardless of justice and humanity, ever raised its frightful form in all the dominions of Heathenism or Mahometanism, Judaism or Christianity. The misanthropist, in the contemplation of the holy office, may find continual and unfailing fuel for his malevolence. He may see, in its victim, the wretchedest sufferer that ever drained the cup of misery; and in the inquisitor, the hatefullest object, Satan not exempted, that ever defiled or disgraced the creation of God. No person, in a future world, would own an inquisitor, who dies in the spirit of his profession, but the devil, and no place would receive him but hell.
Such is a faint view of the persecutions which distracted Christendom, from the accession of Constantine till the era of the Reformation. The third period occupies the time which intervened between the Reformation arid the present day. This long series of years displays great variety. Its commencement was marked by persecution, which was afterwards repressed by the diffusion of letters, the light of Revelation, and the influence of Protestantism.
The popish clergy and kings wielded the civil and ecclesiastical power against the Reformation, during its rise and progress. The whole Romish hierarchy, through the agency of theologians, popes, and councils, laboured in the work of persecution. The theologians and historians, who have prostituted their pen for the unworthy purpose, have been many. From this multitude may be selected Benedict, Mariana, Bellarmine, Dens, the college of Rheims, and the universities of Salamanca and Valladolid.
Benedict the Dominican, in his history of the Albigenses, approves of all the inhumanity of the holy office and the holy wars. The inquisitor and the crusader are the themes of his unqualified applause. Mariana the Jesuit, in his history of Spain, has, like Benedict, eulogized persecutions and the inquisition; though these, he admits, 'are innovations on Christianity.' The historian recommends 'fire and sword, when mild means are unavailing and useless. A wise severity, in such cases, is the sovereign remedy,' - 'Il faut recourir au fer et au feu dans les maux, ou les remedes lents sont inu tiles. Uu sage severite est le remede souverain.' Mariana, 2. 686.
Bellarmine's statements, as well as those of Dens, on this subject, are distinguished by their ridiculousness and barbarity. He urges, in the strongest terms, the eradication of heretics, when it can be effected with safety. Freedom of faith, in his system, tends to the injury of the individual and of society; and the abettors of heterodoxy therefore are, for the honour of religion, to be delivered to the secular arm and consigned to the flames. The cardinal would burn the body for the good of the soul. The prudent Jesuit, however, would allow even the advocates of heresy to live, when, owing to their strength and number, an appeal to arms would be attended with danger to the friends of orthodoxy. The apostles, he contends, 'abstained from calling ire the secular arm only because there were, in their day, no Christian princes.' This, in all its horrors, he represents as the common sentiment of all the patrons of Catholicism, - 'Libertas credendi perniciosa eat. Libros haereticorum jure interdici et exuri.' Bell. De Laic. III. 18. 'Huss asseruit, non licere haereticum incorrigibilem tradere seculari potestati et permittere comburendum. Contrarium decent omnes Catholici.' Bell. III. 20. 'Ecclesia, zelo salutis animarum, eos persequitur. Sunt proculdubio extirpandi.' Bellarmin. 1. 1363. 'Haeretici notorii privantur sepultura ecclesiastica. Bona eornm temporalia sunt ipso jure confiscata. Exilio, carcere, &c. merito afficiuntur. Falsarii pecumiae vel alii rempublicam fidei et turbantes, justa morte puniuntur: ergo etiam haeretici, qui sunt falsarii fidei et rempublicam graviter perturbant.' Dens, 2. 88, 89. Bellarmine's arguments, in favor of his system, are a burlesque on reason and common sense. Dens, patronized by the Romish clergy in Ireland, follows Bellarmine. He would punish notorious abettors of heresy with confiscation of property, exile, imprisonment, death, and deprivation of Christian burial. 'Such falsifiers of the faith and troublers of the community,' says the precious Divine, 'justly suffer death in the same manner as those who counterfeit money and disturb the state.' This, he argues, from the Divine command to slay the Jewish false prophets, and from the condemnation of Huss in the council of Constance.
The college of Rheims commended the same remedy. These doctors, in their annotations, maintain that the good should tolerate the wicked, when, in consequence of the latter's strength, punishment would be attended with danger. But heresy or any other evil, when its destruction could be effected with safety, should, according to this precious exposition, be suppressed and its authors exterminated. Testam. in Matth. XIII. 29. [see Footnote 1, H&F] Such is the instruction, conveyed in a popular commentary on the Gospel of peace and good will to man. The university of Salamanca followed the college of Rheims. The doctors of this seminary, in 1603, maintained 'the Roman pontiff's right to compel, by arms, the sons of apostacy and the opponents of Catholicism.' The theory taught at Salamanca, was also inculcated by the professors of Valladolid. Rheim. Mageogh. 3. 595.
These are a few specimens of the popish divines, who have abetted the extirpation of heresy by violence and the inquisition. The list might be augmented to almost any extent. Immense indeed is the number of Romish doctors, who, in the advocacy of persecution, 'have wearied eloquence and exhausted learning.'
Pontiffs, as well as theologians, have enjoined persecution. This practical lesson has, for a thousand years, been uniformly taught in the school of the popedom. The viceroys of heaven have, for this long succession of ages, acted on the same satanic system. From these pontifical persecutors, since the Reformation, may, as a specimen, be selected the names of Leo, Adrian, Paul, and Pius.
Leo, in a bull issued in 1520, ordered all to shun Luther and his adherents. His holiness commanded sovereigns to chase the abettors of Lutheranism out of their dominions. Adrian, in 1522, deprecated the spread of Lutheranism, and admonished princes and people against the toleration of this abomination; and, if mild methods should be unavailing, to employ fire and faggot. Labb. 19. 1050, 1068. Du Pin, 3. 170. 'Se servir de remedes plus violens, et l'eployer le feu.' Paolo, l. 48.
Paul the Fourth distinguished himself by his recommendation of the inquisition for the extermination of heresy. This tribunal, his infallibility accounted the sheet-anchor of the papacy, and the chief battery for the overthrow of heresy. The pontiff reckoned the Gospel, with all its divine institutions, as nothing, compared with the holy office for the defence of the holy see. Paul was right. The Gospel may support the church, but the inquisition is the proper instrument to protect, the popedom. The inquisition, accordingly, was the darling theme of his supremacy's thoughts. He conferred additional authority on the sacred institution, and recommended it to the cardinals and his successors with his parting breath, - 'II donna toutes ses pensees aux affaires de l'inquisition, qu'il disoit etre la meilleure batterie, qu'on put opposer a l'heresie, et la principale defense du Saint Siege.' Paolo, 2. 45, 51. Bruys, 4. 636. 'Sanctissimum iuquisitionis officium, quo uno sacrae sedis auctoritatem niti affirmabat, commendatum haberent.' Thuan. XXIII. 15. 'Sacrae inquisitionis tribunali majorem auctoritatem dedit.' Alex. 23. 216. When the cold hand of death was pressing on his lips, and the soul just going to appear before its God, he enjoined the use of the inquisition, and expired, recommending murder and inhumanity.
These enactments of doctors and pontiffs were supported by the canons of councils. The council of Lyons, in 1527, commanded the suffragans to make diligent inquiry after the disseminators of heresy, and to appeal, when necessary, to the secular arm. Anno 1528, the council of Sens enjoined on princes the extermination of heretics, in imitation of Constantine, Valentinian, and Theodosius. Labb. 19. 1127. 1180. Du Pin, 3. 257.
The general council of Trent, in the same manner, patronized persecution. Ciaconia, a Dominican, preached before this assembly on the parable of the tares. The preacher, on this occasion, broached the maxim afterward adopted by Bellarmine and the Rhemish annotators. He urged 'that the adherents of heresy should be tolerated, when their extermination would be attended with danger; but when their extirpation can be effected with safety, they should be destroyed by fire the sword, the gallows, and all other means.' All this Ciaconia declared, the sacred synod itself had inculcated in its second session: and the Dominican's sermon and declaration were heard in the infallible assembly without objection or contradiction. The sacred synod again, in their last session, admonished 'all princes to exert their influence to prevent abettors of heresy from misinterpreting or violating the, ecclesiastical decrees, and to oblige these objectors, as well as all their other subjects, to accept and to observe the synodal canons with devotion and fidelity,' - 'On devoit les detruire par le fer, le feu, la corde, ou tout autre moyen.' Paolo, IV p. 604. 'Le concile ensuite exhortait tous les princes a ne point souffrir que ses decrets fussent violez par les heretiques, mais a les obliger aussi bien que tous leurs autres sujets a les observer.' Paolo, 2. 660. This was clearly an appeal to the secular arm, for the purpose of forcing acquiescence and submission: and the natural consequence of such compulsion was persecution.
The canon law and the Roman ritual extend the spirit of persecution even to the dead. The canon law excommunicates any, who, with his knowledge, bestows Christian burial on heretics. The Roman ritual, also, published by the command of Paul the Fifth, and in general use through the popish communion, 'refuses sepulchral honours to heretics and schismatics.' The offender, in this case, to obtain absolution and be freed from excommunication, must, with his own hands and in a public manner, raise the interred from the hallowed sepulchre. He must, to be uncursed, unearth the mouldering remains of the corpse, and violate, by an act of horror, the sanctuary of the tomb.
The enactments of popes and councils were sanctioned and enforced by emperors and kings. Charles the Fifth, emperor of Germany and king of Spain and the Netherlands, persecuted the friends of the Reformation through his extensive dominions. His majesty in 1521, supported by the electors in the Diet of Worms, declared it his duty, for the glory of God, the honour of the papacy, and the dignity of the nation, to protect the faith and extinguish heresy; and in consequence proscribed Luther, his followers, and books, and condemned all, who, in any manner, should aid or defend the Saxon Reformer or read his works, to the confiscation of their property, the ban of the empire, and the penalty of high-treason.
The emperor's edicts against the Lutherans in the Netherlands were fraught with still greater severity. Men who favoured Lutheranism were to be beheaded, and women to be buried alive, or, if obstinate, to be committed to the flames. This law, however, was suspended. But inquisitorial and military executions rioted in the work of death in all its shocking forms. The duke of Alva boasted of having caused, in six weeks, the execution of eighteen thousand for the crime of Protestantism. Paolo reckons the number, who, in the Netherlands, were, in a few years, massacred on account of their religion, at fifty thousand; while Grotius raises the list of the Belgic martyrs to a hundred thousand, - 'Poena in viros capitis, in feminas defossionis in terrain, sin pertinaces fuerint exustionis.' Thuan. 1. 229. Brand. II. 'Dana les Pais Bas, le nombre de ceux, quo I'on avoit pendus, decapitez, brulez, et enterrez vifs, moutat a cinquante mille hommes.' Paolo, 2. 52. 'Carnificata hominum non minus centum millia.' Grotius, Annal. 12. Brand. IV. X. Du Pin, 3. 656.
Charles began the work of persecution in Spain, and with his latest breath recommended its completion to his son Philip II. The dying advice of the father was not lost on the son. He executed the infernal plan in all its barbarity, without shewing a single symptom of compunction or mercy. His majesty, on his arrival in Spain, commenced the work of destruction. He kindled the fires of persecution at Valladolid and Seville, and consigned the professors of Protestantism without discrimination or pity to the flames. Among the victims of his fury, on this occasion, were the celebrated Pontius, Gonsalvus, Vaenia, Viroesia, Cornelia, Bohorquia, Aegidio, Losado, Arellan, and Arias. Thirty-eight of the Spanish nobility were, in his presence, bound to the stake and burned, - 'Spectante ipso Philippo, XXXVIII ex praecipua regionis nobilitate palis alligati ac cremati sunt.' Thuan. XXIII. 14. Du Pin, 3. 655. Philip was a spectator of these shocking scenes, and gratified his royal and refined taste with these spectacles of horror. The inquisition, since his day, has, by relentless severity, succeeded in banishing Protestantism from the peninsula of Spain and Portugal.
Francis and Henry, the French kings, imitated the example of Charles and Philip. Francis enacted laws against the French Protestants; and ordered the judges, under severe penalties, to enforce them with rigor. These laws were renewed and new ones issued by Henry. His most Christian Majesty, in 1549, entered Paris, made a solemn procession, declared his detestation of Protestantism and attachment to popery, avowed his resolution to banish the friends of the Reformation from his dominions and to protect Catholicism and the ecclesiastical hierarchy. He caused many Lutherans to suffer martyrdom in Paris, and lent his royal assistance in person at the execution, - 'Ce Prince fit executer plusieurs Lutherieus a Paris, aux supplices desquels il voulut assister lui-meme. II vouloit exterminer de tout son royaume les nouveaux heretiques.' Paolo, 1. 484. Thuan. VI. 4. 10. Henry, like Philip, had, on this occasion, an opportunity of indulging the refinement and delicacy of his taste, in viewing the expiring struggles of his heretical subjects in the pangs of dissolution.
Instances of French persecution appeared in the massacres of Merindol, Orange, and Paris. The massacre of Merindol, planned by the king of France and the parliament of Aix, was executed by the president Oppeda. The president was commissioned to slay the population, burn the towns, and demolish the castles of the Waldenses.
Oppeda, thirsting for blood, executed his commission with infernal barbarity. The appalling butchery has been related by the popish historians, Gaufridus, Moreri, Paolo, and Thuanus with precision and impartiality, - 'Les troupes passerent au fil de l'epee tous ceux qui n'avoient pu s'enfuir, et etoient restez exposez a la merci du soldat, sans distinction d'age, de qualite, ni de sexe. On y massacra plus de 4000 personnes.' Paolo, 1. 190. The president slaughtered more than three thousand Waldenses, who, from age to age, have been the object of papal enmity. Man, woman, and child fell in indiscriminate and relentless carnage. Thousands were massacred. Twenty-four towns were ruined and the country left a deserted waste. Gaufrid, XII. Moreri, 6. 46. Thuan. VI. 16.
The massacre was so appalling that it excited the horror even of Gaufridus, the Roman historian of these horrid transactions. The men, women, and children, in general, at the approach of the hostile army, fled to the adjoining woods and mountains. Old men and women were mixed with boys and girls. Many of the weeping mothers carried their infants in cradles or in their arms; while the woods and mountains reechoed their groans and lamentations. These were pursued and immolated by the sword of popish persecution, which never knew pity.
A few remained in the towns and met a similar destiny. Sixty men and thirty women surrendered in Capraria, on condition that their lives should be spared: and, notwithstanding plighted faith, they were taken to a meadow and murdered in cold blood. Five hundred women were thrown into a barn, which was then set on fire; and when any leaped from the windows, they were received on the points of spears or halberts. The rest were consumed in the flames or suffocated with the smoke.
The women were subjected to the most brutal insults. Girls were snatched from the arms of their mothers, violated and afterward treated with the most shocking inhumanity. Mothers saw their children murdered before their face, and were then, though fainting with grief and horror, violated by the soldiery. The champions of the faith forced the dying women, whose offspring had been sacrificed in their presence. Cruelty succeeded violation. Some were precipitated from high rocks; while others were put to the sword or dragged naked through the streets, - 'Foeminae a furentibus violate, et satiata libidine tarn crudeliter habitae, ut pleraeque, sive ex animi moerore, sive fame et cruciatibus perierint.' Thuan. 1. 227. 'Cruaute alla jusqu'a violer des femmes mourantes, et d'autres, a la veue desquelles on avoit egorge leurs enfans.' Gaufride, 2. 480. 'Les troupes apres avoir rempli tout les pais de crimes et de debauches.' Paolo, 1. 190.
The massacre was not merely the work of Oppeda and the soldiery; but approved by the French king and parliament; and afterward by the popedom, and all, in general, who were attached to Romanism. Francis and the city of Paris heard the news of the massacre with joy, and congratulated Oppeda on the victory. The parliament of Aix also, actuated, like the French monarch and nobility, with enmity against Waldensianism, approved of the carnage, and felicitated the president on the triumph.
The rejoicing, on the occasion, was not confined to the French sovereign and people. The pope and his court exulted. The satisfaction which was felt at the extirpation of Waldensianism was, says Gaufrid, in proportion to the scandal caused by that heresy in the church, by which the historian means the popedom. The friends of the papacy, therefore, according to the same author, 'reckoned the fire and sword well employed, which extinguished Waldensianism, and forgot nothing that could immortalize the name of Oppeda. Paul the Fourth made the president Count Palatine and Knight of Saint John; while the partizans of Romanism styled the monster, 'the defender of the faith, the protector of the faithful, and the hero of Christianity,' - 'Tous ceux de la cour feliciterent le premier President de sa victoire. Rome et la Cour du Pape y prirent leur part. Ceux-la trouverent le fer et le feu bien employes.' Gaufrid. 2. 481. 'Ils le traiterent de deffenseur de la foi, de heros de Christianisme, et protecteur des fideles.' Gaufrid. 2. 494.
The massacre of Orange, in 1562, was attended with the same horrors, as that of Merindol. This was perpetrated against the Protestants, as the other had been against the Waldensians. Its horrifying transactions have been related with impartiality by the popish historians Varillas, Bruys, and Thuanus. Varillas, III. Bruy. 4. 654. Thuanus, XXXI. 11. The Italian army, sent by pope Pius the Fourth, was commanded by Serbellon, and slew man, woman, and child in indiscriminate carnage. Infants, and even the sick were assassinated in cold blood. Children were snatched from the embraces of their mothers, and killed with the blows of bludgeons.
The work of death was carried on by various modes of torture and brutality. Some were killed with the sword, and some precipitated from the rock on which the city was built. Some were hanged and others roasted over a slow fire. Many were thrown on the points of hooks and daggers. The soldiery mutilated the citizens in such a shameful manner as modesty forbids to name, 'Ils prirent plaisir a couper les parties secretes.' Varillas, 1. 203. Women with child were suspended on posts and gates, and their bowels let out with knives. The blood, in the meantime, flowed in torrents through the streets.
Many of the boys were forced to become Ganymedes, and to commit the sin of Sodom. The women, old and young, were violated; the ladies of rank and accomplishments were abandoned to the will of the ruffian soldiery; and afterward exposed to the public laughter, with horns and stakes thrust into the body in such a manner as decency refuses to describe, - 'Pueri multi item rapti, et ad nefandam libidinem satiandam ad miseram captivitatem abducti.' Thuan. 2. 228. 'Les dames furent exposees nues a la risee publique, avec des cornes enfoncees dans les parties, que la pudeur defend de nommer.' Varillas, 1. 203. 'Productis mulierum cadaveribus, et in eorum pudenda bourn cornibus, et saxis, ac stipitibus ad ludibrium injectis.' Thuan. 2. 228. 'Exudante passim per urbem cruore.' Thuan. 31. 11.
The massacre of Paris, in 1572, on Bartholomew's day, equalled those of Merindol and Orange in barbarity, and excelled both in extent. The facts have been detailed with great impartiality by Bossuet, Daniel, Davila, Thuanus, and Mezeray. Bossuet, Abreg. XVII. Daniel, 8. 727-740. Mezeray, 5.151-162. Davila, V. Mezeray, 5. 151-162. The queen laid this plan, which had been two years preconcerted, for the extinction of heresy. The execution was entrusted to the Duke of Guise, who was distinguished by his inhumanity and hatred of the Reformation. The duke, on the occasion, was aided by the soldiery, the populace, and the king. The military and the people attached to Romanism thirsted for the blood of the Hugonots. His most Christian majesty, Charles the Ninth, attacked, in person, his unresisting subjects with a gun, and 'shouted with all his might, KILL, KILL,' - 'II dechargea sur les Calvinistes.' Sully, 1. 34. 'Le Roi tiroit sur eux lui-meme avec de longues arquebuses, et crioit, de toute sa force, 'tuez, tuez.'' Dan. 8. 731. Mezeray, 5. 155. Davila, V. One man, if he deserve the name, boasted of having, in one night, killed a hundred and fifty, and another of having slain four hundred.
The tocsin, at midnight, tolled the signal of destruction. The assailants spared neither old nor young, man nor woman. The carnage lasted seven days. Mezeray reckons the killed, in Paris, during this time, at 5000, Bossuet at more than 6000, and Davila at 10,000, among whom were five or six hundred gentlemen. The Seine was covered with the dead which floated on its surface, and the city was one great butchery and flowed with human blood. The court was heaped with the slain, on which the king and queen gazed, not with horror, but with delight. Her majesty unblushingly feasted her eyes on the spectacle of thousands of men, exposed naked, and lying wounded and frightful in the pale livery of death, - 'Tout le quartier ruisseloit de sang. La cour etoit pleine de corps morts, que le Roi et la Reine regardoient, non seulement sans horreur, mais avec plaisir. Tout les rues de la ville n'etoient plus que boucheries.' Bossuet, 4. 537. 'On exposa leurs corps tout nuds a la porte du Louvre, la Reine mere etant a une fenestre, qui repaisoit ses yeux de cet horrible spectacle.' Mezeray, 5. 157. Davila, V. Thuan. II. 8. 'Frequentes e gynoeceo foeminae, nequaquam crudeli spectaculo eas absterrente, curiosis oculis nudorum corpora inverecunde intuebantur.' Thuan. 3. 131. The king went to see the body of Admiral Coligny, which was dragged by the populace through the streets; and remarked in unfeeling witticism, that the 'smell of a dead enemy was agreeable.
The tragedy was not confined to Paris, but extended, in general, through the French nation. Special messengers were, on the preceding day, despatched in all directions, ordering a general massacre of the Hugonots. The carnage, in consequence, was made through nearly all the provinces, and especially in Meaux, Troyes, Orleans, Nevers, Lyons, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Rouen. Twenty-five or thirty thousand according to Bossuet and Mezeray, perished in different places. Davila estimates the slain at 40,000, and Sully at 70,000. Many were thrown into the rivers, which, floated the corpses on the waves, carried horror and infection to all the country, which they watered with their streams.
The reason of this waste of life was enmity to heresy or Protestantism. A few indeed suggested the pretence of a conspiracy. But this, even Bossuet grants, every person knew to be a mere pretence. The populace, tutored by the priesthood, accounted themselves, in shedding heretical blood, 'the agents of Divine justice,' and engaged 'in doing God service,' - 'Les Catholiques se regarderent comme les executeurs de la justice de Dieu.' Daniel, 8 738. Thuan. 3. 149. The king accompanied with the queen and princes of the blood, and all the French court, went to the Parliament, and acknowledged that all these sanguinary transactions were done by his authority. 'The parliament publicly eulogised the king's wisdom,' which had effected the effusion of so much heretical blood. His majesty also went to mass, and returned solemn thanks to God for the glorious victory obtained over heresy. He ordered medals to be coined to perpetuate its memory. A medal accordingly was struck for the purpose with this inscription, PIETY EXCITED JUSTICE, - 'Pietas excitavit justitiam. II fit frapper un medaille a l'occasion de la Saint Barthelemi.' Daniel, 8 786. 'Apres avoir oui solemnellement la messe pour remercier Dieu de la belle victoire obtenue sur l'heresie, et commande de fabriquer des medailles pour en conserver la memoire.' Mezeray, 5. 160. 'II fremissoit malgre lui, au recit de mille traits de cruaute.' Sully, 1. 33. Piety, forsooth, propelled to murder, and the immolation of forty thousand people was an act of justice. Piety and justice, it seems, aroused to deeds of cruelty, the idea of which afterwards, says Sully, caused even the inhuman perpetrator Charles, in spite of himself, to shudder.
The carnage, sanctioned in this manner by the French king, parliament, and people, was also approved by the pope and the Roman court. Rome 'from her hatred of heresy, received the news with unspeakable joy. The pope went in procession to the church of Saint Lewis, to render thanks to God for the happy victory.' His Legate in France felicitated his most Christian majesty in the pontiff's name, 'and praised the exploit, so long meditated and so happily executed, for the good of religion.' The massacre, says Mezeray, 'was extolled before the king as the triumph of the church,' - 'La haine de l'heresie les fit recevoir agreablement a Rome. Ou se rejouit aussi en Espagne.' Bossuet, 4 545. La Cour de Rome et le Conseil d' Espagne eurent une joye indicible de la Saint Bartelemy. Le Pape alla en procession a l'eglise de Saint Louis, rendre graces a Dieu d'un si heureux succes, et l'on fit le panegyrique de cette action sous le nom de Triomphe de l'Eglise.' Mezeray, 5. 162. Sully, 1. 27.
Spain rejoiced also in the tragedy as the defeat of Protestantism. This nation has ever shown itself the friend of the papacy, and the deadly enemy of the Reformation: and this spirit, on this occasion, appeared in the joy manifested by the Spanish people for the murder of the French Hugonots.
England, like Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands, was the scene of persecution and martyrdom. Philip and Mary, who exercised the royal authority in the British nation, issued a commission for 'the burning of heretics.' The queen, in this manifesto, 'professed her resolution to support justice and Catholicism, and to eradicate error and heresy: and ordered her heretical subjects, therefore, to be committed before the people to the flames.' This, her majesty alleged, would shew her detestation of heterodoxy, and serve as an example to other Christians, to shun the contagion of heresy, - 'Haereticos juxta legem, ignis incendio comburi debere; praecipimus, quod prafatos coram populo igni committi, et in codem igne realiter comburi facias.' Wilkin, 4. 177.
Orleans acknowledges Mary's rigour, and her execution of many on account of their Protestantism. In this, he discovers, the queen followed her own genius rather than the spirit of the church, by which he means the popedom. This historian, nevertheless, represents Mary as 'worthy of eternal remembrance for her zeal,' - 'Reine digne d'une memoirs eternelle, per son zele. On en fit, en effet, mourir un grand nombre.' Orleans, VIII. P 174, 175. Such is his character of a woman who was a modern Theodora, and never obliged the world but when she died. Her death was the only favour she ever conferred on her unfortunate and persecuted subjects.
Popish persecution raged, in this manner, from the commencement of the Reformation till its establishment. The flow of this overwhelming tide began at the accession of Constantine to the throne of the Roman empire: and, having prevailed for a long period, gradually ebbed after the era of Protestantism. The popedom, on this topic, was compelled, though with reluctance and inconsistency, to vary its profession and practice. A change was effected in an unchangeable communion. Some symptoms of the old disease indeed still appear. The spirit, like latent heat, is inactive rather than extinguished. But the general cry is for liberality or even latitudinarianism. The shout, even among the advocates of Romanism, is in favor of religious liberty, unfettered conscience, and universal toleration. The inquisition of Spain and Portugal, with all its apparatus of racks, wheels, and gibbets, has lost its efficacy, and its palace at Goa is in ruins. The bright sun of India enlightens its late dungeons, which are now inhabited, not by the victim of popish persecution, but by 'the owl, the dragon, and the wild beast of the desert.'
This change has, in some measure, been influenced by the diffusion of literature and the Reformation. The darkness of the middle ages has fled before the light of modern science: and with it, in part, has disappeared priestcraft and superstition. Philosophy has improved, and its light continues to gain on the empire of darkness. Protestantism has circulated the Book of God, and shed its radiancy over a benighted world. The advances of literature and revelation have been unfavourable to the reign of intolerance and the inquisition.
But the chief causes of this change in the papacy are the preponderance of Protestantism and the policy of popery. The Reformation, in its liberalizing principles, is established over a great part of Christendom. Its friends have become nearly equal to its opponents in number, and far superior in intelligence and activity. Rome, therefore, though she has not expressly disavowed her former claims, has according to her ancient policy, allowed these lofty pretensions to slumber for a time in inactivity, and yielded, though with reluctant and awkward submission, to the progress of science, the light of revelation, and the strength of Protestantism.
A late discovery has shewn the deceitfulness of all popish pretences to liberality, both on the continent and in Ireland; Dens, a doctor of Louvain, published a system of theology in 1758, and in some of the succeeding years. This work, fraught with the most revolting principles of persecution, awards to the patrons of heresy, confiscation of goods, banishment from the country, confinement in prison, infliction of death, and deprivation of Christian burial. Falsifiers of the Faith, like forgers of money and disturbers of the state, this author would, according to the sainted Thomas, consign to death as the proper and merited penalty of their offence. This, he argues from the sentence of the Jewish false prophets, and from the condemnation of Huss in the general council of Constance, - 'An haeretici recte puniuntur morte? Respondet S. Thomas affirmative: quia falsarii pecuniae vel alii rempublicam turbantes juste morte puniuntur: ergo etiam haeretici qui sunt falsarii fidei et rempublicam graviter perturbant. Confirmatur ex eo quod Dens in veteri lege jusserit oocidi falsos Prophetas. Idon probatur ex condemnatione articuli 14, Joan. Huss in Concilio Constantiensi.' Dens, 2. 88, 89. 'Haeretioi notorii privantur sepultura ecclesiastica.' Bona. &c. Dens, 2. 88.
This production in all its horror and deformity, was dedicated to Cardinal Philippus, and recommended to Christendom by the approbation of the University of Louvain, which vouched for its 'orthodox faith and its Christian morality.' It was ushered into the world with the permission of superiors, and the full sanction of episcopal authority. Its circulation on the continent was, even in the nineteenth century, impeded by no Romish reclamation, nor by the appalling terrors of the expurgatorian index. The popish clergy and people, in silent consent or avowed approbation, acknowledged, in whole and in part, its Catholicism and morality. Dens, 4. 3. 'Eas reperi nihil continere a fide orthodoxa et moribus Christianis alienum.' Dens, 5. 1. Horne's Protest. Mem. 95, 96.
The University of Louvain, on this occasion, exhibited a beautiful specimen of Jesuitism. A few years after its approbation of Dens' Theology, Pitt, the British statesman, asked this same university, as well as those of Salamanca and Valladolid, whether persecution were a principle of Romanism. The astonished doctors, insulted at the question, and burning with ardour to obliterate the foul stain, branded the insinuation with a loud and deep negation. The former, in this case, copied the example of the latter. The divines of Salamanca and Valladolid, questioned on the same subject in 1603, in reference to the war waged by the Irish against the English in the reign of queen Elizabeth, patronized the principle of persecution, which, in their answer to Pitt, they proscribed, - 'Tanquam certum est accipiendum, posse Romanum Pontificem fidei desertores, et eos qui Catholicam religionem oppugnant, armis compellere.' Mageogh. 3. 595. Slevin, 193. Such, on the European continent, were the candour and consistency of the popish clergy, who, in this manner, adapted their movements, like skilful generals, to the evolutions of the enemy, and suited their tactics to the emergency of the occasion.
This complete body of theology, unconfined to the continent, was, in a special manner, extended to Ireland. The popish prelacy, in 1808, met, says Coyne and Wise, in Dublin, and unanimously agreed that this book was the best work, and safest guide in theology for the Irish clergy. Coyne, in consequence, was ordered to publish a large edition, for circulation among the prelacy and priesthood of the kingdom. Coyne, Catal. 6, 7. Wyse, Hist. Cath. Ass. App. N. 7. Horne's Protest. Mem. 95.
The work was dedicated to Doctor Murray, Titular Archbishop of Dublin. The same prelate also sanctioned an additional volume, which was afterwards annexed to the performance with his approbation. Murray, Doyle, Keating, and Kinsella made it the conference book for the Romish clergy of Leinster. The popish ordo or directory, for five successive years, had its questions for conference arranged as they occurred in Dens, and were, of course, to be decided by his high authority. The Romish episcopacy, in this way, made this author their standard of theology to direct the Irish prelacy and priesthood in casuistry and speculation, - 'Rererendissimo in Deo, Patri ac Domino.' Danieli Murray, &c. Dens, I. l. Coyne, 7. Horne, 95, 96. Dens, therefore, possesses, with them, the same authority on popish theology as Blackstone with us, on the British Constitution, or the Bible on the principles of Protestantism.
Accompanied with such powerful recommendations, the work, as might be expected, obtained extensive circulation. The college of Maynooth, indeed, did not raise Dens to a text-book. This honour was reserved for Bailly. But this seminary received Dens as a work of reference. His theology lay in the library, ready, at any time, for consultation. Doctor Murphy's academy in Cork had fifty or sixty copies for the use of the seminary and the diocesan clergy. The precious production, indeed, has found its way into the hands of almost every priest in the kingdom, and forms the holy fountain from which he draws the pure waters of the sanctuary.
The days of persecution, notwithstanding, will, in all probability, never return to dishonor Christianity and curse mankind. The inquisition, with all its engines of torment and destruction, may rest for ever in inactivity. The Inquisitor may exercise his malevolence, and vent his ferocity in long and deep execrations against the growing light of philosophy and the Reformation; but will never more regale his ears with the groans of the tortured victim, or feast his eyes in witnessing an Act of Faith. The popedom may regret its departed power. The Roman pontiff and hierarchy may indulge in dreams of future greatness, prefer vain prayers for the restoration of persecution or, in bitter lamentation, weep over the ashes of the inquisition. But these hopes, supplications, and tears, in all likelihood, will be forever, be unavailing. Rome's spiritual artillery is, in a great measure, become useless; and the secular arm no longer, as formerly, enforces ecclesiastical denunciations, or consigns the abettors of heresy to the flames.
FOOTNOTES Hail & Fire:
1. See "The Rheims New Testament by the English College at Rheims" (1582) online for the annotation on Matth. XIII. 29
"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them." Joh 16:2-4 KJV
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