Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

absurd doctrines, calculated on purpose to obo tain for a few men an ascendant over all the teft of mankind: by means of these they cheat the people out of their money, gain to themfelves riches, extravagant honours, and unlimited power. To obtain and secure the poffefsion of these it is, that all the most facred ties of humanity are thus broken, and fuch horrid cruelties practised.

SECTION XI.

T!

HE examples hitherto given, in this

Effay, of persecution, or religious cruelties exercised by christians, since the pope and his clergy obtained such exorbitant power. in Christendom, have been collected only from the practice of Roman Catholics. Who indeed would suppose, were there not so many proofs of it, that those who had declared fo loudly and justly against persecution on account of religion when they themselves were the sufferers, had then proved to a demonstration, that it was unjust, barbarous, and antichristian, should after all become violent perfecutors of others? Yet this has frequently been the case. Notorious it is, that the most eminent of the first reformers, when they

obtained because

1

obtained power, generally became persecu tors both in principle and practice: they have by their writings taught, in direct opposition to what they had before proved the contrary of, that persecution was a neceffary and laudable duty: and to do them justice, they have, in this refpect; faithfully and zealously practised what they taught.

LUTHER, Melanethon, Zuinglius, Bucer, Beza, Farrel, and above all Calvin, have sufficiently proved themselves outrageous perfecutors. This laft in particular has rendered his name infamous by a treatise he wrote in defence of persecution, and more still by the perfecutions he raised and carried on against several worthy men. Caftellia, or Capalio, a perfon of distinguished learning and piety, he moft groflly abused and persecuted, only

e See Chandler's Introduct. p. 61, 62, 68, 71, 75, &C. Beza, as well as Calvin, wrote a treatise to prove the lawfulness of punishing heretics : and Peter du Moulin, who, though not one of the first reformers, was an eminent protestant divine, and pastor of the reformed church at Paris, published, in 1618, a book, intitled The Anatomy of Arminianism; wherein he calls the Remonstrants, heretics, sectaries, innovators, monsters, bold, blasphemous, insolent rogues, &c. and says, he who does not believe in Jesus Chrif, is not a child of God, and confequently has no right to the poffeflion of temporal goods, tho' he be ever so eminent for social virtues. Abrid. of Brandt's History of the Reformation, Vol. II. p. 607, 608.

because he differed from him in opinion concerning predestination, election, free-will, faith, Solomon's Song, and Christ's descent into hell. Servetus also he procured to be imprisoned and put to death for heresy at Geneva; in which protestant city poor Servetus was treated with as much cruelty, as if he had been in a Roman Catholic inquifițion : 'they took from him all his money, a considerable fum, and what he had befides of value ; put him into a deep dungeon, where he was almost eaten up with vermin; and finally, burnt him to death.

To Thew what fpirit Calvin was of, I shall give the reader an abstract of the complaint made by Caftalio in his own words, concerne ing the treatment this latter met with from the former. He says to Calvin, Vocas me. fubinde in Gallico libello blasphemum calumniatorem, malignum, canem latrantem, plenum ignorantiæ et bestialitatis, plenum impudentia, impostorem, sacrarum literarum impurum corruptorem, Dei prorsus deriforem, omnis religionis contemptorem, impudentem, impurum canem, impium, obfcænum, torti perverfique ingenii, vagum, balatronem, &c. i. e. French treatise you load me with the op

probrious names of blasphemous calumni-' “ ator, malignant, barking dog, full of ignorance and bestiality, full of impudence, an

“impostor,

« In a

“ impostor, an impure corrupter of the sa“ cred writings, a mocker of God, and despiser “ of all religion, an impudent fellow, a filthy

dog, an impious wretch, obscene, of a dif“ torted and perverse minds a vagabond, and

a rascal, &c.

Can we wonder that fo violent a person, and so cruel a persecutor as Calvin, should believe and teach, that God would predestinate multitudes of his own creatures to eternal damnation ? Methinks this opinion seems, in a great degree at least, to proceed from the malignity of the man's temper. And perhaps the opinions of mankind in general are much more owing to their natural dispositions, than is commonly imagined.

This cruel persecution of Castalio had the sanction of Melanethon, Bucer, and Farrel. The first in a letter to Bullinger wrote, that the senate of Geneva had done right in putting the heretic to death, and wondered there were any who disapproved that severity. The second with great charity and tenderness said publicly in a sermon, that he ought to have his bowels pulled out, and be torn in pieces. The third (Farrel) as charitably and tenderly declared, that he des served to die ten thousand deaths.

[ocr errors][merged small]

f Chandler's Introduction, &c. p. 68,

CALVIN was undoubtedly a person of great parts and learning, and very zealous and useful in bringing about the reformation; but he scrupled not to accuse his brethren falsely, to prevaricate, act hypocritically, and invent and tell lyes, nay, to go fo far as to call God to witness to known falsehoods , and to persecute even to death. The reader shall be left to bestow upon this eminent reformer the epithet he may think such a behaviour and such aclions deserve. But surely this man, and those above-mentioned, evidently shew, what has been before observed respecting many of the ancient faints and fathers, -That men may have a great deal of religion in their heads, and little or none in their hearts.

This evil spirit of persecution, with which these eminent reformers were poffefsed, has generally prevailed also among the reformed churches. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to name one church or sect amongst protestants, that, having power, did not persecute their brethren. Switzerland, Holland, and our own country also will afford but too many instances of PROTESTANT

PERSECUTION.

The churches of Bafil, Bern, Zurich, and Scaffhausen, in the several letters written

by % Ibid. p. 63.

« PredošláPokračovať »