« EelmineJätka »
than Egyptian darkness of ignorance and delusion overspread Christendom*. It is by a revival of that opposition, and probably too by a revival of the persecution of its most zealous advocates, even unto death, that it must be purified, refined, and restored to its primitive beauty and simplicity. Philosophical Unbelievers, as well as intole1ant Christians, will proceed per fas atque nefas to carry a favourite point. Human nature is the same in all, however modified, and whatever our pretensions. The pure Gospel of CHRIST, too, never had more determined and well-furnished enemies in these latter ages, than Lewisthe Four
* In the middle age, such thick clouds of barbarity and ignorance had overwhelmed all schools of literature, that the maxim then current was--Quanto eris melior grammaticus, tanto pejor theologus. ESPENCOUS, who was one of themselves, acknowledges, that amongst their best authors, Græcè nosse suspectum fuerit, Hebraicè propriè hæreticum. ZoN, GLIUS and COLLINUS had like to have lost their lives for meddling with Greek and Hebrew. To give the derivation of the word Hallelujah racked the wits of whole universities. Doctors of Divinity were created, and pronounced most sufficient, who had never read the Bible, ERASMUS says, Divines of 80 years of age were all amazement at hearing any thing quoted from St. PAUL, and, that Preachers of 50 years standing, had never seen the New Testament. MUSCULUS assures us, that multi. tudes of them never saw the Scriptures in their lives. AMAMA tells us of the Archbishop of Mentz, that, opening the Bible, he said, In truth, I do not know what this book is, but I perceive that every thing in it is against us. Cardinal Horus's persuasion was, that it had been best for the Church, if no Gospel had been written.
The Clergy of the Church of Rome, all through Eure, in the last and present ages, though much superior to those in the middle centuries, are still in a situation truly deplorable. They have had, indeed, some very considerable individuals, especially among the Jesuits; but, taking thin as a body, there has been a most melancholy deficiency of literary attamments. The French Clergy seem to have excelled those of most other countries which profess the Romish faith.
Bishop BURNET's Travels will afford the reader considerable information upon the state of Popery in the close of the last century, and Dr. JOHN MOORE's View of Society and Manners, in Italy, will furnish us with a tolerable knowledge of the present state of it.
If it had not been for the Reformation, most of the riches of Christendom would at this day have been in the hands of the Clergy. The revenues of the present Archbishop of Mexico are said to be 70,000 pounds a year! The bishopric of Durham is said to be now 20,00a pounds a year; Winchester also is very considerable, and some others are
Fourteenth", BOLINGBROKE, and VOLTAIRE; never more true and powerful friends. The sword of the first, the philosophy
* It is calculated, that the Roman Catholi ́s, since the rise of persecution, in the seventh or eighth century, to the present time, have butchered, in their blind and diabolical zeal for the Church, no less than fifty mil. lions of Protestant Christians of different descriptions. Cursed be their anger for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruel. A righteous Providence is now taking vengeance on them for their horrible transactions! It is about 300 years since the Spaniards discovered America and the West Indies. The GOVERNOUR of the world has a quarrel with them also for their dreadful cruelties towards the poor unoffending inhabitants. Twelve millions, it is calculated, they butchered on the Continent, besides the many millions who fell in the Islands. Arise, O God, and plead the cause of these thy creatures!
And is England less guilty, with respect to her trade in human beings? In ages to come it will scarcely meet with credit, that we who boast qurselves of being the most free nation upon earth, the most religious people in Europe, and the purest and best constituted Church in the world, should have been capable of buying and selling annually, upon an average, 60,000 souls. If there were no other cause, this is enough to bring down the severest of the Divine judgements! No political motives whatever can justify the diabolical traffic. And is it not strange, that when the abolition of this trade had passed the 558 members of the House of Commons, it should not be able to pass the House of Lords, where are assembled 26 Shepherds and Bishops of souls? Blessings on the head of those few worthy Prelates who pleaded the cause of humanity, and stood forth as the advocates of universal freedom!
We have long enjoyed a large share both of civil and religious liberty. We have made our boast of this privilege, sometimes very insolently, insulting other nations, because they did not enjoy the same. And yet we have the impudence, the inhumanity, the cruelty, the horrible vil lany, to enslave 60,000 poor helpless souls every year! O England! "Canst thou, and honour'd with a Christian name,
"Buy what is woman-born, and feel no shame!
Without being carried away by the violence of any party whatever on this great question, I think, it is clear, upon every Christian principle, and on every principle of sound policy, that the importation of fresh slaves into the islands should be absolutely prohibited; and that every
philosophy of the second, and the ridicule of the third, have already had very considerable effects. The French
proper means should be used to meliorate the condition of those who are already imported. Much wisdom and experience would be necessary to enable any man to determine what means would be most proper for these purposes.
It is to be feared we have also a long and dreadful account to settle with DIVINE PROVIDENCE for our rapacious conduct in the East Indies. This wonderful country has at the same time enriched and ruined every nation which hath possessed it. So the Spaniards, by a just re-action of a righteous Providence, have been enriched and ruined, by the possession of Mexico and Peru. Every man who goes to the East Indies, with mercantile views, goes to make his fortune. This is frequently done, and too often in ways the most dishonourable. In the year 1769, thre millions of the natives of Bengal perished for want, through the avarice and rascality of a few Englishmen!
"Hast thou, though suckl'd at fair Freedom's breast,
For numerous re-actions of Providence, consult the 29th and 30th sections of SIMPSON's Key to the Prophecies.
By way of softening our resentment against the traders in human creatures, it may be here observed, that the most polished of the ancient nations were over-run with slaves of the most oppressed kind. Every person acquainted with profane history knows well the miserable condi ion of the Helots in Sparta.
Even in Athens, where slaves were treated with less inhumanity, they found their condition so intolerable, that 20,000 of them deserted during one of the wars in which they were engaged.
About the year 310 before CHRIST the small state of Attica alone contained 400,000 slaves.
Slavery greatly abounded in the Roman empire also. Among them, slaves were frequently mutilated in their youth, and abandoned in their old age. Some, whom age or infirmities had rendered unfit for labour, were conveyed to a small uninhabited island in the Tiber, where they were left to perish with famine. In short, all sorts of punishments, which the wickedness, waptonness, cruelty, or caprice of their owners
themselves, at this moment, though ready to overturn licaven and earth to banish the SAVIOUR Out of the world he created by his power, redeemed by his blood, and governs by his wisdom, are but tools in his hand, to bring forward his designs; to purge the Gospel of its contracted impurities: to manifest to mankind the truth of the prophetic Scriptures; to punish the kingdoms for their abominations; to rouse them from their long sleep of guilty security; to remove all the rubbish of superstition and human ordinances out of the way; and to bring in the reign of universal righteousness, when contending nations shall learn war no more. Much is to be done, and they are suitable instruments, admirably adapted to answer these purposes of DIVINE PROVIDENCE. They are made with this view. A virtuous nation would not be fit for the business. In the mean time, there is great reason to apprehend, there will be no small degree of human misery throughout the several countries professing Christianity, before these halcyon days come forward.
Itisa melancholy circumstance, that before the present French war broke out, there were fought, in little more than a century, an hundred bloody battles by land, besides what were fought by sea, between the several Christiangovernments of Europe. This state of things is awful. It is the pouring out the vials of God's wrath upon the churches. The time, however, is fast approaching, when these miseries shall have an end. The Beast shall be destroyed, and his dominion taken away. The several kingdoms which have supported him shall be overturned. False, superstitious, and idolatrous doctrines, rites, and ceremonies, shall all
could inflict, were frequently made use of. The Roman writers are full of horrid tales to this purpose.
Such has been the general practice of mankind in every age preceding the introduction of the Gospel! And it is the introduction and profession of that Gospel, which render the dealing in slaves so enormously wicked! A Christian buying and selling slaves! A man, who professes, that the leading law of his life, is, to do as he would be done by, spending his time, and amassing a fortune, in buying and selling his fellow-men!
"Is there not some chosen curse,
all be swept off, and the pure, simple, unadulterated Gospel of JESUS shall spring up. The present bloody war is of Gon. The French are GOD's rod, to scourge the nations of Europe for their unchristian abominations. They are God's besom, and intended to sweep the Christian church of its filth, and nonsense, and superstition, and idolatry. It is true they have no such intention. They mean no good to the Gospel. But when the LORD has accomplished his whole work upon the corrupt Christian nations and churches, then he will lay them aside, cause the indignation to cease, and pure undefiled religion shall spring up. This can never be till the rubbish is removed. The superstitions of Popery must first be done away. One generation, or perhaps two or three must first be swept off, and in the course of a few centuries, those, who shall then live, will see more peaceable, more happy, and more glorious days. But it will be long ere the nonsensical superstitious doctrines and practices of Antichrist can be rooted out of the several popish countries. And it is exceedingly probable that Infidelity must first become almost general among the several orders of the people, before pure, genuine, purged Christianity can prevail. We Protestants who live in England, and have never been abroad, can have no proper idea of the poor, low, silly, superstitious state, in which the minds of the common people are kept, by the mummery and art of the Priests, in all the catholic countries. In Naples, which contains only about 300,000 inhabitants, there are 300 churches, 120 convents of men, and 40 of women. The mother church is dedicated to St. JANUARIUS, and when any calamitous events arise, this St. JANUARIUS is applied to, his image is carried about in procession, and thousands of prayers are offered up to this supposed Patron, for deliverance*. Processions of a similar kind are extremely common at Rome, and all over Italy, and, indeed, all through the catholic world. At Madrid, the capital of Spain, the Virgin MARY, it seems, is the most favourite Protectress. Abundance of ceremonies are here continually carrying
See a droll account of this pretended Saint in Moore's View of · Society and Manners in Italy, vol. ii, p. 274-291.