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he said, “Though priests were forbidden to marry for very good reasons, yet there were better reasons to allow it.'
They that have travelled in Popish countries, and observed their priests and monks, know, that generally speaking, they carry about them no marks of that austerity and mortification, which they pretend to. They look as fat, and generally fatter than other men; which is an infallible token that they fare as well,. if not better, than others do. You shall see as white and plump a hand under a monk's hood, as in any family of quality; and a foot as clean and neat many times in a sandal, as is to be found under a Spanish leather shoe, and silk stocking: nor is it any secret, that in the neighbourhood of convents there is as good diet prepared for the use of monks and nuns, as comes to gentlemen's tables. Nay, those very places of retirement, with their large gardens, adorned with walks and shades, and many times watered by pleasant fountains or murmuring streams, together with their idle way of living, seem to be accommodated to inspire them with amorous sentiments, against which their vows of chastity, and the rules of their order, are so far from being preservatives, that they only add fewel to their flames, and make them commit sin with the higher relish. So that, when they go abroad from their monasteries, they are like so many fed horses neighing, as the Scripture expresses it of the lustful Jews, after every woman they see; and, if they have not opportunity of giving vent to their lusts that way, they many times do it by other methods, which nature as well as religion forbids to name. This we may justly suppose to have been the motive that induced Emanuel de Saa in his Aphorisms to maintain that fornicalion, adultery, and sodomy did not make a priest irregular, whereas marriage did.
If besides their being forbidden to marry, we consider that they are provided for by the sweat of other men's faces, have no families to take care of, have no hard labour to mortify and keep them low, and are under no obligation to study hard, we shall find that there is no reason to wonder if they be more inclinable to venery than any other men whatsoever; and since by experience it is found to be so, forbidding them marriage may well be called a doctrine of devils, both as to its original and effects. That it comes from the devil, the father of lyes, and by consequence the author of every false doctrine, is not to be controverted, since the law of God and nature commands us to increase and multiply, and fits us for it; and that it might be in a regular way, God himself instituted marriage in Paradise, and the Apostle tells us, that marriage is honourable in
and that this doctrine is devilish in its effects, is evident from the horrid impurity of the Romish clergy above mentioned, and the mischiefs they do by it to particular persons, families, kingdoms, and commonwealths.
We come next to take a view of the cause, why the court of Rome does so stifly insist on the celibacy of their clergy, which will further demonstrate the reasonableness of gelding them, to prevent their infesting this nation.
Though Rome pretends to have changed her religion, and hath actually changed her form of government, by taking an ecclesiastical instead of a temporal head; yet it is visible she hath abated nothing of her ambition, to be mistress of the universe, and did in a great measure effect it by her papacy, to which so great a part of those, called Christian nations, submitted before the Reformation. So as Catiline, when Rome was heathen, thought it necessary to debauch the women, and then to carry on his conspiracy against the government by their interest, because of the influence lewd women had upon the loose rabble, and that they could either murder their husbands, or bring them over to his party. Rome, since it became antichristian, hath injoined celibacy upon their clergy, that they might be rendered the more apt debauch women, and to make use of their interest, in order to deprive the civil magistrates of their right, and to usurp the temporal, as well as the spiritual sword.
1. Because they know that, nature having inclined all men to propagate their species, their priests so, and so circumstantiated, as before mentioned, could not possibly refrain from the act, though they were not allowed to do it in a regular way; and therefore so many women as they debauch, wbich they knew by their circumstances and opportunity must needs be innumerable, 80 many proselytes they were sure of.
2. Because they knew that their clergy, being pampered and restrained from the use of the marriage-bed, must needs be more inclinable to venery than other men, and consequently more pleasing companions to insatiable women, and therefore the better fitted for the practice of creeping into houses, and leading captive silly women, laden with divers lusts, as the Apostle expresses it.
3. Because they knew that their clergy by this means having an opportunity of bringing to their lure a buxom wife, who perhaps has a sickly, weak, or absent husband, a green-sickness daughter, or a wanton maid; they would by the same means become masters in a manner of all that belonged to the family, have the command of their purses, know all their secrets, and improve all to the advantage of the see of Rome, which indulged them thus with a Mahomet's Paradise.
4. By restraining their clergy from marriage, they knew it would make them the more impetuous to satisfy their desires; and that they might have the better opportunity of doing it, they are injoined by their directory in confessing women to examine them most to the sins of the flesh, which they tell them they must discover on pain of damnation. This being a ready method to inflame them mutually, attended with secrecy, and the priests pretended power of giving a pardon, they knew it could not miss of the designed effect; they knew also that, so many of those silly women as they captivated, so many champions and advocates for their religion they should have in families, courts, or elsewhere ; for they might assure themselves that such women would not easily
part with a religion that did so much gratify their depraved ap. petites, by allowing them as many men, though not husbands, as they have priests or confessors. And therefore many of the wise Popish laicks have been of opinion themselves, that no man ought to confess a wife but her husband, and that a daughter ought to be confessed by none but her father.
5. Another, and that none of the least reasons why they forbid marriage to their ecclesiasticks, is, that, if they had wives or families, they could not so easily be sent on missions, and encompass sea and land to make proselytes. They would not be so ready, nor so fit, to engage in assassinations, conspiracies, and rebellions, against princes and states, at the commands of their superior ; nor could they, by their whoredoms, so much propagate the interest of the great harlot, for then their wives would be so many checks and spies upon them.
From all which it seems reasonable to infer, that the best way to rid this kingdom of Popish priests, and to prevent the growth of popery, is to make a law, that all of them who shall be discovered in England, except such as are thought fit to be allowed to foreign ambassadors, shall be gelded, as they are in Sweden; where, since the same was enacted into a law, and practised upon a few of them, that kingdom hath never been infested with Popish clergy, or plots, nor their women reproached with want of chastity.
This will appear the more reasonable, if we consider, that the havock, they are allowed to make of women's chastity, is one of the principal things that induces lustful fellows to take Romisk orders upon them, and to engage in desperate designs, to promote the interest of that church. This any man may easily be conVinced of, that will give himself leave to consider, what dangers other men of better principles, and who may have opportunities of satisfying nature by lawful marriage, do many times expose themselves to, for the satisfaction of their brutish passions; and how they frequently sacrifice honour, interest, and estate, with the peace of their familjes, and consciences, to their irregular appetites of that sort.
The case then being thus, let us consider what a deluge of uncleanness may be poured out upon this nation by one thousand, of two thousand, supposing there were no more of those Popisl eco clesiasticks in England at a time; especially since they look upon it to be their interest to debauch the nation, as one of the best expedients to advance popery, as was evident from the practice of the late reigns; and, therefore, it seems to be the natural way of obviating the growth of popery, to make the Romish ecclesiasticks uncapable of promoting it by that method which they like best, and find most successful.
It will still appear to be more reasonable, because they have vowed chastity, and, by their own confession, have no occasion for those seminary vessels; therefore, if they resolved to live as they have sworn to do, they would willingly unman themselves, as Origen
did; so far would they be from having any reason to complain, if others should do it for them.
It can no ways be reckoned cruel, since it may be done without hazard of life, as common experience shews, both in man and beast, and, by consequence, less to be complained of, than those laws which condemn them to the gallows. There have been more priests put to death in England, than ever were gelded in Sweden; yet experience teaches us, it hath not had near so good an effect. This is demonstrable from the many conspiracies against our princes and nation, that the priests have formed since the enacting of those laws, and from the great progress their idolatry makes among us at this very day; whereas Sweden, since the enacting of that law, bath been liable to none of these misfortunes. This law of castration occasioned a pleasant raillery upon the Jesuits at Brussels, by Queen Christina of Sweden. When those fathers came to congratulate her there upon her conversion, they entertained her, among other things, with the wonderful effects of their missions in the Indies, and other remote parts: that princess applauded their zeal, but, at the same time, rebuked their indifference for her country of Sweden, where their endeavours were so much needed: she pleasantly told them, “That, though the law of castration was a bar in their way, they ought not to prefer the keeping of those things, of which they stood not in need, and of which she hoped they made no use, to the advancement of the Catholick faith.' But this, though the severest proof in the world, has never been able to bring the Romish clergy to so much sense of their duty, as to renew their attempts of converting Sweden. This may serve to confirm the story told us of an old capuchin in the Menagiana, the works of the Abbot Menage, that he rejected the advice of his physicians to be cut for the stone, for fear it should make him impotent, though he was then eighty years of age.
Namque ad vivendum castrari calde recusat,
Et propter vitam vivendi perdere causam. The Romish clergy have so much accustomed themselves to those impure pleasures, that they will be sure to avoid those coun. tries where they must be rendered incapable of enjoying them. * If it be thought that the laws, already made, will be more effectual against them, there is no need of repealing them, though a new one of castration be added. Since that hath so good an effect in Sweden, we have no reason to despair of the like here. It is generally concluded, that our English women are as tempting as any in Europe, and are, therefore, as likely to prevail on a Romish priest to venture hanging, to enjoy their favours, as any others: but, if they be rendered incapable of it, the temptation will have no force ; and so the priests will save their lives, our women will preserve their chastity, and our religion and liberty will be freed from their attacks.
The only objection of weight, that can be made against it, is, that it may provoke our Popish allies, and other Popish princes, to treat Protestant ministers in the like manner. To which we answer, that, admitting it should be so, it is not half so bad, as to have them broke on the wheel, hanged, or sent to the gallies. In the next place, there is not the like reason for treating Protestant ministers in that manner, for they generally marry; or, if they be guilty of uncleanness, are thrust from the ministry. And, in the last place, there is no reason why we should have any more regard to our allies, or other popish princes, than they have to us. We hear, every day, of the cruel persecution in France and Germany, notwithstanding our mildness to the Papists here; so that our enacting a law of castration cannot possibly make them persecute the Protestants more severely than they do, but may rather put a stop to it.
And, indeed, it is to be wondered at, that the Protestants should be so much wanting in their zeal, and so little sensible of their own interest, when we have so warlike and zealous a Protestant prince upon the throne of Great Britain, as not to agree on methods for obliging the Papists to forbear that barbarous persecution of their brethren. Endeavours, of that nature, were used in some of those reigns, when popery had so much interest at court, that it seemed to have a share of the throne; therefore, it is strange, if nothing should be attempted towards it in this reign. To effect this, would, humanly speaking, seem to be no difficult work, since the naval strength of Europe is in the hands of the Protestants; and that the strength of Great Britain, and Holland, is now under the command of one prince, who is the hero of his age.
This our own safety seems to require, and charity and compassion to our brethren beyond sea does loudly call for ; but if for reasons of state, or otherwise, it be found impracticable for us to interpose in behalf of persecuted Protestants abroad, there is nothing can hinder us, if we be willing, to secure ourselves against popery at home, by putting the old laws in execution, or enacting
This seems to be absolutely necessary, if we consider, either the state of the Protestants beyond sea, or our own condition at home.
If we look abroad, we shall find the Protestant interest, which was once so considerable in France, quite ruined; and one of the chief causes of its being so, was the neglect of our English governments since Queen Elisabeth's time. We have done nothing effectual for them since then, which was a mighty oversight, both in respect of duty and interest. That it was our duty, will scarcely be denied by any man, that has any true impressions of the Protestant religion. That it was our interest, is demonstrable, because, had the Protestants of France been supported by our mediation and assistance, they would never have concurred in any ambitious design of their monarchs against the Protestant interest, or this. pation; and, perhaps, the fears of that court, that they might prove a curb upon their designs of that nature, was none of the least causes of their having ruined them by the most ungrate.