Billeder på siden

Wolfingus Musculus, in his Common Pieces, cap. de Decalogo. "Our gospellers have grown so unlike themselves, that whereas under

Popery they were religious in their errors and superstition; now in “ the light of the known truth, they are more profane, light, vain and " temerarious, than the very children of this world.”—Explanat. 3. Præcepti, p. 85. edit. 1560.

The Catholic by inquiry discover no signs of amendment at the present period. He sees in this Protestant country the prisons filled with criminals, the gaol deliveries exhibiting scenes of immorality and vice unknown in Catholic countries, where religion is duly practised; he sees hundreds rushing into the presence of their God in horrible fits of despair, with their hands imbrued with their own blood; and with such scenes before him, with a knowledge of the consolations derived from the sacraments of the Catholic church, whether in plenty or misery, can it be a subject of wonder that no good Catholic thinks of turning Protestant, while the thinking Protestants are daily coming over to the Catholic faith? Fox has noticed the miserable end of the Roman emperors who persecuted the primitive Christians, but he does not tell us of the untimely fate of the principal reformers of the sixteenth century. The death of Christ's apostles and their successors in fence of the faith they taught is to this day looked upon as a glorious mark of their divine commission, for nothing but the grace of God could enable men to withstand such tortures as they endured, or maintain such invincible courage in support of the divinity of Jesus Christ. How unlike was the conduct and end of the sham apostles of Protestantism. Luther, after a life of intemperance and lust, was suddenly taken ill after supper, and died in the night, in the year 1546.Zuinglius was killed in battle, fighting against the Catholic cantons in Switzerland, in 1530. Ecolampadius was not long after found dead in his bed, killed, as Luther writes in one of his works, by the devil

. L, de Missa Privita et Unct. Sacerd. t. vii, fol. 230. Calvin died in the year 1504 of a dreadful complication of distempers, which his friend Beza

says he bore with Christian fortitude, but the Catholics and some Protestants say, he died in despair, blaspheming God, and invoking devils. This is related by Bolseek in his Life of Calvin ; Schlusselberg, a learned Lutheran, in Theolog. Calv. printed in 1594 ; and Herennius a Calvinist preacher, who states he was himself aneye-witness of Calvin's tragical end; and that he died in despair of a most filthy stinking disease. See Libello de vita Calvini.

The reader will now be able to estimate the manner pursued by the reformers to unmask Popery, as Catholicism is termed, and the vigour with which they prosecuted their doctrines. We have disclosed the outrages committed by the mad fanatics, in the name of religion ; and we have shewn the mode followed by the Catholic divines to reclaim them from their error and draw them back to the path of truth. We have shewn that deliberation was attempted in the diet at Worms in 1521 ; at Nuremberg in 1524; at Spire in 1526 and 1529, but to no effect; that a Protestant profession of faith was announced in 1530, and a Protestant league the year following; that the council of Trent assembled in 1545, and it now remains for us to state, that it was not till the year 1546 that Charles declared war against the confederate princes, not however as Protestants or heretics, but as rebels and enemies to the empire. Thus was civil war enkindled in the very heart of Germany, which continued nearly six years, when both parties agreed to sheath the sword, and restore peace to the country, Whatever violences may have taken place, we think it is clear that they cannot be fairly classed as religious persecutions, and we have made it as clear as the sun at noon day, that the reformed or Protestant party were the aggressors; that the Catholics acted on their own defence ; and, therefore, whatever disasters might befall the Protestanty party, they arose out of their own misconduct.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


“ SECTION V. “ PERSECUTIONS IN THE NETHERLANDS. This section is prefaced with the following passage :-" The glo“rious light of the gospel spreading over every part of the continent, “ and chasing thence the dark night of ignorance, increased the alarm “ of the pope, who urged the emperor to commence a persecution

against the Protestants; when many thousands fell martyrs to super" stitious malice and barbarous bigotry.”—Fox then proceeds to detail the pretended martyrdoms of a pious widow, named Wendeli

nuta,” two Protestant clergymen, a minister of the reformed church, and many others, for offences so trivial as to be utterly unworthy of credit. He then goes on, “ In Flanders, about 1543 and 1544, the per“secution raged with great violence. Many were doomed to perpetual

imprisonment, others to perpetual banishment; but the greater num“ber were put to death either by hanging, drowning, burning, the

rack, or burying alive,” and concludes the section with an account of the assassination of the prince of Orange. As usual we have no authorities, nor are we told which prince of Orange was assassinated, nor when, nor where. Such is the method adopted by the “few plain “Christians” to diffuse among their“ fellow believers, a knowledge " and love of the genuine principles of Christianity.” They do not, we imagine, expect their fellow-believers to enter into an inquiry, for if they did they would at least have made some greater shew of authority for their assertions. We hope however that these fellow-believers will in. .quire, and to assist them in the course of their research, we will here furnish them with an extract or two from Dr. Heylin's History of the Presbyterians, treating of the period chosen by the few plain Christians” for the time of persecution. The time selected by Fox or his editors is between 1543 and 1544, when, he says, “ the persecution

raged with great violence.” We are at a loss to know what he means by the term persecution, for the doctrines preached by the reformers did not inculcate submission to authority, and the bearing of injuries for conscience sake, but encouraged sedition, pillage and murder, as we shall see presently. The resistance therefore made to the turbulent and illegal proceedings of these sham reformers of religion could by no means be called a persecution, but a measure of self-defence to preserve the already established authorities, ecclesiastical and civil, both of which the then New Lights meditated the destruction. It does not appear from Dr. Heylin that a persecution was commenced at that time by the Catholics, but, he states that measures were taken, as we before


observed, to restrain the "rascal rabble," as he calls them, from violating the laws, to which they were instigated by the Calvinistic preach

This was done by the introduction of the Spanish inquisition, but the edict for erecting this tribunal in the Netherlands bears date the 20th of April, 1548, which is four years after the latest date named by the Book of Martyrs. The erection of this inquisition furnished an opportunity to the leaders of the reformers to declaim against the authority of the pope, and raise a false cry about liberty. The Calvinists sent two preachers at the same time to two of the chief cities in French Flanders, namely, Valenciennes and Hainault, in the first of which the preacher collected after his sermon, a mob of one hundred people, and in the latter, the missioner had no fewer than six hundred, who paraded the streets singing David's psalms, according to the custom of the Hugonobs of France. To suppress these proceedings, the governor seized the two preachers and put them into prison; on this the people threatened the judges if any harm was done to them. At the end of seven months, however, they were tried and sentenced to be burned; but when they were brought out for execution, “ there presently arose a “ tumult so fierce and violent," writes Dr. Heylin, " that the officers “ were compelled to take back their prisoners, and to provide for their

own safety, for fear of being stoned to death by the furious multi“ tude. But the people having once begun, would not so give over ; " for being inflamed by one of their company, whom they had set up “ in the midst of the market-place to preach an extemporary sermon, " two thousand of them ran tumultuously to the common goal, force

open the doors, knock off the shackles of the prisoners, restore them “ to their former liberty, and so disperse themselves to their several

dwellings. The news of which sedition being brought to Brussels, the governess despatcheth several companies of foot, and some troops of

horse, with orders to the marquis of Bergen to appease the disorders '" in the town. But they found all things there so quiet, that there was “ little need of any other sword than the sword of justice; by which

some of the chief ring-leaders of the tumult, and one of their preachers

(who had unhappily fallen into their hands) were sentenced to that “punishment which they had deserved."

This riotous conduct was followed by tumult after tumult, which induced the king to give orders to his sister (the governess of the province) to see his father's edicts severely executed. This order was resisted by some of the lords of the council, who, in the end, entered into a covenant similar to the famous Scotch covenant, which engaged to extirpate Popery, Prelacy, and so forth, with fire and the sword, under the hypocritical and blasphemous prétence of promoting true religion and God's glory. This league was ratified and sworn to at a drunken carousal by, the historian writes, a set of “men of dissolute lives and broken fortunes, or in plain English, rogues and beggars.By such missioners was “the glorious light of the gospel” spread over every part of the continent. Things being thus prepared, the next proceeding was to spread false reports, and issue counterfeit papers against the old religion and the government. Having thus excited the feelings of the people, and brought matters to a considerable height, the next object in view was to embroil the country in a civil war. To accomplish this end, Dr. Heylin writes, “With these French preachers and Calvi“niap minister, there entered several emissaries sent from the admiral

Colligni, the prince of Conde, and others of the heads of the Hugo« not faction, whose interest it was to embroil the Netherlands, that “they themselves might fear no such danger on that side, as formerly

they had received. And these men played their parts so well, that a confused rabble of the common people, furnished with staves, hatchets, “hammers and ropes, and armed with some few swords and muskets,

upon the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, fell violently “ into the towns and villages about St. Omers, one of the chief cities of

Artois, forced open all the doors of churches and religious houses, if

they found them shut; demolished all the altars, and defaced the “ shrines, and broke the images in pieces, not sparing any thing which “ in the piety of their ancestors was accounted sacred. Encouraged by “ which good success, they drive on to Ipres, a town of Flanders, where “ they were sure to find a party prepared for them, by which the gates “ of the city were set open to give them entrance: no sooner were they “ entered, but they went directly to the cathedral, (their multitudes “ being much increased all the way they came) where presently they “ fell to work ; some beating down the images with staves and ham

mers, some pulling down the statues of our Saviour with ropes and ladders;

others defacing pulpits, altars and sacred ornaments, burning the books, and stealing the consecrated plate. With the same fury they proceeded to the burning of the bishop's library, and the destroying of all churches and religious houses within that city; in which they found as little opposition from the hands of that magistrate, as “ if they had been hired and employed in that service by the common “ counsel. About the same time, that is to say, on the morrow after the “ Assumption, another party being of the same affections, and taking “ both example and encouragement from this impunity, fall into Menim, “Commines, Vervich, and other towns upon the Lys : in all which

they committed the like impious outrages, carrying away with them

plate and vestments, and all other consecrated things which were “ easily portable ; but burning or destroying what they could not

carry. The like they would have done also at the town of Seclin, “ but that the people rose in arms, assaulted them, and drove them

back, not without great slaughter of that mutinous and seditious rabble, and some loss of themselves." Here is a specimen of the means by which “the glorious light of the

gospel" was spread over every part of the continent,” that ought to make the “ few plain Christians," who have united to “diffuse among “ their fellow-believers a knowledge and love of the genuine principles of Christianity,” redden with shame, if they have any in them. The same scenes were exhibited at Antwerp, After a sermon preached to them in a field, the rabble reformers brought their preacher into the city in triumph on horseback, attended by a guard both of horse and foot. To quell these tumultuous proceedings, the governess sent the count of Megan and afterwards the prince of Orange, who treacherously betrayed their trust, and sided with the reformers. Encouraged secretly by these traitors, they followed a procession of the clergy in honour of the blessed Virgin on the anniversary of her Assumption into

[ocr errors]

the cathedral, “where," Dr. Heylin says, “they first fall to words, and “ from words to blows, and from blows to wounds; to the great scan“dal of religion, and the unpardonable profanation of that holy place.” This historian then goes on, “ But this was only an essay of the fol

lowing mischief; for on the same day se'nnight, being not only more numerous, but better armed, they flocked to the same church at the

evening service; which being ended, they compel the people to for“ sake the place, and possess themselves of it. Having made fast the

doors for fear that some disturbance might break in upon them, one of them begins to sing a psalın in Marot's metre, wherein he is fol“ lowed by the rest; that such a holy exercise as they were resolved

on, might not be undertook without some preparation: which fit of devotion being over, they first pulled down a massy image of the

Virgin, afterwards the image of Christ, and such other saints as they “ found advanced there, on their several pedestals; some of them tread

ing them under foot, some thrusting swords into their sides, and others haggling off their heads with bills and axes: in which work as

many were employed in most parts of the church, so others got upon " the altars, cast down the sacred plate, defaced the pictures, and disfi

gured the paintings on the walls, whilst some with ladders climbed " the organs, which they broke in pieces; and others, with like horri“ ble violence, destroyed the images in the windows, or rather broke " the windows in despight of the images. The consecrated Host they took out of the pixes, and trampled under their feet; carouse such “wine as they brought with them in the sacred chalices, and greased “ their shoes with that chrysome, or anointing oil, which was prepared for some ceremonies to be used at baptism, and in the visiting of the “ sick. And this they did with such despatch, that one of the fairest

churches in Europe, richly adorned with statues and massy images of “brass and marble, and having in it no fewer than seventy altars, was

in the space of four hours defaced so miserably, that there was nothing to be seen in it of the former beauties. Proud of which fortunate

sụccess, they broke into all other churches of that city, where they " acted over the same spoils and outrageous insolencies; and after“wards forcing open the doors of monasteries and religious houses, “ they carried away all their consecrated furniture, entered their store

kouses, seized on their meat, and drank off their wine; and took from “ them all their money, plate, and wardrobes, both sacred and civil, ņot

sparing any public library wheresoever they came; a ruin not to be repaired but with infinite sums : the havoc which they made in the great church only, being valued at four hundred thousand ducats by

indifferent rates. The like outrages they committed at the same time “ in Gaunt and Oudenard, and all the villages about them; the seve

ralties whereof would make up a volume: let it suffice, that in the

province of Flanders only, no fewer than four hundred consecrated “ places were in the space of ten days thus defaced, and some of them “ burnt down to the very ground.”

When the news of these intolerable outrages reached the seat of government at Brussels, orders were given, as a matter of course, to repress them; but the meek and pious spreaders of “the glorious light " of the gospel" intimated, that if any of the rebels were molested or

[ocr errors]


« ForrigeFortsæt »