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them; and in closing them upon it, she pierced it through in a hundred places. To the living victim it would have proved instantly the embrace of death.
But the consummation of the tragic scenes of the Inquisition is in the auto da fe. On this occasion which always occurs on the Sabbath, and usually in connexion with some great festival, the prisoners are brought forth from their dungeons to have their doom finally decided. Each one knows what his doom is to be by the manner in which he is habited ;—those who are absolved as innocent, wearing black coats without sleeves ;-those who have narrowly escaped being burnt, having upon their black coats flames painted, with their points turned downwards;—those who are first to be strangled and then burnt, having flames on their habits pointing upwards ;--and those who are to be burnt alive, having, besides the flames pointing upwards, their own picture painted on their breasts, surrounded with the pictures of dogs, and serpents and devils. A procession is now formed consisting of the Dominican friars, the prisoners, and after them, the familiars and inquisitors, and moves with the utmost solemnity to a scaffold large enough to accommodate several thousand people. If a prisoner on the way ventures to speak, he does it at the peril of being instantly gagged. On their arrival at the scaffold, there is delivered a miserable declamation called a sermon, made up of the most lofty encomiums of the Holy Inquisition, and of the most bitter invectives against hereticks; after which, a priest recites the final sentence of those who are to suffer death, and delivers them over to the civil magistrate; at the same time begging, with the hypocrisy of an arch fiend, that the secular arm may not touch their blood or put their lives in jeopardy! Being now in the hands of the civil magistrate, they are loaded
with chains, and carried first to the secular jail; thence to the judge to receive their sentence; and thence to the place of execution. But the closing scene I cannot at, tempt to describe. I will only say that you gain no adequate idea of it by being told that they are burnt at the stake. Pagan Rome burnt Christians; but she never did it with that refinement of torture which completes the horrible tragedy of the Inquisition.
You will readily infer from the statements already made, that the desolation occasioned by the Romish church in different ages is so vast and varied, that it scarcely admits of being accurately estimated. According to the best authorities, however, she has been instrumental of the destruction of a million and a half of Moors in Spain; nearly two millions of Jews in Europe; fifteen millions of Indians in Mexico and South America, including the islands of Cuba and St. Domingo; and about fifty millions of Protestants, in Europe and the East Indies; making in the whole the appalling number of sixty-eight millions and five hundred thousand! Was there not a fearful significance in that part of John's vision which represents her as the woman in scarlet on the scarlet coloured beast ?”
Turn now to those countries in which Protestant Christianity has prevailed, and thus let your mind be relieved from the horrours you have been contemplating. I well know that they are not what the gospel of Christ requires them to be, and that they are chargeable in no small degree, with open and gross immoralities; and the reason of this is to be found chiefly in the fact that men, under the influence of passion and appetite, will not always be restrained from sin even by the force of their own convictions; though we are not to lose sight of another fact-viz, that in no country does Protestant:
ism exist but in connexion with other systems. But while I acknowledge that the Protestant faith has by no means done for the world all that could be desired, I maintain,--and I appeal confidently to facts to justify me in doing so, that, wherever this system has prevailed, and just in proportion as it has prevailed, it has served to purify and elevate not only individual but national character. Under its influence man has learned to respect the rights of his fellow man; and instead of plunging a dagger into his brother's bosom because he has ventured to think for himself, he has acknowledged his right to do so, and bid him sit unmolested under his own vine and fig tree. And while there belongs to Protestantism a spirit of due toleration in respect to religious opinions, who can deny that its general influence has been on the side of a scriptural morality ? Cast your eye over the map of the world, and tell me where the Christian virtues are most eminently displayed; where the spirit of benevolence comes out in the full strength of its benign attractions; where publick opinion most effectually brands the guilty even though he may escape the jail or the gallows :-I ask you, is it not in those countries where the Reformed religion prevails in its greatest purity? Is it not in our own land, and the land of our fathers' sepulchres?
I am aware that the statement which I have made may appear to some to need qualification, on account of certain acknowledged cruelties in which Protestants of former ages have been concerned. I am asked-and it is a question which has been stereotyped for the last two centuries-whether Calvin did not consent to the doom of the unhappy Servetus ? I am asked again, whether the garments of Protestant Britain have not been stained with blood? And yet again, whether the Fathers of
New England,—the very men whose memories we cherish most gratefully-did not evince towards some members of the Society of Friends a spirit of bitter persecution? To all these inquiries I unhesitatingly answer, Yes; and pronounce the conduct in each case as utterly at war, not only with the precepts of religion, but with the spirit of humanity. But you cannot reflect a moment without perceiving that, though these were the doings of Protestants, yet the Romish church fairly comes in for a share in the guilt. For who enacted the bloody law under which Servetus suffered? The Romanists. Who enacted the intolerant laws of England which took effect in the wanton murder of many of her worthiest sons ? They were enacted indeed by royal authority, but that authority was under the controul of the Romish church. And how came our New England Fathers to evince toward the Quakers a persecuting spirit, when they had themselves just fled before the hand of persecution? It was because the spirit of Romanism lingered after its institutions had passed away: it had so incorporated itself with the character of the age that it was not strange that these great and good men should have been in a measure imbued with it ;—-nay, it would have been an anomaly in human experience, if it had been otherwise ;—if even their own sufferings had altogether purified them from the same spirit by which their sufferings had been inflicted.
I say then, the Romish church is actually responsible, in a great measure, for the persecutions in which Protestants have been engaged. And she still manifests a persecuting spirit as she has opportunity: indeed she is obliged by her very canons to do so; and she cannot repeal one of her cruel edicts, or repent of one of her cruel deeds, but she yields up her infallibility, and with it her
very existence. Protestant Christianity knows no doctrines or precepts which tend to foster this unhallowed spirit; and if a Protestant actually indulges it, he makes war upon all the principles of his own system. There is no branch of the Reformed church now that engages to any considerable extent in persecution; and the bloody scenes of former days are remembered only with reprobation and horrour.
I have now finished the contrast which I proposed between Protestant Christianity and Romanism: but I cannot dismiss the subject without asking your attention to two or three remarks which the view we have taken of it obviously suggests.
1. The first is that Romanism is, in many respects, closely allied to Paganism.
This remark applies equally to the general constitution and tendencies of the system, and to its more particular ceremonies and doctrines. If Paganism appeals chiefly to the imagination and the senses, and has little to do with the understanding and the heart, who can resist the impression that Romanism partakes in no small degree of the same character? If Paganism is essentially a system of superstition, and recognises idolatry as one of its primary elements, what think you of Romanism, in view of the homage which it enjoins to saints, images and relicks of the dead? If the streets of Pagan Rome were illuminated at night by the burning of the early Christians, the dungeons of Papal Rome have resounded night and day with the groans of later Christians, while the engines of torture have been kept in constant and horrible operation. And to be more particular I may ask, whence was derived the custom ordained by Gregory VII. of kissing the feet of the Pope, but from the Pagans who kissed the feet of their emperors? Whence came