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of the first epoch of the Church by the conversion of the Emperor Constantine; when Christianity began amply to revenge herself for the persecutions which she had endured under the Romans, by turning the secular arm not only against her enemies, both Jews and Pagans, but against those whom she falsely termed the schismatics of her own faith. The foundation of the beautiful religion of Christ, that “ His was not a kingdom of this world,” being once removed, a broadway (like the picture of Milton's Satanic bridge) was paved for the introduction of all the subsequent miseries that, under the plea of supporting the faith, were inflicted on the human
In the second and third epochs of the Church, from the fourth century to the pontificate of Gregory VII., Signor LLORENTE traces the progress of this intolerant spirit to its height of Popish power, when princes and bishops were summoned to its tribunal, and the yoke was fixed on the necks of nations struggling in vain to be free.
If the primitive system of the Church,' (observes the author,) ' with respect to heretics, had been pursued, as we might have expected it would, no Inquisition against heresy would ever have existed; while the number of heretics would have perhaps been less, and their duration short.
• The popes and bishops, however, of the fourth century, taking advantage of the conversion of the emperors to Christianity, began to pursue the same system of which they had accused the priests of the Pagans. Respectable for the sanctity of their lives, these pontiffs often carried too far the zeal which they bore towards the Catholic faith. In order to extirpate heresies, they judged it requisite to engage Constantine and his successors to pass civil laws against those who had embraced them; and this first step, taken by the Popes and bishops in contradiction to the doctrine of St. Paul, formed the principle and origin of the Inquisition. The custom of punishing a heretic by corporeal sufferings being once established, although he was a peaceable subject of the laws, it was soon found necessary to vary the inflictions, to augment the number, and to render them more or less severe, according to the disposition of each sovereign ; and to regulate the manner of pursuing the offenders, according to the circumstances of the case. It was more particularly wished to consider heresy as an offer.ce against the civil laws, which it was proper to punish by inflictions imposed by the Governor : the rest was a mere accessary, and a natural consequence of this measure.'
In the succeeding chapters, the author describes the terrific result which attended this unnatural combination of all that is tyrannical in power with all that is fanatical in religion; proceeding to give a summary, at the conclusion of each article, (into which the chapters are divided,) of lives
devoted, property wasted, and tortures inflicted, at the shrine of the monster of superstition: details rather resembling the wholesale returns of killed and wounded in a great battle, than an account of the persecution of particular sects and individuals. It is almost impossible, we are told, to determine the number of unfortunate Albigenses who perished in the flames from the year 1208, in which the Inquisition was first established.' - Under Gregory IX. the system was matured, and assumed the regular form of a tribunal, to which new powers and a more vigorous constitution were given. It was at this period that the reading of the Holy Scriptures was first prohibited: translations into the vulgar tongue were forbidden; and the laity were deprived of the use of those that had been already made. The Bible was now to become 6 a book sealed, and a fountain shut up;" while the people were summoned to attend at their respective tribunals of penitence, to abide the examinations and the pleasure of the priests.
Speaking of Walter, Bishop of Tournay, and one of the new commissioners of the Holy Office, Don Juan LLORENTE remarks ;
• In the same year, the legate held another council at Beziers; where he decreed a new law for the discovery and pursuit of heretics, divided into different chapters according to the antient custom. It was here ordained that every person should be obliged to arrest heretics, and that the priest should make out a list of the parishioners whom they suspected, and who were to be compelled to assist on Sundays and holydays in the ceremonies of the church, under pain of they themselves losing their benefices after having been once forewarned. Another article obliged reconciled heretics to bear two crosses on their exterior garments, one on the breast and another on the shoulder, to be made of yellow cloth, of three inches in breadth, two spans and a half high, and two from right to left. If there was a cowl belonging to the habit, this also was to bear a cross; and those who did not conform to these articles were to be considered as relapsed heretics, and de. prived of all their possessions.
• While these things took place in France, the heresy of the Albigenses penetrated even into the capital of the Catholic world. If the opinions which took their rise in the fourth century, about the time when Constantine embraced Christianity, had not acquired new force from age to age, until excuses were sought in the Evangelists to punish heretics with death, it is reasonable to suppose that Gregory IX. would have renounced the system of oppression which he had adopted, on seeing the little effect that had attended the extreme measures which he employed against the heretics. Though their resolution had led many thousands to perish on the funeral piles of France and Italy, he was so far from obtaining the object in view that these heretics, braving his authority to his face, carried their erroneous doctrines into the very heart of his capital; shewing by their temerity how little they regarded the anathema of the Church, and the horrible torments with which Gregory, as the head of that Church and the temporal sovereign of Rome, threatened to overwhelm them. The minds of men, unhappily distorted by prejudices, became incapable henceforwards of considering objects in their true point of view; and thus, far from changing the system, and forming themselves on the model of that spirit of truth and meekness which characterized the first three ages of Christianity, Gregory IX. fulminated a bull against the heretics in 1231, of which the Dominican St. Raymond has inserted the commencement in the chapter Excommunicamus, with the title de herelicis, in the collection of the decrees of the Pope; the rest has been copied by Rainaldi, with the statutes of the governors of Rome, approved by Gregory IX.
As the tenor of this bull may be imagined from the preceding account of the Pope, we shall dispense with extracting such a revolting and absurd picture of infatuated cruelty. It was speedily put in force: thousands were delivered over to the secular judge; and those who sheltered heretics in their houses were excommunicated, and held incapable of holding any public office. If they were judges, they could decide on no cause, and their past judgments were annulled : advocates could defend no action;and priests were degraded and despoiled of their benefices.
Under St. Louis the Inquisition of France was established, in the year 1233, after the Council of Toulouse, Narbonne, and Beziers had been held, which brought down such a series of sufferings on the wretched inhabitants. Gregory IX., however, soon extended it to Spain, where he found a ready coadjutor in Ferdinand III. ; who scrupled not to enrich his finances by denouncing the lives of his subjects, and sharing the spoil of their property. The manner in which the historian states this portion of his subject is rather singular, and savours of the dregs of superstition.
• It appears by a brief issued in 1236, addressed to the Bishop of Palencia, that the Pope proposed to introduce the Holy Office into Castile, and D. Lucas de Tui relates that St. Ferdinand himself carried the wood with which it was intended to burn the heretics : so much had the general spirit of the age corrupted the pure doctrines of the Gospel, even among men of the greatest piety, as were the holy kings Ferdinand of Castile and Louis IX. of France. These princes, the glory of the throne and of religion, ratified such acts, hurried away even by the excess of their virtue and their dent zeal in the cause of the faith. We are not informed, with any degree of certainty, of what passed in Portugal
at this period, but during the thirteenth century it appears that there was no established Inquisition except in the diocese of Tarragona, Barcelona, Urgel, Lerida, and Gerona ; which were indeed fiefs of southern France, where the institution was in all its vigour.'
How we are to reconcile some of the particular sentiments here expressed by the author towards the immaculate piety of such kings, with the general spirit of enlightened humanity in which his work is written, we are rather at a loss to explain. Nothing, however, can give us so convincing a proof of the degradation of intellect and feeling which fanaticism must have produced in the early ages, as thus to find its hateful poison still lurking unconsciously in the breasts of those who liave thrown off the trammels of the spirit by which their forefather's were bound. In the present work, as well as in those of Lavallée, Puigblanch, and other modern writers, who have come under our notice, passages occur which occasionally betray the traces of superstition lingering in enlightenei minds: but we trust that these will now soon be obliterated, and that a short time will render permanent those nobler principles of freedom which these individuals have lately so successfully advocated. The historian next proceeds to state the rapid progress of what he terms the antient tribunal of the Holy Office in Spain, its latitude of principle in the recognizance of supposed crimes, and the revolting nature of the punishments always arbitrarily imposed. Until the fifteenth century, the unfortunate people, designated as heretics, appear to have been the uniform objects of the vengeance of the Holy See: but, on the establishment of the modern Inquisition, under Ferdinand and Isabella, on a still grander scale, the Jews and the Moors equally experienced the terrors of its arm. The former became from their wealth, and the latter from hereditary hate, the victim of unrelenting persecution; and their sufferings, as here described, are truly appalling. Cut off by thousands, those who escaped rushed from the synagogue to the church, to seek a refuge in baptism from death: but, when' a few had been received, excuses were made on account of numbers, and the slaughter was renewed. It was at this period that papal authority approached the zenith of its power. Aulos da fé, and other executions, were not only usual as formerly, but were now considered as a duty and a pleasure, were made the object of public exhibitions, and were conducted with the pomp and admiration of a Roman triumph. A grand inquisitor-general was elected from the royal council of the Inquisition; subtribunals were created, with organic laws peculiar to each; and it was resolved to extend the new Inquisition to Arragon.
Such repugnance and terror were excited among the people, that, finding their efforts to resist were in vain, they assassinated the chief inquisitor, Arbuès d'Epila.
• From the declaration of some of the conspirators, particularly that of Vidal Uranso, (who gave a detailed account of the plot,) it appeared that the inquisitor wore a coat of mail under his clothes, and an iron casque over his round bonnet. At the moment when he was killed, he was in the act of kneeling against one of the pillars of the metropolitan church, where the pulpit of the priests is now placed; he had a light burning near him, and his staff of office was supported against the column. It was after eleven at night on the 15th of September, 1485, while the monks were chaunting evening prayers in the choir, that Juan d'Esperaindeo, approaching close to him, armed with a sword, struck him a violent blow on his left arm; and Vidal d'Uranso, being told by Juan d'Abadia to strike at his neck, (knowing that the inquisitor's head was armed,) smote him on the nape so violent a blow that it broke the clasp of the helmet on his head, and inflicted so deep a wound that the inquisitor died of it two days afterward.'
It is scarcely necessary to inform our readers that the inquisitor Arbués was immediately advanced to the rank of Saint, and beatified in the calendar; and that the conspirators suspected of heresy, and the revolting provinces which were unfavourable to the reception of the Inquisition, were subdued.
Appeals from the cruelty of the resident tribunals were soon made to the Pope at Rome, and acts of protection granted, which remained in force until the Inquisition purchased their repeal. Additional laws and regulations were also increasing the involved mysteries and Machiavelian policy of this state-machine, until it became the opinion of contemporary writers that the system was too involved and sanguinary to last.
• Juan de Mariana, a very exact writer, in his general History of Spain, avows that the manner in which offenders were punished appeared too atrocious to the inhabitants, and that they were astonished that children should be seen to suffer for the alleged crimes of their parents; that informers and witnesses should remain unknown, instead of being confronted with the accused; that the proceedings were not made public and conducted according to the rules of law and the custom of other tribunals; and that the punishment of death should be inflicted for matters of opinion: while there was a general complaint that none dared to speak their feelings openly, on account of the great number of spies who frequented the towns and villages, to give the Inquisition the first notice of every thing that occurred. Fears were depicted on the countenances of all, and the inhabitants were reduced to the forlorn condition of slaves.