« FöregåendeFortsätt »
SIR E. SANDYS'S PICTURE OF POPERY.
things soever can prevail with any man, either for himself to pursue, or, at least, to love, reverence, or honour in another (for, even in this, human nature receives high satisfaction); the same is found in the Catholic system; not, as in other places of the world, by casualty, blended without order, and of necessity, but, in a great measure, sorted into several professions, countenanced with reputation, honoured with prerogatives, facilitated with provisions and yearly maintenance; and either (as the better things) advanced with expectation of reward, or borne with (how bad soever) with sweet and silent permission.
"What pomp, what riot (does their religion not permit) to their cardinals? what severity of life is comparable to their hermits and capuchins? who wealthier than their prelates? who poorer than their mendicants? On the one side of the street you see a cloyster of virgins, on the other a stye of courtezans with public toleration! To-day, all are in masks, with every looseness and foolery; to-morrow, all in processions, whipping themselves till the blood follows! On one door you find an excommunication, casting all transgressors to hell; on another, a jubilee, or full discharge from all transgressions.
"Who will you find more learned, in every kind of science, than their Jesuits? what more ignorant than their parish-priests? where is the prince so able to prefer his servants and followers as the pope, and in so great a multitude? who so able to take deeper and more prompt revenge on his enemies? where shall we find pride equal to his, making kings to kiss his slipper? what humility can equal his, shriving himself daily, on his knees, to an ordinary priest? who more procrastinating in the dispatch of business with the greatest? who more accessible in giving audience to the meanest? where, in the world, shall we find greater rigour in exacting an observance of the laws of the church? where less care or conscience about the commandments of God? To taste flesh on a Friday, when suspicion might fasten, affords matter for the inquisition! whereas, on the other side, the Sabbath, or Sunday, is one of their greatest market days.
"To conclude: never was state or government in the world so strangely compacted of infinite contrarieties, all tending to entertain (or adapt themselves to) the several humours (or diversified inclinations) of men, so as to promote whatever kind of effect they shall desire: where rigour and remissness, cruelty and
gentleness, are so combined, that, with neglect of the church, to stir any thing is an unpardonable sin; whereas, connected with dutiful obedience, and by intercession for her allowance, with the required attendance on her pleasure, there is no law of God or nature so sacred, but, in one way or other, they can find means to dispense with, or, at any rate, permit the breach of it, by connivance and without disturbance."-Europa Speculum.
This extract exhibits what I take to be a faithful picture of Popery, Catholicism, or the Anti-christian kingdom, not, altogether, as it existed at the end of the eighth century, the epoch at which we are arrived in this course of Lectures, but rather as it shone forth a few centuries after, when matured and perfected by the consummate skill of Pope Innocent III., and in which state it continued from his day to that of Leo X., when Luther commenced the Reformation. But I give it in this place, in order that you may have the hideous monster before you, and be enabled to compare its features with the account given of it in the apostolic writings. If you ask me what was wanting at the conclusion of the eighth century to complete its symmetry, and render it the apocalyptic beast-or Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth-I answer, its interdicts; its excommunications; and, above all, the inquisition; or, as they term it, the holy office. This last and most fearful instrument of destruction was not called into existence until the thirteenth century; but the whole will come before us in due course, should we be spared to continue the subject.
In drawing the present lecture to a close, let me entreat you to look back to what Christianity was at the beginning, when propagated by its great Author and his apostles; what it is as you find it still in the writings of the holy evangelists and apostles; and, when you have filled your minds with just views of it, then bring it into comparison with the system of Popery or Catholicism, as faintly pourtrayed in this Lecture: look at the grace and truth, the benevolence, philanthropy and compassion, by which one is characterized, and the cruelty, malignity, intolerance, &c., of the other, and you will be enabled to say, with an unfaultering tongue, as certainly as one of these systems is from heaven, so surely is the other from beneath.
END OF VOL. I.
J. Haddon, Printer, Castle Street, Finsbury.