Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

nations to seek refuge under the reign of despotism.

Should it still be alleged, notwithstand

that form which shall be exhibited to you by us. But lest your pernicious and grievous error and transgression should go altogether unpunished, and that yourself may be rendered more cautious for the future, and that you may be an example to others, that they may abstain from such crimes, we decree, that the Book of Dia. logues of Galileo shall be prohibited by a public edict, and we condemn you formally to be imprisoned in this holy office for a time determinable at our pleasure; and we enjoin you, under the title of a voluntary penance, that for the three years ensuing you repeat, once in a week, the seven penitential psalms; reserving to ourselves the power of moderating, changing, or wholly, or in part, removing the aforesaid penalties and penances. Thus we the underwritten cardinals pronounce." Subscribed by seven cardinal inquisitors.

In consequence of the above sentence, Galileo, reduced to his knees before the holy tribunal, made his abjuration; in which, among other particulars, he says, “ Having been juridically enjoined and commanded, wholly to forsake that false opinion, which holds that the sun is the centre and immoveable; and having since written and printed a book, in which I treat of the said doctrine already condemned, and produce arguments of great force in favour of it, without giving any answer to them, I am now judged by the holy office as vehe. mently suspected of heresy, viz. that I have held and

ing all that has been advanced upon this topic, that every man, ruler as well as subject, must be directed by his own conscience; let it be observed on the other side, that when conscience is erroneous, all that is done in obedience to it must partake of its viciousness and obliquity. It is possible the magistrate may seriously think it his duty to use force in matters of religion; yet, if his persuasion rests upon insufficient grounds, such an application of force would be wrong and unjustifiable. It is not enough for a religious intolerant to plead conscience; it remains for him still to inquire how he came by his conscience; whether it was formed corruptly or negligently, or upon the principles of piety and charity, after due examination and circumspection. By proceeding in this manner, he may be led to discover, that his conscience is little better than a misguided zeal, or perhaps a mere illusion of superstition or enthusiasm, that has served for a pretext to his pride, or some worldly interest; and the more his place in society is consequential and elevated, the more is such an inquiry of importance both to himself and others.

believed that the sun is the centre of the world, and that the earth is not the centre, nor at rest. Being therefore willing to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of every catholic christian, this vehement suspicion legally conceived against me, I do, with a sincere heart and faith unfeigned, abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and in general every other error and sect contrary to the aforesaid holy church.”

After some other penitential confessions and protestations, he thus concludes : “ I the abovesaid Galileo, have abjured, sworn, promised, and obliged myself as above; and in testimony thereof have subscribed, with my own proper hand, this present record of my abjuration, and have repeated it word for word at Rome, in the convent of Minerva, the 22d day of July, 1633.”

No sooner however was he set at liberty, than seized (as we are told) with remorse, he cast his eyes upon the ground, and, striking it with his foot, said indignantly, (E pur si move) it moves notwithstanding. See Querelles literaires, tom. iii. p. 41-52; and An Antidote against Popery, by John Marchant, London, 1756, p. 110-17.

SECTION IV.

Of an Establishment together with a Toleration,

and this either complete, or partial.

The meaning of the terms in the title of this section have been before explained. It has been said, that by an establishment is understood, an order of men set apart to attend on the offices of religion; a legal provision for their maintenance; and a restriction of this provision to teachers of a certain description : That by a complete tole. ration is meant, the undisturbed profession and exercise of religion, together with admission to every privilege and office belonging to the civil government; and by a partial toleration, the same full enjoyment of religious liberty, but with restrictions in respect to civil privileges and advantages..

After this brief repetition in order to avoid ambiguities) we proceed to consider, first, in what manner an establishment, in

conjunction with a complete or partial toleration, bears upon the two great ends to which it ought to be directed, namely, public instruction, and public union and tranquillity; and shall then take a short view of the sentiments of pagans and Roman catholics, respecting the expediency of the system here in question.

Under a general toleration without an establishment, there is evident danger, lest some parts of a country should be left without any public administration of religion at all. If we look around us in our own land, where such an administration is legally provided, we find numbers, especially in the upper ranks of life, who statedly withdraw themselves from it, and many others who attend with much indifference; so that, were no such provision made, we have little reason to expect, that either the one or the other would supply the deficiency; and those who were of a better mind, would probably, at least in some places, be too few and inconsiderable to provide for themselves. Hence, in such circumstances, the public worship of God would be in danger of a total ex

« FöregåendeFortsätt »