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absurd judgement is, after all the attempts of the Author to modify and soften the opinions of the Bishop of Hippo, conspicuous in the statements and conclusions which he has furnished.
Loosened from his bondage to the Fathers, an unhappy tai imposed upon himn as a Romanist, the Author regains possession of his Christian principles, and in the third chapter of the work, enters on a train of argument worthy of a highly endowed and virtuous mind. A noble eloquence breathes throughout this part of the composition, and gives to truth the animation that moves it to the conscience and the heart. The proposition which heads this admirable chapter, is universal in its application, and our readers will not fail to discern its direction beyond the strict purpose of its present introduction: the sentiments which constitute its elucidation are of irresistible strength in teaching men the wickedness and folly of employing coercion in the service of Religion. The Inquisition, far from contributing to the preserYation of the true belief, is only suited to encourage hypocrisy and excite the people to rebellion.
• Even if meekness were not one of the characteristic virtues of the Christian religion, it nevertheless ought to be esteenied as the best means of extending and preserving it in all its parity. Meekness tends to aid truth in her conquests; and whenever both act in due concert, scarcely any understanding can' resist their united power. He who possesses the celestial gift of sweetness; makes the universe his own, for no heart is 'so jealous of its freedom and independence as not to become its tributary. It is in this sense I understand the hap piness Jesus Christ promises to the “ mild of heart,” when he says,
they shall possess the land," as a reward for this divine quality. The tranquillity with which they enjoy the fruits of their virtue, is equal to the facility with which they acquired it; for there is no one 60 unjust as to disturb it, as David, in former times, gave his assurance. Monarchs themselves, according to Seneca, make their thrones more secure when they found their empire on the principles of mildness.
• Quisquis placide potens,
Vel læla felix nemoris Elysii loca.' • And if this observation holds good in all cases in which it is intended to conciliate the affections and opinions of mankind in favour of truth and justice, will it not have a double effect in maintaining the belief of religion? It is therefore useless, or at least difficult for the understanding, that is the most independent part of man, to yield to the impressions it is attempted to excite in favour of the faith, if, at the same time, its natural companion, the will, is ruffled by irritations In this case the victory would be ideal, and the insensate man who should Aatter himself with thus having obtained one, would reap no
other fruits from his labour than a satisfaction equally vain and criminal. In welcome let the Mahometan professors of divinity boast their ignominious right of forcibly sustaining and propagating their tenets in default of prudence and reason ; let the Arabs, who intruded into Europe, ruined Greece, and trampled science under their feet, establish the credibility of their dogmas by means of the scimitar; but the ministers of a religion like that of Jesus Christ, founded on enlightened principles and requiring a rational worship, can never promote its respect and defence by measures of violence and rigour.* Can any enlightened Spaniard be found to exist who, jealous of the glory of his nation, which having at length reached the happy day when the chains of despotism are broken asunder and the voice of truth is heard among us, shall fail to cry out against a tribunal that wears the cross of Jesus Christ accompanied by the sword of Nero as the boasted emblem of its authority? Is there any one so prejudiced as not to discover, on the slightest reflection, at a tribunal which presents the monstrous aspect of meekness supported by terror, far from doing honour to the Gospel and human reason, only deserves to find a place in the book of Mahometan precepts.' Vol. I. pp. 80–83. 6
Strange, indeed, are the contradictions discovered in the proceedings of this tribunal. It has subjected culprits to an examination under torture, in order to wrest from their mouths the truth with regard to their belief: and, at the same time, has placed them on the scaffold when they have refused to commit a falsehood, not to act treacherously to their own sentiments and to the truth. Such conduct would be pardonable if a forced and purely mechanical worship was pleasing to the Creator ; but if it is the intention that gives value to human actions,-if the preferable worship is that of the heart,-if it is the spirit of those who adore the Celestial Father which makes their adoration real,- What glory can result to this infinite Being by such outrages? How can he have been pleased with those offerings made to him by the Inquisition of so many un: happy victims, terrified by its threats, or exterminated by its rigours? The priests of ancient Mexico, were impressed with the idea that they appeased their deities by offering to them the hearts of the wretched persons chosen for these horrid sacrifices, torn by main force out of their entrails. And, foorsooth, do not our Inquisitors resemble them ?" pp. 91–92.
The Author would not have committed an error in judgement, if he had given the Inquisitors the darker side of the coinparison. The sentiments of the preceding passages are such
Rom. Cap. xii. 1. “ Obsecro vos, fratres, per misericordiam Dei, ut exhibeatis corpora vestra hostiam viventem sanctam Deo placentem, rationabile obsequium vestrum."
+. The coat of arms used by the Inquisition is a green cross on a black field with an olive-branch on the right side and a naked sword on the left; and this motto taken from Psalma lxxiii. 22. placed round: “ Exurge, Domine, judica causam tuam.” Arise, Lord, plead thine own cause.
as every mind which error and fraud have not darkened, must perceive and approve. Their strict accordance with the known principles of human nature, and with trutb, will supply the reason that an enlightened state of the public mind ever raises a barrier against the pressure of intolerance, and opposes so effective a resistance to the spirit of persecution. Wherever the philosophy of mind is understood and cultivated, the objects of faith will be left in exclusive possession of their own attractions and evidence to find recipients. Hence also it has ever been the business of intolerant establishments, to fetter the intellect and to prevent the improvement of man in moral science ;-an employment in which the Inquisition bas conspicuously distinguished itself. That external force can never open the understanding, or engage the heart to receive principles, is one of the most evident of axioms. That it is hostile to truth and makes men hypocrites, is not less certain. Instances of the following description can excite in us no surprise.
• Examples are not wanting in this tribunal to confirm the inutility of all violent measures in matters of religion. One of them is evinced in what happened, about the year 1334, with a clergyman of the name of Benanat, a resident of Villa Franca del Panadés, in the principality of Catalonia. Whilst a prisoner, and condemned to the flames, together with two companions, he consented to be placed on the faggots rather than retract from his errors ; but when one of his sides was scorched, and the pain had become so great that he could no donger endure it, he cried out to be removed from thence, for he was ready to abjure. He was, consequently, taken down, and on abjuring was reconciled to the Church ; but fourteen years afterwards, it was discovered that he had continued under his former erroneous maxims. Imprisoned a second time, and placed on the burning pile, as in consequence of his having relapsed" he had now no pardon to expect, he died persisting in his contumacy, as most probably he would have done the first time if that sentence had been like the Second, irrevocable.” p. 32.
What interesting but galling truths, what just but poignant reproaches, remarks our Author, would not the tribunal of the Inquisition have heard from the mouths of the victims it so untimely immolated to the faith, if they had been allowed to pronounce them? He has provided a remonstrance of this kind, and supposes its delivery by a tortured sufferer at the burning place to his persecutors. What indignant but just feeling! What cutting but well deserved rebukes are conveyed in this expostulation!
What is it ye require of me, ye judges who thus defend the religion of Jesus Christ? Is it that I renounce my own opinion and acquiesce in yours? . This command might be proper if it rested with myself to change my understanding in order to decide on the reasons you comprehend, but which to me it is not given even to perceivé.
When my lips were to pronounce the truth ye propose to me, and which till now I have not known, would it depend on my own will that my sentiments were not conformable to my words? Why then would ye force me to mock your credulity, if ye hold my protests as sincere: or why should I be perfidious before God and become ridiculous in your eyes, if, as prudent men, ye consider them as suspicious? If I act with candour and good faith, I draw down upon me all the inexorable vengeance of the law; but by making use of duplicity and dissimulation, I become in your opinion, deserve ing of pardon. As ministers of the God of truth, how is it ye think to increase liis glory, by giving to hiin as adorers the weak and perjured ? Suffer me to tell you your conduct ought to be very different with me.
ne. If I embrace error, because I am dazzled by its appearances of truth, I shall be no other than an impostor, and, at most, deserving of your contempt ; whilst if I embrace it with a full knowledge before me, I shall be a madman, entitled to your pity rather than your indignation.'
“Thy opinions,” ye answer me,“ deserve punishment, because they contradict the infallibility of God himself in the dogmas of religion ;"-But I would ask, is it by fire and sword these dogmas are rendered more credible? If the most obvious truths become obscure under the sensations of pain, will those which exceed our capacity be then rendered more perceptible? And even granted that I am unfaithful to the Divinity, is it ye who are charged to avenge his cause? May it not rather be said, that it is your own interests, and not those of God; a spirit of faction, and not a zeal for religion, which impel you to anticipate his justice ? And if the virtue most pleasing to him is charity, can a liolocaust be grateful to him, in which ye so egregiously infringe its precepts? Who will be induced to believe that ye pity my aberrations when ye hasten my ruin, which, possibly, at a future time I might have escaped? How is it ye can feel an interest for my salvation, when ye cut short that time God had, perhaps, granted me for my conversion? Neither does it suffice that ye should consider my malady as incurable, since the Church, as a tender mother, never despairs of the recovery of her children? If I merit death, because I object to truth from not knowing it, what punishment ought not ye to undergo, who, knowing it, treat it with no less regard than ye
do error? Confess rather that it is distrust in that religion whose eternal duration ye blazon forth, as promised by its author, and not its belief, that impels you to sustain it in a manner so foreign to the work of God, and so much opposed to the sentiments of humanity. I may perhaps have erred in not giving my assent to dogmas it was difficult for me to wderstand; but ye as ministers of a religion it is your duty to uphold, discredit it by means of terror: nay, ye even deny it in a solemn manner, by attributing to it a character which only belongs to sects founded by men, whereby its falsity is argued.'
Cease then, and cease, also, ye miserably deluded people, to celebrate among yourselves as a triumph the punishment ye prepare for
my constancy, or, if ye choose, my obstinacy, since it has even rested with myself to deprive you of this exultation. At least spare Vol. IX. N. S.
to the Catholic religion, if ye really seek its respect and increase, the shame that its victories should depend on the will of its enemies. Rather declare that it has not been the rights of the Divinity, but the law of the strongest, which has braced your arm to vengeance ; and this not for the purpose of doing good, but to sustain hypocrites, and add to their number.' Vol. I. pp. 91–99.
It cannot excite our surprise, that the attempt to introduce this prime instrument of intolerance and cruelty in the hands of ecclesiastics, should have awakened apprehensions of danger in the minds of the people who were threatened with its terrors, or that it has been productive of popular disquietude and tumults. Rulers who were prepared to sanction its proceedings, and to allow of its establishment in their kingdoms, might well be suspected of losing sight of the proper duties of their office, and of sacrificing the interests of their subjects, to the bigoted caprice of arrogant and mischievous men, aiming at the sole control of religious profession, and not scrupling to use the most infamous means of accomplishing their detestable purpose. If we would contemplate the most humiliating spectacle, we may find it in the servitude of monarchs and states, to the will of a priestly usurpation; all whose designs and conduct were as much opposed to the proper authority of civil governors, as to the rights of subjects, and the legitimate ends of the civil constitutions of nations. To permit the erection of tribunals in their dominions, before which their subjects might be cited, and made to experience the most rigorous treatment, independent of their authority; and in the character of executioners to receive as culprits from the hands of a monkish cabal, persons to whom, but for such ghostly dictators, they would have presented themselves as natural and mighty protectors, was such a divestment of all the true glory of their stations, as miglit seem incredible, were not the fact among the best authenticated records of past and present times. Among men in whom the conmon" feelings and principles of human nature were not utterly extinguished, it was impossible for the spirit of resistance to be dormant, when the slavery of mankind to priests and monks, was in the train of measures, which they saw in full preparation. Resistance was frequently provoked by the reiterated endeavours of the partisans of the Inquisition, to set up its tribunals in the different countries of Europe ; but it was most effectually roused in the Low Countries, where it was so well directed and so spiritedly maintained, as to produce the most admirable effects; -effects which were gloriously visible in the complete deliverance and liberties of Holland. The following paragraphs will revive in the recollection of many of our readers, the brilliant heroism displayed in that arduous and successful struggle, and may proba