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pieces, and totally suppressed. This haughty minister, after many violent efforts and hard struggles, obtained at length his purpose ; for, in the year 1628, the town of Rochelle, the chief bulwark of the reformed interest in France, was taken, after a long and difficult siege, and annexed to the crown. From this fatal event, the reformed party in France, defenceless and naked, dates its decline; since, after the reduction of their chief city, they had no other resource than the pure clemency and generosity of their sovereign:' Those who judge of the reduction of this place by the maxims of civil policy, consider the conduct of the French court as entirely consistent with the principles both of wisdom and justice ; since nothing can be more detrimental to the tranquillity and safety of the nation, than a body politic erected in its bosom, independent on the supreme authority of the state, and secured against its influence or inspection by an external force. And had the French monarch, satisfied with depriving the protestants of their strong holds, continued to maintain them in the possession of that liberty of conscience, and that free exercise of their religion, for which they had shed so much blood, and to the enjoyment of which their eminent services to the house of Bourbon had given them such a fair and illustrious title, it is highly probable they would have borne with patience this infraction of their privileges, and the loss of that liberty which had been confirmed to them by the most solemn edicts.
III. But the court of France, and the despotic views of its minister, were not satisfied with this success. Having destroyed that form of civil policy that we cani had been annexed to the reformed church as a herencia security for the maintenance of its religious privileges, and was afterward considered as detrimental to the supreme authority of the state, they proceeded still further; and, regardless of the royal faith, confirmed by the most solemn declarations, persidiously invaded those privileges of the church that were merely of a spiritual and religious nature. At first, the court, and the ministers of its tyranny, put in practice all the arts of insinuation and
r See Le Clerc Vie de Cardinal Richelieu, tom. I. p. 69, 77, 177, 199, 269. Le Vassor, Histoire de Louis XIII. tom. iii. p. 676, tom. iv. p. i, and the following volumes. See also the Memoirs of Sully, the friend and confidant of Henry IV. who, though a Protestant, acknowledges frankly the errors of his party, vol. iii. iv. v.
sion, in order to gain over the heads of the reformed church, and the more learned and celebrated ministers of that communion. Pathetic exhortations, alluring promises, artful interpretations of those doctrines of popery that were most disagreeable to the protestants; in a word, every insidious method was employed to conquer their aversion to the church of Rome. Richelieu exhausted all the resources of his dexterity and artifice, and put into execution, with the most industrious assiduity, all the means that he thought the most adapted to seduce the protestants into the Romish communion. When all these stratagems were observed to produce little or no effect, barbarity and violence were employed to extirpate and destroy a set of men, whom mean perfidy could not seduce, and whom weak arguments were insufficient to convince. The most inhuman laws that the blind rage of bigotry could dictate, the most oppressive measures that the ingenious efforts of malice could invent, were put in execution, to damp the courage of a party, that were become odious by their resolute adherence to the dictates of their consciences, and to bring them by force under the yoke of Rome. The French bishops distinguished themselves by their intemperate and unchristian zeal in this horrid scene of persecution and cruelty; many of the protestants sunk under the weight of despotic oppression, and yielded up their faith to armed legions that were sent to convert them; several fled from the storm, and deserted their families, their friends, and their country; and by far the greatest part persevered, with a noble and heroic constancy, in the purity of that religion, which their ancestors had delivered, and happily separated, from the manifold superstitions of a corrupt and idolatrous church. iv. When at length every method which artifice or per
fidy could invent had been practised in vain against the protestants, under the reign of Louis
XIV. the bishops and Jesuits, whose counsels had a peculiar influence in the cabinet of that prince, judged it necessary to extirpate, by fire and sword, this resolute
people; and thus to ruin, as it were, by one mortal blow, the cause of the reformation in France. Their insidious arguments and importunate solicitations had such an effect upon the weak and credulous mind of Louis, that, in the year 1685, trampling on the most solemn obligations, and re
The plict of Nantes reVoked.
gardless of all laws, human and divine, he revoked the edict of Nantes, and thereby deprived the protestants of the liberty of serving God according to their consciences. This revocation was accompanied indeed with the applause of Rome; but it excited the indignation even of many Roman catholics, whose bigotry had not effaced or suspended, on this occasion, their natural sentiments of generosity and justice. It was moreover followed by a measure still more tyrannical and shocking ; even an express order, address : ed to all the reformed churches, to embrace the Romish faith. The consequences of this cruel and unrighteous proceeding were highly detrimental to the true interests and the real prosperity of the French nation, by the prodigious emigrations it occasioned among the protestants, who sought, in various parts of Europe, that religious liberty, and that humane treatment, which their mother country had so cruelly refused them. Those among them, whom the vigilance of their enemies guarded so closely as to prevent their flight, were exposed to the brutal rage of an unrelenting soldiery, and were assailed by every barbarous form of persecution that could be adapted to subdue their courage, exhaust their patience, and thus engage them to a feigned and external profession of popery, which in their consciences they beheld with the utmost aversion and disgust. This crying act of perfidy and injustice in a prince, who, on other occasions, gave evident proofs of his generosity and equity, is sufficient to show, in their true and genuine colours, the spirit of the Romish church and of the Roman pontiffs, and the manner in which they stand affected to those whom they consider as heretics. It is pe
$ See the Life of Isaac da Beausobre, composed by the ingenious Armand de la Chapelle in French, and subjoined to Beausobre's 'Remarques Historiques, Critiques, et Philologiques sur le Nouveau Testament,' p. 259.
Do Some late lireling writers, employed by the Jesuits, have been audacious enough to plead the cause of the revocation of the cdict of Nantes. But it must be ob
served, to the honour of the French nation, that these impotent attempts, to justify · the measures of a persecuting and unrelenting priesthood, bave been treated almost
universally at Paris with indignation and contempt. They, who are desirous of secing a true state of the losses the French nation sustained, by the revocation of the famous edict now mentioned, have only to consult the curious and authentic account of the state of that nation, taken from memorials drawn up by intendants of the several provinces, for the use of the duke of Burgundy, and published in the year 1727, in two volumes in folio, under the following title ; • Etat de la France, cxtrait par M. le Comte de Boulainvillier des Memoires dressees par les Intendans du Royaumc, par P'Ordre du Roi Louis XIV. a la Solicitation du Duc du Bourgogne.' See also Voltairc, Sur la Tolerance, p. 41 and 201. And, for an account of the conduct of the French court toward the Protestants at that dismal period, sce the incomparable memorial of the leaaned and pious Claude, entitled, Plaintes des Protestans de France, p. 12–85, edit. of Cologn.
culiarly adapted to convince the impartial and attentive observer, that the most solemn oaths, and the most sacred treaties, are never looked upon by this church and its pontiffs as respectable and obligatory, when the violation of them may contribute to advance their interests, or to accomplish their views. y. The Waldenses, who lived in the valleys of Piedmont,
and had embraced the doctrine, discipline, and The sufferings worship of the church of Geneva, were oppressses and proter ed and persecuted, in the most barbarous and
inhuman manner, during the greatest part of this century, by the ministers of Rome. This persecution was carried on with peculiar marks of rage and enormity in the years 1655, 1686, and 1696, and seemed to portend nothing less than the total destruction and entire extinction of that unhappy nation. The most horrid scenes of violence and bloodshed were exhibited on this threatre of papal tyranny; and the small numbers of the Waldenses that survived them, are indebted for their existence and support, precarious and uncertain as it is, to the continual intercession made for them by the English and Dutch governments, and also by the Swiss cantons, who never cease to solicit the clemency of the duke of Savoy in their behalf.
The church of the palatinate, which had been long at the head of the reformed churches in Germany, declined apace from the year 1685, when a Roman catholic prince was raised to that electorate. This decline became at length so great, that, instead of being the first, it was the least considerable of all the protestant assemblies in that country. vi. The eminent and illustrious figure that the principal
members of the reformed church made in the The state of learned world is too well known, and the reputaTietophoping the tion they acquired, by a successful application to
the various branches of literature and science, is
t Leger, Histoire Generale des Eglises Vaudoises, p. ii. c. vi. p. 72. Gilles, Histoire Ecclesiast. des Eglises Vaudoises, ch. xlix. p. 353. There is a particular bistory of the persecution suffered by these victims of papal cruelty in the year 1686, which was published in 8vo. at Rotterdam, in the year 1688.
ISP See also a pamphlet, entitled An Account of the late Persecutions of the Waldenses by the duke of Savoy and the French king in the year 1686, published at Oxford in 4to. in 1688. See likewise a particular detail of the miseries endured by these unfortunate objects of papal persecution in the years 1655, 1662, 1663, and 1686, related by Peter Boyer, in his history of the Vaudois, ch. 12-21, p. 72, &e.
too well established to require our entering into a circumstantial detail of that matter. We shall also pass in silence the names of those celebrated men who have acquired immortal fame by their writings, and transmitted their eminent usefulness to succeeding times in their learned and pious productions. Out of the large list of these famous authors that adorned the reformed church, it would be difficult to select the most eminent; and this is a sufficient reason for our silence." The supreme guide and legislator of those that applied themselves to the study of philosophy had been Aristotle, who, for a long time, reigned unrivalled in the reformed, as well as in the Lutheran schools; and was exhibited, in both, not in his natural and genuine aspect, but in the motley and uncouth form in which he had been dressed up by the scholastic doctors. But when Gassendi and Des Cartes appeared, the Stagirite began to decline, and his fame and authority diminished gradually from day to day. Among the French and Dutch, many adopted the Cartesian philosophy at its first dawn; and a considerable number of the English embraced the principles of Gassendi, and were singularly pleased with his prudent and candid manner of investigating truth. The Aristotelians every where, and more especially in Holland, were greatly alarmed at this revolution in the philosophical world, and set themselves, with all their vigour, to oppose its progress. They endeavoured to persuade the people, that the cause of truth and religion must suffer considerably by the efforts that were made to dethrone Aristotle, and bring into disrepute the doctrine of his interpreters; but the principal cause of their anxiety and zeal, was the apprehension of losing their places in the public schools; a thought which they could not bear with
I u The list of the eminent divines and men of learning that were ornaments to the Reformed Church in the seventeenth century, is indeed extremely ample. Among those that adorned Great Britain, we shall always remember, with peculiar veneration, the immortal names of Newton, Barrow, Cudworth, Boyle, Chillingworth, Usher, Bedell, Hall, Pocock, Fell, Lightfoot, Hammond, Calamy, Walton, Baxter, Pearson, Stillingfleet, Mede, Parker, Oughtred, Burnet, Tillotson, and many others well known in the literary world. In Germany we find Pareus, Scultet, Fabricius, Alting, Pelargus, and Bergius. In Switzerland and Geneva, Hospinian, the two Buxtorfs, Hottinger, Heiddeger, and Turretin. In the churches and academies of Holland,
we meet with the folJowing learned divines ; Drusus, Amama, Gomer, Rivet, Cloppenburg, Vossius, Cocceius, Voetius, Des Marets, Heidan, Momma, Burman, Wittichius, Hoornbeck, the Spanheims, Le Moyne, De Mastricht, and others. Among the French doctors, we may reckon Cameron, Chamier, Du Moulin, Mestrezat, Blondel, Drelincourt, Daille, Amyraut, the two Cappels, Dú la Piace, Gamstole, Croy, Morus, Le Blanc, Pajon, Bochart, Claude, Alix, Jurieu, Basnage, Abbadie, Beausobre, Lenfant, Martin, Des Vignoles, &r.