תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

their religion, and which during this period breaks out on different occasions, to the disturbing of public peace, and alarming the sovereigns, as experience sufficiently shows. On another hand, though the reformation, as we have seen, was settled and secured, and in some kingdoms is the religion of the state; yet it retains a persecuting spirit against those of the ancient faith. The protestants show they are armed with scorpion's stings, with which they angrily threaten, and they have still a power to hurt very sorely. They have, in this latter period, increased the number of in human law's made before against the Catholics; and these laws, perhaps indeed less severe than the former, have been at times more or less put in execution. In the preceding period they were allowed “to torment mankind,” v. 5; but in the present period it is said, their power is to hurt mankind. The expression of hurting, as it is of a milder import than that of tormenting, indicates an abatement of their first rage, and a more moderate behaviour towards those they repute their enemies. This is a blessing, for which the Catholics offer just tribute of thanks to the Almighty, and acknowledge the humanity of those from whose hands the favour immediately comes. But, notwithstanding the moderate and generous disposition of some, there are always other malevolent individuals, who cannot wholly drop that animosity they imbibed in a misguided education, and will endeavour to force the magistrates to the execution of the laws against their fellowcreatures. Thus they threaten with their stings, or on occasions exercise against the Catholics their ill-will and power of hurting, as evidently appeared by the violence committed in the riots of the year 1780 [in England.] But this disposition of providence ought to be received by the sufferers in the view for which it is designed, namely, for quickening and maintaining their zeal; and it brings with it this comfort, that the suffering of persecution has always been the characteristic of the Church of Christ. “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John xv. 20.

We have now seen the prophetical history of the reformation. The description is full and circumstantial, and takes in the period of 300 years. In the first place was exhibited to us its rise; then the general character of it; and thirdly, the nature and degree of its power. These accounts are comprised in the six first verses of the ninth chapter. Then follows the description of the character, temper, and spirit of the chief reformers, and their proselytes, with the successive altera

tion of their power, as settled by the Almighty hand. Which account is traced out in the verses 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, in an admirable manner, by the progressive description of the locusts from head to tail. This allegorical delineation is drawn with such exquisite art, that it cannot, we believe, be equalled by any thing produced from profane writers. But of this extraordinary picture there yet remains to be exhibited the last stroke of the prophetic pencil, which is: And they (the locusts) have over them a king, the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon ; in Latin, Exterminans, that is, Destroyer. St. John, after giving us the history of the surprising revolution made in the Church by the Reformation, closes it by letting us into the secret of the means, by which it was contrived, was carried on, and is still preserved. He tells us, the locusts or the people of the reformation have over them a king, who is an angel of the bottomless pit, that is, an angel of hell, or a devil. Here then we see the original contriver and director of the whole work. Here we see who has been through the whole progress their prompter, their chief, and their king. But who would envy them such a king? or who would choose to be a subject of such a sovereign? The name of this infernal spirit is even given; he is called Abaddon, or Exterminator, Abolisher, Destroyer. By this name his character is sufficiently clear. As pride is attributed to Lucifer, and to other fiends are ascribed special qualities; so here the evil spirit, who is the king of the reformation, is distinguished by the character of exterminating and destroying. One cannot but lament the misfortune of the protestants, in voluntarily admitting over them such a king, and enlisting under his banner. A second misfortune is, they have been too faithful in their allegiance. We have already given a sufficient relation of their violent proceedings in the different countries, where the reformation got entrance. We specified some part of the conspiracies, tumults, rebellions, and civil wars it gave rise to, and the subversion of states which ensued. Could such scenes be conducted by another but the king Abaddon the destroying angel?

With respect to the Church, how many articles of faith, which are reckoned essential to religion, have they not exploded, as may be seen in the Council of Trent? The holy sacraments also, those channels of divine grace, have they not reduced to two, or rather one, viz. Baptism? the Eucharist in the opinion of many of their sect containing nothing more

than mere bread and wine? Even baptism itself is affirmed by some of them to be only a ceremony, not necessary for salvation. The rites and ceremonies which form the exterior part of religion, and which greatly contribute to raise its dignity, and by impressing an awful respect on the minds of the faithful, increase their devotion, the reformation has almost entirely abolished. They have exterminated the spiritual jurisdiction of the see of Rome, acknowledged in all foregoing ages, and they have chosen Abaddon for their governor and king, instead of Christ's vicegerent. In the same manner they have exploded part of the canonical scriptures, church traditions, councils, fathers, the ecclesiastical canons and discipline. They have abrogated the most noble and august sacrifice which Christ bequeathed to his church, and thus have reduced the Christian community to a worse condition than either the Mosaic or patriarchal state, by leaving it without any sacrifice at all. They have also abrogated most of the exercises of mortification, so much recommended by our Saviour, and practised by the apostles and all antiquity; such as fasting, abstinence, continency, penance, self-denial, &c. They have exterminated confession, that great bridle to licentiousness and vice. They have condemned religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience: that path of Christian perfection, which has been trodden by thousands, and entitled so many of them to the beatitude of saints. They have destroyed monastaries, pulled down churches, trampled under foot the images of Jesus Christ, of his holy Mother, and his Saints. They have robbed the faithful of that salutary and comfortable help they had always found in the Invocation of the Saints, by whose intercession, through the merits of Christ, such plentiful graces and blessings have derived to men. They even dared to profane with sacrilegious hands the sacred remains of the martyrs and confessors of God. In many places they forcibly took up the saints' bodies from the repositories where they were kept, burned them, and scattered their ashes abroad. What can be a more atrocious indignity? Are parricides, or the most flagitious villians, ever worse treated ? Thus, among other instances, in the year 1562 the Calvinists broke open the shrine of St. Francis of Paula, at Plessis-lestours, and finding his body uncorrupted fifty-five years after his death, they dragged it about the streets, and burned it in a fire which they had made with the wood of a great crucifix; as Billet and other historians relate. Thus, at Lyons, in the same year, the Calvinists seized upon

[merged small][ocr errors]

the shrine of St. Bonaventure, strippe
his relics in the market.pl
river Saone, as is relate

and St. Martin, as Surius ass

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

of St. Bonaventure, stripped it of its riches, burned s in the market-place, and threw his ashes into the one, as is related by the learned Possevinus, who was that city. The bodies also of St. Irenæus, St. Hilary,

lartin, as Surius asserts, were treated in the same nous manner. Such also was the treatment offered to ains of St. Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, whose Fine, according to the words of Stowe, in his annals, s taken to the king's use, and the bones of St. Thomas, y command of Lord Cromwell, were burnt to ashes, in Sepaber, 1538, of Henry VIII. the thirtieth.” Thus the reution waged war against the dead and against the elect of

as if sanctity had become infamous, and to have spilt

blood in the cause of Christ was now to be judged criminal.

Thus the facts evince the universal devastation, carried through the Christian Church by the reformed religion. And thus it appears who was the founder of that new religion,

architect, its king, namely, the angel of the bottomless pit, baddon, the exterminator. One may however further observe that, in order to manifest more clearly the accomplishent of this prophecy about the locusts, Almighty God seems

have ordained that the chiefs of the reformation should themselves give testimony of it. Luther, the primary head, avowed and proclaimed to the world, that he had a conference with the devil about some articles of the religion he was then devising, that he had been convinced by the arguments of that spirit of falsehood, and directed in the determinations he should take. Thus he opens that famous colloquy: “Some time since,” says Luther, “I awaked from my sleep, and behold the devil, who had made it his business to occasion me many sorrowful and restless nights, began a dispute with me in my mind.” "Dost thou hear,” said he, “most excellent doctor ?!' “ Dost thou not know, that thou hast said private masses almost every day for fifteen years together? and what, if in those masses thou hast practised downright idolatry," &c. ? Lib. de Missa privata, et sacerdotum unctione. Luther answers the devil in defending what he had done. The fiend pretends to prove his charge, by telling Luther, he must have been guilty of idolatry, because he had no true faith at that time, and consequently no ordination. By which it seems that the devil's attempt was to persuade the reformer, that there was neither true faith nor true ordination in the Catholic Church at that time, when he professed himself a member of it and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

tances i

[ocr errors]

said mass. As if the Church of God had been extinguished, notwithstanding the solemn promise of Christ that “the gates of hell should never prevail against it.” The spirit of darkness urges likewise the unlawfulness of saying a mass, in which no one communicates but the priest : as if Christ had given any precept on this head. But without taking the trouble to confute minutely the devil's arguments, I presume every sensible man will allow that Luther, instead of giving any assent to them, should have rejected them with contempt, as so many certain impostures, and charged his antagonist with being the known enemy of truth. He should have rebuked him at once with the words of our Saviour, “ Away with thee, Satan.” Matth. iv. 10. “ Thou wast a murderer from the beginning, and thou stoodest not in the truth; because truth is not in thee; when thou speakest a lie, thou speakest from thy own, for thou art a liar, and the father of lies.” John viii. 44. But the reformer, instead of foiling his adversary with these arms, gives him up the victory, allows his own conviction, and triumphs in the imaginary discovery; concluding thus: by these means “ we are freed from private masses, and from the ordination of bishops—Let them consider how they can defend their Church.” And from that time he desisted from saying mass.

Zuinglius, in like manner, while he was in great perplexity and deep meditation how to explode the real presence in the Eucharist, was furnished with an argument for that purpose by a nocturnal monitor, “whether black or white he did not remember;" as he relates himself, Lib. de subsidio Euchar.

The whole explication here given of the allegory of the locusts, we presume, appears so consonant to the history of the reformation, that the propriety of it will not be denied. Nor ought the author to be censured for presumption, since he is not the first who has thus applied that prophecy. La Chetardie did so, about the end of the last century. Bellar. mine did the same towards the end of the century before, and others had preceded him, as he testifies. In general, it appears from the writers of that period, that, no sooner did the numerous tribe of reformed religionists spring forth, than the Cathojics, as if by a sudden inspiration, judged they saw the locusts of the Apocalypse. The application is even so obvious, that the learned protestant divine, Dr. Walton, used it for describing the multitude of new sectaries, that swarmed out of the English Church. Thus speaks he in the preface to his Polyglot: “ The bottomless pit seems to have been set open, from whence

« הקודםהמשך »