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scourge they felt, to renounce their errors, and associate themselves to the body of the faithful and to the centre of unity; they on the contrary hardened themselves in their obstinacy, nor would they do penance to give God glory. What wonder then, that the avenging hand of God, which they had armed against themselves, fell at last as a thunderbolt upon them, and crushed them. In the general wreck, the fate of Notaras, the above-mentioned impious admiral, appeared somewhat conspicuous. After the town was taken, having surrendered himself to Mahomet, and presented him with a rich treasure to gain his good graces, he was nevertheless received with contempt, and by the sultan's order was, with his two sons, beheaded.
The third vial, in the preceding age, poured out the wrath of God on ancient Rome and the Roman empire; the fourth vial here in like manner pours out the divine indignation on the guilty Greeks, which pursues them first through their several provinces, and then finishes their ruin at Constantinople itself, the seat of their empire, in 1453. The Russian nations which had espoused the Greek schism, and persevere in it to this day, have they not reason to apprehend a share in this vial, and being involved sooner or later in the punishment of those, in whose guilt they participate?
The Almighty is the disposer of kingdoms. He raises them up like huge fabrics for the execution of his designs ; and he equally throws them down, when they presume to rival his power, or to disobey his commands." The Most High rules in the kingdom of men; he will give it to whomsoever it shall please him, and he will appoint the basest man over it.” Daniel, iv. 14.
Of the vast empire of Rome, the western part had been sacrificed, as we saw, for the extinction of idolatry; and now the eastern part, having made itself the fortress of heresy and schism, becomes obnoxious to the jealousy of the Most High and undivided Deity, and therefore is sentenced to be equally a victim of destruction. It may be said, that idolatry is an offence more injurious to supreme Majesty than heresy or schism: we allow it, and for that reason Constantinople sustained one calamity less than pagan Rome, namely, that of fire, by which Rome was reduced to ashes, but which Mahomet prohibited, perhaps by superior direction from Constantinople. But, on another hand, if pagan Rome was burned, from its ashes arose up a Christian Rome, with a new kind of power and dignity peculiar to itself, which was
to last to the end of the world; whereas, though Constantinople was spared from destruction, it was enslaved by a barbarous people, the greatest enemies to Christianity. The Jews had formerly rejected the preaching and miracles of the Son of God, for which reason they were delivered over to the sword of the pagans, their inveterate enemies. In like manner, all the intreaties, exhortations, and labours of the Catholic Church, to reclaim the Greeks from their errors, they rejected with disdain ;' and on that account they fell a just sacrifice to the anger of God. He had waited many years, to give them time to resume a spirit of obedience and produce good fruit, but finding their obstinacy invincible, he cut them down like the barren fig-tree, as Pope Nicholas had foretold them. They refused the jurisdiction of a spiritual superior, whom Christ has appointed over his whole flock; and they fell into the hands of tyrannical masters, from whom they have nothing to expect, but oppression, slavery, and despair. No kingdom can stand that opposes the kingdom of Christ; for “he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings,” Apoc. xvii. 14. and “a two-edged sword proceeds from his mouth,” Apoc. i. 16. See p. 21. for the destruction of his enemies.
THE HISTORY OF THE FIFTH AGE OF THE CHRISTIAN
CHURCH.-TĦE OPENING OF THE FIFTH SEAL.
Apoc. chap. vi. 9. “And when he (the Lamb) had opened the fifth seal, I saw,” says St. John, “ under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
V. 10. “And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
V. 11. “And white robes were given to every one of them one: and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little time, till their fellow-servants and their brethren, who are to be slain, even as they should be filled up.”
The Lamb having opened the fifth seal, St. John hears the complaints of those who had been slain for the word of God, that is, for the observance of the law of God, and for the testimony which they held, or for the testimony which they had rendered to Christ in preaching and defending his doctrine. These martyrs are seen under the altar in heaven, similar to the altar of holocausts, which stood in the Jewish tabernacle. On that altar the victims, called holocausts, were burnt, and their remains, the ashes, fell under the altar. In allusion to this, the souls, or precious spiritual remains of those whose bodies had been slain and sacrificed in the fire of persecution, are here seen under the altar. Who are the martyrs spoken of in this seal, we are now to examine; and it must be observed, that under the name of martyrs we comprehend all those who have suffered death for religion, whether they have been declared martyrs of the church or not. In the first place, it is well known that the reformation, introduced by Luther and other new teachers, has had too much share in the spilling of blood for the cause of religion. We do not pretend to produce an account of all the individuals that have suffered by their hands. The history of the reformation, in many cases, relates only in general the massacres committed on the Catholics. The Anabaptists in Germany opened the cruel scene, very soon after the birth of the protestant religion. They were actuated with such rancour against those whose communion they had left, that in 1525 they plundered the country, set fire to the churches and monasteries, and murdered the priests, monks, and noblemen. Arnoldus Mesov. Hist. des Anabap. Dupin. The Calvinists, on another hand, wherever they came, committed unheard of violences and barbarities. Dreadful was the tragedy in France, Hol. land, in some parts of Germany, &c. Nicholas Froumenteau, a reformed minister, confesses that the Calvinists massacred, in the province of Dauphine only, 256 priests and 112 monks and friars. Des financ. de Franc. In Holland we find that nineteen priests and religious men were taken by the Calvinists in Gorcum, and after being made to suffer many insults, were hanged for their religion at the town of Bril, on the same day, 1572. See their History in W. Estius Batavia sacra.
England also showed itself very forward in persecuting those who were attached to the ancient faith. Sir Thomas More, lord high chancellor, and Fisher, bishop of Rochester, two illustrious ornaments of the nation, and distinguished asserters of the Catholic religion, were beheaded in 1535, for refusing to subscribe to the spiritual supremacy which Henry
VIII. usurped over the Church in England. Besides, that despotic and cruel monarch put to death thirteen abbots and priors, about seventy-seven monks and religious persons, and many of the laity. Heylon's Hist. of the Reformation.
Violent was the persecution in Queen Elizabeth's reign; it was even aggravated with severities used in the heathenish times, as tortures were sometimes applied to the generous victims, before they were allowed to receive the stroke of death. There have been found to have suffered death for the testimony they held in this reign, at least 124 priests and 57 lay persons ; besides others who perished in prison. Under king James I., though the persecution somewhat abated, it did not cease. No less than twenty-seven persons of different denominations were put to death for the Catholic faith in this reign. Charles I. was naturally of too humane a disposition to incline to persecution ; but such was the iniquity of the times and the importunity of malevolent persons, that he was forced away with the tide, and ordered the execution of the penal laws against his Catholic subjects. Twenty-two were sacrificed in this period. The temper of the times was nearly the same during a part of Charles II.'s reign, and such unhappily was his compliant disposition, that twenty-four persons were put to death for the Catholic faith, and many died in prison. Thus the annals of England are stained with the blood of many of its own subjects, immolated to the cause of religion. See a particular account of these persecutions in the “ Memoirs of Missionary Priests, fc.
We shall now remove the scene to a distant part of the world. St. Francis Xavier planted the Catholic faith in the idolatrous kingdom of Japan, in 1549, baptized great numbers, and whole provinces received the gospel. In 1592 a persecution was raised against the Christians by the Emperor Cambacundono, who usurped the honours of a deity; and several Japanese converts received the crown of martyrdom. The Emperor Tageosama, one of the proudest and most vicious of men, revived the persecution in 1597, and three Jesuits, six Franciscans, and seventeen converts, were condemned to be crucified. As they hung upon the crosses; the executioners, at a signal given, pierced their bodies with lances; upon which they expired, and went to receive a reward “for being slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” Their blood and garments were procured by Christians, and miracles were wrought by them. In 1602, the pagan emperor, Cumbosama, renewed again
the bloody tragedy, and many Christians were beheaded, crucified, or burned. In 1614, new cruelties were employed to overcome the fortitude of the Christian heroes, as bruising their feet between pieces of wood, cutting off or squeezing their limbs one after another, applying red-hot irons or slow fires, flaying off the skin of their fingers, putting burning coals to their hands, tearing off the flesh with pincers, or thrusting reeds into different parts of their bodies : all which innumerable persons, even children, bore with invincible constancy till death. In 1616, Xogun succeeding his father Cumbosama in the empire, surpassed him in cruelty. By his orders fifty martyrs suffered together, of whom nine were Jesuits, four Franciscans, and six Dominicans; the others laymen. Twenty-five were burned, the rest beheaded. Many others suffered variously, being either burned at slow fires, crucified, beheaded, or thrown into a burning mountain, or hung with their heads downwards in pits. In 1639, all Eu ropeans, except the Dutch, were forbid entrance into Japan. Five Jesuits landed there secretly in 1642, but being discovered, after cruel tortures, they were hung down in pits till they expired.
Št. Francis Xavier, after having established Christianity in Japan, was desirous also of carrying the standard of the cross into the great pagan empire of China, but died before he reached it. His religious brethren, the Jesuits, inspired with a truly apostolic spirit, pursued the design, and after many fruitless attempts, at last got admittance into the country in 1583. They soon converted many, and numerous churches of Christians began to flourish in several provinces of China. But the inveterate enemy of Christianity, the devil, irritated at seeing his own power decline in a kingdom he had so long kept in captivity, set himself to work, in order to extirpate the Christian religion, or at least to stop its growth. He wreaked his first fury on Father Francis Martinez, a Chinese Jesuit, who having converted a famous doctor, was beaten several times, and at length expired under the torment Then he proceeded against the Dominican friars, who had likewise entered China, and converted great numbers to the faith. Four of them received the crown of martyrdom in the year 1647, and a fifth in 1648. Chunchi, who ascended the imperial throne of China in 1650, was favourable to the Christians; but after his demise, the four regents of the empire put to death five Christian mandarins for their faith: but the young emperor, Camhi, coming of age, put a stop to the