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imbibed the same hot steam, that issued out of the infernal abyss. They in consequence broached new doctrines, which they propagated and defended with such heat and vehemence, as to occasion every where seditions and insurrections, which they seemed to glory in. Their patriarch Luther openly boasted of it. “You complain," said he, “ that, by our gospel, the world is become tumultuous; I answer, God be thanked for it, these things I would have so to be ; and wo to me, if such things were not.”
" And the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit," v. 2. The spirit of seduction, denoted by the smoke of the pit, produced a multitude of erroneous doctrines, that darkened the light of faith, signified by the sun, and the purity of morals indicated by the air. The light of faith, which is the word of God, may well be represented by the sun, the great luminary of the universe, according to that of Psalm 118, v. 105. "Thy word, O Lord, is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths.” And as the air is the spring of man's respiration and life, it may be a just type of morality, which gives spiritual life and worth to all human actions. One principal design of the reformation was, to free men from two troublesome restraints, of subjecting their understanding to the mysteries of faith, and of being bound down in their actions to the strict laws of morality. The new teachers preached up a hitherto unheard of “ evangelical liberty," as they styled it, by virtue of which they were masters to model their belief and practice as it suited their inclinations. In pursuance of this commodious doctrine, they dissected the Catholic faith till they reduced it to a mere skeleton; they lopped off the reality of the body and blood of Christ in the holy Eucharist, the divine Christian sacrifice offered in the Mass, confession of sins, most of the sacraments, penitential exercises, several of the canonical books of the scripture, the invocation of saints, celibacy, most of the general councils of the Church, and all present Church authority; they perverted the nature of justification, asserting that faith alone suffices to justify man; they made God the author of sin, and maintained the observance of the commandments to be impossible.
These and other errors were taught by most of the modern reformers; and they all agreed in renouncing all submission to the see of Rome.
In this manner were the sun and air darkened, or faith and morality obscured and perverted. For a few specimens of Luther's doctrine, take the following. “God's commandments
are all equally impossible.” De Lib. Christ. T. 2. fol. 4. “ No sins can damn a man, but only unbelief.” De Captiv. Bat. T. 2. fol. 171. “God is just, though by his own will he lays us under a necessity of being damned; and though he damns those that have not deserved it.” Tom. 2. fol. 434 and 466. “God works in us both good and evil.” Tom. 2. fol. 444. “ Christ's body is in every place no less than the Divinity itself.”. Tom. 4. fol. 37.
Then for his darling principle of justification by faith in his 11th article against Pope Leo, he says : " Believe strongly that you are absolved, and absolved you will be, whether you have contrition or no.” . Again in his 6th article : “ The contrition, that is acquired by examining, recollecting, and detesting one's sins; whereby a man calls to mind his life past in the bitterness of his soul, reflecting on the heinousness and multitude of his offences, the loss of eternal bliss, and condemnation to eternal wo; this contrition, I say, makes a man a hypocrite, nay, even a greater sinner than he was before.” Thus after the most immoral life, you have a compendious method of saving yourself by simply believing, that your sins are remitted through the merits of Christ. As to his sentiments in regard to the pope, bishops, councils, &c. hear what he says in the preface to this book De abroganıla Missa privata.“ With how many powerful remedies and most evident scriptures have I scarce been able to fortify my conscience so, as to dare alone to contradict the pope, and believe him to be Antichrist, the bishops his apostles, and the universities his brothelhouses.” In his book De judicio Ecclesia de gravi doctrina : “ Christ takes from the bishops, doctors, and councils, both the right and power of judging controversies, and gives them to all Christians in general.” Lastly, hear his modest censure on the Council of Constance and those that composed it. “ All John Huss's articles were condemned at Constance by Antichrist and his apostles," meaning the pope and bishops, “ in that synod of Satan, made up of most wicked sophisters; and you, most holy vicar of Christ, I tell you plainly to your face, that all John Huss's condemned doctrines are evangelical and Christian, but all yours are impious and diabolical." Many more instances might be brought of the head-reformer's extravagant opinions and assertions, but these may suffice.
To enumerate the errors of all the reformers would exceed the limits of this work, I shall therefore only add the principal heads of the doctrine of Calvin and the Calvinists, viz. 1. That baptism is not necessary for salvation. 2. Likewise, good works are not necessary. 3. Man has no free will. 4. Adam could not avoid his fall. 5. A great part of mankind are created to be danned, independently of their demerits. 6. Man is justified by faith alone: and that justification, once obtained, cannot be lost, even by the most atrocious crimes. 7. The true faithful are also infallibly certain of their salvation. 8. The Eucharist is no more than a figure of the Body and Blood of Christ. Thus was the whole system of faith and morality overturned.
The above short detail shows a palpable reason why our modern apostles set such a real value on their new discovered principle of “evangelical liberty," as it opened to them so spacious a lawn, in which they could range at their ease. The hardships of mortification, the painful restrictions of penance, were not to be admitted into the Elysian fields: the sensual appetities claimed here their right abode. All Church authority was banished from this realm of liberty. They professed themselves judges of every thing relating to religion, and its foundations and fences they levelled at their pleasure. Tradition they totally abolished; and though they could not reject the whole canon of the scriptures, as being universally acknowledged to be the word of God, they had however the presumption to expunge some books of it that did not coincide with their own opinions : and the rest they assumed a right to explain as they thought fit. Hence followed various arbitrary explications of the most important texts, which became so many fountains that issued out troubled streams of doctrine. But this was a natural consequence. For, if a man consults only himself; his passions and conceits will certainly dictate to him what may serve for their own gratification, and which must of course contradict the doctrine of revelation, which tends to bridle them. What wonder then, if the comments and glosses of these new interpreters have so much obscured and disfigured the face of religion ? Moreover, to complete the work, and to conciliate people's minds more easily to their innovations, they pretended to charge the old doctrines with absurdities and errors, as if Christ had suffered his Church to be totally eclipsed and lost; whereas he had told his apostles, and in them their successors, the pastors of his church: “ Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Matt. xxviii. 20. But it plainly appeared that the objected absurdities and errors had no reality, and were no more than misrepresentations contrived on purpose.
In this view how many notorious falsehoods were published, which are still kept up, concerning the Catholic worship of relics and images, concerning confession of sins, indulgences, purgatory, &c. ? And thus again they endeavoured to throw a cloud over the face of the Catholic religion. From what has been said it appears then fully, how the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit.
“ And from the smoke of the pit there came out locusts upon the earth,” ver. 3. From the smoke of the abyss is generated a swarm of locusts that disperse themselves over the earth; the meaning of which is, that the spirit of seduction denoted by the smoke of the abyss, raised up a number of sectaries or reformers, as they called themselves, who spread themselves into all parts of the Catholic Church. Luther was first intoxicated with this delusive spirit, which presently after insinuated itself into Carlostadius, Zuinglius, Oecolampadius, Melancton, Bucer, Muncer, Calvin, Henry VIII. of England, Cranmer, and many others. Being of the nature of locusts, these reformers were unconnected, acknowledged no subordination among themselves, and even quarrelled with one another. They all taught different doctrines, and scarce agreed in any other thing, but in their endeavours to destroy the ancient faith, and corrupt the Christian principles of morality. In this indeed they jointly exhibited a vehement eagerness equal to the voracity of locusts. “ Heretics are compared to locusts,” says St. Jerome, “ because locusts are a species of insects extremely hurtful to mankind, as they occasion famine, eat up the harvest, and even strip the trees and the vines.” In cap. 13. Osee. The new doctrines, being calculated to gratify the vicious inclinations of the human heart, diffused themselves with the rapidity of an inundation. Frederick, elector of Saxony, John Frederick, his successor, and Philip, landgrave of Hesse, became Luther's disciples, and their respective states followed their example. Gustavus Ericus, king of Sweden, and Christiern III., king of Denmark, declared also in favour of Lutheranism. It likewise gut footing in Hungary, and spread itself by degrees into Brandenburg, Pomerania, Mecklenburgh, Holstein, &c. Poland, after tasting of a great variety of doctrines, could pitch upon none, but left to every individual the liberty of choosing for himself. Four cantons of Switzerland received Zuinglius's Creed, at the conference held at Bern, in 1528. These cantons afterwards making alliance with Geneva, exchanged their doctrine for that of Calvin. And now of the thirteen
cantons, that compose the states of Switzerland, six of them are protestant. Muncer, a disciple of Luther, deserting from his master, set up for doctor himself, and with Nicholas Stark gave birth to the sect of anabaptists, which was propagated in Suabia and other provinces of Germany, in the Low Countries, &c. Calvin, a man of bold obstinate spirit, artful and indefatigable in his labours, in imitation of Luther, commenced also reformer. He procured his new tenets to be received at Geneva in 1541. After his death the same doctrine was carried on by his successor Beza, and it made its way into several provinces of France, where its professors obtained the appellation of Huguenots. It insinuated itself into some parts of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, and became the established religion of Holland. Calvinism was also imported by John Knox into Scotland, where, under the name of presbyterianism, it took deep root, and overspread the whole face of that kingdom. In fine, to such a degree prevailed the licentious spirit of dogmatizing, that every one thought he had an equal right with Luther, Zuinglius, or any other, to interpret the scriptures, and form his own creed. On this principle the different sects split into a multitude of parties, following different heads, who every day coined new religions. Thus, the body of anabaptists alone became divided into at least thirty-two different sects. By these divisions the principal leaders found themselves frustrated in the attachment of their proselytes, who upon every occasion left them to follow new teachers. Though this defection was no more than they themselves had given example of, in relinquishing the faith of their ancestors and the Catholic communion, they were nevertheless greatly mortified at it, and published their complaints. Such was even the case with Luther, the great author and patriarch of the reformation; and he resented so much the freedom taken by Carlostadius, Oecolampadius, and Zuinglius, in preaching a different doctrine from his own, that he reviled them, according to his custom, in the most virulent terms. Some time after, when the reforming spirit had almost reached its full growth, thus wrote Dudithius, a learned protestant divine, in his epistle to Beza. “What sort of people are our protestants, straggling to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, sometimes to this side, sometimes to that? You may perhaps know what their sentiments in matters of religion are to-day: but you can never certainly tell what they will be to-morrow. In what article of religion do these churches agree which have cast off the bishop of Rome?