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the ground. This sort of work Knox carried on in dif.. ferent parts of Scotland. In a little time these fanatics, who were styled Presbyterians, finding themselves growing nu merous, rose up, like horses prepared unto battle, in rebellion against the queen regent, and bringing armies into the field, committed horrible disorders. They were supported by Queen Elizabeth of England; and having convoked a general assembly of the party, they concluded, conformably to the opinion of Knox, who declared it lawful, to depose the queen mother from her regency. After her death, which happened in the year 1560, Queen Mary being then in France, they enacted a law, by the instigation of Knox, prohibiting the exercise of the Catholic religion in Scotland. They got this law afterwards confirmed by a Parliament in 1567, and they excluded the queen from all government. The succeeding calamities which this unfortunate queen and her kingdom sustained from that seditious set of people, who were grown too strong to be controlled, are too well known to need any relation. It is equally notorious, that the spirit of Presbyterianism, at first confined to the north, insinuated itself by degrees into the neighbouring kingdom of England, where it soon created divisions among the people, and raised such commotions, as in the end overturned the state, and brought a king to the block. The world has too much experienced, that kings, queens, bishops, and priests, could never be allowed a share in their friendship.
Lutheranism having insinuated itself into the Netherlands, several states of that country confederated together at Utrecht in 1578, and agreed to twenty articles, as the foundation of their union, the first of which was “to support one another against all force that should be exercised upon them in the king's name or for religion.” This league was confirmed at the Hague under the auspices of the Prince of Orange in the year 1581. The scheme was, to renounce all obedience to their liege lord the king of Spain, and to withdraw themselves entirely from his power, which they did by a public edict. Pursuant to this, they proceeded to break the king's seal, to pull down his arms, to take possession of his lands and rents, and to coin money in their own names. With the same usurped authority they seized the Church-livings, and abolished the Catholic religion. Such were the steps taken under the standard of Lutheranism; but when the Calvinistical doc
trine got footing, the flame spread with the utmost violence. The people, regardless of all laws, by which they were bound to their sovereign, take up arms and mutiny every where against his magistrates. The churches are plundered, the religious men and women are expelled by force from their monasteries, which are rified and pulled down. To quell these rebellious insurrections, and to put a stop to these disorders, Philip, king of Spain, to whom the low countries belonged, sent a body of Spanish forces under the command of the Duke of Alva. A bloody war ensued, in which the Prince of Orange was the chief director of the affairs of the confederates. The duke reduced ten of the revolted provinces to their former obedience and subjection to the king of Spain; but seven others, since styled the “United Provinces," found means to maintain their ground against the Spanish efforts, and formed themselves into an independent commonwealth, the only government that Calvinisin admits of.
In England, Denmark, and Sweden, the reformation was introduced by the kings themselves, who compelled their subjects to receive it. Thus ushered in by the supreme temporal power, it stood in no need of insurrections and tumults among the people, to gain admittance ; the sword and authority of the prince performed the whole function. Those individuals, who dared to continue in the practice of the ancient religion, were declared traitors to their sovereign, and rebels to the state.
Thus much may be sufficient for the explanation of our text, that the shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared unto battle.
“ And on their heads (the heads of the locusts,) were as it were like crowns of gold,” v. 7. The locusts bore upon their heads something that resembled crowns, which crowns appeared to be of gold. This allusion points at the pride and presumption of the new sectaries, who assumed to themselves the high function of preaching the gospel, without having any lawful mission: they pretended to be the true ministers of God, without showing any credentials from him ; they set up for apostles of Christ, but could not produce his commission. Luther styled himself “by the grace of God, ecclesiastes or preacher of Wirtemburg.” Epist. ad fals. nominat. Epis. He treated with the utmost contempt the pope and the bishops, as we have already seen. As to the Fathers of the Church, he said, " they were all blind.” Lib. de servit Arbit. And“ he con cerned not himself what Ambrose, Augustin, the councils, or practices of ages, said.” Lib. contra Regem Anglia. Then he boasted of his own merits: “ The gospel,” says he, “has been so fully preached by us, that even in the times of the apostles it was not so well understood.” Serm. de Evers. Jerusalem. In this manner Luther set a crown upon his own head, and the whole troop of reformers after him crowned themselves in the same manner. Such crowns, the work of self-conceit and arrogance, could not be real crowns, but only as it were crowns, that is, the mere appear. ances of such.
It was said of the apostles of Christ : “ Thou shalt establish them princes over all the earth." Psalm 44. 17. The conversion of numberless nations to Christ by their ministry, had merited to them the iitle of princes and the right of wearing crowns. The reformers claimed the same honours. But the crowns of the apostles were of pure gold, because their doctrine, which flowed from Christ the source, was pure and genuine. Whereas the doctrine of our modern apostles, being derived from no other source but their own invention, and being contrary to the doctrine preserved in that Church which was planted and formed by the primitive apostles : such new-devised doctrine, I say, can be nothing else but error and delusion, and consequently their apparent crowns are not of pure but of counterfeit gold, or, as the text expresses it, they are like to gold, or really mere tinsel. -— These crowns on their heads, also show clearly their general spirit of independency.
"And their faces (the faces of the locusts) were as the faces of men,” v. 7. The locusts appeared to St. John with faces of men. Here is marked out the delusive appearance of the modern sectaries. They pretended that faith had been adulterated, and that the morals of mankind were guided by erroneous principles. They therefore assumed the province of rectifying both, by preaching up a “reformation.” For this purpose these "reformers” framed new systems of religion. They proposed each of them their own creed for settling the articles of belief, and a new plan of morality for the direction of human actions. All this was devised, as they alleged, to correct the defects and errors of the Catholic doctrine. Thus they put on the faces of men, that is, they announced themselves as teachers of orthodox and holy doctrine; and by this means they deluded those who had not the sign of God upon their foreheads; that is, the careless and vicious. But it soon appeared that these faces of men were no more than vizards resembling human faces, that the specious name of “reformation” was only a mask made use of to instil their treacherous doctrine with more ease and subtlety. The mask was soon removed, and their doctrine, when applied to the true criterion, was evidently discovered to be false. It disagreed with that which Christ had deposited with his apostles, and which he charged them to impart to the rest of mankind; at the same time assuring them and their successors that, in order to enable them to execute their commission with fidelity, “ he would himself be with them to the end of the world.” Matt. xxviii. 20. And that “the spirit of truth should abide with them for ever." John xiv. 16, 17. That the new-invented maxims were of bad tendency, the effects soon proved. Instead of a reformation, they produced a general licentiousness. This appeared in the seditions, insurrections and violences committed on all sides. Complaints were also heard froin all quarters, of excessive looseness of manners. The Lutheran magistrates of several imperial cities in Germany, petisioned the Emperor Charles V. to re-establish by his authority auricular confession, as a check upon the then prevailing libertinism. And indeed it was highly probable, that from the pretended “ Christian liberty" which was then preached, a deluge of vice would have diffused itself, had not the civil power stepped in to stem it. The reformers themselves were so ashamed of the progress of immorality among their proselytes, that they could not help complaining against it. Thus spoke Luther: "Men are now more revengeful, covetous, and licentious, than they were ever in the papacy." Postil. super Evang. Dom. 1. adv. Thus again: “Heretofore when we were seduced by the pope, every man willingly performed good works, but now no man says or knows any thing else, but how to get all to himself by exactions, pillage, theft, lying, usury," &c. Postil. super Evang. Dom. 26. post. Trin. Calvin wrote in the same strain : "Of so many thousands,” said he, “who, renouncing popery, seemed eagerly to embrace the gospel, how few have amended their lives? Nay, what else did the greater part pretend to, but by shaking off the yoke of superstition, to give themselves more liberty to follow all kinds of licentiousness.” Lib. de Scandalis. Others of the German reformers repeated the same reproaches. But have those a right to complain of an inundation who have themselves cut open the banks of the river ? Dr. Heylin, in his history of the reformation, complains also of " the great increase of viciousness in England in the reforming reign of Edward VI. Erasmus, though no zealous advocate for the Catholics, could not help observing the degeneracy of morals brought on by the change of religion: “Take a view," says he, “ of this evangelical people, the pretestants.—Perhaps 'tis my misfortune; but I never yet met with one, who does not appear changed for the worse." Epist. ad Vultur. Neoc. And again : “ Some persons,” says he, “whom I knew formerly innocent, harmless, and without deceit, no sooner have I seen joined to that sect, (the protestants,) but they began to talk of wenches, to play at dice, to leave off prayers, being grown extremely worldly, most impatient, revengeful, vain, like vipers tearing one another. I speak ky experience." Ep. ad Frutres infer. Germania.
" And they (the locusts,) had hair as the hair of women," v. 8. In describing the heads of the locusts, from the forepart of the face which resembled that of man, St. John proceeds to the back-part, which is found covered with hair like woman's hair. This latter allusion, unhappily for the sectaries, betrays too plainly their sensual disposition towards that sex, their shameful doctrine on that score, and the scandalous example of their practice. Luther, in despite of the vow he had solemnly made to God of keeping continency, married, and married a nun, equally bound as himself to that sacred religious promise. But as St. Jerome says, “ It is rare to find a heretic that loves chastity.” Luther's example had indeed been anticipated by Carlostadius, a priest and ringleader of the Sacramentarians, who had married a little before; and it was followed by most of the heads of the reformation. Zuinglius, a priest and chief of the sect that bore his name, took a wife. Bucer, a religious man of the order of St. Dominick, became Lutheran, left his cloister, and married a nun. Oecolampadius, a Brigittin monk, became Zuinglian, and also inarried. Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, had also his wife. Peter Martyr, a canon regular, embraced the doctrine of Calvin, but followed the example of Luther, and married a nun. Ochin, general of the Capuchins, became Lutheran, and also married. Thus the principal leaders in the reformation went forth preaching the new gospel, with two marks upon them, apostacy from faith, and open violation of the most sacred vows. The passion of lust, it is also well known, hurried Henry VIII. of England into a separation from the Catholic Church, and ranked him among the reformers.