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and maintained the principle, that the king was made for the people, not the people for the king;) and as the pope had obtained the gift by means of imposition, it was in course of time lawfully wrested from him. In short, Pius V. had no more right to curse Queen Elizabeth, than Pius VII. has to curse King George the Third.
The enlightened part of the English population were, in a great measure, prepared for a change in the public profession or religion, before King Henry VIII. was prepared to lead the way. The doctrines of the word of God, as taught by Wickliffe and the Lollards, a century before, were extensively propagated, and many thousands in England believed them; so that when Henry himself became reformer, he found little difficulty, except with some of the clergy and nobility, in getting the people to go along with him. Indeed, his chief difficulty arose from the forwardness of the people, who were disposed to reform faster, and more thoroughly, than he chose to allow them, and to go farther from Rome than he chose to go. He did, however, go far enough to incur the anger of the pope, whose predecessor had created him defender of the faith ; not being able, with all his infallibility, to foresee that Henry would soon renounce the faith, and that this fine title should be borne for three hundred years by a race of heretical princes; and the pope, whose misfortune it was to hear of the defection of Henry, assailed him with all the terrors of the holy see, by means of a bull which is before me, and which fills fifteen quarto pages of closely printed Latin, under the title of Damnatio et Excommunicatio Henrici VIII. Regis Anglia. The pope was evidently very angry with the king. He declared him, by this bull, to be a heretic, and his crime was greatly aggravated by the consideration of his having been styled defender of the faith. He excommunicated and deposed him. He commanded all Christian princes to take up arms against him. He gave the soldiers who should engage in so godly a work, all the goods of the heretics, wherever they could find them.
The king, notwithstanding, maintained his ground, and maintained the reformation too, so far as he chose to carry it; and had he carried it a great deal farther, he should have had not only the support but the gratitude of the people.
By Elizabeth's time, it was carried a little farther forward; and the great bulk of the nation were decidedly Protestants, that is, decided in their separation from Rome, and in attachment to Elizabeth and her government. The interference of the pope, therefore, was no better than the attempt of an incendiary to sow discord, and excite war and bloodshed, in a great and prosperous nation. He persevered in such attempts for many years, both openly and secretly, and employed numerous agents for carrying into effect his insidious and cruel designs. In short, it is difficult to imagine a fiend of darkness more obstinately set upon promoting measures of wickedness and cruelty than this holy father of the Romish church ; and yet I believe he was not worse than the average of popes for a thousand years.
He took other measures, besides denouncing the queen, for subverting the government of England. He wrote a letter to the earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, exciting them to rebellion against their sovereign. This letter, of which an English translation is given in " Free Thoughts," page 401, is written in the most insidious and
flattering style. He addresses the two earls as “inen dear to us and eminent, as well by the study of catholic piety, as by nobleness of birth.” He praises them for having determined “to renew and confirm the ancient union of the Roman church with that kingdom,"" delivered from the vile servitude of a woman's lust, to the ancient obedience of the holy Roman see.” He assures them “that the omnipotent God, whose works are perfect, and who hath excited you to deserve well of the catholic faith in that kingdom, will be assisting to you. But if, in asserting the catholic faith, and the authority of this holy see, you should suffer death, and your blood be spilt, it would be much better, for the confession of God, to fly, by the compendium of a glorious death, to life eternal, than, living basely and ignominiously, to serve the lust of an impotent woman, with the loss of your souls." It is worthy of remark, that this letter is dated Feb. 20th, 1570, that is, about three months previous to the issuing of the bull against the queen. This was giving the rebel earls time to collect their forces, that they might be ready to strike the blow and dethrone the queen, when the bull should arrive, and when all the superstitious and popish part of the nation should be afraid to serve an excommunicated sovereign. The rebellion, however, had broken out prematurely, perhaps before the pope's bull arrived, and it was soon suppressed.
Some years after, the pope excited Sir Thomas Stuckley to raise rebellion in Ireland. Stuckley engaged to conquer this kingdom for the
pope; and the holy father furnished him with a number of cruci. fixes, by selling which he was to make his own fortune. The following indulgences were granted to these crucifixes, which were evidently meant to excite the subjects of Elizabeth to rebel against her.
1st. Whoso beholdeth, with reverence and devotion, one of these crosses, as oft as he doth it getteth fifty days of indulgence. As oft as he prayeth upon or before it
, for the good and prosperous state of the holy catholic church, and for the increase and exaltation of the holy catholic faith, and for the preservation and delivery of Mary, queen of Scotland, and for the extirpation of heretics, he shall have fifty days of indulgence, and, upon festival days, one hundred.
“ 2d. In going to any conflict or feat of arms, against the enemies of our holy faith, he shall obtain seven years and seven quarantains of indulgence. And if he die there, at least being confessed and houseled at the beginning of the war, with contrition of his sins, and calling upon the name of Jesus with mouth or heart, he shall obtain full indulgence and remission of all his sins.
" 3d. As oft as he shall be confessed and houseled, making his prayers by word or mind, before the most holy crucifix, and praying for the prosperous state of the holy church, and for the chief bishop; and for the delivery and preservation of the aforesaid Mary, queen of Scots, and for reducing of the aforesaid realms of England and Scotland, he shall obtain all the indulgences that are granted for visiting all the holy places that are both within and without the gates of Rome.
• 4th. 'Any night or evening that he shall examine his own conscience, with repentance of sins, and intend to amend the same, saying the general confession, and bowing or kneeling before the holy crucifix, saying three times Jesus, obtains a year and a quarantain of indulgencc.
“5th. Whoso shall use and accustom to behold it with devotion to the cross, saying five pater-nosters, five aves, and some other prayers to our Saviour, or to our lady, for the exaltation of the holy church, for the preservation of Mary, queen of Scotland, and for the reducing of the aforesaid realms, he shall obtain once in his life full indulgence of all his sins, besides the other indulgence of fifty days for each time that he prayeth.
"6th. Moreover, in the pain and peril of death, what person soever being confessed and contrite, or giving signs of contrition, and shall kiss the feet of the most blessed crucifix, saying Jesu with heart, not being able to say it with mouth, shall obtain full indulgence and remission of all his sins.
“7th, Item. One day in the year, named and appointed by them that shall have one of the said crucifixes, with the license of the ordinary of the place, it may be put in any church, or chapel, or oratory; and whosoever shall come to visit with devotion the said holy crucifix, in the said church, chapel, or oratory, saying five pater-nosters, and five aves, praying for the prosperous state of our church, and for the preservation of Mary, queen of Scots, and for the reducing of the aforesaid realms, shall obtain free indulgence of all their sins, being confessed, or having the mind and purpose to be confessed in due time or place, and to amend their former lives and sins.
"8th, Item. That every Friday that mass is said, or caused to be said, upon any altar where one of these crucifixes is set, one soul shall be released out of purgatory.
“ Item. That those indulgences cannot be revoked by any high bishop, except express mention be made of the same." Stripe's Annals, Vol. II. 1724, page 535.
Such were the artifices of the see of Rome for subverting the Eng. lish goverment. The pope excommunicated and deposed the queen; relieved her subjects from their oaths of allegiance; stirred up the disaffected by flattering promises; and sent a number of little idols in the form of crucifixes throughout Ireland, to cherish among the people the superstitious belief, that if they should die in so good a cause as attempting to dethrone a heretical queen, and deliver a popish one, they should receive the free pardon of all their sins. These efforts were powerfully seconded by a host of Jesuit priests, who spread themselves all over the kingdom, and who never ceased to plot the destruction of the queen, insomuch that it is truly astonishing that she escaped the fate of some other monarchs of that age, from the hands of these incendiaries.
“The reign of Elizabeth," says the reviewer of 'A Brief Account of the Jesuits,' in the Christian Observer for March, 1815," displays a rapid succession of plots against her life, either designed or executed by Jesuits, and from which nothing but the peculiar protection of Providence could have delivered the queen and the country.”—The following is an extract from the Brief Account :-" Elizabeth wrote with her own hand to Henry III. of France, after the conspiracy against her life, informing him that the Jesuits had contrived it, who,' says she,
hold it meritorious to kill a sovereign whom the pope has deposed;' and she then warns him against them; and he would have done well if he had observed her caution In 1591, the queen published a de
claration against the society; in which, after describing at length the designs of Spain and Rome, she says, that she has the most undoubted information, that the Jesuits form the nests and lurking-places of those who are in rebellion against her person and government; that their general had himself been to Spain, and armed its king against her; that Parsons, who taught among them, and was the general of the English seminary at Rome, had done the same; and that the Jesuits, as a society, had been the life and soul of the armies which had been raised against England." Page 22.
Now, let the reader reflect what sort of a religion that must be which has been uniformly employed for purposes of mischief; and which has scarcely ever made itself known in the world, but as the instrument of promoting some mischievous design. The religion of Jesus Christ has a direct tendency to promote the true happiness of the human race in this world as well as in the next. His appearing in this world was announced by an angel from heaven, as the commencement of a dispensation which should, in an eminent degree, produce glory to God in the highest ; and on earth peace, and good will to men.
This religion, wherever cordially embraced, has produced the promised effects. It brings peace to the conscience and heart of every sinner who believes it; and it teaches such a one to live in peace with all his neighbours. Congregations of such men are churches of Christ; and, while they are studying to edify and promote the happiness of one another, they look with a benign aspect upon the whole human race. Every such society creates around it a moral atmosphere, which ameliorates the condition of all who are within its reach; and brings into operation the spirit of that religion which is divinely destined to banish discord and war from the earth, and promote the reign of universal peace.
Every thing that has an opposite tendency must be antichristian, that is, contrary to the religion of Christ. On this principle alone, I am willing to meet any advocate of the Romish church; and I engage to prove that her whole administration, as related in history, for twelve centuries, has been subversive of the peace and comfort of mankind; that, in fact, all the cunning, and artifice, and power, and wealth, and learning of those who conducted the affairs of the church of Rome, have been devoted to purposes of deceit
, and cruelty, and wholesale murder, either in the way of exciting princes to make war upon one another, or to exterminate heretics, or in the way of sowing the seeds of sedition and rebellion among people, against such princes as the pope chose to denounce and excommunicate. He who believes this to be the true religion, cannot have learned of Him who was meek and lowly in heart, and who came to proclaim peace on earth, and good will to men; but must have been brought up at the feet of some demon who delights in the misery of men, and whose altars are ever stained with the blood of human sacrifices.
Papists of the present day assume airs of humanity and moderation, and affect an abhorrence of such scenes as I have been describing; but they do so with a very ill grace,
when they do it at the expense of denying almost every historical fact, and by asserting downright falsehood, as is done by the editor of their Orthodox Journal, when he snys that persecution was scarcely known in any Christian country, lill
Protestants set the example; and when he maintains, as he does in his number for October last, that popery is more conducive to civil liberty than Protestantism, for which purpose he distorts, and turns upside down many facts of history, to impose upon his credulous readers. If modern Papists would honestly confess the truth, and deplore, and condemn, the conduct of the church of Rome in former times, when she made it her business to excite war and massacre throughout all Europe, I should give them credit for possessing more humane and generous sentiments than their forefathers did; but while they rest the defence of their church upon the denial of well known facts, I must take them for liars as their fathers were; and I cannot help coming to the conclusion, that they would do just as their fathers did, if they were in similar circumstances, and possessed the same power.
I have before me a list of about sixty emperors, kings, and princes, who have been excommunicated, deposed, &c. by about forty different popes. (See Free Thoughts, p. 51.) What an inconceivable mass of misery must have been occasioned by this, and by the wars which ensued, to the millions of subjects, who were all less or more affected by the fate of their superiors! Why is it that the present pope does not excommunicate and denounce the king of Great Britain and the prince regent? It is simply because he knows that it would not serve any profitable purpose; and that it might be attended by some inconvenience to himself, if he were to denounce them by name. But, if ever the time shall come when the subjects of the pope shall have the ascendancy here, the ghostly father will feel little reluctance in serving British princes as he did their predecessors. And, in fact, they are excommunicated already, though not by name, but by their well known designation of heretics. This is done annually at Rome, on Holy Thursday, as by the following account in Hurd's History, p. 217:—“The next ceremony is that of excommunicating and giv. ing over to the devil, all Protestants throughout the world, who, at Rome, and among Roman Catholics, are known by the name of heretics. The pope is then clothed in red, and stands upon a high throne, the better to be seen by the people. The sub-deacons who stand at the left hand of his holiness, read the bull, and in the mean time, the candles are lighted, and each of them takes one in his hand. When the excommunication is pronounced, the pope and cardinals put out their candles, and throw them among the crowd, after which the black cloth that covered the pulpit is taken away."
I have deviated a great way from the straight road through the let. ters of Amicus VERITATIS, for the purpose of contrasting the disci. pline and excommunication appointed by Christ in his church, with ihat exercised in the church of Rome, by the pope and his clergy; and I hope it will appear from what I have written on this subject alone, that the church of Rome is antichrist,—that malignant power that maintains a perpetual opposition to the kingdom of Christ in the world.
I shall conclude this number with another example of excommunication, as it is practised in the church of Rome. It is difficult to understand what sort of communion the church held with vermin; but certainly some sort of relation must have subsisted between them and the church, seeing they were liable to be excommunicated.