« ÎnapoiContinuați »
ther, and otker servants of God; the Réformers; dbes: bý gefic eral agreement in council, persist in their tile corruptions and wickedness; and obštinate opposition to the kingdom of Christ. The doctrines and practices of the church of Rome, which were chiefly condeinned by the Reformed, were confirmed by the decrees of their council ; and the corruptións, in many respects were carried higher than ever before ; and they uttered blasphemous reproaches atid curses against the Reformed religion, and all the Reformed church was excöihi municätéd ähá anathématized by themi ; and so, according to the prophecy, « tħèy blasphemed Gods Thu's God hardered their hearts, intending to destroy thema
(2) The Papists have often énđeavoted to overthrow the Reformátióti by secret plots and conspiracies. So there were many plats against the life of Luther. The Papists weré étgâged in contriving to despatch him, and to put him out of their way; and hë, as he was a very bold mati, often very much exposed himself in the cause of Christ : But yet they were wonderfully prevented from hurting him, and he at last died in his bed in peace. And so there have been from time to time innumerable schemes secretly laid for the overthrow of the Protestant religion ; among which, thắt which seems to be most considérable, and which šéěmed to be the most likely to have taken effect; was that which was in the time of King James Ft. of England, which is within tke memory of many of us. There was ât that time a strong conspiracy be, tween the King of England and Lewis XIV of France, who were both Papists, to extirpatë the Northern herésy, as tħey called the Protestant religion, not only out of England, but out of all Europe ; and had laid their schémes so, thạt they seemed to be almost sure of their purpose. They looked up: on it, that if the Reformed religion were suppressed in the British realms, and in the Netherlands, which were the strongest part, and chief defence of the Protestáňt interest, they should have easy work with the rest. And just as their matters seemed to be come to a head, and tKeir enterprise ripe for execution, God, in hís providence, suddenly dashed all their schemes in pieces by the Revolution, at the coming
in of King William and Queen Mary ; by which all their de, signs were at an end ; and the Protestant interest was more strongly established, by the crown of England's being established in the Protestant house of Hanover, and a Papist being, by the constitution of the nation, for ever rendered incapable of wearing the crown of England. Thus they groped in darkness at noon day as in the night, and their hands could not perform their enterprise, and their kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain.
After this, there was a deep design laid to bring the same thing to pass in the latter end of Queen Anne's reign, by the bringing in of the Popish pretender ; which was no less suddenly and totally baffled by divine Providence ; as the plots against the Reformation, by bringing in the pretender, have been from time to time.
(3) The Reformation has often been opposed by open wars and invasions. So in the beginning of the Reformation, the Emperor of Germany, to suppress the Reformation, declared war with the Duke of Saxony, and the principal men who favored and received Luther's doctrine. But they could not obtain their end; they could not suppress the Reformation. For the same end, the King of Spain maintained a long war with Holland and the Low Countries in the century before last. But those cruel wars issued greatly to the disadvantage of the Romish church, as they occasioned the setting up of one of the most powerful Protestant states in Europe,which next to Great Britain, is the chief barrier of the Protestant religion. And the design of the Spanish inyasion of England in Queen Elizabeth's time, was to suppress and root out the Reformed religion ; and therefore they brought in their fleet all manner of instruments of cruelty wherewith to torture the Protestants who would not renounce the. Protestant religion. But their design was totally bafted, and their mighty fleet in a great measure ruined.
(4) Satan has opposed the Reformation with cruel persecutions. The persecutions with which the Protestants in one kingdom and another have been persecuted by the church of Rome, have in many respects been far beyond any of the
Part II.] WORK OF REDEMPTION,
30! Heathen persecutions which were before Constantine the Great, and beyond all that ever were before. So that Antichrist has proved the greatest and cruelest enemy to the church of Christ that ever was in the world, in this, as well as in all other respects ; agreeably to the description given of the church of Rome, Rev. xvii. 6. ." And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” And, chap. xvii. 24. “ And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.'
The Heathen persecutions had been very dreadful ; but now persecution by the church of Rome was improved and studied, and cultivated as an art or science. Such ways of afflicting and tormenting were found out, as are beyond the thought and invention of ordinary men, or men who are unstudied in those things, and beyond the invention of all former ages. And that persecution might be managed the more effectually, there were certain societies of men established in various parts of the Popish dominions, whose business it should be to study, and improve, and practise persecution in its highest perfection, which are those societies called the courts of inquisition. A reading of the particular histories of the Romish persecution, and their courts of inquisition, will give that idea which a few words cannot express.
When the Reformation began the beast with seyen heads and ten horns began to rage in a dreadful manper. After the Reformation, the church of Rome renewed its persecution of the poor Waldenses, and great multitudes of them were cruelly tortured and put to death. Soon after the Reformation there were terrible persecutions in various parts of Germany; and especially in Bohemia,which lasted for thirty years together ; in which so much blood was shed for the sake of religion, that a certain writer compares it 10 the plenty of waters of the great rivers of Germany. The countries of Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary, were in like manner deluged with Protestant blood.
By means of these and other cruel persecutions, the Protestant religion was in a great measure suppressed in Bohe
mia, and the Palatinaté, anid Hungáry, which before were as it were Protestant countries. Thus was fulfilled what was forte told of the little horn, Dan. vii. 20, 21. (and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which cathë
UP and before whom three fell, even of that hörn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I befield, and the same hörn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. And what was foretold of the beast having seven heads and ten .horns, Rev. xiii. 7. “And it was giveti unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: And power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nationis."
Also Hofland and the other Low Countries were for mang years a scene of nothing but the most affecting and amazing cruelties, being deluged with the blood of Protestants, under the merciless hands of the Spaniards, to whom they were then in subjection. But in this persecution the devil in á great measure failed of his purpose ; as it issued in a great part of the Netherlands casting off the Spanish yokė, and set. ting up a wealthy and powerful Protestant state, to the great defence of the Protestant cause ever since.
France also is another country, which, since the Reformation, in some respects, perhaps more than any other, has been a scene of dreadful cruelties suffered by the Protestants there. After many cruelties had been exercised towards the Protestants in that kingdom, there was begun a persecution of them in the year 1571, in the reign of Charles IX. king of France. It began with a cruel massacre, wherein 70,000 Pro testants were slain in a few days time, as the King boasted : And in all this persecution, he slew, as is supposed, 300,000 martyrs. And it is reckoned, that about this time, within thirty years, there were martyred in this kingdom, for the Protestant religion, 39 princes, 148 counts, 234 baróns, 147,518 gentlemen, and 760,000 of the common people.
But all these persecutions were, for exquisite cruelty, fär exceeded by those which followed in the reign of Lewis XIV. which indeed are supposed to exceed all others that ever have teen ; and being long continued, by reason of the
long reigo of that king, almost wholly extirpated the Protes-
There was also a terrible persecution in England in Queen
Scotland has also been the scene, for many years together, of cruelties and blood by the hands of high churchmen, such as came very little short of the Popish persecution in Queen Mary's days, and in many things much exceeded it, which continued till they were delivered by King William.
İreland also has been as it were overwhelmed with Protes. tant blood. In the days of King Charles I. of England, above 000,000 Protestants were cruelly murdered in that kingdom in a few days; the Papists by a secret agreement, rising all over the kingdom at an appointed time, intending to kill every Protestant in the kingdom at once.
Besides these there have been very cruel persecutions in Italy, and Spain, and other places, which I shall not stand to relate.
Thus did the devil and his great minister Antichrist, rage with such violence and cruelty against the church of Christ ! And thus did the whore of Babylon make herself drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus! And thus by these persecutions, the Protestant church has been much diminished! Yet with all have they not been able to prevail ; but still the Protestant church is upheld, and Christ fulfils his prom