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canonists: and we presume a's much know-3 ledge and zeal for the Catholic religion in Gregory the Great and his predecessors, as in any of his successors, in ages less refined. _
The opposition given, in Catholic countries, '
to the establishment of the inquisition,-the death of the inquisitors by the hands of the people,--and the general odium it raised,-prove that sparks of the moderation and meekness
recommended in the gospel, and practised in ,
the primitive times, with regard to people of a different persuasion, were 'not quite extinct, even in the ages of darkness and barbarism. Popes themselves opposed its introduction into'Venice : and whether from policy or piety, I shall not take on me to determine.
But Berkley remarks, that, " if policy in" duced a pope to oppose its introduction in t* a certain state, policy might have induced " another pope so introduce it in his own." *
,I am convinced he was not mistaken in his
The pope was in posseffion of a city which
i formerly gave birth to so many heroes, besidesv
a good territory bestowed on him by several sovereigns. He thought it high time'to look about him, when all Europe was in one gene
* * Minute Philofopher. tal
ral blaze. The liberty of the gospel, preached by'Muncer and several other en'thusiasts, threw all Germany into a flame, and armed boors
' ' against their' sovereigns. As he was a tempo
ral prince, he dreaded for his sovereignty, as well as other crowned heads in his neighbourhood; and the more so, as his soldiers were' better skilled in saying their beads, than handling the mutket.
Great events, the downfal of empires, and the rise or destruction of extraordinary characters, are commonly foretold in oracles, both sacred and profane; and he found himself in the same dubious and vcritical situation with
Montezuma, when the Spaniards landed in
V Old prophecies foretel our fall at hand,
Long before the resormation, the dimensions of his city were taken; the line wasextended over its walls; and it was discovered that it
was the " great city, built on seven hills, the har*-
_" lot that had made the kings of the earth drunk "with her cup; and that her sovereign was V Antichrist, the man of._sin," mentioned by St. Paul, in his epistlc to the Theflalonians. 1Nickliff, Huss, and Jerome of 'Prague,_ had
* Dryden's Indian Been. D laid
46 ESSAY on TOLERATION.
laid down as a rule, many years before, that
" popes, princes, and bishops, in the state-of.
ff mortal sin, have no power z" and a state of grace was, doubtless, incompatible with the character of Antirhrzst. Jerome of .Prague, who was burnt afterwards at Constance, to shew that Rome was the harlot of the Revelations, after beating a monk, and drowning another, dressed, one day, a prostitute in a pope's attire, with the three-crowned cap, made of paper, on her head, and in her head-dress, without being so careful of the rest of her body ; leads the female pontiff, half naked, in proceffion through the streets of Prague, in derision of 'a religion professed by the magistrates. ' i
Some well-bred divines there are, who justify such proceedings, on the principle that it was requisite, at that time, " to cry aloud, and use " a strong Wedge to break the knotty block " of Popery." I do not believe there is a wellbred Protestant living, who would applaud either martyr or divine who would exhibit such a merry spectacle in the streets of Dublin or London ; or who would shed a tear for his loss, if, after exhibitingr such a shew in Rome or in
_ Paris, he fell into the hands of the inquisition,
or were. sent to the gallies. The gospel-truth is no enemy to decency. ' ' .
St. Paul, in. pleading his cause before Festus, = did riot inveigh against his vestal virgins, the' adulteries of his gods, or. the wickedness of his 'emperors. Let a'religion of state, be ever sofalse,v the magistrate who professes it, will feel himself insulted, when it is'a'ttacked in a gross, ' injurious manner: and, if apologies can be
made for indecencies and seditions doctrines,
under pretence of overthrowing'idolatry, some a-llowance must be made for men' who think themselves insulted by such attacks.
The pope, then, as a sovereign prince, .
had every'thing to dread, when the thrones _ of the German princes began to totzter from thefflshocksof injþimtion : but what still increased his alarms, was-the unfolding of the Revelations,. which held him up to all Europe, as the Antichrist, the general enemy of. Chrisi tians; who should be destroyed. Lest 'any oneh should miss his aim, it was proved fromthe Revelations, that he was the beast with ten horns ; and, in bearing down such a game, the *
world was to be renewed, and the peaceful
reign of the millenniu'm, during which Christ was to reign with the saints on earth, was to begin. The time was approaching. Old John Fox, the martyrologist, says, that ** after long " study and prayers, God _had cast suddenly
," into his mind, by divine inspiration, that the
V forty-two mouths must be referred. to the Dz church's
V church's persecution, from the time of John
"* the Baptist." This calculation was to bring
on the Pope's destruction about the year sixteen hundred. Brightman was more precise, and foretold the final downfal of the pope, in the year fifteen hundred and forty-six : others in fifteen hundred and fifty-sixz and others in fifteen hundred and fifty-nine. Luther came closer to the famous rera ; and published his prophecy, in which it was revealed to him, that the pope and the Turk would be destroyed in two years after the date of his oracle. This, certainly, was a close attack on the pope, who, in all appearance, did not like to die'so soon, even of a' natural death. He apprehended the accomplishment of the oracles the more, as at that time almost every one was inspired, and ready to do any thing for the destruction of: Antichrist. ' ' ss i
Alexander Ross, in his view of religion, de-v scribes numbers os those prophets, and amongst
'the rest one Hermannus Sutor, a cobler of
Optzant, who professed himself a true prophet, and Meffiah Son of God: a very dangerous neighbour for Antiohrist ! This man, to receive
. t'te prophetic inspiration, stretched himself
naked in bed z and, after ordering'a hogsh'ead of strong beer to be brought close to him', began to drink in the source of inspiration, and,