Page images
PDF
EPUB

remark, that he is never to be believed leis, than when he relates facts, of which he pretends to have been an ocular witness. ... · Mr. Wesley denies that “ John Huss ever “ attempted to make his escape.” He may deny his own journals. Dacher and Reichenthal, two German historians, present at the council, and on whom L'Enfant passes the

highest encomiums for candour and integrity, · relate that John Huss attempted to make his

escape. Here he violated his safe-conduct, and forced his judges to confine him. L'Enfant exhausts his wit, to invalidate the relation of thofe, (according to himself,) “unprejudiced " historians.” His chief reasons are, “the “ silence of the acts of the council about “ Huss's flight.” To this it is answered, that in the acts of a council, the judicial acts done, in full council, are alone related ; not every in cident that happens in a city where it is held. Hence Huss's imprisonment is not mentioned. Jerome of Prague's flight is mentioned, because the council sent him a safe-conduct, and the cause required to be specified. Secondly, Tie says that “ it appears that Huss was appre“ bended on the twenty-eighth of November; "and consequently could not escape in the folas lowing March.” Besides other reasons, it can be answered that the mistake of a date, often owing to the fault of copiers or printers, can

not

not invalidate the truth of a public fact attested by fuch ocular witnesses, as L'Enfant describes the two German historians to have been.

But Mr. Wesley insists, that “ the emperor “ Sigismund granted Huss a safe-conduct, pro“ mising him impunity, in case he was found “ guilty.” I explained the nature of safeconducts, in my Remarks on that gentleman's letters: and I infist that safe-conducts of the kind are never granted. It is enough for sovereigns to extend the mercy of prerogative to criminals, when they are found guilty by their judges; without saying to a rebel, or an incendiary, or to a highwayman: “Go and take “your trial : never fear : I will grant you your “ pardon, when you are found guilty, though I

“am convinced you are an arrant rogue.” • They never enter into compacts of the kind

with such people. A man who is to take his trial, and has enemies in the way, may call for a safe conduct to go to the place of trial, and return unmolested, if he is acquitted : and this was the case of Huss. He offered of himself to take his trial, and to submit to the sentence, if found guilty. He never upbraided the emperor with his breach of promise, when he was given up to the secular armwhich he would have done, had the emperor given him such an assurance. The Hussites, themselves went, on the

faith of a safe-conduct, to the council of Basil, and never alleged breach of faith with John Huss.

It was, then, in the sixteenth century, when interested men fomented divisions between Catholics and Protestants, that the hand of calumny wrote false commentaries on the text of the canon of the council of Constance; and handed it down as a theme, to religious declaimers, whom the test of ortliodoxy proposed by the very council, will ever stare in the face.

Here is the test inserted in a bull pulished with the approbation of a general council, not by the pope in his personal capacity, but sacro approbante concilio. “Let the person fuf“pected be asked, Whether he or she does < not think that all wilful perjury, committed. “ upon any occasion whatsoever, for the pre“ servation of one's life, or another man's, or, " even for the sake of the faith, is a mortal “ fin ".

I have read near upon a thousand religious declamations against popery: not one of the authors of those invectives has candour or honour to produce that teft in fayour of Catholics: which shews the spirit that actuates them. They should, at least, imitate the limner who first painted Pope's Essay on Man, and

contrasted,

contraited, on the same canvas, the blooming cheek with the frightful skeleton, linked together in the same group. No. They will paint the Catholic religion in profile, and fix a Saracen's cheek into the face of the Chriftian. The declaration of a general council, which can afford the least occasion for cavil, will be eternally field forth, whilft the decrees of the same council, liable to no misconstruction, where frand and perjury, even for the sake of religion, are condemned, will be overlooked. Bellarmin, Becanus, and those other Knoxes and Buchanans of the Catholic religion, whole works are burned by the hands of the executioner in Catholic countries, are dragged from their nelves, whilst the decisions of the most learned universities in the world, that condemned the false doctrine of those incendiaries, are buried in filence. The bee pitches on flowers: but the beetle falls upon nuisances, i

They will be eternally teasing their hearers and readers with the word beretic, without explaining its sense or acceptation. They will erect it as a kind of standard to which all tlie, fanatics of tlie world will flock to figlit the battles of the Lord against- Antichrist : and in this confederate army, they will confound the arclibishop of Cashel, who fills his fee after a long fucceflion of Protestant bishops, with John Hufs, wlio starts up on a sudden, flying in the faces of kings and bishops. They will con

found

[ocr errors][merged small]

306

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

REJOINDER. found the bishop of Cork, with Theodorus Sartor, stretching himself naked before a number of prophets and prophetesses, who burn their clothes and run naked through the streets of Amsterdam, denouncing their woes, and foretelling the destruction of Antichrist. They will put the achbishop of Canterbury on a level with the Patarini, who exclaimed against Popery, and held that no sin could be committed with the lower parts of the body. ...

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

In fine, all those monsters that started up from time to time, and whom our magistrates would doom to the rope or fagot, are made good Protestants, because they exclaimed against Popery: an enumeration of their sufferings from Papists, is enlarged upon; and the Protestant bishop, or the Protestant king has no mercy to expect from Papilts : for sure they are held in the same light, by them, with James Nailer, who, after fighting against Papists and Malignants, in Cromwell's army, turned prophet, and rode into Bristol, mounted on an ass, on a Palm Sunday, attended with numbers of women, spreading their aprons before him, and making the air re-echo to loud hosannahs : Holy, holy, holy; hosannah to James Nailer': “ blessed is. James Nailer, who comes in the “ name of the Lord !"* Those gentlemen never mention heretics excommunicated by Pro

testant * Swell's life of James Nailer.

« PreviousContinue »