« PreviousContinue »
done with regard to Huss; and left him to the secular arm: as Calvin, queen Elizabeth, and king James I. did to the heretics whom their confiftories and bishops had judged and found guilty of herețical praviry.' “ But was not the em“ peror Sigismund cruel in putting those two ".men to death Ş” It is not his lenity or cruelty that we examine. I only vindicate myself and the Catholic Church from a slanderous doctrine. He was not more cruel for putting seditious men, one of whom had committed wilful murder, to death, than Protestant sovereigns who doomed old women to the stake, for a kind of gibberish about the incarnation. My sentiments on that subject I have explained.
Jerome of Prague's coming to the council, Thews that it did not violate faith with John Huss. Neither doth any one accuse the council of violating faith with Jerome. They were, both more obftinate than Mr. Wesley, who ran away from the bailiffs of Georgia, and would .. not return to them. In this he followed Sancho's maxim : “ Many go to the market for wool, * 6 that come home shorn."
M y design, in the following pages, is to throw open the gates of civil toleration for all! Adam's children, whose principles are not inconsistent with the peace of civil society, or subversive of the rules of morality; to wrench, as far as in my power lies, the poniard so often tinged with human blood, from the hand of persecution ; to sheath the sword, which misguided zeal has drawn in defence of a gospel which recommends peace and love; to restore to man the indelible charter of his temporal rights, which no earthly power has ever been commiflioned by Heaven to deprive him of, on account of his mental errors; to re-establish the empire of peace, overthrown fo often by religious feuds; and to cement all mortals,
especially Christians, in the ties of social harmony, by establishing toleration on its proper grounds,
The history of the calamities occafioned by difference in religious opinions, is a sufficient plea for undertaking the task. But time does not allow me to enter into a detail of those me- ' lancholy scenes, which misconstrued religion has displayed. The effects are well known : but it is high time to remove the cause.
The mind shrinks back at the thoughts of the cruelties exercised against the Chriftians by the heathen emperors, for the space of three hundred years. Scarce did the Chriftians begin to breathe, under the first princes who embraced their religion, than they fell out amongst themselves, about the mysteries of the fcriptures. Arianism, protected by powerful sovereigns, raised, against the defenders of the Trinity, persecutions as violent as those raised formerly by the heathens. Since that time, at different intervals, error, backed by power, persecuted truth. And the partisans, of țryth, forgetful of the moderation which reason and religion prescribe, committed the same excelles with which they upbraided their oppreffurs. Sovereigns, blinded by dangerous zeal, or guided by barbarous policy, or seduced by