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odious counsels,-became the executioners of their subjects who adopted religious systems different from those of their rulers, or persevered in ancient systems, from which their sovereigns had receded.
Had those horrors been confined to one sect of Christians only, infidels would not have been so successful in their attacks on the system at large; though religion disclaims the odious imputation. But all fects execrated and attemptó..., ed to extirpate one another. Europe became one wild altar, on which every religious sect offered up human victims to its creed.
The ministers of a religion that had triumphed over the Cæsars, not by resistance, but by suffering, became the apologists of calamities that swept from the face of the earth, or oppress to this very day, God's noblest images upright, virtuous, and dauntless men. Like the warrior in the scriptures, they stept into the fanctuary, to grasp the barbarian's sword wrapt up in the ephod. The code of temporal laws, teeming with fanctions against robbers and murderers, was fwelled, to the surprise and destruction of mankind, with additional decrees against heretics and papists. The inoffensive citizen who from an apprehension of offending the Deity, by acting against his conscience,
was confined in the same dungeon, or doomed to the fagot or axe, with the parricide who laid aside every restraint of moral obligation : and the scriptures were adduced in justification of the fanguinary confusion. The wreath and the rod have been held forth, not to crown the worthy, and punish the pernicious, but to fcourge to conformity, candid and iteady virtue. The priest gave the fanction of heaven to the bloody mandates of the civil magistrate : and the civil magistrate unsheathed the sword. to vindicate the cause of the God of Heaven, who reserves to himself the punishment of man's conscience. No person has a greater respect for the clerical order, of every denomination, than I have. I am of the number, and feel myself wounded through their fides, when the Deist and Free-thinker, who hold them all in equal contempt, contend “ that in all ages, and in “ all countries, the clergy are the main props “ of persecution. That had they been as foli"citous to heal, and conciliate men's hearts, 6C as they have been to infiame and divide them, 5 the world would by this time bear a different “ aspect. That they should have left the laity “ in peaceable possession of good neighbour"hood, mutual charity, and friendly confi“dence. That instead of inforcing the great “ principles of religion, the very basis whereof “is charity, peace, and love, they are ever and
“always the oppressors of those who differ from “ them in opinion; and the active and impel“ ling spring that gives force and elasticity, to “ the destructive weapons of the civil power.” In corroboration of the charge, the free-thinker will unfold the page of history, and open those enormous volumes, made up of religious declamations. He will prove from both, that if " popes and their apologists, have scattered the “ fire-brand, their spiritual brethren have faith“ fully copied their example, in succeeding "times, wherever their power and influence "prevailed.”
“ Though the Protestant ,divines,” says Hume, “ had ventured to renounce opinions, “ deemed certain før so many ages, they re“ garded in their turn, the new syftem fo cero “ tain, that they could bear no contradiction “ with regard to it: and they were ready to “ burn in the same flames, from which they “ themselves had so narrowly escaped, every “ one that had the assurance to oppose them."* Hence the scaffolds reeking in Holland with the blood of many illustrious men, who, after opposing Philip the Second's efforts to introduce conformity by fire and sword, fell themselves by the hand of the executioner, for dere nying Gomar's predestination. Hence Heca
tombs * Hume's Hift. of England, Vol. 4. p. ibi...
tombs of victims offered up on the gloomy altar of the Scotch league and covenant, and peopling the region of the dead, for differing in opinion. “Out of every contested verse,” says the satirical Voltaire, “ there ifsued a fury, “ armed with a quibble and a poniard, who in“ fpired mankind at once with folly and cru.. “elty.". . a.
The same demon that poured the poisonous cup over the kingdoms, and provinces of Europe, took his flight over the Atlantic, and spread his baneful infuence amongfi colonists who had themselves fled from the scourge. Their new built cities, like so many Jerufalems, were purified from Idolatry. . There no Popishi prieft dared to bend his knee. 10 “ his idols, or “ transfer to stock or stone, the worship due to “ the God of Israel.” There the Quaker-woman's filent groans were raised on the high key of loud Mrieks, whien the Lord's deputy ordered her profane breasts to be whipt off by the gospel (courge, that whipped the profaners out of the temple. There the Quaker was seen; fufpended by the neck on high, for daring to pollute the sacred streets with leis profane feet; moved by Baal's Spirit. The holy city, * thus purged from the Febriseans, and Pheriseans, was Split foon after into two factions. The two fa
• Sce the history of Massachusets bay, or Boston.
covenants, the covenant of grace, and the covenant of works, soon divided the spiritual militants. The jarring of divinity caused such difsentions, that in the presence of sixty thousand favages, headed by their warriors, giving the signal for scaling the walls, to bury the contending parties under their ruins, grace would not permit works to lend the least assistance for repelling the common foe. It became victorious over the Indians and Christians, i It drove the first from its walls, and banished the latter from the city into savannahs and deserts, to procure themselves sublistence by the works of their hands,
In a word, persecution on the score of conta science, has thinned the world of fifty millions of human beings, by fire and sword. Thoufands, who have escaped the sword and fagot, have perished, and are daily perishing with hunger and want, for their mode of worship. The London tiots, occasioned by a pretext of religion, have added about four hundred more, deluded by religious frenzy, to the enormous number. And though they suffered as plunderers and incendiaries, yet religious intole rance in their leaders, occafioned the deluded people's destruction, .
The history of the calamities, occafioned by the gospel of peace, could be concluded with