« PreviousContinue »
to his own conscience: I appeal to his 'Farther Appeal' to men of reason and religion, wherein he describes the sufferings of several of his followers in England; how he himself was dragged by the mob; and the proceedings of a magistrate who dispersed a pamphlet, entitled 1A parallel between the Papists and Methodists,'' in order to kindle the rage of the populace against him. I appeal to the letter he wrote, many years ago, to doctor Bailey of Cork, wherein he complains that the Grand Jury of that city found indictments against Charles Wesley, who makes the hymns, and ordered him to be transported as a vagabond. Mr. Wesley has got the letter printed, with the names of the Grand Jury. But, after having weathered the storm, the mariner on shore forgets his distresses as well as his sea chartTo show that his friend, John Huss, never 'kindledany
* civil wars in Bohemia, and that he was quite innocent of
* any offence whatever,' he quotes the following testimonial, given to John Huss, by the bishop of Nazareth, 'We, Nicho
* las, do, by these presents, make known unto all men, that 'we often talked with that honourable man, John Huss, and 'in all his sayings, doings, and behaviour, have found him 'to be a faithful man; finding no manner of evil, sinister 4 or erroneous doings in him, unto these presents.' To this Mr. Wesley subjoins a testimonial from the archbishop of Prague, declaring, 'that he knew not that John
* Huss was culpable or faulty in any crime or offence vvhat'soever.'
Let us now suppose those testimonials to be genuine, and grant them to Mr. Wesley to get rid of a bad cause. What advantage can he derive from them? The bishop of Nazareth declares, that he talked very often widi John Huss, and that in their conversation, he discovered nothing sinister or erroneous in him. Doubtless, in conversing with a bishop who was an Inquisitor, John Huss was upon his guard. The aTchbishop * knew not that he was culpable.' The conversation of the first, and the know not of the other, must counterbalance the positive and decisive proofs, produced on a criminal's trial, in presence of a general council, no ways interested in the condemnation of a man, in whom there « was
* no evil, nothing sinister or erroneous.' Testimonials are
often granted to people from tenderness, or ignorance, which will avail but little on a trial.
The thirtieth proposition, extracted from Huss's works, and condemned by the Council, runs thus: 'there is no tens'poral Lord, there is no Pope, no Bishop, when he is in the
* state of mortal sin.' Huss himself acknowledged this seditious proposition, which authorizes the fanatical saint to take the king's crown, if he sees him but once drunk; or to seize the property of the lord of the manor, if, in scolding his coachman, he curses. The fruits of this doctrine were as visible in Bohemia, as the fruits of Mr. Wesley's Apology for the Associations, are legible in the glowing embers of London.
L'Enfant, the Calvinist historian of the Council of Constance, better informed than Mr. Wesley, can instruct him in these words: < John Huss, by his sermons and writings, 'and violent and outrageous conduct, had extremely con'tributed to the troubles which then distracted Bohe'mia.'*
What becomes now of testimonials which carry contradiction on the very face of them, whereas John Huss was excommunicated a year and a half before he obtained them? Those Bishops, then, must have been mistaken if their testimonials be genuine. Each of them must have been the Burnet of his days; of whom Protestant as well as Catholic historians remark, that he is never to be believed less, 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 those (according to himself,) 'unprejudiced historians.' His chief reasons are 'the 'silence of the acts of the Council about HussTi^flight.' To this it is answered, that in the acts of a Counc^ the judi
* L'Enfant, B. 3. No.
cial acts done in full council, are alone related; not every incident 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 safeconduct, and the cause required to be specified. Secondly, he says that, 'it appears that John Huss was apprehended 4 on the twenty-eighth of November, and consequently could 'not escape in the following March.' Besides other reasons it can be answered that the mistake of a date, (often owing to the fault of copyers or printers,) cannot invalidate the truth of a public fact attested by such ocular witnesses, as L'Enfant describes the two German historians to have been.
But Mr. Wesley insists, that 'the Emperor Sigismund 4 granted Huss a safe-conduct, promising him impunity, in • case he was found guilty.' I explained the nature of safeconducts, in my Remarks on that gentleman's letters; and I insist 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, oran incendiary, or to a highwayman: 'go and take your trial: never fear: 1 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 his 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 arm; which 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 cf 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 orthodoxy proposed by the very CouDcil, will ever stare in theface.
Here is the test inserted in a bull published with the approbation of a general Council, not by the Pope in his personal capacity, but sacro approbante Concilio. 'Let the 'person suspected be asked, whether he or she does not * think that all wilful perjury, committed upon any occa4 sion whatsoever, for the preservation of one's life, or 'another man's, or even for the sake of the faith, is a mor«tal sin?'
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 test in favour 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, on the same canvass, 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 Christian. The declaration of a general Council, which can afford the least occasion for cavil, will be eternally held forth, whilst the decrees of the same Council, liable to no misconstruction, where fraud 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, whose works are burned by the hands of the executioner in Catholic countries, are dragged from their shelves, whilst the decisions of the most learned universities in the world, that condemned the false doctrine of those incendiaries, are buried in silence. The bee pitches on flowers, but the beetle falls upon nuisances.
They will be eternally teasing their hearers and readers with the word heretic, without explaining its sense or acceptation. They will erect it as a kind of standard to which all the fanatics of the world will flock to fight the battles of the Lord against Antichrist; and in this confederate army, they will confound the archbishop of Cashel, who fills his see after a long succession of Protestant bishops, with John Huss, who starts up on a sudden, flying in the fa«es of kings and bishops. They will confound 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. Tney will put the archbishop 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.
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 Papists: 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 Protestant churches, and put to death by Protestant magistrates. They never mention the description given of heretics by Protestant writers; by Godolphin, the Protestant canonist, and Sir Edward Coke, the Protestant lawyer, who both call heresy, ' leprum animm?—the leprosy of the soul. No, heresy is the Papist's favourite theme. No Protestant ever made any commentaries on it.
The same uncandid fallacy that lurks under the word heretic, with which the Catholics are always taunted, is manifest in the strained construction of the canon of the Council of Constance. A spiritual cause is to be tried by ecclesiastical judges. They declare that 'no safe-conduct granted by 'princes, shall hinder heretics from being judged and pu
* nished,' (with ecclesiastical censures and degradation, for their power to punish can extend no farther) ' and that when