Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

with light, holding an infant in her arms. She shewed this to Cæsar, and said, this infant is greater than thou. Those assembled there heard a voice, announcing to the following purport : This is the Altar of Heaven. At that time they did not understand what was intended by this remarkable appearance. But they leerned afterwards, that the Lord Jesus bad been born on that day. In the same house of this Cæsar, where he had seen the prodigy first mentioned, after some time a Church was built, and now the Fathers of the Order of St. Francis live in that house, and the Church is at this day called, Sancta Maria ara cæli. It is called THE ALTAR, because, as we offer sacrifices to God on an altar, so we offer up our worship through the intervention of Mary, that God may receive us more favourably.”

It is not mentioned whether Xavier was a Franciscan Monk. His being a Jesuit would have been no obstacle; for the Jesuit is a very Proteus. Juvenal's Greekling is but a child to him. Not only Jesuits are found in all ranks and professions, and pursuits in life; but a Jesuit may be found in all of them. He may be a soldier, or a sailor, a private secretary, or a military secretary, an ambassador, or a priest, il Lutheran merchant, an Armenian trader, a Banian; in short, he may be found in any and every pursuit, that will afford an opportunity for promoting the interests, not of man, but of the Sociely, and of that alone. Before it, men and women, princes, thrones, empires—the happiness of the human race must fall--They must be all or nothing.

We have seen in the portions of his contaminated history, already furnished, abundant proof of the Jesuitical impiety; and when we find a Jesuit adulterating the Holy Scripture with a view, not to establish a high-minded morality, or any elevated notions of human polity, but solely to prepare the minds of the expected converts for the reception of silly stories, in favour of the immaculate conception, and the interests of the Franciscan brotherhood, and the vile impositions of Papal Rome : when we see this, and know from authority not to be doubted, that Jesuits are, like the Church they belong to, unchangeable in principle, though subtile and varying in their plans: when we know too, that in England, within a few years, they have acquired lands, and lordships, and friends, even among the Established Clergy, and converts to a fearful amount—that they are daily increasing in power and influence--that a commencement of the same destruct. ive exertion has been made in this country, by persons, who, Dr. Doyle believes, are Jesuits “ in a sort of a way." When we consider too, that some high in authority do not seem to be acquainted with the religion they profess; and a legislator has been known to declare in his place in the house, that he saw no great difference between Popery and Protestantism. When all this is known and considered, we have much reason to thank God for his mercy in protecting us thus far from the consequences of such things, and to pray earnestly, that he will continue that protection. Our readers will excuse the unconscionable length of this sentence; but the feeling which dictates it is sincere and strong: and we should think it impossible, that any one who has read, not what has been written against the Jesuits, but what has been written, and published, and lauded by themselves, could feel any thing but indignation or horror against them, or anticipate any thing but mise-, VOL. IV.

D

ries for the country, that suffers them to pollute her soil.— ITERUM CRISPINUS. Xavier gives us another wonder :

“ On the same day, (of Cæsar's conference with the Sibyl,) at midnight, and in the same city of Rome, another wonderful thing occurred. There stood in that city a mighty temple of the most elaborate structure, dedicated to the God of Peace. From the deity, whose name was Apollo, and through whom the Devil sometimes gave answers, they had enquired how long the temple would exist. They were answered, until a virgin should have a Son, yet remain a virgin. This they thought an impossibility, and consequently concluded, that the temple would stand for ever. They engraved on a marble in the front of the temple, the title of the Temple of Peace and Eternity.” But on the very night of the Saviour's birth, it fell to the ground in ruins.”

What a wonder !! and how admirably attested !!!

STATE OF PROTESTANTISM IN HUNGARY.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.

MY DEAR SIR-I fear that I have been too hasty in promising to send you, at the beginning of this month, a detailed account of the Protestant Church in Austria, and more especially in Hungary. Some indispensable engagements of a literary aud domestic nature occupy my time so much at this moment, that I shall not be able to enter so fully into the matter as I could have wished, and its importance calls for. I am therefore compelled to confine myself to a few particulars only, but hope shortly to supply the deficiency by a separate work which I propose to publish on this subject, from the most authentic facts and documents I have collected during my residence in the Austrian dominions, particularly in Hungary, a country in which you appear to be more interested.

Hungary is, in fact, one of the most interesting countries in Europe in every respect; to me it was especially so, in a religious point of view, both as a Christian and a Protestant. Greatly grieved and disappointed to find scarcely any traces of true and vital Christianity, I was equally shocked and horror-struck to perceive and witness the most dire and diabolical persecutions now carrying on against Protestantism and the Protestant Church, which can only find their parallel in the records of the dark middle ages.

You will scarcely conceive it possible, that in the nineteenth century, and at a period when we hear so much of the supposed amelioration of the Roman Catholic system, and the improved tone of Papists, such scenes of horror and barbarous cruelty should be allowed to take place in any civilized country, and in the heart of Europe. And to satisfy you fully on this subject, I shall confine myself in this brief sketch, principally to references to the

most authentic documents, consisting in petitions presented to the Emperor of Austria, by his aggrieved and afflicted Protestant subjects of Hungary, containing a catalogue of their wrongs and woes. That you might mare readily understand these, it will be necessary to say a few prefatory words.

The doctrines of the Reformers gained an easy entrance into Hungary at an early stage of the Reformation, and spread amongst the people with amazing rapidity. Before the middle of the sixteenth century, more than two thirds of the population, and almost all the higher nobility and Magnates, professed the reformed doctrines. But shortly after the house of Austria had obtained the sovereignty of Hungary, the persecutions against the heretics commenced, with the avowed object of exterminating Protestantism altogether. It is not our purpose now to speak of the scenes of blood and murder, but to hasten to that period when the Protestant Church first gained a legal footing in Austria and Hungary, by the treaty of Vienna, in 1606, between Rudolph of Austria and Stephen Bocksay, Prince of Transylvania, who took up arms in favour of the Protestants. All penal enactments against Protestants were repealed by virtue of this treaty, and full and perfect liberty of conscience, with free exercise of religious worship, was granted. But all these legal rights were made virtually nugatory, by a clause introduced in the treaty, setting forth that all enactments in favour of Protestants shall only be in force as long as they prove to be sine præjudicio Religionis Catholicæ.The mischief resulting from this clause may easily be conceived : every thing was considered prejudicial to the Catholic religion, and nothing was gained. Persecution recommenced, and again raged with unremitted cruelty, until 1645, when Rakotzy, Prince of Transylvania, at the instigation of the British Court, obtained a second treaty in favour of the Protestants. Little was, however, gained by this second treaty -other equivocal expressions were inserted, such as “modo ut supra simili; ut effusioni sanguini parcatur ; propter bonum pacis et tranquillitatem Regni—which were afterwards appealed to, when there was no longer occasion to keep faith with the heretics. We turn with disgust and horror from these blood-stained pages, which record the history of the suffering Protestant Church for upwards of one century. And though, during the reign of Maria Theresa, the most cruel persecutions relaxed, yet another series, less cruel but more sure, was commenced. Whole troops were either plied with bribes until they consented to join the Catholic Church, or compelled so to do, which was also the case with a large portion of her population. Upwards of seven hundred churches were seized from the Protestants, and converted into Catholic places of worship; the flocks being for the most part compelled by military force to attend there, and join that Church.

When the liberal-minded Emperor, Joseph the Second, ascended the throne, one of his first acts was to ameliorate the condition of his faithful Protestant subjects, in whose favour he issued, in 1781, what is generally known by the name of the Edict of Tolerance, confirming by it the treaties of 1606 and 1645, and allowing perfect liberty of conscience and free exercise of religious worship in every place where one hundred Protestant families lived, who could satisfactorily shew their capacity to build a church, school, and parsonage, and maintain at their own expense the minister, schoolmaster, &c.

The noble-minded Leopold the Second confirmed this in 1791, by another edict, notwithstanding the Catholic Clergy protested against it, as on former occasions, at the Diet of Presburgh. This last edict has, however, been so much confused by innumerable modifications, explanations, intimations, and resolutions, since added, that it cannot be considered as existing any longer except on paper. On this subject it is said by a noble

Hungarian, (in his work “On the State of the Protestant Church in Hungary,"*) —

“ Though the edict of 1791 was regularly passed and incorporated with the statutes of the country, at the Diet of Presburgh, yet the Catholic Clergy disregard it, conscious of their influence and power. The clergy are the first and most powerful in Hungary, much more powerful than any other. The clergy fill the first places, hold the most influential offices in the state, preside at all tribunals, where they have the majority of voices ; and in fact the will of that body may be considered the law of the country. Therefore it was also said by them, after the edict was issued and received as a law : “ The Protestants shall have very little cause to rejoice at it, as the execution of it shall be made nugatory ; and be dealt with like the treaties of 1606 and 1645, which were never properly acted upon.”

From this you may form some idea of the administration of the laws in favour of the Protestants of Hungary. It would carry me, however, too far, to enumerate all present grievances. I shall therefore confine myself to the mention of three, which are the source of the most vexatious and cruel persecutions, viz. mixed marriages, in which one party is Catholic and the other Protestant; burial places in common to both parties; and the transitus from one faith to another. Mixed marriages, must in all cases be consecrated by the Catholic priest ; ifthe husband be Catholic, though the wife Protestant, all children, without distinction of sex, must be educated in that faith ; if Protestant, and the wife Catholic, the boys follow the religion of the father, and the girls that of the mother. This law, prima facie, is already sufficiently iniquitous and mischievous, but becomes much more so in its consequences. The priests in most cases refuse to consecrate the marriage, until the Protestant party consents to become Catholic; or at least a bond is given, that all children be educated in that faith: and not unfrequently it happens, that forged bonds are produced, by means of which, if the parents shew a refractory disposition, the children are carried off by military force, and kept in confinement until instructed and advanced in Popery, when they are sent back to the paternal house. In the case of an intended transitus from the Catholic to the Protestant faith, the law enacts, that the party be obliged to submit to a six weeks' examination, one hour each day, before the Catholic priest of his parish, to shew upon what grounds he wishes to for

* Gregory Berzeviczy, Leipzig, 1822.

sake the Catholic Church, and to satisfy the examiner as to his religious knowledge; and if he be competent to decide on so momentous a question. During the forty-two days of the examination, all intercourse with Protestants is strictly forbidden ; and if it be discovered, that during this period the least communication of an interdicted nature take place, the examination, though in every respect satisfactory, is on that account void. There is, however, very little chance of success: the priests generally refuse their certificate of being satisfied with the examinant, after the forty-second examination; and there are instances, that these have been protracted to ten and twelve years; one period of six weeks having succeeded another, with the same result. And it is now the constant practice of the priests, to claim children, adults, and even married people, considerably advanced in life, as legally retainers of the Roman Catholic Church, being descended in the second or third generation form Catholic parents, and part of their family, from which they are descended, admitted illegally into the Protestant Church. “ Such victims,” the author above alluded to, says, (and I had ocular proofs of it during my late stay in Hungary,) “are treated more unmercifully and cruelly by the officers of justice, than the heaviest criminals or felons, with whom they are indiscriminately incarcerated. Many houses are surprized and surrounded at night by armed constables : children and parents are put in fetters and dragged to prison, where they are left to linger until they embrace Popery. It has happened, that children thus carried off, have found means to escape, and wandered about in the woods, for fear of being seized

second time, if found at home, and perished with hunger.",

“ In this manner,” the petition, dated, 5th January 1819, presented to the Emperor of Austria, by his Hungarian Protestant subjects, states, “ the two children of Stephen Vrabeck, of the village Laaz, fell victims to an untimely death, by being torn in a forcible manner from the arms of their parents : the one escaping from the gaoler, concealed himself in a wood, and died of hunger ; and the other pined away in the house of the bishop of the diocese, with grief for the loss of his liberty, and force of conscience.”

“ Thus Daniel Tiram also lost his son, and is left to weep over his grave. The youth was forcibly carried away, and died in confinement and in misery.”

“ In like manner, Eve Stulko, whilst in a state of pregnancy, was seized by Corporal Mittuch, put in shackles and dragged to prison, and so maltreated, an abortion ensued, which threw her into a decline."

(To be continued.)

that

IRISH ANTIQUARIAN RESEARCHES.

In giving insertion to the following note of Sir W. Betham, the Conductors of the EXAMINER, who feel in a great measure responsible for the Reviews that appear in their pages, desire to express their conviction that he is mistaken in imputing views to the Reviewer of his Antiquarian Researches which he does not hold; and

« VorigeDoorgaan »