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testants. The prince of Orange retired into Germany; the Protestants forsook the Low Countries in crowds, to avoid persecution, and fled to Embden and other places. “ The gallows were full of dead bodies, and Germany full of refugees.” In the town of Tournay, the estates of above a hundred rich merchants were confiscated; many reformed ministers were put to death ; the churches of the Protestants were pulled down ; and in some places, especially in Flanders, the beams of their churches were made use of to hang those who had built them. The duke of Alva, of infamous memory, arrived with an army.
The counts of Egmont and Horn, and other persons of eminence, were thrown into prison. This so increased the terror of those who favoured the Reformation, that, together with those who had already fled, above 120,000 are said to have forsaken their country. Notwithstanding this, the duke of Alva and his “ bloody court,” delivered, in a very short time, 1800 people, of both sexes and of all ages, into the hand of the executioner ; and the rage and cruelty of the inquisitors exceeded every thing that had been known even among the heathen persecutors. It was by them proposed to the king, and approved by him, that all the inhabitants of certain provinces, except those whose names had been sent to them, should be declared heretics, or abettors of heresy, and be considered as guilty of high treason ; and particularly the nobles who had petitioned against the Inquisition.
It was in these dreadful circumstances, that the prince of Orange undertook to relieve his native country, and made great levies of men in the states of the German Protestants, and among the refugees. This excited, more than ever, the fury of the persecutors on their helpless victims; and without abating the persecution, the horrors of a civil war, by sea and land, were added to the sufferings of the Low Countries. The prince of Orange ordered the Roman Catholics every where to be protected, as well as all other sects, in the liberty of conscience; but it was impossible, on many occasions, to check the fury of his followers, when successful in the field, and some most unchristian scenes of revenge and of wanton cruelty were witnessed. The king of Spain, when it was too late, became convinced that his extreme severity had been prejudicial to his interests. The duke of Alva was recalled in 1573. This monster boasted, " that he had delivered into the hands of the executioners above 18,000 heretics and rebels, without reckoning those who died in the war.” This civil war in the Low Countries, of which the Reformation in Germany was the occasion, raged for several years, and ended in the formation of a new Protestant state in Europe, under the title of THE SEVEN UNITED PROVINCES.
THE EFFECTS OF THE REFORMATION IN FRANCE, ITALY,
A particular reason assigned by the Helvetic divines, in their correspondence with Calvin, why he should resume his station at Geneva, was, the convenient situation of that city for the keeping up of an intercourse with the reformed in France and Italy. In the former country, the principles of the reformation were still spreading. Both Calvin and Farel were French refugees; and Calvin still corresponded with the queen of Navarre, and with other eminent persons who favoured the cause. Olivetan, by whom Calvin first had his mind awakened to the true nature of the Romish superstitions, as has been already noticed, was a minister of the Waldenses; and there appears to have been a remnant of these ancient professors of the truth preserved, to coalesce with the reformed church in France. To Olivetan is ascribed the grand achievement of translating the scriptures into French. The psalms of David were also translated, and set to appropriate tunes, and the constant custom of singing these psalms for their comfort and edification, appears quite a distinctive feature in the history of the early French reformers.
The principles of the Reformation had made an early progress in the city of Meaux, where Brissonet, the bishop, encouraged them. Farel had preached there under his protection, and also James le Fevre d'Etaples, and Gerard le Roux, who renounced an abbey and bishopric, to suffer affliction with the people of God. The members of this church were, by persecution, dispersed throughout France. John le Clerc, founder of a reformed church at Metz, in Lorraine, had suffered in the flames; and also Aymond de Lavoy, a minister of Bourdeaux, whose last words were remarkable : “My flesh lusteth against the spirit, but shortly I shall cast it away: I beseech you pray for me. O Lord, my God, into thy hands I commend my soul!” Numbers, at the time when Calvin fled, suffered in different parts of France, 1534. In the following years, many perished in the flames, especially in the years 1540 and 1541. In 1543, the parliament of Rouen condemned four to be burnt. At Paris, the selling of Calvin's *itutes was prohibited with great severity.
In that city,
Peter Bonpain, the pastor of a congregation in Aubigny, was burnt; at Rouen, Husson, an apothecary of Blois, for dispersing religious books; and in 1546, Peter Chapot, for bringing a number of Bibles into France, and selling them. Fourteen were burnt alive at Meaux. Francis D’Augy was burnt by a sentence of the parliament of Toulouse. The deaths of these martyrs for the truth, like the accounts of the fall of great military leaders in the history of a campaign, mark the spots where the chief struggles existed, and where the knowledge of religion was penetrating the regions of darkness.
Francis I. died in 1547, and was succeeded by Henry II. In the reign of this prince a multitude of martyrs fell, as may be seen in Beza's History of the French Church. In 1557, a congregation of Protestants was discovered in Paris. The place of their assembly was surrounded, and many were seized, of whom nine were burnt. Phillippa de Luns, the widow of a noble, in Gascony, was one of them. She was only twenty-three years
The most barbarous tortures were made use of in her execution. This execution was intended to intimidate; but it was very far from producing the desired effect. The reforming principles spread in many parts of France, and several persons of rank were known to be favourable to the cause; particularly Antony Bourbon, king of Navarre, his brother Louis, prince of Condé, and his other brothers.
Henry II. we are told, came into the Parliament of Paris at the very time they were debating respecting the punishments to be enacted against the heretics, and ordered two of the counsellors, Faber and Du Bourg, who spoke somewhat in favour of the reformers, to be seized. While the proceedings against these counsellors were going on, the king was killed by a wound received in his eye at a tournament. It was recollected that he had declared " he would see the execution of Du Bourg.” Du Bourg suffered with these remarkable words : “ O Lord, my God, forsake me not, lest I forsake thee.”
Francis II. succeeded, being at the same time king of Scotland, in right of his wife Mary Stuart; he reigned only to the end of the following year. His brother, Charles IX., a boy nine years of age, was then placed on the throne. Catharine of Medicis, the mother of these two princes, had at this time the chief authority of the kingdom, and parties began to be formed from political motives, which threw the kingdom into a most ruinous civil war. On the one part were the Guises, one of the most powerful families in France. The cardinal of Lorraine and his brother Francis, uncles to Mary, queen of Scots, were then at the head of this family. In opposition to these appeared the Bourbon princes, near relations to the king; at the head of whom was Louis, prince of Condé. The Guise party were notorious for their hatred and persecution of the reformers, wherever their power extended. The Bourbons, on the other hand, patronised them; and thus, to their great injury and final destruction, the French Protestants became a great political party in the state.
At the beginning of the reign of her son Charles, Catharine of Medicis affected to hold the balance between the two parties. In 1561, a conference was held between the Papists and the Protestants, but without effect; the Pope and council of Trent would yield nothing. On the part of the latter appeared, on this occasion, Theodore Beza, Peter Martyr, and Augustin Marolatus. A civil war was the consequence, in which it is calculated that upwards of 50,000 Protestants perished. Wherever the papal party prevailed, the most unoffending of the Huguenots, as the reformers in France were now called, were persecuted with the most merciless and horrid barbarity; but we cannot say with truth that these cruelties were without retaliation on the part of the Protestants.
After considerable losses on both sides, this first civil war was ended by a peace between the parties, in 1563. The Protestants were allowed liberty of conscience. The peace, however, lasted but a short time; a second civil war broke out in 1567; and before it was well composed, a third in 1568. In the following year, the Protestants made peace on advantageous terms, and four cautionary towns were delivered into their hands. But when the Protestants thought themselves secure, and the heads of their party were treated with all apparent marks of favour by the court, a most dreadful tragedy was preparing, as perfidious and cruel as any proceeding that has stained the annals of the most barbarous nations. A marriage had been projected between the young king of Navarre, afterwards the celebrated Henry IV., and a sister of the French king, and the principal persons among the Protestants were to assemble at Paris on this occasion.
Towards that city journeyed, among others, the good old queen of Navarre, the mother of Henry; but on her journey she was taken
from the evil to come. She bore her sickness with great resignation, and left a good testimony of her faith and confidence. “ As for this life," she said, “ I am in a good measuré weaned from the love of it, by reason of the afflictions which have followed me from my youth hitherto; but
especially because I cannot live without daily offending my good God; with whom I desire to be with all my heart,” &c. &c.
One of the principal persons among the Protestants, who at this time visited Paris, was admiral Coligni. He had been brought to a sense of religion by reading the Bible and other books of the Protestants, while a prisoner of war among them, and had afterwards commanded in the Protestant armies. A few days after the death of the queen of Navarre, he was shot at and wounded in the streets of Paris, August 22, 1572. The insidious king, on this occasion, paid him a visit, and told him, “ You have received the wound, but it is I who suffer.” This conduct of Charles allayed the suspicions of the admiral, though he received many warnings to make his escape. The same night a council was held to deliberate on the general massacre of the Protestants. St. Bartholomew's Eve, at midnight, was the time fixed ; -- the signal appointed was to be the ringing of a bell near the Louvre, when all the Protestants then in Paris were to be involved in one common destruction. The wounded admiral was apprised of his danger : “I perceive,” said he, “ what is doing ;" “ I bless God I shall die in the Lord, through whose grace I am elected to a hope of everlasting life.” “ You, my friends, flee hence as fast as you can.”
“The presence of God ” “ is abundantly sufficient for me.” His house was attacked among the first. The duke of Guise himself waited below stairs, with the chevalier d'Angoulême, till his murdered body was cast from the window, which was then dragged through the streets and burnt; and it was said that his head was sent to Rome by the queen mother. In the Louvre, many of the gentlemen belonging to the king of Navarre and the prince of Condé, were killed under the king's eye. He himself is reported to have fired with his long gun at his subjects, when he saw them attempting to escape by the river. Among the slain were count Rochefoucault, Feligni, the admiral's son-in-law, the marquess Ravely, and Peter Ramus, a man celebrated for his great learning; and of all ranks, it is calculated 6000 were thus murdered in the city of Paris. The young king of Navarre and the prince of Condé were compelled to be present at some of the executions, and also to assist at a jubilee, to thank God for the success of a scheme so favourable to religion.
This massacre was not confined to Paris. Private orders were sent to the governors of the provinces, to fall upon the insurgents, and also to let the people loose upon them; and similar scenes were exhibited at Meaux, Orleans, Troyes, Angers, Tou