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MASSACRE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW.
IN consequence of Sunday, the 24th of August, being St. Bartholomew's day, we think a few remarks on the massacre nominated from that day, may prove instructive to our readers. It will prove not only that Romanism is essentially persecuting, but that there is no reason for believing that it has in any degree been modified in principle by the lapse of time.
Mezarai, Fleuri, and Mosheim, (Soames' edition), all give accounts of this dreadful massacre.
If there is any event which more than another awakens general reprobation, that event is the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew. Nevertheless, as if to brave the universal judgment of mankind, within the last twenty years, the medals which were formerly coined at Rome to commemorate that event, have been re-coined and circulated by the present Gregory XVI.
To show how deep a malignity and how dark and vindictive a spirit has been exhibited by Papal Rome, by recasting the medals of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, we shall append to these brief remarks, the narrative of that murderous tragedy, as it has been preserved to the world, by the celebrated French Roman Catholic historian Mezarai.
"The populace (at Paris) and the most shameless being excited by the smell of blood, sixty thousand men transported with this fury, and armed in different ways, ran about wherever example, vengeance, rage, and the desire of plunder, transported them. The air resounded with a horrible
tempest of the hisses, blasphemies, and oaths of the murderers; of the breaking open of doors and windows, of the firing of pistols and guns, of the pitiable cries of the dying, of the lamentations of the women, whom they dragged by the hair; of the noise of carts, some loaded with the booty of the houses they had pillaged, others with the dead bodies, which they cast into the Seine, so that in this confusion they could not hear each other speak in the streets, or if they distinguished certain words, they were these furious expressions, kill, stab, throw them out of the window.' A dreadful and inevitable death presented itself in every shape: some were shot on the roofs of houses, others were cast out of the windows; some were cast into the water and knocked on the head with blows of iron bars or clubs; some were killed in their beds, some in the garrets, others in cellars; wives in the arms of their husbands, husbands on the bosoms of their wives, sons at the feet of their fathers. They neither spared the aged, nor women big with child, nor even infants. It is related that a man was seen to stab one of them who played with the beard of its murderer, and that a troop of little boys dragged another infant in its cradle into the river. The streets were paved with the bodies of the dead or dying; the gateways were blocked up with them. There were heaps of them in the squares; the small streams were filled with blood, which flowed in great torrents into the river. Finally, to sum up in a few words what took place in these three days; six hundred houses were repeatedly pillaged, and four
thousand persons were massacred with all the disorder and inhumanity imaginable."
(Similar massacres took place throughout France, at Meaux, Troyes, Orleans, Nevers, La Charitè, Toulouse, Bourdeaux, and Lyons. The following is the account of barbarities committed at Lyons.)
They began with the prison of the Cordeliers, thence they ran to the Archbishop's prison, after that to the royal prison, which is called Rouan, and to other places in which the governor had shut up from seven to eight hundred persons, all of whom they knocked on the head, cut in pieces, strangled or drowned; afterwards they spread through the town to despatch the rest in the houses, and to collect the spoil after the victory. All these unhappy people were dragged into the Rhone. It was a truly pitiable sight to behold this river entirely tinged with blood, and infected with corruption, carrying upon its waters six or seven hundred dead bodies, many of them tied together to long poles; some with their heads, some with their arms and legs cut off, everywhere gashed with deep wounds, and so disfigured as not to retain the human form. During two months this horrible and cruel tempest ran through France, in some places in a greater degree and in others in a less degree, and destroyed not less than twenty-five thousand persons. The holy father (Pope Gregory XIII.), and all his court displayed a very great rejoicing, and went in solemn procession to St. Louis to return thanks to God for so happy a success."
The Roman Catholic historian, Fleuri, relates, that the Pope caused several medals to be struck in order to perpetuate the recollection of this event, wherein he himself is represented on the one side, and on the other side, an angel, carrying a cross in one hand and a sword in the other, exterminating the heretics.
POPERY, while subordinate, may be meek and passive; but give it power, and it will extirpate and destroy all
that love the truth. It is a sleeping tiger wherever truth prevails and keeps it in check, but give it the supremacy, and all its ferocity will be kindled; its first onset will be death. Witness the massacres of tens of thousands in Belgium. Witness the doings in Madeira, Tahiti, Ireland, in a word, wherever Popery has free scope for developement.
REPORT OF EVANGELICAL SOCIETY. This very morning we have received the following letter from a minister lately arrived in the Saintonge:
"You see, then," says our friend, "that everything is to do here, and that there is but one minister for thirty communes, each of which needs a minister. Let one of the members of the committee come here, and he will be frightened, as I am, at the little that has been done, in comparison with what might, and therefore ought, to have been done. Oh, if you were able to transport yourselves, and to place yourselves in the midst of our new brethren of B-, you would find yourselves in a country of friends, and you would be convinced that there is here a principle of life that we must not suffer to languish. If you could have been present with me at the meeting held for religious instruction at F, and could have seen around a rustic table, in a room half lighted by one candle, grey-headed old men, others in the prime of life, and youths, answering as little children to the questions I put to them on passages of the Scriptures, and could have heard them reply, their eyes full of tears, and with the accent of the most profound conviction, Yes, I now hope I have found in Christ peace for my soul,' you would have been convinced that this is not a human excitement, but that the Spirit has breathed on these country places. Make haste, make haste, then, to send us helpers. I cannot believe that any member of the Church of Christ will refuse you the money necessary to carry out this glorious work,"
Paris, June 19th, 1845. I HASTEN to draw the notice of the English public to a fact which will, I have not the slightest doubt, interest all real Christians, while it exemplifies, in the most striking manner, the anxiety of such Roman Catholics as are deeply concerned for the welfare of their own souls. It is not only in Germany that Popery loses ground; it is not only Italy, whose sons look forward towards the approaching era of religious and political freedom; thousands in France have been lately awakened to the "truth as it is in Jesus;" and, whilst a proud ecclesiastical aristocracy wrestles in vain against the Gospel, our prelates hear with terror the inquiry, uttered from their own camp, what Ishall I do to be saved?'
On the 19th of last month, the Abbé Trivier, Vicar of the Church of St. Michael, in the city of Dijon, sent in his resignation to the Bishop. M. Trivier had been for a very long time indeed the spiritual director of the flock to which he ministered; equally distinguished by his ability, his exemplary conduct, and his earnest piety, he had secured to himself the love and the respect of his superiors and his congregation. You may then easily imagine with what surprise and terror the Bishop of Dijon perused the following letter:
"My Lord, I have the honour to beg of you to accept the resignation of my duties as vicar in the parish of St. Michael. I likewise inform you that from this day forward I shall cease to fulfil them. Deep convictions alone have led me to take this resolution, and I looked upon it as a serious, an important duty.
"For a long time the prejudices and the commentaries of the Roman Church were the only mediums through which I studied the Word of God; but the Lord, in his mercy, having put it into my heart to become acquainted with the Gospel, by reading the Gospel itself, I separated it from the human tradition under which it had nearly disappeared: then, to my great sorrow, I could not help noticing a most clear fact-how much the Roman Church had altered and
adulterated the Scriptural economy of our salvation.
"Since this light was shed abroad in my soul, I felt that I was compelled to renounce errors which, till then, I had confidently received as so many truths. It grieved me much to give up several practices in which, although unsatisfactory, I had still, in many cases, found a degree of consolation. It pained me to separate myself from a few fellow-labourers, whose friendship was precious to me: from you, my lord, whose authority, although contrary to the declaration of Scripture, (1 Peter, v. 1—3,) had never been exercised over me but in a
mild and paternal way. However, experience has convinced me that the Roman Church will not renounce the errors and the faults which it now nourishes; it is impossible: nay, today, as in former times, Rome is quite ready to thunder its anathemas against any one who would be bold enough to substitute for an erroneous system the pure evangelical doctrines. Thus I have been constrained, by the anxiety I entertain for my own salvation, to throw off the yoke of a religion full of superstitions, and to cling exclusively to the word of God.
The step I have taken will not, I fear, be considered under its proper light by the multitude, who never take the trouble of examining; but, although flesh and blood make it painful to my feelings, yet I feel happy in being able to confess the truth, and I would offer up my sincere thanksgivings to the Father, who has delivered me from the power of darkness, and translated me into the kingdom of his dear Son (Coloss. i. 13.) That my satisfaction might be complete, one wish more should be fulfilled. Will not my late fellowlabourers, as Lydia of old, (Acts xvi. 14,) receive in their hearts the appeal which the Lord addresses to us as sinners?
induces us justly to fear that she is more and more opposed to the truth. For, instead of endeavouring to satisfy the religious yearnings of bruised souls by the admonitions and advice of a seriously Christian doctrine, do we not see that Church striving to amuse them by a number of ceremonies unknown to our forefathers, and only capable of lulling sinners to sleep in a most awful and deceitful way.
"But if I feel deeply distressed when I see human doctrines proclaimed instead of the Gospel, I find, at the same time, a new incitement to perseverance in prayer; and I would supplicate the Father that it may please him in his great mercy to inspire all the pastors of the Roman Church with the resolution of teaching henceforth, nothing except the truth which has been brought to men by our Saviour, and which alone can free them from the bondage of sin. (John viii. 32-36.)
"May that truth, my lord, be abundantly manifested to your own conscience, through God's grace! Such will be always the sincere and very fervent wish of your very obedient and very devoted servant,
"Late Vicar of St. Michael's."
THE Anti-Romish Movement has extended to the frontiers of Switzerland. The secular priests of the diocese of Constance are nearly unanimous in recognizing the necessity of a reform of the Church, and assembled in chapter at Radelfzell, have declared that the causes of the present religious crisis must be sought in the retrograde movement which the Roman Catholic Church has for some years pursued. They therefore propose various reforms in the discipline and ceremonies of the Church, among which is the celebration of divine worship in the vulgar tongue.
A CORRESPONDENT of the "AntiJesuit," writing from St. Croix, remarks-"The more precautions are taken to suppress the religious senti
ment, the more it manifests itself. This is demonstrated by the whole history of the church in our country in particular, for some years past; languor seems to be yielding to a religious movement, with which God in his goodness has been pleased to favour us." After describing two meetings, one of which was obliged to be held in a barn, the other in the open air, on the previous Sabbath, but which, as well as a prayer-meeting held afterwards, were uninterrupted by any hostile manifestation, the writer concludes: "Courage, servants of Jesus Christ; raise the banner of your Master, and your faith shall render you victorious over the world!"
CIRCULAR FROM HIS HOLINESS, POPE GREGORY XVI., DATED ROME, MAY 8TH, 1844.*
To all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops.
VENERABLE Brothers, health and greeting apostolical. Amongst the many attempts which the enemies of Catholicism, under whatever denomination they may appear, are daily making in our age to seduce the truly faithful, and deprive them of the holy instructions of the faith, (les saints enseignemens de la foi,)-the efforts of those Bible Societies are conspicuous, which, originally established in England, and propagated throughout the universe, labour every where to disseminate the books of the Holy Scriptures, translated into the vulgar tongue, consign them to the private
*We readily give insertion to this document, on account of its immense value, as connected with the controversy with the Church of Rome, which is daily assuming more importance, and exciting a greater interest among all classes in the Protestant world. The first translation of this epistle was into the French, and appeared in the Archives du Christionisme, Juin 8, 1844, Paris, under the title of Lettre Encyclique du Pape Gregorie XVI. It was subsequently translated into our language, and appeared in "The English Churchman," of June 20th, 1844, from whence we have taken it.-EDIT.
interpretation of each, alike amongst Christians and amongst infidels, continue what St. Jerome formerly complained of, pretending to popularize the holy pages, and render them intelligible, without the aid of any interpreter, to persons of every condition,
-to the most loquacious woman, to the light-headed old man, (vieillard delirant,) to the worldly caviller, (verbeux sophiste,) to all, in short, and even, by an absurdity as great as unheard of, to the most hardened infidels.
You are but too well aware, my reverend brethren, to what the efforts of these Societies tend. You know what is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and what is the advice of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles.
After having quoted the Epistles of St. Paul, "They contain, (says he,) many things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." Then you know what he adds: "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." (2 Pet. iii. 16,17.)
You see what was even in the earliest times of the Church the appropriate artifice of heretics; and how, discarding divine tradition and Catholic enlightenment, they already strove either to materially interpolate the sacred text, or to corrupt its true interpretation. You are also aware with what caution and wisdom the words of the Lord ought to be translated into another tongue and yet nothing is more common than to see these versions multiplied, to admit, either through imprudence or malice, the grave errors of so many interpreters; errors which dissemble too frequently, by their multiplicity and variety, to the misery of souls. So far as these Societies are concerned, it matters little whether those who read the holy books, translated into vulgar language, fall into this or that error. They only care audaciously to stimulate all to a private interpretation of the divine oracles, to inspire contempt for divine traditions, which the Catholic
Church preserves upon the authority of the holy Fathers; in a word, to cause them to reject even the authority of the Church herself. This is the reason why the Bible Societies care not to calumniate her (the Church) and the august throne of St. Peter, as if she had wished for ages to deprive the faithful of the knowledge of the holy books, when the most forcible evidence will prove the immemorial and particular care which the Sovereign Pontiffs, even down down to the most modern times, and in conjunction with their Catholic Pastors, have taken to ground the people in the word of God, whether written or delivered by tradition.
In the first place, it is known that, by the decrees of the holy Council of Trent, Bishops are enjoined to see that the Holy Scriptures and divine laws be more frequently taught in their dioceses. It is known that, even exceeding the prescriptions of the Council of Lateran, (1215,) the Council of Trent recommends that there should be in the several cathedral churches and collegiates of the towns and cantons, a stipend provided for a Doctor of Divinity, and that none should be appointed to that office but a man fully competent to teach and expound the Holy Scriptures. It is known how frequently, in the Provincial Councils which followed, this prebendary, founded upon the decree of the Council of Trent, was mentioned; and how often the instructions which the canon intrusted with this office should deliver to the Clergy and people, were taken into consideration.
The same disposition (to instruct the people in the word of God) was especially observable in the Council of Rome in the year 1725, to which our predecessor, Benedict XIII., of happy memory, summoned not only all the Prelates of the Romish Church, but even a great number of Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries immediately subject to the Holy See. The same desire animated the Roman Pontiff of whom we have been speaking, in the various edicts which he issued and addressed to all the Bishops of Italy and the neighbouring islands.