Page images

The greatest difficulty was to deceive the admiral Coligny; but this unsuspecting man was ensnared by adulation. The command of an army was offered him, and the influence of this deceitful offer, brought him also to Paris.


[ocr errors]

In August, 1572, the marriage ceremony was performed. A few days after, the admiral was shot at and wounded, as he passed from court to his own lodgings; and, on the 24th of the same month, began that tremendous massacre at Paris, which will ever be mentioned, to the reproach of them that planned and executed such undeserved and horrible vengeance.

[ocr errors]

In that year, St. Bartholomew's day fell on what is commonly called Sunday. Early in the morning, admiral Coligny was murdered by Besme, a German; a worthless fellow, who had been page to the duke of Guise. The duke, who abhorred the admiral, and thirsted for his blood, was impatient to see his dead body. It was, therefore, thrown out of the chamber window, into the courtyard, and there treated with great indignity, by the duke himself, and his infatuated adherents.

At the accustomed hour, the bells in Paris, rang for morning prayers; and, soon after, the palace bell tolled, as the well known signal for a general slaughter. All protestants, without distinction of age or sex, were now given up to the fury of a murderous mob. Many noblemen and gentlemen


tvere massacred, even in the Louvre. The king, intent on this bloody business, appeared at the windows of his palace, where he attempted to shoot : those that endeavoured to escape; crying out to their pursuers, KILL THEM-KILL THEM.

· The massacre continued seven days. Orders were sent into all parts of the kingdom, to put the calvinists to the sword; and though these orders were not universally obeyed, more than sixty thousand persons were slain, in one week, in the kingdom of France.

Who would have thought it possible for the church of Rome, and court of Spain, to exhibit public rejoicings on such a mournful occasion? Yet they did this; and Charles the ninth, (finding his duplicity was detected and despised) not only confessed the fact of this general slaughter, but attempted to justify his cruel proceedings.

The consequence of this massacre, was the reverse of the king's expectation. He had promised himself, by this abuse of his authority, security from future opposition; whereas, it produced a fourth civil war; in his half ruined kingdom, and raised up a new party against him, that increased his troubles. This party was called POLITICIANS. They proposed to banish the Guises from France, and to remove the queen mother, and the Italians, from having any share in the government. This irreligious faction, (which abounded with des

ists, and with other despisers of revelation,) was countenanced by the duke of Alençon, a giddy, · sash man, and by Montmorency, who had an eye

to the crown.

In the midst of these confusions, and the alarms excited by them, the king died at Vicennes, without male issue; having first declared his mother regent of the kingdom, till his brother, Henry the third, his lawful successor, should be able to return from Poland,

Of Charles, it is said, that he was a prince of great wit and courage; but ruined by a bad education, and by the evil counsels, and pernicious example, of Catharine de Medicis, his own mother: From his youth, she accustomed him to shed blood, and to gratify his most extravagant imaginations. Thus tutored, his passions were violently inflamed, and his speech frequently polluted by the most horrid oaths, and dreadful imprecations Surely, to such a man, it was a curse to be a king.

Just let me add, in the reign of Charles the ninth, the council of Trent broke up. This formidable assembly, which sat, by different adjournments, eighteen years, and closed in 1563, gave no satisfaction to protestants of any description. · Lutherans and calvinists, were alike the objects of its displeasure; nor were all its decrees acceptable to , roman catholics. The French catholics, in particular, complained that several of its decisions,


* diminished the rights and prerogatives of their king, and were inconsistent with the privileges of the gallican church.

[ocr errors]

This ardour for liberty, ill-defined, has long been indulged in France, by eminent roman catholics; so much so, that the celebrated MASSILLON, more than once, said those things from the pulpit, which contained the first principles of the recent revolution, Fond, however, as these erring catholics were of liberty, it was only in favour of themselves; to protestants they were unwilling to grant liberty of conscience; protestants, therefore, were treated not much better, even under Lewis the fourteenth, than in the sanguinary reign of Charles the ninth.

:a. From the fall of our first parents, to the present century, the 'word LIBERTY has, in many cases, been of doubtful construction; and, on what is commonly called religious liberty, or liberty in matters of religion, disputes, every where, have been disgraceful, dangerous, and innumerable.

In reference to revealed religion, (the only re. ligion that affords us a ray of hope towards God,) every sober man must admit, he is not at liberty to choose and appoint the way of his own salvation, or previously to say, what doctrines he is to believe, what positive institutions he is practically to regard, or what spiritual, or what moral duties, he, as a believer in Jesus Christ, should endeavour to


perform. These things are of God, and settled according to the counsel of his own WILL.

It has long been the boast of infidels, that in the pagan world, before the appearance of christianity, an universal toleration of religious sentiments every where prevailed. But what were those sentiments? That there were gods many, and lords many; that each of these gods and lords, were local deities; that they presided over different countries, and took, within their own circle, the earthly inhabitants under their special protection. A toleration, founded on such principles, was a criminal confederation, which they only can be fond of who love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.


When men held gods in common, when there was a difference, without any opposition in their pretensions, it was impossible that religion could furnish their angry passions, with materials for persecution. When the account of our Saviour's life was sent to Rome, by Pilate, Tiberias supposed he was a local deity, and desired he might be enrolled amongst the gods of the empire. But when they found he had strictly prohibited such intercommunity, and all that could be called idolatry, the proposal was rejected. So great is the difference between the nations that do service unto them which by nature are no gods, and the people that worship him that is Lord of all.


« PreviousContinue »