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THE PAPAL GIFT OF ALL THE HEATHEN WORLD TO THE PORTUGUESE AND SPANIARDS.
Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast born me a man of strife, and a man of contention to the whole earth.-Jeremiah xv. 10.
Also in their skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents. Jeremiah v. 16.
COLUMBUS, while seeking for a western track to the East Indies, on Friday, Oct. 12th, 1492, stumbled on a New World! The discoveries by Prince Henry of Portugal, of Madeira, and of a considerable extent of the African coast, had impressed him with a high idea of the importance of what yet was to be discovered, and of the possibility of reaching India by sea. This had led him to obtain a Bull from Pope Eugene IV. granting to the crown of Portugal all the countries which the Portuguese should discover from Cape Non to India. Columbus, having now discovered America, although unknown to himself, supposing it still to be some part of India, his monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, lost no time in applying for a similar grant. Alexander VI., a Spaniard, was equally generous with his predecessor, and accord
ingly divided the world between the Spaniards and Portuguese! "The Pope," says Robertson, "as the vicar and representative of Jesus Christ, was supposed to have a right of dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth. Alexander VI., a pontiff infamous for every crime which disgraces humanity, filled the papal throne at that time. As he was born Ferdinand's subject, and very solicitous to procure the protection of Spain, in order to facilitate the execution of his ambitious schemes in favour of his own family, he was extremely willing to gratify the Spanish monarchs. By an act of liberality, which cost him nothing, and that served to establish the jurisdiction and fortunes of the papal see, he granted in full right to Ferdinand and Isabella, all the countries inhabited by infidels which they had discovered, or should discover; and in virtue of that power which he derived from Jesus Christ, he conferred on the crown of Castile vast regions, to the possession of which he himself was so far from having any title, that he was unacquainted with their situation, and ignorant even of their existence. As it was necessary to prevent this grant from interfering with that formerly made to the crown of Portugal, he appointed that a line, supposed to be drawn from pole to pole, a hundred leagues to the westward of the Azores, should serve as a limit between them; and, in the plenitude of his power, bestowed all to the east of this imaginary line upon the Portuguese, and all to the west of it, upon the Spaniards. Zeal for propagating the Christian faith, was the consideration employed by Ferdinand in soliciting this Bull, and is mentioned by Alexander as his chief motive for issuing it."
It is necessary, for the right understanding of this history, to pause upon this remarkable fact, and to give it the consideration which it demands. In this one passage lies the key to all the atrocities, which from that hour to the present have been perpetrated on the natives of every country making no profession of Christianity, which those making such a profession have been able to subdue. An Italian priest,-as the unfortunate Inca, Atahualpa, afterwards observed with indignant surprise, when told that the pope had given his empire to the Spaniards,-here boldly presumes to give away God's earth as if he sate as God's acknowledged vicegerent. Splitting this mighty planet into two imaginary halves, he hands one to the Spanish and the other to the Portuguese monarch, as he would hand the two halves of an orange to a couple of boys. The presumption of the act is so outrageous, that at this time of day, and forgetting for a moment all the consequences which flowed from this deed, one is ready to burst into a hearty fit of laughter, as at a solemn farce, irresistibly ludicrous from its grave extravagance. But it was a farce which cost, and still costs the miserable natives of unproselyted countries dear. It was considered no farce-there was seen no burlesque in it at the time of its enactment. Not only the kings of Spain and Portugal, but the kings and people of all Europe bowed to this preposterous decision, and never dreamed for a moment of calling in question its validity.
Edward IV. of England, on receiving a remonstrance from John II. of Portugal on account of some English merchants attempting to trade within the limits assigned to the Portuguese by the pope's bull,
so far from calling in question the right thus derived by the Portuguese from the pope, instantly ordered the merchants to withdraw from the interdicted scene.
Here then, we have the root and ground of that grand delusion which led the first discoverers of new lands, to imagine themselves entitled to seize on them as their own, and to violate every sacred right of humanity without the slightest perception of wrong, and even in many instances, in the fond belief that they were extending the kingdom of Christ. We have here the man of sin, the anti-Christ, so clearly foretold by St. Paul,-"the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. . . . Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power, and signs and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."-Second Epistle to the Thessa lonians, ii. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11.
Strange and abounding in most singular transactions as is the history of the Papal church, there is not to be found in it one fact in which the son of perdition, the proud anti-Christ, is more characteristically shown than in this singular transaction. We have him here enacting the God indeed! and giving away a world in a breath. Vast and mighty nations, isles scattered through unknown oceans, continents stretching through all climates, and millions on millions of human beings, who never heard of his country or his
religion, much less of his name, are disposed of with all their fortunes; given up as so many cattle to the sword or the yoke of the oppressor-the very ground given from beneath their feet, and no place left them on God's earth-no portion in his heritage, in time or in eternity, unless they acknowledged the mysterious dogmas and more mysterious power of this hoary and shaven priest! Never was "the son of perdition" more glaringly revealed; for perdition is the only word that can indicate that fulness of misery, devastation, and destruction, which went forth with this act, upon millions of innocent and unconscious souls. Never was "the deceivableness of unrighteousness so signally exemplified; for here was all Europe,―monarchs, ministers,—whatever it possessed of wise, or learned, powerful, or compassionate, all blinded with such "a strong delusion," that they could implicitly "believe a lie" of so monstrous and flagrant a kind.
It is difficult for us now to conceive how so gross a delusion could have wrapped in darkness all the intellect of the most active and aspiring portion of the globe; but it is necessary that we should fix this peculiar psychological phenomenon firmly and clearly in our minds, for on it depends the explication of all that was done against humanity during the reign of Papacy, and much that still continues to be done to this very day by ourselves, even while we are believing ourselves enfranchised from this "strong delusion," and too much enlightened to "believe a lie."
We must bear in mind then, that this strange phenomenon was the effect of nearly a thousand years' labour of the son of perdition. For ages upon ages,