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every craft, priestly and political; every form of regal authority, of arms, and of superstition; every delusion of the senses, and every species of play upon the affections, hopes and fears of men, had been resorted to, and exerted, to rivet this "strong delusion" upon the human soul, and to make it capable of "believing a lie."
In the two preceding chapters, I have denied the possession of Christianity to multitudes and nations who had assumed the name, with a sternness and abruptness, which no doubt have startled many who have now read them; but I call earnestly upon every reader, to attend to what I am now endeavouring deeply to impress upon him; for, I must repeat, that there is more of what concerns the progress of Christian truth, and consequently, the happiness of the human race, dependent on the thorough conception of the fact which I am going to state, than probably any of us have been sufficiently sensible of, and which we cannot once become really sensible of, without joining heart and hand in the endeavour to free our own great country, and Christendom in general, from the commission of cruelties and outrages that mock our profession of Christ's religion, and brand the national name with disgrace.
There is no fact then, more clearly developed and established past all controversy, in the history of the Papal church, than that from its very commencement it set aside Christianity, and 'substituted in the words of the apostle, "a strong delusion" and "the belief of a lie." The Bible-that treasury and depository of God's truth-that fountain of all pure and holy and kindly sentiments-that charter of all human rights
that guardian of hope and herald of salvation, was withdrawn from the public eye. It was denounced as the most dangerous of two-edged instruments, and feared as the worst enemy of the Papal system. Christianity was no longer taught, the Bible being once disposed of; but an artful and deadly piece of machinery was put in action, which bore its name. Instead of the pure and holy maxims of the New Testament-its sublime truths, full of temporal and eternal freedom, its glorious knowledge, its animating tidings, its triumphant faith-submission to popes, cardinals, friars, monks and priests, was taught a Confessional and a Purgatory took their place. Christianity was no longer existent; but the very religion of Satan-the most cunning invention, by which working on human cupidity and ambition, he was enabled to achieve a temporary triumph over the Gospel. Never was there a more subtle discovery than that of the Confessional and the Purgatory. Once having established a belief in confession and absolution, and who would not be religious at a cheap rate?—in the Confessional-the especial closet of Satan, every crime and pollution might be practised, and the guilty soul made to believe that its sin was that moment again obliterated. Even if death surprised the sinner, there was power of redemption from that convenient purgatory. Paid prayers were substituted for genuine repentance-money became the medium of salvation, and Beelzebub and Mammon sate and laughed together at the credulity of mankind!
Thus, as I have stated, Christianity was no longer taught; but a totally different system, usurping its Instead of simple apostles, it produced showy
popes and cardinals; instead of humble preachers, proud temporal princes, and dignitaries as proud; instead of the Bible, the mass-book and the legends of saints; instead of one God and one Saviour Jesus Christ, the eyes of its votaries were turned for help on virgins, saints, and anchorites-instead of the inward life and purity of the gospel-faith, outward ceremonies, genuflexions, and pageantry without end. Every man, however desperate his nature or his deeds, knew that for a certain amount of coin, he could have his soul white-washed; and, instead of a healthy and availing piety, that spurious and diabolical devotion was generated, which is found at the present day amongst the bandits of Italy and Spain-who one moment plunge their stiletto or bury their bullet in the heart of the unsuspecting traveller, and the next kneel at the shrine of the Virgin, perform some slight penance, offer some slight gift to the church, and are perfectly satisfied that they are in the way of salvation. It is that spurious devotion, indeed, which marks every superstition-Hindoo, Mahometan, or Fetish-wherever, indeed, mere outward penance, or the offering of money, is substituted for genuine repentance and a new life.
Let any one, therefore, imagine the effect of this state of things on Europe through seven or eight centuries. The light of the genuine gospel withdrawn— all the purity of the moral law of Christ-all the clear and convincing annunciations of the rights of manall the feelings of love and sympathy that glow alone in the gospel ;-and instead of these an empty show; legends and masses, miracle-plays and holiday pageants; such doctrines of right and wrong, such maxims of worldly policy preached as suited ambitious digni
taries or luxurious friars-and it will account for that singular state of belief and of conscience which existed at the time of the discovery of the new countries of the East and West. It would have been impossible that such ignorance, or such shocking perversion of reason and faith, could have grown up and established themselves as the characteristics of the public mind, had every man had the Bible in his hand to refer to, and imbue himself daily with its luminous sense of justice, and its spirit of humanity.
We shall presently see what effects it had produced on even the best men of the 15th and 16th centuries; but what perhaps is not quite so much suspected, we shall have to learn in the course of this volume to what an extent the influence of this system still continues on the Protestant mind. So thoroughly had it debauched the public morality, that it is to this source that we alone can come to explain the laxity of opinion and the apathy of feeling that have ever since characterized Europe in its dealings with the natives of all new countries. To this day, we no more regard the clearest principles of the gospel in our transactions with them, than if such principles did not exist. The Right of Conquest, and such robber-phrases, have been, and even still continue to be, "as smoothly trundled from our tongues," as if we could find them enjoined on our especial approbation in the Bible. But genuine Christianity is at length powerfully awaking in the public mind of England; and I trust that even the perusal of this volume will strengthen our resolution to wash the still clinging stains of popery out of our garments, and to determine to stand by the morality of the Bible, and by that alone.
In closing this chapter, let me say that I should be very sorry to hurt the feelings of any modern Catholic. The foregoing strictures have no reference to them. However much or little of the ancient faith of the Papal church any of them may retain, I believe that, as a body, they are as sincere in their devotion as any other class of Christians; but the ancient system, character, and practice of the Church of Rome, are matters of all history, and too closely connected with the objects of this work, and with the interests of millions, to be passed without, what the author believes to be, a faithful exposition.
THE SPANIARDS IN HISPANIOLA.
The gathering signs of a long night of woe.- -Rogers.
THE terms of the treaty between the Spanish monarchs and Columbus, on his being engaged as a discoverer, signed by the parties on the 17th of April, 1492, are sufficiently indicative of the firm possession which the doctrines of popery had upon their minds. The sovereigns constituted Columbus high-admiral of all the seas, islands, and continents which should be discovered by him, as a perpetual inheritance for him