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despotism and cruelty, that is not parallelled but by the inquisitors of Spain. Their manners

are fierce, cruel, and unrelenting, derived from the nature of their superstition. The notion of invisible malevolent powers, formerly univerfal, is not to this hour eradicated, even among Christians; for which I appeal to the fastings and flagellations among Roman-Catholics, held by them to be an efsential part of religion. People infected with religious horrors, are never seriously convinced that an upright heart and sound morality make the essence of religion. The doctrine of the Jansenists concerning repentance and mortification, shows evidently, however they may deceive themselves, that they have an impression of the Deity as a malevolent being. They hold the guilt contracted by Adam's fall to be a heinous sin, which ought to be expiated by acts of mortification, such as the torturing and macerating the body with painful labour, excessive abstinence, continual prayer and contemplation. Their penances, whether for original or voluntary fin, are carried to extravagance; and those who put an end to their lives by such se


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verities, are termed the facred victims of repentance, consumed by the fire of divine loye. Such suicides are esteemed

peculiarly meritorious in the eye of Heaven; and it is thought, that their sufferings cannot fail to appease the anger of the Deity. That celibacy is a state of purity and perfection, is a prevailing notion in many countries : among the Pagans, a married man was forbidden to approach the altar, for some days after knowing his wife ; and this ridiculous notion of pollution, contributed to introduce celibacy among the Roman-Catholic priests * The Emperor Ocho, anno 1218, became a fignal penitent: but instead of atoning for his sins by repentance and restitution, he laid himself down to be trodden under foot by the boys of his kitchen ; and frequently submitted to the discipline of the whip, inflicted by monks.

The Emperor Charles V. toward the end of his days, was forely depressed in spirit with fear of hell. Monks were his only companions,

* Fasting and celibacy were by Zoroafter condemned with abhorrence, as a criminal rejection of the best gifts of Providence.

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with whom he spent his time in chanting hymns. As an expiation for ḥis sins, he in private disciplined himself with such severity, that his whip, found after his death, was tinged with his blood. Nor was he fatisfied with these acts of mortification : timorous and illiberal folicitude still haunting him, he aimed at something extraordinary, at some new and fingular act of piety, to display his zeal, and to merit the favour of Heaven. The act he fixed on, was as wild as any that superstition ever suggested to a distempered brain: it was to celebrate his own obsequies. He ordered his tomb to be erected in the chapel of the monastery : his domestics marched there in funeral procession, holding black tapers : he followed in his Shroud : he was laid in his coffin with much folemnity: the service of the dead was chanted; and he himself joined in the prayers offered up for his requiem, mingling his tears with those of his attendants. The ceremony closed with sprinkling holy water upon the coffin ; and the assistants retiring, the doors of the chapel were shut. Then Charles rose out


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of the coffin, and stole privately to his apartment,

The history of ancient sacrifices is not so accurate, as in every instance to ascertain

upon what principle they were founded, whether upon fear, upon gratitude for favours received, or to solicit future fa

Human facrifices undoubtedly belong to the present head: for being calculated to deprecate the wrath of a malevolent deily, they could have no other motive but fear; and indeed they are a most direful effect of that passion *. It is needless to lose time in mentioning instances, which are well known to those who are acquainted with ancient history. A number of them are collected in Hiftorical Law-tracts (a): and to these I take the liberty of adding, that the Cimbrians, the Germans, the Gauls, particularly the Druids, practised human facrifices; for which we have the authority of Julius Cæ

* The Abbè de Boiffy derives human facrifices from the history of Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac, which, says he, was imitated by others. A man who is so unlucky at guessing had better be silent.

(a) Tract 1,


sar, Strabo, and other authors. , A people on the bank of the Missisippi, named Tenfas, worship the fun; and, like the Natches their neighbours, have a temple for that luminary, with a sacred fire in it, continually burning. The temple having been set on fire by thunder, was all in flames when some French travellers faw them throw children into the fire, one after another, to appease the incensed deity. The Prophet Micah (a), in a passage partly quoted above, inveighs bitterly against such sacrifices : “ Wherewith shall I come “ before the Lord, and bow myself be“fore the high God ? shall I come before “ him with burnt-offerings, with calves is a year

old ? will the Lord be pleased “ with thousands of rams, or with ten “ thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my

first-born for my transgression, the “ fruit of my body for the fin of my soul? “ He hath shewed thee, Oman, what is

good : and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mer

cy, and to walk humbly with thy " God?" The ancient Persians acknowledged O

(a) Chap. 6.

of a



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