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a sovereign remedy-a present and never-failing help, to meet the ruinous condition, the forlorn wretchedness of hopeless, and helpless creatures--and yet, the recipients of such ineffable mercy, be sunk in the depths of apathy, benumbed by the hardihood of indifference, and steeled by the obduracy of ignorance, and the languor of unthankfulness! It is, nevertheless, for the creature to feel and remember, that his disdainful scorning of the repeated mercies of his Creator-that his proud reliance on his own unassisted powers weakened by sin and misery, in an envious contempt and thoughtless rejection of the
Mirandula--designated by Politian as the Phoenix among all the great geniuses of the age--and who may be regarded as the Admirable Crichton of Italy; is equally striking, and equally hideous. It has been copied in Roscoe's (“ Life of Lorenzo de Medici," vol. vi. p. 68.). "Men abandoned religion, shame, modesty, and justice. Piety degenerated into superstition. All ranks sinned with open effrontery. Virtue was often accounted vice, and vice honoured for virtue. The sacred temples were governed by Pimps and Ganymedes, stained with the sin of Sodom! Parents encouraged their sons in the vile pollution. The retreats, formerly sacred to unspotted virgins, were converted into brothels, and the haunts of obscurity and abomination! Money, intended for sacred purposes, was lavished on the filthiest pleasures, while the perpetrators of the defilement, instead of being ashamed, gloried in their profanation" (Compare in addition to Roscoe, Mirand. in Bruys' “ Histoire des Papes," vol. iv. p. 397.). This disgusting picture of the Papacy drawn so vividly by the transcendent, and brilliant genius, of Pico of Mirandula, prepares the way for the testimony of Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini, or Pope Pius II., who was elevated to the Popedom in the fifteenth century. This Pope, would certainly have come down to posterity, as one of the most illustrious of his order, on account of his extensive genius, and yaluable labours to enrich the republic of letters (Mosheim); but his Pontifical fame is tarnished in consequence of his illicit intrigues with a lady at Strasburgh, the fruit of which was a son ! (Platina); --and because of his egregious impudence and perfidy, in publishing a solemn retraction, of all that he had once written and spoken in favour of the council of Basil, which he defended, with the utmost vigour, against the Pope; declaring without either shame or hesitation, that, “as Æneas Sylvius, he was a Damnable Heretic; but, as Pius II. he was an Orthodox Pontiff !”-and, in consequence likewise, of his marvellous decision, upon a furious controversy, that was agitated with the bitterest rancour, between the two powerful and jealous orders of the Dominicans and Franciscans,—whether “ the blood which Christ shed upon the cross belonged to the Divine
Providence of his Sovereign Lord--that a wilful and continued departure from the primeval purity, and celestial lustre of his first creation-and that a determined and inveterate apostacy from the Author of his being and the Preserver of his existence, were the causes, which drew not forth the awful vials of the righteous wrath of the Creator's consuming vengeance, but produced the manifestations of a love, and of a beneficence, not even equalled by the implacable hatred, and multiplied rebellion of the perverseness, of our sinful, and corrupted nature. And in this exceeding greatness of our Creator's forbearance, and of the
nature, and was considered as an object of divine and immediate worship.” The latter contended eagerly for the negative, the former, with as much unsubdued fury, for the affirmative side of the question. “But (says Mosheim, Cent. XV. Part ii. chap. iii. $. 14.) after much altercation and chicanery, the Pontiff thought proper to impose silence on both the parties in this miserable dispute, in the year 1464; declaring, at the same time, that both sides (!) of the question might be lawfully held, until Christ's Vicar upon earth should find leisure and opportunity for examining the matter, and determining on what side the truth lay.' This leisure and opportunity have not as yet been offered to the pontiffs.” But we should not now occupy ourselves upon discussing either the moral or religious delinquencies of Pius II., but hasten to his testimony, more particularly, as he declares himself no longer a damnable heretic, but an orthodox Pontiff. He proclaims—" that Charity is grown cold amongst the Popes and clergy; and Faith totally destroyed, whilst Pride, Avarice, and Luxury, bear undisputed sway” (In Epistolâ ad Casparem Schlickium, and Paralipom. Uspergen in Clement. V., given in Jewel's Apology, chap. v. Notes. Isaacson's translation.). We need not, then, wonder that a Popish Prelate apostrophized the Eternal City-Rome, in these appalling words,"Oh! miserable Rome, who in the time of our ancestors produced the shining lights of the Holy Fathers, in our days nothing has proceeded from thee but darkness, desolation, and Eternal Infamy" (Arnulphus in Concil. Rheim. given in Jewel's Apology, ibid.). This character, will not appear astonishing to such of my readers, as are acquainted, with the Pontificate of Sixtus IV., who sat in St. Peter's chair for thirteen years during this Century. The following facts, Romanists themselves, do not attempt to deny. Pope Sixtus, besides being accused of murder, has been condemned for the vilest debauchery. His Infallibility and Holiness, established, and licensed Brothels ! He became Head of the Stews, as well as of the Church. The cruel, but lucky malice, and lampooning spite, of his biographers, say, that, he presided with equal ability and applause, in the temples of God and Venus! But what Sixtus
wonders of the Almighty's love, we have this truth strikingly displayed, that, the hatred—the hostilitythe depravity--the pride of a rebellious world, provoked not the exercise of heaven's vindictive punishment, but moved the outpourings of the compassion, the mercies, the condescension of the Son of the Father's everlasting love, even of "the King eternal, immortal, and invisible;"-who, when he perceived that “the plague was begun among the people,” unrobed himself of the refulgent splendours--the celestial glories of his eternal throne ;--and leaving the unspotted realms of unclouded light, came a voluntary
lost in character, he gained in the wages of prostitution; for these Pontifical seminaries of pollution, brought a great accession to the ecclesiastical revenues of the Apostolic treasury! The Goddesses, who were worshipped in these temples, paid a weekly tax, to the Viceroy of Heaven! The sacred exchequer by this means, received from the Apostolic tribute, an annual augmentation of 20,000 ducats. And we are informed, on indubitable testimony, that he failed not nightly to visit, and worship in these Pontifical temples, which he had erected to the Cytherean Goddess! (For Romish authorities, as to the enormities, of this miscreant's life, consult C. Agrippa “ de Vanitate Scientiarum,” cap. lxiv. Bruys' “Histoire des Papes, "vol. iv. p. 260. Bayle's “ Critical Dictionary.” “ de Constitut. Othonis, et de Concubinis Clericorum removendis.” Nicolaus de Clemangis, &c. And of Protestant writers compare, Jewel's Apology, chap. iv. Jortin's “Remarks on ecclesiastical History," vol. iii. p. 384.). And lastly of the fifteenth century, we will adduce the testimony of the illustrious Petrarch. At the revival of learning in Europe, in the fifteenth century, when upon the capture of Constantinople by Mahomet II., and the consequent extinction of the Eastern, or Grecian Empire (A. D. 1453), the Eastern emigrants took refuge in the West, from the persecuting cruelties and galling oppression of the Turkish arms, and brought thither their vast stores of ancient and elegant learning; when even Pope Nicholas V., rendered himself highly distinguished, by his indefatigable zeal, in having the precious treasures of the Byzantine libraries, and of the darkest monasteries of Germany and Britain, ransacked, by his emissaries, to supersede the absurd legends, and ridiculous forgeries of the Vatican ;--and when the liberal patronage, and fostering protection of Cosmo de Medici, who had now established his family at Florence (A. D. 1434), followed by the genius and influence of his grandson “Lorenzo the Magnificent;" had established and endowed the academies of Rome and Florence, there proceeded so great a number of distinguished scholars, and eminent writers, as never have been equalled ip number, or distinction since the Restoration of letters.
visitant-a sorrowing, suffering, houseless wanderer, to this the lowliest atom of his own created works ; whilst s taking upon him the form of a servant,” yea, of a slave, “went about doing good :"_but though, in one instant of time, he might have called to his succour, the combined services, of all the irresistible armies of heaven, yet did he veil the unapproachable greatness of his infinite Majesty, and let himself down to sorrows, to sufferings, to insults, even among those, who " saw in him no beauty that they should desire him".
who “ despised and esteemed him not ;"_and finally " poured out his soul unto death,” in order that through
(The learned reader besides the delightful labours of the English Roscoe, would do well to consult Tiraboschi, “ Storia della Letter. Italiana,” tom. vi. part i. lib. i. cap. ü.). But let it be carefully noted, that, the blaze of light, which the reviving dawn of letters, reflected on the frightful enormities of the Roman Church, had nigh proved her irrecoverable ruin. Little did the Papal patrons of learning reflect, how industriously they were sharpening those very weapons, which, were soon to be pointed against themselves. Eloquently, and truly, has a modern writer observed,—" that the Popes in this instance were worse politicians than the Muftis; and that the charm which has bound mankind for so many ages, was broken by the magicians themselves !” (Bolingbroke's Letters on the Study of History, Book vi. p. 165, 166, octavo edition, 1779). Upon a future occasion, therefore, I purpose making a compilation from the immortal productions of these celebrated writers; so that my readers, may have at one view, the opinions of eye-witnesses, and cotemporary chroniclers. Among the number, independent of Petrarch, will be the names of Dante, Boccaccio, Poggio, Tasso, Ariosto, Laurentius Valla, Platina, Pico of Mirandula, Machiavel, Erasmus, Guicciardini, Bembo, &c. &c. For the present, let us briefly allude to Petrarch's description of the Papacy, in the fourteenth century. He without any hesitation, calls Rome “ Babylon, the Great Whore, the Academy of vice, and the Shrine of apostacy!” The Court of Avignon, he pronounced “the Sink and Sewer of all vice, and the house of hardship and misery !"mand at the same time lamented in general, “ the absence of all piety, charity; faith, shame, sanctity, integrity, justice, honesty, candour, humanity, and fear of God” (Petrarcha, in Bruys' “ Histoire des Papes," vol. 3. p. 470.). Also this great Poet, and Philosopher, amidst his strong predilection, and great admiration for Popery, was compelled, in one of his poems, to exclaim,"that Rome was a School of Error and Temple of Heresy" (Petrarch in Rithmis Italicis.--"Schola di Errori, è Templo di Eresia.”). 6th. A summary review of the state of the Roman Prelacy and Church, in the sixteenth century, which we will now
the vicarious sacrifice, of the immaculate victim, "finished” upon the altar of the cross-by the endurance of his own heart-rending agonies, and the acceptance of his own all-perfect sacrifice- he might merit for his followers pardon for sin-love for hatred-reconciliation for rebellion-purity for corruption-peace for discord—and the blessings of adoption for the terrors of condemnation, and the forebodings of approaching ruin. With what truth then, may every serious and reflecting inquirer into the origin and causes of our Divine Religion, exclaim, in the pathetic language of one of the greatest of heaven's commissioned messengers—“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !” And would that “ every one that nameth the name of Christ,” might be ready to adopt the spirit-moving language, of the same Apostle, “in full assurance of faith,”-“ we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord !” (Rom. viii. 37-39.)
Can it, then, be denied, that the subjects of religious knowledge are transcendently—are awfully important? Its object is not to instruct us in the mutable, uncertain topics of physical, or moral science, but in the grand, unwavering attributes of the divine character
give, ought to form a sufficient body of evidence; from which, any impartial Romanist who lays the least claim, to the possession of the faintest glimmering of common sense, may form a correct estimate of the motives which induced the Papacy, for so long a period as upwards of twelve hundred years, since the days of Gregory, to refrain from putting even one of their Infallible Vicegerents of hea. ven, on the list of Saintships. And he will likewise be able to decide how far, from comparison, Gregory was the last good, or the first bad Pope. And the materials for instituting a comparison, cannot but excite the sympathy of the devoted Romanist, since they are all of Romish growth, and the highest papal respectability.
[To be continued.]