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to disgust the popish superstitions. They speak of the Invocation of Saints with contempt; and boldly condemn the excess of it, and call it Idolatry, when they speak of it in private. They with Im.iges were banisht from their Churches, that it might not bea scandal andan offence to us: They begin to confeis, that there was no necessity for the taking away the . Cup. They acknowledge, that a man may be saved without Indulgencies, by the sole merit of l. Christ. They would restore the reading of the Holy Scriptures to the People. They suppress the Authority ofthe Pope, and speak of it with scorn. They delpie his Thunders; and if he begin to murmur, they talk as loud, or louder than he: They indeavour toestablish this Doctrine; that under pretence of Religion, or for the preservation of it, 'tis not permitted to fube jects to take up arms: They mollify and sweeten all the Doctrines of Popery. I have taken notice ofthis in another place, and again observe it, this cannot hold long, this state and posture ofthe Pupacy is vio. lenç. Sinceitistieely confeít, that the adoration of one God is sufficient without that of Saints and Images, they must shortly conclude, that for things unnecellary they ought not, to scandalize one half of the Christian World, and shut the Gate against the Jews and the Mahometans. Never were there so many in the Church of Rome' as now, who acknowledge the vanity & impurity of their Supersti, tions. Every man hath the liberty of his own thoughts; but I profess, that to me these are great presages of the approach of the last work of God, for the establishment of his Kingdom, and the ruin of that of Antichrist. :
My spirit was in this frame, when this laftand great perfecution in France began.. I therein took I notice of several Characters, that confirmed me in
On this perfecute Providence rein
the belief that we were in the last times of the Period
*" in the preout of the bottomless Pit, shall make war against them, sent pericand shallovercome them, and killthem. And their which;
w which pre dead Bodies shall lye in the street of the great City three fage that is
shåll be the
Tis singular and more than usual, whether we con-
alienates them in such a manner almost as never to and be reconciled. The Protestart States and Princes nok have been always the principal Allies of France,
Swede, Denmark, England, the Low-Countries, the the
Switzers, and the Proiesiant Princes of Germany. These are they that have supported it, when the House of Austria threatned the liberty of all Europe. And these are they who assisted France, to humble the House of Austria so low as now it is, and conse. quently that haveadvanced France to that point of Grandeur she is now at. But Time will shew how great a wound France hath now made in the heart of all her ancient Allies.
We see already that this perfecution makes the discord and diffention cease that was between the Protestants, and brings them nearer an union and reconciliation than before. God will let us see something farther of that kind. However, it must be confest, that there is something therein, which is not to be understood by man,that so wise a Court should violate all the rules of good policy,which is the Soul of States, and the spring of all their motions. : If we look upon the Clergy, that seems to have been the Sollicitor of this Persecution, it will appear no less extraordinary. "Tis not an Ignorant and fu. perstitious Clergy, as was that of the last Century. Theseare understanding and knowing perfons, Men of learning and prudence, freed from the ridiculous affectation, and prejudice ofa Monastic Spirit, who have little zealfor the Romish Ceremonies;who flight their worship, at least for the most part of it; who have much knowledge of the Truth, and at the bot: tom but very little Religion. Ina word, they are such, as know very well that we are not in the wrong, or at least, that altogether and in every thing we are not: Nevertheless, they perfecute us more cruelly, than the most furious Monks, or inraged Inquisitors have ever done. They aet' therefore against their own light, which is so far very strange and furprizing. But what is more astonishing; they
act against the most facred Principles of their Relia gion. There is nothing among them more venerable than the Sacraments, and nothing esteemed more criminal than the violation of them. To administer the Sacrament of Pennance, to give abfolution to a Sinner, to an Heretick who is not penitent, who faith and declares Openly, without hiding or concealing it, that he perfeveres from his very heart in hissin and Heresy; and never renounc't it, but by constraint and violence; to give; I say,abfolution to such a man ; according to the definition of their loosest Casuiff's; 'Tis Šatriledge to give the sacrament of the Altay to a man; that professeth he believes nothing of it, and acknowledgeth nothing there but meer Bread; 'tis a Sacrilegious Commy. nion. Should it not affect the Hearts, and even the Imaginations of those persecuting Bishops and Priests, to think of the innumerable Sacriledges that by this means are every day committed? They abfolve a multitude of wretched People, who proš test that by meer force and violence; they were constrained to sign the abjuration of their Religion, and to get out of the hands of a thousand Executioners, who devour'dand destroyed’em, and gave them no rest day or night. The Priests and Bishops who abfolved them, know well enough that they are Impenitent and Heretiques, and persevering in their Heresy; nevertheless, they give them absolution. Moreover, they bring them to their Altarsby force and violence; they must be confeft; they must desire the Sacraments, and they are given them. In the mean time, they know, that they deteft and abhor from their very hearts, as a meer Idol, that which is given them to eat and worship as a God. So that all these are Sacrilegious Communions, and in plain terms; the mottabominable Sacriledge that can be
imagined : ,what conscience can we suppose there men to have, who are guilty of such abominations, sodirectly contrary to their own Principles ?
But by what name shall we call the Oatb, which they force men to take, and which they have pub. lickly printed ; in which the new Corverts swear by the name of God, and upon the H. Evangelists that they have willingly abjured, and without constraint. or force ? And yet the Bishops know, and all the World is acquainted with it, that they have been forc't to this abjuration, by armies of Butchers and Executioners, let loose upon them. Where are any principles of Morality , even those of the greateit latitude, that will perinit this ? can there be any more horrible prophanation of an Oath ? than which nothing is more sacred and venerable.
In what a state must such mens Confciences needs be, who force these poor men to commit so execrable a perjury, and caule thename of God to be used, for the alluring the Truth of a Thing, which is most notoriously false ? I confess, lthall never comprehend this; and will alway fay, there is something in it more than humane, that Men should make profession of a Religion, and contradict the most inviolable rules of it, openly before all the World. But to what a pitch of Impudence must they be arrived, who Print and publith, that no violence at all hath been imployed to make these Conversions? All France abounds with strangers, who are witnesses of it; the Ministers of the Princes of Europe behold it ; forreign Merchants see and know it; An hundred thousand witnesses, who have themfelves efcapt out of the hands of these Executioners, carry tidings ofit to all the ends of the Earthjand yet there are some who have the confidence to deny a matter of fact, that was done in the light of all Ex