Tag Archives: Inquisition

To Persecute To The Last Extremity

The mass and vestments of the Catholic church, liturgical, doctrinal, historical and archaeological (1909) (14595415580)

“Let him, and all Roman Catholics, be denied the right of voting, or of holding any office of honor, profit, or trust, under the government of the United States, until they forswear all allegiance, in spiritual as well as temporal affairs, to all foreign potentates and Popes. Until this is done, an oath of allegiance to this government, by a Roman Catholic, is entitled to no credit, and should not be received. This will appear evident to Americans, if they will turn their attention for a moment to the following oath, which is taken by every Romish bishop, before he is permitted to officiate, as such, in any of these United States:— “I do solemnly swear, on the holy evangelist, and before Almighty God, to defend the domains of St. Peter against every aggressor; to preserve, augment, and extend, the rights, honors, privileges, and powers of the Lord Pope, and his successors; to observe, and with all my might to enforce, his decrees, ordinances, reservations, provisions, and all dispositions whatever, emanating from the court of Rome; to persecute and combat, to the last extremity, heretics, schismatics, and all who will not pay to the sovereign pontiff all the obedience which the sovereign shall require.””

~Source: Popery! As it Was and as it Is by William Hogan, Origin of the Temporal Power of the Pope

She Is Unchanged And Unchangeable

San Pietro e Ponte SAngelo (notte)

Christopher Wordsworth, D.D.:

“Let none imagine that Rome is changed: that, although she was once proud and cruel, she is now humble and gentle; and that we have nothing to fear from her. This is not the doctrine of St. John. It is not the language of the Holy Ghost. The Apocalypse teaches us that she is unchanged and unchangeable. It warns us, that if she regains her sway, she will persecute with the same fury as before. She will break forth with all the violence of suppressed rage. She will again be drunken with the blood of the Saints (Rev. xvii. 6). Let us be sure of this; and let us take heed accordingly. We have need to do so; more need, perhaps, than some of us suppose. The warning is from God: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Mt. Xi. 15., Rev.ii. 7, 2;17,29).”

~“Is not the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Book of Revelation?” An Essay by Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., Sometime Bishop of Lincoln at http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=union_3

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew


Charles Spurgeon:

NOT until the day of universal restitution will the infamous atrocity perpetrated on the eve of St. Bartholomew, 1572, by the Roman Catholics on the unoffending Huguenots or Protestants of France, cease to be remembered with the most intense horror. The coolness of the proceedings which instigated such a carnage, and the devilish passions which led Catholic nobles and statesmen to burst the bounds of humanity by heading the massacre, make the event unparalleled in the history of gigantic crimes. There, is no shadow of doubt as to who the originators of the plot were. The Roman Catholics had conceived the bitterest hatred to the Huguenots, and were determined that the land should be rid of them. Catherine de Medicis, whose furious enmity to Protestantism made her an admirable mover in the dreadful design, controlled her son, Charles IX. sufficiently to make him a mere puppet in her hands. Admiral Coligny, one of the most prominent advisers of the King of Navarre, who was then at the head of the Huguenots, was invited to attend the Parisian court. Coligny was the especial object of the Catholics’ resentment, and an unsuccessful attempt was therefore made upon his life. The Queen-mother, finding that this part of her scheme had failed, represented to the king that the Huguenots were clamorous for revenge upon the nobles of the court for the attack upon Coligny. These representations had the effect of frightening the weak-minded king, who at once authorized the massacre of the offending Protestants.
 Our illustration represents the first attack of the murderous Catholics in the streets of Paris. Charles IX. is in the act of giving the first signal by firing a gun from the window of his palace. Coligny with his household was murdered, and his body thrown out to the mob. Everywhere the cry was heard, “Kill every man of them! Kill the Huguenots!” The streets were reeking with the blood of men, women, and children. Not an individual suspected of a leaning towards the Reformed religion was suffered to escape. While this scene was going on, the Protestants of Lyons, Rouen, and other cities, fell victims to the savage fury of the Catholics. The massacre was carefully planned so as to break out at the same hour in various cities and in their suburbs. By some it is supposed that at least 100,000 persons suffered death. The estimate given by Sully at 70,000, has, however, been adopted. It is pretty certain that at least 10,000 were destroyed in Paris alone, and this estimate does not include the 500 who belonged to the higher orders. It is said that “the roads were rendered almost impassable, from the corpses of men, women, and children,—a new and appalling barricade.”
 The monstrous deed received the high approval of the Pope and his Cardinals, and thanks were impiously made to Heaven for the distinguished favor that had been rendered to the Church. The then head of the English Church by law established (Queen Elizabeth) seemed to take the matter equally well; for we find her immediately afterwards receiving the French Ambassador, and accepting thankfully a love-letter from the Duke of Alençon; and, in a few months, standing at the font as godmother to the child of the murderous King of France.
 By the side of these facts we ought to place a few computations which will show that the unexampled outrage on St. Bartholomew’s Eve is only a part of a line of policy which the Church on the Seven Hills has carried out during the twelve hundred years of its existence. Mr. D. A. Doudney, the incumbent of Bedminster, near Bristol, recently mentioned at a public meeting that at least fifty millions have been put to death by the Romish Church. That estimate gives us the number of martyrs annually at 40,000, or more than 100 a day for the last twelve hundred years. Spain especially has had her share in the responsibility of this iniquity, for under forty-five Inquisition trials, between the years 1481 and 1808, 31,658 were burnt alive, 18,049 were burnt in effigy, and 225,214 were condemned to galleys or imprisonment. It must not be supposed that in consequence of the respectable appearance which Catholicism is now necessitated to put on that the nature of Popery is changed. It is, and from its organization must continue to be, ambitious of supremacy. Even the Times, which looks upon the proselytizing schemes of the Romanists with cynical indifference, believes that it is impossible not to recognize in the recent complaints of English priests and dignitaries “something of that perverse ambition which has always been the bane of Roman Catholicism. A purely religious power the Roman Catholic Church never has been, is not now, and it seems to have made up its mind that it never will be. Though it still embraces half Europe in its spiritual sway, it laments the loss of a few petty provinces in Italy with a bitterness far keener than that of the exiled dukes.” That this ever-increasing ambition will not rest satisfied until England shall bow before the Beast may be readily believed; and that all the efforts now being put forth to weaken the progress of Protestantism in this country have as their central object the humiliation of a liberty-loving people is too plain a fact to withstand. To obtain its ends Popery would not despise the most atrocious and abominable means. If our Savior’s words, “By their fruits shall ye know them,” have any significance whatever, they may be appropriately used in reference to this insidious Church. What have been the fruits of this fearful heresy during the period of its almost unlimited sway, but spiritual and political oppression as well as persecution in its grossest and most multifarious forms? Looking at the atrocities of this Church, one would feel tempted to question whether its character of being “Drunken with the blood of the saints” is not too mildly drawn. The only defense of God’s true Church is in God. By the constant preaching of his Word, and by the uplifting of the cross, we hope the day will come when no invectives will be required to denounce the gross imposture which has for so long a time “made the people to sin.”

Source: http://www.spurgeon.org/s_and_t/stbarts.php

The Inquisition

Charles Spurgeon:

Execution of the Rev. James Guthrie, Edinburgh 1661THE union of the church with the state renders persecution possible; and hitherto churches have not been slow to avail themselves of the secular arm that they might confound all dissent with arguments which come home to the bone and the flesh. All churches, when they lose the spirit of Christ, are very prone to persecute; but a horrible pre-eminence must be awarded to the scarlet harlot of the seven hills, for no church on earth except that of Rome has had a separate institution for hunting out and destroying heretics. Whether it may be traced to want of will or want of inclination on the part of other establishments, it is certain that the Popish Antichrist alone has been able to drink of the overflowing blood-cup filled by familiars and tormentors. Long pampered by the state, she came to be its lord and tyrant, using fire and sword, prison and rack, to work her accursed will. The Inquisition was the masterpiece of infernal craft and malice, and its deeds were far more worthy of fiends than men. If the church of Rome could at this moment change its Ethiopian skin for ever, lay aside its leopard’s spots, and become a pure community, ten thousand years of immaculate holiness and self-denying philanthropy could not avail to blot out the remembrance of the enormous crimes with which the Inquisition has loaded it. There is a deep and indelible sentence of damnation written upon the apostate church by avenging justice for its more than infernal cruelties, and the curse is registered in heaven; nor can any pretences to present liberality reverse the condemnation which outraged humanity has pronounced against it; its infamy is engraved in the rock for ever. Centuries of the most liberal policy would not convince mankind that Popery had become tolerant at heart; she wallowed so greedily in oppression, torture, and murder in her palmy days, that the foam of human gore hangs around her wolfish hugs, and men will not believe her to be a gentle lamb, let her bleat as she may. Against her common humanity is up in arms as much as evangelical religion. Her confessional is as dangerous to the mere moralist as to the Christian; her inquisition would be as ruinous to mercantile prosperity as to spiritual activity. Men of all religions and of no religion should deprecate the growth of a system which rendered the Inquisition possible; while followers of Jesus, for their own sake as well as for their Lord’s, should oppose it with all their might.
 Rome made the worst possible use of the weapon which the state gave her, but the radical evil was the state’s entering into alliance with the church, and lending its power to fulfill her purposes. Had true church principles prevailed, the crimes which make us shudder would have been impossible. Disarm and disestablish every sect, and leave each religion to its own moral and spiritual power, and no inquisition can be dreamed of; but put forward the doctrine that a state should propagate or maintain religion, and you have uncaged the lion; no one knows how much he may rend and devour. Modern Romanists would, many of them, lament the cruelties of former ages, but they ought to see that these were but the ripe fruits of their system when plentifully irrigated with royal favor, and planted in a soil rank with ignorance and superstition; a principle which, among Protestants with far less scope, has nevertheless produced most horrible results. Anglican churchmen who persist in upholding church and state, if they will but carefully think the matter over, will see that the Inquisition is but a grosser exposition of their principles; it is not the outgrowth of either one creed or another, but the result of a paternal government protecting its espoused faith with all its power. The argument that a state ought to have a religion, and support it by national funds, when like a medlar fully ripe and rotten, lands us at Smithfield’s stakes or the Lollard’s Tower. Whether Papists or so-called Protestants hold it, its results are the same in substance though not in measure. Rome has made a diabolical use of it, but no priests are to be trusted, even Protestants can persecute if they have the opportunity. Principles do not stop short at a hard and fast line, though their practice may be compelled to do so; and it is clear to every thinking man that, although state-churchmen would shrink from setting up an inquisition, the full development of their views would logically require it: the path of prudence is to return to the true principle, and leave the kingdom of Christ to be as at the first, not of this world. The same spirit which blazed up at an auto-da-fé smoulders in an imprisonment for church-rates, and the same principle which in its manhood dyed the Netherlands with blood in order to thrust in the Papacy, is that which thrusts in the Irish church upon an unwilling people. We Protestants who are really so, must fight zealously against the essential Popery which would lead us to use the secular arm in spiritual matters, and would tempt us to employ compulsion where everything to be acceptable must be voluntary. We must insist upon it that no shade of coercion or degree of patronage shall be exercised towards any religion; all must be fully tolerated, nay, more, all protected in their natural liberty, and all secured an absolute equality before the law. To act as Rome has acted is to unprotestantise ourselves. To deny Roman Catholics the fullest civil and religious equality is to degrade ourselves to their level by handling their weapons. Faction suggests reprisals, and fear demands precautions, and none can wonder, for the Papistical party is cunning and bigoted to the last degree; but Christianity scorns to sin in order to avenge a wrong, or avert an evil. If we treat our antagonists as they treated our fathers, we cannot convert them, for they have already perverted us. A people boasting of their Protestantism as the English do, should be ashamed to support Popery in the Anglican establishment, or to bow before the dogma of union between church and state, which is the essence of Antichrist and the germ of persecution: an injustice to man, and an impertinence to God. The inmost soul of Protestantism is the responsibility of the conscience to God alone, the spiritual nature of true religion, and the freedom of faith from the rule of earthly lords. State-churchism is antichristian, and always ripens into oppression and tyranny wherever opportunity is given it. “NO POPERY” is our cry, and therefore laying the ax at the root of the system, we demand the abolition of every union between church and state, and the disallowance of every form of interference on the part of Caesar with things which belong alone to God.
 We have been led to these remarks through reading a most thrilling work by Dr. W. H. Rule, a solid volume of sober history, written without the slightest tinge of sensationalism, and yet more stirring by far than any romance. Dr. Rule has, by this book, contributed to the standard library of Christendom—every one should read it, and see what state-religion leads to when it has nothing to hinder it. Truly in the case of the Romish church it makes one loathe the very name of Romanist, and shake himself, lest the plague of intolerance should by any means linger in his own garments. To Rome it seems to be essential to rend and devour. “‘Blessed Father,’ said Baronius to Paul V., ‘the ministry of Peter is twofold—to feed and to kill.’ For the Lord said to him, ‘Feed my sheep;’ and he also heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Kill and eat.’ To feed sheep is to take care of obedient, faithful Christians, who in meekness, humility, and piety, show themselves to be sheep and lambs. But when he has no longer to do with sheep and lambs, but with lions, and other wild, refractory, and troublesome beasts, Peter is commanded to kill them; that is to say, to attack, fight, and slaughter them, until there be none such left.'” This notion of killing (eating is another matter)—has been fully carried out by the Papacy, as our long rolls of martyrology can prove. It is the duty of all Protestants to be well read in our martyr annals, that our detestation of Popery and all that leads to intolerance may be renewed and confirmed.
 Dr. Rule commences with a paragraph which shows that persecution commenced as soon as ever the church was affiliated with the state. “The first imperial patron of Christians, Constantine the Great, cannot be fairly described as a persecutor, but rather as benevolent and liberal; yet, educated in heathenism, he thought it quite right to employ repressive measures for the extinction of idolatry, measures which the Pagans complained of as unjust, but could not regard as cruel in comparison with the ancient hostilities waged against each other by the votaries of hostile gods. Constantine, as a matter of course, discouraged freedom of utterance, where such freedom seemed inexpedient, and denied liberty of worship to idolaters and heretics. His edicts, or constitutions, became part of the civil law of Christian Europe. No fewer than seventy-two such laws, made by Constantine and his successors, against controversialists and heretics, with many more against Jews, Samaritans, and Pagans, may be found in the Theodosian Code, and show how diversities of religious opinion were to be prevented, and the teachers crushed. Confiscation, banishment, death, were the penalties to be inflicted for breach of what Romanists are pleased to call ‘Catholic unity.'” Every reader of this paragraph who is not an anti-state churchman should carefully note it, and meditate within himself as to what the fact here stated most surely indicates.
 The powers of the Inquisition when in its palmy days were very extensive. A Romish writer says, “The tribunal claims right of jurisdiction over the following persons:—All heretics without exception. All who blaspheme God and the saints. They who utter words of blasphemy when extremely drunk are not to be condemned at once, but watched. If half drunk, they are entirely guilty. They who speak blasphemously or heretically in their sleep are to be watched; for it is likely that their lips betrayed the heresy that was lurking in their hearts. All who speak jestingly of sacred things. Wizards and fortune-tellers. Worshippers of the devil: and it seems that while the Inquisition was in its glory, when the Reformation had scarcely dawned, or where its light had scarcely penetrated, people were known to offer sacrifices to the evil one, kneel down to him, sing hymns to him, observe ‘chastity’ and fast in honor of him, illuminate and cense his images, insert names of devils in the litanies of saints, and ask them to intercede with God. Such was the condition of many who had known no other church but that of Rome. All who harbor, or show kindness to heretics, being themselves orthodox; very near relatives, however, having slight indulgence allowed them, in some cases, if the inquisitors please. All who look ill on an inquisitor—those ugly looks being indications of heresy, and injurious to the holy office. Persons in civil office who hinder the inquisition and its agents, or who refuse to help them, or allow an accused person to conceal himself or to escape. Any one who gives food to a heretic, unless he be actually dying of hunger: for in this case it is allowable to feed him, that he may live to take his trial, and, haply, to be converted. Experienced inquisitors could detect a heretic by a characteristic unsightliness about the eyes and nostrils.”
 The terrible burnings of the faithful witnesses of the Lord at the autos-da-fé of the Inquisition are painted to the life by our author, so that one shudders to read the description. “At Lisbon, the place of execution was at the water-side. For each person to be burnt, whether dead or alive, a thick stake, or spar, was erected, not less than twelve feet above ground; and within about eighteen inches of the top there was a thick cross-piece, to serve for a seat, and to receive the tops of two ladders. Between those ladders, which were for the use of two Jesuits, there was one for the condemned person, whom they compelled to mount, sit on the transverse piece, and there be chained fast. The Jesuits then went up, delivered a hasty exhortation to repentance, and, that failing, declared that they left him to the devil, who was waiting to receive his soul. On perceiving this, the mob shouted, ‘Let the dog’s beard be trimmed;’ that is to say, let his face be scorched. This was done by tying pieces of furze to the end of a long pole, and holding the flaming bush to his face, until it was burnt black. The disfiguration of countenance, and his cries for ‘mercy for the love of God,’ furnished great part of the amusement for the crowd, who, if he had been suffering death in a less barbarous way for any criminal offense, would have manifested every appearance of compassion. When ‘the beard’ was trimmed, they lit the heap of furze at the foot of the stake, and, if there were was no wind, the flame would envelop the seat, and begin to burn their legs; but, as there generally is a breeze on the banks of the Tagus, it seldom reached so high. If there was no wind, he would be dead in an half an hour; but the victim generally retained entire consciousness for an hour and a-half, or two hours, in dire torment, which the spectators witnessed with such delight as could never be produced by any other spectacle. In short, the burning, or rather roasting to death, was so contrived that the sufferer should be exposed to every spectator, and that his cries from that elevation should be distinctly audible all round.” Occasionally a poor wretch would recant, and indeed every cunning device was used to induce such recantation. One of their own order coolly says, “And while fulfilling its office, a few upright men, zealous for the faith, may go to the criminal, and exhort him to return to the Catholic faith, and renounce his errors. And if, after the sentence is passed, and he is given over to the secular court, while they are taking him away to be burnt, or when he is tied to the stake, or when he feels the fire, he say that he is willing to turn and repent, and abjure his heresy, I should think that he might in mercy be received as a heretic penitent, and immured for life, according to some passages in the Decretals” (which are cited), “although I imagine this would not be found very justifiable, nor is great faith to be placed in conversions of this sort. Indeed, such an occurrence did take place in Barcelona, where three heretics impenitent, but not relapsed, were delivered to the secular arm, and when one of them, a priest, had the fire lit round him, and was already half burnt on one side, he begged to be taken out, and promised to abjure and repent. He was taken out, abjured. But whether we did right or not, I cannot say. One thing I know, that fourteen years afterwards he was accused, and found to have persisted in his heresy all the time, and infected many. He then refused to be converted, and, as one impenitent and relapsed, was again delivered to the secular arm, and consumed in fire.”
 Frequently, a refinement of cruelty was displayed which unassisted mortals could hardly have thought of, the direct suggestion of Satan is evident in many a passage in the Inquisitorial history. Incarnate fiends trod those bloodstained halls. “Gaspar de Santa Cruz escaped to Toulouse, where he died, and was buried, after his effigy had been burnt in Zaragoza. In this city lived a son of his, who, as in duty bound, had helped him to make good his retreat. This son was detained as an impeder of the holy office, arrested, brought out at an act of faith, made to read a condemnation of his deceased father, and then sent to the inquisitor at Toulouse, who took him to his father’s grave, and compelled him to dig up the corpse, and burn it with his own hands. Whether the inquisitors were most barbarous, or the young man most vile, it may be difficult to say.”
 We trust, for the sake of our common nature, that there is some mistake in the description which Gavazzi gives of the Roman Inquisitorial edifice, when laid bare during the short-lived Roman republic. He says, “So short was the time that it remained open to the public, so great the crowd of persons that pressed to catch a sight of it, and so intense the horror inspired by that accursed place, that I could not obtain a more exact and particular impression.
 “I found no instruments of torture, for they were destroyed at the first French invasion, and because such instruments were not used afterwards by the modern Inquisition. I did, however, find in one of the prisons of the second court a furnace, and the remains of a woman’s dress. I shall never be able to believe that that furnace was used for the living, it not being in such a place, or of such a kind, as to be of service to them. Every thing, on the contrary, combines to persuade me that it was made use of for horrible deaths, and to consume the remains of victims of inquisitorial executions. Another object of horror I found between the great hall of judgment and the luxurious apartment of the chief jailer, the Dominican friar who presides over this diabolical establishment. This was a deep tray, a shaft opening into the vaults under the Inquisition. As soon as the so-called criminal had confessed his offense, the second keeper, who is always a Dominican friar, sent him to the father commissary to receive a relaxation of his punishment. With hope of pardon, the confessed culprit would go towards the apartment of the holy inquisitor; but in the act of setting foot at its entrance, the trap opened, and the world of the living heard no more of him. I examined some of the earth found in the pit below this trap; it was a compost of common earth, rottenness, ashes, and human hair, fetid to the smell, and horrible to the sight and thought of the beholder.
 “But where popular fury reached its highest pitch was in the vaults of St. Pius V. I am anxious that you should note well that this Pope was canonized by the Roman Church especially for his zeal against heretics. I will now describe to you the manner how, and the place where, those vicars of Jesus Christ handled the living members of Jesus Christ, and show you how they proceeded for their healing. You descend into the vaults by very narrow stairs. A narrow corridor leads you to the several cells, which, for smallness and for stench, are a hundred times more horrible then the dens of lions and tigers in the Coliseum.
 “Wandering in this labyrinth of most fearful prisons, which may be called ‘graves for the living,’ I came to a cell full of skeletons without skulls, buried in lime. The skulls, detached from the bodies, had been collected in a hamper by the first visitors. Whose were these skeletons? And why were they buried in that place and in that manner?
 “The following is a most probable opinion, if it be not rather the history of a fact:—The condemned were immersed in a bath of slaked lime, gradually filled up to their necks. The lime, by little and little, enclosed the sufferers, or walled them up all alive. The torment was extreme, but slow. As the lime rose higher and higher, the respiration of the victims became more painful, because more difficult. So that what with the suffocation of the smoke, and the anguish of a compressed breathing they died in a manner most horrible and desperate. Some time after their death, the heads would naturally separate from the bodies, and roll away into the hollows left by the shrinking of the lime. Any other explanation of the fact that may be attempted will be found improbable and unnatural.”
 The modes by which confessions were extracted by the inquisitors, it would be difficult to condemn too severely. Take a specimen:—A wife of a physician was accused with her three unmarried daughters. “One of these daughters was imprisoned first, but made no disclosure. The inquisitor then tried a novel and horrible method. He had her brought into the audience-chamber, sent his subordinates out of the room, and professed that he had fallen in love with her—that he was resolved to save her life. Day after day he repeated the declaration, and at length persuaded the poor girl that he was indeed her lover. He then told her that, although she knew it not, her mother and sisters were accused of heresy by many witnesses, and that, for the love he bore to her, he desired to save them; but that, in order to effect his object, he must be fully informed of their case, under secrecy, that he might so proceed as to save them all from death. She fell into the snare, and told him all. His point was gained. Their conversation ended. The very next day he called her to another audience, and made her declare, judicially, what she had revealed to him in the assumed character lover. That was enough. The mother and her daughters were sent together to the flames. And the fiend saw his victims burnt.” Shall not God be avenged on such a people as this?
 Our author has not condescended to defile his pages with details of the lasciviousness of the holy fathers of the sacred office, otherwise he might have told a tale of the kind which blanches raven locks, and makes men’s flesh creep on their bones. Pandemonium was Paradise itself compared with the Inquisition. He does not even dwell upon the horrible cruelties enacted more than is barely sufficient for his purpose, but the whole history is nevertheless harrowing to the last degree.
 Even while these wretches crushed their victims, they evidently feared their testimony, and found it needful to check their holy witnessing. The gag, in its most cruel form was always ready. One instance we must not omit:—”Dr. Michael Geddes, when a prisoner was brought out who had been several years shut up in a dungeon where clear daylight never penetrated, saw the poor man raise his eyes towards the sun, and heard him exclaim in rapture, as if overwhelmed with majesty of the object, ‘How can people that behold that glorious body worship any other being than Him that created it?’ Instantly the gag was thrust into his mouth, and the Jesuits who attended him to the Terreiro de Paco were not troubled with any more of his reflections.”
 Which shall we wonder at most, the endurance of the faithful or the cruelty of their tormentors? Is it not proven beyond all dispute that there is no limit to the enormities which men will commit when they are once persuaded that they are keepers of other men’s consciences? To spread religion by any means, and to crush heresy by all means is the practical inference from the doctrine that one man may control another’s religion. Given the duty of a state to foster some one form of faith, and by the sure inductions of our nature slowly but certainly persecution will occur. To prevent for ever the possibility of Papists roasting Protestants, Anglicans hanging Romish priests, and Puritans flogging Quakers, let every form of state-churchism be utterly abolished, and the remembrance of the long curse which it has cast upon the world be blotted out for ever.

Source: http://www.spurgeon.org/s_and_t/inq.php

Image info: Guthrie, minister at Stirling, was the second man (after the Duke of Argyll) to be executed for opposing Charles II’s reintroduction of episcopacy after the Restoration of 1660. He is reported to have lifted the handkerchief from his face and shouted to the crowd, “The covenants, the covenants, shall yet be Scotland’s reviving!”. (Guthrie was executed at the mercat cross in Edinburgh’s High Street. Artistic licence has been used in depicting the execution as having taken place in the Grassmarket which became the main place of execution for Covenanters in the 1680s.)

The Florentine Monk

Charles Spurgeon:

Girolamo SavonarolaIN THE month of May this year it is proposed to hold a conference of Italian Christians in the fine old city of Florence. Gavazzi, whose evangelistic work among his countrymen has inspired new hopes in English breasts, as to the future of Protestantism in that land of olives and cypresses, has, with the assistance of those who are equally enthusiastic for the cause of God and truth, formed an Evangelical Alliance in Italy, for the purpose of unitedly combatting “the two great enemies of the divine religion of Christ—Popery and Rationalism.” They thus hope to “present a compact phalanx against the expected assaults of the coming Œcumenical Council.”1 Florence has not inaptly been chosen as the scene of this Protestant demonstration. Exactly four centuries ago, it witnessed the martyrdom of a Florentine monk, who, ere the Reformation dawned, and while, indeed, Martin Luther was a youth of six years of age, had aroused the enmity of one of the vilest miscreants of all the debased wretches that wore the triple crown, and had struck a blow at the pretensions of the Papacy, which was only the precursor of that mightier onslaught which staggered the see of Rome, and ushered in the Reformation. It is worth while to run over the incidents of that short but eventful life, since its lessons are as useful to-day as ever.
 Savonarola was born in 1452, of respectable parents, at Ferrara. From his grandfather, a physician to a noble duke, he gained his first acquaintance with learned pursuits; from his mother he obtained those lessons of goodness and piety which influenced his heart and moulded his character. Designed for the medical profesion, he soon evinced a passionate longing for other pursuits. Thoughtful, earnest, high-souled, his heart guided his head, and both became devoted to the inner world of spiritual life, into which he withdrew, bidding adieu to the scenes of greedy lust and worldly pleasures by which he was surrounded. He was not the first, we suppose, who sought to relieve his young burning heart by rhyming. We have very little left of his youthful effusions, but they indicate the great struggles of his soul, and foretell the thoughts of a riper and more matured and experienced observation. Thus early, he seemed to have gained a profound sense of the deep-seated corruptions of the apostate church. The profligate sensuous age moved him to write in terms of just severity; and it is noticeable how emphatically he lays the axe at the root of the upas-tree—2

“The earth so staggers under every vice,
That never will it lift its head again;
Rome is that head, so bowed with wickedness,
That ended now for ever is her reign.” 

 Deeply did he lament the corruptions of the church. Bitterly did he bewail its abandonment of the high mission to which he believed it had been called. And yet, when he saw the outside world, he viewed it with intense disgust. For him it had no attractions. He despised its allurements; he detested its vanities; and so, with a moral determination, and a stern self-denial, worthy of a nobler consummation, he retired into a Dominican cloister. At first a lay-brother, mending the garments and keeping the garden of the convent, he became, after a year of probation, a monk. He was an enthusiastic student. As he himself confesses, he strove after truth with all his powers. Truth was the empress of his soul. He loved her for her own sake. “She illumines,” he says, “the soul with divine light, and leads it to communion with God, who is himself truth.” Fortunately, he obtained, like his successor of the convent of Erfurt, a copy of the Holy Scriptures. How earnestly did he apply himself to a thorough investigation of its teachings! Here, in his solitary cell, shut out from the gaieties and fascinations of Italian life, isolated from others by his very earnestness and heart-yearnings, like a panting hart braying for the water-brooks, he thirsted for the translucent purity of God’s all-satisfying truth. It is true, he read the Scriptures in the light—always a “dim, religious” one—of the church, but he could not shut his eyes to the awful revelations it gave of the abomination of desolations. His soul luxuriated in the peace-infusing teachings of the Word; but his heart was stirred up within him as he compared the church as it was with its ideal state. “Where,” he asks, “are the precious stones—where the pure diamonds, the bright lamps, the sapphires, the white robes, and white roses of the church?” It was thus that fourteen years of retirement were spent; the fires of suffering purifying his nature, and leading him to that higher renunciation and nobler consecration so needed for the work of the future.
 Called from the seclusion of his cell, at the age of thirty-seven, to active labour in the city of Florence, Savonarola journeyed thither on foot—a dark, mysterious providence overhanging him; a disturbed world of conflicting thoughts within him; and an atmosphere of disquietude and gloom around. To what had his God called him? What meant those ceaseless agitations which electrified his soul, and burdened him as with a message from the Lord, crushing him to the earth? Subsequent events developed the foreshadowings.
 Just at this time, Florence was at the dizzying height of its renown. It possessed nearly a thousand fortified positions. Its beauty of situation, its rich lands, its luxuriance, its wealth, its treasures of art, its libraries, its seats of learning, magnificent palaces, unrivalled advantages and commercial prosperity, with its gaities and worldly attractions, made it one of the wonders of Europe. If England be, as the keen satire of Napoleon has represented, a nation of shopkeepers, Florence was well-nigh a city of bankers and merchants. Being the great banking-place of the Continent, its wealth was enormous. As Corinth, under the fostering care of Augustus, and in the zenith of its commercial glory, grew licentious, and proud, and reckless, so Florence, under the luxurious sway of Lorenzo di Medici the Magnificent, became heathenish and viciously immoral. Savonarola’s voice was soon heard in the church of St. Mark, censuring the tendencies of the age, and laying, bare, with merciless severity, the corruptions of the church. It must have been a strange sight to see the spare, haggard form of his pale-faced, keen-eyed, Roman-nosed monk, exciting, the crowds of listeners, and overpowering them with his vigorous eloquence. There was nothing in his voice to allure attention. It was thin and weak. Nor was there anything in his manner, for he was unpractised in speaking; but his words carried weight, and each had a flaming fire-dart which pierced its way, and carried conviction. His denunciations of the paganism of Florence, and the gross abominations of the church, stirred the city to its depths. The friar’s popularity grew and spread like living fire. Men listened and shuddered. Priests heard, trembled, and hated. The people grew enthusiastic. Salvation by faith, not by works—forgiveness of sin, not by absolution, but by Christ; these were unheard of truths from such a pulpit, and were as welcome as they were strange. With sternness of manner he denounced the prevailing sins of the time, and with affectionate entreaty besought men, like another John the Baptist, to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand.” Indeed, his prophetic utterances of a visitation from God were listened to with much dismay. His extraordinary faithfulness in rebuking those current sins of the wealthy to which they thought they had a prescriptive right; his personal form of address, without which no minister or reformer can hope to be successful in soul-winning; his clear evangelic utterances as to the natural state of the soul, its need of redemption, and the suitability of the free gospel of God’s grace to meet that need, told upon the people. They wept. They were silenced. Men who took down his discourses, were known to drop the pens from their hands. Country people walked miles to hear the great preacher; came, indeed, the night before the Sunday, and besieged the church doors at early morn, that they might be sure of a seat. Rich burghers gave them victuals, and even acted as doorkeepers. The convent church was too small; nor could the cathedral accommodate more than the three thousand persons who flocked to hear the friar.
 As prior of St. Mark, Savonarola was expected to pay homage to Lorenzo di Medici. He refused. In vain did Lorenzo seek to win the stern friar’s confidence; he would loiter in the garden to attract his attention; money was given most royally to the poor; the sermons were heard; but all Lorenzo got in return was unsparing denunciation. Five men were sent to induce the friar to moderate his stinging criticisms, and to cease his prophetic utterances. “Go,” was the stern answer, “and tell Lorenzo that he must repent of his sins, for God is about to punish him and his. He threatens me with banishment. Well, I am a foreigner, and he a citizen, and the first in the city; but know that I shall stay, and that he will soon be forced to quit.” Strange to say, this declaration came true. Lorenzo the Magnificent lay on his death-bed. Anxious to be absolved from his sins, he sent for the monk, whom he had feared. Savonarola imposed three conditions. He was first to believe in God’s ability and willingness to forgive; this the sick man confessed. Then he was to restore that which he had unrighteously gained. This duty he promised to perform by his heir. Thirdly, said Savonarola, “Give back to Florence her ancient liberty;” but Lorenzo turned his head away, and Savonarola departed.
 After Lorenzo’s death he addressed himself to the work of reformation. Beginning where reformation, as well as charity, should begin, at home, he renovated his convent, induced the monks to reform, to live higher lives, to study, and to preach. Next, he sought the reformation of the Florentine State. Henceforth he must become a politician. It is useless to criticise and condemn: he may have been fanatical, unwise, foolish. He, at least, did not think so. He had his dreams of an ideal government, and he lived to see them come true, though they hastened his fate. He preached on the downfall of the State; declared that soon the Lord’s vengeance would come upon the Florentines; announced the termination of the great house of Medici; and predicted that “Over the Alps one is coming sword in hand against Italy to chastise her tyrants. His coming will be in the storm and in the whirlwind, like that of Cyrus.” At the time, no one believed the warning voice of the strange prophet. The city was at peace; people were married and given in marriage, and the end came not. But lo! the King of France came over the Alps, with an immense army, took Naples, and marched into Florence. Then believed they the message of the friar. The Medici were expelled. Savonarola appeared before the King of France, secured peace, obtained milder terms; and the Florentines were allowed to choose their own mode of government. On the friar, however, was devolved this task. He chose the democratic form; but Jesus Christ was to be King of the city. A general amnesty was proclaimed, and the streets of Florence were thus saved from the deluge of blood which seemed inevitable. A contemporary writer states that “Apart from the Father’s preaching, streams of blood would have been seen to flow in the city; but his words and his authority, which stood at that time very high, appeased the storm, and hindered the carrying out of revengeful thoughts.”
 It was marvellous how his power was felt. He was looked upon as a deliverer and a prophet. His words were treasured up, and were held as coming from God himself. His holy ascendancy was such that men everywhere saw it, felt it, were cowed under it, and not a few wished to be delivered from it. He waged relentless war against the sins of the rich, and denounced the vices of the poor. He changed for a time the character of society in the city. Dr. Seibert, in his biography, “Savonarola der Reformator von Florenz,” describes the wondrous effect of the friar’s teaching:—”Mortal enemies fell into each other’s arms and became reconciled; the rich spontaneously restored ill-gotten gains: one citizen in particular made restitution of 3,000 ducats, the possession of which disquieted his conscience. Women renounced of their own accord their pride of dress, and went about in modest garments of drab. Ballads and love songs were heard no longer in the country, and religious singing took their place. In the city the theatres and taverns soon became empty and desolate, and in a short time cards and dice were no longer to be seen, vain pomp disappeared, all moral earnestness, and a wonderful degree of love and devotion to eternal things laid hold of the people.” As one of his opponents said, “The people seemed to become fools from love to Christ.” At the season of carnival men delivered up their dice, cards, and card-boards, scandalous images, and immoral novels, and women their rouge, scented waters, veils, false hair, mirrors—indeed, never before, and we fear never since, were women more self-sacrificing—all these luxuries were collected in the marketplace and burnt, youths singing in procession, round what has been called this “auto-da-fé of sin and worldly pleasures.”
 Besides improving the social condition of the poor, he endeavoured to reform the church. He never spared the priests—they were “the devil’s midwives.” Referring to the primitive church, he once said, “In those days they had a golden priest and wooden vessels, but now we have golden vessels and a wooden priest.” But especially was he emphatic in his testimony to the preciousness of the Scriptures. “The ruin of the church,” he said, “is to be traced to this, that Christians no longer read the Scriptures; it is owing to this that thick darkness broods over the Christian people, and that impiety gets so much the upper hand.” He very imperfectly understood the Scriptures, but he was alone in demanding that they should be read, and their lessons taught to the people.
 A man like Savonarola, it is needless to remark, must soon have aroused the enmity of the Papacy. It was no difficulty for him to find foes; they compassed him about like bees. They were principally of the order of the Franciscans, who always hated the order of which Savonarola was a member—the Dominican. News reached Rome of the terrible power and popularity of the friar. The Pope’s first thought was to conciliate so dangerous a foe. He, therefore, offered him a cardinal’s hat. But it was declined. “I wish,” he said, “for no other red hat than that of a martyr, dyed with my own blood.” It was equally in the power of the Pope to grant him that favour—for which, indeed, he felt most inclined. He was then respectfully and in a most fatherly way invited to show himself at Rome. “Beloved son! Health to thee, and apostolic benediction.” But, as everyone knows, the Pope’s blessing was always a curse, and in this case the blessing concealed—or only partly concealed—a power that would by penance, prison, or poison, reduce the friar to everlasting silence. Savonarola was not to be caught. He knew the man with whom he was dealing. The Pope was the incarnation of all the devilry that ever escaped from hell. An abandoned wretch, guilty of scandalous crimes—who could trust him? And so, wisely, the friar refused to go. He did not refuse, however, to fulminate against the Pope. He, too—like most of us—could issue his little bull from his diminutive Vatican. At last the Pope prohibited his preaching, and ordered that the congregation of St. Mark should be dissolved. Such elements were, however, not readily dissolved. Savonarola for a time maintained silence, but was stung into action by the Pope’s Breve. “I cannot forbear preaching,” he declared; “the word of God is as a fire in my heart; unless I speak it, it burns my marrow and bones.” “It is now time,” he said, “to open the den; we will turn the key; such a stench and so much filth will be vomited forth by Rome as will overspread all Christendom, and everybody will be tainted with it.” At last the Pope applied to the Signori to deliver up this heretic; but it was in vain. Franciscan monks were sent to preach him down; but his preaching went up. Then it was, with his customary politeness, that the Pope sent a gracious message, hurling his curse at his head, cutting him off as a rotten member of the church’s body, and giving him over to the powers of hell. Savonarola had his defenders in Florence, and those were among the wealthy as well as among the poor; but a host of circumstances were combining to ruin him. His friends were injudicious. His new state constitution was, as might be expected, a failure. His alliance with the King of France, who had done nothing for the church, damaged his popularity. Plague and famine irritated the people; and, as no miracle was wrought on their behalf, Savonarola was disliked. One of his friends foolishly put a controversy with the Franciscans upon the issue of a trial by the ordeal of fire. The fire was prepared in the marketplace of Florence; the citizens expected to behold a notable spectacle; but the Signori and a shower of rain interfered and dispersed the crowd. The mob then turned upon Savonarola; the monastery was assailed; the once popular monk was made a prisoner; and the Pope was communicated with. Overcome with joy, “His Holiness” granted permission for the monk to be tortured. A recantation was demanded of him, but he refused. He was then stretched seven times during the week upon the rack. In the height of his sufferings he cried, “Lord, take my spirit,” and, worn out by the tortures, he agreed to confess. When, however, he had rested a while, he withdrew his recantation, and boldly avowed all that he had previously taught. Between the day of his trial and the day of his execution he wrote an exposition of the fifty-first Psalm, which Luther highly prized, and published in Germany.
 He was burnt, with two friends, on the 22nd of May, 1498. The bishop deprived him of his priestly garments, saying, “Thus I exclude thee from the militant and triumphant church.” “From the church militant thou mayst,” exclaimed Savonarola, “but from the church triumphant thou canst not.” He died blessing the people who had deserted him, and clinging to the Christ whose love had never departed from him.
 The question has often been asked, How far was Savonarola the herald of Protestantism? The best answer to that question is, we think, furnished in his admirable work—far ahead of the times in which it was written—”The Triumph of the Cross.” We are glad that those enterprising publishers, Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton have brought it out in a cheap and handsome form.3 For the sake of the memory of the martyr, it should be read; for the sake of the truths it so luminously sets forth, it deserves a wide circulation. Mr. Travers Hill, beside writing an interesting sketch of the Italian Reformer’s life, has ably translated the work. At a time when the church held every one in bondage, when the Scriptures were hid from view, and the masses were ignorant of the way of salvation—when darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the people—when the church to which every one bowed in lowly submission was so corrupt as to allow a pope stained with every crime to preside over it—and when Luther’s shrill testimony had not as yet been given—it is pleasant to find words of such evangelic power written in the cloister of a monastery. And though Savonarola was wedded to many of the errors of the church, yet his testimony in favour of justification by faith and not by works, the forgiveness of sins by Christ and not by man, was clear and decisive. His object was undoubtedly to purify the church of Rome, not to destroy it; but it is evident that throughout his life he was, if loyal to his church, far more loyal to Christ.

Source: http://www.spurgeon.org/s_and_t/tfm1869.php

Vatican May Apologize for Persecution of Christians

via The Still Man:

The Vatican may soon issue a formal apology for the Roman Catholic church’s historical persecution of Bible-believing Protestant Christians. During a recent homily, Pope Francis, the False Prophet of Revelation 13, said,

“Jesus, before the Passion, prayed for the unity of Christians, so that they might be one—as He and the Father are one—that the world might believe. But within the Church there are those who “sow weeds,” who divide and destroy the community with their wagging tongues.”

“The unity of the Christian community,” he said, “is a witness: a witness to the fact that the Father has sent the Son. But achieving unity is very difficult.”

He then went on to say this:

“We have to seek forgiveness for our history, for having waged war against our Christian brothers,—divisions which continue even today.”

“Those who sow weeds,” I believe, refers to those Protestants who know the truth; those Protestants who know that all cumbaya rhetoric aside, the Roman Catholic church and its Pope always have been and always will be the irreconcilable enemy of Protestant Christianity.

Jack Chick, in volume 16 of the Crusader Series, entitled “The Four Horsemen,” says that according to former Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera, the Vatican is planning to one day formally apologize for the Holocaust. Perhaps this is a lead up to that event. The Roman Catholic church has always been the bitter enemy of both the Christian Church and Israel and has sworn to destroy both—and it will pull out all the stops during the Great Tribulation towards this end.

You must understand that the Roman Catholic Council of Trent declared Martin Luther and all Bible-believing Christians heretics and placed them under one hundred twenty-five curses. Beginning with Vatican II, the Roman Catholic church ostensibly left off the incendiary rhetoric and began to call Christians “separated brethren.” But the reality is that the Vatican has never repealed the decrees of the Council of Trent and follows them to this very day. Bible-believing Christians are still considered heretics who deserve to die.

Charles Chiniquy, in the book, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, speaking on the hatred the Roman Catholic church holds towards Christians writes:

“The Roman Catholics [feel that they] have not only the right, but it is their duty to kill heretics” (p. 78). [brackets mine.]

He then goes on to quote the Roman Catholic church father, “Saint” Alphonsus Liguori to have written:

“Though heretics must not be tolerated because they deserve it, we must bear with them till, by a second admonition, they may be brought back to the faith of the Church. But those who, after a second admonition, remain obstinate in their errors must not only be excommunicated, but they must be delivered to the secular powers to be exterminated.”  [Emphasis mine.]

Think about that and consider what the United States government did to the Branch Davidian church, in 1993, during the siege at Waco, Texas, when it burned those men, women, and children alive. Think about that and consider what the Philadelphia police department did to the Move Group, in 1985, when it burned those men, women, and children alive. It is important to understand that both those groups had religious beliefs that were very un-Catholic.

The Roman Catholic church feigns friendship for the time being in order to beguile Christians to go along with its One World agenda. Their reason for courting Christians, according to Ligouri, is to bring them “back to the faith of the Church.” They want to unite the Roman Catholics and Protestants in the Vatican’s One World Church. But, once they achieve their ends, the mask will come off and the poor Christians who fell for the deception will see Rome’s true colors. History will repeat itself.  Don’t be deceived!

“Christian brothers” could also mean the Eastern Orthodox Church, which Rome has too persecuted, but the Pope’s use of the term “wagging tongues” and that he says they cause division makes me believe he is talking about Protestant preachers who preach against Rome.

Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.

The Still Man

~published under the following permission from http://www.thestillman.com/stillmanfiles/:

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Burned Without Pity

The below quote has been attributed to Pope Innocent III but please see http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2017/03/01/burned-without-pity-a-fake-quotation-attributed-to-pope-innocent-iii/comment-page-1/, which shows that this quote has been falsely attributed.

Innocent III bas-relief in the U.S. House of Representatives chamberPope Innocent III:

“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with church dogma must be burned without pity.”

~Papal Bull, 1198, qtd. in Peter Tompkins, Symbols of Heresy in THE MAGIC OF OBELISKS, p.57 (New York: Harper, 1981)

Source: https://www.worldslastchance.com/end-time-prophecy/appalling-papal-proclamations-straight-from-the-harlots-mouth.html

Image information: Innocent III marble bas-relief, one of 23 reliefs of great historical lawgivers in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. Sculpted by Joseph Kiselewski in 1950. Diameter 28 inches.


2015 Saw The Worst Persecution Of Christians Since The Vatican’s Spanish Inquisition

Open Thou Their Blind Hearts

“Rather death than false of faith”

(inscription on Anne Askew’s portrait)

Hans Eworth Portrait of a Lady call Anne Ayscough“Lord, I heartily desire of thee, that thou wilt of thy most merciful goodness forgive them, that violence which they do, and hath done, to me.   Open also thou their blind hearts, that they may hereafter do that thing in thy sight, which is only acceptable before thee, and to set forth thy verity aright, without all vain fantasies of sinful men. So, be it, O Lord, so be it!

By me, Anne Askew”

~Select works of John Bale D.D. Bishop of Ossory: edited by Rev. Henry Christmas

Source: http://out-of-theordinary.blogspot.ca/2015/10/anne-askew-extraordinary-life-of.html

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

~Matthew 5:44

If They Admitted It, They Might Live!

J.C. Ryle on the Protestant Martyrs of the Reformation:

BentoXVI-51-11052007 (frag)“The principal reason why they were burned, was because they refused one of the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church. On that doctrine, in almost every case, hinged their life or death.  If they admitted it — they might live; if they refused it — they must die! The doctrine in question was the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated elements of bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper.”

~Five English Martyrs by J.C. Ryle

Source: http://out-of-theordinary.blogspot.ca/2015/10/anne-askew-extraordinary-life-of.html

Related: https://theantipaschronicles.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/why-were-our-reformers-burned/


Burning of the Waldensians

An interesting take on the popular Where’s Waldo series:

When we consider that this group of sincere and devout followers of the Word of God were persecuted and hounded throughout Europe for most of the 2nd millennia, and that it’s safe to assume that Peter Waldo and the Waldensians were hunted down like foxes, the theme for this story of Christian persecution begins to give new meaning to the phrase, ‘Where’s Waldo?’

Is this comical character who is sought out amidst the cartoonish sketchings of various crowds symbolic of that rare Christian who is mixed in among societies populous?

Read more: https://elijah1757.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/the-christian-hunt-and-peter-waldo-connection/