The history of all religions

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THE HISTORY

OF ALL

RELIGIONS,

IN PARTICULAR,

The Churches, Parties, and Sectaries

OF

THE HOLY CHRISTIAN RELIGION

VIZ.

Heathens,
Mahometans,
Jews,
Christians,including
Papiſts,
Jeſuits,
Proteſtants,
Epiſcopals,
Presbyterians,
Reformed Presbytery,
Seceders,
Burghers,
Antiburghers,
Old Light Burghers,

New Light Burghers
Preſbytery of Relief,
Independents,
Pedobaptiſts,
Tabernacles,
Quakers,
Bereans,
Methodists,
Arians,
Arminians,
Socinians,
Antigonians,
Eraſtians,
Douglaſites,





And an account of the Origin of Burning

Heretics in England,

BY A. CAMPBELL.



Printed for the Bookſellers.


1822

THE HISTORY

OF ALL

RELIGIONS.


I.

Of PAGANS, or HEATHENS.

ALTHOUGHthe Pagans, or Heathens in general, believe that there is one God above all; yet they worship and adore many gods, which are but creatures of their own fancy. Almoft every nation, country, island, and tribe of people have their own gods.

In old times, the Saxons in England had ſeven chief gods, viz 1. The Sun 2. The Moon. 3. Tusk. 4. Wudden. 5. Thur. 6. Fridge. 7, Saturn, —Or, in other words, I. The god of light, who was adored on Sunday. 2, The goddess of night, adored on Monday. 3. The god of ſtrength, adored on Tuesday. 4. The god of war, adored on Wednesday. 5. The god of power, adored on Thursday: 6 The god of love, adored on Friday. And, 7. The god of the earth, adored on Saturday.—From theſe idols, the days of our Week are ſtill named. In Scotland, the fire and the bull were adored.

List of Heathen Gods and Godesses.

1 Pan, the god of Egypt. 2 Dagon, the god of the Philiſtines. 3. Baal, the god of many of the Eaſtern Nations. Cupid, the god of love. Venus, the goddeſs of love. Bacchus, the god of wine. Boreas, the god of ſtorms and wind. Neptune, the god of the ſeas, &c. O the depravity of fallen human nature!



II.—Of the MAHOMETANS.

About fifteen hundred years ago, a man of Turkey, ſeeing the high diſputes about religion in Egypt, and the neighbouring nations, formed a deep laid plan to pleaſe all parties, by making a new one altogether. And ſo, the better to effect his purpoſe, pretended that he was inſpired by God, and called himſelf the Great Prophet of God —This religion is very enticing to corrupt nature, being of a carnal kind, for the Heaven it promiſes, is the full enjoyment of women and wine in the future ſtate, &c. They believe in one ſupreme God, and have in general very rational views of a divine Providence.



III.—Of the JEWS.

I need ſay little of them, as the doctrine and laws of the Jews are fully recorded in our Old Testament. But their great error is unbelief; they do not believe that JESUS, whom their fathers crucified, was the true Meſſiah, and are ſtill looking for another.

I could have given a more full account of the falſe religions, but my main design is to treat of the true. And therefore I ſhall now proceed to ſpeak of the Chriſtian Religion, and the various denominations of its profeſſors.


IV.—Of the Church of Rome.

They hold the great truths of Christianity but have added much to them, ſuch as the folowing:

I. The Infallibilty of the Church, viz the Pope and high Biſhops.

II. The worſhipping of angels, the Virgin Mary. Apoſtles. Saints, &e.

III. The doctrine of Purgatory, or a middle ſtate between heaven and hell, to purge the ſoul from sin

IV. Of seven ſacraments —I The Eucharist or Lord's Supper—2 Baptism—3 The Maſs 4 Extreme Unction, or giving the Lord's Supper to dying people—5 Holy Under, or making of priests—6 Confirmation—7. Marriage.

V. Of Indulgences; or pardon of sins, (for money) on confeſſion to the priest.

VI. Of Penance: or afflicting the body for sin by faſting—the black ſtool, sack gown, black hood, &c.

VII Of keeping holy days, and eating no fleſh in Lent, in memory of our Lord's faſting for day's in the wilderneſs

VIII Transubſtantiation; or that the bread an wine in the Lord's Supper are turned into Christ IX Holy Magiſtrates, or that Churchmen should have power over ſtates.

X. Of Nunneries, Monaſteries, &c. or houſes where holy virgins live retired from the world of mankind; no man being permitted there by the prieſts.

XI. Of many orders of Prieſts—I The Pope —2 Arch Cardinals—3. Arch Biſhops—4 Ordinary Biſhops—5 Prieſts—6 Friars—7 Monks, &c. They hold that there is no ſalvation out of their Church. They adore particular places, relics of the dead, wells, saints, tombs-and go on pilgrimage to them

They believe that the ſouls of unbaptized children wander or hover about in the air till the laſt day.

Of the Church of England.

About the year 1570, Henry 8th, King of England, threw off the Pope's authority, protested against the Church of Rome, and put the Church of England on a new footing, having no higher churchmen than Biſhops. They deny all the aforementioned articles held by the Roman church, and hold the doctrines of Luther, Calvin, and other Proteſtant Reformers in Germany.

Of the Church of Scotland

The people of Scotland, being weary of the tyranny, oppreſſion, and licentious lives of the Roman Clergy, and having received conſiderable (illegible text)ght from the preaching of one Mr George Wiſhart, an eminent divine, who had been (illegible text)ructed in the principles of the Proteſtant religion when on his travels in Germany; that they might bring about a reformation, entered into National Covenant in the year 1581. It was renewed by people of all ranks, in the year 1584. It was again renewed by royal and church authority in 1590, and afterwards by Nobles, Barons, Burgeſſes, Miniſters, and Commons, in the year 1648, and approven by the General Aſſembly, and by an act of Parliament, 1650. It was also ſubſcribed by King Charles II. at the river Spey in the north of Scotland, and at the palace of Scoon near Perth, in the year 1651. This Covenant is recorded at large in the Confeſſion of Faith p. 454, the subdance of which is as follows:

"We protest against all falſe Religion, chiefly all kinds of Popery(ſee the 15 articles of Rome) and also to defend the King's person and government, in defence of the true Religion."

King Charles II. no ſooner got power, than he perſecuted the Covenanters, no leſs than 20 years. And his brother, James VII did the ſame for 7 or 8 years--In this perſecution, Mr Donald Cargil, the Earl of Argyle, Mr Skeen, Mr Guthrie, Mr Renwick, and many others, ſuffered martyrdom for their adherence to the National Covenant and Solemn League.

The nation at laſt thought proper to change the government, and ſo called over William Prince of Orange, to be king; which line of Princes (illegible text) fill the throne of the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland-King William began to reign in the year 1608.

The doctrine, worſhip and government of the Church of Scotland, are inſerted in the (illegible text) (illegible text)minſter Confession of Faith and Catechiſm, which ought to be read by every Christian in Scotland.

Of the Reformed Presbytery.

Some miniſters and people, conceiving that particular grievances were not redreſſed, with other miſunderstandings attending the settlement in 1608, and wiſhing Church and State to be put on the the very ſame footing as in 1638", did ſeparate themselves into a diſtinct, body under the denomination of the Reformed Presbytery. They are vulgarly called Cameronians, or McMillans, from two of their miniſters of that name.

Of Seceders in general

Between the years 1732 and 1740, Mr Ebenezer Erskine, and his brother Ralp, Mr Fiſher and ſome others came out from the eſtabliſhed Church of Scotland—They ſtated many errors (in their view) that had crept into the Church, such as Arminian and Socinian doctrine, laxneſs in diſcipline and patronage, that is, the chief laird in the pariſh to have power to put in any miniſter he pleaſeth; this power in ſome pariſhes (illegible text) lodged in the crown, as Falkirk, Alloa, &c

Of the Burghers and Antiburghers.

Soon after the Seceſſion took place, they differed among themſelves. The ground of this dispute was as follows;

The Burghers maintained that it was lawful to

  • See Confession of Faith and Covenants, National and Solemn League, page 67.

ſwear the Burgeſs Oath in all its extent; and that the Covenants cannot be properly ſworn by a party, but ought to be done in a national way, being a public deed; otherwiſe it would not be a National, but a Party Covenant.

The Antibarghers, in oppoſition to this, ſaid, that it was not right to ſwear the Burgeſs Oath, having a religious cauſe in it: and that it is lawful for a party to renew the covenant at all times.

Of the Presbytery of Relief.

About 50 years ago, Mr Thomas Gillespie, then pariſh miniſter ct Carhock, being appointed by the General Aſſembly, to place a minifter at Inverkiething, against the people's will, refused to do it; for which he was laid aſide for a year. Next aſſembly be ſpoke bodiy againſt patronage, and was depoſed. Soon after, he and his followers formed a party, under the denomination of the Preſbytery of Relief; being thereby relieved from Patronage. They are Calviniſts + but they are very free in receiving church members.

Of the old and New Light Burghers.

The Old Light people say, that they stand for the Confeſſion of Faith in every point; the New Light party do not deny it. Wherein lieth the difference?

I The Old Light party ſay, that the civil magiſtrate hath a right to all church courts, and

+ They hold Juſtification by free grace, only through the sacrifice of Christ received by faith. The diſſenters and independents hold the same to sit in them, and alſo to puniſh all heresies and errors, even to bodily puniſhment. (See Confeſſion of Faith, chap. 23) Moreover, they ſay, that the Covenants, National & Solenn League, sworn above 150 years ago, are as binding upon us to this day, as they were upon them by whom they were sworn: and if we do not take or acknowledge them, we are perjured persons, although many cannot in concience approve of the proceedings of that time. They alſo think, that public national covenanting, is as warrantable under the New Testament as it was under the Old, when the true worship of God was con(illegible text)ined to the ca(illegible text) (illegible text)ed of Abraham. In short, all alterations whatever, either eſſential or circumſtantial, in their views are deviations from the truth, as received canons of the Church of Scotland, as received in 1603.

2 The new Light party says, that the civil magiſtrates, as such, hath no warrant from the New Testament to call church councils, nor preside in them, and though it is the duty of the civil magiſtrate to maintain justice and peace in civil society, and to puniſh offenders: yet they have no right to excrcise power over men's consciences, ia things purely spiritual.

As to the covenants, they seem to wish to put them out of the question, in a great meaſure, as appears by their silence.

Of Independents and Missionaries.

The Independents, and those called Missionaries, are no new party; but an old one revived, every congregation formeth a particular Church, hath no higher Court than its own members, and every member has a right to speak. They say that faith, human or divine, implies nothing more but simply believing.—That the difference between divine and human faith doth, not consist in its nature, but in the object of it. That the Lord's Supper ought to be taken every first day of the week (acts xx 7)—they view it as a thanksgiving, and so bless not the bread, but bleſs God for Chriſt, (I Cor x 24) as repreſented in that ordinance to true believers only.

They receive none into their communion till they can give evidences of their converſion. It is reported that they must ſtate the preciſe time but this ſeems to be falſe. They view a belief of the Goſpel, a becoming converſation, a proper knowledge of the Scriptures, and the gift of utterance, as abſolutely neceſſary for a goſpel preacher, and many do without College learning.

Of the Pedobaptiſts.

They baptize none till the perſon actually profeſs faith in Christ, according to Matt. xxviii.19. Mark xvi. 16. In baptiſm, they dip or immerſe the whole body in water, in imitation of John’s baptiſm, Mar. iii. 27. Their preachers and Church office bearers are choſen from among themſelves in every particular meeting, which forms a church; in which all controverſies are ſolved. The manner of their church diſcipline, and cenſures are recorded in Matt. xvii. and xxviii.—2 Cor. x—1 Cor. v. &c.

They ſay, though none can be ſaved but thoſe who repent, believe, and obey the Goſpel; yet faith, repentance, and good works are no ground or condition of a ſinner's justification before God, but reſteth alone upon the eternal decree of free grace. They receive the Lord's Supper weekly- but are improperly called anabaptiſts, for the Anabaptiſts are another ſect, who baptize all their members every year. The Latin word Anno, from which Anabaptiſt is derived, ſignifieth year, and therefore that denomination may mere plainly be rendered Yearly-Baptiſts.

Of QUAKERS.

They are ſo called, becauſe they ſometimes groan and tremble in their prayers. They preach none, unleſs moved, as they view it, by the Holy Ghoſt. Many people are ſo bold to ſay, that this is a deluſion of Satan; but it is very dangerous to ſpeak in that manner, for many good fruits appear in them, ſuch as plain honeſt dealing in the world, mercy to the poor, abſtaining from ſwearing, lying, and the like. They give titles of honour to no man, (Matt. xxiv. 6) nor uncover their heads, though in the preſence of the highest personage, nor in their own places of worſhip, but when they are diſpoſed to ſpeak. They do not name the day of the week as we do, but number them 1, 2, &c. for in their view (in the main it is ſo)) the names at preſent in use were handed down to us from the Heathen. They allow women to exhort in their meetings, but not to rule, Acts xxi. 2-1 Cor. xi. 5.

They appeared first in England in the time of Cromwell. Their founder was one David George, a reſpectable ſhoemaker in Oxford. After him, another remarkable character aroſe among them, called William Pen, whoſe uncle had been a very active Admiral in the reign of Charles I. and for which he had been promiſed a confideration by government. Upon the death of the Admiral, his nephew, William, waited on Charles I. and, with his head covered, demanded what had been promiſed his uncle in the former reign. The Admiral having, beſides his meritorious ſervices, advanced a conſiderable ſum for the use of government; the Parliament gave William a grant of the Province of Penſylvania, in north America, to which a great number of the Quakers emigrated, and founded one of the moſt beautiful cities in the world, the capital of that province, and called it Philadelphia, which ſignifies brotherly love. The name of the province itſelf has its derivation from the founder's name, Pen.

I ſhall conclude the account of this ſect, with in anecdote of another diſtinguiſhed character among them, called Robert Barclay, who adreſſed King Charles II upon his reſtoration, in the following manner:

“Thou haft taſted of prosperity and adverſity: thou knoweſt what it is to be baniſhed thy native country, to be over-ruled as well as to rule, and to ſit upon the throne, and being oppreſsed; thou haſt reaſon to know how hateful the oppreſſor is both to God and man. If, after all theſe warnings and advertisements, thou doſt not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but forget him who remembered thee in thy diſtreſs, and give up thyſelf to follow luſt and vanity, ſurely great will be thy condemnation –Againſt which ſnare, as well as the temptation of thoſe who may or do feed thee, and prompt thee to evil, the moſt excellent and prevalent remedy will be to apply thyſelf to that light of Chriſt, which ſhineth in the conſcience and which neither can nor will flatter thee; nor ſuffer thee to be at eaſe in thy (illegible text)"

Of the BEREANS

They take their name to themſelves, from Acts. xvii. (illegible text) "The Bereans were more noble than thoſe of Theſſalonica, in that they received the word with all readineſs of mind; and ſearched the Scriptures daily whether thoſe things were ſo." Whom they pretend to have imitated, that they might find out truth, and lay the foundation of their Church, in diſtinction from all other denominations of Chriſtians. Their founder was one Mr. John Barclay, preacher of the Goſpel in the pariſh of Fettercairn. Angus-ſhire, and aſſitant to the late Rev. Mr. Dow, an aged miniſter of that pariſh. Upon the death of Mr Dow, having little intereſt to ſucceed in the parish. Mr. Barclay ſet out for Edinburgh, and, in a ſhort time after, it was announced in the newspapers that he had formed and joined himſelf to the Berean Society in that city, about the year 1770.

So far as is known, Mr. Barclay was a man of good character, of a religious turn of mind and only rendered ſingular by his peculiar ſentiments concerning the doctrine of the Aſſurance of Faith, viz.

They say, As faith and doubting are oppoſite principles, ſo no true Christian can have any doubt of the truth of the goſpel; that is, that le(illegible text)is Chriſt is the Son of God, and the only Redeemer of God's elect; nor of their own ſalvation, or both reſteth on the fame teſtimony;" He that believeth ſhall be ſaved," &c. Mark xvi. 10.

They are independents, and allow infant baptiſm, although ſome of them are very ſcrupulous on that head.

They fay, that people ought to remain in no doubt of their believing, and conſequently of their being ſaved; for ſuch as do so, are in the (illegible text)all of bitterness and bond of iniquity.

Mr Barclay aſſerts, in a letter in a friend on the doctrine of aſſurance, That he has no more doubt of his ſhining as a ſtar, in the kingdom of heaven after death, than he has of the prophets Iſiah and Jeremaiah being already in that happy ſtate, becauſe it is poſitively said, " He that believeth ſhall be ſaved." And therefore, he was perſuaded that he did believe the goſpel, he ſaw no reaſon to doubt of his salvation.

He had a peculiar talent for religious poetry, (illegible text) publiſhed a new verſion of the Pſalms of David in metre, adapted to the Chriſtian diſpenſation; in which he applies all the Pſalms to Chriſt and to his church.

He alſo publiſhed a volume of Spiritual Songs, to the tunes of the most common songs ſung by the young women of Fettercairn at their wheels, (illegible text) prevent than from proſtituting their muſical talents on profane or senſeleſs ſubjects. He did but a few years ago, on a Sabbath morning, going from his own houſe to their place of worſhip in Edinburgh.

Of the METHODISTS.

With regard to their religious principles, we cannot enter into any particular detail: neither indeed are there any doctrines peculiar to all included under that name, except the ſingle one of salvation by faith without works. In March 1741, Mr Whitefield being returned to England entirely ſeparated from Mr Weſley and his friend " becauſe he did not hold the decrees.”—Here was the first breach, which warm men perſuaded Mr Whitefield to make, merely for a difference of opinion. Those indeed who believed univerſal redemption, had no deſire at all to ſeparate but thoſe who held particular redemption, would not hear of any accommodation, being determined to have no fellowſhip with men that "were in ſuch dangerous errors." So there were now two sorts of Methodiſts so called: thoſe for particular, and thoſe for general, redemption.

Not many years paſſed, before Willian Cuc(illegible text)worth and James Relly, ſeparated from Mr Whitefield.—Theſe were properly Antinomia(illegible text) abſolute avowed enemies to the law of God which they never preached, or profeſſed to preach but termed all Legalists who did. With their preaching the law was an abomination. They had nothing to do with the law. They woa(illegible text) preach Christ, as they called it, but without one word either of holineſ, or good works. Ye they were still denominated Methodiſts, although differing from Mr. Whitefield, both in judgement and practice, abundantly more that Mr. Whitefield did from Mr Wesley.

In the mean time Mr Venn and Mr. Romaine began to be ſpoken of, and not long after Mr. (illegible text)adan and Mr. Berridge, with a few other clergymen, who, although they had no connection with each other, yet preaching ſalvation by faith, and endeavouring to live accordingly, to be Bi(illegible text) Christians, were ſoon included in the general name of Methodists. And to indeed were all (illegible text)hers who preached ſalvation by faith, and appeared more ſerious than their neighbours. Some (illegible text) theſe were quite regular in their manner of teaching: Come were quite irregular, (though not by choice; but neceſſity was laid upon them, they must preach irregularly or not at all,) and others were between both; regular in most, though not in all particulars.

In 1762, George Bell, and a few other perſons began to ſpeak great words In the latter end of the year they foretold that they world would be (illegible text) an end on the 28th of February. Mr. Weſley, with whom they were connected, withstood them both in public and private. This they would not endure; ſo, in January and February 1763, they ſeparated from him under the care of Mr. Maxfield, one of Mr Wesley's preachers But still Mr Maxfield and his adherents, even the wildeſt enthuſiaſts among them, go under the general name of Methodiſts, and ſo bring a ſcandal upon thoſe with whom they have no connection

At preſent, thoſe who remain with Mr. Wesley are moſtly Church of England men. They love her articles, her homilies, her liturgy, her discipline, and unwillingly vary from it in any inſtance. Meantime, all who preach anong them declare, "we are all by nature children of wrath but by grace we are ſaved through faith;" ſave from both the guilt and from the power of ſin They endeavour to live according to what they preach, to be plain Bible Chriſtians; and they meet together at convenient times to encourage one another therein. They tenderly love many that are Calviniſts, though (illegible text) do not love their opinions. Yea, they love the Antinomians themſelves; but it is with a love of compa(illegible text) only for they hate their doctrines with a perfect hatred; they abhor then as they do hell fire; being convinced nothing can ſo effectually destroy (illegible text) faith, all holineſs, and all good works.

We ſhall conclude this article with the word of Mr. Hanſon, which must certainly be accounted just whatever objections may be made to ſome parts of the principles or behaviour of the Methodists " If they poſſess not much knowledge, which, however, we do not know to be the caſe, it is at least certain, they are not deficient in zeal; and without any paſſionate deſire to imitate their example, we may at least commend their endeavours for the general good Every good man will contemplate with pleasure the oper(illegible text) of the Spirit of Reformation; whether foreign or domestic; and will rejoice in every attempt to propagate Chriſtianity in the barbarous parts of the world An attempt which, if in an tolerable degree ſucceſsful, will do infinitely more for their civilization and happineſs, than all the (illegible text)ted energies of thoſe beaſted benefactors of mankind, the philoſophic infidels."

Of the ARIANS

They have their name from one Arius, a Ly(illegible text)n by birth, and a presbyter of Alexandria by profeſſion. This hereſy broke out under the Emperor Conſtantine, 290 years after Chriſt, and over-ran a great part of the world; being oppoſed (illegible text)one for ſome time: but the famous Athan(illegible text) an eminent father of the church at that time, (illegible text)o compoſed an admirable Creed in oppoſition to the Arian doctrine; their errors were condemned in the Council of Nice, gathered, by Conſtan(illegible text)e's appointment, in the year 1325, after a moſt (illegible text) and bloody perſecution, wherein many of thoſe who oppoſed it, (and were therefore called (illegible text) Orthodox.) suffered martyrdom

Arians say, that God is one abſolute being; that Jeſus Chrift is the firſt and beſt of all the (illegible text)ica of God; and the Holy Ghost only an (illegible text)ibute of Deity.

Of Arminians.

They are so called from James Arminius, divinity reader in Leyden, who, in the year 1605, publiſhed and maintained five articles, which have occaſioned great trouble to the church of God, (illegible text)ing eagerly maintained by his followers, called (illegible text)monstrants. The five articles are concerning predestination, redemption, God's grace, free-(illegible text), and the perſeverance of the(illegible text).

Of Socinians.

So called from one Faustus Socinus, an Italian of Stena. They place all their religion in old condemned heresies: following their mast(illegible text) a moſt vile heretic.

Amongst other things they hold the doctrine of man's free will; and ſay, that original ſin nothing more than the power of bad example: that Jesus Christ was the best man that ever appeared in this world: and was ſent by God to correct the errors which had crept into the mo(illegible text) world, that his death was a natural incident; and that God raised him from the dead, to ſhow that our death is not eternal.

Of Antiomians

So called from two Greek words, which ſignify AGAINST and the Law: they ſprung up from one John Agricola, who affirmed, that the mor(illegible text) law was altogether needleſs, and that Chriſtians were not tied to the obſervation thereof. The ſect began about the year 1535.

Of Eraſtians.

So called from Thomas Eraftus, a phyſician of Heidelberg, in Germany, who held that the civil magiſtrate had the supreme power in church and ſtate.

Of Jesuits

In the year 1540, this ſect aroſe in the church of Rome, and was confirmed by Pope Paul III. they were employed as miſſionaries to advance the Popiſh religion, for which purpoſe they are (illegible text) well educated in philoſophy, ſchool divinity, and many other arts and ſciences--rheir founder was one Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniſh ſoldier.

Of the Douglaſites.

They hold the hereſy of the Originiſts, and the German Anabaptiſts, viz. that not only the (illegible text)ked, but the devils themſelves, after ſuffering the torments of hell for an appointed period, shall be received into the favour of God, and be (illegible text)le for ever bleſſed and happy.

As this hereſy has been long ago condemned, I ſhall only here inſert a few anſwers, which have been given to their tenets by several eminent divines:

They are contrary to 2 Theſs. I. 7. &c. becauſe life eternal, and death eternal, are, Scripture, oppoſed to one another in the (illegible text)e ſense, Matt. xxv. 48 But life eternal in Scripture is not taken for being ſimply Template:Reco strucy but for being eternally happy, or to be (illegible text) bleſsed eternal ſtate and condition, Pfal. (illegible text)xiii I. Therefore eternal death must be (illegible text)a in ſcripture, not for annihilation, or being (illegible text)ed into nothing, but for an eternal, wretched and miserable ſtate.

Becauſe Abraham ſays expreſsly, in the parable, that no man can paſs from the place of torment to the place of bleſs and happineſs, Luke xvi. 26.

3. The wicked are ſaid to ſuffer the vengeance of everlaſting fire, Jude verſe 7—And "Now is the accepted time," &c. 2 Cor. vi 2.




History of all religions - p21 endpiece.png

Account of the Origin of

BURNING HERETICS IN ENGLAND.




In the year 1401, and reign of Henry IV. King of England, it was found that the number of the Lollard, which was the name then generally gived to the Wickliffites. was continually increaſing, it was, by the influence of the eccleſiaſtics, enacted, that none ſhould preach without licence from the Bishop of the Diocese. However, this, and the other laws in being, were thought insufficient for the prtoection of the church, and to prevent the growth of hereſy. The Clergy were deſirous of having a ſhorter and (illegible text)ſier method of defending the doctrines of the church, than by the tedious and difficult one of reaſon and argument. They therefore would (illegible text)ve the king to underſtand, that nothing would more attach the Clergy to his intereſts than his exerting himſelf for the protection of the church, by which was meant to make a law for the burning of heretics. The King does not appear to have diſcovered any great reluctance; but the commons, many of whom thought favourably of Wickliffe, were very averſe to ſuch ſanguinary proceedings. An act however was at length paſſed, empowering the Clergy to the extent of their wiſhes, but this paſſed not but with the utmoſt ſtretch of the King's authority. And Mr Fox Says, that he cannot find that ever it did paſs the Commons; but ſuppoſed, that as parliamentary affairs were then managed with little regularity, it was huddled in among other acts, and ſigned by the King without further notice. It is indeed by no means improbable, that this act might be paſsed without the conſent of the Commons, for in this reign we find the lower House of Parliament petitioning that no act or ſtatute might paſs without their conſent. However, it was now enacted, that upon a certificate of the dioceſian Biſhop, or his commiſſaries, delivering thoſe who either refused to abjure their hereſy. or relapſed, after abjuration, over to the ſecular arm, the civil magistrate ſhould receive their bodies, and cauſe them to be burned in public. William Sautre, a Lollard, and rector of St Oſith's in London, was the firſt man who was put to death by this ſtatute. Sentence was pronounced againſt him in the eccleſiaſtical court, immediately after the act was paſſed, ſo eager were they (illegible text) proceed to the extirpation of hereſy.


FINIS.


J. Neilson, printer.


This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.