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Some account of the rise and establishment of the Inquisition,

with reflections on its general spirit and operation.

The preceding sections will have enabled the reader to form a tolerably correct judgment concerning the religious principles and general character of that denomination of Christians called Catharists, Paterines, Albigenses, or Waldenses; and I should now proceed to a more detailed account of their history, subsequent to the times of Peter Waldo, and especially of the dreadful persecutions and complicated sufferings which came upon them in consequence of their adherence “ to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus ;” but it will be proper, in this place, to take a glance at the origin, the establishment, and the operation of that monstrous system of cruelty and oppression, gently called by the Catholics “ the holy office," though better known among Protestants by the name of the Inquisition.*

As I shall have occasion, in the subsequent pages of this work, to make frequent references to “ Limborch's History of the Inquisition," it is proper the reader should be apprised of the degree of credit which is due to that author's statements. He was a native of Amsterdam, born 1633, a person of great learning and talents, which raised him to the rauk of professor of divinity in that city. When his History of the Inquisition first came over to England, it was received with the highest approbation by many of the principal nobility and clergy. In particular Mr. Locke, that incomparable judge of men and books, bestowed the highest eulogiams upon it,-commended it for its method and perspicuity, and the authorities by which it is so abundantly confirmed, -and prononnced it to be a work of its kind absolutely perfect. In a letter 10 Limborch himself, he tells him, that he had so fully exposed their secret acts of wickedness and cruelty, that if the Papists VOL. II.


It was not until about the year 1200, the papal chair being then filled by Innocent III. that the terins “ Inquisition into heresy,” and “ Inquisitor,” were much, if at all, heard of. The bishops, and their vicars, being, in the Pope's apprehension, neither so fit nor. so diligent in the discharge of their duty respecting the extirpation of heresy as he thought necessary, two new orders of regulars were at this time instituted, viz. those of St. Dominic and St. Francis, both zealously devoted to the church, and consisting of persons with whom the advancement of Christianity, and the exaltation of the pontifical power, were always synonymous terms. To St. Dominic, indeed, the honour of first suggesting the erection of this extraordinary court is commonly ascribed. It was not, however, at first, on the same footing on which it afterwards settled, and on which it has since continued. The first inquisitors were vested with a double capacity, not very happily conjoined in the same persons; one was that of preachers, to convince the heretics by argument; the other that of pere secutors, to instigate magistrates to employ every possible method of extirpating the refractory—that is, all who were so unreasonable as not to be convinced by the profound reasoning of those merciless fanatics and wretched so. phisters.

Dominic descended from an illustrious Spanish family of the name of Guzman, was the son of Felix and Joanna, and born at the village of Cabaroga, in the year 1170, in the diocese of Osma. His mother, during her pregnancy, is said to have dreamed that she was with child of a pup, carrying in its mouth a lighted torch; that after its birth, it put the world in an uproar by its fierce barkings, and at length set it on fire by the torch which it carried in its mouth. His followers have interpreted this dream, of his doctrine, by which he enlightened the world; while others, if dreams presage any thing, think that the torch was an emblem of thạt fire and faggot by which an infinite multitude of persons were burnt to ashes.* He was educated for the priesthood, and grew up the most fiery and the most bloody of mortals. Before his time every bishop was a sort of inquisitor in his own diocese; but Dominic contrived to incorporate a body of men, independent of every human being except the Pope, for the express purpose of ensnæring and destroying Christians. He was well aware that however loudly the priests declaimed against heresy, the lords of the soil would not suffer them to butcher their tenants under any such vain pretences. In Biscay, the priesthood was at a very low ebb, in the eleventh century, { and the clergy complained to the King of Navarre that the nobility and gentry treated them very little better than their slaves, employing them chiefly only to breed up and feed their dogs. Nearly a century after that time, in a neighbouring state, when the renowned St. Bernard began, in a sermon to a crowded auditory, to inveigh against heresy, the nobility and gentry all rose up and left the church, and the people followed them. The preacher came down and proceeded to the market place, where he attempted to harangue on the same subject; but the populace, wiser than the preacher, refused to hear him, and raised such a clamour as drowned his voice, and compelled him to desist. Only one expedient remained,

had any remains of humanity in them, they must be ashamed of their horrid tribunals, in which every thing that was just and righteous was so monstrously perverted ; and that it was proper it should be translated into the vulgar language of every nation, that the meanest people might understand the antichristian practices of that execrable court. The Papists became so alarmed at its publication, that the cardinals, inquisitors general at Rome, condemned it by an edict, and forbade the read ing of it, under the severest'penalties.

* Limborch's History of the Inquisition, Vol. I. ch. x,

Bernard recollected that Jesus had ordered his apostles, in certain cases, to shake off the dust of their feet, and as though he were an apostle and had received the same command, he affected to imitate the example. He left the city, shook his feet, and cursed the inhabitants by exclaiming, “ May the Almighty punish this city with a drought.” Thus far went the rage of Catholicism at the beginning of the twelfth century, and here its proud waves were stayed; but at the commencement of the thirteenth, about the year 1915, Dominic broke down the dam, and covered Toulouse with a tide of despotism stained with human blood. Posterity will scarcely believe that this enemy of mankind, after forming a race like himself, first called preaching, and then Dominican friars, died in his bed, was canonized for a saint, worshipped as a divinity, and proposed as a model of piety and virtue to succeeding generations. * Never, says Dr. Geddes, was there such a rabble in the world as a Spanish saint-roll. The first class of them are ideal beings, or pagans, or enthusiasts; but the last are saints with a vengeance, for all their steps to paradise are marked with human blood.+

The inquisitors, at first, had no tribunals; they merely inquired after heretics, their number, strength, and riches. When they had detected them, they informed the bishops, who, at that time, had the sole power of judging in ecclesiastical affairs, urging them to anathematize, banish, or otherwise chastise such heretical persons as they brought before them. It is true, says bishop Burnet, adverting to these times, the church pretended that she would shed no blood; but all this was insufferable juggling. For the churchmen declared who were heretics, and the secular arm was required to be always in readiness to execute their

Robinson's Ecclesiastical Researches, p. 321. + Miscellaneous Tracts, Vol. I.

sentence. This was not only claimed by the bishops, but it was made a part of their oath at their consecration, " that they should oppose and persecute heretics to the utmost of their power.” Nor were they contented to proceed by the common rules of justice, upon accusations and witnesses; but all forms were superseded, and by virtue of their pastoral authority, as if that had been given them to worry their sheep and not to feed them, they objected articles to their prisoners upon suspicion, requiring them to purge themselves of them by oath. And because bishops were not perhaps all so equally zealous and cruel, that bloody man, Dominic, took this work to task, and his order has ever since furnished the world with a set of inquisitors, compared to whom all that had ever dealt in tortures, in any former times, were mere bunglers.*

Sometimes they excited princes to arm their subjects against them, and at other times they inflamed the rabble, whom they themselves headed, to take up arms, and unite in extirpating them. Such as they could prevail upon to devote themselves to this service, obtained the title of crusaders, and were distinguished by a cross of cloth affixed to their garments. This badge operated like a charm upon the deluded populace, who, if they were inflamed before, now became infuriate, and, as one happily expresses it, were raised to a super-celestial sort of virtue, which defies all the restraints of reason and humanity. Things remained pretty much in this state till about the year 1250; that is, for half a century.

During this period the efforts of the inquisitors were greatly assisted by the emperor of the Romans, Frederick II. who in the year 1924, promulgated, from Padua, four

Bishop Burnet's Remarks concerning Persecution, prefixed to his Translation of Lactantius's Relation of the Deaths of the Primitive Persecutors. Amst. 1687. p. 34, &c.

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