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that God would not suffer those who were weak to be offended; but one woman was greatly, being sure they might help it if they would, no one should persuade her to the contrary; and she was got three or four yards, when she also dropt down in as violent an agony as the rest. Twenty-six of those who had been thus affected (most of whom, during the prayers which were made for them, were in a moment filled with peace and joy,) promised to call upon me the next day ; but only eighteen came, by talking closely with whom I found reason to believe that some of them had gone
home to their houses justified; the rest seemed to be patiently waiting for it."
A difference of opinion concerning these outward signs, as they were called, was one of the subjects which had distracted the London Methodists, and rendered Wesley's presence among them necessary. The French prophets also had obtained considerable influence over some of the society; these prophets had now for about half a century acted as frantic and as knavish a part for the disgrace of a good cause, as the enemies of that cause could have desired. Louis XIV., at the commencement of his reign, laid down for himself a wise system of conduct toward his Protestant subjects: he perceived that to employ persecution as a remedy for erroneous opinions, implies an ignorance of the nature of the disease, and he acknowledged that the reformers had originally much reason on their side ; but as a Roman Catholic, he regarded the doctrines of the Huguenots as damnable, and as a
statesman he knew that any men who desire the destruction of their national church, can be but half-hearted toward the government which upholds that church, and rests with it upon the same found- . ation. He determined therefore not to impose any restrictions upon them, and strictly to observe their existing privileges; but to grant them no new ones; to show them no favour; to prevent them from spreading their doctrine, or exercising their mode of worship, in places where they were not privileged ; to ghold out every encouragement for converting them, and especially to fill the Catholic sees with persons of such learning, piety, and exemplary lives, that their example might tend powerfully to heal the schism which the ignorance and corruption of their predecessors had * occasioned. But Louis learnt to be as little scrupulous in his schemes of conversion as of conquest; success, vanity, evil counsellors, with the possession and the pride of absolute power, hardened his heart ; by means of paltry donations he had bought over to the Catholic Church, many of those persons who disparage whatever church they may belong to, and it is said that because of the facility with which such converts were made, he expected to find in the whole body of the French Protestants an easy submission to his will. By one wicked edict he revoked their privileges; and by another of the same day prohibited their public worship, banished their ministers, and decreed that their children should be educated by Roman Catholic priests in
Cuvres de Louis XIV. Mémoires Historiques, t. i. p. 94-89.
the Roman Catholic faith ; the better to ensure obedience he quartered dragoons upon them, and left them to the mercy of his military missionaries. The Dragonádes as they were called were a fit after-piece to the tragedy of St. Bartholomew's day. The number of persons who emigrated in consequence of this execrable persecution, has been variously computed from fifty to five hundred thousand; more meritorious men were never driven from their native country, and every country which afforded them refuge was amply rewarded by their talents, their arts, and their industry. Prussia received a large and most beneficial increase of useful subjects; they multiplied the looms of England, and gave new activity to the trade of Holland. Some of these refugees converted rocks into vineyards on the shores of the Leman Lake, and British Africa is indebted to others for wines, which will one day rival those of the Rhine and the Garonne. Happy were they who thus shook the dust of their native land from their feet; and more would undoubtedly have followed this course, if the most rigorous measures had not been used to prevent emigration. This was consummating the impolicy, and the wickedness * of the measure.
* This manifestation of the real spirit of the Romish Church, contributed greatly to alarm the English people, when James II. attempted to bring them again under its yoke. And it appears from Evelin's Diary that James apprehended this consequence. « One thing was much taken notice of, that the Gazettes, which were still constantly printed twice a week, informing us what was done all over Europe, never spake of this wonderful proceeding in France, nor was any relation of it públished by any, save what private letters, and the persecuted fugitives brought. Whence this silence I list not to conjecture ; but it appeared very extraordinary in a Protestant country, that we should know nothing of what Protestants suffered, whilst great collections were made for them in foreign places, more hospitable and Christian to appearance." Vol.in p. 580.
The number of forced converts in Languedoc, was little short of * 200,000. But in the wilder parts of that province, among the mountains of the Cevennes and the Vivarez, the people took arms, confiding in the strength of the country, and the justice of their cause. M. de Broglie first, then Marshal Villars, and lastly, the Duke of Berwick, were sent against them; roads were opened through the country in every direction, making it every where accessible for artillery; an adequate force was perseveringly employed, little mercy was shown in the field, and such of the leaders as were taken prisoners, were racked and broken on the wheel, or burnt alive. In the history of human crimes, the religious wars of France must ever stand pre-eminent for the ferocity with which both parties were possessed, and this termination was worthy of the spirit with which the persecution was begun and carried through.
More than twenty years elapsed, before such of the Protestants as exercised the right of resistance could be rooted out. During that time, these injured people were in a state resembling that of the Covenanters and Cameronians in Scotland, under the tyranny of Lauderdale. Persecuted like them, till they were driven to madness by persecution, the more they were goaded, the more fiercely they
• Mémoires de M. de Basville, p. 76.
turned upon their oppressors, and the greater the cruelty which they endured from man, the more confidently they looked for the interference of Heaven. Thus they grew at once fanatical and ferocious. Without rest either for body or mind, living in continual agitation and constant danger, their dreams became vivid as realities, when all realities were frightful as the wildest dreams; delirium was mistaken for inspiration ; and the ravings of those who had lost their senses through grief and bodily excitement, were received as prophecies by their fellow sufferers. The Catholic writers of that age, availed themselves of this to bring a scandal
the Protestant cause; and to account for what so certainly was the consequence of persecution, they propagated one of the most impudent calumnies that ever was produced, even in religious controversy. They asserted that the refugee ministers with Jurieu at their head, held a council at Geneva, in which they agreed to support their cause by means of impious imposture; that they set up a school of prophets, and trained up young persons of both sexes, to repeat the Psalms and other parts of Scripture by heart, and practise contortions and convulsions for public exhibition, in the name of the Spirit of God! How little did these calumniators understand the character of Jurieu, fanatic as he was; and how utterly incapable were they even of conceiving such disinterested and devoted integrity, as that of the ministers whom they slandered.