Page images
PDF
EPUB

. of the following history, among the ancient Sects in Religion, in distant and remote parts of the world, among the rude Barbarians, in that dark and unenlightened age, when a blind ignorance prevailed in their untutored mind, joined with a mixture of enthusiasm and superstition, involved in idolatry, wickedness, and immorality, the natural consequence of that ignorance which then overspread the face of the earth. It is less (I say) to be wondered at, when we read in history of whole nations degrading human nature into that of beasts. The Cynics laying aside all the natural restraints of shame and modesty, commit their unnatural lusts openly. *One of our greatest philosophers maintaining the doctrine of men having their wives in common: and t another teaching the worst of incest, that of fathers with their daughters, and the Stoicks affirming that no word or speech of any kind, ought to be censured or avoided as filthy or obscene. And I another great writer tells us of the philosophers of his time : that the most notorious vices were screened under the specious vail of religion, and that they did not labour to maintain the character of philosophers, by any virtuous actions, or modest deportment, but concealed their vicious lives, under an austere countenance, and a habit different from the rest of the world.

* Plato,

+ Chryfippus.

avoided

It may not be amiss, by way of preface, to take a summary view, in a most concise manner, of all the prevailing religions in the world, which, in the ensuing pages, are so accurately delineated, and which constitute the subject of the following work. In order to which I shall divide them into four parts, and speak first of

E U R O P E.

IN Great Britain and Ireland, and the

territories

a 2

1 Quintillian,

territories thereunto belonging, the Reformed Religion is universally established, and in England and Ireland, the Episcopal government is observed; but in Scotland, Prefbytery; though in all, there is the indulgence of other persuasions publicly allowed. The Inquisition has so great an influence in Italy, and those Ines, that no Heretics are publicly allowed to dwell there, and all of them are called so, who disown the Pope for their head, and refuse to submit to all the superstitions of the church of Rome; only some Jews are tolerated, and for which they pay a tribute to the Pope, throughout the ecclesiastical territories ; the Venetians tolerate no Jews ; in Naples, a few professors of the religion of the Greek church are allowed : Sicily, Sardinia, and Malta, permit no profession but that of the Roman Catholics : Dalmatia is partly possessed by the Venetians, and partly by the Turks : the Republic of Ragusa pay tribute

to

to the Turks, but are of the Romish church, and have an archbishop of their own: the Islanders of Corfu, though subject to the Venetians, are of the Greek church : the ille of Candia is under the dominion of the Turks, but besides Mahometans, there are Roman Catholics, Greeks, and Jews, who pay tribute for their liberty. In Spain and Portugal the Inquisition is so rigid, that none but Romanists are tolerated. In France they are universally Romanists, and also in all those parts of the Netherlands that belong to France or Spain. In the states of Holland, the Reformed Religion, following Calvin, is most universal, though all other opinions are tolerated, whether, Jews, Papists, or Lutherans, only the Papists are not allowed the

open and public exercise of their religion, but the others are allowed to build synagogues, churches, &c. At Geneva the Reformed Religion is general. Of the Thirteen Swiss Cantons, five are Romanists, the

a 3

others

others either Calvinists or Zuinglians, and in most a mixture of Romanists and Reformed. Germany has almost as many professors as there are princes, states, and free cities; but the Emperor is a Roman Catholic, but Lutheranism is most countenanced by authority: Calvinism is the most professed in the Palatinates, in the country of Hesse, the dutchy of Wirtembourg, and the Hans towns ; Hungary is partly Roman Catholics, and partly Lutherans, and a great number of Arians : Poland is generally Catholics, excepting in Lower Poland, where there are some Protestants : and in the provinces bordering upon Hungary, Moravia, and Silesia, and those advancing towards the south and Levant, are generally of the Greek church : Transilvania has all sorts, but fewest of the Romanists: Swedeland and Denmark are commonly stiled. Lutherans. "The Muscovites follow the Greek church, and though they have a patriarch at Moscow, yet they

6

acknow

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »