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is carried headlong. They meet with darkness in the day time, and grope in the noon day as in the night. But he savo eth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.”
Those proud enemies of God's people, being so disappointed, and finding themselves so unable to uphold their own dominion and authority, this made them as it were to gnaw
their tongues for pain, or bite their tongues for mere rage.
2. I proceed therefore to show what opposition has been made to this success of Christ's purchase by the Reformatioń by Satan and his adherents ; observing, as we go along, how far they have been baffled, and how far they have been successful.
The opposition which Satan has made against the Reformed religion has been principally of the following kinds, viz. that which was made, 1, by a general council of the church of Rome ; 2, by secret plots and devices ; 3, by open wars and invasions ; 4, by cruel oppression and persecution ; and 5, by bringing in corrupt opinions.
(1) The first opposition that I shall take notice of is that which was made by the clergy of the church of Rome uniting together in a general council. This was the famous council of Trent, which the Pope called a little while after the Reformation. In that council, there met together six cardinals, thirtytwo archbishops, two hundred and twentyeight bishops, besides innumerable others of the Romish clergy. This council, in all their sittings, including the times of intermission between their sittings, was held for twenty five years together. Their main business all this while was to concert measures for establishing the church of Rome against the Reformers, and for destroying the Reformation. But it proved that they were not able to perform their enterprise. The Reformed church, notwithstanding their holding so great a council, and for so long a time together against it, remained, and remains stili. So that the counsel of the froward is carried headlong, and their kingdom is full of darkness, and they weary themselves to find the door.
Thus the church of Rome, instead of repenting of their deeds, when such clear light was held forth to them by Lu
ther, and other servants of God, the Reformers, does, by general agreement in council, persist in their vile corruptions and wickedness, and obstinate opposition to the kingdom of Christ. The doctrines and practices of the church of Rome, which were chiefly condemned by the Reformed, were confirmed by the decrees of their council ; and the corruptions, in many respects were carried higher than ever before ; and they uttered blasphemous reproaches and curses against the Reformed religion, and all the Reformed church was excommunicated and anathematized by them ; and so, according to the prophecy," they blasphemed God." Thus God hardened their hearts, intending to destroy them.
(2) The Papists have often endeavored to overthrow the Reformation by secret plots and conspiracies. So there were many plots against the life of Luther. The Papists were engaged in contriving to despatch him, and to put him out of their way; and he, as he was a very
often very much exposed himself in the cause of Christ : But yet they were wonderfully prevented from hurting him, and he at last died in his bed in peace. And so there have been from time to time innumerable schemes secretly laid for the overthrow of the Protestant religion ; among which, that which seems to be most considerable, and which seemed to be the most likely to have taken effect, was that which was in the time of King James II. of England, which is within the memory of many of us.
There was at that time a strong conspiracy be. tween the King of England and Lewis XIV. of France, who were both Papists, to extirpate the Northern heresy, as they called the Protestant religion, not only out of England, but out of all Europe ; and had laid their schemes so, that they seemed to be almost sure of their purpose. They looked up on it, that if the Reformed religion were suppressed in the British realms, and in the Netherlands, which were the strongest part, and chief defence of the Protestant interest, they should have easy work with the rest. And just as their matters seemed to be come to a head, and their enterprise ripe for execution, God, in his providence, suddenly dashed all their schemes in pieces by the Revolution, at the coming
in of King William and Queen Mary ; by which all their designs were at an end ; and the Protestant interest was more strongly established, by the crown of England's being established in the Protestant house of Hanover, and a Papist being, by the constitution of the nation, for ever rendered incapable of wearing the crown of England. Thus they groped in darkness at noon day as in the night, and their hands could not perform their enterprise, and their kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain.
After this, there was a deep design laid to bring the sa thing to pass in the latter end of Queen Anne's reign, by the bringing in of the Popish pretender ; which was no less suddenly and totally baffled by divine Providence ; as the plots against the Reformation, by bringing in the pretender, have been from time to time.
(3) The Reforma ion has often been opposed by open wars and invasions. So in the beginning of the Reformation, the Emperor of Germany, to suppress the Reformation, declared war with the Duke of Saxony, and the principal men who favored and received Luther's doctrine. But they could not obtain their end; they could not suppress the Reformation. For the same end, the King of Spain maintained a long war with Holland and the Low Countries in the century before laşt. But those cruel wars issued greatly to the disadvantage of the Romish church, as they occasioned the setting up of one of the most powerful Protestant states in Europe,which next to Great Britain, is the chief barrier of the Protestant religion. And the design of the Spanish invasion of England in Queen Elizabeth's time, was to suppress and root out the Reformed religion ; and therefore they brought in their fleet all manner of instruments of cruelty wherewith to torture the Protestants who would not renounce the Protestant religion. But their design was totally baffled, and their mighty fleet in a great measure ruined.
(4) Satan has opposed the Reformation with cruel persecutions. The persecutions with which the Protestants in one kingdom and another have been persecuted by the church of Rome, have in many respects been far beyond any of the
Heathen persecutions which were before Constantine the Great, and beyond all that ever were before. So that Anti. christ has proved the greatest and cruelest enemy to the church of Christ that ever was in the world, in this, as well as in all other respects ; agreeably to the description given of the church of Rome, Rev. xvii. 6. “ And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” And, chap. xviii. 24. “ And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain
the earth.” The Heathen persecutions had been very dreadful ; but now persecution by the church of Rome was improved and studied, and cultivated as an art or science. Such ways of afflicting and tormenting were found out, as are beyond the thought and invention of ordinary men, or men who are unstudied in those things, and beyond the invention of all former ages. And that persecution might be managed the more effectually, there were certain societies of men established in various parts of the Popish dominions, whose business it should be to study, and improve, and practise persecution in its highest perfection, which are those societies called the courts of inquisition. A reading of the particular histories of the Romish persecution, and their courts of inquisition, will give that idea which a few words cannot express.
When the Reformation began the beast with seven heads and ten horns began to rage in a dreadful manner. After the Reformation, the church of Rome renewed įts persecution of the poor Waldenses, and great multitudes of them were cruelly tortured and put to death. Soon after the Reformation there were terrible persecutions in various parts of Germany; and especially in Bohemia, which lasted for thirty years together ; in which so much blood was shed for the sake of religion, that a certain writer compares it to the plenty of waters of the great rivers of Germany. The countries of Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary, were in lịke manner deluged with Protest
By means of these and other cruel persecutions, the Protestant religion was in a great measure suppressed in Bohe
mia, and the Palatinate, and Hungary, which before weré as it were Protestant countries. Thus was fulfilled what was foretold of the little horn, Dan. vii. 20, 21, and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came op, and before whoin three fell, even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them." And what was foretold of the beast having seven heads and ten horns, Rev. xiii. 7. “ And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them : And power was given him over all kindreds; and tongues, and nations."
Also Holland and the other Low Countries were for many years a scene of nothing but the most affecting and amazing cruelties, being deluged with the blood of Protestants, ander the merciless hands of the Spaniards, to whom they were then in subjection. But in this persecution the devil in a great measure failed of his purpose ; as it issued in a great part of the Netherlands casting off the Spanish yoke, and set. ting up a wealthy and powerful Protestant state, to the great defence of the Protestant cause ever since.
France also is another country, which, since the Reformation, in some respects, perhaps more than any other, has been a scene of dreadful cruelties suffered by the Protestants there. After many cruelties had been exercised towards the Protestants in that kingdom, there was begun a persecution of them in the year 1571, in the reign of Charles IX. King of France. It began with a cruel massacre, wherein 70,000 Protestants were slain in a few days time, as the King boasted : And in all this persecution, he slew, as is supposed, 300,000 martyrs. And it is reckoned, that about this time, within thirty years, there were martyred in this kingdom, for the Protestant religion, 39 princes, 148 counts, 234 barons, 147,518 gentlemen, and 760,000 of the common people.
But all these persecutions were, for exquisite cruelty, far exceeded by those which followed in the reign of Lewis XIV. which indeed are supposed to exceed all others that ever have been ; and being long continued, by reason of the