페이지 이미지

his ciaim good, and no sooner has the authoriiv, than he pens the army between two arms of the Nile, to secure it from surprise : but the Sultan Meledine (advised by hell itself) overflows the camp of the croises, forces them to sign a shameful truce, 'and to return to Pheni


St. Lewis inspired with the same enthusiasm, hopes to do much better than his predecessor ; he equips a fleet, leaves France, and lands in Egypt. The want of temperance, the prevalence of debauchery and consequent sickness, destroy one full half of his army, the Saracens defeat the rest at Massoura, and take him prisoner with his two sons : in consequence of that disaster he is obliged to restore Damietta to the enemy, to pay no less than four hundred thousand livres for his ransom, and to return to France without having effected any thing. · Some years after the king's zeal is revived, he undertakes a voyage with a view to convert the king of Tunis : He lands near the ruins of Carthage ; but the plague afflicts his army, and being himself infected with it, he dies through humility on a heap of ashes. ;

This deplorable event, which God in his infinite wisdom had permitted, obliges the croises to sign a truce with the intended proselyte, and to sail back for Sicily, there to establish their

winter quarters:

They open the next campaign in Asia, where they have now turned their arms : they take Jaffa, Beaufort, Nazareth and Antioch; kill serenteen thousand men, and carry away upwards

of one hundred thousand slaves. Such merci ful successes gave hope for the re-establishment of the order of things in that quarter : but the reverse happens. The Sultan Melecseraph retakes Tyre and Sydon, and several other towns, beats the christians wherever he meets them, and ruins their affairs in the Holy Land.

How comes it, observed I to the friar, that so many croises perished in Egypt, if God was the instigator of the holy wars? How can you account for their innumerable and flagitious crimes ? why were all their conquests wrested from their hands?

To your first question, said the Dominican, I shall answer, that the Almighty permitted such losses, to shew that we cannot pay too dearly for the redemption of that holy land, that sacred spot, which his divine Son had honored with his presence and bedewed with his blood. I say next, that the most laudable enterprize, the purest zeal, are more or less mixed with natural corruption, such is the fragility of human nature : but even that corruption with all its concomitants,is but a trifling evil when God's glory and the accomplishment of his will are at stake.

As to your third question, I own it appears astonishing at first glance, that God should sufs fer the croises to lose their conquests : but up. on mature deliberation, you will confess, that the other advantages which resulted ultimately from the crusades, were of no less consequences than the possession of all Palestine itself. If you are open to conviction you have but to lis." ten; I'll be short.

First, Our holy father the Pope, extended his power, established his authority, and aggrandized his patrimony.

2d. The christian princes bowed their necks cheerfully to the yoke which he was pleased to impose upon them, and got so thoroughly seasoned that it never galled them henceforth.

3d. The hatred which a good catholic ought to have for all herétics and infidels, took such deep root that it can never be completely eradi. cated.

4th. Ignorance and simplicity, the basis of all virtues, were carried to the highest pitch.

5th. The progress of science and reason, the most powerful weapons of the devil, were retarded as much as they could possibly be.

6th. Europe, was liberated of several millions of men which crouded its soil.

7th. The monks bought one half of the lands of the croises, much under their intrinsic value, and obtained the other half for nothing.

8th. Those very croises by their unparelleled zeal obtained the forgivness of their numberless sins.

9th. Finally the wrath of heaven was appeased by the tears and groans of four thousand fam. ilies, robbed, ruined, and forsaken ; by the ashes of the towns which were burnt down, and by the smoke of the provinces which were ravaged: by the shrieks of the virgins who were ravished, and by the death of the numberless jews, infidels and heretics, who were put to the sword.


Do you call these small advantages, my good friend? but this was not all : the crusades were not the only means which heaven employed to extirpate error, and extend the government of our holy mother the church. Read the history of the last eight centuries—there you will find the many pious stratagems of the Popes, the noble ambition of the bishops, and the holy enthusiasm of the monks—the evangelic docility of the princes, the apostolic zeal of the people, striving to accomplish the destruction of the enemies of faith. You will see them persecut. ing, plundering, tormenting, breaking on the wheel, beheading and crucifying, burning to death and quartering without pity or mercy, equally regardless of age, sex or condition : either with or without form or law.

First, The Ulgarians, in Spain ; the Jews in France, Portugal and England ; the Vandois at Minerba; the Stadings in Germany; the Ma. nichians, in Champain; the Albigense at Montsegur-the Bisoques in Bavaria, Bohemia and Austria ; the Flagellants in Misnia—the Protestants at Strasbourgh, Volsey, Deventer, and a thousand other places.

You may also read the massacres of Mirandola and Cabriere; of those of Calabria, Vasi, and St. Bartholomew ; of that in Ireland, and of many more which I think too tedious to relate. Examine the records of Catholicism, there you will find the execution of John Hus, who was burnt to death in spite of the laws of nations ; also the plundering of the whole Hussite infantry, pent up in the barn of Bohmischbroda for

the purpose: there you will read the sentence of upwards of eight thousand people,condemned to the fire by the dominican Torquemada : the massacre of fifteen millions of infidels by the Spaniards in America--the execution of eight hundred English, burnt to death under queen Mary ; the extermination of eighteen thousand people under the duke of Alva.

You will learn with as much pleasure, how the zealous of that time persecuted heresy, even in the tomb of its criminal sectators, disturbing the ashes of kings, staining their memory and filling Europe with tears, horror, and blood, in order to put an effectual stop to reformation.

In a word, gather the facts recorded in history, compute upwards of fifty millions of victims, which the zeal for religion has sacrificed to this day, and ask no more from whence we derive the authority of making men martyrs for their opinions.

Ah! my clear brother, continued the friar, if your heart is not proof against the benign influence of grace, when you come to consider the glorious tokens of prerogative;granted to us from above, you will at once confess that our religion is the holiest on earth : for you will easily see at the same time, that when the infidels or the heretics have employed the same means, they soon felt the deficiency of that divine assistance, which always attends our ministry ; either from a mistaken piety, or a cowardly toleration, founded on frivolous reasonings, they soon abated their zeal, and crushed under their own

« 이전계속 »