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They have the reputation of being moral people. They were at last suppressed by authority.
About this time also, it was pretended that the true cross on which Christ was crucified, the crown of thorns put upon his head, and the blood spilt at his crucifixion, were discovered, and brought from the east into France and England, with great parade and superstitious devotion.
Much more attention was paid to science in this, than in the preceding century. Many universities were established, and the custom of conferring degrees originated in this period, at the university at Paris. In this period many cruelties were practised upon the Jews, especially in England. This century also gave rise to sacred dramas, which were introduced into the churches, and thus the temple of God was, in a manner, converted into a play-house. Though the popes had for some time granted absolutions, the public selling of indulgences commenced in this century.
During the fourteenth century, the popes increased rather than diminished in their haughty pretensions. In many cases, however, they were violently opposed by the princes, and sometimes by the bishops and clergy. As knowledge was increasing in this century, a foundation was laying for hụmbling these oppressive monsters, who by this time had amassed immense fortunes.
In this century, a great and lasting schisen broke out in the Latin church, which continued more than half a century, and involved most of the west of Europe in war. Civil wars, contentions in neighborhoods, and families, raged with the greatest violence. There were treasons, assassinations, massacres, robberies, piracies, and furious battles every here. The cause of this schism was briefly this ;-The newly elected pope reproved the sensuality of his cardinals, which gave them offence; and
they elected another pope. The first pope excommuni- . cated the second, and the second in return excommunicated the first; and both published crusades against each other. The princes took sides, and all Europe was in commotion; the most inveterate obstinacy characterized both the popes. At length the people, being weary of contention, chose another pope to supersede them both. This, instead of quelling the tumult, added another pope to the calendar of rivals, and served to increase the violence of party. Being worn out with this schism, the people called a general council, which deposed all three of the pontiffs, and appointed a new one, and thus peace was restored to the church.
Although the Romish church abated nothing in her blasphemous pretensions, there were several dawnings of light in this period. Wickliffe of England, and John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, boldly exposed the errors and abuses of the papal church; they maintained that the pope ought to be resisted, when his demands were unjust, and that excommunications for mere matters of opinion were unlawful, and ought not to be regarded. These views of course excited the attention of the pope, who condemned the opinion of Wickliffe during his life, and condemned him after death, so that his body was torn fron the grave, and exposed to the fury of the mob. Huss was persecuted by the pope, and was finally condemned to the stake. Thus was every attempt to reform the abuses of the catholic church suppressed by fire and sword.
There are many instances of remarkable superstition in this period. In 1299 there was a rumor at Rome that whoever should visit St. Peter's church on the year following, should enjoy a complete pardoni for all their sins. This brought vast multitudes to Rome. The pope seeing the advantage which might accrue to the city from this practice, issued an order, that a plenary indulgence should be granted to all who should visit St. Peter's or St. Paul's, on the first year of each century. This was afterwards altered to every fiftieth, and afterwards to every thirtieth year. On these years it is said that pilgrims came to Rome from every part of the country, to the number of a million and upwards. And to favor those with indulgences, who could not journey to Rome, the pope authorized his legates to travel the country and sell indulgences. They were generally sold at the price that a pilgrimage to Rome would cost. By these indulgences, the popes obtained vast sums of money.
Several persecutions were carried on in this period against the Jews, especially in France and Germany. On one occasion, it is said that fifteen thousand Jews were buried alive.
In this period infidelity is said to have prevailed to a considerable degree in Italy, and many other parts of Europe.
This brings us up to the fifteenth century, and here we will close this number.
For the Repository.
TO MR. WARREN SKINNER.
Sir-Your communication of Jan. addressed to me, came to my knowledge but a week ago, and my hope of not being called upon to resume the controversy, is at length disappointed. In complying with repeated invitations to oppose Universalism on the ground of direct scripture testimony, I feel myself supported by the obvious sense of the inspired volume, as it is generally understood. I advocate à doctrine which can be traced to ño cause, but the sacred writings, no origin, but that of Christianity. I oppose a sentiment of modern date, a sentiment which, I venture to assert, cannot be found in the works of a single writer from the days of the Apostles down to the time of Martin Luther. In this assertion, I do not except even Origen, so often claimed by Universalists.
In your last communication you observe, that iny conclusion against Universalism does not appear to you, have grown out of what had been written by us on the subject. This compels me to reply, that you have taken an easy way to dispose of an unanswerable argument, and the only possible way in which that argument could be disposed of. If you are unwilling to umit all further notice of my former reasoning, I insist upon your doing something to invalidate it. Either prove from ancient writinys, that Universalism was formerly understood and received; or else, explain the reason why this plain scripture doctrine, this glad news of Universal Salvation, proclaimed to all people, never till modern times, found a single believer.
I regret that you have not been more clear and full in the statement of your creed. You appear not to believe that there will be endless punishment; because you find no such punishment denounced in scripture. But do you find a limited punishment denounced as a penalty of the law? If you find no such punishment threatened, you will conclude, as I do, in your own way of reasoning, that it does not exist. But if you allow a limited future punishment, I call upon you to show, by direct scripture testimony, what will be its limitation, and how long it will last.
You do not believe in a salvation which delivers man from the punishment which he deserves for his sins ;" and consider this sentiment "not only immoral and licentious in its tendency, but also entirely without foundation in the Scriptures of divine truth.” What
then, do you believe of those innumerable declarations of Scripture, which ascribe to God pardon and forgiveness? Do you say, they have no meaning ? or do you pronounce them
falsehoods ? I believe with you, that God "will by no means clear the guilty ;" but I have always read this declaration in connexion with the words immediately preceding it in the same verse : “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin.” If justice and pardon seem at first view inconsistent, we may perceive their harmony by attending to the scripture doctrine of justification by faith, which teaches, that "God may be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Roin. iii. 26.
Christ could say to a woman whose sins were many, "thy sins are forgiven,” and to a repenting thief, “this day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” But to the sinner, trembling under a sense of guilt, your gospel can only say, thou shalt certainly be saved, when thou hast suffered all thy deserts, and canst fairly claim salvation on the score of justice. Is this your glad tidings to all people?
You believe salvation will be universal; because God wills it, and has power to effect what he wills. Do you believe all that your argument proves ? Do you believe that, because God hates sin, and has power to prevent it, no sin exists ? When God declares that he has "no pleasure in the death of him that dieth," do you believe he only speaks of an imaginary character, a character which never had, and never will have a real existence ? Do you believe that the man who persists in wickedness, will not die in his iniquity; because God would rather he would turn and live? Do you believe there is no such thing as the “death of himn that dieth ?”
It is essential to your purpose to show, that the restituțion of all things, spoken of by all the Prophets, will