« PreviousContinue »
But when catholics were most inclined to per secute, it must not be supposed they were all alike. Men .do not always practically regard their own best principles; but often act as their pride and passion demands. In the preceding history when many catholics were drunken with the blood of the saints, we find other catholics touched with tenderness at the sufferings of a man whom they called an heretic, we find them bearing witness to his distinguished piety, and wishing that their power to relieve him, had been equal to their compassion. ,
Once more; from the preceding history, we see Frenchmen may have as much fortitude in suffer, ing persecution as Britons. One nation may dif; fer from another nation, in some peculiar features, colours, and dispositions, but in all countries, and in all ages, God has raised up those great and good men, of whom any country would be disposed to boast: but it is always more easy to applaud what we admire, than to follow, with understanding, such rare examples.
How immense is the difference between the principles, temper, behaviour, and memory of such a man as Mr. Marolles, and those men who disdain the most necessary and rational subjection; who, having no government over themselves, despise do minion, and speak evil of dignities. Presumptuous are they; self willed. To produce such a man as our martyr, what faith and grace are essential;
but, to be ambitious, unthankful, unholy, to murmur and complain, and to varnish the worst of tempers with great swelling words of vanity; this is of easy acquisition, and requires not a single virtue to effect. Such diseased and discontented creatures are, in every country, and to be found in every situation.
But it is said, such patient, quietmen, must always expect to be treated in this world, as our martyr was 'at Chalons, Paris, and Marseilles. "If this could not be disputed, what christian would not rather live and die as he did, than live and die like Lewis the fourteenth? But why should it be supposed, that such good behaviour as his, would always expose us to similar persecutions? On the contrary, as such men are multiplied, persecutors will be diminished, and persecution itself, will be more and more abhorred. When professors of the christian religion, are so exasperated by oppression, as to think retaliation right, and to act on that persuasion, persecutors imagine, that
all men would be oppressors were it in their power. - But when being reviled, we bless; being perse
cuted, we suffer it; being defrauded, we intreat; when, under manifold afflictions, we are stedfast and serene, respectful to man, and have evidently communion with God, tyrants, in such mirrors behold their own impotence, and thus their abettors appear contemptible; nominal christians, in sạch mirrors, survey their own nakedness, and upright men, by the same medium discover additional
encouragement to hold fast under every trial, the profession of their faith,
What care have persecutors taken to hide, first from themselves, and then from general observation, the amiable and heroic tempers of such martyrs, as Marolles. What falshood's have they not propagated to deceive the public, by defaming them of whom the world was not worthy; whose characters, had they been fairly represented, would have made their own odious! We may be confident, that as such men as Mr. Marolles are properly esteemed, an anti-christian spirit, both at home and abroad, will perish. It is every where doomed to destruction; butit can only be destroyed by the Lord himself. He shall consume that wicked one, under every possible appearance, with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy him with the brightness of his coming. AMIN.
John, long since said, Even now are there many anti-christs; and we have no reason to suppose, that the number of anti-christian powers is much diminished. John called his own time, the last time; and we are told, that in the last days of that period, perilous times shall come. But what shall make that season so perilous? That which now exists in many places; a two-fold anti-christian power; one having, and the other not so much as having, sincerely, even the FORM of godliness.
Whatever was, or now is, anti-christian in the
church of Rome, (once so famous for its faith, and so remarkable for her obedience to the son of God) was, and yet is, under the boast of her being more obedient to Jesus Christ than any other church. But the present pré-eminent anti-christian power, is openly enraged against every thing that coincides with christianity. Yet how many nominal christians, both among churchmen and dissenters, have, in different degrees, and on different pretences, admired this monstrous power; and seen, without alarm, the recent, rapid progress of infidelity!
These are sad symptoms of sad times: yet in the worst of times, many shall be purified, and made white, and be approved; buť the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand: but the wise, however obstructed, shall understand. To them, by their Redeemer, it is said, Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. May all who love this Redeemer, think much of these words, Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Amen. Vi i : :