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ACTS AND MONUMENTS
CONTAINING THE HISTORY AND SUFFERINGS OF
WHEREIN IS SET FORTH AT LARGE THE WHOLE RACE AND COURSE OF THE
CHURCH, FROM THE PRIMITIVE AGE TO THESE LATER TIMES.
A PRELIMINARY DISSERTATION,
ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CHURCH OF ROME THAT NOW IS,
AND THE ANCIENT CHURCH OF ROME THAT THEN WAS.
BY JOHN FOXE.
WITH A MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, BY HIS SON.
A NEW EDITION,
WITH FIVE APPENDICES, CONTAINING
WERE FOR TREASON AND NOT FOR HERESY.
THE WHOLE CAREFULLY REVISED, CORRECTED, AND CONDENSED.
THE REV. M. HOBART SEYMOUR, M.A.
The energies-exhibited of late, by the emissaries of the Church of Rome, for the re-establishment of her influence in this country-have loudly demanded the re-publication of those works with which our forefathers withered her influence, and baffled her energies. There is no volume in the range of our literature, that has been more effective in maintaining the principles of the Reformation—that noblest of all achievements—than the Acts and Monuments of Martyrs, by Master John Foxe. It is this conviction which has induced the present edition of that admirable work.
When we speak of the Church of Rome, we speak of a religious, though a fatally erring community. But when we speak of the Papacy, we allude to an ecclesiastical system, which not only teaches such absurdities as Transubstantiation --such blasphemies as the Sacrifice of the Mass-such idolatry as the Worship of Saints—and such a novelty as her Creed, but also has elevated an Italian Bishop to the throne of an Italian Prince, who has territories, and broad domains, and numerous subjects of his own, and placed him in such a peculiar position, that he can bind, by solemn oaths, and demand allegiance from, a portion of the subjects of every other prince. This man-combining in himself the offices of Priest and King--has been raised to such a lofty pinnacle of secular authority, that he can control, punish, or reward a portion of the subjects of other Princes, so as to secure to himself the serrice and fealty of all those who, as members of the priesthood, possess either power or influence in other states. We must not regard this as a purely spiritual power, for those persons are bound by the most solemn oaths—not to defend the royalties of their liege sovereign, but to defend, to the utmost of their power, the usurped or pretended royalties of this Italian Bishop, in the heart of every other state. It is a fearful, and a melancholy fact, that in our own fair England, palmy and beautiful England—the land of the brave, and the home of the free-there should be many hundreds of men, holding and wielding a certain influence in the land, who have been appointed by this foreign potentate, who ought to have no authority in this realm, and who have sworn—not to maintain the royalties of the sovereign of England, but—to maintain the royalties of this Italian Prince.*
As loyal subjects of the sovereign of England, and as liege subjects of the King of kings, we never can consent that this Italian Potentate should possess authority in this realm. We feel that the experience of this nation, and the history of the world have proved, that he exercises his authority to minister to his own ambition, and to the degradation of mankind, and that the ecclesiastical system of Rome is a mighty
* The Court of Rome has at present-A. D. 1838-above six hundred Missionary Priests in England.
confederacy against the civil liberties, and religious privileges of man. We likewise feel that the emissaries of this system have never been very scrupulous as to the means of accomplishing their ends. It may be the darkening of a nation's glory, as in the time of King John, of England. It may be the sundering of all the civil ties of man, as in the history of the German emperors. It may be the massacre of thousands, as in France, on the day of St. Bartholomew. It may be the tortures of an Inquisition, as in the atmosphere of Spain. It may be the most terrible persecution, as in the reign of Mary, of England. Any, and all means are alike welcome to accomplish the objects of that church, and there is at all times an ample agency, in the Bishops, and Priests — in the Monks and Friars of Rome. By such agency and such means the most potent Monarchs of Europe have been humbled; the most noble Princes of Christendom have been ruined; Emperors have been dethroned, and Kings trampled under foot; Nations have flowed with blood, and Kingdoms have been broken into dust-all to satiate the ambition of an Italian Priest, who, while professing to be meek and lowly, compelled imperial potentates to kiss his feet, and accept their crowns and kingdoms at his hands.
When we contemplate this system-—though shorn of much of its power and splendor – concentrating its energies in connexion with all the peculiar doctrines and discipline of the Church of Rome, and endeavouring with all its powers to re-establish her influence in this country, it is high time for every lover of religious liberty, and every friend of civil freedom to make those efforts which seem best calculated to prevent so terrible a calamity.
The Church of Rome has never abandoned her claim to this country; and from the age of the Reformation to the present time, she has repeated her efforts to re-assert that claim with an untiring perseverance. We shall touch on the chief of those efforts which she has made from time to time in this country.
In the time of good King Edward VI. the Church of England was completely emancipated from the influence of these Italian ecclesiastics. The stately and venerable pile which had been marred by the hand of time, was restored to its primitive beauty. Its goodly pillars, that had been overgrown with the mould of years; and its noble arches, that had been overspread with many corruptions, were cleared of all that deformed them. The minions of Priestcraft, who had made it a den of thieves, and had driven their merchandize of men's souls within her porches, were removed, and the Church of England returned to her original and apostolic purity. Had the life of this young and gentle Prince been spared, the religious freedom of England had been established beyond the possibility of danger. But it was the purpose of God to scourge this nation with a scourge of scorpions, so as to teach us to cherish an undying hatred of the whole system of Popery, that the memory of its horrors, and its cruelties, might live in the minds of our children, and our children's children, that so there might be cherished among us a high and unwavering resolve that it should never again be established in this country. Edward was taken to his rest, and Mary ascended the throne. We know not what feminine amiabilities she may have naturally possessed, but we do know that she surrendered herself into the hands of the Italian Priests, and they, to use the language of our Redeemer, “made her two-fold more the child of hell than themselves.”
It was on the accession of this queen that the Papacy made its first effective efforts to re-establish its influence in this land; Mary, with more zeal than prudence, restored the reign of Popery. To that reign we are to look for a true portraiture of this Italian religion, when possessing influence in a Protestant nation. It is not by the unauthorised professions of modern members of that system, softened and attenuated for a