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without effect to enforce the jurisdiction of the priest. A literal accomplishment of penance was indeed impracticable .... and, in those times of anarchy and vice, a modest sinner might easily incur a debt of 300 years. His insolvency was relieved by a commutation or indulgence; a year of penance was appreciated at twenty-six solidi, about four pounds sterling, for the rich; at three solidi, or nine shillings, for the indigent......A debt of 300 years, or £1200, was enough to impoverish a plentiful fortune; the scarcity of gold and silver was supplied by the alienation of land; and the princely donations of Pepin and Charlemagne, are expressly given for the remedy of their soul. It is a maxim of the civil law, that whosoever cannot pay with his purse must pay with his body; and the practice of flagellation was adopted by the monks; a cheap though painful equivalent. By a fantastic arithmetic, a year of penance was taxed at 3,000 lashes; and such was the skill and patience of a famous hermit, St. Dominic of the iron cuirass, that in six days he could discharge an entire century, by a whipping of 300,000 stripes. His example was followed by many penitents of both sexes; and as a vicarious sacrifice was accepted, a sturdy disciplinarian might expiate on his own back the sins of his benefactors. These compensations of the purse and the person, introduced in the eleventh century a more honourable mode of satisfaction. The merit of military service against the Saracens of Africa and Spain, had been allowed by the predecessors of Urban the second. In the council of Clermont, that pope proclaimed a plenary indulgence to those who should enlist under the banner of the cross; the absolution of all their sins, and a full receipt for all that might be due of canonical penance. The cold philosophy of modern times, is incapable of feeling the impression that was made on a sinful and fanatic world. At the voice of their pastor, the robber, the incendiary, the homicide, arose by thousands to redeem their souls, by repeating on the infidels the same deeds which they had exercised against their christian brethren; and the terms of atonement were eagerly embraced by offenders of every rank and denomination."
If an infidel historian, whilst he too accurately pourtrays the features of a superstitious age, thus freely indulges in a strain of ridicule; it rather becomes us to deplore that darkness in which Europe was then enveloped, and which concealed from the people that Sacred Book, which, wbilst it directs to the “ full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, once offered" upon the cross, does
not, like plans of expiation of human origin, afford encouragement to repeat offences; but combines the promise of forgiveness, with the promise of a renewed mind; and whilst it proclaims “one mediator between God and man," “ whose blood cleanseth from all sin," no less insists upon a change of dispositions and feelings, of habits and of conduct.
When the crusades were at length terminated, upon the fall of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, the pope deemed it expedient still to grant indulgences. Accordingly Boniface VIII., partly imitating the secular games celebrated in pagan Rome at the close of every century, proclaimed a plenary absolution on the 1st of Jan. A. D. 1,300, to all who in the course of that year, and every hundredth year, should religiously visit the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul. Fascinated by the promise, throngs of pilgrims set out from distant parts of Europe; and it has been asserted that as many as two millions arrived at Rome in the course of the year; whilst two priests, with rakes in their hands, collected the heaps of money laid as offerings on the altar. Such was the origin of the jubilees of the church of Rome, which were at length fixed every fiftieth, thirty-third, and even twenty-fifth year.
It is well known that this avaricious scheme
for accumulating wealth, when adopted by Leo X. in order to carry on that stupendous undertaking, the erection of St. Peter's, led to an event which undermined the foundations of the church of Rome. Disgusted at the bold impiety with which Tetzel the dominician pursued the traffic in Leo X.'s indulgences,which, whilst they encouraged future crimes, derogated from the Redeemer’s merits,-Luther arose as a champion,* and with a voice that neither flattery nor menaces could silence, awakened Europe from the slumber of ages, and released religion from her long confinement in the cloister; so that at length a Reformation took place, that has been ever friendly to literature and to liberty; equally promotive of the welfare of states, and the happiness of the world; inculcating obedience to sovereigns, and accumulating benefits upon their subjects; a rational piety having succeeded the long reign of superstition; and desolating crusades being exchanged for the arts of industry at home, and that which formed the glory of the apostolic age-missions for the propagation of the gospel in Mahomedan and heathen countries.
For a vindication of Luther's motives, in answer to the insinuations of Roman catholic authors, and of Mr. Hume, in his Hist. of Hen. VIII.-See note in p. 31, vol. iv. of Mosheim's Eccl. Hist.
P. 272. “ Une longue suite d'hommes aussi dépravés et aussi corrompus que ceux qu'on avait vus dans le clergé Romain."—When the course of argument against the errors of the church of Rome, required that the ambition, cruelty, avarice, and other bad qualities of the popes and the prelates of the church of Rome, should be exposed, extracts have been introduced to confirm the statement; but it will not be expected that the editor should, as if with malicious delight, furnish a long and appalling list of the many unprincipled and abandoned popes, who succeeded the early and holy martyr-bishops of the church of Rome. Can it be necessary after the testimonies of Roman catholic writers in this volume ?*
Ambition, hatred, covetousness, and other evils, will be found in every country, and in every church; but the serious charge against the church of Rome, is that she is the depositary of doctrines, maxims, and institutions, not only that will not bear the light and the test of scripture, but that are inimical to the interests of morality.t
If the church of Rome has exhibited such monsters of impiety, and enemies of mankind, as her Gregory VII., IX., her Julius II., III.,
pp. 279-281, 325–327. # pp. 328-330, 386–388.