« ПретходнаНастави »
ment to the weak and the feeble. In these, and in many other ways, a nation or a community may practice the law of kindness. And I have no hesitation in saying, that a nation or community practicing it, will become the abode of truth, virtue, peace, justice, temperance and love towards God and man.
KINDNESS AND PERSECUTION.
"Hence jarring sectaries may learn
That brother should not war with brother,
Perhaps there is no one subject pertaining to the welfare of men, in which the practice of kindness is more needed or is more efficacious, than in the method of advancing or establishing what, in different ages of Christendom, has been named Religion. And it may well be added, · that in no one department of life has it been more flagrantly neglected, or its opposite, cruelty, been more thoroughly manifested in all its horrible features. For no sooner did professed Christians exclude the Pagans from the government of the Roman Empire, than they began to persecute each other, with all the painful forms in which bigotry can develope itself. And from that time to the present, as sect after sect has obtained the ascendancy over other sects, persecution, in some one of its numerous
phases, has been put into requisition, to establish a uniformity of religious faith. Seldom indeed are the instances in which truth has been scattered, and left to win its own triumphs over error in minds untrammelled by the fear of political power-in most cases, the spirit of Mahommed's watchword to his conquered subjects, "the Koran or the sabre," has been adopted by dominant sects of professed followers of Christ, in order to compel other and weaker sects to bow to their will and receive their creed as the word of God. It is too true that the records of ecclesiastical history glare out acts of blood, instead of rejoicing in the blessings of a Christian toleration, whose foundation is the divine truth, that "love worketh no ill to his neighbor."
Let any person take up the history of the sons and daughters of Israel, from the time when Constantine, Emperor of the Roman Empire, reared a politico-christian banner, very nearly to our own days-and what is its voice? For their stern and dogmatic adhesion to the faith of their fathers, professed Christians have made them write their history in their own blood, and suffer forms of cruelty, especially in Germany, by the first horde of crusaders under the command of Peter the Hermit, and Walter the Pennyless, and half a century after, in the same country, under the instigation of the
preaching of Monk Rodolph, who advocated the necessity of "wreaking vengeance on all the enemies of God," and in the fifteenth century, under the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, in Spain,* forms of cruelty which make humanity shrink with affright, and which none but hearts hardened with the iron of revenge, could inflict. The multitudes of heretics, or in other words, of those who differed in faith from the reigning sect of the times, who perished at the Auto da Fes, on the racks, and in the dungeons of the unholy inquisition-the murder of sixty thousand Protestant Huguenots, the slaughter of whom commenced on the 24th of August, 1572, under the reign of Charles the Ninth, of France, and with circumstances of horrort— the persecution of the Puritans in Englandthe whipping of Baptists, the hanging of Quakers, and the destruction of reputed witches,
*See 3d vol. Milman's History of the Jews, in the Family Library.
tSee Goodrich's Ecclesiastical History, p. 291.
Red Jacket, the famous Chief of the Seneca Indians, once made a most sarcastic allusion to the witchcraft of New England, which I can not forbear giving at this place, though it has no reference to the theme of this work. In 1821, a member of his tribe died. The cause of his death was not understood; which, with some other circumstances, led them to believe that he was bewitched. The woman who attended him was denounced as the witch, and, according to the laws of her tribe, was condemned to death; which sentence was executed
by the pilgrim fathers of New England-the oppression of the Catholic sons of Ireland, under the tithe system-the spirit of rancor and hatred which so many of the American sects exhibit towards each other—are so many tokens of the dreadful results arising from the existence of the law of revenge or cruelty in the Christian church, and its fatal exercise in endeavoring to produce uniformity of faith. Had all the followers of the Messiah, from the days of Constantine to the present moment, practiced the golden rule, "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," under the influence of the great Christian law, overcome evil with good," the history of the
by a chief named Tom-Jemmy. Tom-Jemmy was tried by the whites for murder, but was acquitted. Red Jacket was one of the witnesses. While on the stand, the Seneca witch doctrine was ridiculed by some of the Americans. Red Jacket replied in the following strain:
"What! do you denounce us as fools and bigots, because we still continue to believe that which you yourselves sedulously inculcated two centuries ago? Your divines have thun→ dered this doctrine from the pulpit, your judges have pronounced it from the bench, your courts of justice have sanctioned it with the formalities of the law, and you would now punish our unfortunate brother for adherance to the superstitions of his fathers! Go to Salem! Look at the records of your government, and you will find hundreds executed for the very crime which has called forth the sentence of condemnation upon this woman, and drawn down the arm of vengeance upon her. What have our brothers done more than the rulers of your people have done? and what crime has this man committed by executing, in a summary way, the laws of his country, and the injunctions of his God?"-Drake's Book of the Indians, Book v, pp. 103, 104.