Imatges de pÓgina

ritual Lord and Master, whose Kingdom was not of this world, and who had not where to lay his Head in it. This was the main Reason why those first Planters of the Gospel amongst Jews and Gentiles, never once interposed in their Preaching Or Writing, with the particular Constitution of any Country, or the Form of Government established in it; nor with the Extent of power in any Prince ; nor with the Foundations of Property and Rights in any People. But leaving such Ordinances of Men, to their antecedent Settlement by Compact or Custom of every Place; they taught only The Things that made for mutual Peace and publick Good ; That Magistrates were the Ministers of God for that Good, and that Christian People should continue to submit themselves unto them, not as before only for Wrath, but now rather for Conscience Sake. For had they taught Rulers to oppress, or Subjects to rebel, they had not only exceeded their Commission, but they had been justly to be blam'd for Sowers of Sedition, Raifers of Tumult, and even Turners of the World upside down : Much more, had they cast their Congregations into Bands and Armies, and gone forth to plant their Gospel by the Sword, and founded their Dominion in the Grace of that Gospel of Christ: This would have hardend the Heathens from giving any Manner of Reception or Attention to them. But, I say, the Practice of the Apostles had no Appearance of this Evil in it: they went about like their Master doing Good, seeking the Redemption of loft Souls, and renouncing every Way of overcoming the World, but by Faith' and Prayers. St. Paul describes well their spiritual Warfare in his second Epistle to these Professors at Corinth, VI.4. In all Things approving our selves as the Ministers of God, in much Patience, in Afflictions, in Neceffities, in Disfresses, and so on in various Trials , yet hav



ing no Weapons but the Word of Truth, and the Power of God; nor any other Armour, but that of Righteousness on the Right Hand and on the Left, (Mark XXI. 10.) It was thus the Gospel was first published among all Nations.

But alas, in the degenerate Ages of the Christian Church, then was Christ fet up for a Martial Competitor with Mahomet. Then was War first calld Holy; and Blood was again shed on every Side of Ferufalem, to push on a Conquest and new Dominion, which God for that Reason would never prosper, but has left that Field of Contention still in the Hands of the Enemies of the Cross of Christ: Yet the like Pride and Ambition of the Church of Rome went on to offer the Kingdoms of the World to the longest Sword of her Catholick Princes, pretending that 'the Donation of her Popes could give a Title to any Country of Infidels or Hereticks; and that it was lawful, and even meritorious, to recover by Force of Arms, whatever was so convey'd by the Power of the Keys'; and when acquir'd, the Right was in the Donor, to dispose of all Temporals, in order at least to Spirituals.

It is well known that the first Attempts and Acquisitions of the Spaniards in the West-Indies, were plainly upon this Foot; a Gift of the Pope to be obtain'd by military Arms ; (h) by invading the Country, and expelling or insaving the Inhabitantsthercof; their own Authors (c) have not suppres


(6) See the Bull of Pope Alex. VL granting the lands and Countries of the New World, to Ferdinand and Elizabeth, King and Queen of Castile. dåt. Romé M. CGCC. XCIII. IV. Non. Maij Pont. Primo.

(c) Peter Martyr the Milanoise, who had been a Traveller in che West-Indies among the first Adventurers, sends an Account


fed the Evidence of this Truth; especially the Spanisl

, Bishop of Chiapa in Mexico was not able to contain his Homanity on this Subje&t. He condold the Misery of the poot Indians, that they were hunted into Conversion like Beasts into Nets and Toils: That their Country was conquer'd and laid wast by Fire and Sword round about them ; that the Cross was set up for a Title of the New Christian Possession; and that it was Death for the Natives to remove it. That their best Condition was to be Fugitives and Exiles in some other Land; for that they could stay only to be Slaves and Sacrifices to the Will and Pleasure of their new Lords and Masters. (d)

By these Conquests and Usurpations, in the Name of the Church, it is certain that the poor Indians did imbibe a great Prejudice against ChriItianity: They could not but abhor a Religion that banish'd them, or murder'd them, and took their Lands and forry Houses in Possession. That Ob


to the Pope, that Egidius Gonfalas, one of the Spanish Governours, used to send this Message to the Indian Kings, That they should become Chriftians, and fhould submit to be subject to the great King of Spain; or if they refus'd, they must expe&t Violence and Deftru&ion. Upon which most of them would desire Peace and Baptism. Pet. Mar. VI. Decad. Chap. 3. p. 237.

(d) The Spaniards commanded the Indians to embrace the Chriftian Religion upon pain of Death , they menac'd then with cruel Slavery, or the most exquisite Tortures, to for:o

them to turn Chriftians; as if the Son of God, who Dy'd for the Redemption of Men, had ordain'd those whom he sent to preach the Gospel, and declare the Kingdom of God, to conftrain People that lived Peaceably in their own Country, to make Profession of his Doctrine, on pain of being Plunder'd of their Goods, of being separated fro:n their Wives and Children, of losing their Liberry, and of being Condemn'd to a cruel Death. --- Relation of the Spanish Voyages and Cruelties in the Weft-Indies, By Barth. des Casas, Bishop of Chiapa, 8vo. p. 74.

ftinacy, with which many of them now resist the Gospel is owing to this Aversion and Hatred which they found in their Fore-fathers, and which is improved in their Minds, by what they see, where Popery prevails among them ; where the Governours, call’d Christians, are often so many Executioners and Tormentors of them; and where the very Missionary Priests are rather worldly Tyrants and Oppresors, than Guides and Leaders unto Heayen.

How the Church of Rome has carried on the fame Cause, under the same Standard of War and Conquest, in all other habitable Parts of the World, tho' (God be thanked) with less Success, (e) is too large a Subject for this Time. I would only observe to you, that the soft and falutary Methods of Conversion, taken by this Society, are of a more Christian Nature, are far from breathing out any Threatnings, or any Slaughter, any Conquest or Slavery of the People of the Land. Our Plantations were at first settled, as it were upon derelict Lands, whereon the former Inhabitants had been well nigh Extinct by Wars and Pestilence,


(e) See their Conversions in the Kingdom of Congo in s frira, in the Years 1666, and 1667. By the Reverend Fa. thers Michael Angelo of Gattina, and Dennis de Carli of Piacenza, Capuchins and Apostolical Missioners to the said Kingdom. Another Voyage to Cougo, and several other Countries, by Father Jerome Merolla de Sarento, a Capuchin and Apoftolick Missioner, in the Year 1682, as translated and inserted in the Collect. of Travels. I Vol. Fol. Printed for A. and J. Church. ill. --- The History of the Church of Malabar, from the time of its being first discover'd by the Portuguese in the Year 1501, Sc. By Michael Geddes, Chancellor of Sarum, 1694. 8vo. A brief Account of the Rebellions and Bloodfhed occafioned by the Antichristian Practices of the Jesuits, and other Emissaries, in the Empire of Ethiopia, Collected out of a Manuscript History, written in Latin by 10. Michael Wanfleben, a learne d Papist. London, 1679. to. dr.

and the Remnant of them had, for the most Party retired into remoter, safer Habitations. Our farther Progress in those Countries has been by acknowledging the Property of the original People, entring into Alliance and Commerce with them, receiving Allotments of Ground by fair Purchase from them, taking them into our Protection, and defending them from the Inroads of any other Enemy. It was a Sense of this just and honoura, ble Usage of them, that so lately brought over their Chiefs or Princes into this Nation, to do Honour unto our QUEEN, not by being made Vasals, but in becoming Friends and Confederates, and desiring and depending on Her Protection gainst him, whom those Nations have long thought to be the common Enemy and Oppressor. We must always so act with them upon the Laws of Nations, and the most amicable Rules of the Gofpel ; and we may reasonably hope by such Means, to bring the Gentiles sooner to the Knowledge of the Truth.

[ocr errors]

“ II. The Second Let and Impediment in planting e the Gospel, is for the Planters of it to be driv"ing on a Trade, and meerly secular Interest and « Gain, instead of seeking the Glory of God, and " the Good of Souls.

It stands recorded among the Mercies, and even among the Miracles of our Blessed Saviour, (Mart. XI. 5.). That the Poor had the Gospel preached to them, i.e. without Price or any mercenary Regards. St. Paul could appeal to all the Elders of the Church at Ephesus, that he had coveted no Man's Silver, ör Gold, or Apparel; but had rather made his oron Hands to minister unto his Necessities, and to them that were with him, (Acts XX. 33.) He tells his People of Thessalonica, being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the


[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinua »