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THE RELIGION OF THE DEVIL.
1. He is a believer. And if, in saying so, it should follow that even the Devil has more religion than some of our men of fame can at this time be charged with, I hope my and his grace the of and some of the upper class in the redhot club, will not wear the coat, however well it may set to their shapes, or challenge the satire, as if it were pointed at them, because it is due to them, in a word, whatever their lordships are, I can assure them that the Devil is no infidel.
2. He fears God. We have such abundant evidence of this in sacred history, that if I were not at present, in common with a few others, talking to an infidel sort of gentleman, with whom those remote things called Scriptures, are not allowed in evidence, I might say it were sufficiently proved; but I doubt not in the process of this undertaking to show, that the Devil really fears God, and that after another manner than ever he feared St. Francis or St. Dunstan; and if that be proved, as I take upon me to advance, I shall leave it to judgment, who is the better Christian, the Devil who believes and trembles, or our modern gentry of
lieve neither God nor Devil.
Having thus brought the Devil within the pale, I shall leave him among you for the present; not but that I may examine in its order who has the best claim to his brotherhood, the papists or the protestants, and among the latter the Lutherans or the Calvinists, and so descending to all the several denominations of churches, see who has less of the Devil in them, and who more; and whether less, or more, the Devil has not a seat in every synagogue, a pew in every church, a place in every pulpit, and a vote in every synod; even from the sanhedrim of the Jews, to our friends at the Bull and Mouth, &c., from the greatest to the least.
It will, I confess, come very much within the compass of this part of my discourse, to give an account, or at least make an essay towards it, of the share the Devil has had in the spreading religion in the world, and especially of dividing and subdividing opinions in religion; perhaps, to eke it out and make it reach the farther; and also to show how far he is or has made himself a missionary of the famous clan de propaganda fide; it is true, we find him heartily employed in almost every corner of the world ad propagandum errorem: but that may require a history by itself.
As to his propagating religion, it is a little hard indeed, at
first sight, to charge the Devil with propagating religion, that is to say, if we take it literally, and in the gross; but if you take it as the Scots insisted to take the oath of fidelity, viz., with an explanation, it is plain Satan has very often had a share in the method, if not in the design, of propagating Christian faith: for example:
I think I do no injury at all to the Devil, to say that he had a great hand in the holy war, as it was ignorantly and enthusiastically called; and in stirring up the Christian princes and powers of Europe to run a madding after the Turks and Saracens, and make war with those innocent people above a thousand miles off, only because they entered into God's heritage when he had forsaken it, grazed upon his ground when he had fairly turned it into a common and laid it open for the next comer; spending the nation's treasure, and embarking their kings and people, I say, in a war above a thousand miles off, filling their heads with that religious madness, called, in those days, 'holy zeal' to recover the terra sancta, the sepulchres of Christ and the saints, and as they called it falsely, the 'holy city,' though true religion says it was the accursed city, and not worth spending one drop of blood for.
This religious bubble was certainly of Satan, who, as he craftily drew them in, so like a true Devil he left them in the lurch when they came there, faced about to the Saracens, animated the immortal Saladin against them, and managed so dexterously that he left the bones of about thirteen or fourteen hundred thousand Christians there as a trophy of his infernal politics; and after the Christian world had run à la santa terra, or in English, a sauntering about a hundred years, he dropped it to play another game less foolish, but ten times wickeder than that which went before it, namely, turning the crusadoes of the Christians one against another; and, as Hudibras said in another case,
Made them fight like mad or drunk,
For dame Religion as for punk.
Of this you have a complete account in the history of the popes' decrees against the Count de Toulouse, and the Waldenses and Albigenses, with the crusadoes and massacres which followed upon them, wherein, to do the Devil's politics some justice, he met with all the success he could desire, and the zealots of that day executed his infernal orders most
HIS PROGRESS THROUGH THE WORLD.
punctually, and planted religion in those countries in a glorious and triumphant manner, upon the destruction of an infinite number of innocent people, whose blood has fattened the soil for the growth of the Catholic faith, in a manner very particular, and to Satan's full satisfaction.
I might, to complete this part of his history, give you the detail of his progress in these first steps of his alliances with Rome, and add a long list of massacres, wars, and expeditions in behalf of religion, which he has had the honour to have a visible hand in; such as the Parisian massacre, the Flemish war under the Duke d'Alva, the Smithfield fires in the Marian days in England, and the massacres in Ireland; all which would most effectually convince us that the Devil has not been idle in his business; but I may meet with these again in my way, it is enough, while I am upon the generals only, to mention them thus in a summary way; I say, it is enough to prove that the Devil has really been as much concerned as anybody, in the methods taken by some people for propagating the Christian religion in the world.
Some have rashly, and I had almost said maliciously, charged the Devil with the great triumphs of his friends the Spaniards in America, and would place the conquest of Mexico and Peru to the credit of his account.
But I cannot join with them in this at all, I must say, I believe the Devil was innocent of that matter; my reason is, because Satan was never such a fool as to spend his time or his politics, or embark his allies to conquer nations who were already his own; that would be Satan against Beelzebub, a making war upon himself, and at least doing nothing to the purpose.
If they should charge him, indeed, with deluding Phillip II. of Spain into that preposterous attempt called the Armada (Anglicè, the Spanish Invasion), I should indeed more readily join with them; but whether he did it weakly, in hope, which was indeed not likely, that it should succeed; or wickedly, to destroy the great fleet of the Spaniards and draw them in within the reach of his own diminions, the elements; this being a question which authors differ exceedingly about, I shall leave it to decide itself.
But the greatest piece of management which we find the Devil has concerned himself in of late in the matter of religion, seems to be that of the mission into China; and
here indeed Satan has acted his masterpiece. It was, no doubt, much for his service, that the Chinese should have no insight into matters of religion, I mean that we call Christian; and therefore, though popery and the Devil are not at so much variance as some may imagine, yet he did not think it safe to let the general system of Christianity be heard of among them in China. Hence, when the name of the Christian religion had but been received with some seeming approbation in the country of Japan, Satan immediately, as if alarmed at the thing, and dreading what the consequence of it might be, armed the Japanese against it with such fury, that they expelled it at once.
It was much safer to his designs, when, if the story be not a fiction, he put that Dutch witticism into the mouths of the States' commanders, when they came to Japan; who, having more wit than to own themselves Christians in such a place as that, when the question was put to them, answered negatively, that they were not, but that they were of another religion, called Hollanders.
However, it seems the diligent Jesuits outwitted the Devil in China, and, as I said above, overshot him in his own bow; for the mission being in danger, by the Devil and the Chinese emperor's joining together, of being wholly expelled there too, as they had been in Japan, they cunningly fell in with the ecclesiastics of the country, and joining the priestcraft of both religions together, they brought Jesus Christ and Confucius to be so reconcilable, that the Chinese and the Roman idolatry appeared capable of a confederacy, of going on hand in hand together, and consequently of being very good friends.
This was a masterpiece indeed, and, as they say, almost frightened Satan out of his wits; but he being a ready manager, and particularly famous for serving himself of the rogueries of the priests, faced about immediately to the mission, and making a virtue of necessity, clapped in, with all possible alacrity, with the proposal ;* so the Jesuits and he formed a hotchpotch of religion, made up of popery and paganism, and calculated to leave the latter rather worse than they found it, blending the faith of Christ and the philosophy or morals of Confucius together, and formally christening them by the name of religion; by which means the politic interest of the
* N.B. He never refused setting his hand to any opinion which he thought it for his interest to acknowledge.
HIS INFLUENCE OVER MANK ND.
mission was preserved, and yet Satan lost not one inch of ground with the Chinese, no, not by the planting the gospel itself, such as it was, among them.
Nor has it been much advantage to him that this plan or scheme of a new-modelled religion would not go down at Rome, and that the Inquisition damned it with bell, book, and candle; distance of place served his new allies, the missionaries, in the stead of a protection from the Inquisition; and now and then a rich present well placed found them friends in the congregation itself; and where any nuncio with his impudent zeal pretended to take such a long voyage to oppose them, Satan took care to get him sent back re infecta, or inspired the mission to move him off the premises, by methods of their own, that is to say, being interpreted, to murder him.
Thus the mission has, in itself, been truly devilish, and the Devil has interested himself in the planting the Christian religion in China.
The influence the Devil has in the politics of mankind, is another especial part of his history, and would require, if it were possible, a very exact description; but here we shall necessarily be obliged to inquire so nicely into the arcana of circumstances, and unlock the cabinets of state in so many courts, canvass the councils of ministers and the conduct of princes so fully, and expose them so much, that it may, perhaps, make a combustion among the great politicians abroad; and in doing that we may come so near home too, that though personal safety and prudentials forbid our meddling with our own country, we may be taken in a double entendre, and fall unpitied for being only suspected of touching truths that are so tender, whether we are guilty or no; on these accounts I must meddle the less with that part, at least for the present.
Be it that the Devil has had a share in some of the late councils of Europe, influencing them this way or that way, to his own advantage, what is it to us? For example, what if he has had any concern in the late affair of Thorn? what need we put it upon him, seeing his confederates the Jesuits with the Assessorial tribunal of Poland take it upon themselves? I shall leave that part to the issue of time. I wish it were as easy to persuade the world that he had no hand in bringing the injured protestants to commit the arbitration of that affair to the very party, and leave the justice due to