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MIDLAND COUNTIES' PROTESTANT MAGAZINE.
( Continued from page 117, and concluded.) THE INQUISITION was established in Portugal, at the pressing solicitation of King John III., about the year 1536, and both the Spaniards and Portuguese established it in their territories in the Western Continent. The power of the INQUISITION was very much limited in some countries, particularly at Venice, where it was introduced about the year 1289, and where it was received with such modifications as proved a great check on its authority; the office consisted of secular and ecclesiastical persons, though the latter havelong laboured to bring it into their own hands, but could never prevail with the Venetian Jesuits to agree to it. Indeed at Venice it partook more of a political than a religious institution; and served rather for the security of the state, than the promotion of the bloody purposes of the Romish Church. Appeals from the subaltern INQUISITIONS in Italy were allowed to the “
Congregation of the Holy Office" residing at Rome. This CONGREGATION was first formed by Paul III. in 1542, but finally established by Sixtus V. in 1588. The members of it, called "Supreme Inquisitors," assemble thrice in the week, and every Thursday, in the presence of the Pope, who presides in it. The officers or ministers of the INQUISITION are,
1. THE INQUISITORS, who derive their power from the Pope, either by word of mouth, or by his “ apostolic letters," as they are called, and can be removed only by him, or by authority conferred by him on those cardinals who are the InquisitorsGeneral ; 2. Vicars-General, who manage the affairs of the
INQUISITON during the absence of the Inquisitors ; 3. ASSESSORS and COUNSELLORS, who give their advice in points of theology and law; 4. The PROMOTER FISCAL, whose office it is to examine the depositions of the witnesses, to give information of criminals to the Inquisitors, and to demand their apprehension and imprisonment, and, finally, when apprehended and admonished, to accuse them; 5. NOTARIES or REGISTRARS, who write down the injunctions, accusations, and all the pleadings of the causes ; 6. The JUDGE and RECEIVER of the confiscated effects; 7. The EXECUTORS and OFFICIALS, who apprehend and keep in custody criminals ; 8. The ATTENDANTS or FamiLIARS ; 9. The Cross-BEARERS; and 10. The VISITORS, who visit all the provinces of the Inquisitors, and report to the Inquisitor-General and Council whatever is deemed proper to be amended. The civil magistrate is entirely excluded from the cognizance of what they term heresy; but the hypocritical INQUISITORS require their assistance for the punishment of them who they stigmatize as heretics, in consequence of the sentence which they pronounce; and they are severely threatened with the most grievous punishments if they neglect their duty. The PUNISHMENTS inflicted by the INQUISITION on those whom they call heretics are of two kinds, ecclesiastical and civil; the ecclesiastical or canonical are excommunication, deprivation of ecclesiastical burial, dignities, offices, and benefices. The civil are confiscation of goods, which is inflicted on all those who are convicted of heresy, or confess, whether they repent or persist in their heresy, because they are declared to incur the punishment ipso jure, as soon as they fall into heresy; disinheriting the children, insomuch that though they be Papists, they can never inherit the estates of their fathers who are said to have died in heresy; infamy, which excludes from all public offices, from bearing witness, making wills, &c.; loss of all dominion, natural or civil, as power of parents over children, masters over servants, magistrates and princes over subjects, &c.; and the deprivation of all property in any thing they have; imprisonment, bann, which is a kind of sentence of excommunication, by which any person is cast out of the Commonwealth, so that he cannot enjoy the public protection, or discharge any public offices, or receive any benefit of law; disfidation, which consists in declaring so called heretics to be enemies of their country, and of the empire, so that any person by his own private authority may seize, plunder, and kill him as an enemy and robber, even though he be a clergyman ; nor is it lawful for any one to undertake their defence when apprehended; and those advocates who favour and plead for them are pronounced infamous, and suspended from their office; and, finally, death, which is that of being burnt alive, in some cases heightened by their being gagged with an iron instrument, so that they in the midst of their sufferings they can only utter an inarticulate sound.
It is the constant practice of the INQUISITION to affect, in all their proceedings, to inspire as much terror and amazement as possible, every thing is done with the most profound silence and secrecy ; and with the greatest rigour and pretended impartiality. When a person is seized all the world abandons him; not the nearest friend dares to speak a word in his defence; that alone would be enough to render them suspected and would bring them within the claws of the INQUISITION; many of the nearest relations are bribed and constrained to accuse one another. The criminals are seized, examined, tried, tortured, and unless they recant, are even condemned and executed, without ever seeing or knowing their accusers; whence the revengeful have a fair occasion of wreaking their malice on their enemies. By the forms of the INQUISITION, a person defamed only for heresy is obliged to make canonical purgation, i.e. to purge himself with seven, more or less, compurgators ; so that if he fails in one, two, or three, he is accounted guilty ; besides, every one, though excluded by other courts, is admitted as a witness, a mortal enemy only excepted. The names of the witnesses are not shown to the prisoners, nor is any circumstance discovered by which he can ascertain the knowledge of them. If two unexceptionable witnesses testify of different facts; yea, sometimes if there be only one, or a mere report, it is thought sufficient for ordering the torture; the evidence of two unexceptionable witnesses, who agree, is sufficient for the conviction and condemnation of any person. Those that are informed against are constrained to become their own accusers; and various arts are used to extort a confession from them. The advocate allowed them is under the direction of the INQUISITION, and employed chiefly in order to betray them; moreover, when the crimes cannot be proved against them, they are only absolved from prosecution, but their crimes and names are recorded against them. The use of torture for discovering secret crimes, lying concealed in the mind, is a flagrant act of injustice; and persons are put to the torture for faultering, defamation, one witness of his own knowledge, &c. These tortures. are used under the pretence of discovering the truth, and they are varied and continued with the most wanton cruelty. After these and many other shocking processes, when the INQUISITION has done with the criminals, and condemned them to death, they are turned over to the secular arm, with much prayer
and hypocritical entreaty, that their lives may not be touched, though they have just called in that arm to prepare to put them. to death. This murder is called an “ Act of Faith,'
" " Auto da fe.” They glory in being able to murder a great number at once, that the multitude of sufferers may strike the deeper, horror, and make the scene more terrible and shocking.
The STANDARD of the INQUISITION in Spain was a piece of red damask, (the scarlet colored beast of the Revelation,) on which is painted a cross, (showing their utter contempt of Him who came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them,) with an olive branch on one side, and a sword on the other, (duplicity being a characteristic of the man of sin); with these. words, “ Exurge, Domine, et judica causam meam,” (the cry of the martyrs whom they have murdered, Rev. vi, 9, 10.) The STANDARD of the INQUISITION in Portugal had the picture of. the supposed founder, Dominic, on one side; and on the other side, the cross between an olive tree and a sword; with this