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Not satisfied with this, they determined to carry forward and make universal a persecution which they had so triumphantly begun. In this they succeeded but too well. In 1658, they procured the passing of a decree-“ forbidding the public exercise of their religion, or the dissemination of their sentiments in any way whatever, under the penalty of death ; and commanding them to quit the kingdom of Poland and its dependencies, within three years, unless in the mean time they joined the communion of the Church of Rome, or that of the tolerated reformed churches of the Lutherans or Calvioists. This dreadful edict, - which was contirmed by three successive diets, in direct violation, if not of the positive written laws of the nation, certainly of that enlightened spirit by which the administration of public affairs, as respected the subject of religion, had for upwards of a century been conducted, -fell upon the Unitarians as a calamity of the most afflicting kind. Their body comprised several families of the first distinction, both as to rank and opulence, who adhered to their communion from principle, and whose convictions and fidelity were not to be easily shaken by persecution. The alternative which remained to them, of expatriation, with the certain loss of a very large proportion of their property, and in some instances of almost inevitable and absolute penury, was, however, so appalling, that they determised to use what influence they could yet command to avert the threatening storm, or obtain some mitigation of the sentence. Accordingly, io 1660, two years after the first decree had been passed, a synod was appointed, at the solicitation of some of the more powerful of their adherents, to be held at Cracow, in the month of March, which the Unitarian ministers were invited to attend, in order to hold a public conference or disputation with the Catholics and orthodox reformed on the principal controverted points of their respective theological systems. The Unitarian ministers augured no benefit from this measure, and being withal apprebensive that some snare might be intended, declined being present, with the exception of only one individual, ANDREW WISSOWATIUS, whose name stands most honourably connected with this celebrated assembly. Disdaining to have it imputed to him that he was ashained openly to avow his religious opinions, or afraid to stand forward as their public advocate, at the hazard of his liberty or his life ; and fearing also that if no minister of the party appeared to plead their cause, some individuals, whose resolution might have been shaken by their present sufferings, and their dark future prospect, might make a fatal shipwreck of conscience by abandoning their faith; this intrepid confessor boldly proceeded to the place of meeting, and secured a reception suited to the splendour of his talents, and the magnanimity of his spirit. In the disputation which followed, and which continued from the 11th to the 16th of March, Wissowatius, though standing alone, and unsupported, vanquished by his eloquence, and the overwhelming force of his reasoning, every adversary who appeared against him in the combat.""*

A victory like this, however, could do his friends no good. It only exasperated his enemies the more, and provoked them to a greater vengeance. Under pretence that the Unitarians had violated the terms of the former edict, the indulgeuce of three years allowed therein was rescinded, and a new edict passed "enjoining them instantly to leaving the kingdom, or join tbe communions authorized by the laws,-empowering all magistrates and others, in case of their disobedience, to bring them before the public tribunals, and even to put them to death This unexpected ordinance reduced them to the greatest difficulties. Their enemies threw every impediment in the way to their settling their affairs. Many found it wholly impossible to dispose of their property at any price ;-others were obliged to part with it for what was coosiderably beneath its value ; so that several of the noble and wealthy families who still adhered to the party, were reduced nearly to a level with the poorest among them. In these trying circumstances some made an outward show of abandoning their faith, and thus saved themselves from the evils of exile ;-but a very large proportion, rather than sacrifice their conscience at the throne of human power, submitted to the painful condition of being separated for ever from tbeir native land These undaunted confessors, comprising many thousand individuals of both sexes and all ages, yielding to their bard destiny, took a final leave of their country, and wandered with uncertain steps, friendless and destitute, to seek an asylum in some foreign clime. Thus was terminated the public profession of Unitarianism in the kingdom of Poland, about one hundred and twenty years after its first introduction into that country, and after giving birth to a host of advocates, distinguished equally by their learning, their talents and their virtues, who were an ornament to their age and an honour to human nature.”

We now pass to Transylvania, where Unitarianism had been established about the year 1563 by George Blandrata, physician to the king, assisted by Francis David, a divine of great learning and powerful eloquence, whom Blandrata had converted to his opinions from the Reformed Church.

* There is a singular testimony to the triumph of Wissowatius on this occasion from a reverend Catholic Being asked by Wiclopolski, the governor of Cracow, who presided at the discussions, wbat he thought of the controversy, he replied. If all the devils in bell bad been here, they could not have maintained their religion inore ably than this one minister has done." “ But what," rejoined the governor, “if more of tbese ministers had been present ? and there are many of similar powers.'

“ If such be the case,” answered the monk, “I do not know in what manner we are to defend ourselves against such persons."

“ In the year 1574, the prosperity of the Unitarian cause was seriously affected by an unfortunate rupture between the two individuals to whom it had chiefly owed its advancement and success. Blandrata having been guilty of a gross offence, which his accusers have veiled under the designation of peccatum Italicum, David de. clined all further intercourse with him, and took measures to de. stroy his influence in the Unitarian body. This conduct naturally drew upon him the enmity of Blandrata, and paved the way for those proceedings which terminated in his death."

Our author has given us a very fair and impartial account of this unhappy controversy. We wish we could lay it before our readers, but its length and the impossibility of abridging it forbid. We regret this the more, because we think the name and character of Faustus Socinus have been implicated to an unjust degree in this transaction. It has been said, that the part he acted in the persecntion of David was in every respect as cruel and unchristian, and still more inconsistent, than that which Calvin acted in the persecution of Servetus. This is not true. It is true that, at the request of Blandrata, Socinus visited Transylvania, and resided more than four months in David's house for the purpose of inducing him, by frequent persuasion, to give up what was accounted his heresy of forbidding the invocation of Christ. It is also true, that he was apprised of Blandrata's intention to accuse David to the prince, and call in the aid of the civil power;

and there is reason to believe that he did not use the influence he might have done in preventing this. But it is not true, that Socinus was in any sense the instigator of the prosecution. It is not true, that he was in any sense an accomplice, or even a confidant, in the plot of Blandrata to ensnare and ruin the venerable superintendant. It is not true that he was a party at the trial, or even present at it. In a word, it is not true that he ever justified either directly or indirectly, in his writings or in his conduct, the capital punishment of heresy. Nor is it true that this prosecution was favoured by the great body of Unitarians in Transylvania; but, on the contrary, it was warmly opposed by them almost to a man. All, then, that we can say of this transaction is this--that David fell a victim to the private malice of the unprincipled Blandrata-the common enemies of Unitarianism being disposed, of course, to gratify him in his wish to have one of the most formidable defenders of that cause silenced and condemned.

We can give only one extract in this connexion, which relates to the manner in which the trial was conducted. New Series-vol. III.


“On the first of June the Diet assembled at Weissenburg (Alba Julia ;) and David was conveyed to that city, distant from his prison a journey of several days, in a state between life and death. Almost immediately after his arrival he was summoned to appear before bis judges, and notwithstanding his exhausted condition was ordered to stand. But the prince, who presided on the occasion, when he beheld him, was struck with compassion, and coinmanded a seat to be provided for him. The officer of the court having declared the charge on which David yas arraigned, Blandrata arose, and stated that he had in vain endeavoured by conversation, letters, and messages, to restrain him from publicly avowing and maintaining his opinions against the invocation of Christ, and that he was therefore compelled, by a regard to his conscience, to resort to this prosecution in order to provide against the dangers which threatened the Church.

“ David was then called upon to reply to the accusation preferred against him, of baving publicly declared that Christ ought not to be invoked in prayer; and that those who prayed to Christ sinned as much as if they invoked the Virgin Mary, Peter, Paul, and other dead saints. And Blandrata further required that he should answer in respect to his writings, whether he admitted himself to be the author of them?

“ The venerable confessor being himself too much oppressed and enfeebled by his disorder to speak so as to be heard by the assembly, obtained permission for his son-in-law, Lucas, to answer in his stead. In reference to his writings, he replied that he would not disown those that were really of his composition, neither would be defend as his, those which were the productions of another, and circulated under his name, -alluding to the Theses which Blandrata had distributed with the authority of the prince And in respect to the charges themselves, he stated as to the first, that in preaching from the account of the marriage festival at Cana, he had argued, that no divine worship which was not prescribed or commanded in the Scriptures could be agreeable to God. The invocation of Christ was not there prescribed or commanded ;—therefore it could not be agreeable to God. And as to the second, he observed, that if, quitting the Scriptures, and following human comments and our owo fancies, we seek for grounds for the invocation of Christ, we may also, on the same reasons, invoke saints both living and dead. While Lucas was pronouncing these answers, Blandrata, smiling sarcastically, exclaimed, You are returning to Judaism!' To which David mildly replied,- You, Doctor, also, held this very opinion a few years since !' Shortly after, and as soon as the business of the assembly permitted, Blandrata arose, and observed, • Francis states that I held the same opinion :--but I declare and protest before God, before the illustrious prince, and the whole Church, that I never held nor concurred in this sentiment. But if I have either said or written any thing to this effect, I now desire to revoke it, and de

clare my recantation ;' adding, and thou, Francis, do thou so likewise.' To this Lucas warmly and abruptly answered, He will not ; for it is not firmness but weakness in a man to revoke without reason, that which he has once asserted. After this interruption, Blandrata moved that the Theses he had printed and circulated under David's name should be read; which closed the case on the part of the prosecutors.

David, with considerable difficulty, and against the warm efforts of Blandrata and his associates, obtained permission, on account of the exhausted state of his strength, to postpone bis defence till the following day. On the breaking up of the Diet he was reconducted to prison, where he was instantly surrounded by his friends, who were filled with apprehension as to the result of these extraordinary proceedings, and doubtful what course they ought to pursue. In the number of these were several of the principal nobility, who were deeply anxious to save their venerable pastor from the danger which seemed to threaten bim. David again implored them not to involve themselves on his account by any measures of violence, even if he were to fall-observing that the world would see and acknowledge that God was one, and was alone to be worshipped with divine ho.


“Early the next morning, David, unable any longer to stand, was carried into court by four ministers. The interval had been employed by his friends in collecting the writings, both manuscript and printed, of Blandrata and others of the prosecutors in this case, which contained the proofs, in their own words, of their having once held the same opinion as David respecting the invocation of Christ. Passages from these were read by Lucas in the defence of his fatherin-law-and were most feebly met and evaded by the physician, who spoke as his opponent. The chancellor requested that these writing should be given in to the court; after which David and his supporters were ordered to withdraw while the assembly deliberated concerning their judgment.

“ The prince and the judges then proceeded to interrogate the accusers of David, and to demand of them on oath whether they concurred in his opinion and innovation ;-or whether they deemed it blasphemy against God? Blandrata rose first to reply, and thus ex. pressed himself: "1, George Blandrata, profess, before Almighty God, and his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, before the holy angels and the elect of God, that I neither am nor have been in any respect a partaker in the guilt of this opinion of Francis David; and I affirm that it is a novel opinion, and, besides, a horrid blasphemy against God and his Son. The associates of Blandrata, to the number of twenty-five, having taken similar oaths, the public prosecutor, in the name of the prince, of himself, and of the Jesuits, after asserting his belief in the Trinity, condemned the opinion of David as blasphemy.

* David being again brought before the Diet, to receive judgment, some of his accusers interceded with the prince to spare his life,

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