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tie him to the stake. We are bound by honour; we are tied by party. Tie those sticks into faggots, and bind them tight.

Even Level.

That is even which is free from hollows and risings; that is level which is parallel with the plane of the horizon. The side of a hill may be even; it cannot be level. A bowling-green should be both even and level. A field of ice may be level, and not even.

Stale. Sharp. Sour. Acid.

These four words express different degrees of oxygenation: wine and beer, when they begin to change, grow stale, then sharp, then sour; by acid is understood an artificial, concentrated, corrosive sourStale porter, sharp verjuice, sour vinegar. The sulphuric acid, acid of lemons.


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Stale meant originally urine; the word, therefore, describes an incipient tendency to putrefaction, an ammoniacal odorousness. Sharp means cutting, it is applied metaphorically to an object of taste. Sour is of unknown derivation: though common to the Cimbric, Gothic, and Sclavonian dialects, neither Junius nor Adelung have been able to detect the sensible idea which it originally described. Perhaps some of your Welsh correspondents can say whether sur meant originally a sloe, or whey, or sorrel, or what. Acid, like sharp, is a metaphor from cutting: the word came from abroad with the processes of artists, hence the technical ideas therewith associated.

(To be continued.)

To the Editor of the Athenæum.


Sir, I DO not remember to have read any account of a storm of lightning in England so destructive as the following, contained in a letter from the minister of Church-Lawton, in Cheshire, to a neighbouring minister, and signed Ran. Sillito, June 25, 1652. It is printed in the "Mercurius Politicus," a weekly newspaper of that


He begins with saying, that on the last Lord's day, during church time, there was a great deal of thunder and lightning ushering in the rain which had so long been implored and expected. He had just begun his sermon, when (says he) "a sudden noise was heard in the bell house, like the discharge of many muskets at once, and a sudden flash of fire, as it seemed, dashed in my face; presently a dog began to whelk in the bell-house, and afterwards a boy cried out for his brother, upon which followed a noise among the people, and a bustle as is usual when any thing is amiss in a congregation. At first we had

had the report brought to the upper end of the church that no harm was done, but a dog killed; the second report was, that none were slain, but that two or three did bleed. The third relation was more sad, that three or four were slain; whereupon I spoke to the people and intreated them to be still, and they readily hearkened to my desire; some carried out their friends very silently, and the rest settled themselves to attend on the business we had begun, wherein we continued the usual time. After the public work was done, we had a sad spectacle presented; eleven men and boys strucken immediately dead, for I cannot certainly hear that any of them either spoke, or groaned, or stirred, but some sate, and some lay as though they had been asleep, no wounds or bruises appeared upon any of them, only one I saw to have his hair and ear burned a little, and they said another was somewhat scorched in the neck. All of them died in the bell-house, where they sate and stood, the body of the church being extremely crowded, except one boy that sate in the lower end of the church, close to the bell-house door. Many were strucken down, and many scorched, but all like to recover. They who were smitten down and lay for dead, affirm they felt no sorrow at all; many were strucken quite lame for the present, and some continued so for a day or two; others who were quickly well felt their hands, arms, feet, and legs, where the stroke was, as though they had been on fire." The narrative concludes with the names of all the sufferers, and there can be no doubt of its authenticity.

Of the circumstances worthy of observation in this account, the first is the extraordinary degree of religious discipline prevailing at that time (it was during the commonwealth and the presbyterian establishment) which could so far overcome the natural feelings of man. kind, as to induce a congregation to sit stil land hear a sermon, doubtless a long one, after such an alarming stroke, and in the midst of the dead and wounded. For my part, I confess I should have preferred to this pious apathy a more lively interest in the fate of their neighbours, and an active zeal to give assistance. The minister himself, too, in this letter, though he takes care to specify the text on which he was preaching, is extremely sparing in expressions of compassion for his poor parishioners.

Another remark to be made is, that all the sufferers were in the bell-house, as it is called, that is, under the belfry, an evident proof that the lightning was attracted to that part of the church by the bells. It has, I believe, frequently been found, that the superstitious practice in catholic countries of ringing the bells during a thunder storm has proved fatal to the performers.



Yours, &c.


For the Athenæum.



IT is from the time of Leo the Fourth, that, increased and incorporated by the munificence of Pepin and Charlemagne, we may date the foundation of that extravagant power, which in after-ages rendered the church of Rome sovereign arbitrator and disposer both of the spiritual and temporal affairs of Europe. That church had ineffectually struggled to throw off its subjection to the emperors of Germany, till, in the eleventh century, Gregory the seventh, adroitly profiting by the divisions which devastated the empire, emancipated the Romish pontificate from its thraldom. This ambitious and crafty prelate, aspiring to nothing less than universal dominion, not only over all affairs that concerned the church, but also over those relating to the internal government of foreign kingdoms, succeeded but too well, by his obstinate perseverance and machiavelian dexterity, in establishing, in part, at least, this extraordinary claim to papal omnipotence. His successors zealously persevered in and ultimately accomplished this daring project, thenceforward enforcing the infallibi lity of their authority, and assuming to themselves a jurisdiction, which was exercised with a total and manifest disregard of every principle inculcated by that holy religion, of which the Romish church professed itself the supreme bulwark. In the twelfth century, however, a serious and formidable resistance was offered to this uncircumscribed stretch of power, originating in the attempt of a few enlightened individuals to dispel those mists of superstition and fanaticism which, as a celebrated writer justly observes, had so effectually deprived the mind of examination and judgment. The sectaries to whom I allude, and the first who ventured to deny the supremacy of the see of Rome, were those designated by the names of Waldenses and Albigenses. Both sprung up in the south of France, and their doctrines, alike eminent for their purity and simplicity, soon obtained numerous and powerful advocates. Although in some respects, as to the Godhead and Redemption, these doctrines harmonised with those of their adversaries, yet was the greater part of them of a nature calculated to excite no small degree of apprehension in the breasts of the Roman pontiffs. These first reformers maintained, that the clergy ought not to interfere in temporal affairs, that the doctrine of purgatory, the adoration of the saints, and the severe penances and fasts prescribed by the Romish church, were manifestly repugnant to the genuine spirit of Christianity; that there were but two sacraments; "that the public and established religion was therefore a motley system of errors and superstition; and, that the dominion which the popes had usurped over Christians, as also the authority they exercised in religious matters, were unlawful and tyrannical."


Only a short period elapsed ere these principles began to obtain a footing inGermany, notwithstanding the rigorous persecution to which their propagators were exposed, both from the papal emissaries and the infatuated Frederic II. who by his edicts took the former under his special protection, declared the heretics infamous, confiscated their effects, disinherited their progeny, and, ultimately, condemned those who persisted to the flames, and those who repented to perpetual imprisonment; enacting at the same time, that if the judge refused to execute this punishment, he should be forthwith dismissed, and moreover, that he should undergo the sentence which he ought to have inflicted on the heretic. The name of heretics, which had been attached by the Romish church to its opponents, was held in such universalabhorrence, that it was long before their rational tenets became generally diffused in Germany. Not satisfied with the censures, anathemas, and excommunications they had denounced against the heretics, the clergy, not less zealously, and with considerable success, resorted to the arts of misrepresentation and calumny in order to injure their cause. Thus we find Gregory, in a letter to the emperor Henry, detailing their proceedings in these terms: "Whenever any person is received into their sect a toad appears, which they must kiss; after this, a meagre black man approaches towards them, and his embrace causes a total oblivion of the catholic religion. When their meals are over, a cat is produced, which they likewise kiss, and thereupon, the lights being extinguished, they abandon themselves to the most infamous and unnatural practices." The detestation, however, with which they were first regarded, gradually subsided; the purity and innocence of their lives soon discomfited the slanderous detractions of their persecutors, and the odious measures to which the latter resorted in order to stem their progress, only served to place the conduct of the Romish agents in a light pregnant, from the striking contrast it presented when compared to that of the first reformers, with danger to the cause of the established church. With unabated zeal and invincible fortitude these sectaries struggled against opprobrium and persecution, and the rapid propagation of their doctrines in a short time afforded them a glorious cause of triumph.

At length the frequent recurrence of interdicts and sentences of excommunication rendered those once formidable engines of terror unavailing, and brought them into such contempt, that Innocent the Third resolved to avert the fatal revolution with which the papal omnipotence was threatened, by condemning the heretics to be burnt, and investing with full powers to superintend the execution of this punishment, the court of the Inquisition. This sanguinary tribunal, instituted by him in 1198, and alledged to be ordained "by the most wise Providence of God," was composed of the brotherhood of the two religious orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis, men whose religious frenzy rendered them strangers to every feeling of moderation, justice, or humanity, and who did not hesitate to affirm, that "it was acceptable to the Lord that those should be burnt whom he himself had condemned to the


everlasting flames; and, as the sufferings endured for one or two hours were nugatory in comparison to those of eternity, that it mattered not if a whole nation was consumed for its heretical obstinacy." The Inquisition was first established in Germany, at the instance of Gregory the XIth, towards the year 1231, and its superintendence was delegated to Conrad of Marburg. This fanatic missionary acquitted himself of his task with the most barbarous and sanguinary zeal. No re monstrances, no professions of faith, no appeal could rescue the unhappy objects of his persecution from his merciless clutches: denounced when absent, they were not even permitted on their return to urge any exception to the testimony of their impious accusers, and were compelled either to acknowledge themselves guilty, and redeem their existence by submitting to the infamy of having their heads shorn, or were bound to the stake and burnt alive. The bloody career of this infuriate wretch is thus depicted by an enlightened prelate of that age (the archbishop of Mentz): "A vagrant woman, by name Alaide, professed herself ready to confess her heresy, and denounce her accomplices. Conrad, without examining into the veracity of her denunciations, ordered her accused and guiltless relatives to be burnt. In like manner did a certain Amfrid become the accuser of many innocent persons. These accusations were first levelled against peasants, then against citizens, and ultimately against noblemen and counts. No regular defence was permitted to the accused; they were constrained to acknowledge themselves heretics, that they had kissed the toad, and embraced the black men. Many chose rather to be devoured by the flames, than thus to vilify their own characters; whilst others, demanding to know who those were, whom they held to be their accomplices, denounced whomsoever their judges thereupon designated. Thus were the counts of Seyn and Henneberg and the countess of Loos accused. The brother became his brother's, the husband his wife's, and the master his servant's denunciator. I cautioned Conrad, at first singly, and then in conjunction with the archbishops of Triers and Cologne, that he should conduct himself with more moderation in such matters; but he heeded not our admonitions, and at length ordering even a crusade to be preached against the heretics, he lost his life in consequence near Marburg."

The Inquisition, however, experienced but a short-lived existence in Germany,

This was another mode devised by Innocent the Third for the extirpation of heresies. Whether allured by the promises given by him of full remission of sins, and Paradise, or prompted by thirst of plunder, there were always an immense concourse to be found eager to accompany such expeditions. Thus when Innocent the Fourth preached the cross against the emperor Frederic's son Conrad and his adherents, nearly the whole of the metropolitan establishment and clergy of Liege took up arms; amongst these we find four prebends, one archbishop, the scholasticus, the cantor and magister, marching against the city of Aix, which was devoted to Conrad's cause. Indeed, it is on record, than an army of nearly 100,000 of these crusaders destroyed 200,000 heretics in the short space of six months! and I need not recal to remembrance the relentless persecution and massacre of the Hugonots in France.

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