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Si Nc E the year 1555, the three following denominations of christians are the established religions of this empire. The Roman Catholic, the Lutheran, and Calvinistic, generally called the reformed religion. The first prevails in the south of Germany, the Lutheran in the north, and the reformed near the Rhine. In the subsequent civil wars, which were chiefly on account of religion, the rights of those rival religions, as established by the religious peace of 1555, had undergone great alterations, whenever the provinces had changed masters; and the confusion arising from the claims of the oppressed parties, and from the encroachments of the victorious, were become extreme. It was at length settled by the peace of
Westphalia, that the religion. of the different states should remain as it had been in the year 1624, which is on that account called the definitive year. According to this agreement, the sovereign is obliged to leave each of those religions established, or tolerated; yet the right of correcting abuses in the public worship was reserved to him. There are likewise in the empire sectaries of various denominations. The Roman Catholic church acknowledges the supremacy of the pope; and in consequence of an agreement between the Germanic church and the holy see, the latter acquired the right of confirming all the prelates of the empire. Their superior clergy consists of eight archbishops, forty bishops, and many abbots; some of which, as well as most of the archbishops and bishops, are sovereign princes.” The protestant clergy are governed by assemblies, called consistories, under the control of the sovereign of each state. It is composed of superintendants-general, who are commonly members of the consistory, superintendants, or inspectors, and ministers of the parishes. Each protestant state may make what regulations and changes it pleases, within its own jurisdiction, in matters relating to the churches and schools. Hence the external forms differ greatly in the protestant countries in this empire. All the Roman Catholics are under the direction of the elector of Mentz; the protestants are under the direction of the elector of Saxony. Those directors manage the concerns of religion at the diet. There are at least eighty thousand protestants in the provinces belonging to the German empire. There are, besides many thousand greeks, two hundred and twenty-three thousand jews, and about fifty thousand Egyptians, or Gypsies, in the Austrian dominions. The inhabitants of the Palatinate are partly protestants,
* Shaw's History of the Austrian Netherlands. f Zimmeruanu, pp, 123,824.
* Zimmermann. pp. 223, 224.
and partly Roman Catholics, who live in harmony with each other. The great church in Heidelburg is divided into two apartments, in one of which the protestants, in the other the papists perform public worship.t The late emperor Joseph the second, by an edict in 1781, gave liberty to all his subjects to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and prohibited any disturbance in their worship. He removed the restraints on the liberty of the press, and made various attacks on the assumed prerogatives of the Roman pontiff. He subjected the monastic orders to the authority of diocesan bishops, and freed them from the immediate jurisdiction of the pope. IHe declared all the seminaries and colleges of the missionaries independent of the court of Rome, and probibited any of his subjects from applying for dispensations to Rome. In 1785 he deprived the pope's nuncio in Germany of every kind of jurisdiction, and restored to the bishops all their ancient rights. He admitted the jews, in his dominions, to equal privileges with other citizens. He suppressed all the useless convents and mo
: Moore's Travels, vol. i. p. 306.
other pastoral letter, he exhorts not to trust in indulgences, without repentance and reformation. He also recommended to his clergy an unwearied study of the sacred oracles, and a better acquaintance with the fathers and church history. The archbishop of Constance has greatly diminished the number of festivals in his diocese.; It is asserted that a society called the Illuminees, was founded in Germany in the year 1776, by Adam Weishaupt, professor of canon law in the university of Ingolstadt. He possessed an enterprizing genius, and great strength of mind. By his influence and activity, with the assistance of his principal adepts, this society made a rapid and extensive progress. The sect of the Illuminees is considered as deriving its origin from the conspiracy to destroy christianity, which was formed by Voltaire, Diderot, and others, about the year 1720. The reader will find a short account of this conspiracy under the article France. According to the account given of the Illuminees by the
nasteries in Germany," provided for the maintenance of those who belonged to them, and appropriated the revenues partly to free-schools, partly to orphan-houses, where the children of the peasants were instructed in husbandry, &c. While thus abolishing the papal authority, he called himself supreme guardian of the church, and administrator of its temporal effects.t. In consequence of his edicts many new churches have been formed, and provided with ministers in Austria and part of Silesia, and knowledge is every day increasing in his hereditary dominions. Some of the ecclesiastical catholic princes in Germany appear to have followed the late emperor's example. The archbishop of Saltzburg, in a pastoral letter, condemns too much expense in the ornaments of churches, sacred vestments, &c., which had better be employed in relieving the necessitous : and at a solemn jubilee feast, instead of the usual donations for religious uses, he gave considerable sums for incurables, mad-men, and idiots. On occasion of the jubilee, in an
* “There were (says Zimmermann) in the beginning of the emperor's reign upwards of two thousand monks and nuns, who were reduced to one
thousand one hundred and fifv-three.
4 Memoirs of the Life of Pope Pius the sixth, vol. i. pp. 205–293. # Erskine's Sketches.
crimination of particular characters. These qualifications enable them to convert the weaknesses and prejudices of others to their own advantage, and thus prepare their minds to receive the maxims of Illuminism. They endeavour to preserve the appearance of candour and openness, while their real designs are enveloped in profound mystery, and they are sedulously anxious to preserve a fair exterior of virtue, which often throws a veil over the secret licentious
abbe Barruel, and professor Robison," their design is to destroy religion, government, and social order, by a secret and powerful conspiracy, which, previously + to its discovery, had attained a great degree of strength and maturity. The principal traits in the character of the persons who compose this society, are deep art and intrigue, joined with great activity and indefatigable perseverance, aided by an accurate knowledge of human nature, and a nice dis
* Men of high reputation in Great Britain, and on the continent of Europe, have given ample testimony of their belief in the accounts which are given of Illuminism. The present bishop of London, in his charge to the clergy of his diocese, in the years 1798 and 1799, has the following passage : “It now appears, from undoubted evidence, collected from the most authentic sources, and produced about the same time, by two different authors, of different countries and different religions, and writing without the least concert, or communication with each other, that there have in fact subsisted in the heart of Europe, certain sects of men, distinguished by various fanciful names, and various mysterious rites and ceremonies, but all concurring in one common object; namely, the gradual overthrow, not merely of all religion, but of all civil government and social order throughout the whole christian world.” See President Dwight's Centurial Serumon. The Chevalier Von Hamelberg, major in the Prussian infantry, and knight of the order of merit, has translated professor Robison's proofs of a conspiracy into German. In a letter to the doctor, he expresses his high approbation of the work, his full conviction of its truth and utility, and requests his farther communications on that subject. He also transinits to him the following letter, which he received from the king of Prussia, upon his conjununicating to that monarch the work of Robison, which he had translated.
* kix G OF PRUSSIA TO THE cliev ALIER won HAMELBERG.
The work which you have translated and communicated to me, with your letter of March 3, exposes the pernicious tendency of all secret societies in the clearest light, and is entitled to a considerable degree of merit with your countrymen. I therefore most willingly express my warmest satisfaction and most sincere thanks for the copy which has been transmitted to ine, and hereby announce iny approbation of the work, as your altectionate king,
Charlottenburg, July 25, 1800. FREDERIC WILLIAM.” * Barruel asserts, that as early as the third year of the Illuminees, Weis
baupt coluputed that he had gained more than a thousand adepts,
ness of their manners.” The essence of their mysteries is said to be comprehended in the following summary:“Liberty and equality are the essential rights that man in his original and primitive perfection received from nature. Property struck the first blow at equality; political society, or governments, were the first oppressors of liberty; the supporters of governments and property are the religious and civil laws : therefore, to reinstate man in his primitive rights of equality and liberty, we must begin by destroying all religion, all civil society, and finish by the destruction of all property.” It is asserted that this society have executed to an alarming degree the plan which it has formed for exterminating christianity, and destroying government and social order. It is also asserted that the late revolution in France was in a great measure brought about by its secret influence, which has extended over the greatest part of Europe, and has penetrated even into America.t According to the account
given by the abbe Barruel, this society is divided into two grand classes, and each of these is again sub-divided into lesser degrees, proportionate to the progress of the adepts. The first class is that of PREPARATION, which contains four degrees; those of nocice, of minerval, of minor illuminee, or illuminatus minor, and of . major illuminee, or illuminatus major: some intermediate degrees belong to this class.f The second class is that of the MYSTERIES, and this is subdivided into the greater and lesser mysteries : the lesser comprehend the priesthood and administration of the sect, or the degrees of priests, and of regents of princes. In the greater mysteries are comprised the two degrees of magi, or philosopher, and of the manking. The elect of the latter compose the council and degree of Areopagites. In all these classes, and in every degree, there is a part of the utmost consequence, and which is common to all the brethren: it is that employment known in the society's code of laws, by the appellation of brother
* See the portraits of the Illuminees, drawn at full length by Barruel, in his History of Jacobinism, vols. iii. iv.
t Barruel asserts, that in the code of laws founded by the Illuminees, it is declared that a time shall come, when man shall acknowledge no other law than the great book of nature; that this revolution shall be the work of secret societies, and that this is one of their great mysteries,
# Barruel, vol., iii, p. 19.
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