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see the last of this monarch, and then we will have another. The great question which appeals to the heart of every Englishman to-day is, shall it be a Protestant or a Catholic?”
“A Protestant!” cried John Louder, in his bigoted enthusiasm.
“Then, John Louder, it behooves the English people to speak their minds at once, lest they have fastened upon them a monarch who will wrench from them their religious liberties.”
Louder was wondering what the man could mean when the stranger suddenly took from his pocket a book. It was a book with a red back, as could be seen from the fire-light. The stranger drew from another pocket a pen and an ink horn and, in a voice which was solemn and impressive, said:
John Louder was astonished at the request, or command, whichever it might be, and mechanically stretched out his hand to take the book. At this moment the camp-fire suddenly flamed up, and he afterward averred that the face of the stranger was suddenly changed to that of a devil, and from his burning orbs there issued blue jets of flame, while the whole air was permeated with sulphur. With a yell of horror, he started back, crying:
“Take it away! take away your book! I will not sign! I will not sign!”
'Sign it, and I promise you a Protestant king.”
Away! begone! The whole armor of God be between me and you."
Quaking with superstitious dread, Louder sank
down upon the ground and buried his face in his hands. For several minutes he remained thus
trembling with fear, and when he finally recovered sufficiently to raise his eyes, the stranger was gone.
He and his horse had vanished, and John Louder, seizing a firebrand, searched the ground for the print of a cloven foot. He found it and, snatching up his rifle, ran home as rapidly as he could. It was late that night when he reached his house and, rapping on the door, called:
“Good-wife! Good-wife, awake and let me in!”
“John Louder, wherefore came you so early, when I thought you had gone to stalk the deer and would not come before morning?”
“I have seen him!”
This announcement produced great consternation in the mind of good-wife Louder. To have seen the man with the book was an evil omen, and to sign this book was the loss of one's eternal soul.
“Did you sign it, John ?” she asked.
I had a vision : evening sat in gold
The temples of pure marble met the sun,
RELIGIOUS fanaticism is the most dangerous of all the errors of mankind. A false leader in religion may be more fatal than an incompetent general of an army, therefore ministers of the gospel and teachers have the greatest task imposed on them of any of God's creation. When once one's religion runs mad, barbarity assumes the support of conscience and feels its approval in the consummation of the most heinous crimes. The Pilgrims and Puritans who had fled from religious persecutions across the seas, and had come to the wilderness to worship God according to their own con
science, were unwilling to grant the same privilege to others. For this reason they banished Roger Williams and persecuted other religious sects not in accordance with their own views.
They whipped Quakers, bored holes in their tongues, branded them with hot irons, and even hung them for their religious views. Why need one blame Spain for the infamous inquisition, when the early churches of Protestantism did fully as bad? Religious fervor controlled by prejudice and ignorance is the greatest calamity that can befall a nation.
The Quakers appeared first in England about the time Roger Williams procured his charter for Rhode Island. The term Quaker now so venerated and respected was given this sect in derision, just as the Puritans, Protestants and many other now respectable sects were named.
Their founder and preachers were among the boldest and yet the meekest of the non-conformists. Their morality was so strict that by some they were denominated ascetics, and this strictness was carried into every habit and department of life.
Extravagant expenditures, fashionable dress, games of chance, dancing, attending the theatres and all amusements, however harmless, were forbidden by this sect. Even music was discouraged as a seductive vanity. The members of this church were forbidden to own slaves, to take part in war, en.