ADVANTAGES

In no other respect did Augustine differ more widely from Origen and the Alexandrians that in his intolerant spirit. Even Tertullian conceded to all the right of opinion. Gregory of Nazianzus, Ambrose, Athanasius and Augustine himself in his earlier days, recorded the tolerance that Christianity demands. But he afterwards came to advocate and defend the persecution of religious opponents. Milman observes: "With shame and horror we hear from Augustine himself that fatal axiom which impiously arrayed cruelty in the garb of Christian charity." He was the first in the long line of Christian persecutors, and illustrates the character of the theology that swayed him in the wicked spirit that impelled him to advocate the right to persecute Christians who differ from those in power. The dark pages that bear the record of subsequent centuries are a damning witness to the cruel spirit that actuated Christians, and the cruel theology that impelled it. Augustine "was the first and ablest asserter of the principle which led to Albigensian crusades, Spanish armadas, Netherland's butcheries, St. Bartholomew massacres, the accursed infamies of the Inquisition, the vile espionage, the hideous bale fires of Seville and Smithfield, the racks, the gibbets, the thumbscrews, the subterranean torture-chambers used by churchly torturers." And George Sand well says that the Roman church committed suicide the day she invented an implacable God and eternal damnation.

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