ilst those ideas were gaining ascendancy, the clergy, the only depositaries of letters and of knowledge, were rapidly possessing themselves of power, riches, and influence, and endeavouring to conserve and confirm those advantages by all possible means. Of those means none was so convenient, in times of continual violence and warfare, to the habits of a nation just emerging from a savage state, and which recognised no other merit than physical force and warlike valour, as that of encouraging those sanguinary and ruthless propensities, sanctifying them in some way or other by religious sentiment, and stirring up and inflaming the passions of the nation, with a view of exterminating all persons who did not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the church and the power of its ministers. Thus it happened that Christianity, from a very early period after its introduction to Spain, was deprived of that spirit of meekness, suavity, and tolerance, impressed upon it by its Divine Founder, and became possessed of a spirit of
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