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driven back Protestantism even to the German Ocean. Then the great southern reaction began to slacken, as the great northern movement had slackened before. The zeal of the Catho'ics became cool; their union was dissolved. The paroxysm of religious excitement was over on both sides. The one party had degenerated as far from the spirit of Loyola as the other from the spirit of Luther. During three generations, religion had been the mainspring of politics. The revolutions and civil wars of France, Scotland, Holland, Sweden, the long struggle between Philip and Elizabeth, the bloody competition for the Bohemian crown, all originated in theological disputes.
land and Protestant Holland joined with Catholic Savoy and Catholic Portugal, for the purpose of transferring the crown of Spain from one bigoted Catholic to another.
The geographical frontier between the two religions has continued to run almost precisely where it ran at the close of the Thirty Years' War; nor has Protestantism given any proofs of that "expansive power" which has been ascribed to it. But the Protestant boasts, and most justly, that wealth, civilization, and intelligence have increased far more on the northern than on the southern side of the boundary; that countries so little favoured by nature as Scotland and Prussia are now among the most flourishing and best governed portions of the world-while the marble palaces of Genoa are deserted-while banditti infest the beautiful shores of Campania-while the fertile sea-coast of the Pontifical State is abandoned to buffaloes and wild boars. It cannot be doubted, that since the sixteenth century, the Protestant nations-fair allowance being made for physical disadvantages-have made decidedly greater progress than their neighbours. The progress made by those nations in which Protestantism, though not finally successful, yet maintained a long struggle, and left permanent traces, has generally been considerable. when we come to the Catholic Land, to the part of Europe in which the first spark of reformation was trodden out as soon as it appeared, and from which proceeded the impulse which drove Protestantism back, we find, at
But a great change now took place. The contest which was raging in Germany lost its religious character. It was now, on the one side, ess a contest for the spiritual ascendency of the Church of Rome than for the temporal ascendency of the house of Austria. On the other, it was less a contest for the reformed doctrine than for national independence. Governments began to form themselves into new combinations, in which community of political interest was far more regarded than community of religious belief. Even at Rome the progress of the Catholic arms was observed with very mixed feelings. The Supreme Pontiff was a sovereign prince of the second rank, and was anxious about the balance of power, as well as about the propagation of truth. It was known that he dreaded the rise of a universal monarchy even more than he desired the prosperity of the Universal Church. At length abest, a very slow progress, and on the whole a great event announced to the world that the retrogression. Compare Denmark and Porwar of sects had ceased, and that the war of tugal. When Luther began to preach, the states had succeeded. A coalition, including superiority of the Portuguese was unquestionCalvinists, Lutherans, and Catholics, was able. At present the superiority of the Danes formed against the house of Austria. At the is no less so. Compare Edinburgh and Flohead of that coalition were the first statesman rence. Edinburgh has owed less to climate, and first warrior of the age; the former a to soil, and to the fostering care of rulers, than prince of the Catholic Church, distinguished any capital, Protestant or Catholic. In all by the vigour and success with which he had these respects, Florence has been singularly put down the Huguenots-the latter a Protestant happy. Yet whoever knows what Florence king, who owed his throne to the revolution and Edinburgh were in the generation precaused by hatred of Popery. The alliance of ceding the Reformation, and what they are Richelieu and Gustavus marks the time at now, will acknowledge that some great cause which the great religious struggle terminated. has, during the last three centuries, operated The war which followed was a war for the to raise one part of the European family, and equilibrium of Europe. When, at length, the to depress the other. Compare the history of peace of Westphalia was concluded, it appear- England and that of Spain during the last cened that the Church of Rome remained in full tury. In arms, arts, sciences, letters, compossession of a vast dominion, which in the merce, agriculture, the contrast is most strik middle of the preceding century she seemed ing. The distinction is not confined to this to be on the point of losing. No part of Eu-side of the Atlantic. The colonies planted by rope remained Protestant, except that part which had become thoroughly Protestant before the generation which heard Luther preach had passed away.
England in America have immeasurably outgrown in power those planted by Spain. Yet we have no reason to believe that, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Castilian was in any respect inferior to the Englishman. Our firm belief is, that the North owes its great civilization and prosperity chiefly to the moral effect of the Protestant Reformation; and that the decay of the Southern countries of Europe is to be mainly ascribed to the great Catholic revival.
Since that time there has been no religious war between Catholics and Protestants as such. In the time of Cromwell, Protestant England was united with Catholic France, then governed by a priest, against Catholic Spain. William he Third, the eminently Protestant hero, was at the head of a coalition which included many Catholic powers, and which was secretly fa- About a hundred years after the final settlevoured even by Rome, against the Catholic ment of the boundary line between ProtestantLouis In the time of Anne, Protestant Eng-ism and Catholicism, began to appear the
signs of the fourth great peril of the Church on the wheel at Toulouse-when a youth, of Rome. The storm which was now rising guilty only of an indiscretion, was burned at against her was of a very different kind from Abbeville-when a brave officer, borne down those which had preceded it. Those who had by public injustice, was dragged, with a gag in formerly attacked her had questioned only a his mouth, to die on the Place de Grêve, a part of her doctrines. A school was now voice instantly went forth from the banks of growing up which rejected the whole. The Lake Leman, which made itself heard from Albigenses, the Lollards, the Lutherans, the Moscow to Cadiz, and which sentenced the Calvinists, had a positive religious system, unjust judges to the contempt and detestation and were strongly attached to it. The creed of all Europe. The really efficient weapons of the new sectaries was altogether negative. with which the philosophers assailed the evanThey took one of their premises from the gelical faith were borrowed from the evangeliCatholics, and one from the Protestants. cal morality. The ethical and dogmatical From the former they borrowed the principle, parts of the Gospel were unhappily turned that Catholicism was the only pure and ge- against each other. On the one side was a nuine Christianity. With the latter they held church boasting of the purity of a doctrine dethat some parts of the Catholic system were rived from the apostles; but disgraced by the contrary to reason. The conclusion was ob- massacre of St. Bartholomew, by the murder vious. Two propositions, each of which sepa- of the best of kings, by the war of the Cevenrately is compatible with the most exalted nes, by the destruction of Port-Royal. On the piety, formed, when held in conjunction, the other side was a sect laughing at the Scripgroundwork of a system of irreligion. The tures, shooting out the tongue at the sacradoctrine of Bossuet, that transubstantiation is ments, but ready to encounter principalities affirmed in the Gospel, and the doctrine of and powers in the cause of justice, mercy, and Tillotson, that transubstantiation is an absurd-toleration. ity, when put together, produced by logical necessity the inferences of Voltaire.
Had the sect which was rising at Paris been a sect of mere scoffers, it is very improbable that it would have left deep traces of its existence in the institutions and manners of Europe. Mere negation-mere Epicurean infidelity, as Lord Bacon most justly observes has never disturbed the peace of the world. It furnishes no motive for action. It inspires no enthusiasm. It has no missionaries, no crusaders, no martyrs. If the Patriarch of the Holy Philosophical Church had contented himself with making jokes about Saul's asses and David's wives, and with criticising the poetry of Ezekiel in the same narrow spirit in which he criticised that of Shakspeare, the Church would have had little to fear. But it is due to him and to his compeers to say, that the real secret of their strength lay in the truth which was mingled with their errors, and in the generous enthusiasm which was hidden under their flippancy. They were men who, with all their faults, moral and intellectual, sincerely and earnestly desired the improvement of the condition of the human racewhose blood boiled at the sight of cruelty and injustice-who made manful war, with every faculty which they possessed, on what they considered as abuses-and who on many signal occasions placed themselves gallantly between the powerful and the oppressed. While they assailed Christianity with a rancour and an unfairness disgraceful to men who call themselves philosophers, they yet had, in far greater measure than their opponents, that charity towards men of all classes and races which Christianity enjoins. Religious persecution, judicial torture, arbitrary imprisonment, the unnecessary multiplication of capital punishments, the delay and chicanery of tribunals, the exactions of farmers of the revenue, slavery, the slave trade, were the constant subjects of their lively satire and eloquent disquisitions. When an innocent man was broken
Irreligion, accidentally associated with philanthropy, triumphed for a time over religion accidentally associated with political and sɔcial abuses. Every thing gave way to the zeal and activity of the new reformers. In France, every man distinguished in letters was found in their ranks. Every year gave birth to works in which the fundamental principles of the Church were attacked with argument, invective, and ridicule. The Church made no defence, except by acts of power. Censures were pronounced editions were seized-insults were offered to the remains of infidel writers; but no Bossuet, no Pascal, came forth to encounter Voltaire. There appeared not a single defence of the Catholic doctrine which produced any considerable ef fect, or which is now even remembered. A bloody and unsparing persecution, like that which put down the Albigenses, might have put down the philosophers. But the time for De Montforts and Dominics had gone by. The punishments which the priests were still able to inflict were sufficient to irritate, but not suf ficient to destroy. The war was between power on the one side, and wit on the other, and the power was under far more restraint than the wit. Orthodoxy soon became a badge of ignorance and stupidity. It was as necessary to the character of an accomplished man that he should despise the religion of his country, as that he should know his letters. The. new doctrines spread rapidly through Christendom. Paris was the capital of the whole con tinent. French was everywhere the language of polite circles. The literary glory of Italy and Spain had departed. That of Germany had not yet dawned. The teachers of France were the teachers of Europe. The Parisiar opinions spread fast among the educate classes beyond the Alps; nor could the vigilance of the Inquisition prevent the contraband importation of the new heresy into Castile and Portugal. Governments-even arbitrary governments-saw with pleasure the progres
of this philosophy. Numerous reforms, generally laudable sometimes hurried on without sufficient regard to time, to place, and to public feeling, showed the extent of its influence. The rulers of Prussia, of Russia, of Austria, and of many smaller states, were supposed to be among the initiated.
The Church of Rome was still, in outward show, as stately and splendid as ever; but her foundation was undermined. No state had quitted her communion, or confiscated her revenues; but the reverence of the people was everywhere departing from her.
The first great warning stroke was the fall of that society which, in the conflict with Protestantism, had saved the Catholic Church from destruction. The order of Jesus had never recovered from the injury received in the struggle with Port-Royal. It was now still more rudely assailed by the philosophers. Its spirit was broken; its reputation was tainted. Insulted by all the men of genius in Europe, condemned by the civil magistrate, feebly defended by the chiefs of the hierarchy, it felland great was the fall of it.
Nor were the calamities of the Church con fined to France. The revolutionary spirit, attacked by all Europe, beat all Europe back, became conqueror in its turn, and, not satisfied with the Belgian cities and the rich domains of the spiritual electors, went raging over the Rhine and through the passes of the Alps. Throughout the whole of the great war against Protestantism, Italy and Spain had been the base of the Catholic operations. Spain was now the obsequious vassal of the infidels. Italy was subjugated by them. To her ancient principalities succeeded the Cisalpine republic, and the Ligurian republic, and the Parthenopean republic. The shrine of Loretto was stripped of the treasures piled up by the devotion of six hundred years. The convents of Rome were pillaged. The tricoloured flag floated on the top of the castle of St. Angelo. The successor of St. Peter was carried away captive by the unbelievers. He died a prisoner in their hands; and even the honours of sepulture were long withheld from his remains.
new dynasties, new laws, new titles; and amidst them emerged the ancient religion.
It is not strange that in the year 1799, even sagacious observers should have thought that, The movement went on with increasing at length, the hour of the Church of Rome was speed. The first generation of the new sect come. An infidel power ascendant-the Pope passed away. The doctrines of Voltaire were dying in captivity-the most illustrious preinherited and exaggerated by successors, who lates of France living in a foreign country on bore to him the same relation which the Ana- Protestant alms-the noblest edifices which baptists bore to Luther, or the Fifth-Monarchy the munificence of former ages had consecratmen to Pym. At length the Revolution came.ed to the worship of God, turned into temples Down went the old Church of France, with all of victory, or into banqueting-houses for poliits pomp and wealth. Some of its priests pur- tical societies, or into Theophilanthropic chachased a maintenance by separating them-pels-such signs might well be supposed to inselves from Rome, and by becoming the au- dicate the approaching end of that long domithors of a fresh schism. Some, rejoicing in nation. the new license, flung away their sacred vest- But the end was not yet. Again doomed to ments, proclaimed that their whole life had death, the milk-white hind was still fated not been an imposture, insulted and persecuted to die. Even before the funeral rites had been the religion of which they had been ministers, performed over the ashes of Pius the Sixth, a and distinguished themselves even in the Ja- great reaction had commenced, which after the cobin Club and the Commune of Paris, by the lapse of more than forty years appears to be excess of their impudence and ferocity. Others, still in progress. Anarchy had its day. A more faithful to their principles, were butch-new order of things rose out of the confusionered by scores without a trial, drowned, shot, hung on lamp-posts. Thousands fled from their country to take sanctuary under the shade The Arabs had a fable that the Great Pyraof hostile altars. The churches were closed; mid was built by antediluvian kings, and alone, the bells were silent; the shrines were plun- of all the works of men, bore the weight of the dered; the silver crucifixes were melted down. flood. Such as this was the fate of the Papacy. Buffoons, dressed in copes and surplices, came It had been buried under the great inundation; dancing the carmagnole even to the bar of the but its deep foundations had remained unConvention. The bust of Marat was substi- shaken; and, when the waters abated, it aptuted for the statues of the martyrs of Chris-peared alone amidst the ruins of a world which tianity. A prostitute, seated in state in the chancel of Notre Dame, received the adoration of thousands, who exclaimed that at length, for the first time, those ancient Gothic arches had resounded with the accents of truth. The new unbelief was as intolerant as the old superstition. To show reverence for religion was to incur the suspicion of disaffection. It was not without imminent danger that the priest baptized the infant, joined the hands of lovers, or listened to the confession of the dying The absurd worship of the Goddess of Reason was, indeed, of short duration but the deism of Robespierre and Lepaux was not less nostile to the Catholic faith that the atheism of Clootz and Chaumette.
had passed away. The republic of Holland was gone, and the empire of Germany, and the Great Council of Venice, and the old Helvetian League, and the house of Bourbon, and the Parliaments and aristocracy of France. Europe was full of young creations-a French empire, a kingdom of Italy, a Confederation of the Rhine. Nor had the late events affected only territorial limits and political institutions. The distribution of property, the composition and spirit of society, had, through great part of Catholic Europe, undergone a complete change. But the unchangeable Church was still there. Some future historian, as able and temperate as Professor Ranke, will, we hope, trace the progress of the Catholic revival of the nineteenth cen
tury. We feel that we are drawing too near cur own time; and that, if we go on, we shall be in danger of saying much which may be supposed to indicate, and which will certainly excite, angry feelings. We will, therefore, make only one observation, which, in our opinion, is deserving of serious attention.
During the eighteenth century, the influence of the Church of Rome was constantly on the decline. Unbelief made extensive conquests in all the Catholic countries of Europe, and in some countries obtained a complete ascendency. The Papacy was at length brought so low as to be an object of derision to infidels, and of pity rather than of hatred to Protestants. During the nineteenth century, this fallen Church has been gradually rising from her depressed state, and reconquering her old dominion. No person who calmly reflects on what, within the last few years, has passed in Spain, in Italy, in South America, in Ireland, in the Netherlands, in Prussia, even in France, can doubt that her power over the hearts and minds of men is now greater than it was when the "Encyclopædia" and the "Philosophical Dictionary" appeared. It is surely remarkable, that neither the moral revolution of the eighteenth century, nor the moral counter-revolution of the nineteenth, should, in any perceptible degree, have added to the domain of Protestantism. During the former period, whatever was lost to Catholicism was lost also to Christianity; during the latter, whatever was regained by Christianity in Catholic countries, was regained also by Catholicism. We should naturally have expected that many minds, on the way from superstition to infidelity, or on the way back from infidelity to superstition, would have stopped at an intermediate point. Between the doctrines taught in the schools of
the Jesuits, and those which were maintained at the little supper parties of the Baron Holbach, there is a vast interval, in which the hunian mind, it should seem, might find for itself some resting-place more satisfactory than either of the two extremes. And at the time of the Reformation, millions found such a resting-place. Whole nations then renounced Popery without ceasing to believe in a first cause, in a future life, or in the Divine authority of Christianity. In the last century, on the other hand, when a Catholic renounced his belief in the real presence, it was a thousand to one that he renounced his belief in the Gospel too; and when the reaction took place, with belief in the Gospel came back belief in the real presence.
We by no means venture to deduce from these phenomena any general law: but we think it a most remarkable fact, that no Christian nation, which did not adopt the principles of the Reformation before the end of the six teenth century, should ever have adopted them Catholic communities have, since that time, become infidel and become Catholic again but none has become Protestant.
Here we close this hasty sketch of one of the most important portions of the history of mankind. Our readers will have great reason to feel obliged to us if we have interested them sufficiently to induce them to peruse Professor Ranke's book. We will only caution them against the French translation-a performance which, in our opinion, is just as discreditable to the moral character of the person from whom it proceeds, as a false affidavit or a forged bil of exchange would have been; and advis them to study either the original, or the English version, in which the sense and spirit of the original are admirably preserved.
COWLEY AND MILTON.*
"Referre sermones Deorum et
The wind was pleasant; the evening fine; the sky, the earth, and the water beautiful to look upon. But Mr. Cowley and I held our
I HAVE thought it good to set down in writing | an hour on the river." To this they bom cheermemorable debate, wherein I was a listener, fully consented, and forth we walked, Mr. Cowand two men of pregnant parts and great repu-ley and I leading Mr. Milton between us, to the tation discoursers; hoping that my friends will Temple Stairs. There we took a boat, and not be displeased to have a record both of the thence we rowed up the river. strange times through which I have lived, and of the famous men with whom I have conversed. It chanced in the warm and beautiful spring of the year 1665, a little before the sad-peace, and said nothing of the gay sights around dest summer that ever London saw, that I went to the Bowling-Green at Piccadilly, whither at that time the best gentry made continual resort. There I met Mr. Cowley, who had lately left Barnelms. There was then a house preparing for him at Chertsey, and till it should be finished he had come up for a short time to London, that he might urge a suit to his Grace of Buckingham touching certain lands of her majesty's whereof he requested a lease. I had the honour to be familiarly acquainted with that worthy gentleman and most excellent poet, whose death hath been deplored with as general a consent of all powers that delight in the woods, or in verse, or in love, as was of old that of Daphnis or of Gallus.
After some talk, which it is not material to set down at large, concerning his suit and his vexations at the court, where indeed his honesty did him more harm than his parts could do him good, I entreated him to dine with me at my lodgings in the Temple, which he most courteously promised. And that so eminent a guest might not lack a better entertainment than cooks or vintners can provide, I sent to the house of Mr. John Milton, in the Artillery Walk, to beg that he would also be my guest. For, though he had been secretary, first to the Council of State, and after that to the Protector, and Mr. Cowley had held the same post under Lord St. Albans in his banishment, I hoped, notwithstanding, that they would think themselves rather united by their common art than divided by their different factions. And so indeed it proved. For while we sate at table they talked freely of many men and things, as well ancient as modern, with much civility. Nay, Mr. Milton, who seldom tasted wine, both because of his singular temperance, and because of his gout, did more than once pledge Mr. Cowley, who was indeed no hermit in diet. At last, being heated, Mr. Milton begged that I would open the windows. "Nay," said I, "if you desire fresh air and coolness, what should hinder us, as the evening is fair, from sailing
*A Conversation between Mr. Abraham Cowley and Mr. John Milton, touching the Great Civil War.-Set down by
a Gentleman of the Middle Temple.
us, lest we should too feelingly remind Mr.
"I know not," said Mr. Cowley,