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“ should change for the worse.
There is no longer any order in the communities. I acknowledge the great evils which we have occasioned in the church, by rejecting, with so much imprudence and precipitation, THE AUTHORITY OF THE POPE. The
people is now without bridle or curb, and despises “ all authority; as if, by abolishing the papacy, we “ had suppressed, in the same manner, the power “ of the servants of the church, and the efficacy of “the sacraments! Everyone now exclaims,“ I have enough to guide myself! As I have the
gospel to lead me to the discovery of Jesus Christ “ and his doctrines, what need I of other help? “ All the waters of the Elbe," Melancthon* writes to one of his correspondents, “would not give me “ sufficient tears to bewail the miseries of the re“ formation. The people will never submit to the “ yoke, which the love of liberty had made them " throw off. Our partizans fight, not for the gos“pel, but ascendancy. Ecclesiastical discipline no “ longer exists. Doubts are entertained on the “ most important subjects: the evil is incurable.”
Bishop Burnett gives the following view of the state of morality in England, in the reign of Edward VI:-“The sins of England did, at that “time, call down from heaven heavy curses. They “ are sadly expressed in a discourse that Ridley "wrote after, under the title of the Lamentation
of England: he says, that " lechery, oppression, “ pride, covetousness, and a hatred and scorn of
* Melancth. Ep. 1. iv; Ep. 100–129.
" all religion, were generally spread among all
people; but chiefly those of higher rank.'” “ Lechery,” says Latimer, “is used in England, “ and such lechery, as is used in no other part of “ the world. And it is made a matter of sport, “ a trifle, not to be passed on or reformed.”. I might cite passages equally strong upon the state of morals in the reign of queen Elizabeth, both from Strype *, a zealous advocate for the reformation, and Camden, the queen's historiographer ; but I have no pleasure in describing such scenes, and nothing short of your strong abuse, and, -I must say,--misrepresentation of the religion and morals of catholics in catholic times, would have induced me to transcribe the preceding passages. --With one question more, however, I beg leave to trouble
you. You are undoubtedly acquainted with the following strange passages in different works of Luther: he first describes his conduct and feelings, while he remained within the pale of the catholic religion, and observed the rules of his order :" When “ I lived in my monastery, I punished my body “ with watching, fasting and prayer ; I observed
my vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. " Whatsoever I did, it was with singleness of heart; “ with good zeal, and for the glory of God, &c. “I feared grievously the last day, and was, from “ the bottom of my heart, desirous of being saved 7." Here, he presents us with a picture at once amiable and respectable; and, as there is no reason to sup
• Strype's Mem. Eccl. book i, c. 23. + Ad Gal. c. 1, tom. N.
pose that Luther excelled, in piety, the generality of his companions, it may be considered a fair representation of the general character of the members of religious orders when the reformation broke out.
Now hear the description, which he gives of him, self, after he had commenced reformer :-“I am
burnt,” he said, “ with the flames of my untamed “ flesh; I am mad almost with the rage of lust, " and the desire of women. I, who ought to be “ fervent in spirit, am fervent in impurity, in sloth, “ &c. Relying on the strong foundation of my “ learning, I yield not, in pride, either to the em
peror, prince or devil ; no, not to the universe w itself*.”—What can you say on his allowance of divorce and polygamyt, of the permission granted by him, Melancthon, Bucer, and five other ministers, to the prince of Hesse Cassel, to have two wives at the same time I?
You also know the strange poetical effusion of Beza,
“ Abest Candida - Beza quid moraris !"
Resp. ad Maled. Regni Angliæ. I transcribe doctor Fletcher's translation of these three passages. Sermons, vol. %, p. 116, 117.,
+ Tertia ratio divortii est, ubi alter alteri subduxerit, ut debitam benevolentiam persolvere nolit, aut habitare cum renuerit ; hic opportunum ut maritus dicat: Si tu renueris alter volet : si domina noluerit veniat ancilla. Serm. de Matrimonio, tom. v. 123.
| Bossuet, Var. L. vi. The originals of these extraordinary documents, relating to this permission, were first pubJished by a descendant of the prince to whom it was given.
Now, in all the legends, in all the other monkeries, --I use your own words,--which you have so strongly vituperated, is there even one so scándalous, or so likely to corrupt the morals of its readers, as these passages in the works of the acknowledged patriarchs of your church ?
Was the Revival of Letters owing to the Reformation,
or materially forwarded by it? The great advances, which were made in every branch of literature, both on the Continent and in England, previously to the reformation, are kept in the background by yourself, and most other writers against the roman-catholic religion, so that the generality of readers think, that the revival of polite literature was entirely owing to the reformers; but justice should be done to our catholic ancestors.
Before the first dawn of the reformation, literature, the sciences, and the arts, had found munificent protectors in Nicholas V, Sixtus IV, and more than one Medicean pope ; in Besarion, Lionel and Borsus, at Ferrara ; in the Viscontis, the Sforsias, and Lewis Morus, at Milan ; in the dukes of Urbino ; in Alphonsus of Arragon, at Naples ; in Mathias Corvinus, in Hungary; in Charles VII, Lewis XII, and Francis 1, in France ; in James IV, of Scotland ; and Henry VIII, of England. Before the end of the fifteenth century, the presses had been worked in thirty-four towns in France; Nicholas v. had founded the
library of the Vatican; Besarion had given his magnificent collection to Venice'; and the old and the young had crowded to the Greek school of Emanuel Chrysoloras*. You are not unacquainted with the many ladies, who, in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, were illustrious for learning and science ; you know that some even filled chairs of professors in the universities of Italy. During the same centuries, literature flourished so much in Germany, that the celebrated Reuchlin was accustomed to say, that “Greece had traversed the Alps, " and settled among his countrymen.” Between the years 1403 and 1506, more than ten universities had been founded on Germani soil; and im. proved courses of literature had been established in Deventer, Kempten, Alkmaar, Munster, Heidleberg, Worms, and various other Teutonic towns. Between the years 1455 and 1536, more than TWENTY-TWO MILLIONS THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND volumes had issued from various presses t; and, long before the name of Luther was heard, Cimabue, the father of the modern school of painting, had produced noble specimens of his art ; Brunelleschi had revived, at Florence, the forms of antient architecture; and Dante had produced his Divina Comedia.
Survey the long line of towns in Belgium ; those which adorn Lombardy; the many public edifices of
* See the Recherches sur les Bibliothèques, p. 82.207. 233, and A. H. L. Heeren's Geschichte der Kunste und der Wis. senschaften, sèit der Wiederherstellung derselben. + Recherches sur les Bibliothèques, p. 180.