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signs of the fourth great peril of the Church of Rome. The storm which was now rising against her was of a very different kind from those which had preceded it. Those who had formerly attacked her had questioned only a part of her doctrines. A school was now growing up which rejected the whole. The Albigenses, the Lollards, the Lutherans, the Calvinists, had a positive religious system, and were strongly attached to it. The creed of the new sectaries was altogether negative. They took one of their premises from the Catholics, and one from the Protestants. From the former they borrowed the principle, that Catholicism was the only pure and genuine Christianity. With the latter they held that some parts of the Catholic system were contrary to reason. The conclusion was obvious. Two propositions, each of which separately is compatible with the most exalted piety, formed, when held in conjunction, the groundwork of a system of irreligion. The doctrine of Bossuet, that transubstantiation is affirmed in the Gospel, and the doctrine of Tillotson, that transubstantiation is an absurdity, when put together, produced by logical necessity the inserences 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 race— whose 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 subjeets of their lively satire and eloquent disquisitions. When an innocent man was broken
on the wheel at Toulouse—when a youth, guilty only of an indiscretion, was burned at Abbeville—when a brave officer, borne down by public injustice, was dragged, with a gag in his mouth, to die on the Place de Gréve, a voice instantly went forth from the banks of Lake Leman, which made itself heard from Moscow to Cadiz, and which sentenced the unjust judges to the contempt and detestation
with which the philosophers assailed the evangelical faith were borrowed from the evangelical morality. The ethical and dogmatical parts of the Gospel were unhappily turned against each other. On the one side was a church boasting of the purity of a doctrine derived from the apostles; but disgraced by the massacre of St. Bartholomew, by the murder of the best of kings, by the war of the Cevennes, by the destruction of Port-Royal. On the other side was a sect laughing at the Scriptures, shooting out the tongue at the sacraments, but ready to encounter principalities and powers in the cause of justice, mercy, and toleration.
lanthropy, triumphed for a time over religion accidentally associated with political and social 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 continent. 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 Parisian opinions spread fast among the educates. 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 progress
of all Europe. The really efficient weapons:
Irreligion, accidentally associated with phi
3f 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 fell— and great was the fall of it.
The movement went on with increasing speed. The first generation of the new sect passed away. The docurines of Voltaire were inherited and exaggerated by successors, who bore to nim the same relation which the Anabaptists-bore to Luther, or the Fifth-Monarchy men to Pym. At length the Revolution came. Down went the old Church of France, with all its pomp and wealth. Some of its priests purchased a maintenance by separating themselves from Rome, and by becoming the authors of a fresh schism. Some, rejoicing in the new license, flung away their sacred vestments, proclaimed that their whole life had been an imposture, insulted and persecuted the religion of which they had been ministers, and distinguished themselves even in the Jacobin Club and the Commune of Paris, by the excess of their impudence and ferocity. Others, more faithful to their principles, were butchered by scores without a trial, drowned, shot, hung on lamp-posts. Thousands fled from their country to take sanctuary under the shade of hostile altars. The churches were closed : the bells were silent; the shrines were plundered: the silver crucifixes were melted down. Buffoons, dressed in copes and surplices, came dancing the carmagnole even to the bar of the Convention. The bust of Marat was substituted for the statues of the martyrs of Christianity. A prostitute, seated in state in the chancel of Notre Dame, received the adoration of thousands, who exclaimed that at length, for "he first time, those ancient Gothic arches had resounded with the accents of truth. The 11ew 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 dving The absurd worship of the Goddess of Reason was, indeed, of short duration hut the deism of Robespierre and Lepaux was not less nostrie to the Catholic faith that the atheism of Clootz and Chaumette.
| Nor were the calamities of the Church con
tury. We feel that we are drawing too near our own time; and that, if we go on, we shall at the little supper parties of the Baron Hol. .
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. 1juring 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 thmrch 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 bictionary” 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 insidelity, 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
bach, there is a vast interval, in which the human 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 Englism version, in which the sense and spirit cf the original are admirably preserved.
0 0 WLEY ANI) MILTON."
“Referre sermones Deorum et
versed. It chanced in the warm and beautisul sprung of the year 1665, a little before the saddest 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 homour 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 3. desire fresh air and coolness, what should minder us, as the evening is fair, from sailing
*4 Conversation between Mr. Abraham Cowley and Mr. *okn Milton, touching the Great Civil War.—Set down by * Gentleman of the Middle Temple.
an hour on the river.” To this they botn cheer. fully consented, and forth we walked, Mr. Cowley and I leading Mr. Milton between us, to the Temple Stairs. There we took a boat, and thence we rowed up the river. 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 peace, and said nothing of the gay sights around us, lest we should too feelingly remind Mr. Milton of his calamity; whereof, however, he needed no monitor, for soon he said, sadly, “Ah, Mr. Cowley, you are a happy man. What would I now give for one more look at the sun, and the waters, and the gardens of this fair city ?” y I know not,” said Mr. Cowley, “whether we ought not rather to envy you for that which makes you to envy others; and that especially in this place, where all eyes which are not closed in blindness ought to become sountains of tears. What can we look upon which is not a memorial of change and sorrow, of fair things vanished, and evil things done? When I see the gate of Whitehall, and the stately pillars of the Banqueting House, I cannot choose but think of what I have seen there in sormer days, masques, and pageants, and dances, and smiles, and the waving of graceful heads, and the bounding of delicate feet. And then I turn to thoughts of other things, which even to remember makes me blush and weep;-of the great black scaffold, and the axe and the block, which were placed before those very windows; and the voice seems to sound in mine ears, the | lawless and terrible voice which cried out that the head of a king was the head of a traitor. There stands Westminster Hall, which who can look upon and not tremble to think how time, and change, and death confound the counsels of the wise, and beat down the weapons of the mighty? How have I seen it surrounded with tens of thousands of petitioners crying for justice and privilege : How have I heard it shake with fierce and proud words, which made the hearts of the people to burn within them? Then it is blockaded by dragoons and cleared by pikemen. And they who have conquered their mastergo forth trembling at the word of their servant. And yet a little while, and the usurper comes forth from it, in his robe of ermine, with the golden staff in one hand and the Bible in the other, amidst the roaring of the guns and the shouting of the people. And yet again a little while, and the doors are thronged with multitudes in black, |and the hearse and the plumes come forth, and the tyrant is borne, in more than royal pomp. to a royal sepulchre. A few days more, and his head is fixed to rot on the pinnacles of that very hall where he sat on a throne in his life, and lay in state after his death. When I think on all these things, to look round me makes me sad at heart. True it is that God hath restored to us our old laws, and the rightful line of our kings. Yet, how I know not, but it seems to me that something is wanting, that ol.r court hath not the old gravity, nor our people the old loyalty. These evil times, like the great deluge, have overwhelmed and confused all earthly things. And, even as those waters, though at last they abated, yet, as the learned write, destroyed all trace of the Garden of Eden, so that its place hath never yet been found, so hath this opening of all the floodgates of political evil effaced all marks of the ancient political paradise.” - “Sir, by your favour,” said Mr. Milton, “though, from many circumstances both of body and fortnne, I might plead fairer excuses for despondency than yourself, I yet look not so sadly either on the past or on the future. That a deluge hath passed over this our nation I deny not. But I hold it not to be such a deluge as that of which you speak, but rather a blessed flood, like those of the Nile, which in its overflow doth indeed wash away ancient landmarks, and confound boundaries, and sweep away dwellings, yea, doth give birth to many foul and dangerous reptiles. Yet hence is the fulness of the granary, the beauty of the garden, the nurture of all living things. “I remember well, Mr. Cowley, what you have said concerning these things in your Discourse of the Government of Oliver Cromwell, which my friend Elwood read to me last year. Truly, for elegance and rhetoric, that essay is to he compared with the finest tractates of Isocrates and Cicero. But neither that nor any other book, nor events which with other men have, more than any book, weight and authority, have altered my opinion that, of all the assemblies that ever were in this world, the best and the most useful was our Long Parliament. I speak not this as wishing to provoke debate, which neither yet do I decline.” Mr. Cowley was, as I could see, a little nettled. Yet, as he was a man of a kind disposition and a most refined courtesy, he put a force to himself, and answered, with more vehemence and quickness, indeed, than was his wont, yet not uncivilly.” “Surely, Mr. Milton, you speak not as you think. I am indeed one of those who believe that God hath reserved to himself the censure of kings, and that their crimes and oppressions are not to be resisted by the hands of their subjects. Yet can I easily find excuse for the violence of such as are stung to madness by grievous tyranny. But what shall we say for these men? Which of their just demands was not granted? Which even of their cruel and unreasonable requisitions, so as it were not inconsistent with all law and order, was refused? Had they not sent Strafford to the block and Laud to the Tower?. Had they not destroyed the Courts of the High Commission and the Star-Chamber? Had they not reversed the proceedings confirmed by the voices of the judges of England in the matter of shipVol. III.-53
money? Had they not taken from the king his ancient and most lawful power touching the . order of knighthood Had they not provided that, after their dissolution, triennial parlia- ments should be holden, and that their own power should continue till of their great condescension they should be pleased to resign it themselves | What more could they ask? Was it not enough that they had taken from their king all his oppressive powers, and many that were most salutary 1 Was it not enough that they had filled his council-board with his enemies, and his prisons with his adherents? Was it not enough that they had raised a furious multitude to shout and swagger daily under the very windows of his royal palace 4 Was it not enough that they had taken from him the most blessed prerogative of princely mercy; that, complaining of intolerance themselves, they had denied all toleration to others; that they had urged against forms scruples childish as those of any formalist; that they had persecuted the least remnant of the Popish rites with the fiercest bitterness of the Popish spirit? Must they besides all this have full power to command his armies and to massacre his friends? “For military command, it was never known in any monarchy, nay, in any well ordered republic, that it was committed to the debates of a large and unsettled assembly. For their other requisition, that he should give up to their vengeance all who had defended the rights of his crown, his honour must have been ruined if he had complied. Is it not therefore plain that they desired these things only in order that, by refusing, his majesty might give them a pretence for war? “Men have often risen up against fraud, against cruelty, against rapine. But when before was it known that concessions were met, with importunities, graciousness with insults, the open palm of bounty with the clenched fist of malice? Was it like trusty delegates of the Commons of England and faithful stewards of their liberty and their wealth, to engage them for such causes in civil war, which, both to liberty and to wealth, is of all things the most hostile. Evil indeed must be the disease which is not more tolerable than such a medicine. Those who, even to save a nation from tyrants, excite it to civil war, do in general but minister to it the same miserable kind of relief wherewith the wizards of Pharaoh mocked the Egyptian. We read that when Moses had turned their waters into blood, those impious magicians, intending not benefit to the thirsting people, but vain and emulous ostentation of their own art, did themselves also change into blood the water which the plague had spared. Such sad comfort do those who stir up war minister to the oppressed. But here where was the oppression? What was the favour which had not been granted! What was the evil which had not been removed" What further could they desire?”
“These questions,” said Mr. Milton, austere
ly, “have indeed often deceived the ignorant, but that Mr. Cowley should have been so beguiled, I marvel. You ask what more the Parliament could desire? I will answery"