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Wickliffe has been usually allowed to have been the forerunner of Huss, and Huss of Luther; but even Wickliffe seems to have been but the avowed representative of a very large portion of his countrymen, and the organ by which they spoke sentiments hitherto suppressed, through dread of consequences. He neither believed in the supremacy of the pope, nor in tiansubstantiation, nor in the right of the clergy to inonopolize the Scriptures; yet, so far were his decirines from being cffensive to the people, that when he was brought before the bishops at Lambeth, they clamored for his release ; so far were his tenets from being unpopulır, that persons holding them travelled from county to county, preaching them, not only in churches and churchyards, but in markets and fairs, 'to the great emblemishing (as it was said) of the Christian faith.' Knyghton, a contemporary historian, does not scruple to say, 'that you coull not meet two people in the way, but one of them was a disciple of Wickliffe ;' and Wickliffe himself asserts, that the third part of the clergy thought with him on the Lord's Supper, and would defende that doctrine on paine ot theyr lyfe.' Nor will this be matter of surprise, when it is recollected that some centuries before Wickliffe's translation of the New Testament, Saxon versions, of portions of the Gospels at least, had been made,ó for the edification,' as it is expressly said, “of the simple, who know only this speech. Spirits congenial to Wickliffe were already in Bohemia, where the effect of his writings was acknowledged by the severity with which they were suppressed. The Albigenses had leen denounced by canons, preached at by St. Bernard, and tortured by St. Dominic, so early as the twelfth century. Abont the same period Peter Waldo lifted up his voice at Lyons, with a success that called forth the anathema of the pope; and the valleys of the Alps were peopled, from an age the most remote, with a race of hardy mountaineers, whose seclusion had preserved their faith froin corruption, and whose Protestant tenets are the subject of authentic record to this day. It is the testimony of an enemy, (Raynerius,) and therefore above suspicion, that they did not believe in modern miracles, rejected extreme unction and offerings for the dead, denied the doctrines of transubstantiation, purgatory, and the invocation of saints, and, to sum up all, regarded the church of Rome as the woman of the Revelations. It is true, that he mixes up these ac. cusations of heresy with heavy charges against their morals; but this has ever been the artifice, both of pagans and of Catholics, to crush a rising sect. In the present instance, nothing is wanted to expose the futility of such charges, but to compare them with those of others no less hostile, (as the learned Usher his done,) when it will be found that “their testimony agreeth not together.' On the other hand, the more friendly voice of La Nobla Leycon, a Waldensian document written about the year 1100, and the authority of which has never been questioned, enforces the law of the ten comandments, that against idols not excepted; the duty of searching the Scriptures; as also of praying to the Trinity, though without a word in favor of the invocation of saints or the Virgin; and represents confession and absclution as unavailing, the power of forgiving sins, though claimed by the priest, belonging to God alone. With the history of this heroic band of brothers the public has, of late, been made familiar.* But whilst the sufferings and the constancy of the original stock of the Vaudois have claimed and received sympathy of every man who has a heart, the fate of a colony, which it sent forth to seek its fortunes in the south of Italy, has been unworthily overlooked.
. In the year 1370,' writes the learned and able author now before us,' the Vaudois, who resided in the valleys of Pragela, finding themselves straitened in their territories, sent some of their number into Italy, to look out for a convenient settlement. Having discovered in Calabria a district uncultivated and thinly peopled, the deputies bargained with the proprietors of the soil, in consequence of which a number of their brethren emigrated thither. Within a short time, the place assumed a new appearance : villages rose in every direction; the hills resounded with the bleating of flocks; and the valleys were coyered with corn and vines. The prosperity of the new settlers excited the envy of the neighboring villagers, who were irritated at the distance which they preserved, and at their refusal to join with them in their revels and dissipation. The priests, finding that they received nothing from them but their tithes, which they paid regularly, according to the stipulation entered into with the proprietors; and perceiving that they practised none of the ceremonies usual at the interring of their dead, that they had no images in their chapels, did not
* By the Church Histories of Milner and Jones.-Ed.
go in pilgrimage to consecrated places, and had their children educated by foreign teachers, whom they held in great honor, began to raise the cry of heresy against the simple and inoffensive strangers. But the landlords, gratified to see their grounds so highly improved, and to receive large rents for what had formerly yielded them nothing, interposed in behalf of the ts: and the priests, finding the value of their tithes yearly increase, resolved, prudently, to
v received accessions to its numbers by the arrival of their brethren, who fled from the persecutions raised against them in Piedmont and France; it continued to fourish when the Reformation dawned on Italy; and, after subsisting for nearly two centuries, it was basely and barbarously exterminated.'
Thus do we find, that, at either extremity of Italy itself, to say nothing of other heretical countries, which were in constant communication with Italy, bodies of men were living depositories of the true faith, more or less complete, during a period which, as the Roman Catholic church would persuade us, exhibited universal concurrence in her doctrines, and submission to her decrees.
Meanwhile, in spite of the jealousy with which the clergy endeavored to keep exclusive possession of the Scriptures, several translations into the Italian, ill done indeed, but still indicating the latent spirit, whose workings we are examining, made their appearance in the fourteenth century, if not earlier; while that of Malermi, a monk of Cameldovi, was printed at Venice in 1471, and is said to have gone through no less than nine editions in the ensuing thirty years. Indeed the establishment and continuance of the inquisition, a contrivance, expressly for the extinction of freedom of opinion in matters of faith, is, of itsell, a most distinct acknowledgement, on the part of the Roman Catholic church, how early there existed a formidable opposition to her dogmas; and, accordingly, when that opposition developed itself more fully after the preaching of Luther, those sanguinary tribunals were proportionally multiplied, as the legitimate and approved extinguishers of heresy.
Luther must, under any circumstances, have made a noise in the world ; but had the church been wise enough to reform her practice in time, it is probable that her mere errors in faith. gross as we now think them, and as he very soon learned to think them himself, would not have provoked his scrutiny ; that his Zeal, like that of many other good men hefore him, would have found a vent in establishing a new order; and that St. Martin by this time might have figured in the Roman Catholic calendar, by the side of St. Benedict, or St. Francis. The necessity of a reform, indeed, had been admitted, and the council of Pisa had been recently called for the express purpose of examining into ecclesiastical abuses. But the examination was not undertaken and pursued in an honest and good heart; otherwise it is possible the church of Rome might have continued unscathed for some years longer, at least till a better knowledge of the Scriptures should have exposed, as it always must, its unsoundness and error. The council of Pisa was rendered abortive by the intrigues of the pope ; and, instead of strengthening the church, only served to supply Luther with an additional argument, that by its own confession, it was full of abuse. The criti. cal opportunity of self-correction was thus lost, and at last the sound of a Reformation indeed, wherein the pleasure of the pontiff was no longer to be consulted, reached the Vatican.
Now was the power of the press, for the first time, made known. Heretical pamphlets, catechisms, ballads, and caricatures, broke loose in a body. Now were to be seen, on tavern walls, foxes preaching in full canonicals, with the neck of a goose peeping out of a pocket; wolves in sheep's clothing confess. ing and granting absolution ; monkeys, in the habit of Franciscans, sitting beside a sick man's bed, with one hand on a crucifix and the other in his fob. It was a war without quarter. A medicine which, if well-timed, may cure, given out of scason, may kill. The qucasy stomach of the Roman Catholic church had kicked at a council which might have done it good, but now cries out in a panic for another which has disa rreed with it. The council of Trent was probably the last of its kind, extorted by a belief that the times admitted of no less remedy. The instructions which it sent forth to the parochial clergy in the form of a cateclrism (Catechismus ad Parochos) give ample token of the alarm which the church of Rome now felt. The most feverish anxiety for the dignity and authority of the priest may be perceived throughout, and texts are distorted for his praise and glory with a most ludicrous ingenuity. The silver shuines are in danger, and there is evidently no small stir ainong the
craftsmen. As it is a document which is allowed by Mr. Butler himself* still to speak the sense of this church, we will give our readers a few of its practical applications of Scripture. The gospels for the day are to be made profitable to the edification of the people, as follows:- You shall find an ass' colt tied, loose it,' &c. Here the priest may remark, that the right of granting absolution may thus be collected to have been conferred upon the clergy, the successors of the apostles. The same doctrine is to be derived from the words · Loose him and let him go;' which our Lord uttered when Lazarus came forth bound with grave clothes. That the words were addressed to the disciples in particular, does not appear indeed from the Evangelist; but the catechism says they were, knowing it probably from tradition. Send her away, for she crieth after us,' furnishes an argument that intercession is made for us by the saints. “Jesus was castiny out a devil, and it was dumb :' who does not here discover the doctrine of confession? The devil prevents the sinner from confessing to the priest, and can only be ejected when the tongue is set free. Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?' The bread alone, therefore, had the property of quenching thirst, as well as appeasing hunger ; hence the propriety of communion in one kind only for the laity. “And He went into a ship that was Peter's.' Here our Lord signifies that Peter was to be the head of the church; or, as old Latimer has it in one of his sermons, he says in effect, ‘Peter, I do mean this by sitting in thy boat, that thou shalt go to Rome and be Bishop there, five and twenty years after mine ascension, and all thy successors shall be rulers of the universal church after thee.' "And there came down a certain priest that way.' This is a text which requires some delicacy in the handling, seeing that the priest does not figure to any advantage in the history. The man that fell among thieves, however, is human nature; sin inflicted the wounds; our Lord is the Samaritan; and when he gives two pence to the host, he teaches that the care of the church is to be committed to a single individual! According to the interpretation of the same catechism, the fifth commandment, ' Honor thy father and thy mother' &c., implies, amongst other things, that children are bound to provide their parents with confessors before they die, to bury them with handsome obsequies, and to establish annual masses for their souls; and, lest the congregation should be at a loss to know why there are seven sacraments, neither more nor less, it instructs their pastor to explain, that natural religion points to this number; that man, as a social being, has need of seven things: 1. to be born ; 2. to grow up; 3. to be sustained ; 4. to be recovered from sickness; 5. to be recruited in strength; 6. to be subject to government; 7. to propagate his kind :—that therefore, as a spiritual being, he has also need of the seven antitypes, namely, 1. Baptism; 2. Confirmation; 3. the Eucharist; 4. Penance ; 5. Extreme unction ; 6. Orders; 7. Marriage. Finally, as it further to exalt the dignity of his oifice, the priest is to communicate to his flock many of the more secret councils of heaven which are hidden from the vulgar; that at the resurrection, for instance, our bodies will be disfigured by no deformity; that they will be neither too fat nor too lean ; that the wounds of the martyrs will then ernit rays of light, exceeding in brightness gold and precious stones. He is to exhort them to confess not only the sin, but the circumstances which attend it, and by which it might be aggravated; as, for instance, in the case of murder, whether it was committed upon a layınan or an ecclesiastic. Moreover, he is to teach that Christ and the priest are the same, the latter when he consecrates the elements, saying, This is my body ; not, This is the body of Christ; that no common reverence is due to a man who can produce and present the body and blood of our Lord, and who hath power on earth · to forgive sins ;' a faculty, it is added, passing human reason to comprehend, and the like to which cannot be found in the world beside.
Whatever weight, however, such arguments ought to live had, the Italians do not appear to have thought them conclusive. The writings of Luther and Melancthon, of Zuingle and Bucer, continued to be circulated covertly throughout Italy; and in translations, and under fictitious titles, some of them made their way even into the Vatican. Dr. M:Crie gives evidence the most satisfactory, that in almost every principal city the cause of the Reformation had numerous friends. Ferrara was full of them; even foreign Protestants resorted to it as an asylum. Marot, the not inelegant translator of the Psalms into French, fled thither from persecution ; and Calvin himself sojourned there for several months, receiving distinguished attention from the dutchess, and confirming
* A recent apologist for the Roman Catholic Church.--Ev.
her in the sentiments of the reformers, which she had already embrared. Of Modena, its own bishop complains, in a letter to Cardinal Contarene, thai, by common report, the whole city was turned Lutheran.' Florence was less corrupted; yet Brucioli, whose version of the New Testament, and indeed all his works, “published or to be published,' were formally interdicted at the council of Trent, was a Florentine ; and so was Carneseca, the inartyr. The people of Bologna expressed their earnest desire that the emperor should interfere to procure for them liberty of conscience in matters of religion, or, if this could not be granted, that they inight at least 'be allowed to purchase Bibles without incurring the charge of heresy; and to quote Christ and St. Paul, without being branded as Lutherans. Venice was at that time a powerful, independent, and zealous republic, with a printing-press the most efficient in the world, and with opportunities, from her commerce both by sea and land, of making its productions known throughout Christendom. Letters were as a branch of trade at Venice. To its merchants were consigned the books of the German and Swiss reformers, and over Italy and elsewhere, there issued from this ark, as it rode amidst the waters, the dove of peace. Here the evangelical doctrine had made such progress between the years 1530 and 15-12, that its friends, who had hitherto mei in private for mutual instruction and re. ligious exercises, held deliberations on the propriety of organizing themselves into regular congregations, and assembling in public. Several members of the senate were favorable to it, and hopes were entertained, at one time, that the authority of that body would be interposed in its behalf.
Melancthon addressed a letter to them upon the subject, and though numbers in that city were found, as we shall presently see, faithful to the death, the government would not declare in favor of the Reformation at that critical inoment, or perhaps a new impulse might have been thereby given to her fortunes, now passing the meridian; and instead of the melancholy wreck of former greatness which she exhibits at this day, she might have continued a queen for ever. The new opinions were not confined to the capital; Vicenza, Treviso, and other places in the Venitian territory, partook of them.
"If it be God's will,' write the brethren of those parts to Luther, that we obtain a truce, what accessions will be made to the kingdom of Christ, in faith and charity! How many preachers will appear to announce Christ faithfully to the people! How many prophets, who now lurk in corners, exanimated with undue fears, will come forth to expound the Scriptures.'
The Milanese, as early as the year 1524, had caught the infection. The vicinity of the Vaudois contributed to spread it in this part of Italy, and the disorders of a district which had long been the seat of war left no leisure for extirpating it. Nor was it in the north of Italy only that this spirit had gone forth. The German soldiers, who, after the sack of Rome, in 1527, for some time garrisoned the city of Naples, are supposed to have carried with them the Lutheran doctrines, which, indeed, were not new in Calabria. Valdez, a layman of remarkable prudence and talent, watered this hopeful plant; and Ochino and Peter Martyr, names well known in the annals of our own church, gave it further increase. For here it was, that the theologian who afterwards occupied the divinity-chair at Oxford, first studied the Scriptures ; and here it was that the preacher who was pronounced by Charles V. a man to make the stones weep, first lifted up the reformer's voice. Even Sicily felt the influence of a Luther.
Benedetti, surnamed Locarno, from the place of his birth, a minister of great sanctity, having gained the favor of the viceroy, preached the truth, under his patronage, to crowded audiences, in Palermo, and other parts of that island. The seeds of his doctrine afterwards sprung up, and gave ample employment to the inquisitors. For many years, persons charged with the Lutheran heresy were produced in the public and private outos da fè celebrated in Sicily.'
We have run some risk of being thought tedious in our details, though we have not nearly gone the round of Italy with Dr. M'Crie, who has prosecuted this part of his subject with great diligence. Less, however, would not have sufficed to show, at all adequately, how effectually the state of public opinion of which we have already spoken, had prepared the way for a reformation in Italy; and how remarkable a progress the great cause had actually made there. Well might the church of Rome believe that a movement so universni was not to be put down by a Catechismus ad Parochos alone; and that the effect of such logic must be accelerated by exile, imprisonment, and the flames.
HINTS ON THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF NEW ENGLAND TO THE REST OF THE UNITED STATES, IN A MORAL
AND RELIGIOUS VIEW.
While the tide of population and enterprise in the United States, is setting on to the west, with increasing rapidity, prostrating before it the forests of the wilderness, laying under contribution to human weal the creeks and majestic rivers, the inland seas, the rich soil, the smaller and the wide stretching prairies, the undulating regions, the hills and mountains, which diversify so tastefully the continent of North America ; while the agriculture, the commerce, the villages and towns, and general internal improvements of the great valley of the Mississippi, are beginning to rival those of the Atlantic States; while the perpetual erection of new members of the Union, with the prospect of passing the Rocky mountains to the shores of the Pacific, is reducing almost to a point, that original and important section of the United States, distinguished by the name of New England, the cradle and nursery of intellect and virtue, from the first settlement of this country, teeming with everything most valuable for the production of manly character and enterprise, a region consecrated by the first planting of the foot, and by the prayers, of the Pilgrims, whose very hills, and mountains, and climate, and salubrious zephyrs, bespeak it the abode and sanctuary of health of body and of mind ;-with such a roll of the brief annals of the United States in our hand, the children of New England, partial to her soil, to her character, and to her institutions, anxiously inquire, what is to become of her influence, in the rapidly advancing career and augmenting power of this nation? It will be the object of this paper, to answer this question.
Federal influence, or the relative and combined influence, which is secured by the union of the States under the national compact, has already thrown its mantle over the regions and communities