« PreviousContinue »
formity, or to abandon their homes, because the popular mind was already cold or estranged. The Archduke Charles effected the same counter reformation in Illyria. Wolf Dietrich, Archbishop of Saltzburg, placed the alternative of strict conformity to the Romish worship, or emigration from his territory before his subjects. The recantation was attended by the most humilitating circumstances; they were obliged to perform public penance in the church, with lighted torches in their hands. Few submitted to this rude discipline—the greater number abandoned their native city. The strength, however, of the archiepiscopal government was shown by the establishment, at the same time, of a civil and an ecclesiastical despotism. The taxes were enormously increased, the civil privileges, especially of the farmers of the salt mines, invaded. Wolf Dietrich repaid the reluctant submission of his subjects by his lavish expenditure in their city. The Archbishop of Saltzburg became again the magnificent and arbitrary prelate of a former age.
It is curious to trace the indications of this new religious revolution in the ecclesiastical architecture of Southern Germany. The old cathedral still retains its rich German character (for the right of Germany to claim the invention, as well as the successful practice of what has been long called Gothic architecture, appears now clearly decided); in Vienna, the incomparably rich and graceful spire of St. Stephen's still soars above the city; the flying buttresses of the cathedral at Prague hang in the air, high above the eminence on which ranges the long line of the palace; but in general, even in the village churches, all is comparatively modern and Italian. The Palladian form, deteriorated, it must be confessed, by every whimsical variety of flat bottle-shaped domes, broken architraves, and mingled orders of pillars, prevails throughout; in general, there is not that traceable progressive development of the art, the silent encroachment of a new taste upon old established models; in many places the churches are seemingly all of the same date, as if Christianity were but recently settled in the country, or as if, in the anti-reformation, all the buildings desecrated by the profane presence of the Lutherans, had been swept away to give place to a new order of things. The Jesuit churches are in general of one model; simple, regular, if we may so speak, systematic buildings; with splendour enough to attract, but not to dazzle or bewilder the attention; not intended for the long processional services of, what we will presume to call, feudal Roman Catholicism, but for the regular daily devotion of a well-organized community. The form is usually the simple oblong, without aisles, and crossed, if at all, by a very shallow transept; nothing is left to the fancy or the caprice of the architect; the ornament often rich, and even lavish, conduces to the general effect. Nor are these churches any longer broken into the countless chapels, each peopled with its peculiar saint, which sometimes enrich, sometimes disfigure the older Gothic buildings; this idolism, if we refrain from the stronger and more invidious term idolatry, is subdued and mitigated; the Saviour and the Virgin, if not the exclusive, are far the predominant objects of veneration in the Jesuit churches. In every thing, in short, both in the general effect, and in the details of the service, there appears to have been a skilful accommodation to the state of the public mind at that period; all was artificial, yet decent, solemn, impressive; a kind of sober and sustained gravity; all rigidly Roman Catholic, but at the same time much which was most offensive to Protestant feeling, and to the more advanced state of Christian knowledge, was studiously suppressed or thrown into the background. Jesuitism had discarded much of the mythology of the older faith, and did not, like the other orders, obtrude its own. In a Franciscan or Dominican church the wonders of the founder are embodied in every sculpture or painting; in the Jesuits' the subjects are more frequently scriptural, or at least grounded on earlier tradition. Loyola is not the presiding or tutelar deity of the fane. Polytheisin is manifestly concentrating into something nearer to unity of worship.
We return to Professor Ranke. This anti-reformation took place chiefly during the eventful papacies of Gregory XIII. and Sixtus V. The altered position of the Pope might even have gratified the unmeasured ambition of the latter pontiff. Instead of beholding province after province crumble away from his decaying empire, he saw kingdoms gradually and voluntarily returning to their allegiance. Instead of winding with dark and tortuous policy through the affairs of Europe, balancing with a trembling hand the fortunes of the great Catholic powers, and timidly yielding his scarcely courted aid to one or the other; Italy overrun with foreign troops, ready to act against him at the beck of their sovereign; his own dominions either occupied by a turbulent nobility, or ravaged by a wild banditti ; his power everywhere precarious; his person scarcely secure, at least from insult, if not worse—the Pope now stood the acknowledged head of the great Catholic confederacy. His policy was clear and open. Spain was his submissive and devoted ally. The dominant party in France leaned upon him for support; or at least the rightful heir of the throne was unable to establish his claims without his consent, and without embracing the Catholic faith. His influence was steadily progressive in Germany. A large and flourishing part of the Netherlands had been reduced to submission. He was called upon to bless, though with prayers unratified in heaven, the banners of that mighty expedition which, by the subjugation of England, was to extinguish at once the last hopes of Protestantism. This extraordinary man united the severest practical wisdom with the wildest visions of ambition. The stern virtue which he enforced, the severe financial system which he introduced, his rigid and minute domestic economy, were mingled up with the most fantastic political schemes.' The son of the swineherd was Pope and having risen to that height, what was too remote, too vast, too impracticable for his hopes ?-he was in thought a papa Cæsar
Nil actum credens, dum quid superesset agendum.
He flattered himself for a long time that he was destined to put an end to the Turkish empire. He entered into relations with the East, with Persia, with the heads of some Arab tribes, with the Druses. He armed many galleys; Spain and Tuscany were to furnish others; and the sea armament was thus to come to the assistance of the King of Poland, Stephen Bathory, who was to conduct the invasion by land. The pontiff hoped to unite the whole forces of the north-east and southwest in this enterprise ; he persuaded himself that Russia would not only join, but subject itself to the King of Poland.
Another of his schemes was the conquest of Egypt, the junction of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea by the long imagined canal, the restoration of the old line of commerce. He would conduct a new crusade for the recovery of the Holy Land. If the re-establishment of the kingdom of Jerusalem should prove impracticable, the holy sepulchre was to be hewn out of the rock and transported to Italy. His native place Montalto was to be the more than Loretto of the Christian world ; or rather the same small district would contain, as it were, the birthplace and the burialplace of the Redeemer. If we are to trust a very curious paper in the library at Vienna, a Memoir of the Sieur de Schomberg, marshal of France, which in Mr. Ranke's opinion bears great marks of authenticity, in the mind of Sixtus nepotism attempted as it were a last flight, and that the highest to which it yet had soared. After the murder of the Guises, Count Morosino proposed on the part of His Holiness, that Henry III. should declare his nephew, who was to marry an Infanta of Spain, heir to the throne of France !!
Beyond, and as a close to all this splendid vista into futurity, rose the somewhat more substantial, but still visionary edifice of Roman greatness. Rome was again to be the religious capital of the world. From all countries, even from America, after a certain number of years, there was to be a general confluence of mankind to this acknowledged metropolis of Christianity. All the monuments of ancient art were to be changed into indications of the triumph of Christianity over heathenism ; a vast treasure was to be accumulated to maintain
the temporal power and greatness of the Roman see. Thus mingled together in the mind of this singular man the profoundest religious enthusiasm—the principle of his promptitude and perseverance in action as well as of the daring eccentricities of his imagination with the most consummate worldly prudence. His Oriental visions evaporated in some unconnected negotiations, and some brief correspondence ; scheme after scheme chased each other through his imagination; but his serious thoughts, and his active energies returned immediately, and were absorbed by the present and the practicable. The great object was to cement the whole force of Roman Catholicism to prevent the accession of Henry IV. to the throne of France. The whole life and soul of Sixtus appear wrapt up in this one engrossing object. He entertained not the least doubt of the cordial and zealous co-operation of the whole Roman Catholic world. What was his astonishment and his indignation when he heard that a Roman Catholic, an Italian power had recognized the title of the heretic, and actually congratulated him on his accession ! He at first condescended to entreat this rebellious power by the love of God not to commit itself so far, but to wait the issue of events. But Venice received the ambassador of Henry IV. Sixtus at once ordered the whole form of monition pronounced by Julius II. against the republic to be sought for and a new one prepared. The Venetian ambassador reported to the Senate, that if he were to repeat all which had been said by the Pope during his interview, the reading would occupy an hour and a half of their time. Mr. Ranke has given some of the more emphatic sentences, remarkable for the mingled resentment and respect for Venice—the courtesy and menace.
There is no misfortune so great as to fall out even with those we do not love; but with those we love, that indeed goes to the heart. It would indeed go to our heart (and he placed his hand on his breast) to break with Venice. Is the Signory then the greatest sovereign on the earth that it is set an example to others ? There is still a king of Spain, there is still an Emperor ! ... Has the republic any fears of Navarre ? We will protect her, if necessary, with all our powers; we