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resting on that sole question, as if the Protestants uniformly denied the freedom of the will, which was asserted by the wiser Roman Catholics. But it has been said, and we think truly said, that all reformers and founders of sects are predestinarians; calmer established religions admit in some form the liberty of the will; the sterner doctrine is still that of sections or of sects. It survives and comes to life again under every form of faith, as with Augustine in the early Church, with Jansenius in the Church of Rome, with a powerful school among ourselves. To Luther, to men who work the works of Luther, the strong, firm, undoubting conviction of truth is the discernible voice of God within; it is the divine grace, which, as divine, must be irresistible, if not, the sovereignty of God is imperilled. This and this alone is the primal movement of justifying faith ; without this, the will is servile---servile to sin, servile to Satan; and as this grace is vouchsafed only to the chosen, stern inevitable predestinarianism settled down over the whole, and Luther shrunk not from the desolating consequences. But Erasmus had learned and taught a different interpretation of the Scriptures; he had worked it out from his biblical studies; he was most familiar with the Greek Fathers who had eluded or rejected, as uncongenial with their modes of thought, all these momentous questions, stirred up by Pelagianism. He had a great distaste for Augustine, to whom he preferred Jerome, as little disposed or qualified to plunge into those depths as himself.
Erasmus doubtless did not fully perceive, but Luther did, how this question lay at the root of his whole system. You struck at the throat of my doctrine, and I thank you for it from my heart, —so Luther closed his book on the Slavery of the Will. Luther spoke out his ‘paradox,' as Erasmus called it, in the most paradoxical form; for not only was it his own profound conviction, but he intuitively felt, he knew by daily
8 . Deinde et hoc in te vehementer laudo et prædico, quod solus præ omnibus rem ipsam es aggressus, hoc est, summam causa, nec me fatigaris alienis illis causis
experience among his followers, that in this lay the secret of his strength; that less than this would not startle mankind from the obstinate torpor, the dull lethargy, the ceremonial servitude, of centuries. This alone would concentrate the whole of Christianity on Christ, or on God through Christ; would make a new religion, not vicarious through the priesthood, but strictly personal; would break for ever the sacerdotal dominion, which had disposed so long, at its despotic arbitrement, of the human soul, and had become a necessity of the religious nature; would inaugurate the manhood of the mind, which must outgrow the period of tuition, and think and act for itself, and bear its own responsibility. Some of the best and most pious of the Romanists, Contarini, Sadolet, even for a time Pole, as Ranke has well shown, had embraced justification by faith, but they could not go farther and so be treacherous to their order; they did not see that this doctrine, to be efficacious, must stand alone, and must be severed from priestly authority. Luther was not a man to shrink from any extreme; he saw his way, as far as it went, clearly, and would not be embarrassed, even by inevitable and most repulsive difficulties, let what would follow even by logical inference. This doctrine magnified the sovereignty of God, therefore to him it was irrefragable; it was scepticism, impiety, atheism in others to call it in question. Yet even in his own day Melanchthon did not follow him to his stern conclusion. Melanchthon wrote at first with undissembled praise of the treatise of Erasmus. The later Lutherans have in general on this point deserted their master. It was accepted only in a very mitigated form by the Church of England. Wrought out with more fearless and unhesitating logic by his stern Genevan successor, it prevailed among the Puritans. Later, almost all the most learned, very many of the most pious of our Church, including John Wesley and his disciples, repudiated it. Erasmianism, as soon as the
de Papatu, Purgatorio, Induigentiis ac similibus nugis, potius quam causis in quibus me hactenus omnes fere venati sunt frustra. Unus tu et solus cardinem rerum vidisti et ipsum jugulum petiisti, pro quo ex animo tibi gratias ago.'
religious world calmed down, and so long as it is not in a state of paroxysmal struggle, usually renews its sway.
Erasmus and Luther, therefore, in this controversy were as little likely to come to a mutual understanding, as if each had written in a language unknown to the other. On the ear of Luther and the Lutherans the calm, cool philosophy of Erasmus, the plain and perspicuous but altogether passionless scriptural arguments, fell utterly dead. Even to us it must be acknowledged that there is something cold even to chillness, in the treatise of Erasmus—the nice balance of the periods, the elaborate finish of the style, the very elegance of the Latinity, seem to show that the heart of Erasmus had no part in the momentous question. There is something dubious, too, in the prudence with which he chose the subject, and so eluded all those other questions, indulgences, purgatory, pilgrimages, worship of saints, monkery, the power of the clergy and of the Pope, on which he might have been cited against himself, and in which he was the undoubted forerunner of Luther. And all this contrasts most unfavourably with the bold, the vehement, the honest, the profoundly religious tone of his adversary. With all its coarseness, almost its truculence, with all its contemptuous and arrogant dogmatism, with what might seem the study to present everything in the most alarming, almost repulsive, form, the treatise on the Servitude of the Will, though it leaves us unconvinced, rarely leaves us unmoved; there is an infelt and commanding religiousness which by its power over ourselves reveals the mystery of its wonderful power over his own generation. At all events the cold smooth oil of Erasmus had only made the fire burn more intensely; the intervention of the great scholar, of the first man of letters, of the oracle of Transalpine Christendom, instead of answering the sanguine expectation of the one side, or the awe on the other, was absolutely without effect : many Lutherans may have been exasperated, it may be doubted if one was changed in sentiment by the treatise on the Freedom of the Will, Erasmus, in his “Hyperaspistes,' or rather his two
Treatises, answered Luther. He had lost much of his serene temper, but gained neither fame nor authority. There is a kind of consciousness, which involuntarily betrays itself, that he had not improved his position. In truth he had estranged still further his natural allies, the Reformers; the Papalists, who at first hailed their champion with noisy acclamation, revenged their disappointment at his want of success, by the unmitigated rancour with which they fell upon his former works.
Yet still while Erasmus grew older and more infirm, the world darkened around him. Event after event took place, which threw him back more forcibly upon the tide of reaction. To all who were not yet disenchanted from the ancient, traditionary, almost immemorial majesty of the Papal See, who still honoured the Pope as the successor of St. Peter, as the Vicar of Christ, as the Head of the august unity of the Church and this was the case with Erasmus, the friend of more than one pope—what was the effect of the taking of Rome by the Constable Bourbon, with all its unspeakable horrors 3—the flight, the imprisonment, the abasement of the Pope himself? It is true that in that act of high treason against the spiritual sovereign, with all its insults and cruelties, the Catholic Spaniards of the Constable were as deeply concerned as the Lutheran Germans of George Frondsberg.
But while at Basil Erasmus was sacrificing his peace at the
• The Lutherans bitterly complained of its tone ; they called it the Aspis, for its venom ; but its wearisome prolixity must, even in its own day, have checked its malice.
I There is a most remarkable admission in a late Letter of Erasmus-all these questions ought only to be discussed, and temperately, by learned mem-' et quæ Lutherus urget, si moderatè tractentur, meå sententiâ propius accedunt ad vigorem Erangelicum.'- Epist. 1053, June 1, 1529.
? How deeply this awe was rooted in the mind of Christendom, may be best conjectured from the profoundly-reverent tone with which Luther himself wrote of the Pope, but a year or two before his final revolt. See his two letters in De Wette, in 1518 (p. 1119) and 1519 (p. 233).
* See Epist. 988. Among all its horrors (this is characteristic) Erasmus is most wrathful at the destruction of Sadolet's noble library: O barbariem inauditam! Quæ fuit unquam tanta Scytharum, Quadorum, Wandalorum, Hunnorum, Gothorum immanitas, ut non contenta quicquid erat opum diripere, in libros, rem sacratissimam, sæviret incendio.'
bidding of the Papalists, at Paris his books were proscribed, his followers burned at the stake. Of all the martyrs who suffered for the Reformation, none was more blameless, more noble, more calm and devout in his death, than Louis Berquin, The crime of Berquin was the translation, the dissemination, the earnest recommendation of the writings of Erasmus. His powerful adversary was the enemy of Erasmus—Noel Bedier, or, as he affected to call himself after our venerable bishop, Beda. Berquin was arrested, cast into prison, and the Sorbonne proceeded to issue an edict condemnatory of the writings of Erasmus. But the Queen-Mother, Louisa of Savoy, protected Berquin, and on the return of the King to Paris a royal mandate was issued for his release. He remained in Paris for three years (from 1526 to 1529), still openly disseminating the works of Erasmus. It was another of his crimes that he boldly asserted the duty of publishing the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, also a tenet of Erasmus, to whom he was personally unknown, but to whom he wrote, and received a reply urging him to prudence, to flight, and this not only on his own account, for it must be confessed that the selfish fear of Erasmus, lest he too should be imperilled by his manly disciple, seems to be his ruling motive. Unfortunately the profane mutilation of an image of the Virgin, in which Berquin was not even charged as in any way concerned, exasperated the impetuous and versatile Francis. Berquin was abandoned to his persecutors. He was scourged, condemned to see his books publicly burned, to make an abjuration in the Place de Grève, to have his tongue pierced with a hot iron, and to imprisonment for life. Berquin refused to abjure; he aggravated his offence by an appeal to the Pope and to the King. A vain appeal! He was sentenced to the flames. Nothing could surpass the holy serenity of his martyrdom. He seemed, as was reported by an eye-witness to Erasmus, as he marched to the stake, like one in his library absorbed in his studies, or in a church meditating on heavenly things. His mien and gestures, when he went to his death, were easy and quick, with nothing of defiance or sullen obstinacy. Six hundred soldiers were ordered