Page images

that suspicion of loose moral casuistry, which at a later period chilled their own activity, and rendered them an object of jealousy even where they were most feared ; pliant and subservient, but yet dangerous to the civil power; themselves educated up to the general knowledge of the time, and quietly assuming the education of the people as their peculiar province, this remarkable order, to whose good and evil influence history may hereafter do justice, founded by enthusiasm which bordered on insanity, but regulated by wisdom which approached to craft, came into the field in every part of Europe where it could find its way. In Germany its success was most rapid and complete. Urban, Bishop of Lambach, was the confessor of Ferdinand I. when the Emperor attended the Diet of Augsburg. Urban was one of the few prelates whose faith in the religion of Rome was still unshaken. In his own diocese he was an assiduous preacher, and enforced the unity of the Church upon his flock by popular addresses in the German language. In Augsburg he met the Jesuit Le Jay, who had already obtained some reputation by several conversions from Protestantism. By the advice of Urban, Ferdinand invited Le Jay, with twelve others of his order, to Vienna. He gave them a mansion, a chapel, and a pension, and shortly introduced them into the management of the university. In Cologne their establishment was more gradual and difficult, but there likewise they succeeded in gaining a footing: this was in the year 1566. In the same year they were recalled to Ingoldstadt, from which they had been expelled-and there likewise, after much opposition, they secured the same vantage ground. From these three central points they spread throughout Germany: from Vienna to Prague and other cities of Bohemia; from Cologne along the shores of the Rhine; from Ingoldstadt they overran the whole of Bavaria. They settled in Inspruck, in Munich, in Dillingen.

In 1551 they had no fixed settlement in Germany; in the year 1566 they comprehended within their sphere of operations Bavaria and the Tyrol, Franconia and Swabia, a great part of the Rhineland, and Austria ; they had penetrated into Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia.

Their influence was already evident: in the year 1561 the Papal nuncio declares that they are securing many souls, and performing great service to the Holy See.' This was the first repression of Protestant influence. The universities are the most important sphere of their action. Ingoldstadt became to Romanism what Wittenberg and Geneva were to Protestantism. Their system of teaching in the grammar schools was so successful, that it was found that children learned more in their schools in half a year than in other schools in two years; even Protestants withdrew their children from the more distant gymnasia, and placed them under the care of the Jesuits. They had schools for the poor, and every kind of institution for the improvement of the various orders.'

Our author appears to us to have seized the spirit of this remarkable revolution with singular felicity.

All great religious movements have succeeded through the great personal qualities of their authors, or the overbearing influence of new ideas. Here the effect was accomplished without producing anything great or original in religion (this is an imperfect rendering of the German, ohne grosse geistige production). The Jesuits might be learned and pious after their manner, but no one will say that their learning depended on the free impulse of the mind, or that their piety sprung from the depth and ingenuousness of a simple spirit. They were learned enough to obtain reputation, to command confidence, to form and to retain strong hold on their scholars; they attempted nothing more. Their piety was not only free from all moral blemish, it was positive and striking ; that was all they desired. Neither their devotion nor their learning struck into free, unlimited, or untrodden paths. Yet they had one thing which was their peculiar distinction-rigid method. Everything was calculated, for everything had its object. Such an union of wisdom sufficient for their purpose with indefatigable zeal, of study and persuasiveness, pomp and the spirit of caste, of universal propagandism through the world, and unity of the main principle, has never existed in the world before or since. They were laborious and imaginative; worldly-wise, yet full of enthusiasm ; above personal interest, each assisting the progress of the other. No wonder that they obtained so much success.-Ranke, ii. 34.

The most singular fact is, that in Germany they were almost all foreigners; the name of the order was at first unknown: they were called the Spanish priests.

In a

But one great cause of this strong Romish reaction Professor Ranke has passed over very lightly. In another work, a periodical one, devoted to historical and political subjects,Historisch-politische Zeitschrift,—which lies upon our table, it has recently been developed much more at length. valuable paper on the times of Ferdinand and Maximilian II., we presume by the editor Professor Ranke himself, their own internal feuds are justly represented as seriously prejudicial to the cause of the Protestants, and as greatly contributing to the unfortunate turn of affairs. This schism in the Protestant body was fatal but inevitable. The Reformation comprehended two classes of totally opposite character : the one consisted of calm and rational men, enlightened beyond their age, with great respect for human learning, and content to emancipate themselves from the superstition of the Papal Church, without too rigidly defining those articles of belief which are beyond the province of reason. The other class were more severe and systematic, following out, with a fearless logic, their own principles to the most startling conclusions; offering a creed as definite, as peremptory, as exclusive, as that of the Romanists now grounded on the decrees of the Tridentine Council; with an inquisition into minute observances as severe as that of the Papal Church, though unable to inflict penalties beyond the animadversions and the denunciations of their own community; with a principle of proscription, which condemned all mankind, who resisted their internal scheme of unity, as dogmatically as the Vatican did those who revolted from its despotism. The moment that the pressing danger from the common enemy was even suspended, the division of these two parties seemed inevitable. As long as Luther lived, notwithstanding the wild opinions broached in his day, notwithstanding the religious frenzies of the Anabaptists, still the respect, the awe of his great name, the authority which he justly assumed as the original leader of the Reformation, preserved some appearance at least of unity in the Protestant body. When he was removed, the first place fell of right to Melanchthon; but his

mild influence was little adapted to compel the conflicting elements of Protestantism into order. The character, perhaps the opinions, of Melanchthon might originally have led him to occupy the neutral ground by the side of Erasmus; but he had more moral courage, and was less accessible, perhaps less exposed, to the flatteries of the great, and his honest indignation at the abuses and errors of the Papal system had committed him too far in the strife. But the rigorous Protestant party suspected Melanchthon—not indeed, from one remarkable occurrence, without just grounds---of an inclination to compromise with the Papacy; they took deep offence at the classical studies which he introduced into the university of Wittenberg; his unhallowed taste for profane literature, they asserted, made him dwell with the same veneration on Homer as on St. Paul ; one of his pupils, Strigel, was charged with an admiration of Pindar bordering on heathen idolatry. But we must not trespass on this extensive province, which is foreign to our present discussion. Suffice it to say, that at this fatal time, when Romanism was concentrating all its energies for a decisive struggle—when Europe was no longer governed by the balanced power of France and Spain, but when the contest lay between the Papal and the Protestant interests—the Protestant republic was in all parts rent by fierce and hostile factions. The questions of justification and good works, and of the sacrament, were contested with an absorbing interest, which at least withdrew some of the most powerful minds from the greater controversy with the Papacy, and infused jealousy and alienation into the temporal as well as the theological leaders in the revolt from the domination of Rome. University was at war with university; the preachers expelled from the dominions of one of the Protestant Saxon houses not only found refuge-they were received with ardent welcome -by the other. The doctrines of the wilder Anabaptist sects, the scenes at Munster, could not but connect, in timid minds, the progress of Protestantism with that of social disorganization.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

To confine ourselves to a few instances—in Germany Bavaria was the centre of the Papal operations; and the Bavarian house engrossed the fame and the advantages derived from its unshaken devotion to the Roman See. It cannot be denied that in many countries the great argument which won the nobility to the cause of Protestantism was the possession of the Church property. Benefices, canonries, even bishoprics, if not directly usurped, were appropriated by ingenious devices to the benefit of the princely families. The sovereigns of the smaller states installed their sons, even when not of age, as a kind of administrators, in fact, as usurpers of the revenues, in the chapters of which the Protestants had gained possession. The Papacy, in its wisdom, saw the effect of these lures held out to the cupidity of the powerful ; by well-timed concessions it opened at once the golden path of preferment to the royal and noble houses. Young princes sprung up at once into wealthy bishops. Even the stern Pius V. relaxed his ecclesiastical rigour in favour of such devoted partisans of the Roman see.-E.g. Of all the secular princes of Germany none is so devotedly Catholic as the Duke of Bavaria. Wherefore for his gratification the pontiff has given permission to his son, who is not yet of the canonical age

determined by the council, to hold the bishopric of Freisingen; this mark of favour has been granted to no one else.

With the same sagacious accommodation to the circumstances of the times, the Pope either authorized or took no notice of usurpations on cloister property, or interference with appointments to bishoprics, which a short time before would have been resisted as sacrilegious infringements on the privileges of the Church. Duke Albert, in short, by degrees, fully succeeded in all his schemes for the re-establishment of Romanism and the aggrandizement of his own temporal power. The refractory states were awed into submission; all the professors in the University of Ingoldstadt were compelled to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent; every one employed in a public office was bound to take an oath of adherence to the Pope, or dismissed from his place; in Lower Bavaria not only

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »