From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

REFORMATION. The reformation of the church, in its head and members, had become the watchword of all the lovers of morality and religion as early as the fifteenth centuiy. Christianity, which was intended to elevate mankind, and to make them happy, had been diverted more and more, in the hands of its priests, from its original design. The successful endeavors of the Roman bishops to extend their spiritual sway over all Christendom, to direct the actions of kings, and the improvement of society, undoubtedly contributed much, in the confusion of the ages which followed the irruption of the barbarians into Southern Europe, to soften the savage manners of the race which had trampled down the old world, with whatever remained of refinement. The Christian missionaries and monks sowed the seeds of milder manners in the German forests, and among the northern oarbarians, and promoted the civilization of the converted nations. Many beneficial consequences resulted from the unity of faith and worship; from the dependence of all the Western churches on Rome; from that legislative supremacy over the nations which compelled the popes (q. v.) to adopt a settled policy, in the middle ages; and the Roman church may justly claim great merit in regard to the gradual formation of European society. But the church enjoyed her victory with so little moderation ; her servants violated so openly, in their lives and doctrines, the spirit of their Divine Master, that the opposition to priestly despotism which had early arisen in the East, and had been transmitted through numerous sects to the secret societies of the middle ages, became quite active in the thirteenth century, and grew more violent in proportion as the papal power sought to exterminate it with fire and sword. The question, What is truly Christian, and conducive to human happiness, in the doctrines and usages of the Roman church ? must often have been suggested to the minds of sincere clergymen and intelligent laymen. The arrogance of the priests exasperated the princes; the encroachments of the mendicant friars did injury to the secular ecclesiastics; and a thousand innocent victims of the inquisition called for vengeance. Still the authority of the pope over the public mind, even in the fourteenth century, was such as scarcely to suffer the murmurings of discontent to be heard. The writings of Wickliffe (q. v.) in England soon reached the continent, and aroused Huss (q. v.), with his Bohemian followers. But the fifteenth century was not ripe for a REFORM, and the papal party was strong enough to suppress every attempt towards improvement, as appears alike from the conduct of the princes and the people at the breaking out of the Hussite disturbances, and from the results of the councils of Constance and Basle. But, soon after, theviews of scholars were enlarged by the study of the classics, revived by the emigration of a few learned Greeks ; the means of information were vastly increased by the art of printing; materials for thinking were laid before the people by instructive works in the vulgar tongues, and by the new universities, of which seven were instituted in Germany alone, between 1451 and 1502; the number of learned men increased; and the intelligence for which the reformation was to open a way, began to act generally and powerfully. The REFORM, which the liberal divines had warmly advised, with little success, now waited but the call of a master spirit. Savonarola (q. v.) arose fortius purpose in Florence ; but the same funeral pile consumed him and his work together. Some monarchs also attempted something. Charles VIII of France caused the Sorbonne, in 1497, to declare it expedient that a council should be held every ten years for effecting REFORMs in the church, and that otherwise the bishops should assemble for that purpose. Maximilian! laid before the Roman court the strong remonstrances of the German princes, passed in the diets of 1500 and 1510. By the influence of France, an independent council was held at Pisa, in 1511, in spite of pope Julius II; but, although its few speakers conducted themselves with great boldness, it was soon overthrown by its own weakness, and by the decrees of the council in the Lateran,which wasopposedto it in 1512, and which served, in the hands of the pope, to palliate his measures anew. In general, in all the plans that had been proposed for the reformation of the abuses of the church, on one side political ends had too often been intermixed, and on the other, in the heat of zeal against individu al wrongs, the chief faults in the docrrai€ and discipline of the church, from which all the other evils originated, had been toe much overlooked. Hence nothing took place but fruitless disputes and violent persecutions of the innovators, or futile political negotiations, in which the pope always prevailed in the end. The services opposers of learning in Cologne, had an important effect. The cultivated taste and the sound understanding which appeared in the writings of Erasmus, addressed to the most distinguished men in church and state, exerted a wider influence, and promoted both the cultivation of classical learning and the diffusion of liberal views on the subject of religion. Of still greater power over the mass of the people was the host of satires, epigrams, caustic allegories, and coarse jokes, at the expense of the church and the monks, from Renard (q: v.) the Fox to the more delicate raillery of these two scholars, who were not ardent nor bold enough to take a decisive step. Thus, by the concurrence of favorable circumstances, and by the progress of a new spirit struggling for light and freedom, the way of truth was gradually laid open. The centre of Europe, together with the north, which had long submitted with reluctance to Rome, was ready to countenance the boldest measures for shaking off the priestly yoke, of which the best and most reflecting men had become impatient. But no one anticipated the quarter whence the first blow would be struck. Frederic III, elector of Saxony, a wise prince, but a zealous Catholic, and a great collector of relics, only followed the example of other German princes in establishing a university at Wittenberg (1502), whither, among other learned men, he invited Martin Luther, an Augustine monk of Erfurt, to be professor of theology. This manof a powerful mind, and distinguished more for his deep piety, and strong love of truth, than for extensive eruditionwas well acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, and, by a visit to Rome, in 1510, on some business of his order, had also become acquainted with the corruptions of the papal court. Leo X (q. v.) was created pope in 1513. Little affected by the universal desire for reformation in the church, he seemed placed at its head merely to employ its revenues in the gratification of his princely tastes. Albert, elector of Mentz and archbishop of Magdeburg, a prince of a similar character, received from Leo, in 1516, permission to sell indulgences within his own jurisdiction, on condition of sharing the profits with the pope. In this traffic, Albert employed, among others, John Tetzel, a Dominican monk of Leipsic, experienced in the business, who went about from place to place, carrying on his trade with the most unblushing impudence, and ex tional promises of the forgiveness of sins, in time and eternity. The buyers were numerous, and the gain great; for the illiterate people still venerated highly their ancient superstitions ; and the easy absolution from the deepest guilt, and relief from temporal penance and eternal punishment, for a few groschen, were alluring to the rude multitude. (See Indulgence,) When Tetzel commenced his traffic at Juterbogk, in 1517, purchasers flocked to him from Wittenberg, which was in the neighborhood, and there, showing the certificates to their confessors, denied all necessity for new penances. Luther set his face against this abuse, first in his sermons (for he performed the duties of a preacher, as well as professor), and afterwards (in order to prepare the way for an academic disputation on the subject, according to long established usage) in ninetyfive theses, or questions, which he affixed to the door of the great church, October 31,1517. In these he declared himself warmly against the abuse of indulgences, displayed a lively zeal for the Holy Scriptures, and for the honor of the church and the pope, and concluded with a prayer for instruction. His sermons on indulgences were published in German, and, in a few weeks, were spread over all Germany. His theses were in Latin, and were soon spread through other Christian nations. Luther also urged his spiritual superiors and the pope to put a stop to the traffic of Tetzel, and to reform the corruptions of the churchin general, in letters at once bold and respectful. With the exception of Scultetus, bishop of Brandenburg, no one made him a becoming answer. On the contrary, the most absurd libels, full of extravagant assertions of the power of the pope and his indulgences, were brought forward by Tetzel (in whose name Conrad Wimpina, professor of theology at Frankfort on the Oder, took up his pen), by the Augustine Sylvester Prierias, a courtier of the pope at Rome, and by Jacob Hogstraaten, the supreme inquisitor at Cologne, who had been rendered contemptible by his dispute with Reuchlin; but these, and the virulent Notes of Eckius (Eck) of Ingolstadt, against Luther, were too miserable to escape the ridicule of the well informed, and only drew attention to his bold enterprise. The severe replies, in which he exposed the weakness of these advocates for indulgences, and his Resolutiones, by which he illustrated his theses, gained new victories to the truth. A disputation which he maintained in an Augustine convent at Heidelberg, in 1518, on the merit of good works, and the use of the Aristotelian philosophy, gained him friends among the young theologians present, as Bucer, Brenz (Brentius), and others, who afterwards became celebrated as zealous advocates of REFORMATION. The conferences of Luther with the papal legates, Cajetan, in 1518, at Augsburg, and Miltitz, in 1519, at Altenburg, in which those prelates, instead of bringing him to recant, as they were ordered, only showed their inability to support the Roman doctrines on the authority of the Bible ; the scholastic discussion of Eck with Carlstadt and Luther, at Leipsic, in 1519, which lasted three weeks, and in which they warmly discussed the doctrines of free will, the authority of the pope, indulgences and purgatory, though they decided nothing, attracted a more general attention to the works of Luther, who almost every month sent forth new pamphlets and printed sermons. From the Pyrenees to the Vistula, from the gulf of Venice to the Belt, every thing by Luther or about him was eagerly read. The remarkable fulness and power of his style ; his merciless humor; his acuteness and learning, daily increasing by his constant historical and exegetical studies ; the irresistible force of his reasoning; and, above all, the adaptation of his doctrines to the wants of the age ; the approbation of Erasmus, Pirkheimer, and other distinguished scholars; the public adherence of men like Melanchthon and Hutten; the contemporaneous and yet bolder opposition of Zuinglius and CEcolampadius, in Switzerland, to indulgences and the papacy (see Reformed Church),made this man, who was hardly known before 1517, the champion of all enlightened men who lamented the degeneracy of the church of Christ; and as such he now spoke and acted with admirable courage. The respect for the Roman court, which was perceptible in his earlier writings, he now discarded, as the injustice of the papal pretensions had become clear to him. A glowing zeal, such as had been seen in the time of the apostles, characterized his masterly writings, addressed to the nobility of Germany, on the mass, on the Babylonish captivity, and on the freedom of a Christian. In these works he attacked the papal doctrines with the weapons of the word of God, and directed attention to the nobler, but forgotten, doctrines of the gospel. In 1520, when Eck published the papal excommu lication against him in Germany, he appealed to a general council; and when his works were burnt in Mentz, Cologne and Louvain, he publicly committed the bull of excommunication, with the papal canons and decrees, to the flames (December 10) amidst the rejoicings of the students at Wittenberg. This year and the following, 1521, are, therefore, to be regarded as the true period of the reformation in Germany; for at this time, Luther formally separated from the Roman church, and many of the principal nobles,Hutten, Sickingen, Schaumburg, &c,the most eminent scholars, and the university of Wittenberg, to which the young men of Germany and other countries now flocked in multitudes, publicly declared in favor of his undertaking. His commanding appearance, and his bold refusal to recant at the diet of Worms (April 17, 1521), the day of his proudest triumph (see Luther),gave him the power and dignity of an acknowledged reformer; the edict of Worms and the ban of the emperor made his cause a political matter. We must not, however, overlook the circumstances which favored the progress of reformation. The pope had risen chiefly by the support of Germany ; in his transactions with the emperor, he had generally been supported by the German princes, who thus maintained their own independence. Rome had, therefore, been obliged to court them in turn, and the emperor congratulated himself in silence, jf disputes ensued between them. On the death of Maximilian I, in 1519, the elector Frederic III, who was already the most powerful German prince, held the dignity of a vicar of the empire in all the Saxon territories, and his persona" influence gave him the most decisive voice in the election of the new emperor. The pope, as well as Charles V, who was chosen chiefly by his influence in 1520, was obliged to consult his wishes; the former in changing the original summons of Luther to Rome, to a conference with his legates, and the latter in suffering the reformation to go on without violent opposition, as long as it allowed itself to be responsible to the pope and the Catholic states. By his ten months' residence in the Wartburg, Luther was secured from the first consequences of the ban of the empire, and the edict of Worms had so much the less force in Saxony, as the emperor, engaged, in 1521, in the war with France, or occupied in Spain, almost wholly lost sight of religious affairs in Germany, and _..JW.",w .. .~^, although he did not call himself an adherent of the reformers, yet protected the heroes of the reformation, is easily explained from the concern which he took in the prosperity of the Wittenberg university, from his uprightness, his gradually increasing conviction of the justice of the views of Luther and his friend Spalatin, who managed every thing at the court of Frederic. Leo's successor, Adriau VI, who was himself desirous of a reformation, in answer to his demand for the extirpation of the doctrines of Luther, received a list of a hundred complaints from the German states assembled at the diet of Nuremberg in 1522, in which even the Catholics joined against the papal chair. The people of Wittenberg were, therefore, as little impeded in their attempts at a reform in religious worship (beginning with the mass), as those of Zurich, whose rapid progress in the change of their religious doctrines and rites found the most powerful support in the governments of the northern cantons ; and Luther was even obliged to hasten from the Wartburg to quell the tumults excited by the turbulent zeal of Carlstadt. (q. v.) While he was publishing his translation of the New Testament, the fruit of his exile, which was soon followed by the Old, and Melanchthon his Loci Communes (the first, and, for a long time, the best exposition of the Lutheran doctrines, first published in 1521), serious preparations for the reform of papal abuses were made in DeuxPonts, Pomerania, Silesia, in the Saxon cities (of which Leissnig was the first after Wittenberg), and in Suabia. Luther's liturgy had no sooner appeared, in 1523, than it was adopted in Magdeburg and Elbingen. The new church was not without its martyrs. In 1522, the inquisition in the Netherlands secured it this honor by the execution of some Augustines, who favored the new doctrines. Translations of the Bible into French and Dutch now appeared. In the very heart of France, at Meaux, a Lutheran church was organized. In vain did the Sorbonne condemn the principles of Luther; in vain was the execution of the edict of Worms against religious innovations resolved upon at the diet of Nuremberg, in 1524, and the convention of Ratisbon; in vain did George, duke of Saxony, Henry, duke of Brunswick, Austria, France, Spain, and the spiritual princes of the empire, labor to suppress the reformation by the persecu his cowl; monasteries were deserted; priests in Saxony and Switzerland married. In 1525, John, successor of Frederic in the Saxon electorate, Philip, landgrave of Hesse, and Albert of Brandenburg, duke of Prussia, publicly declared themselves Lutherans. All their territories, Livonia, a considerable part of Hungary and Austria (Bohemia had already been gained by the Hussites), Liineburg, Celle, Nuremberg, Strasburg, Frankfort on the Maine, Nordhausen, Brunswick, Bremen, embraced the new doctrines, and a great number of the most respectable clergymen and theologians in Germany followed the example of Luther, who married Catharine von Bora, formerly a nun. Sweden received the reformation in 1527, under Gustavus Vasa, through the labors of Olaf and Lorenzo Petri; and its example was soon followed by the greatei pan of Lower Saxony and the north of Westphalia, Hamburg and Liibeck. The tranquillity of this period, resulting froir: the absence of the emperor, during which the reformation advanced with astonishing rapidity, and almost without any impediment, interrupted the dispute of Luther with Zuinglius and Erasmus (see these articles, and Lord's Supper) less than the apprehensions of a war, excited in 1528 by the information of a secret alliance of the Catholic states against the Protestant; and violent measures on the part of the latter were with difficulty prevented by Luther's earnest exhortations to peace. This circumstance, however, united the party in favor of reform more closely; and from their general protest against a decree of the diet of Spires, in 1529, they received, in 1541, the name of Protestants. (q. v.) They now, therefore, formed a distinct political party (Corpus Evangelicorum); and, as the emperor returned to Germany at this time in a threatening attitude, they were forced to adopt decisive measures. After the visitations undertaken for the organization of the church system, with the aid of Melanchthon's instructions and Luther's catechisms, which appeared in 1529, while the teaching of the people in schools and churches by faithful ministers was gradually improving, Melanchthon was employed to draw up a full exposition of the Lutheran doctrines; which was subscribed by the princes already united by the league of Torgau (1526) and the convention of Schwabach (1529) (see Schwabach, Articles of), transmitted to the enperor at the dietof Augsburg in 1530, and solemnly read before a full assembly (June 25th), whence the declaration was called the Augsburg Confession, (q. v.) The emperor caused a reply from the Catholic party to be read, which was to put the question at rest; rejected the defence (Apology) of the Augsburg confession, written by Melanchthon in answer to this confutation, and insisted upon the suppression of religious innovations. A similar reply was given to Strasburg, Constance, Memmingen and Lindau, which had sent the emperor a similar paper, styled the Confession of the Four Cities, or Confessio Tetrapolitana. This conclusion of the diet was a new motive of union to the Lutherans. (For a history of subsequent events, see Smalcaldic League, Interim, and Peace, Religious.) The German Protestants w7ere united by common political interests and a common creed, contained in the Augsburg confession, and its Apology (see Melanchthon), and illustrated by the articles of Smalcalden and the two catechisms, and finally confirmed, in 1580, by the Form of Concord. (See Concord, Form of, and Creed.) The Lutherans, or adherents of the Augsburg confession, were the three electors of the Palatinate, Saxony, and Brandenburg, twenty dukes and princes, twentyfour counts, four barons, and thirtyfive imperial cities; in all eightysix members of the empire. Sweden and Denmark (since 1536 a Protestant country), Sleswick, Pomerania, Silesia, and many important cities, on political grounds, Hesse and Bremen, from a preference for Calvinism, refused to adopt the Form of Concord. The Palatinate fell back, and the court of Berlin became Calvinistic (or Reformed). The dispute concerning the presence of the body of Christ in the sacrament of the supper (see Lord's Supper), between the Swiss and French Protestants, on one side, among whom, after the death of Zuinglius, Calvin was the champion, and the Saxon Protestants on the other, resulted in a total separation of the reformed church (q. v.) from the Evangelical Lutheran. The foundation of this difference between the two churches, so unfavorable to the progress of the reformation, was deeply laid in the diversity of the characters of their founders. Luther, more accustomed to think systematically, and to adhere implicitly to the letter of the Holy Scriptures, immediately brought every new idea, which was suggested, to the touchstone of his system, and admitted nothing which seemed to oppose that be lief. Zuinglius, less trammelled with fixed dogmas, and more ready to follow his own judgment, was, on the other hand, more prompt to embrace those views, which at first sight appeared reasonable to him* Hence he was more in danger of adopting error as truth, while Luther was more apt to reject truth as error, lest he should renounce his faith. The east and north adhered to the opinions of Luther; the west and south followed the more liberal views of the Reformed church. The greatei part of Switzerland and Geneva (1535), a great part of the population of France, particularly of the southern part (see Huguenots), England (in 1547, with the reservation of the hierarchical dignities, and with a temporary interruption, in the reign of Mary, in 1555-58), Scotland, where Knox introduced the Presbyterian form of church government, in 1560, on the Geneva model, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, which, at one blow, gained Protestantism and freedom, belonged to the Reformed church. (See England, Church of, and Henry VIII; Knox; Netherlands ; and Creed.) In Transylvania, the Lutheran confession prevailed; in Hungary, Calvinism entered with it; and in Poland, where the reformation had found numerous adherents (from 1556), the two Protestant parties, with the Moravian Brethren, concluded a convention (consensus) at Sendomir, in 1570, which united them in one political body, known as the Dissidents, (q. v.) The attempt of Gebhard, elector of Cologne, in 1582, to introduce the reformation into his archbishopric totally failed, owing^to his want of prudence. Whatever dissensions may have separated the Lutherans and Calvinistsat this period, they had, and still have, the fundamentals of doctrine and discipline, the spirit and the name of true Protestants in common, and every step in the progress of the reformation is to be considered as a gain to both parties. But the ill will which continued to exist between the Catholics and Protestants, even after the religious peace, eventually kindled the thirty years' war (q. v.) and devastated Germany. The peace of Westphalia established between the parties a legalized toleration; but the Protestant subjects of Catholic princes too often ex perienced its violation, and the Catholics in Protestant states (as the Irish) not un frequently suffered a similar fate. (See Religious Liberty, and Catholic Emancipation.)After this general outline of the history of the reformation, it remains to give some views of the influence which it has exercised on the religion and morals, DII the literary and political condition, of nations. From what has been said, it appears that the reformation was a necessary consequence of the mental progress of the Western, and particularly of the Teutonic nations. The opposition of its enemies gave it consistency and importance. The assaults of passionate and ignorant opposers, the intrigues and violence of the Roman court, and the applause of his whole nation, urged Luther farther than he had thought of going. Circumstances, the concurrence of which human wisdom could neither produce nor prevent, favored the enterprise beyond his highest hopes. Involved in contests with adversaries whose victory seemed almost certain, and convulsed by internal dissensions (the peasants' war, and the troubles of the Anabaptists), the reformation still made rapid progress. After it had been going on a few years, it no longer depended on its authors for the direction it should take. The influence of Protestant principles has had a large share in bringing about those improvements, which, in modern times, have extended to almost every class of society in Europe. Before the reformation, the doctrines of the church comprised a mass of propositions and precepts, the fruit of circumstances which were intended to support the divine authority of the priesthood, and rested in part on perversions of history ; but the great truths which every Christian ought to know, were either neglected or adulterated, and the gospel of Jesus could hardly be recognised. In the view of Catholics, indeed, such of these doctrines as are not founded on the Bible, rest on verbal traditions, which the teachers of the church received from the apostles and fathers, and which the popes or councils, with the aid of the Holy Ghost, gradually made known (see Tradition); but their fruits bore no traces of their pretended divine origin. The place of religion was supplied, in the minds of the lower classes, by a mixture of fear and diversion, aided by a service full of mechanical ceremony and superstition. At one time, it was a timid fear of a spiritual being wielding the terrors of temporal suffering and eternal damnation; at another, delight in the ornaments of the churches and their priests; admiration of their splendid, and, for the most part, unintelligible exhibitions; sometimes the occupation of the imagination with various legends and miraculous histories, and prayers repeated in the orderof the beads of the rosary, confessions, penances, fasts, pilgrimages, and rich gifts to the church of money and other valuables. The ignorance of the common people blinded them to the wretchedness of their spiritual condition ; but the better informed soon perceived that the entire reference of the doctrines of the church to the support of the papal power, and of its worship to the visible images of the saints, directed nearly all the devotion of the faithful to things which do not belong to the Christian profession, and in no way promote a sincere reverence of God. No wonder that Christianity, thus perverted, became, in the eyes of many of the most distinguished divines and laymen, whose taste had been formed by the study of the classics, a subject of unmingled contempt. The ecclesiastical princes of Italy used it only as the instrument of their selfish purposes, and opposed with obstinacy a reformation of the church, which they viewed as dangerous and chimerical. An open rupture with the pope gave the reformers the power of throwing off the corruptions and foreign appendages of religion, both in doctrine and worship, and of restoring a Christianity which knows no rule of piety but the Holy Scriptures, asks nothing but faith and virtue, and, instead of being the secret possession of a privileged caste of priests, was laid open to all. The idea that there is something for which man is accountable only to himself and his God; that in religion human authority is nothing; and that it is, therefore, the duty of every one to study the Holy Scriptures, as its source, and to rest his faith on his own convictions ; that acts of worship derive their whole value from the faith of the worshippers, and their obvious tendency to improve those who take part in them ; in short, a living commentary on the doctrine, ¦" God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth," was spread by the preaching, and still more by the writings of the reformers, among the whole mass of the people. Thousands of the scholars of the universities, the friends of philosophy and of classical antiquity, intelligent citizens, and discontented individuals of the lower clergy, had long been ready to share in the dissemination of these principles ; princes and nobles, and even some bishops, felt the power of truth; and zeal for innovation was aroused, in the lower ranks, to such a degree, that in some places they aimed at nothing less than to burst all restraints. The success of their first appeals encouraged the reformers to venture the second step towards the restoration of true religion by removing all obstructions to it in the forms of the church. Among these was the mockery of a sacramental consecration of priests, which elevated the sacred office above humanity, made a privileged order the legislators of the faith, and sanctioned every abuse of ecclesiastical power; the worship of saints, relics, and images, which, as it was then conducted, detracted from the reverence of the invisible God; transubstantiation, making the Son of God to be created and sacrificed daily by the hands of men, and thus justifying the worship of the host; extreme unction, and the masses for the souls of the deceased, which drew immense tributes from the fears of the dying and the grief of mourners; and a multitude of other customs, which distracted and degraded devotion. From the superstitious fables and cunning inventions of ambition, the religious spirit now turned to a faith which it might embrace without abandoning the use of reason ; for the eternal truths of the gospel, by means of Luther's excellent German translation of the Bible, and accurate versions into other languages, by the sermons and liturgies founded on it in the vernacular tongues, by catechisms and comprehensive manuals, came unadulterated before the world at large. Restored once more to its original destination, the Christian ministry among Protestants devoted itself exclusively to the labor of explaining the Word of God, and applying it to spiritual improvement; of erecting schools for the neglected youth, and raising the character of those already existing, while the clergy renounced the privileges by which they had been distinguished from the laity. Every Protestant partook of the cup in the Lord's supper; every one could understand the simple celebration of divine worship, and could join in the sacred hymns. Thus, wherever Protestantism found its way, the worship of God recovered that simplicity, and warmth, and sincerity, which had characterized it among the first Christians. It became a common work, and a bond of union, in proportion as the feeling of obligation to defend the newly acquired purity of religion from dangers and attacks from without, fanned the flame of religious zeal, and strengthened the love of brethren in the faith ; hence a clearer knowledge of God, and a higher tone of piety. Religion was no longer a mere subject of the imagination, but appealed to the reason and feel ings of men, and invited close investigation. Not that this beneficial influence became at once universal and complete, or was interrupted at no period of the advance of Protestantism: the best ideas, the wisest institutions, succeed only by degrees, and are never carried into execution without the alloy of human weaknesses. If we carefully examine the period of the reformation, and the spirit which animated its first friends, we shall find it a time of contest and division, when the silent operation of the new light was blended with violent hostility towards false brethren and everactive enemies. Hence the abusive language from the pulpits and in controversial writings, which, though abundantly provoked by the menaces, violence and intrigues of the opposite party, and excusable on account of the rude tone and contentious spirit of the age, was, nevertheless, always unfavorable to the improvement of Protestantism. Hence the extravagances of precipitate innovators, which the reformers could not resist without retaining more of the forms of the existing religion, out of regard to the consciences of the weak, than a strict application of their principles would permit. Hence that war of opinions among divines, which not only prevented the cooperation of the Swiss with the Saxon reformers, but also gave an accidental importance to certain points of comparatively small importance, which, in the future system, especially of the Lutherans, occasioned great incongruities, and left deep traces of the time of their origin. The absurd adiaphora (q, v.), so called, gave rise to violent disputes. Altars, candles, images, massdresses, surplices, wafers, auricular confessions, exorcism, and even the position of the words Vater unser (Our Father, in the Lord's prayer), instead of Unser Fater, became the distinguishing signs of the Lutheran part\r. These contests, however, must be admitted to have had a salutary influence on the settlement of particular points of doctrine, and to have contributed to excite a lively zeal for religion. In the period subsequent to the reformation, deep religious feeling always remained the characteristic of the Protestants. There was, however, a difference between the two principal parties; for the circumstance that the Lutherans still made the Lord's supper a mystery, while the Calvinists submitted every thing to reason, produced an essential variance in their religious feelings. But that levity and infidelity which were festered by the indifference of many eminent Catholics in Italy and France, scarcely ever found admittance into either party. They thought too highly of their faith, they were too deeply convinced of its truth, to regard any thing holy with indifference: they were ready, if necessary, to sacrifice their property and lives in the cause of religion.* And this religious feeling was nourished by the affecting solemnity of the devotional exercises, which assembled the faithful in their churches, and, in the stillness of the domestic retreat, collected families around their fathers. Rich treasures of passages from the Bible were laid up in retentive memories, with many striking hymns, of which no church ever possessed more than the Protestant church in Germany and France. They passed from mouth to mouth: in business, and in all the vicissitudes of fortune, they were companions and comforters. They did more injury to the pope, as even the Catholics confess, than the most elaborate writings of the reformers. The diligent study of the Bible, and the didactic works of Arndt and other ascetics, at a time when a spirit of contest had usurped the sacred desk, made up to many the want of ingenious and powerful sermons. Through the influence of Spener, the religious character of the Lutheran church gained new life. The reformation also had an important influence on morals. While the reformers abolished the principle of blind obedience to the pope and other ecclesiastical dignitaries, denied the merit of what were called good ivories (penances, fasts, alms), and the opinion that the outward observance of the precepts of the church was virtue, and rejected the possibility of acts of supererogation, by which (as was taught by a decree of 1342) saints had enriched the treasury of the church, they again awakened the smothered moral feelings of men, and introduced that more elevated morality which requires holiness of heart and purity of conduct. With the prevalent errors in morals were connected usages which, though probably wellmeant in their origin, had terminated in the greatest corruptionsauricular confession, which was employed as an instrument of tyranny over the consciences and private affairs of laymen; penances, or ecclesiastical punishments, which were imposed on offenders; and indulgences, by which they purchased, at no small price, permission to sin ; pilgrimages, which great numbers of the unhappy undertook, to seek absolution from wonder working images, and to indulge in promiscuous excesses. While the reformers wholly suppressed these abuses, which made the remission of sins venal in the eyes of the people, they deprived licentiousness of the support of legal toleration, and directed penitents to seek for reconciliation with God only by faith and new obedience. They exhibited in its true vileness that gloomy asceticism, which represented inhuman selftorture, solitude, poverty, nakedness, filth, hunger and misery, and even privileged beggary and idleness, as pleasing to God, and steps towards the highest perfection : they threw open the monasteries, discharged monks and nuns from their vows, and permitted marriage to the teachers of religion. At one blow, the workshops of superstition, and the abodes of secret sins and private cruelties, were destroyed ; a multitude of unhappy beings were set at liberty and restored to mankind; and the flames of a passion which had destroyed the peace of thousands of noble natures, or sated itself by the seduction of innocence, were reduced to the limits of moderation, and made to promote domestic happiness. Thus, by the abolition of celibacy and monasticism, the reformers restored to nature the rights which make it the nurse of virtue. But what places the merit of the reformation, in regard to morals, in the clearest light, next to the removal of those obstructions to virtue which existed in the ancient church, was its leading to the acknowledgment of the intimate connexion of religion with daily life, furnishing purer motives of action, and kindling the moral feeling, of which it was itself the offspring, to a warmth which produced the most valuable fruits in all the relations of public and domestic life. The reformers themselves were not the only noble examples of moral dignity and faithfulness: among their adherents, likewise, the power of the gospel and the sense of duty, gave birth to an honesty and a selfcontrol which elevated the character of society, wherever Protestaatism triumphed. The minds of men, liberated from the constraint of human authority, and referring every thing to God and the judge in their own bosoms, attained a true conscientiousness. The integrity and noble sentiments of the Protestant princes put to shame the artifices of Roman policy. A heroic courage, which sacrificed every thing earthly to the cause of truth, a firmness in the profession of faith, a cheerful spirit under the severest oppressions, a boldness and confidence in death, examples of which the world beheld with admiration, appeared among high and low. The courts of the Spanish inquisition, which raged against Protestant Christians in the Netherlands, found it necessary to substitute private executions for public ones, in order to conceal from the eyes of the people the firmness of their victims. The moral tone of the Protestants could not long remain at such a pitch: in proportion as the numbers of the Protestants increased, unworthy members found their way into the church. Moral improvement was sometimes neglected, in consequence of the zeal for orthodox opinions, especially among the Lutherans, who wanted, in general, a wellordered system of church discipline; and an abuse of Luther's doctrinethat faith is the only ground of salvationwas sometimes made an excuse for a vicious life. But, notwithstanding this, the morality of the adherents of the reformation received from its influence much firmness and constancy. It spread most rapidly among the citizens, who had attained independence by means of the constitution of the towns; and with this class the Protestant clergy had become intimately connected by a common mode of life, by common interests, and by family alliances. The spirit of morality which they called into hie, struck its roots deep and lastingly in this numerous and most flourishing class of the people. Institutions were founded in the cities for the instruction of the young and the relief of the poor; laws were made for the promotion of morality; industry was encouraged by the abolition of superfluous festivals; and a public opinion was formed, distinguished for strictness, purity, and power over the minds of men. In these respects, the Reformed or Calvinistic party excelled the Lutherans. Reformed Switzerland, and especially Geneva, where Calvin introduced a system of church discipline, and instituted a court of morals, composed of clergy and laymen, presented an example of purity, unique in its kind, which was imitated* by the societies of France and Holland, and the Presbyterians of Scotland and England. The salutary and durable effects of the reformation on the virtue of its adherents in general are obvious to every traveller, even in modern times, by a comparison of Catholic countries with Protestant. The influence of the reformation on literature has been very important.' An acquaintance with classic antiquity, at the beginning of the 16th century, was a luxury enjoyed only by a few distinguished scholars; and it could not be otherwise under the papal dominion, which might allow classical reading, but could by no means tolerate philosophical deductions therefrom, and practical applications of them to the existing state of things, without the risk of its own overthrow. Hence, even in 1515, Leo X prohibited the printing of translations of the ancients into the vernacular tongues, though he patronised classical scholars, and gave them splendid rewards. Pomponatius was suffered to teach, at Bologna, the unreasonableness, in a philosophical point of view, of the most important doctrines of Christianity; and it was left to the contentious monks to dispute the point with him. Aretino was allowed to vent his wit in virulent libels and licentious poems. Leo X and his successors loaded him with wealth and honors, and Rome styled this monster of impiety and vice " the Divine." The sciences were permitted to become the nurses of unbelief and moral corruption, if no doubt of the supremacy of the pope was circulated, and no ray of intelligence was let in upon the people. With the learned luxury which prevailed in Italy at the revival of ancient learning, a systematic plan of keeping the people in ignorance went hand in hand. The Holy Scriptures, with the original of which scarcely an individual clergyman in the largest diocese was acquainted, narrowly escaped being added to the Index of Prohibited Books, in which all translations of them were actually inserted, except the Latin version of the church. The divines who argued against Reuchlin had seen no New Testament in Greek; and they looked upon the Hebrew as a cunninglydevised language of sorcerers. The philosophy of the scholastics followed the philosophy of Aristotle; not that of the instructer of Al exander, but a tissue of empty subtleties and rash assumptions, which was called by its disciples," the wisdom of Aristotle;" but by Luther, " a cold, stinking and dead dog."The study of the ancient languages, the general use of Latin, as a medium of literary intercourse, and the in vention of the art of printing, promoter, the progress of learning; but the only element in which they could flourish, and the only direction in which they could be of general utility, they received through the reformation. This broke the fetters in which the hierarchy had bound the human mind; wrested from the clergy the abused monopoly of knowledge ; established and protected freedom of thought and the liberty of the press; awakened a spirit of investigation and a love of learning, and opened to criticism, in all branches of knowledge, a boundless field. Among the first promoters of it, there were some men, who loved tranquillity, that, like Erasmus, remained ostensibly attached to the ancient church; but their principles, their exertions, the spirit of their works, showed beyond dispute that they really Delonged to the Protestant party. The principle of freedom from human authority, pronounced by the reformation, opened the way to all scientific improvement. The Bible being now acknowledged as the only rule of faith, it became the duty of every theologian to understand the Greek and Hebrew text. This naturally led the Protestants to an acquaintance with the language of Homer and Plato, which Reuchlin had first recommended to the Germans, and to the cultivation of Oriental literature, of which none but the Jews and Arabs then knew any thing. A multitude of old Latin and Greek manuscripts, which till then had been not at all, or but partially understood, were brought to light from the dusty libraries of the abolished convents, and by the critical diligence, mostly of the Protestant literati, were made capable of being generally used. Science sprung into new existence, with the freshness and strength of youth, when Melanchthon, who had become wiser and better for his studies, and the bold and industrious Calvin, were the teachers of Germany and France. This effect of the reformation appears strikingly from the fact, that before its commencement the south of Germany was superior in literary refinement to the north ; and half a century later, wThen Protestantism had fixed its seat in the north, the reverse was the case ; and, from that period, the Protestant countries of Europe have far outstripped the Catholic in intellectual cultivation. The influence of the reformation on the mis was less happy. It removed the images from the churches, and deprived the masses of their dramatic and musical attractions. It repressed the predominance of imagination, and restored to reason its rights. It taught men to prefer the good to the beautiful, and to feel a dignity in despising those means of excitement which operate through the senses, and to abstain from outward splendor. This severity to the arts, which cut off their connexion with religion, and robbed them of that share of public veneration which they had received from Catholicism, met with its punishment in the 46* decline of the fine arts among the Protestants. This was particularly the case with the Calvinistic or Reformed party; for the Lutherans retained many paintings in their churches, and always celebrated their festivals with music. On the other hand, Protestantism inspired a love of devotional poetry, and was favorable to eloquence, as it made the sermon the chief part, the very soul, of public worship, and, by the introduction of the vernacular tongues into the liturgy, gave them a dignity which had an important influence on the national literature of the people under its sway. The useful arts wTere greatly promoted by the reformation. It aroused a spirit of seriousness, accuracy and perseverance ; it promoted commerce and public prosperity ; and England, the north of Germa ny, and Switzerland, have shown that, in this respect, no Catholic nation can compare with them. The most visible consequences of the* reformation, and those long since most fully acknowledged in history, are those which relate to politics. The church was no longer independent of, but became incorporated with, and merged in the state.. The reformers had no political object in* view; but their work first attained a political importance and direction on account of the zeal of its great enemy for worldly dominion. A large proportion of those abuses of the ancient religious usages in which all ranks, including even welldisposed clergymen, found a motive to urge the reformation of the churchrested on the political encroachments and avaricious demands of the popes. On them, not the clergy only, but the nations and princes, were made dependent; to them they were obliged to pay enormous tributes, under various pretexts, increased from age to age. Their influence extended to a great part of the administration of public justice, in consequence of the everaugmenting extent of the episcopal jurisdiction, and the power which, the papal legates assumed to the injury of i he bishops. Hence the princes were perpetually interrupted in the exercise of theii authority by the church, which formed, as it were, a state within the state. The kings of France alone were able to maintain a \ osition of honorable independence. The m.iss of thepeople was oppressed; in the administration of government, arbitrary rule and personal authority every where prevailed over legal order. In the nobility, there was a spirit of rudeness and violence, which led them continually to violate the rights of the other classesNo wonder that, under these circumstances, the magic name of evangelical freedom immediately awakened thoughts of civil liberty, and became to the suffering people a signal for insurrection. Still, however, the guilt of having occasioned the peasants' war can as little be charged to the reformers, who expressly discountenanced such excesses, and labored both by word and deed to check them, as the foolish struggle of the Anabaptists against all civil order. Wherever the reformers, in their advance, impinged on the relations of civil life or of established rights, they went to work with a moderation which gained for them the confidence of governors and princes. The Swiss reformers, indeed, were far bolder than those of Wittenberg; they were favored with republican governments, and acted with the consent rl the rulers. The course of the reformation in Protestant Germany, and Switzerland generally, was this: The communities, particularly in the cities, negotiated With their rulers according to their own consciences and the advice of the reformers. The princes concurred in their plans, and established institutions accordingly. In Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, England, and those German states which came over later, the princes made changes of their own accord, and the people found themselves sinking gradually into the new forms imposed upon them. Where the government continued Catholic, the friends of the new doctrines exercised their worship in secrecy and silence. The reformation liberated the princes from all the obligations and grievances which their dependence on a foreign spiritual power had imposed on the m. They now obtained for themselves, the episcopal privileges which had once limited their authority; and the instruments of power, which had formerly served the church, came, as far as Protestantism permitted their use, into their hands. The return of the clergy to civil society increased the number of their subjects, and various causes augmented their resources and the prosperity of their people beyond computation. These were the acquisition of the church estates, which bad come under their power, or, as in the ease of the abolished convents, into their possession; the cessation of the vast emissions of money from their states, which had been occasioned by the avarice of Rome, the efforts of legates, the privileges of foreign archbishops, the begging of mendicant friars, and the connexion of the religious orders with foreign governors: another cause was the new spring given to commerce, trade and agriculture, and the increase of population, occasioned by the immigration of their exiled brethren in the faith. They were now free to arrange their financial systems, to improve the state of their dominions, to augment their armies, and to provide for the wars with which they were threatened. And, as religion, which, till the peace of Westphalia, was really or ostensibly the chief motive of the civil alliances and wars was also the subject dearest to the heart of every individual, the animation of the people prompted them to risk their wealth and their blood in the cause of their rulers. Thus the Protestant princes became great, and states of small extent obtained a high political importance, for which they were mostly indebted to the reformation. The church gained much in spirituality by its improvement, as has appeared from the preceding views of morals, literature and religion. It lost its temporal goods, indeed, to the princes, but received back a large proportion of them, to be applied to worthier purposes. From the patrimony of the ancient church, the funds for public institutions of learning were increased ; new and better ones were established; orphan asylums and hospitals were founded : rewards provided for literary men of merit, and the income of the lower clergy increased. With the goods of the church, the persons of the clergy came likewise under the jurisdiction of the temporal princes. The influence of the reformation has not been felt merely by the nations which have adopted its principles; the states which most violently opposed it, have learned by experience the danger of attempting to repress the operation of deeprooted and widespread convictions. If Charles V had cherished sufficient love for the Germans, and for the cause of evangelical t.uth, which probably had made some impression on him, to sacrifice to it his Spanish crown, he might have preserved Germany, which, in his time, was almost entirely devoted to the new doctrines, from the bloody religious wars which afterwards desolated it, and have made it an invincible monarchy under the Austrian sceptre. The struggle of Spain against the new doctrines procured her more hatred and ridicule from Europe generally, than honor in Rome, and was followed by the decay of her greatness. France, whose kings, in conformity with their maxim, to use the reformation abroad as a means of exciting dissension among the neighboring powers, and to suppress its doctrines within their own dominions, were at the same time the friends of the Protestant princes and the bitter persecutors of their own Protestant subjects, expiated the guilt of its doubledealing in the ruinous civil wars and emigrations which it occasioned. Still more pernicious was the opposition to Protestantism in the case of Poland, for the destruction of which Russia made use of the same policy which France had employed with tolerable success in Germany; viz. affording support to the Dissidents (q. v.), and entering deeply into its internal dissensions. The states of Italy, which tolerated nothing that savored of reformation, sunk deeper and deeper in political insignificance, which was, indeed, owing more to the discovery of a passage by sea to the East Indies, and the intercourse with America, than to the reformation. The popes struggled against this formidable enemy with resolution, and in some cases with success. In the states which continued faithful to the church, they established institutions for resisting the progress of the new doctrines, and for the persecution of heretics. By the happy result of their missions to Asia and America, they gained a spiritual dominion over territories more extensive than the half of Europe, which they had lost by the reformation. But this success was transient, and of little utility to their treasury. No mission could compensate for what they had formerly drawn from Germany, England and Scandinavia. They were obliged by necessity to curtail their ancient extravagance, and by shame to correct the morals of the clergy. Even the Catholic princes, by degrees, grew more prudent, and diminished the power and the revenue of the papal court in their states, particularly after the peace of Westphalia. (See Pope.) The Catholics would no longer yield the same obedience to it as before; for, particularly in Germany (Austria and Bavaria), in France, and even in Spain, principles and opinions were imperceptibly propagated, which made them partakers in the new light that had spread over Europe. They began to distinguish the true Catholic from the Roman church; and the doctrines of the latter not founded on the Bible were viewed as merely disciplinary, and not to be put on the same footing with divine truth.See Planck's History oftheProtestant Doctrine{6 vols., 2d ed., Leipsic, 1791); Heeren's Developement of the political Consequences of theReformation (Historical Works, parti); Menzel's History of the Germans from the Refor mation, &c. (part i, Breslau, 1826); Burnet's Histoiy of the Reformation; the histories of England, by Hume, Lingard, Mackintosh; and also the article Great Britain.