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advancement of true piety. He was a protector of men of learning, and was himself learned as far as the darkness of the age would admit of. His time was divided between conversation with men of letters and pleasure; though it must be observed, that the greatest part of it was consecrated to the latter. He had an invincible aversion to whatever was accompanied with solicitude and care, and discovered the greatest impatience under events of that nature. He was remarkable for his prodigality, luxury, and imprudence, and even has been charged with impiety, if not atheism. He did not however neglect the grand object which the generality of his predecessors had so much at heart, even the promoting and advancing the opulence and grandeur of the Roman see. For he took the utmost care that nothing should be transacted in the council of the Lateran, which Julius had assembled and left sitting, that had the least tendency to favour the reformation of the church. He went still farther; and in a conference which he had with Francis I. king of France, at Bologna, he engaged that monarch to abrogate the pragmatic sanction, which had been so long odious to the popes of Rome, and to substitute in its place another body of laws, more advantageous to the papacy, which were imposed upon his subjects, under the title of the Concordate, and received with the utmost indignation and reluctance."
& We have mentioned this praginatic sanction, cent. xv. part ïi. chap. ii. $ xvi, note q, and given there some account of its nature and design. This iinportant edict is published at large in the eighth volume of the Concilia Harduini, p. 1949, as is the concordate, that was substituted in its place, in the nintii volume of the same work, p. 1867, and in Leibnitz, bis Mantissa Codicis Diplomat. part i. p. 158, part ii. p. 358. The history of these two pieces is given in an ample and accurate manner by bishop Burnet, in his His. tory of the Reformation, vol. iii. p. 3. See also on the same subject, De Boulay, Historia Academ. Paris. tom. vi. p. 61-109. Du Clos, Hisloire de Louis XI. Histoire du Droit Ecclesiastique Francois, tom. i. diss. ix. p. 415. Menigiana, tom. iii. p. 285.
g h The king went in person to the parliament to offer the concordate to be registered, and letters patent were made out requiring all the judges and courts of justice to observe this act, and see it executed. The parliament, after deliberating a month upon this important matter, concluded not to register the concordate, but to observe still the pragmatic, unless the former edict was received and established in as great an assembly as that was, which published the latter in the reign of Charles VII. And when by violence and force they were obliged to publish the concordate, they joined to this publication a solemn protest, and an appeal from the pope to the next general council, into both which measures the university and the clergy entered with the greatest alacrity and zeal. But roval and papal despotism at length prevailed.
The chancellor De Prat, who was principally concerned in promoting the concordate, has been generally regarded as an enemy to the liberties of the Gallican church. The illustrious and learned president Hainault has not, however, hesitated to defend his memory against this accusation, and to justify the concordate as an equitable contract, and as a measure attended with less inconveniences than the pragmatic sanction. He observes, that by the king's being invested, by the concordate, with the privilege of nominating to the bishoprics and vacant benefices of the first class, many corruptions and
vIII. The raging thirst of dominion that consumed these pontiffs, and their arrogant endeavours to crush The avari and oppress all that came within the reach of the popes. their power, were accompanied with the most insatiable avarice. All the provinces of Europe were, in a manner, drained to enrich these ghostly tyrants, who were perpetually gaping after new accessions of wealth, in order to augment the number of their friends and the stability of their dominion. And, indeed, according to the notions commonly entertained, the rulers of the church seemed to have a fair enough pretext, from the nature of their character, to demand a sort of tribute from their flock; for none can deny to the supreme governors of any state, and such was the character assumed by the popes, the privilege of levying tribute from those over whom they bear rule. But as the name of tribute was every way proper to alarm the jealousy and excite the indignation of the civil magistrate, the pontiffs were too cunning to employ it, and had recourse to various stratagems and contrivances to rob the subject without shocking the sovereign, and to levy taxes under the specious mask and pretext of religion. Among these contrivances, the distribution of indulgences, which enabled the wealthy to purchase impunity for their crimes by certain sums applied to religious uses, held an eminent rank. This traffic of indulgences was constantly renewed whenever the coffers of the church were exhausted. On these occasions they were recommended warmly to the
abuscs were prevented, which arose from the simoniacal practices that prevailed almost every where, wbile, according to the pragmatic sanction, every church chose its bisbop, and every monastery its abbot. He observes moreover, that this nomination was the natural right of the crown, as the most considerable part of the great bene. fices had been created by the kings of France; and he insists particularly on this consideration, that the right which Christian communities have to choose their leaders, cannot be exercised by such large bodies without much confusion and many inconveniences ; and that the subjects, by intrusting their sovereign with the government of the state, invest him ipso facto, with an authority over the church which is a part of the state, and its noblest branch. See Hainault, Abrege Chronologique de l'Histoire de France, in the Particular Remarks that are placed at the end of the reign of Lewis XIV.
The most specious objection that was made to the concordate was this ; that in return for the nomination to the vacant benefices, the king granted to the popes the annales, or first fruits, which had so long been complained of as an intolerable grievance. There is, however, no mention of this equivalent in the concordate. And it waz by a papal bull that succeeded this compact, that the pontiffs claimed the payment of the first fruits, of which they had put themselves in possession in the year 1316, and which had been suspended by the pragmatic sanction. See the Histoire du Droit Ecclesiastique Francois. As this substitution of the concordate, in the place of the pragmatic sanction, was a most important transaction, and had a very great influence upon the minds of the English, the translator judged it necessary to give here some account of that matter.
thority held interior to that of
ignorant multitude under some new, specious, yet fallacious pretext, and were greedily sought after, to the great detriment both of individuals and of the communtity.
ix. Notwithstanding the veneration and homage that The popr's al- were almost every where paid to the Roman pon
i tiffs, they were far from being universally reputed a council. infallible in their decisions, or unlimited in their authority. The wiser part of the German, French, Flemish, and British nations, considered them as liable to error, and bounded by law. The councils of Constance and Basil had contributed extremely to rectify the notions of the people in that respect; and from that period all Christians, except the superstitious monks and parasites of Rome, were persuaded that the pope was subordinate to a general council, that his decrees were not infallible, and that the council had a right to depose him, whenever he was convinced of gross errors or enormous crimes. Thus were the people, in some measure, prepared for the reformation of the church; and hence that ardent desire, that earnest expectation of a general council, which filled the minds of the wisest and best Christians in this century. Hence also those frequent appeals that were made to this approaching council, when the court of Rome issued out any new edict, or made any new attempt repugnant to the dictates of piety and justice.
x. The licentious examples of the pontiffs were zealously The corruptim imitated in the lives and manners of the subordiderse be cler: nate rulers, and ministers of the church. The
greatest part of the bishops and canons passed their days in dissolute mirth and luxury, and squandered away, in the gratification of their lusts and passions, the wealth that had been set apart for religious and charitable purposes. Nor were they less tyrannical than voluptuous; for the most despotic princes never treated their vassals with more rigour and severity, than these ghostly rulers employed toward all such as were under their jurisdiction. The decline of virtue among the clergy was attended with the loss of the public esteem; and the most considerable part of that once respected body became, by their sloth and avarice, their voluptuousness and impurity, their ignorance and levity, contemptible and infamous, not only in the eve of the wise and good, but also in the universal
judgment of the multitude. Nor could the case be otherwise as matters were now constituted; for as all the offices and dignities of the church were become venal every where, the way of preferment was inaccessible to merit, and the wicked and licentious were rendered capable of rising to the highest ecclesiastical honours.
XI. The prodigious swarms of monks that overspread Europe were universally considered as cumberers of the ground, and occasioned murmurs and com- The state of plaints every where. And, nevertheless, such was orders. the genius of the age, of an age that was but just emerging from the thickest gloom of ignorance, and was suspended, as it were, in a dubious situation between darkness and light, that these monastic drones would have remained undisturbed, had they taken the least pains to preserve any remains even of the external air of decency and religion, that used to distinguish them in former times. But the Benedictine and the other monkish fraternities, who were invested with the privilege of possessing certain lands and revenues, broke through all restraint, made the worst possible use of their opulence, and, forgetful of the gravity of their character and of the laws of their order, rushed headlong into the shameless practice of vice in all its various kinds and degrees. On the other hand, the mendicant orders, and especially those who followed the rule of St. Dominic and St. Francis, though they were not carried away with the torrent of licentiousness that was overwhelming the church, yet they lost their credit in a different way; for their rustic impudence, their ridiculous superstitions, their ignorance, cruelty, and brutish manners, alienated from them the minds of the people, and diminished their reputation from day to day. They had the most barbarous aversion to the arts and sciences, and expressed a like abhorrence of certain eminent and learned men, who endeavoured to open the paths of science to the pursuits of the studious youth, recommended the culture of the mind, and attacked the barbarism of the age in their writings and in their discourse. This is sufficiently evident from what happened to Reuclinus, Erasmus, and other learned men.
i See Cornelii Aurelli Gaudani Apocalypsis, seu Visio Mirabilis super miserabili Slatu Matris Ecclesiæ, in Caspar. Burmanni Analect. Hist. de Hadriano VI. p. 245, printed in 4to. at Utrecht, in 1727.
XII. Among all the monastic orders, none enjoyed a The Domini- higher degree of power and authority than the
Dominican friars, whose credit was great, and their influence universal. This will not appear at all surprising when we consider that they filled very eminent stations in the church, presided every where over the terrible tribunal of the inqusition, and had the care of souls, with the function of confessors, in all the courts of Europe; a circumstance this, which, in these times of ignorance and superstition, manifestly tended to put the most of the Euro. pean princes in their power. But, notwithstanding all this credit and authority, the Dominicans had their enemies; and about this time their influence began to decline. Nay, several marks of perfidy, that appeared in the measures they employed to extend their authority, exposed them justly to the public indignation. Nothing more infamous than the frauds they practised to accomplish their purposes, as may be seen among other examples, by the tragedy they acted at Berne, in the year 1509. They were perpetually
o k This most impious fraud is recorded at length by Ruchat, at the end of the sixth volume of his Histoire de la Reformation en Suisse, and also by Hottinger, in his Histoire Eccles. Helvet. tom. i. p. 334. There is also a compendious, but distinct narration of this infernal stratagem, in bishop Burnet's Travels through France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, p. 31. The stratagem in question was the consequence of a rivalship between the Franciscans and Dominicans, and more especially of their controversy concerning the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. The former maintained, that she was born without the blemish of original sin; the latter asserted the contrary. The doctrine of the Franciscans, in an age of darkness and superstition, could not but be popular; and hence the Dominicans lost ground from day to day. To support the credit of their order, they resolved, at a chapter held at Vimpsen, in the year 1504, to have recourse to fictitious visions and dreams, in which the people at that time had an easy faith ; and they determined to make Berne the scene of their operations. A person named Jetzer, who was extremely simple, and much inclined to austerities, and who had taken their habit, as a lay brother, was chosen as the instrument of the delusions they were contriving. One of the four Dominicans, who had undertaken the management of this plot, conveyed himself secretly into Jetzer's cell, and about midnight appeared to him in a horrid figure, surrounded with howling dogs, and seeming to blow fire from his nostrils, by the means of a box of combustibles which he held near his mouth. In this frightful form he approached Jetzer's bed, told him that he was the ghost of a Dominican, who had been killed at Paris, as a judgment of heaven for laying aside his monastic habit ; that he was condemned to purgatory for this crime; adding, at the same time, that by his means, he might be rescued from his misery, which was beyond expression. This story, accompanied with borrible cries and howling frighted poor Jetzer out of the little wits he had, and engaged him to promise to do all that was in his power to deliver the Dominican from his torment. Upon this, the impostor told him, that nothing but the most extraordinary mortifications, such as the discipline of the whip, persormed during eight days by the whole monastery, and Jetzer's lying prostrate in the form of one crucified, in the chapel during mass, could contribute to his deliverance. He added, that the performance of these mortifications would draw down upon Jetzer the peculiar protection of the Blessed Virgin ; and concluded by saying that he would appear to him again accompanied with two other spirits. Morning was no sooner come, than Jetzer gave an account of this apparition to the rest of the convent, who all unanimously advised him to undergo the discipline that was enjoined upon him; and every one consented to bear his share of the task imposed. The deluded simpleton obeyed, and