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I. The order and method, that have been followed in the former part of this work, cannot be continued, without the greatest inconvenience, in this fourth book, which relates to the modern history of the church. From the commencement of the sixteenth century, the face of religion was remarkably changed; the divisions, that had formerly perplexed the church, increased considerably;: and the Christian societies, that relinquished the established forms of divine worship, and erected themselves into separate assemblies, upon principles different from those of the Roman hierarchy, rapidly multiplied. This circumstance renders it impossible to present in one connected series, or, as it were, in one continued tablature, the events, vicissitudes, and revolutions, which happened in the church, divided its members, and enfeebled the dominion of its tyrants. From the period on which we now enter, the bond of union among Christians, that had been formed by a blind obedience to the Roman pontiff
, was in almost every country, either dissolved, or at least relaxed; and consequently this period of our history must be divided into a multitude of branches, into as many parts, as there were famous sects that arose in this century.
II. It is however proper to observe here, that many of the events, which distinguished this century, had a manifest relation to the church in general, and not to any Christian society in particular; and, as these events deserve to be mentioned separately, on account of their remarkable tendency to throw a light upon the state of Christianity in general, as well as upon the history of each Christian society, we shall divide this fourth book into two main and principal parts, of which the one will contain the General and the other the Particular History of the Christian Religion.
III. To the General History belong all those events which relate to the state of Christianity, considered in itself and in its utmost extent, to the Christian church viewed in the general, and abstracted from the miserable and multiplied divisions into which it was rent by the passions of men. Under this head we shall take notice of the advancement and progress of Christianity in general, without any regard to the particular sects that were thus instrumental in promoting its interests; nor shall we omit the consideration of certain doctrines, rites, and institutions, which appeared worthy of admission to all, or at least to the greatest part of the Christian sects, and which consequently produced, in various countries, improvements or changes of greater or less importance.
iv. In the Particular History of this century, we propose reviewing, in their proper order, the various sects into which the church was divided. This part of our work, for the sake of method and precision, we shall subdivide into two. In the first we shall comprehend what relates to the more ancient Christian sects, both in the eastern and western hemispheres; while the second will be confined to the history of those more modern societies, the date of whose origin is posterior to the Reformation in Germany. In the accounts that are here to be given of the circumstances, fate, and doctrines of each sect, the method laid down in the introduction to this work shall be rigorously observed, as far as is possible, since it seems best calculated to lead us to an accurate knowledge of the nature, progress, and tenets of every Christian society, that arose in those times of discord.
V. The most momentous event that distinguished the church after the fifteenth century, and we may add, the most glorious of all the revolutions that happened in the state of Christianity since the time of its divine and immortal Founder, was that happy change introduced into religion, which is known by the title of the Blessed Reformation. This grand revolution, which arose in Saxony from small beginnings, not only spread itself with the utmost rapidity through all the European provinces, but also extended its efficacy to the most distant parts of the globe, and may be justly considered as the main spring which has moved the nations from that illustrious period, and occasioned the greatest part both of those civil and religious revolutions that fill the annals of history down to our times. The face of Europe was, in a more especial manner, changed by this great event. The present age feels yet, in a sensible manner, and ages to come will continue to perceive, the inestimable advantages produced by it, and the inconveniences of which it has been the innocent occasion. The history, therefore, of such an important revolution, from which so many others have derived their origin, and whose relations and con nexions are so extensive and so general, demands a peculiar degree of attention, and has an unquestionable right to a distinguished place in such a work as this. We now proceed to give a compendious view of the modern history of the Christian church, according to the intimated plan and method.
I. The History of the Reformation is too || of extreme poverty in the valleys of Piedmont, ample and extensive to be comprehended, and proposed to themselves no higher earthly without some degree of confusion, in the unin- felicity, than that of leaving to their descenterrupted narrative of one Section: we shall dants that wretched and obscure corner of therefore divide it into Four Parts.
Europe, which separates the Alps from the The first will contain an account of the Pyrenean mountains; while the handful of Bostate of Christianity before the commencement hemians, that survived the ruin of their facof the Reformation;
tion, and still persevered in their opposition to The second will give the history of the Re- the Roman yoke, had neither strength nor formation from its beginning until the date of knowledge adequate to any new attempt, and the Confession of Augsburg;
therefore, instead of inspiring terror, became The third will exhibit a view of the same || objects of contempt. history, from this latter period to the com- II. We must not, however, conclude from mencement of the war of Smalcald; and this apparent tranquillity and security of the
The fourth will carry it down to the peace pontiffs and their adherents, that their meathat was concluded with the advocates of the sures were applauded, or that their chains were Reformation in the year 1555.* This division || worn without reluctance; for not only private is natural; it arises spontaneously from the persons, but also the most powerful princes and events themselves.
sovereign states, exclaimed loudly against the
despotic dominion of the pontiffs, the fraud, CHAPTER I.
violence, avarice, and injustice that prevailed Concerning the State of the Christian Church in their counsels, the arrogance, tyranny, and
extortion of their legates, the unbridled licentibefore the Reformation.
ousness and enormous crimes of the clergy and I. About the commencement of this century, monks of all denominations, the inordinate sethe Roman pontiffs lived in the utmost tran- || verity and partiality of the Roman laws; and quillity; nor had they, as things seemed to be demanded publicly, as their ancestors had done situated, the least reason to apprehend any op- before them, a reformation of the church, in its position to their pretensions, or rebellion head and in its members, and a general counagainst their authority; since those dreadful || cil to accomplish that necessary and happy purcommotions, which had been excited in the pose. But these complaints and demands preceding ages by the Waldenses, Albigenses, were not carried so far as to produce any good and Beghards, and more recently by the Bo- effect, since they came from persons who did hemians, were entirely suppressed, and had not entertain the least doubt about the supreme yielded to the united powers of counsel and authority of the pope in religious matters, and the sword. Such of the Waldenses as yet re-who, of consequence, instead of attempting, mained, lived contented under the difficulties themselves, to bring about that reformation
The writers of the history of the Reformation, which was so ardently desired, remained enof every rank and order, are enumerated by the very tirely inactive, and looked for redress to the learned Philip Fred. Hane (who himself deserves a most eminent rank in this class) in his Historia Sa- * These complaints and accusations have been crorum a Luthero emendatorum, part i. and by Jo.largely enumerated by several writers. See, among Aib. Fabricius, in his Centifolium Lutheranum, part many others, Val. Ern. Loescherus, in Actis et Do. i. cap. clxxxvii. The greatest part, or at least the cumentis Reformationis, tom. I. cap. v. ix. et Ern. most eminent, of this list of authors must be con. Salom. Cyprian. Præfat. ad Wilk. Ern. Tenzelii His. sulted by such as desire a farther confirmation or il- toriam Reformat. published at Leipeic in 1717.--The lustration of the matters which I propose to relate grievances complained of by the Germans in particu. briefly in the course of this history. The illustrious | lar, are amply mentioned by J. F. Georgius in his names of Sleidan and Seckendori', and others, who Gravamina Imperator. et Nationis German. adversus bave distinguished themselves in this kind of erudi. Sedem Romanam, cap. vij. Nor do the wiser and tion, are too well known to render it necessary to more learned among ihe modern Romanists pretend recommend their works to the perusal of the curious to deny that the church and clergy, before the time
of Luther, were corrupt in a very high degree.
court of Rome, or to a general council. As Rovere, who assumed the denomination of
there V. To the odious list of vices with which could be no reason to expect any considerable || Julius II. dishonoured the pontificate, we may reformation either of the corruptions of the add the most savage ferocity, the most audachurch or of the manners of the clergy. cious arrogance, the most despotic vehemence
III. If any thing seemed proper to destroy of temper, and the most extravagant and the gloomy empire of superstition, and to il phrenetic passion for war and bloodshed. He alarm the security of the lordly pontiffs, it was began his military enterprises by entering into the restoration of learning in Europe, and the a war with the Venetians, after having number of men of genius that suddenly arose, strengthened his cause by an alliance with the under the benign influence of that auspicious emperor and the king of France.* He afterrevolution. But even this new scene was in-wards laid siege to Ferrara, and at length sufficient to terrify the lords of the church, or turned his arms against his former ally, the to make thein apprehend the decline of their French monarch, in conjunction with the Vepower. It is true, that this happy revolution netians, Spaniards, and Swiss, whom he had in the republic of letters dispelled the gloom of drawn into this war, and engaged in his cause ignorance, and kindled in the minds of many by an offensive league. His whole pontificate, the love of truth and of sacred liberty. It is in short, was one continued scene of military also certain that many of these great men, tumult; nor did he suffer Europe to enjoy a such as Erasmus and others, pointed the deli- | moment's tranquillity as long as he lived. We cacy of their wit, or levelled the fury of their may easily imagine the miserable condition of indignation, at the superstitions of the times, the church under a vicar of Christ, who lived the corruptions of the priesthood, the abuses in camps, amidst the din of arms, and who was that reigned in the court of Rome, and the ambitious of no other fame than that which brutish manners of the monastic orders. But arose from battles won and cities desolated. this was not sufficient, since none had the Under such a pontiff all things must have gone courage to strike at the root of the evil, to at- to ruin; the laws must have been subverted, tack the papal jurisdiction and statutes, which the discipline of the church destroyed, and the were absurdly, yet artfully, sanctified by the genuine lustre of true religion entirely effaced. title of canon-law, or to call in question the an- VI. Nevertheless, from this dreadful cloud cient and most pernicious opinion, that Christ that hung over Europe, some rays of light had established a vicegerent at Rome, clothed seemed to break forth, that promised a better with his supreme and unlimited authority. state of things, and gave some reason to exEntrenched within these strong holds, the pon-pect that reformation in the church which was tiffs looked upon their own authority and the so generally and so ardently desired. Louis peace of the church as beyond the reach of XII., king of France, provoked by the insults danger, and treated with indifference the he had received from this arrogant pontiff, threats and invectives of their enemies. Arm- meditated rever.ge, and even caused a medal ed with power to punish, and abundantly fur- | to be stricken with a menacing inscription, nished with the means of rewarding in the expressing his resolution to overturn the power most alluring manner, they were ready, on of Rome, which was represented on this coin every commotion, to crush the obstinate, and by the title of Babylonit Several cardinals to gain over the mercenary to their cause; and also, encouraged by the protection of this mothis indeed could not but contribute consider- | narch and the emperor Maximilian I.; assemably to the stability of their dominion. bled, in 1511, a council at Pisa, with an inten
IV. Hence it was, that the bishops of Rometion to set bounds to the tyranny of this furilived in the utmost security and ease, and, be- ||ous pontiff, and to correct and reform the ering free from apprehensions and cares of every rors and corruptions of a superstitious church. kind, followed without reluctance, and grati- || Julius, on the other hand, relying on his own fied without any limitation or restraint, the strength, and on the power of his allies, bevarious demands of their lusts and passions. | held these threatening appearances without Alexander VI., whom humanity disowns, and the least concern, and even treated them with who is rather to be considered as a monster mockery and laughter. He did not, however, than as a man, whose deeds excite horror, and neglect the methods of rendering ineffectual whose enormities place him on a level with the the efforts of his enemies, that prudence dicmost execrable tyrants of ancient times, stain- tated, and therefore gave orders for a council ed the commencement of this century by the to meet in the lateran palace in 1512,4 in inost atrocious crimes. The world was deli- || which the decrees of the council of Pisa were vered from this papal fiend in the year 1503, condemned and annulled in the most injurious by the poisonous draught which he had pre- and insulting terms. This condemnation pared for others, as is generally believed, would, undoubtedly, have been followed by though there are historians who attribute his * See Du Bos, Histoire de la Ligue de Cambray. death to sickness and old age.* He was suc
† See B. Christ. Sigismund. Liebii Commentatio ceeded in the pontificate by Pius III., who, in de Nuinmis Ludovici XII., Epigraphe · Perdam Ra.
bylonis nomen,' insignibus, Leipsic, 1717.-See also less than a month, was deprived by death of Thes. Epis. Crozianus, tom. i.-Colonia, His. Liter, that high dignity. The vacant chair was ob- l de la Ville de Lyon, tom. ii.--The authenticity and tained, by fraud and bribery, by Julian de la occasion of this medal have been much disputed, and,
as is well known, have afforded matter of keen de* See Ceni. XV. part ii, chap. i. sect. xviii. note (a.
| Harduini Concil, t. ix. p. 1559.