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circle of ideas, in which for ages it had been confined. The religous state of Europe was characterized by a growing impatience of the ambition and insolence of Rome. The constancy and firmness under persecution, of the Vaudois and Albigenses, and the evangelical doctrines which they maintained, were still remembered, and their influence felt. John Huss and Jerome of Prague an the continent, and Wickliffe in Great Britain, had lifted their voices against the anti-scriptural doctrines and the infamous lives of the Roman clergy. The rebuke had been heard by all Europe, notwithstanding the cruel and bloody measures of Rome to prerent it: and as the violence and scandalous conduct of ecclesiastics became more known, they were felt to be the more intolerable. The state of knowledge was advancing. The universities of France, England, Germany, especially of Wittemburg, were sendng out the light and truth of newly revived science. The art of
had been invented on the banks of the Rhine, scattering knowledge as on the wings of light; and at the other extremity of Germany on the banks of the Vistula, Copernicus had been studying the heavens, and read the laws, and traced the courses of its revolving luminaries. “The human race,” says our author, " advanced perceptibly towards the point of maturity of a new epoch. A change in the order of things, an approaching commotion seemed at hand ; a rumbling was heard in the bowels of the volcano ; ardent vapors burst forth and streamed through the obscurity.”
At length Tetzel's sale of indulgences, under the authority of Leo X, to support the dissipation and extravagant luxury of his court and clergy, and the grossness and shameless venality of this traffic in the sins of men, aroused the mighty spirit of the reformer. Tetzel's visit to Wittemburg where Luther resided, became the signal for the opening of this eventful drama. The Augustine friar was no sooner excited to the work of reproof and resistance, than be found himself upon a tide of circumstances which were irresistibly bearing him on to a mighty revolution. One false and delusive garb of Romanism after another was stripped off
, and its error and iniquity successively exposed to the world, till friends and converts were multiplied in every part of Europe; kings and princes espoused the cause of the Reformation; controversies, councils, negotiations and sanguinary wars followed, for many years, and thousands fell in delivering the world from its long night of bondage, till at the treaty of Westphalia, in 1648, the different nations of Europe were settled and confirmed in their own separate jurisdictions ; stability and peace were given to the protestant kingdoms; and financial and commercial considerations, instead of religious dogmas, became the basis of the political system of Europe, and the main-spring of all its movements.
If the question be asked, “Would not the successive progress knowledge have led on gradually and insensibly to the same hap result, without the evils of such a terrible commotion ?” it is : swered by facts: that all things were approaching towards, and h well-nigh come to the completion of one wide-spread despoti over the bodies, minds, and consciences of men ; that nothing ! the deep principles of religious interest, would have possessed s ficient power to excite and combine the minds and feelings of t people to successful resistance; and that in the system of an fallible church, the decisions of which are declared to be the d tations of the Holy Ghost, all reformation is contradiction, and change impossible, but such as is effected by force.
Thus says Mons. Villers :
• There is not any thing, therefore, more vague, more uncertai more destitute of real foundation, than the assurance gratuitously giv by the antagonists of the reformation, that the renovation of knowledge would have insensibly corrected all the abuses in the church and policy. We most assuredly see few traces of this pretended amelioratic in the government of the ultramontane states, or of those who have remail ed most immediately subjected to the yoke of papism. What has, k several centuries, kept our neighbors, the Ottomans, with whom also w have so much commercial intercourse, in a barbarism similar to that of th christian nations during the middle age? It is religious superstition It is their muftis, their faquirs, their dervises, who have kept among them a dislike to true knowledge and philosophy. We occidentals ha plenty of such opponents, and even worse than the orientals. We hat an inquisition, the terrible reign of which we should perhaps have seet perpetuated to our own days, but for the reformation. Charming road to a better state of things ! In the sixteenth century some of the European states, and a great number of individuals, thought it right to take another. The Catholic princes, agents of Rome, endeavored to deprive them of that liberty. They waged a war of extermination against the Protestants who could take up arms! They burnt and massacred with incredible fury those who could not. They then exclaimed, “See, of how many evils are those refractory wretches the cause ! what a flame have they kindled in Europe !--they are guilty of all their blood which we have shed, of all the scaffolds which we have prepared for them !” Strange recriminations, which many people have given, and still do give credit to ; so easy is it to doze in the career of an established order of things which has endured for centuries! And since the order established in the sixteenth century was supported by a double power, by the secular arm and religious fanaticism, which would neglect nothing to maintain it, it is very evident that time would not have produced a salutary change, without a commotion at least equal to that which took place. pp. 60, 61.
Having thus disposed of much important preliminary matter, the way is open for a more direct answer to the proposed question, viz.
What has been the influence of the reformation by Luther, on the political situation of the different states of Europe, and the pogress of knowledge ?"
The first branch of the question respects “ the political condiBon of Europe ;” and in answer we follow the course of the essay, y looking, First, to its influence on the political relations of the kurch itself.
The pope lost at once the half of his empire. Denmark, Sween, Holland, England, and the largest portion of Switzerland, tere delivered from his ecclesiastical domination. This rupture s pot the result of a transient convulsion which spent all its enrgy in its first action, and whose ruins might be again repaired by me, but an active force of awakened, free, and combined moral entiment, which, having begun its work and discovered its strength, would continue to act on forever. These nations had learned beir rights, and felt the blessings of religious freedom, and were heoceforth never to be bowed down again to a degraded servitude. And with the wealth and power that were thus withdrawn from Rome, many mercenary followers and flattering parasites also deserted that cause which could no longer feed their luxury or juter their ambition. As a necessary consequence, some reforivation of outward manners was forced upon the corrupt church itself, both from its diminished resources and the strong contrast presented in the pious lives of the protestant clergy and communi(2015. Sacerdotal influence upon the politics of Europe, which had hitherto been the main-spring of all their movements, was broken, and from that time rapidly gave place to considerations strictly political, financial, and commercial, by which the whole system of international communication has been entirely changed. The new order of the Jesuits which had sprung up by the side of protestantisin, was siezed upon by the pope, as a fit instrument to uphold the sinking fortunes of the papacy. By the most consummate subtlety, duplicity and perseverance, this army of men, devoted 10 Rome, exerted their powerful influence for the master who employed them. They found their way into families and schools, pulpits and confessionals, the courts and cabinets of Europe ; and however widely scattered, they had all one object, and were moved by one spirit. If any thing of human origin could have crushed the Reformation, the efforts of these austere but crafty and determined men, would doubtless have effected it. But although they were not able to prevail against a cause that was moved onward by an impulse more powerful than that of a human arm, yet by their strong, though designedly secret influence, they have often swayed the political movements of nations.*
'Their secret intrigues, machinations and violent measuros, endangered the peace of every government of Europe. An universal cry was raised for their
Other influences upon the political relations of the church, sulting from the Reformation, are seen in the fact that the power at once filled up that immense vacuum, which was m by the expulsion of ecclesiastical authority from governmental ulations. Protestant princes succeeded in their own governme to that power and influence which had long been in the hand foreign ecclesiastics, and the church reverted back, in a greate less degree, to its former popular administration; the people the selves having an interest in its concerns, and a voice in its transactie
The different sects which have been advanced by different vernments to the place of an established order, as Calvinisin Geneva, Lutheranism in Denmark, Episcopacy in England, Presbyterianism in Scotland, etc., which were the proximate sults of the Reformation, have given rise to many and great e changes. Nor has the influence of the Reformation in its ben cial civil effects, been felt only in protestant countries. Almost the states of Europe which still adhere to the Romish see, havel its re-action, and regained valuable prerogatives, and experiene a very salutary mitigation of grievances.
When we look away from its influence upon the political rel tions of the church itself, to another result, and consider, Second its bearing upon the political condition of the different states v Europe, a wide and interesting field opens before us. A ve cursory view is all that we have space and time to give. So f as it relates to the internal concerns of these states, it may be n marked, that those immense suns, drained from every tion, which had hitherto flowed into the exchequer of the pop were left to circulate among the people of every protestant country stimulating enterprise, encouraging improvements, and rewardio labor. Trade and commerce revived, and all national resource were rapidly and wonderfully augmented. Man as a physical be ing gained an importance unknown before, and as an intelligent ant thinking being, he awoke at once to the consciousness and the ex ercise of new powers. An energy of soul, and a strength of intellectual and moral influence was thus called into action, to which the world had long been a stranger. While, too, all this retained and accumulated wealth and these national resources were under the control and at the disposal of its own government, this government was made, and felt to be so, for the good of the people
, and not the aggrandizement of the ruler. Public spirit has thus been embodied, and obliged the administration to act in union and concert with itself, founded upon the rights and freedom of the citizen, and not the arbitrary and despotic notions of divine right. The whole science of legislation and political economy has been studied, and settled ; and as the result of an inquiry into the power of the pope and his authority, there has been an enlightened inFestigation into the sources of all human power and authority, setding upon firm and solid foundations the civil and religious freedom
suppression. Ganganelli reluctantly signed the bull for their extinction, and soon after fell a victim to their wrath; poisoned, as was believed, in the sacra. ment, through their direction. The order has since been revived, and reinstated in their former immunities, and they are again putting forth their destructive energy, for the accomplishment of the purposes of the Roman Pontiff.
The exiles from papal persecution, who have at different times fled by thousands to protestant countries, and the abolition of the numerous senseless and burdensome holy days of the Roman church, have all tended to the industry, prosperity and morality of protestant nations. And were we to examine the different states of Europe, both protestant and papal, separately, and learn the influences which they have individually felt, and the results to which this influence has led, many important and interesting facts would be developed ; particularly in regard to the commerce of Holland, the marine and navy of Great Britain, and the settlement and consequent influence of the United States of America. The short view which is taken of this country in the essay, 15 in some respects incorrect and defective ; but the influence of our example upon the French nation, and ultimately upon all Europe, is more correctly appreciated. Referring to the American revolution, the author speaks as follows:
*Louis XVI. seconded them in this enterprise, and sent an army thither. The French who composed it came as
these republicans, were admitted into their confidence, and for the first time saw this spectacle to them so surprising, of simplicity of manners and evangelical peace among men who supported their rights. Reflection arose within them : they compared the principles and government of their own country with what they observed among the descendants of Pena, and it is notorious how eminently these Frenchmen, who were thus made soldiers of liberty by a monarch, showed themselves to be so
effect, during the first years of the revolution. Among the great aumber of proximate and remote causes which contributed to it, the American republic, and the Reformation from which it sprung, must not be forgotten.
This state, still weak, at a distance from Europe, has not hitherto bad much direct influence upon the political system. But, who can calculate that which it may one day acquire on the colonial and commercal system, so important to Europe ?' Who can foretell all that may result in the two worlds from the seductive example of the independence conquered by the Americans ? What new position would the world assume, if this example were followed ? and without doubt it will be in the end. Thus two Saxon monks will have changed the face of the globe. The Dominican Tetzel came impudently to preach indulgences at the gates of Wittemburg; the open and vehement Luther was indignant at it; he raised his voice against the indulgences, and all Europe was af