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" To do something to instract, but more to undeceive, the timid and admiring student; to excite him to place more confidence in his own strength, and less in the infallibility of great names;-to help him to emancipate his jadgment from the shackles of authority;-to teach him to distinguish between showy language and sound sense ;-to warn him not to pay himself with words ;-to shew him that what may tickfe the ear or dazzle the imagination, will not always inform the judgment;-to dispose him rather to fast on ignorance than to feed himself with error."

Fragment on Government.





Printed for the Editor, by George Smallfield ; PUBLISHED BY SHERWOOD, NEELY AND JONES,



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Monthly Repository.


JANUARY, 1822.

[Vol. XVII.

Italian Reformation.

The NonCONFORMIST. No. XXIII. On the Attempts that were made towards the Reformation of Religion in Italy

in the Sixteenth Century. TT has been disputed, between the object. Individuals had, in some lius, to which of those eminent persons ings, animadverted upon what they ought to be ascribed the honour of deemed its false doctrines and superoriginating the great work of the Re- stitious rites : whilst others had assoformation from Popery. In whatever ciated, in considerable numbers, for way this controversy may be decided, the public celebration of the ordinances it is not possible that the reputation of religion upon principles which they of either of the illustrious individuals, deemed more accordant with Christian whose credit is thought to be staked truth and evangelical simplicity.* The upon the issue of it, can be at all Roman Pontiffs had, in fact, been affected. The history of the proceed themselves, for several ages, gradually ings of both, in their manly stand preparing the instruments which were against spiritual usurpation and ty- to 'subvert their spiritual empire. ranny, is now well known; the value Their insolence and their excesses had of their services, in their respective disgusted and alienated their best theatres of action, is properly under- friends and warmest partizans, and stood, and their merits are rightly and had excited an universal desire for some fully appreciated by a grateful poste change that should curb their ambirity. It is, however, due to each of tion, effect the improvement of the them to bear in mind, that their la- religious orders, relieve from the burbours in the cause of Christian truth and liberty commenced about the same period in different countries; * This statement is abundantly justi

were independent actors; fied by what is detailed in the common and had at first, and for a conside- compilations of Ecclesiastical History rerable period, no knowledge of each specting those numerous and, in some other's designs and proceedings in re- instances, discordant sects which passed spect to their comnion object. It under the general name of Albigenses, follows, therefore, from these facts, and which so frequently exposed themthat neither of them can substantiaté selves to the thunderbolts of the Vatican. a just claim to priority of service on

Their heretical opinions were publicly the score of time, or pretend to the condemned so early as the year 1176 by

a Council held at Albi, in the South of merit of having been the first to set France. In 1179 they were cruelly perthe example to the other.

secuted by Pope Alexander; in the early But whatever need of praise may part of the thirteenth century a crusade be awarded to Luther and to Zwing- was proclaimed against them by Pope lius, there is good reason to question Innocent the Third, whose name conthe right of either of them to be, in tained the bitterest satire upon his chastrict propriety, regarded as the father racter, at least in this instance; and of the Reformation. Long antece about this period the infernal tribunal of dently to their day, men's minds had, the Inquisition was created with an exin various countries of Europe, been press view to their extirpation. The drawn to the consideration of the An- have taught the Roman Pontiffs and their ti-Christian spirit of the Church of ministers, how inappropriate and unavailRomne, and of the licentiousness and ing are such instruments of conversion, profligacy of its rulers and ininisters.

as dungeons and torture, fire and gibbets, To its religious tenets and worship, to act upon the reason of men who will also

, some persons had been led to think before they believe.

that they




den of the Romish ritual those who followed by no very extensive or last-
disapproved of it, and leave men more ing benefits to the common cause.
at liberty in the choice, and in the Whilst the doctrines and pretensions
outward profession and exercises of of the Church of Rome were thus
their religion. By the time that Lu- freely canvassed and opposed in Ger-
ther and Zwinglius appeared in the many and Switzerland, it was scarcely
field against the Roman power, there possible that in Italy, where men were
existed a very general, and, in some placed within a nearer view, and under
places, a very decided disposition to the more immediate influence of the
enter into their views of reform, and system, its follies and excesses should
to aid their exertions to carry them have escaped notice and animadver-
into execution. This fact will suffi- sion. Indeed, at a period long ante-
ciently account for the kind of recep- rior to that which is at present under
tion they experienced from those who consideration, we meet with occasional
were the first witnesses of their pro- memorials of individuals who had
ceedings, as well as for the success, openly impugned the papal authority.
so far exceeding, probably, their own Amongst these may be here mentioned
most sanguinc expectations, which Cecco d'Ascoli, who wrote a poem on
ultimately crowned their efforts in the Nature of the Universe. Crescim-
their honourable but arduous under- beni, the historian of the Vernacular
taking. For whilst their labours were, Poetry of Italy, calls him Astrologo
in some instances, needed to awaken del Duca di Calavria, “the Astro-
the spirit of religious inquiry and in- loger of the Duke of Calabria." He
dependence in minds in which it had says of him that he was the advocate
become torpid and inert under the or defender of emperors, of kings, and
chilling influence of a long and oppres. of the laws against the clergy and the
sive spiritual thraldom, it is perfectly pope : and states that he was burnt
evident that, in a great number of at Florence on the 16th of September,
other cases, they had little more to 1327, for “his wicked opinions."
do than to encourage its workings, Some other names might be here in-
and to direct and apply its energies, troduced of persons who are known
where it had already broken its slum- to have borne a public testimony
bers, and burst forth in active life and against the corruptions of the Roman

Church; + and there can be no doubt
For some time the visible progress that many more of a similar character
of the Reformation, so far as this was
manifested by the open renunciation
of the authority of the Roman Church, L'Istoria della Volgar Poesia, scritta
and the institution of a different form da Giovanni Mario de'Crescimbeni, 4to.
of religious worship and discipline, 1698, p. 47, " Il quale per le sue male,
was restricted to Switzerland, and vage opinioni fu arso in Firenze," &c.
some districts of Germany. But though

+ Many of the Italian writers of the its public triumphs were limited to 13th and 14th centuries abound with those places, its friends, in other parts

animadversions, more or less direct and of Europe, did not remain passive of religion, the licentiousness of the

severe, upon the prevailing corruptious spectators of the great drama wbich priesthood, and the pride and tyranny of was then acting. "Occasional efforts the head of the church. Daute, who were made in other quarters, at least fourished towards the end of the 13th, by individuals, to break the Roman aud in the beginning of the 14th century, yoke. But, owing, perhaps, to the sometimes makes himself merry at the want of union and co-operation among expense of the religious orders, in the those who were agreed in their views situations he assigns them in the other and object; owing, too, in all proba- world. . Boccacio, a writer of the genebility, to the want of an active and ration immediately following, bas enintrepid leader, like Luther or Zwing- ployed his Decameron to convey his cenlius, to whom all could look with incidents of his tales being drawn from confidence; and, in some cases, owing, their corrupt practices. And Petrarch, no doubt, to the determined opposi- who wrote only a few years later, is tion of the civil power, and the ex- known to have occasionally directed his treme vigilance of the agents of the pen in the same way, and to have inInquisition ; their proceedings were curred the displeasure of his ecclesiastical

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would have appeared in the history of vigilance and caution of the agents of this period, had not the extraordinary the ecclesiastical authorities led them

to consign every writing, which could superiors by the freedom of his animad. transmit to posterity the names and versions.

opinions of such persons, to the same The conspicuous part which was acted fires that terminated the lives and by Jerome Savonarola, towards the close consumed the bodies of the authors, of the 15th century, might seem to entitle That numerous individuals, in Italy, biar to be ranked among the early Italian Reformers. But there is much difficulty their talents and their acquirements,

distinguished alike by their stations, iu forming any thing like a satisfactory opinion, concerning his character and viewed with approbation what was preteusions, from the very contradictory transacting on the other side

of the accounts of his life, which have been Alps, in the early part of the 16th drawn up by his frieuds and his enemies. century, is well known. Some of these By Catholics he ivas considered a turbu- acted upon their convictions, and in lent fanatic, who pretended to divine public discourses, and by their writconmuuications and the spirit of pro- ings, advocated the principles of the plecy, in order to delude the populace, Swiss or the Saxon Reformers. But, and dispose them to aid his schemes of in the end, they found all their efforts sedition against the Florentine govern- to be unavailing as to any permanent ment. Protestants, on the contrary, have regarded him as a pious Reformer, and practical good. and those of them honoured his memory as a wartyr. Ga

who were fortunate enough to escape briel Naudé, in his Apologie des grans the ministers of the Inquisition, sought hommes accusez de Magie, (Bayle, art.

their personal security in flight and Savonarola, nole L) enumerates the fol- exile. lowing Protestant testimonies in his fa. Among the earliest attempts to inFour: “ Beza, Vigner, Cappel, du Plessis troduce the Reformation into Italy, Morpai, and all the Lutherans of Ger- must be placed those which were made many, generally style Savonarola in their at Naples, about the year 1535. The books, the faithful witness of the truth, merit of being the original mover in the forerunner of the Evangelical Refor- these proceedings seems to be justly mation, the scourge of the great Babylon, due to John Valdesius, or Valdesso, the sworn enemy of the Roman Antichrist; and to conclude, in ove word, with Jessenius a Jessen, the Luther of doctrines had created, a friar of his Italy; and I am surprised they do not convent offered to prove their truth, by call bim the John Huss of that country, submitting, in company with any of his since they both were put to death in the adversaries, to the ordeal of fire, not same manner, were both Heresiarchs, doubting that he should, by an evident and are both marked with great letters miracle, come out of it uninjured. The in the Register and Journal of their Mar- challenge was accepted by a Franciscan tyrs, as appears from the following verses, monk. But Savonarola's champion rewhich they placed under his picture : fusing to enter the fire without being

permitted to carry with him the host, or 'En Monachus solers; rerum scrutator

consecrated wafer,-a proposal which acutus,

was deemed sacrilegious and profane, Martyrio ornatus, Savonarola pius.

the populace became incensed, seized Behold the laborious monk, the acute Savonarola, and conveyed him to prison. inquirer into things, the pious Savona- He was afterwards put to the torture, rola, who was honoured with martyr- and being condemned to death, was, dom.'"

conformably to his sentence, strangled Savonarola was, no doubt, in one re and burnt at Florence on the 23d of May, spect, “the scourge of the great Babylon, 1498. and the sworn enemy of the Roman * Antonio Caraccioli, (Collectanea HisAntichrist ;" since, in direct defiance of torica de Vita Pauli IV. Colon. 1612, the Pope's commands, he publicly prcach- 4to. p. 239,) assigos a somewhat earlier ed against the doctrines of Popery, and origin to the attempt at Reformation at the pretensions of the Roman clergy. Naples ; ascribing it to the arrival in that But he continued in communion with city of a body of German soldiers, who that Church which he so vehemently de. had been engaged in the siege of Rome. nounced as Antichristian, and wore his In other respects his account agrees with monkish habit to the last. The circum- the statement given in the text. stances which led to his death are curious. retici homines," he writes, “ regiam la the fervour of the disputes which his urbem Neapolim, à Petro ipso, Aposto

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