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minions; but to this his Imperial Majesty would not consent. On the other hand Charles was anxious that the council should postpone the decision of doctrinal points, and commence with reformation, lest the Protestants should be exasperated, and begin hostilities before he was prepared to meet them. His Holiness was too prudent to make such a concession, which would have defeated his own projects. There was now no valid reason for longer delay, and instructions were issued to the legates to open the council of Trent on the thirteenth of December.
Much pomp and religious solemnity were exhibited on this occasion. The legates, accompanied by the cardinal of Trent, four archbishops, twenty-four bishops, five generals of orders, the ambassadors of the King of the Romans, and many divines, assembled in the church of the Trinity, and thence went in procession to the cathedral, the choir singing the hymn Veni Creator. When all were seated, the cardinal de Monte performed the mass of the Holy Ghost; at the end of which he announced a bull of indulgences issued by the Pope, promising full pardon of sin to all who in the week immediately after the publication of the bull in their respective places of abode should fast on Wednesday and Friday, receive the sacrament on Sunday, and join in processions and supplications for a blessing on the council.41 A long discourse followed, delivered by the bishop of Bitonto. After this the cardinal rose and briefly addressed the assembly; the accustomed prayers were offered, and the hymn Veni Creator again sung. The papal bull authorizing their meeting was then produced and read; and a decree was unanimously pass*ed, 4 declaring that the sacred and general council of
Trent was then begun-for the praise and glory of the ho. ly and undivided Trinity--the increase and exaltation of true religion—the extirpation of heresy—the peace and union of the church-the reformation of the clergy and christian people and the destruction of the enemies of the christian name. The cardinal de Monte blessed them,
41 Le Plat, III. 288.
42 Assent was signified by the word Placet-content: those who dissented said, Non placet-not content.
with the sign of the cross: Te Deum was sung, and the fathers separated, “greatly rejoicing, embracing each other, and giving God thanks." 4 3
A brief abstract of the bishop of Bitonto's discourse may be here inserted, as a specimen of the ridiculous trifling and silly bombast which amused the fathers at *Trent; the devout reader will observe with pain the profane application of scripture Adverting to the use and importance of councils, and tracing their history, the bishop found example or authority for such assemblies in the election of the seven deacons, the choice of Matthias, the solemn publication of the law to Israel, and even in the language en pleyed by the Divine Being at the creation of man and the confusion of tongues. He divided religion into three parts, doctrine, the sacraments, and charity, and affirmed that in each the most lamentable degeneracy and corruption prevailed; "the gold was become dim, and the finest colour charged;" princes, people, and priests were polluted; all were under the influence of lust and ambition, the mother and the nurse of every evil, the two horse-leeches continually crying, "bring, bring;” and as the natural consequence, heresy, schism, superstition and infidelity triumphed. — Then followed a laboured eulogy of the Pope, and of all that he had done, to “gather his children as the hird doth the brood under her wings.” The legates also had their share of flattery; their very names furnished mystic meanings and happy omens;44 under their auspices all were invited to join the council, as the ancient heroes were shut up in the Trojan horse. He apostrophized the mountains and forests of Trent, and
43 The words of the Secretary Massarelli. Le Plat, vii. pars. 2. p. 48. The ceremonies were nearly the same at all the Sessions, and therefore need not be described again.
44 We enter upon and commence this General Council lawfully assembled with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, by the sanction of the Apostolic See, and under the direction of these prelates who stand conspicuous in this holy company-a new Jerusalem, viz. Johanne Maria de Monte, whose looks and affections are continually directed upward to the mountain (montem) which is Christ, whence comes our strength: Marcello Politiano, who formerly directed the efforts of his profound and impartial mind to the support of the Christian Commonwealth, (politiæ,) whose corrupt morals have afforded our enemies an opportunity to attack us: Reginald Pole more resembling an angel than an Englishman, (non tam A r2 glo, quam angelo.)
charged them to make the echo resound through the earth, that men might know the day of their visitation, and that it might not be said, "the light of the Pope "is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, for their works were evil.” To the city itself he applied the glowing descriptions of prophecy “Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night-salvation shall possess thy walls and praise thy gates--the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising and they shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Sion of the Holy One of Israel.” Turning to the fathers, he reminded them of the honour and glory to which they were raised; the gates of the council were the gates of heaven; through them the knowledge of the Lord would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. They were admonished to act worthy of their calling, putting away all fear, favour, and contention, and so demeaning themselves that they might justly say, “It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us," at the sound of which words the enemies of the council would be smitten with dismay and fall to the ground. And he assured them that all who resisted their decrees, and incurred thereby the indignation of the Pope, the Emperor, and the King of France, and the guilt of rebellion against the Holy Spirit, would find it impossible to escape: neither moun. tains, lakes, nor floods should save them: swifter than eagles, stronger than lions, the pontiff and the sovereigns would pursue and seize them, and trample them to death. Finally, he addressed the countries and states of Christendom, Greece, Spain, France, and Germany, whom “Satan had desired to have that he might sift them as wheat," and invited them to “come to the marriage, because all things were now ready: and he concluded by invoking the presence and aid of Jesus Christ through the intercession of Virgilius, the tutelary saint of the valley of T'rent. 4 5
The Pope adopted decisive measures to secure his authority, and prevent all intermeddling with his prerogative. He appointed a congregation or committee of
45 Pallav. lib. v. c. 17, 18. Sarpi. lib. ii. c. 27, 28. Le Plat, i, 12--22.
Cardinals to superintend the affairs of the council, watch its proceedings, and aid him with their advice. The legates were instructed to begin with the discussion of disputed doctrines and to treat the reformation of abuses as a matter of secondary moment; notes were to be taken and transmitted to him, of any observations relative to his court, the reforın of which he reserved for himself. To all letters and documents his own name and those of the legates were to be prefixed, that it might appear that he was not only the author, but also "the head and ruler of the council : 46 and he appointed the secretary and other necessary officers without consulting the fathers, or permitting them to exercise their undoubted right of election.
Several congregations 4 7 were held before the second session, in which there were some interesting discussions. The French bishops, of whom there were but three present, requested that the business of the council might not be entered upon till the arrival of the ambassadors and prelates that were expected from France; but this was overruled. Then disputes arose respecting the right of voting. It was questioned whether abbots and generals of orders enjoyed that right, and some of the bishops were anxious not to concede it, lest they should make themselves masters of the council by their numbers: the legates, however, decided in their favour, though not without encountering strong opposition. Another subject of debate was the title of the council: the French bishops, who were joined by some Italians and Spaniards, contended that to the epithets, “ Sacred” and "Holy,” should be added, "representing the universal church," which were used by the councils of Constance and Basle. The legates were aware that the assumption of this title would seem to give the council more power than it was intended it should possess, and they stoutly resisted it chiefly, as they wrote to the Pope, bəcause of the clause which had been subjoined
46 Pallav. lib. v. c. 16. s. 2.
47 It will be seen in the sequel that the business of the council was generally divided into two or three departments, each under the management of a separate “congregation," or, as we should say, Committee. A “General Congregation” was like a “Committeo of the whole house" in our Parliament.
by the above named assemblies, to this effect, "that a general council holds its power immediately from Jesus Christ, and that all christians, of what condition and dignity soever, even the Popes themselves, are obliged to obey it." Their opponents were as zealous for the insertion of the words in question as they were against it: they maintained their sentiments with much tenacity and warmth, and gave such indications of an independent spirit as vexed the legates not a little. 4 8
At the second session, held Jan. 7, 1546, a papal bull was read, prohibiting the use of proxies, for had they been allowed, his Holiness would have found it difficult to maintain a majority. An exhortation was addressed to the council, written by Cardinal Pole, and containing some just and useful sentiments. The subject of the decree was the manner of life to be observed during their residence at Trent: it was rather an admonition than a decree. All persons were exhorted to amend their faults and walk in the fear of God, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh; to be constant in prayer, and frequent in confession; to go to church often, and receive the eucharist; to keep the commandments of the Lord, as far as they were able; to pray for the peace of Christian princes and the unity of the church; to fast at least every Friday, and give alms to the poor. Ecclesiastics were reminded of the duty of performing mass every Lord's day, and presenting constant prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, for their most holy lord, the Pope, for the emperor, for kings and all in autho. rity, and for all men. Bishops received a special in junction to observe sobriety and moderation at theii tables; to have the Scriptures read at their meals; to instruct and train their domestics in every virtue. Those
48 The legates made a great ado about the liberty of the council. "Let the fathers speak freely," they were often saying. But it was the mere farce of freedom. The influence of their authority on the suffrages and opinions of the assembly was notorious. They often negatived a proposition at once, without allowing the fathers to give an affirmative vote. They were accustomed to interrupt and contradict those who were speaking contrary to their views. One of their creatures grossly insulted the advocates of the clause mentioned above: he called them “secret enemies” and “ foxes;” but no notice was taken of it. “La chose ne déplut point," says Vargas, Lettres et Memoires de Vargas, p. 55.