« PoprzedniaDalej »
cile the contending parties, especially at the diets of Haguenau and Ratisbon ;* but the breach was too wide to be healed. The Roman Catholics, with the Emperor at their head, saw no remedy but a council. The Protestants only desired to be let alone, and uniformly refused to submit to the decrees of an assembly convened by the Pope, managed by his agents, and held in his dominions. But the wishes of the more powerful party prevailed: at the diet of Spire, held early in 1542, it was agreed that the council should be holden in the city of Trent. A bull was issued, summoning the prelates of Christendom to meet in that place on the first of November.
Three legates were appointed to preside in the council, in the name of the Pope, cardinals Parisi, Moron, and Pole; the first, observes Father Paul, because he was a skilful canonist; the second, because he was a good politician, and well acquainted with business; and the third, that it might appear that England, though separated from Rome, had a share in the transactions of the assembly.t They were instructed to signify their arrival to the sovereigns of Europe, to avoid disputes with the heretics, to do nothing till a sufficient number of prelates had arrived from Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, and even then to wait for further orders from the
The time chosen was extremely inopportune, as the Emperor and the King of France were then at war. Till peace was restored, there could be no hope of a prosperous issue. Nevertheless, some Italian bishops were directed by the Pope to proceed to Trent, and the Emperor sent three ambassadors and a few Neapolitan prelates; but the Germans, French, and Spaniards, were prevented from leaving home on account of the war, and without them the council could not be held. Consequently, after the legates had waited eight months in vain, they were recalled, and the council suspended during the good pleasure of the Roman Pontiff. I
Meanwhile the papal party had adopted vigorous measures for the suppression of the reformation in Italy, in which country evangelical principles were making rapid progress. Urged by Cardinal Caraffa and other ecclesiastics, Paul III. established the inquisition in Rome, by a bull dated April the first, 1543. Six cardinals were constituted inquisitors.. general, with full power to try all causes of heresy, and inflict such punishments as the church required. Caraffa was president. He entered upon his office with a zeal and ferocity peculiar to himself. Having hired a large building in Rome for the purposes of the inquisition, he had it immediately fitted up as a prison and a place of torture, and took care that it should not long remain empty. Promptitude and unrelenting severity marked his proceedings. “ Popish historians do more homage to truth than credit to their cause when they say, that the creation of the inquisition was the salvation of the catholic religion in Italy. No sooner was the engine of tyranny and torture erected, than those who had rendered themselves obnoxious to it by the previous avowal of their sentiments, fled in great numbers from a country in which they could no longer look for protection from injustice and cruelty. The prisons of the inquisition were everywhere filled with those who remained behind, and who, according to the policy of that court, were retained for years in silent and dark durance, with the view of inspiring their friends with dread, and of subduing their own minds to a recantation of their sentiments. With the exception of a few places, the public profession which had been made of the protestant religion was suppressed. Its friends, however, were still numerous; many of them were animated by the most ardent attachment to the cause. They continued to encourage and edify one another in their private meetings; and it required all the exertions and violence of the inquisitors during twenty years to discover and exterminate them.” They succeeded, but only by the employment of means from which humanity revolts, and which are utterly opposed to the principles and spirit of the gospel. The unhappy victims of popish malice were either driven from their homes and forced to pass the remainder of their days in exile, or bunted from place to place till they fell into the hands of their merciless tormentors, and were drowned at Venice, or burnt at Rome, after suffering indescribable privations and agonies.*
* A. D, 1540, 1541. + Lib. i. sect. 69.
Le Plat, iii. 1—127.
Le Plat, ji. 195 - 200.
* Pal. lib. xiv. c. 9. s. 5. Ranke, Histoire de la Papauté, tom. i. liv. 2. s. 6. M‘Crie's History of the Suppression of the Reformation in Italy, chap. v.
At a diet held at Spire in 1544, the affairs of religion were again seriously discussed. The emperor so much needed the assistance of the Protestants in his wars, that he was glad to court them by compliances which in his more prosperous days he would have disdained. The papal legate was prohibited from attending the diet; and it was enacted that the penal statutes should be suspended till a general or national council had been held. Meanwhile, Protestants and Roman Catholics were exhorted to live in peace, and some civil privileges were bestowed on the former, of which their presumed heresy had deprived them.*
Nothing could exceed the grief and anger of the Pope on this occasion. That anything like equality of rights should be granted to heretics, and that a German diet should dare to legislate in religious matters without the concurrence of the Head of the Church, were intolerable offences. In a long and indignant epistle, his Holiness reproached the Emperor for his conduct. He complained that laymen and even heretics had been permitted to meddle with spiritual things, the exclusive province of the priesthood; and that in referring their disputes and grievances to a council, they had not even mentioned the successor of St. Peter, to whom only the right of convening such an assembly belonged. It resembled the sins of Uzzah, Dathan, Abiram, Korah, and Uzziah. The judgments of God would fall upon him, unless he revoked the decree. By such conduct he had not only endangered the peace and unity of the church, but also exposed his own soul's salvation to imminent peril !+ The Emperor sent him a calm and dignified reply.
In the autumn of the same year, peace was concluded between the Emperor and the King of France. They engaged, among other things, to co-operate in the defence of the
* Pallav. lib. v. c. 5. sect. 3. + Le Plat, iii. 237—247. “ Ita parum omnino conscientiæ et promissis principum fidi potest, etsi alias honestate et pietate non careant, nisi pro norma politicæ suæ disciplinæ, magnam Jesu Christi regulam habeant, quæ vult, ut ante omnia quæratur regnum Dei et justitia ejus, absque qua omnis sapientia hominum nil nisi stultitia coram Deo est, et finem habet infelicem." Maimbourg, in Seckendorf Hist. lib. iii. sect. 28. It is easy to conceive what the Jesuit meant by “ the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
Roman-catholic religion, to further by all the means in their power the reformation of manners in the church, and to procure the convocation of a general council, which might now be safely convened. The Pope did not wait for their interference, but issued a bull in November, summoning the princes and prelates of Europe to meet at Trent, March 15, 1545.*
* Le Plat, iii. 255—259.
Description of Trent-Progress of the Reformation State of Parties—Cha
racter of the Legates-Intentions of the Emperor-Fears of the PopeOPENING OF THE COUNCIL-Bishop of Bitonto's Sermon — Measures taken by the Pope to manage the Council-Various Disputes-SECOND SESSION—Exhortation of the Legates-Discussions on the Method of Procedure—The Plan adopted—Third Session—The Creed recitedMarks of the Church enumerated— Infallibility-Exclusive Salvation.
Trent is a city of the Austrian empire, in the territory of the Tyrol, on the confines of Germany and Italy, 67 miles from Venice, and about 250 from Rome. It is situated in a fertile and pleasant plain, almost surrounded by the Alps. The river Adige washes its walls, and thence flows swiftly onwards to the Adriatic. In the sixteenth century it was governed by the King of the Romans, under whom it was held by the Cardinal of Trent. Though not within the papal territories, it was so near that the Italian bishops, by whose efforts the Pope expected to preserve his authority and prevent reform, could reach it without much expense or trouble; and the distance from Rome was not so great as to hinder that communication between his Holiness and the legates by which he purposed to ensure the management of all the proceedings of the council.
When Luther first appealed to a general council he stood almost alone and unsupported; but at the time of the opening of that assembly, the cause of Protestantism had already triumphed extensively in Europe, and was daily advancing. Among its adherents were numbered the kings of Great Britain, Sweden, and Denmark, a large proportion of the princes and states of Germany, and many of the most eminent men of the age, both for learning and piety. The progress of religious inquiry and the course it had taken were no less remarkable. Those who had begun with the exposure